Where to eat in Oregon’s Mid-Willamette Valley
The Salem, Oregon, area is filled with mouth-watering restaurants. From the Willamette Valley’s famed farm-to-table food to international cuisine, there’s a local eatery for every palate.
1. Adam’s Rib Smoke House
Known for authentic American barbeque, Adam’s Rib Smoke House has two locations in Salem. The meat is slow-smoked over real hardwoods – cherry, red oak, hickory and mesquite.
Smother your pork ribs, tri-tip or chicken in one of the restaurant’s signature sauces. And then pair your barbeque with sweet poquito beans, creamy red potato salad or a handful of other house-made sides.
After living all over the world, Chef Diana Ramallo opened Amadeus in downtown Salem in 1996. Since then, the restaurant has spanned three generations and become a true family affair.
The family refers to Amadeus as the first “Fork to Mouth” restaurant, a place where you can enjoy your dining experience and know you’re being served the finest, local ingredients. With entrees like brisket, stroganoff and burgers, the menu has something for everyone and even has a special section dedicated to paleo offerings.
3. DaVinci Ristorante and Wine Bar
DaVinci Ristorante and Wine Bar offers some of the best fine dining in downtown Salem. The Italian eatery uses high-quality ingredients in its recipes and serves extraordinary wines from the valley.
The seasonal menu highlights pasta favorites, such as ravioli, fettucine and gnocchi, along with seafood, steak and duck.
4. Giovanni’s Mountain Pizza
Giovanni’s Mountain Pizza is one of Mill City, Oregon’s, hidden gems. Located on Highway 22, the pizzeria doesn’t look like much on the outside, but it has some of the best pizza in the area.
The hand-rolled pizza pies are packed full of flavor and the breadsticks are a must. Sporting tables decorated with napkin doodles, the restaurant is a fun, family-friendly stop on the drive to Detroit Lake.
5. Pink House Café
If ambiance is what you’re looking for, head to the Pink House Café in Independence, Oregon. Located inside a home from the 1870s, diners are seated throughout the two-story residence, which has appropriately been painted pink.
The restaurant serves three meals a day with a wide range of offerings – sandwiches, salads, breakfast scrambles and specialty entrees.
Once a dinner club in a South Salem home, Rafns’ has evolved into one of the city’s leading farm-to-table restaurants. It’s not uncommon to find the owners, Nate and Rochelle Rafn, buying ingredients at the downtown farmers’ market or working in the restaurant to prepare and serve your mushroom risotto or poached chicken.
The restaurant pairs its modest, seasonal menu with regional wines. It’s only open for dinner and reservations are highly recommended!
7. TableFive 08
TableFive 08, located in downtown Salem, creates dishes with dynamic tastes. From hot chicken and waffles to ahi tuna and ramen, the diverse menu boasts a variety of global flavors.
The restaurant, however, may be best known for its bartender, Rob Melton, who has become a local celebrity. Both entertaining and a cocktail genius, Rob has full creative control of the bar area. Add this to your happy hour bucket list!
8. Trexler Farm
Located on the grounds of an old fish hatchery in Stayton, Oregon, Trexler Farm is a true local treasure. It’s the kind of place where you’ll be greeted with a smile and treated like a member of the family.
The country farm store café and bakery has a simple menu, with fresh salads, wraps and sandwiches. The café has limited, lunchtime hours, but it’s worth clearing your schedule for.
9. Venti’s Cafe
If you have dietary restrictions, you’ll love the menu at Venti’s. The menu showcases many gluten-free and vegan dishes. It also labels house-made dishes, hormone free and humanely raised meats and wild caught fish.
Venti’s, which has two locations in Salem, is known for customizable rice bowls. But tacos, wings and sandwiches are also popular.
Bonus: There’s always a rotating selection of craft beer, cider, mead and kombucha on tap!
10. Wild Pear
When talking about Salem restaurants, the Wild Pear seems to appear on everyone’s list of favorites. Owned by two local sisters, the restaurant has become a staple in the Salem community.
The sisters serve up classic dishes like burgers and pizza, but also pull upon their Vietnamese heritage to create BBQ pork bánh mì and their mother’s beef noodle soup.
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