If you want to savor an ocean breeze while eating out this summer, you’ve officially got more options along the coast. Azzurro Italian Oven + Bar in Rehoboth is a short stroll from the Rehoboth Boardwalk, while The Wheelhouse at Fisherman’s Wharf sits on the canal in Lewes.
These newbies are still finding their footing, but based on our recent visits, they’re going to be popular this summer.
Azzurro is in the former home of Papa Grande’s Coastal Taqueria and Chez La Mer. The rooftop terrace remains, and we climbed the stairs to take a seat at a shady communal table.
Owners Tonya and Francesco Agostino are “bringing a little bit of Italy to Rehoboth.” Francesco, who is a first-generation Italian, grew up in the restaurant business. Many items on the menu are made using family recipes.
A week after opening, the restaurant had a limited menu on the terrace, where we enjoyed shared appetizers.
Paper-thin slices of beef, kissed with lemon, surrounded a mound of peppery arugula. Extra-virgin olive oil and a Modena balsamic glaze complemented the dish’s bright flavors.
Considering the time of year, the tomatoes in our Caprese salad were a surprisingly vibrant ruby-red color against the buffalo-milk mozzarella.
And sauteed clams lolled in a lemon-spritzed wine sauce sprinkled with fresh parsley. The only thing I needed was some bread for sopping.
Azzurro Italian Oven + Bar
210 Second St., Rehoboth Beach • 212-2409
The Wheelhouse at Fisherman’s Wharf//Photo by Pam George
If Azzurro takes you on a trip to Italy, then The Wheelhouse whisks you away to Key West and the Caribbean—complete with potted palm trees, raw bars, stone crab claws and a musician playing steel drums.
Which is not surprising, given that the restaurant’s proprietors are Chris and Anthony Jacona—who also own Zogg’s Raw Bar & Grill in Rehoboth Beach—and Al Tortella of Paradise Grill fame.
Once known as the Wharf, the building has received a welcome overhaul. There’s indoor dining, deck dining and even a covered second-floor porch.
The menu is casual with an emphasis on seafood. Build your own burger, choose from several kinds of tacos or get fresh fish broiled or blackened. We had mahi-mahi tacos and a halibut sandwich; both came with plump waffle fries.
In addition to frequent live entertainment, you can watch the tour and fishing boats. On our visit we also enjoyed the antics of a Labrador, who made a practiced leap from a boat into the canal, where he swam until passengers disembarked. (The restaurant welcomes dogs on the deck that obey the posted rules.)
Expect an occasional whiff of brine and boat fuel—a happy price to pay for such pleasant canal-side dining.
7 Anglers Rd, Lewes • 645-7846