Can you help an out of towner find a place to eat?

This email came in from a reader the other day. Where do you suggest they eat and why?

Love your blog.  Maybe you can help?
Going to Salem for the sesquicentennial this valentine's day.  It's me, my wife, and our almost 2-year-old son.  Haven't been to Salem in 5 years, and thanks to your blog I know the Arbor Cafe is gone, which is pretty much the only place I used to eat unless you count the Tahiti Lounge, which is also very gone.  Can you suggest a nice kid-friendly place for dinner on friday the 13th and saturday the 14th?  We tend to like the more upscale stuff, but realize that it being valentine's it's going to be hard to make a res anywhere at this point.  Also, as Apizza still open in Stayton?  And can we find a late (1pm) breakfast on Saturday that isn't made of cardboard?  Any help you feel like volunteering would be awesome.


Salem Dinner Table said...

I'll bet the breakfast served at the Word of Mouth Neighborhood Bistro on 17th st would be a great choice.
140 17th st.

Monday - Saturday from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Sunday from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Anonymous said...

Dinner: Marco Polo is always dependable and very kid-friendly. The new La Capitale Bistro is good, but not kid-friendly.

Breakfast: I second Word of Mouth Bistro at State & 17th. Excellent food. I don't know how late Off Center Cafe is open on weekends for breakfast but the food is always delicious.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a local any more, but when we visit there are a few places we seek out...

I agree with Off Center Cafe, and also recommend Busick Court for breakfast. The kids get a kick out of the Green Eggs and Ham, and the grownups love to share an order of french toast.

For dinner I like Willamette Noodle. Always fresh and tasty but might be a challenge on Valentine's. Spaghetti Warehouse is good and kid friendly, but not quick so it depends on your little one's patience level.

For a special dessert pick up something from the Konditerei ahead of time (never liked eating there).

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how many restaurants can meet the "upscale" and kid-friendly criteria...

As for breakfast, I definitely recommend Word of Mouth - though they're only open until 2pm.

If you're keen on venturing out to Stayton then maybe Mt. Angel isn't too far out of your way then. I don't know that I'd call it "upscale" but the Glockenspiel restaurant seems family friendly and offers some decent pseudo-German food.

Anonymous said...

Oh, breakfast on saturday would have to be Busick court - for a kid friendly place to eat (since I have a 2-year old) I would recommend La Hacienda Real (just went there) - it's not "upscale" but not run down or something, I"m not sure what your definition of upscale is - I mean, I just wouldn't take a 2-year old to a really upscale restaurant personally, that's when I go to relax and have some wine LOL

Anonymous said...

Upscale: DaVinci's, Morton's Bistro, Amadeus, J. James. Of these, I think Morton's is the only one that I would categorize as kid-friendly.

Medium-scale (good food, casual atmosphere but still some ambiance, and all kid-friendly): Christo's Pizzeria, Willamette Noodle Company, Thai Orchid

Casual, but your kid will love: Court Street Dairy Lunch, Busick's Court, Love Love Teryaki in South Salem

Anonymous said...

Word of Mouth Bistro is now open til 3pm everyday. Love Love Teriyaki is great.. not real romantic though.

KandN said...

I agree with the Marco Polo recommendation. Their extensive menu offers enough choices for young and old alike. They did a wonderful job in the renovation, plus the views of Pringle Park add to the overall ambiance. I think it's worth a try to call for a Valentine's reservation. Sassy Onion makes a delicious breakfast. We love their addition of fresh vegetables to their skillets and scrambles, their fresh made breads, and the option of a pot of French press coffee. They're noisy enough and the bathroom is roomy enough that children are never a problem. Thompson's Brew Pub is a great lunch (or dinner) spot with their burgers, soups and sandwiches. And believe it or not, it's a popular place to bring the whole family.
I imagine we'll have several area wineries (Eola and Orchard Heights come to mind) in the area offering a Valentine's Day brunch, but I don't know how it would work to bring a 2 year old.

Anonymous said...

Yes, while kid friendly, do not go to La Hacienda Real. As others have said, there are better Mex places in the area.

For breakfast, try Word of Mouth, Busick's, or Sassy Onion. There are others too.

For dinner, you'll need to forgo the upscale places in Salem if kids are your concern. Try Thai Beer or Thai Orchid or Kwan's (need to update interior and furnishings) or La Margarita or, while haven't seen the new location, Willamette Noodle Company.

Anonymous said...

For elegant and romantic, plus kid friendly, go to Christo's. Their gourmet pizza is to die for. You can't beat the low lighting, warm italian decor, coziness, delicious margarita pizza paired with a glass of the house red wine. But maybe I don't want you to go now because I may want to go there on v-day. :-)

Christo's is small, so be ready with a backup place if they have too long a wait. Same with my next suggestion Willamette Noodle Company. They have the best and most inventive pasta in town in a cozy (very cozy) setting, soon to be two settings. I also love Marco Polo. Every item I've had is great and its hard to get bored with their wide array of menu items. The kids should love the Sweet and Sour chicken. Its the best I've had in any area of the nation (IMO).

I do have a bias for breakfast. My whole family is in love with the Sassy Onion. So much so that they catered my wedding. Its the only place in town that fits my whole grain-handmade-fresh veggie-garden hippie-breakfast spot I miss from Eugene and Corvallis. Their catering is very yummy too!

And lastly, the restaurant I always have to visit when I come home after a long trip is La Hacienda. There is a reason it was voted best restaurant this year. Though there may be better mexican in town like La Margarita, their handmade chips and tortillas make every enchilada special and the pico de gallo is legendary. My mouth waters just writing about it.

I don't know anything about Apizza...sorry!

jeff said...

Apizza is still open for lunch and dinner.

oregone said...

I'm the out-of-towner coming down for the 14th, and just wanted to say thanks for all of your great suggestions. I'll post back after we go to let you know where we went!