Well-traveled tourists and the influx of full-time residents have upped the demand for ethnic cuisine at the beach. Here is a mix of new and tried-and-true spots that look beyond Italy for inspiration.
Expect elegant glasses and upscale silverware in coastal Sussex County’s first Indian restaurant, which is a hotspot in more ways than one. The kitchen will gladly turn up the heat. Noteworthy: Eight kinds of bread, vegetarian specialties and salmon cooked in the tandoori oven.
44 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 212-5220
Located in a Victorian mansion with a sweeping porch, the new Raas puts a modern spin on the cuisine of India and Asian countries. Noteworthy: Beautifully presented sushi.
210 Savannah Rd., Lewes • 644-1747
Bangkok Thai Cuisine
Whether you dine in or take out, expect plentiful portions at this locals’ favorite. Noteworthy: Papaya salad with shrimp, yellow curry soft-shell crab, crispy catfish with Thai basil.
17644 Coastal Hwy., Lewes • 644-2223
Maki-lovers in Lewes get their fix in the heart of the historic district. Noteworthy: The Sandy Beach Roll (shrimp tempura, avocado, scallion, fish roe and curry sauce).
109 W. Market St., Lewes • 200-0443
Bethany Beach’s year-round go-to spot for sushi and sashimi. Noteworthy: Hawaiian-themed rolls, such as the Big Island (lump crab, spicy tuna and avocado topped with salmon, tempura bits and spicy mayo).
776 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany Beach • 829-8784
This intimate eatery has been satisfying beachcombers’ cravings for spicy Hunan-style dishes since 2004. Noteworthy: Chicken-ginger soup, steamed halibut with hot peppers, black beans and sautéed green beans.
57 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 227-3848
The Cultured Pearl
The coast’s first sushi restaurant now includes trendsetting delights, such as poke, and classic American favorites like a 12-ounce New York strip. Noteworthy: Half-priced rolls on Monday nights in the off-season. Definitely make reservations.
301 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 227-8493
Flying Fish Café and Sushi Bar
There aren’t many spots that serve biscuits with gravy in the morning and sushi in the evening. Noteworthy: Creative-sounding rolls like the Hamachi Bomb—yellowtail and avocado draped over a bundle of jumbo lump crab, tempura-fried scallion and wasabi-infused mayo.
300 Coastal Hwy., Fenwick Island • 581-0217
Electrical engineer-turned-restaurateur Thinh Pham has brought the cuisine from his native Saigon to Route 1. Noteworthy: Any of the pho dishes.
18949 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach • 703-6626
Miyagi Ramen Bar
Jeong Hoon Kim and partner Tammy Wang have created an attractive noodle bar in a shopping center space. Noteworthy: Noodles, broths and sauces are made on site. Kim is Korean, and the bulgogi (Korean BBQ beef) is excellent.
19266 Coastal Hwy., Unit #6, Rehoboth • 567-2385
Contemporary décor distinguishes this restaurant, which prepares Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine. Noteworthy: The Sunday brunch, which boasts raw oysters, salads and salmon along with rolls, dumplings and lo mein.
18814 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach • 645-2818
Stingray Sushi Bar + Asian Grill
Gone is the quirky Latin element in the name. Since Big Fish Restaurant Group took over, the emphasis is on Asian. Noteworthy: $8 rolls during happy hour.
59 Lake Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 227-6476
Fans have waited hours for a table at this downtown restaurant, which put Lewes on foodies’ maps. Our tip: Put your name in and go shopping until your table is ready. Noteworthy: Possibly the best guacamole in Delaware, the richly flavored mole enchilada and tender fish cradled in puffy taco shells.
137 Second St., Lewes • 645-1232
Arguably one of the more creative takes on Mexican cuisine, Dos Locos features such dishes as grilled lamb fajitas, lobster enchiladas and duck carnitas quesadillas. Noteworthy: The tableside stone grill lets you cook your own protein and veggies. There is a new second location in the old El Dorado space on Route 24.
208 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 227-3353
18766 John J. Williams Hwy., Rehoboth Beach
Located on the Forgotten Mile, the family-friendly restaurant has a lengthy menu full of Tex-Mex favorites. Noteworthy: Vegetarian combo, kids’ menu, eight different kinds of nachos.
20672 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach • 278-7507
El Jefe Gordoâ€‹
Part of Fins Hospitality Group, El Jefe Gordo keeps it simple with tacos, burritos and, interestingly, burgers. Noteworthy: Fried wild Chesapeake catfish and grilled rockfish tacos.
251 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 212-5631
Take a seat on second-level deck in Yolanda Pineda’s well-run Latin-influenced eatery for some of the best Central and South American cuisine around. Noteworthy: pillow-like pupusas stuffed with pork and cheese, chiles rellenos and Saturday and Sunday brunch.
14 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 227-0115
Formerly Dewey Beach Club, MezCali lets owner Jeff Treacy focus more on tequila cocktails and tacos. You might find a chicken burrito bowl or a sweet potato taco. Noteworthy: Get 25 percent off your check during happy hour, 4–6 p.m., Monday-Friday.
1205 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach • 260-9017
Papa Grande’s Coastal Taqueriaâ€‹
The kitchen blends favorites from north and south of the border, and the views are stellar from the second-floor deck. Noteworthy: Street corn with red chili dust, fried Brussels sprouts with chopped bacon and cotija cheese and the short rib cheesesteak burrito.
38929 Madison Ave., Fenwick Island • 436-7272
The compact menu in this attractive corner space packs in a lot of unexpected flavors. Consider prickly pear pork, tinga chicken and brisket-and-blackened shrimp enchiladas. Noteworthy: Happy hour all year, from 3–5 p.m. in summer and 4–7 p.m. in the off-season.
1904 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach • 567-2743
The food truck usually sits outside of Big Chill Surf Cantina. Noteworthy: Chicken tinga tacos and, surprisingly, the bacon-wrapped hotdog.
19406 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach • 226-TACO (8226)
The owners of Harvest Tide Steakhouse in Lewes recently opened this Latin-themed concept, which showcases Central and South American cuisine. Noteworthy: Pork-and-pineapple tucked in homemade tacos and fried pork rinds with salsa verde, pico de gallo and queso fresco.
98 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany Beach • 616-2120
Owner Richard Steele fuses Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine with Continental flair. Tuck into ratatouille Provencal, potatoes with chorizo, harissa and saffron, or mango-glazed duck breast. Noteworthy: Monday night is shrimp night. Don’t be surprised if the bartenders break into song.
18 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth • 227-8100
Semra’s Mediterranean Grill
Owners John and Semra Tekmen highlight family recipes in this beach block restaurant. Noteworthy: Gyros are made from meat that’s cooked on a vertical spit; finely ground Turkish coffee is brewed in a ladle and boiled three times; and baklava and rice pudding are made in-house.
19 Rehoboth Ave, Rehoboth Beach • 226-4976
Go Fish! and Go Brit! Fish + Chips
Raised in London, owner Alison Blyth worked in beach-area spots before opening Go Fish! in downtown Rehoboth. Sister restaurant Go Brit! is a quick-casual concept on Route 1. Noteworthy: The fish and chips at either location, and the sticky toffee pudding, which was featured on “The Today Show.”
Go Brit! • 18388 Coastal Hwy., Lewes • 644-2250
Go Fish! • 24 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth • 226-1044
Fiona’s Irish Fish & Chips
This small eatery opened in 2018 in a former sandwich shop. Billed as an Irish “chipper,” the restaurant uses only fresh cod for its fish and chips. Noteworthy: The corned beef and bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes).
32497 Long Neck Rd., Millsboro • 945-4520