Salem, Oregon has a wide variety of restaurants from bustling breakfast spots, to fine dining eateries, and dozens of food carts dotted across the city. With all of these options readily available, you need to know where to go to get the best lunch. We’ve eaten at every single spot in and around Salem and think that these are among the best of the best.
The Wild Pear is one of Salem’s favorite restaurants and a trip to Salem is often met with more than one visit to this innovative spot. This local hub is perfect for groups ranging from picky eaters to foodies looking for farm-to-table entrees. Menu items vary from the Wild Pear Beef Burger with beef from Rudio Creek Ranch to a refreshing yet filling Chicken Hazelnut Salad with organic greens and Oregon-grown hazelnuts. You’ll also find a large variety of sandwiches from a simple BLT to a Vietnamese Banh Mi, pizzas, pho, and even white truffle sweet potato fries.
With locations all over town, this Salem-based chain is easy to find no matter where you’re at for the day. Take a step inside and you’ll find modern, globally inspired food that is both vegetarian-friendly and contains gluten-free options. The cafe is known for its hearty, nutritious, and delicious bowls. With most bowls costing around $12, you can get a quick, easy, cheap, and healthy meal in one place! You can also grab a juicy burger or a bowl of their creamy pasta dishes which is the perfect warm-me-up for a chilly Northwest day.
The Kitchen on Court Street is known as Salem’s hottest 24-hour establishment fully equipped with a bar, exposed brick wall, eclectic setting, and (of course) an incredible menu. Their tacos are frequently raved about by locals and visitors alike, but you will have quite a hard time deciding between those and the infamous Ruben. Located in the heart of downtown, this makes for a great business lunch, late friends brunch, or just a tasty stop. They also create lovely craft cocktails that are perfectly blended and refreshing for a midday pick me up.
You might mistake this Salem gem for a residential house, but step inside and you’ll be met with some of the most delicious, hearty, and mouth-watering home-cooked food you’ll ever taste. The Word of Mouth Neighborhood Bistro only serves breakfast and lunch, and there is almost always a wait, but that shouldn’t deter you from checking out this restaurant. There is a reason people line up rain-or-shine to dine on the incredible fare. If you’re in the mood for something sweet try the creme brulee french toast and if you want something savory, and brought your appetite, then grab the filet mignon french dip.
If you are in a hurry and want something quick that is also delicious, will fill you up, and keep you happy all afternoon, then head to the Cachet Tamale Shop. This little drive-through food stand serves up homemade tamales so good, you would think you were in Guatemala. You can pick up a dozen with whichever protein you would like, or grab a plate that comes with 2 tamales, black beans, rice, and is smothered in sour cream, salsa, and cheese. Located at 1105 Wallace Rd, you can find this little roadside stand in West Salem. While at first, you may be wary of the location, wait until you try the mouth-watering tamales, there's a reason this place has a cult following of locals and visitors alike.
When touring around Salem, visiting the museums, and meandering along the riverfront parks, make sure to stop at one of these great lunchtime eateries for a wonderful mid-day treat. From a quick bite to a sit-down bistro with home-cooked meals that will make your mouth water, Salem has a spot for everybody.
Ready to eat your way around Salem, OR? Book a Stay at the Bella Collina B&B, a luxurious inn located in the heart of Oregon wine country just 30 minutes from Salem.