A friendly atmosphere, cozy setting, and an interesting menu are all indicators of a good dining-out experience. Of course, you never know until the food comes, but at Adriatic last weekend, those signs were spot on.
For those familiar with Salem dining, Adriatic went into the downtown space formerly occupied by Edgewater Café. The new owners gutted it completely, turning it into a very welcoming fine-dining establishment. There’s a medium-sized triangular bar on the right-hand side, tables on the left, and several bar tables in the main windows, which is where we sat. There’s a back dining room as well, equally cozy, and the night we were there, it was occupied by a private party.
One thing we particularly liked about Adriatic was the menu; it’s not huge but somehow has just the right amount of options, including pasta, risotto, meat, and seafood. We selected a caesar salad and the special soup to begin. The salad was fresh and tasty ($8.50), but the four-onion soup upstaged it mightily ($7.50). The onions were deeply caramelized, so the broth was on the sweet side, and the large grilled-bread crouton was the perfect foil.
For entrées, we tried the cod in parchment ($19) and another special, the pumpkin ravioli ($24). Both were perfectly cooked and had great flavor. The ravioli were large squares of (we’re assuming) hand-made pasta with a barely-sweet filling and a light sauce. The cod was a generous portion of fish accompanied by tender potato slices, tomatoes, and delicious black olives.
We decided to splurge on tiramisu for dessert ($6.50), accompanied by an espresso ($2.50) and a cappuccino ($3.50). The drinks were hot and authentic, and the tiramisu was rich but not too heavy.
The service, by one of the bartenders, was a definite highlight—very polite, friendly, and attentive. Our meal was perfectly paced and we never felt rushed, even though all of the tables and most of the bar seats were full. We’re looking forward to returning to sample more of the menu, which leans toward Italy but with a definite influence of other Southern European countries.
155 Washington St, Salem