Even when the sun is blazing, beach-area restaurants sell plenty of chowders, soups and stews—mostly made with seafood. And as the wind picks up come fall and winter, the demand for soup soars. Here are several we’d recommend trying.
There are several coastal restaurants with good gumbos, but my favorites include Po’ Boys Creole & Catch in Milton and the gumbos at Matt’s Fish Camp in Lewes and Bluecoast Seafood Grill + Raw Bar in Rehoboth Beach.
Po’ Boys’ version is made with chicken and andouille sausage, and the rice is already mixed in. It has just enough heat to make you pause between bites. Get it by the cup, bowl or by the quart (to go). Po’ Boys also offers at least one soup of the day. Past selections included asparagus.
Matt’s Fish Camp and Bluecoast, both owned by SoDel Concepts, serve a crawfish gumbo with andouille sausage, served with a dollop of grits instead of rice. It’s a rich roux with some heat. Matt’s Fish Camp usually offers the gumbo as a special. The dish is currently a mainstay on the Bluecoast menu.
There is no shortage of soups featuring crab along the coast. At Jerry’s Seafood, the Maryland crab soup comes with a garnish of snowy white lumps. The downtown Lewes restaurant also serves cream of crab soup.
In the Midway area, 1776, a steakhouse on Route 1, offers crab-and-lobster bisque. It’s the perfect start to the traditional steak dinner with all the fixings.
Down in Bethany, 14 Global’s equally classic cream of crab gets a splash of sherry and a sprinkle of chives. The restaurant offers a trio sampler that also includes butternut squash-and-coconut bisque and smoked venison black bean chili
Some swear that the homemade Maryland crab soup at Jake’s Seafood House in Rehoboth Beach is the best. The restaurant, which has locations on Route 1 and in Rehoboth Beach, also sells a seafood bisque with shrimp, scallops, and lump crabmeat in a cream-sherry stock.
Nothing takes the chill off quite like creamy tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. At Nectar Café in Lewes, the sandwich is made with havarti, cheddar and gouda cheese. (Nectar also has daily soup specials.)
For soup that will make you feel warm and cozy all over, pop into Rosenfeld’s Jewish Deli on Route 1 for matzo ball, mushroom barley, chicken noodle, brisket cabbage or borcht.
You may find some favorites in unexpected places. We’ve dipped our spoon into the cheesy goodness of French onion soup at Egg, the breakfast-lunch spot near the circle in Rehoboth Beach.
Pho from Minh’s Bistro (Left); Agave’s soup sampler.//Pam George
When you need a pick-me-up, delve into the delicious chicken-and-ginger soup at Confucius in Rehoboth Beach. Laced with visible slices of ginger, this soup has a zing that will cure what ails you. Days later, you’ll be longing for another cup. The downtown restaurant also offers Shanghai wonton soup, seafood hot-and-sour soup and spicy mushroom-tofu soup.
The newly opened Minh’s Bistro on Route 1 specializes in pho, a Vietnamese soup consisting of broth, rice noodles (called bánh phá»Ÿ) herbs and a protein, such as seafood, beef or chicken. Minh’s also has beef balls and tofu and vegetables as an option. Thai basil, cilantro, bean sprouts and jalapeno are served on the side.
Also new, Indigo on Rehoboth Avenue features a soup with lentils, tomatoes and spices, as well as one with chicken, lemon and coconut.
Up in Lewes, Agave sells several soups with Latin flair, including chicken tortilla, Mexican chili, cream of cilantro and roasted corn. Try your choice of three in a sampler.