Restaurant- Cafe Salerno - Beverly

It’s Saturday night and my bride of 28years and another couple are off to the NSMT to see Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Of course you can’t cook before an event like that so we headed out to Café Salerno for dinner before the show.

Located on Cabot Street down towards the bridge, I’d driven by many times but never really noticed the freestanding restaurant set back from the road. With its own parking lot this is a rarity in Downtown Beverly!

Walking in the front door you’re in a pizza parlor, and at 6 on a Saturday it was booming. Look to the right and there is another door which leads you into the restaurant section which kind of reminded me a little of Joe Tecce’s in Boston, Italian murals on the walls and vinyl tablecloths to soak up the spilled tomato sauce! There weren’t many people in the restaurant when we arrived and we just kind of picked a booth and plunked our fanny’s down. Within a moment or two a young man from the pizza side of the place came in and welcomed us with a great big smile and hello. He took our drink orders and said he’d be right back. My bride and her friend ordered Chianti, her husband a white wine and I of course a beer, Carling Black Label, I hadn’t had that since I was underage. Within moments one of the owners was back asking what had I ordered? Seems the little beer list was a little out of date, they didn’t even remember what a Carling was! Ordered a Heineken and everyone was happy.

The atmosphere is a little hard to describe, rather than a restaurant it’s more like you have been invited to dinner at someone’s home except the selection is better and you need to pay when you leave. The young couple with their 7 week old baby in one corner, the elderly couple out for their Saturday night, the pleasant buzz of conversation make it a warm a comfortable place. Service is great and the people that wait on you won’t hesitate to pull a chair up at the end of the table so it’s easy to talk face to face rather than talking up to a waiter.

Time to order! With the most expensive item on the menu coming in at $15.95 there was no reason to economize! My bride and her friend both ordered the eggplant parmesan ($10.95), the friends husband steak tips($12.95) and I ordered the chicken marsala($12.95). We decided on an order of garlic bread($2.00) and a small antipasto($5.25) to share, that would get us started.

The antipasto was ok, exactly what you would expect ordering a salad at a pizza shop, fresh greens, sliced cheese, sliced ham and other delectable tidbits. The garlic bread was excellent, a roll sliced and covered with butter, garlic and cheese. As we munched through this we enjoyed our drinks and conversation. Then the moment of truth, our entrees arrived!

Large plates of steaming hot food. All eyes immediately informed tummies that we would definitely be taking home enough for lunch tomorrow!

The eggplant parm ( side note, I personally do not eat purple vegetables ) was reported as delicious with a buttery texture, the sauce wonderful and the side of pasta cooked just right. Across the table the steak tips and mashed potato was a very generous portion and cooked exactly as ordered. Our friend couldn’t stop saying the tips were so much better than he expected for the money! My chicken marsala was a full breast, lightly breaded and served over linguini, the first bite of the tender chicken and thick marsala wine sauce made my mouth tingle with delight!

Due to time we had to skip dessert and get to the theater but I’m sure they must have been great.

I highly recommend Café Salerno as a delightful place, a comfortable neighborhood restaurant, family friendly with delicious food. This is the place for dinner as a family, couple and it would be perfect if you were on a first date due to the relaxed nature of everyone there!

Café Salerno
73 Cabot Street
, Ma