Jonathan's Oyster Bar
Jonathan's is now closed. Union Barrel is in it's High St. place
Read this from the Statesman Journal 01/17/09
Eat Salem has received plenty of strange comments about Jonathan's. That article adds interesting insight into the behind the scenes turmoil. I hope that they can get things figured out and keep Jonathan's open.
Review by Salem Man 12/29/2007
For Seafood in Salem, I can't think of anywhere else to go but Jonathan's Oyster Bar on the corner of State St. and Liberty downtown. It's a little tough to find and a bit confusing the way the restaurant is set up. The Liberty side entrance is more of a bar setting, while the State St. entrance is the restaurant. Either side you are guaranteed a good meal and good service. The restaurant side is dark and adorned with fishing nets and surf boards. For a moment you might forget that you're landlocked in Salem Oregon. On our visit during a cold winter night, the restaurant was warm and comfortable. The aroma from the kitchen permeated through the dining room and instantly got my mouth watering. The menu has a good variety of seafood including northwest wild salmon, Yaquina oysters and clams, Oregon shrimp and Dungeness crab caught off the local coastline. On the dinner menu, most entrees are between $14 and $20 for. For lunch you can expect to pay between $10 and $16, that includes a soup or salad and bread. Jonathan's specializes in Cajun cuisine but they do have a section on the menu titled Tito's Taqueria. That's where I found the Prawns A La Diabla. To say that these scrumptious shrimp were spicy is an understatement. Be prepared to have a fire extinguisher or a large drink nearby for relieving a swelling tongue and lips. With that being said, none of the flavor of the fresh shrimp was lost inside the fiery sauce. It was so good that after the shrimp were gone, I scooped the remaining sauce up with my fork and ate it by itself. One thing about eating a prawns in a dish like this or shrimp scampi is that I always wonder if it's proper etiquette to grab the tail of the sauce covered prawn with my fingers. I ate a couple this way but the mess on my hands forced me to eat them with my fork. My wife dug into her plate of Shrimp Scampi, pulling the tails off with her fingers. We both enjoyed are dinners and the cozy atmosphere of one of Salem's best downtown restaurants.