Italian food is beloved by many of us, and Salem has some outstanding places to try. Whether you want a fancy date night out or finally try a Chicago-style pizza, you have some great options. From family-friendly to splurge-worthy, Salem’s Italian restaurants have something for any group.

Salem Italian restaurants
Gamberetti’s Italian restaurant is known for its delicious homemade pasta. The patio seating looks out onto the plaza, complete with creek and grassy lawns. Photo credit: Mollie Nouwen


325 High Street SE, Salem

Gamberetti’s, located in Pringle Park Plaza, is a Salem standby for its outstanding array of homemade pasta. The pasta is made fresh daily, including classics like spaghetti and bucatini and some truly delicious vegetable ravioli. Gamberetti’s also serves standards like chicken or eggplant parmesan, lasagna, and ciabatta sandwiches with different types of Italian deli meats or meatballs. For those who love seafood, there’s even a seafood-focused section featuring shrimp, lobster, and clams. The appetizer and dessert menus are equally robust.

There’s a full bar inside the restaurant, with an extensive wine list and a lot of fun specialty cocktails. The restaurant is an excellent choice for vegetarians and those who are gluten-free (there is a gluten-free pasta option), and kids can order from the children’s menu. Plus, the ambiance of Gamberetti’s is charming — those who eat inside can see into the kitchen, and there is extensive patio seating during the summer, looking out on Pringle Park with its population of ducks and nutria. It’s open for lunch daily during the week and only for dinner on weekends.

DaVinci Ristorante

180 High Street SE, Salem

One of Salem’s fine-dining restaurants, DaVinci Ristorante, changes its menu weekly (it’s always posted online) and is one of the few area restaurants to offer a set tasting menu in addition to the dinner menu. The restaurant is Italian-inspired, but it focuses on seafood (they have a raw bar) and meat entrees. One recent menu included lamb, osso bucco, duck, and steak as the entrees, with prawns and salmon as the fish options.

There are great appetizer and dessert choices buttressing the main courses, and for those wanting a smaller meal, there are flatbreads from the wood-burning oven. The menu is smaller than many other Italian restaurants but is carefully created weekly based on what is in season and available from area farms. In addition to the thoughtfully crafted menu, DaVinci has an extensive wine and cocktail menu to be paired with the food, both the main courses and desserts. Open only for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m.

Salem Italian restaurants
One of the Chicago-style deep dish pizzas at Geppetto’s Italian Restaurant, Salem’s oldest Italian place (since 1974). Photo courtesy: Geppetto’s Italian Restaurant

Geppetto’s Italian Restaurant

610 Lancaster Drive NE, Salem

Geppetto’s is probably Salem’s oldest Italian restaurant, open since 1974 with an army of loyal fans. It’s the only place in Salem offering Chicago-style pizza, both deep-dish and stuffed styles. You can choose your own toppings or order one of their gourmet pies, many of which have their housemade sausage.

Geppetto’s has a fantastic sandwich menu (only available midday) and choose-your-own stromboli fillings for those who visit at lunch. Pasta choices include old favorites like spaghetti, fettuccine alfredo, and lasagna. It’s open from 11:30 a.m. onward daily, closing at 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and staying open until 9:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Salem Italian restaurants
Christo’s Pizzeria, Restaurant and Lounge is situated along a stretch of Broadway. With artisan pizzas and live jazz, it’s a cozy and fun trip. Photo credit: Mollie Nouwen


1108 Broadway Street NE, Salem

In addition to serving Italian food, Christo’s is one of the few places in Salem to hear live jazz regularly. The restaurant and adjoining lounge are located on Broadway, close to the corner with Market, and it’s a cozy Italian-American style place, complete with red and white checkered tablecloths. The menu has all of the classic Italian-American staples but with a strong focus on artisan pizza. Crusts come in the traditional and thin Neapolitan style. Christo’s also features a Pizza Cappello (described as a “pizza hat”) similar to a calzone, with a variety of fillings.

The other offerings include pasta like spaghetti marinara and linguine with clams. Christo’s Lounge is separate and has live jazz on many Thursday and Saturday nights with a rotating cast of artists. Drinks in the lounge include a good beer list, classic cocktails, and many wines by the glass, focusing on Italian and Willamette Valley wines. Open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 9:30 p.m., Christo’s is a charming date-night stop, whether or not you choose to hear the live music.

Exploring the world of Italian food in Salem shows how diverse the cuisine is and how its journey to America has changed some of its offerings. Anyone wanting a classic and familiar spaghetti will not be disappointed, but those wanting a different take on the genre can find something new, whether reimagined pizzas or local meats prepared in imaginative ways paired with a Willamette Valley wine.

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