When in Papa di vino’s, try the food
By Connor Mitchell
In Italy, it is incongruous to dine without wine. The same holds true at Papa di vino’s wine bar in Salem, but perhaps in reverse. It is only fitting to nosh while trying the wine.
Not averse to a glass or two of wine, my wife and I decided to try some red wine at Papa di vino’s and take in some live music on a recent Tuesday night.
First off, we were pleasantly surprised at the prices. They’ve come down under the new owners, husband and wife, Sarah and Gary Jennings, and son, Ryan Jennings. Five to six dollars gets you a good glass of wine. Formerly it took at least $7 and often $8 or $9.
As before, the atmosphere is elegant yet cozy, with kitchen-styled tables and chairs interspersed with a love seat and deep seated chairs.
We took a table next to the floor-to-ceiling windows that line the west side of the room and ordered two glasses of a superb, full-bodied California cabernet sauvignon.
Before long, our appetites kicked in. Sarah creates a nice selection of cheeses, gourmet meats, olives and grapes to eat with flavorful crackers -- just right for two to four people. If you prefer a meatless appetizer, I recommend the hummus plate. Delicious and creamy, the chick-pea dip is served with kalamata olives, pita chips and sesame crackers.
Also on the menu are a fresh vegetable plate served with dip and smoked fish from Smokin’ Mikes Seafood accompanied by Willamette Valley cheeses. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, the slice of cheesecake with shaved chocolate should do the trick. It’s one of the best I’ve had.
In addition to sipping wine and sampling small plates patrons can browse the gourmet foods that Sarah and Gary have added. Pasta sauces, olive oils, seasoned salt and chocolates are among the items. (My wife purchased a jar of herbed salt and she uses it on nearly everything she cooks.)
Events at Papa di vino’s include wine tasting Friday evenings, open mic night on Tuesdays, ladies night on Wednesdays, and some Saturday night shows.
All in all, good atmosphere, good wine, good food and good music made for an enjoyable Tuesday night at the south Salem wine bar.
Papa di vino’s is located just off South Commercial at 1130 Royvonne Ave. SE. Hours are 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Phone is 503-364-3009.