Is it time to depart from the well-trodden culinary path? Macedonia Greek Cuisine, located in Salem’s downtown Reed Opera House, has been delighting Salem residents in the know for years. Advertised as family-owned and operated, and the only authentic Greek cuisine in town, Macedonia is tucked in the first floor, toward the back, of the Reed Opera House.
Arriving on a Friday night, we were seated immediately in the quiet dining room. The walls are decorated with photos of various locations in Greece, particularly some lovely islands. Our first order of business was an appetizer plate to sample two different types of dips: a traditional hummus (ground garbanzos, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice) and a melitzanosalata, which tasted similar but is based on eggplant. Pepperoncini, tomatoes, two cubes of feta, cucumbers, and dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with rice, herbs, and meat) all came on this plate, plus two pitas. Appetizer options included each of these items, tsatiki (a dip of yogurt, cucumber, and garlic), and other options, ranging from $5-10.
Our appetizers appeared quickly. The pitas were fluffy, warm, and tasty enough that we would have happily eaten them without the dips—but the dips were delicious! We ran out of pita and started using the veggies to dip, but our pitas were graciously replenished without the stated charge. We agreed that the hummus was good, but the melitzanosalata was more interestingly flavored, and new to our palates. The feta was intensely flavored but not overpowering, and tasted very fresh. The dolmades were interesting and seasoned well, but were not as tempting as the other items, being very differently textured. Our server was attentive, helpful, friendly, and unfailingly polite. This appetizer was easily large enough for four adults.
Macedonia’s menu boasts an array of traditional dishes including kabobs of lamb or chicken, meatballs, roast lamb, moussaka (eggplant, potatoes, and meat layered with a béchamel sauce), spanakopita (spinach pie in phyllo dough) and more. Entrées range from around $10 to $20. Several combination plate options around $15 offer a variety of traditional dishes with differing sides. There seemed to be a confusing array of sampler options, but vegetarians will appreciate the list of many traditional foods sans meat, including appetizers. The beverage list was short, but does include beers, wines and cocktails, including (of course) ouzo. The sudden appearance of a belly dancer in traditional garb surprised and entertained; the music was a bit loud, but her laps around the dining room were fun to watch and spiced up the evening. Advertisements posted outside advised of her presence on Saturday nights only.
For entrées, we chose the lamb kabobs and a combination plate, intending to share. We did wind up eating some things twice, as we’d just had the sampler appetizer plate, and more pitas showed up with our meal. The lamb kabobs won our taste buds over with rich, juicy flavor. Two kabobs came with the meal; enough for one diner but not enough to split a plate. The Villager’s Plate made a good sampler, including roast lamb, cooked spinach, spanakopita, and potatoes. The roast lamb was moist, but not as flavorful as the kabobs, while the spanakopita was rich in feta and phyllo, with layers of spinach. Herbed, sautéed potatoes that looked ordinary were surprisingly richly seasoned. The cooked spinach, while lemony (and healthy!), didn’t really draw the diner in light of all the other options on the plate. For one diner, the Villager’s Plate is a feast, but the variety avoids overdosing on one dish. Nothing served was spicy, but most foods did have intense flavors.
Feeling virtuous for eating so much spinach and eggplant, we indulged in kataifi. This was suggested by our server as a dessert similar to baklava, with phyllo dough, honey, and nuts, but interestingly described as looking like a large shredded wheat. With our dessert, we partook in Greek coffee, a small potent cup brewed with cardamom imparting a unique and subtle spice. The thick coffee covers a layer of undrinkable sludge at the bottom (as is traditional), and the kataifi was indeed delicious. The shredded phyllo gives it a light feel despite strong honey flavors. A dense baklava and other more pedestrian desserts were also offered, all for under $10.
Overall, Macedonia Greek Cuisine provided very traditional flavors, excellent service, and good value for the price—total of about $40 for two for appetizer, meal, & dessert—and a fun dining experience.
This restaurant was reviewed by Food Fan. Great Job!