I've only been to Venti's three times, but this cool cafe has become a favorite of mine. The bohemian-artsy-Ikea-inspired decor upstairs totally fits my own personality and style. The downstairs bar, or basement, is like a little dark dungeon styled by professional designer. At first sight I fell in love with this place. My joy was only heightened when I tasted their local beers on tap and ate their wonderful Asian/Mediterranean/Middle Eastern inspired food.
The first time I ate here was with a group of internet friends. We sat downstairs in the basement at high solid looking wood tables. The very first thing I noticed was the large array of local beers on tap and in bottles. They even had my favorite West Salem originating cider for a bit, Wandering Aengus. Local beer is a huge draw for me in a place after living outside of Oregon for a few years where local, or even good, beer was scarce.
The basement is a dark, but chic, hangout. The bartender/wait-staffers are very friendly and attentive, even when they are packed. You can even order the same food in the basement as you do in the upstairs cafe. Venti's as a whole is interesting because it is basically two different, but same, places. Upstairs has a different tap list as downstairs and the feel is a bit different ranging from the Ikea-bohemian-ness of the cafe to the dark-dungeon-ness of the basement. There is even outdoor seating where you can watch the Reed Opera House and all the passersby.
Now, the food...the food is amazing! Venti's menu seems as if it was created just for me. I love Asian, Mediterranean, and fusions of the two with more modern American cuisine. On different occasions I have had the sweet potato fries with spicy sauce, the falafel pita, and the Moroccan chicken pita. The fries were hot, tasty and addicting. The Moroccan chicken was delicious and flavorful. The falafel was good, though I remember wanting a bit more taste to them. I have heard, from my husband and father, that the Thai peanut bowl is very yummy too. The one item that I will rave on and on about though is the little Greek salad that came with the pitas I ordered. They are, hands down, the best Greek salads I have ever had, and probably the best salads. The greens are fresh and dark green. The combination of ingredients from onions to lemon zest are well balanced, and the overall flavor is like a burst of sunshine in your mouth. Need I say more? Your mouth is watering now, right?
I know every place has its problems, but I havn't found any with Venti's yet. The service is great and the selection of food, beer, and ambiance is creative. I know that when you find something so perfect a fit for your taste it is hard to want to find flaws, and I think that is where I am with Venti's.
Thank you Venti's! You've got a new regular!
325 Court St NE
Salem, OR 97301