Many people flock to Salem in October, and for good reason: The Halloween season invites curious onlookers to enjoy all of the haunted history. But Salem is packed with spectacular restaurants, making this historic town worth a visit any time of year. Here are our favorites.

Swordfish at Turner's Seafood
Swordfish at Turner's Seafood
Courtesy of Turner's Seafood

Turner’s Seafood at Lyceum Hall

Lyceum Hall, site of Alexander Graham Bell’s first public telephone demonstration in 1877, is also home to a real paranormal dining experience. Legend says that Turner’s Seafood is haunted by the ghost of Bridget Bishop, the first victim of the Salem Witch Trials.

But you'll want to come here for more than the bewitching company. Turner's is dedicated to honoring the area's maritime history and have packed the menu with locally-sourced delights like lobster, swordfish, haddock, and crab.

43 Church St., Salem,

Neopolitan pizza at Bambolina
Neapolitan pizza at Bambolina
Darren Pellegrino Photography


It’s crazy how much people love Bambolina's mouthwatering Neapolitan-style pizza. Each pie is made with flour imported from Naples and baked in a wood-fired oven for 90 seconds for a perfectly charred crust. Toppings are used sparingly, and for good reason - Bambolina likes to let their rich sauce, made with San Marzano-style tomatoes, shine through.

Besides pizza, you can feast on wickedly-good small plates like Italian street corn with Caesar aioli, zucchini ceviche, and grilled octopus with a Tuscan white bean salad.

188 Derby St., Salem, 978-594-8709,

Ledger Restaurant
Courtesy of Ledger


Captivating history abounds at Ledger, located in the second-oldest savings bank building in the country. The interior retains the building's history while adding the right amount of modern flair. The result is a stunning contemporary dining ambiance.

The same can be said for their menu. Ledger adapts a progressive concept that elevates traditional New England dishes from the 1800s using 21st-century techniques. Popovers and oysters are great for starters, and entrees cooked on the wood-fire grill, like salmon or the mouthwatering burger, are wickedly delicious.

125 Washington St. Salem, 978-594-1908,

Howling Wolf Burrito
Howling Wolf Burrito
Courtesy of Howling Wolf Taquería

Howling Wolf Taquería

If you’re craving affordable options and generous portions, check out the burritos at Howling Wolf Taqueria.

The Howling Wolf specialty burrito is a favorite, stuffed with Carne Deshebrada (skirt steak), rice, cheese, beans, bacon, guacamole, chile con queso, and salsa, with Christmas chili sauce served on the side.

And if that's not enough to put a spell on you, consider Howling Wolf's fabulous October drink special: a combination of vanilla Smirnoff, apple pucker, butterscotch and club soda with a cinnamon sugar rim.

76 Lafayette St., Salem, 978-744-9653,

The interior of Kokeshi
Rachel Leah Blumenthal


Perfecting pizza in Salem wasn't enough for the wizards behind Bambolina. So, they got their hands on another historic location, an old ambulance depot, and transformed it into a chic spot with hot takes on Asian street food.

Kokeshi 's menu is full of worldly meal experiences. The ramen bowls are brimming with flavor, and other dishes, like the crispy chicken sandwich, are frighteningly good. Kokeshi also specializes in smaller plates that are easy to share. The steamed pork buns, and spicy pole beans with Sambal “ranch,” are from another planet.

41 Lafayette St., Salem, 978-594-4197,

Pumpkin ravioli at Mercy Tavern
Pumpkin ravioli at Mercy Tavern
Courtesy of Mercy Tavern

Mercy Tavern

Mercy Tavern is a another spectacular spot to settle into after a day of exploring in Salem. The funky vibe is perfect for those that favor the (off)beaten path, and the menu is chock full of comfort food with an international focus.

You'll want to fill up on their pumpkin ravioli with brown butter wine sauce, or baked mac and cheese with chorizo and caramelized onions.

Mercy Tavern also has a jam-packed live music calendar, showcasing Celtic, indie, jazz, blues and more.

148 Derby Street., Salem, 978-741-4436,