Garibaldi Family Mexican Restaurant

The last time I checked, the Mexican restaurant on Edgewater (sharing the building that used to house Reader's Guide book store before ownership changed) was named La Primavera. Now the name is Garibaldi Family Mexican Restaurant, but the phone number is the same.

When N and I opened the door and walked in, we were warmly greeted with, "Hola, amigos!", and escorted to a booth near the window.  The customary warm chips, salsa and beans were brought to our table and for the first time ever both of us made short work of not one or the other, but both the beans and the salsa.  The beans were a nice thickness with mild seasoning.  The salsa had more of a blended quality than most, wasn't over powered by cilantro and had some spice without burning my lips.  We both ordered a glass of iced tea, which definitely tasted fresh brewed and was kept full during our entire stay.

I browsed their 3-4 page menu, looking for something different, something to jump off the page.  I chose the Quirago Burrito.  The menu said it was filled with marinated pork, cilantro, tomatoes, onion and secret spices from La Abuela.  N also picked a burrito, the Asado filled with skirt steak, rice and beans.

My burrito came with pinto beans and rice, both of which were flavorful and delicious.  The burrito may be my new favorite Mexican dish.  The pork served up exactly what I hoped it would--a mouthful of flavor.  Such a nice surprise, as I usually end up asking for salsa to jazz up a bland meal at Mexican restaurants.  N on the other hand, thought his dish was okay, but lacked enough flavor to make it a winner.  This time he was the one who used the salsa.

The interior of the Garibaldi, is nicely decorated with terra cotta colored paint, dark green or blue tiles and healthy plants.  It's clean and very well tended with areas large enough to bring a big family group.  They do serve margaritas and beer, and they have an adjoining cantina off of the dining area.
Amigos, go check out Garibaldi the next time you're in the mood for Mexican food.

Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a wk
1111 Edgewater St NW
Salem, OR 97304


smc said...

We went there recently on a Saturday around 5pm and were a little concerned we were the only ones dining. Much to our delight, the food was absolutely delicious and the service was outstanding. Definitely on our list to go again very soon.

KandN said...

SS, Out of curiosity, what did you two order?

Anonymous said...

KandN, Chuck asked me to re-post my Urban Spoon review here so I will oblige... I had a much different experience here than you, but not necessarily one that will prevent me from returning.

We had some friends who'd raved about the large and very cheap drinks served here at happy hour, so we decided to join them here for some one evening.

When we walked into the restaurant, we told the hostess we were there for happy hour, and she just stared at us. Others were called for backup, but no one knew what "happy hour" was. We were seated in the main dining room. Our server then went and asked around, and came back with, "it is happy hour, but ONLY in the lounge." Yes, got it -- can we sit there?

So we were seated in the lounge, "cantina" I suppose, as the only folks in the place. When we finally saw our server, we asked if there was a happy hour menu. "Happy hour is ONLY til 7pm," was her reply. It was 6:10. "Right -- but is there a happy hour menu?" She pointed us to the black board in the back of the room and walked away. We couldn't even see the menu from our booth, we had to get out and walk to the back of the room. It was awkward. Instead of explaining the happy hour specials, she left us to fend for ourselves.

In the end, our friends were right -- draught beers were about $1.75, well drinks were $2 or $3. We all had several generously-poured drinks, but some things were lost in translation. My "vodka soda with a twist" came as a vodka in cola. Our server apologized and offered to remake it, but it had been so long coming I said I would drink it willingly. We started to feel bad because she seemed to have so little idea of what was going on. The server and another girl had spent quite a bit of time pouring our drinks and trying to figure everything out.... it might be better to just stick with beers, or margaritas, which KandN mentioned they serve.

Although the service began as very awkward and not at all knowledgeable, our server turned out to be very sweet and apologetic and did her best to meet our needs/wants. We got all the free chips and salsa refills we could want. And the price for all our drinks was an amazing deal.

We didn't eat a meal, so it's great to hear the food is good. I'd go back for dinner and and tall, cold cheap beer!

KandN said...

guitar4me, Thanks for sharing your experience. Looking forward to hearing more from you. :>)

Amecameca said...

I can understand the appeal of places like this for gringos (like me). It's comfort food really, not scary in the least. That's why nearly every Mexican restaurant in Salem as the same menu as this place. It's best for their bottom line.

But if you want to graduate to real Mexican Mexican food, try these suggestions:;topic-721351

Chuck Bradley said...

When Amecameca speaks, I listen! I would only add El Gruellense at 3081 Portland Rd NE to his list. I have followed his advice in the past and been very glad I did.

KandN said...

Amecameca, These days I categorize most anything I eat and enjoy as comfort food :).
Also, as far as (any type of) authentic ethnic food goes, I think a person would need to head to the country of origin (and seek out a place where the locals eat) to find dishes that aren't changed in some way. Even if we had recipes handed down from generations past, we'd end up with a different result because the ingredients used would be different. Personally, I'm waiting for someone to send us a review to post about that hole in the wall guitar4me mentioned on Hawthorne & Center, beside the market.

Anonymous said...

We love Garibaldis and go there often. The service is friendly and the food is ALWAYS GOOD and authentic. AND just recently they started advertising KIDS EAT FREE on SUNDAYS!!!

Chuck Bradley said...

KandN, I thought Amecameca was careful not to disparage this restaurant in particular or “Americanized” Mexican restaurants in general which includes nearly all Mexican places in Salem. I think he is very correct in that the places on his list, and a few others, plus several taco trucks operating locally, are much closer to what Mexican folks enjoy across or near the border. There are few Mexican places, of either persuasion, I don’t enjoy. But when I want “The real deal”, I find myself in one of the places he lists. (She who must be obeyed and I lived in Tucson AZ for several years, which is where I really acquired a taste for Mexican food.)

KandN said...

Chuck, I hope I didn't sound defensive. It's just that I often wonder why I hear how most Mexican restaurants in the states don't serve authentic food, but I rarely hear this comment about other ethnic restaurants.

Chuck Braldey said...

KandN, You know, that's a valid point and one I really hadn't thought of. In my case, I think the only other experiences I have had with ethnic foods, in situ, were so long ago that they are veiled by the scrims of memory. Also, I think many northwesterners have dined in Mexico and in Border States and having done so may have a broader frame of reference with Mexican food. Another thought is, I would bet there are 10+ Mexican restaurants in Salem for every one of other ethnic types. In any event, a very good and accurate observation and one to muse upon. (Good luck with that BBQ!)

KandN said...

Chuck, And now I'm having this foggy recollection of N saying the same thing about northwesterners having dined in Mexico. Do I suffer from a short memory or maybe hanging onto that idea too tightly?
I enjoyed this exchange :)
Thanks for wishing us bbq assembly luck, I have a feeling we're going to need it!

Chuck Bradley said...

KandN and guitar4me, Here's my take on the new place you were wondering about:

Not easy to notice...... tucked closely beside a Mom and Pop market, on Center ST near Hawthorne, is Habanero restaurant. I had set my sights on Chinese and was on my way to get some, when I spotted this gem. Among the many tempting menu items, Camarones a la Diabla caught my eye. It was shrimp in a wonderfully spicy sauce with mushrooms and onions served with black refried beans topped with cubs of white cheese and rice. A veritable medley of flavors. Rather than the usual corn chips and salsa, I was served a basket of wagon wheel shaped crisps with lime wedges, hot sauce and salt. My server said they were called "Duros" if I understood her correctly (which given my auditory incapacities, is questionable). They had the appearance of having been glazed, but were not. They reminded me of rice crackers I've tasted. They also have sandwiches and burgers just in case the Mexican offerings don't float your boat. I thought the place was a treat. I think you might too.

KandN said...

Chuck, This is exactly why you need to be an official contributor. I love to read about your gustatory experiences. Thanks for sharing about this eatery!

tracylee said...

Chuck, they are indeed duros. They're a kind of wheat pasta that puffs up when microwaved or fried. It's fun to watch them cook. I'm pretty sure they can be found in the Mexican section of most grocery stores in a hanging bag.

Anonymous said...

Yum, I can't wait to try Habanero! So glad your experience there was a good one.


Chuck Bradley said...

I had Garibaldi's Burrito Verde lunch special today. First came the obligatory Chips and Salsa. Bean Dip was also provided. My Burrito came with refried Beans and Rice. The service today was good. It's hard to find a better $4.95 lunch than this one!