~update 7/9/12 Willamette Noodle Co is now closed
*Update: WNC is now at 380 High Street
Before ever eating at Willamette Noodle Company, I remember driving by the small Italian restaurant on Broadway St. NE and thinking that it looked like a great place to eat. It has a great name, logo and large windows at almost every table in the restaurant. Well my instinct was right, it's one of the best restaurants in Salem. For quality of food and price, it may be the best. If you haven't eaten here yet, put this place at the top of your list. Everything that I've tried on their menu has been fantastic and nothing more than $14 including bread and soup or salad. Ala carte you can order a plate of Spaghetti alla Marinara for $6. On a spring evening I ordered Fettuccine Primavera as a meal for $11. A large portion of thick fettuccine was tossed in a white wine and lemon cream sauce. The medley of vegetables included large bites of carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, green beans and peas. My dinner was marvelous, fresh and healthy. I thought that I ordered the best thing on the menu until I looked over at my wife's dinner, Butternut Squash Ravioli. Cooked in a Gorgonzola sauce, my wife said "it's incredible." I'll take her word for it because she has Butternut Squash Ravioli is one of her favorite Italian dinners and she's ordered it at many restaurants before. In fact, she says this one was the best she's ever eaten. This ravioli dish was on the "specials" menu that evening so you may have to call ahead and find out when they will be serving it again.
This is exactly the kind of restaurant that Salem could use more of. It's friendly and comfortable with just a couple of servers to handle the entire seven table dining room and take out. The food as I've said has always been outstanding and reasonably priced. It's also kid friendly, the table cloths are made of paper, perfect for scribbling while you wait for your food. They have a children's menu with an assortment of fun title's like Daddy's Best Spaghetti Ever, Plain Jane and Half Alf.
1405 Broadway Ave. NE
(503) 399-9992 - phone
When the server brought plates of steaming pasta to our table, I knew the chef had just finished tossing these dishes over a hot stove. Thats the kind of service you get in an Italian restaurant that has only seven tables. The Willamette Noodle Company offers a personal dining experience that you could never get from a big chain restaurant. Servers know their customers by name and know exactly how they like their meals prepared.
Tonight my wife ordered penne with chicken, mushrooms and kalamata olives in a spicy marinara sauce. Myself, spaghetti with meat sauce. Both were excellent and so was the Caesar salad and bread that comes with the meal. Most of the meals are around $10-$13 and taste as good or better than anywhere else in town. There is sometimes a wait to get in but never too long and you can always order take out. Willamette Noodle Company is located on the corner of Broadway and Hood Street NE, you've probably seen it on your way to the Salem Parkway. For casual dining in town this is one of the best.