These Are My Absolute Favorite Appetizers at the Beach

Every meal out deserves a satisfying start.


When it comes to dining along the Culinary Coast, good things come in tiny packages. For proof, take a peek at some of my favorite small-plate selections.

1. The potted chicken at a(MUSE.)

A menu mainstay, this little pot of deliciousness is filled with layers of shredded chicken confit, chicken liver foie gras mousse and a port reduction. It’s served with sourdough toast.


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2. The oysters at Henlopen City Oyster House

While many coastal restaurants serve oysters, HCOH’s diverse selection might include oysters from Virginia, Washington, New England and Prince Edward Island.

Henlopen City Oyster House’s oysters//Pam George


3. The lobster toast at The Blue Hen

You can’t go back to pedestrian shrimp toast after trying this elevated take. The brioche and hot pepper jelly—and, of course, the lobster—make all the difference. 


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4. The poke at Michy’s Relaxed Dining

This hearty appetizer isn’t always on the menu, so order it whenever it is. Served in a coconut half, it’s probably the prettiest—and tastiest—poke in the area.

Poke at Michy’s Relaxed Dining//Pam George


5. The Bavarian pretzel at Crooked Hammock Brewery

Basted with butter and served with spicy honey mustard, this big boy makes an impression. For a double whammy, splurge on the spicy beer-cheese dip.

Crooked Hammock Brewery’s Bavarian pretzel//Pam George

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Shorebreak Lodge’s burrata//Pam George

6. The burrata at Shorebreak Lodge

It’s creamy, refreshing and divinely textured. The accompanying vegetables, often from Fifer Orchards, are a bright touch, and the balsamic drizzle is the perfect finish.


7. The buttermilk-fried baby lobster tails at Bluecoast Seafood Grill + Raw Bar

Served with spicy mayo, ponzu sauce and a kiss of lemon, this dish can halt table conversation in a good way.


8. The pupusas at Mariachi

There’s something about this traditional Salvadorian dish that is synonymous with comfort food. Thick corn pockets are stuffed with pork and cheese.

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