Salem is known for it spooky spots and haunted history, but there’s nothing scary about the prices when it comes to dining in this Massachusetts town.
Salem’s streets overflow with tourists in October and you can hardly find a room at any of the hotels. And parking? Don’t even get your hopes up for a parking spot in town. You’ll be parking on the outskirts of the city and walking in.
However, visit during the spring or summer and you’ll be treated to a more low-key version of this tourism hot spot on the East Coast. While you might miss out on the added layer of spooky goodness that comes with the crisp October air, you’ll greatly enjoy the lessened crowds, the clean sidewalks and the ease of which you can visit many of the top spots in Salem.
At some point, though, you’ve got to eat, and when you do, regardless of the time of year you visit, you’ll want to check out these five affordable eateries in Salem, Massachusetts.
Mr. Crêpe Crêperie & Cafe
Mr. Crêpe Crêperie & Cafe offers a cozy atmosphere with soaring ceilings and huge windows that overlook the sidewalk and allow a good amount of natural light into the space. Place your order at the counter and then take a seat at one of the few tables for two in the middle of the room, or along the back wall. The budget-friendly menu includes crêpes starting at just $4.50 and range from savory to sweet. This is hardly what you’ll find at a traditional French crêperie, though. The options include a hearty filling of smoked turkey, cranberry sauce and brie; jam and ricotta cheese; peanut butter, chocolate and marshmallow fluff; and sausage and egg, among others.
83 Washington Street
While the crêperie mentioned above may stray from its French roots, the frequently lauded Caramel Patisserie sticks to them whole-heartedly…with a little bit of Salem flair added in for good measure. The master chef was raised in France and learned from some of the best. The recipes and techniques used to roll out their beautiful desserts, breads and macarons have been passed down through the family for nearly a century. Stop by and pick up a deliciously simple breakfast, whether you prefer a chocolate croissant, apple tarte or palmier. If you’re traveling with a friend, you can purchase a small breakfast package to split, for just $15, that includes two croissants, two chocolate croissants, one almond croissant and a palmier. Wash it all down with an espresso or cappuccino.
281 Essex Street
The Roof at Hotel Salem
If it’s a more upscale experience you’re looking for in the summer, rather than a cozy lunch spot, check out The Roof at Hotel Salem, a seasonal option that just so happens to be the only rooftop restaurant and bar in the city. The fun space serves up strong cocktails and a menu that’s simple yet refined, with an emphasis on fresh local seafood and Mexican fare. Sit back with an order of tacos for $15 or less, with options ranging from marinated skirt steak topped with figs, pickled mushrooms and queso fresco, to a crispy eggplant variety with red pepper crema, lime and spicy, crispy chickpeas.
209 Essex Street
Opus is fun and functional, with options for every type of dining experience you could want. Stop in for an enjoyable and relaxed lunch, or make a reservation for a full, three-course dining experience with friends. A blend of Moroccan flavors meets sushi and more, for an unprecedented menu. Stop in during the lunch hour for lots of options at $15 or less, from the falafel gyro (crispy falafel, pickled red onions, cucumbers, tomato, greens, beet tzatziki, warmed pita with a citrus and watercress salad) to the pork belly tacos (agave barbecue, pineapple salsa and a dollop of avocado and cilantro sour cream).
87 Washington Street
Boston Hot Dog Company
Perhaps, though, your tastes run a little more on the classic Americana side of things and nothing quite fulfills your cravings like a classic hot dog. If that’s the case, step into the Boston Hot Dog’s small little storefront and take a seat at the window, before they’re snatched up, or place your order to go and enjoy it as you walk around historic downtown Salem. The options start at just $3.95, so definitely don’t hesitate at trying a few. These dogs are totally inventive, with options like the Arizona Dog — topped with fire-roasted peppers, chopped red onion, shredded swiss cheese and sliced jalapeño peppers — and the Salem Trolley Dog, with baked beans, cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, red onion and shredded lettuce.
60 Washington Street
By Holly Riddle