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Best of Delaware 2018: Food & Drink Upstate


American Restaurant

Readers, upstate:Harry’s Savoy Grill

2020NaamansRoad, Wilmington, 475-3000

Authentic Japanese

Editors, upstate:PioneeringOkuraJapanese Cuisine Restaurantset the standard for all that would follow. We can’t get enough of the steamedgyozadumplings with shrimp, andOkurais one of the few places that serves dusky sea urchin sashimi. A variety of teriyaki and tempura dishes keep it real, but those with a taste for other Asian cuisines will find a stir fry or curry to suit their tastes.

703 Ace Memorial Drive,Hockessin, 239-8486

Asian Dumplings

Editors, upstate: Made with love byThe Wandering Chef Catering Cart, these pillows ofumamigoodness are lightly drizzled with a rich cream sauce and sprinkled with fresh scallions. Fair warning: Once you’ve tried them, there’s no going back. The dumplings from your neighborhood Chinese restaurant are almost guaranteed to pale in comparison. Lucky students often find the cart outside Smith Hall at the University of Delaware. Now you know.

(908) 295-7787


Readers, upstate:Bing’s Bakery

253 E. Main St., Newark, 737-5310


Readers, upstate:Two Stones Pub

300 Lantana Drive,Hockessin, 239-2200; 2ChesmarPlaza, Newark, 294-1890; 2502FoulkRoad, Wilmington, 439-3231

Barbecue Place

Readers, upstate:Locale BBQ Post

1014 N. Lincoln St., Wilmington, 510-4929

Beer Selection

Readers, upstate:Two Stones Pub

300 Lantana Drive,Hockessin, 239-2200; 2ChesmarPlaza, Newark, 294-1890; 2502FoulkRoad, Wilmington, 439-3231


Editors, upstate: CharmingLaFiais the kind of place every downtown should have—cheerful, casual and delicious. We’re crazy for dishes such as tender grilled octopus atop layers of potato and prosciutto with tomato ragout and the mousse of searedfoiegraswith pickled onion. The scallopcarbonarais notable for the silky egg sauce. We should note that the dish’s spaghetti is handmade—as is absolutely everything else on the menu.

426 N. Market St., Wilmington, 543-5574

Breakfast Place

Readers, upstate:DripCafé

144 Lantana Drive,Hockessin, 234-4430

Breakfast Sandwiches

Editors,upstate: AtCentrevilleCafé, you’ll love the bird-themed names of the sandwiches as much as what’s inside them. The Sandpiper is packed with eggs your way, and your choice of breakfast meat and bread. We are partial to the flaky home-baked croissants. Best enjoyed in thecafé’s garden, where you can hear the real birds sing.

5800KennettPike, Wilmington, 777-4911


Readers, upstate:Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

147 E. Main St., Newark, 266-9000; 620JustisonSt., Wilmington, 472-2739


Readers, upstate:KidShelleen’s Charcoal House & Saloon

1801 W.14thSt., Wilmington, 658-4600

Build Your Own Bowl

Editors, upstate: How many different varieties and flavors can you create when you build your own bowl atEl Diablo? Probably too many to count, but we can assure you, this tiny Mexican hot spot will never let you down. There’s usually a line out the door during lunch, which should give you just enough time to contemplate your order. (Adobochicken or short rib? Pico degalloor chipotle ranch?). However complex or simple your order, just don’t forget the guacamole.

127 E. Main St., Newark, 266-4050;5329ALimestone Road, Newark, 235-8121;13ATrolley Square, Wilmington, 699-5321; 1812 Marsh Road, Wilmington, 439-4648


Readers, upstate:KidShelleen’s Charcoal House & Saloon

1801 W.14thSt., Wilmington, 658-4600


Editors, upstate: It’s official: You can bring your own libation to tiny, deliciousSoutheast Kitchen, where you’ll enjoy Vietnamese and Thai dishes such as grilled squid with minced lemongrass,homemade chicken dumplings with ample ginger and scallions, and amazing pad Thai.

1901Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 691-7728


Editors, upstate: We are crazy for classic bayou fare such as gumbo at cozyCajun Kate’s, as well as CK signatures such as crispy macaroni and cheese withAndouillesausage,applewood-smokedbacon and Tasso ham. Thesoftshellcrab po’boys are outrageous, but you have to get them when you can. The specials change frequently, so there is never a reason not to go back—not that we need one.

722 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington, 416-5108

Candy-Chocolate Shop

Readers, upstate:GovatosChocolates

4105 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 478-5324;800 N. Market St., Wilmington, 652-4082


Editors,upstate:PiccolinaToscanadoes it right, starting with buttery beef, then adding standard accompaniments such asReggianoand raw onion. But it’s the truffle oil that gets us. We could eat it all day.

1412 N.DupontSt., Wilmington, 654-8001

Casual Classic

Editors, upstate: The games are on TV in the lounge and the dining room is packed with friendly regulars atStanley’s Tavern, an institution in North Wilmington for more than 80 years.The menu covers all the pub grub and comfort faves: wings, chili, boardwalk fries, burgers, ribs with your choice of tantalizing sauces and much more.

2038FoulkRoad, Wilmington, 475-1887


Readers, upstate:BachettiBros. Gourmet Market & Catering

4723BKirkwood Hwy., Wilmington, 994-4467

Charm Factor

Editors, upstate: Located in the arrondissement of Forty Acres,De La CoeurCaféet Patisseriefeels like a slice of Montmartre, thanks to a riot of blossoms at the door and chalkboard menus inside. The small menu of French toasts,tartes, omelets, and sweet and savory crepes changes daily, but never disappoints. Aficionados of baked goods, you’ve just been admitted to heaven.

1836LoveringAve., Wilmington, 660-7178


Readers, upstate:ClaymontSteak Shop

3526 Philadelphia Pike,Claymont, 798-0013; 57 S. Main St., Newark, 453-9500; 2720 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 478-1515


Readers, upstate:Robbie Jester, Stone Balloon Ale House

115 E. Main St., Newark, 266-8111

Chinese Restaurant

Readers, upstate:TheCrownery

228 Lantana Drive,Hockessin, 239-3825

Cocktail Selection

Readers, upstate:Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen

270 E. Main St., Newark, 737-2931; GrainH20, 3006 SummitHarbourLane, Bear, 365-5795


Readers, upstate:BrewHaHa!Read more about one of Brew HaHa!’s friendliest baristas.

3838KennettPike, Greenville, 658-6336; 45 E. Main St., Newark, 369-2600;ChristianaHospital, 4755Ogletown-StantonRoad, Newark, 733-2739; 1812 Marsh Road, Wilmington, 529-1125; 3636 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 478-7227; 222 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 777-5137; 824 N. Market St., Wilmington, 777-4499; 5329 Limestone Road, Wilmington, 234-9600; 1400 N.DupontSt., Wilmington, 384-6344

Contemporary Italian

Editors, upstate: Outstandingpizzettesare what you might expect from the family who once owned one of the most popular pizza places in the state, butV&M Bistrois so much more. We love the handmade pastas in dishes such as linguine with clams and gnocchi Bolognese, as well as meat dishes. The atmosphere is as cool and contemporary as any new place you’d find in Roma. Ciao,bella.

1717 Marsh Road, Wilmington, 479-7999

Cooking Class

Readers, upstate:The CROP Foundation

713 E. Basin Road, New Castle, 501-6623

Crab Cakes

Readers,upstate:Big Fish Grill on the Riverfront

720JustisonSt., Wilmington, 652-3474

Editors, upstate: For years, we’ve pestered theCourtyard by Marriott Newark-University of Delawarefor its recipe. The secret is more secure than a grand jury investigation, so trust us on this: They are unequaled.

400 DavidHollowellDrive, Newark, 737-0900

Craft Burgers

Editors, upstate: It seems that anything goes at eclectic8th& Union Kitchen. Start with a straightforward Pub Burger with lettuce, tomato, onion and aioli. Work your way up to the gooey deliciousness of the Smokey Burger: melted Gouda, ham, barbecue sauce, chipotle jam and gobs of aioli. If you want runny fried eggs or pork belly on your burger, you can have that, too.

801 N. Union St., Wilmington, 654-9780

Date Night Restaurant

Readers, upstate:Harry’s Savoy Grill

2020NaamansRoad, Wilmington, 475-3000


Readers, upstate:CafféGelato

90 E. Main St., Newark, 738-5811


Editors, upstate: Ready to have a quasi-religious experience for less than a dollar? Try the freshly baked fritters atJanssen’s Market. The chocolate-frosted French crullers—both impossibly airy and insanely decadent—are among the most delicious treats we’ve ever eaten.

3801KennettPike, Wilmington, 654-9941

Family Restaurant Ever

Editors, upstate:Grotto Pizza

315AutoparkDrive, Middletown, 314-9500;45 E. Main St., Newark, 369-0600; 1819 Pennsylvania Ave., Wilmington, 777-3278; 2015 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 777-6793

Family-Friendly Restaurant

Readers, upstate:Big Fish Grill on the Riverfront

720JustisonSt., Wilmington, 652-3474

Fine Dining

Readers, upstate:The House of William & Merry

1336 Old Lancaster Pike,Hockessin, 234-2255

Food to Go

Readers, upstate:Home GrownCafé

126 E. Main St., Newark, 266-6993

Food Truck

Readers, upstate:Mojo Loco


French Restaurant

Readers, upstate:The Green Room at the Hotel du Pont

42 W.11thSt., Wilmington, 594-3154



Friendliest Barista

Editors, upstate:Lydia Farrell, BrewHaHa!Read more about Farrell’s passion for coffee and customer service.

Market Street, 824 N. Market St., Wilmington, 777-4499

Game Dishes

Editors, upstate: Chef Donny Merrill’sSkipjack, for all its nautical goodness, is one of the few places that still walks on the wild side. Order the meat of the moment as a burger or as part of thecharcuterieboard, or go for a menu standard such as venison with marble potatoes, organic carrots, royal trumpet mushrooms, smoked cranberry honey and Stilton blue.

401LouviersDrive, Newark, 456-1800

Greek-Mediterranean Restaurant

Readers, upstate:Olive TreeCafé

13 Chestnut Hill Plaza, Newark, 266-4598


Editors, upstate: When mere margaritas won’t suffice for happy hour, bring your appetite—and a few hungry friends—toDelPezMexicanGastropubfor a giant serving of made-to-order guacamole. In addition to a classic avocado-cilantro-lime combo, there are four flavored versions you can’t find just anywhere. One’s got lump crab; another boasts goat cheese and roasted garlic. After a few bites, sticking around for a taco dinner just makes good sense.

400JustisonSt., Wilmington, 691-7974


Editors, upstate: You can watch the meats roast to juicy perfection on the rotisseries at newly expandedOpa!Opa!The pita is oven-fresh, the lettuce crispy, the tomato ripe and thetzatzikitangy.

7A Trolley Square, Wilmington, 654-4500

Halal Dining

Editors, upstate:Olive TreeCafécaters to Muslim diners with everything from beefyharirasoup to severaltaginedishes and all vegetarian fare—all of it delicious.

13 Chestnut Hill Plaza, Newark, 266-4598

Happy Hour

Readers, upstate:Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen

270 E. Main St., Newark, 737-2931; GrainH20, 3006 SummitHarbourLane, Bear, 365-5795

Happy Hour Menu

Editors, upstate: While the happy hour at theColumbus Innfeatures traditional drink specials, its special food menu helps make happy hour a lot happier. Prices are divided into three offerings: $3, $6 and $9. The cheapest treats include roasted edamame,cheesesteakspring rolls, gingersnap-crusted brie, hot wings and BLT deviled eggs. Among $6 items are crispy chicken nuggets with pickle chips, Baja shrimp tacos, a half-dozen oysters, pork belly bites and barbecue fries. For $9, you get a filet sandwich, pepperoni pizza, chicken Caesar salad, peel-and-eat shrimp or a crab cake sandwich. The Lil’ Big Burger of Muenster cheese, lettuce, onion, pickles served with house-made chips and a secret sauce will only set you back seven bucks. Now that’s a deal worth discovering. Happy hour sails 4-7 p.m. during the week and 5-7 p.m. on Saturdays.

2216 Pennsylvania Ave., Wilmington, 571-1492

Ice Cream

Readers, upstate:Woodside Farm Creamery

1310 Little Baltimore Road,Hockessin, 239-9847

Indian Restaurant

Readers, upstate:Maharaja Indian Cuisine

1450 Kirkwood Hwy., Suite 121, Newark, 369-1202

Italian Restaurant

Readers, upstate:Mrs.Robino’s Italian Restaurant

520 N. Union St., Wilmington, 652-9223

Italian Wines

Editors, upstate: Great Italian food requires great Italian wine. The list atCapers & Lemons Italian Restaurantis heaven for lovers ofSangiovese—there are offerings from four makers. That’s not to mention a couple bigBarolosandBarberas. Whites include aVerdicchio, aVermentinoand, for dessert, aMoscato. Need bubbles? There is aProsecco, too. And that’s just the start on a big list of choices. A cent’anni.

301 Little Falls Drive, Wilmington, 256-0524

Jamaican-Caribbean Restaurant

Readers, upstate:D&H Jamaican Cuisine

748 E. Chestnut Hill Road, Newark, 369-8826

Japanese Restaurant

Readers, upstate:MikimotosAsian Grill & Sushi Bar

1212 Washington St., Wilmington, 656-8638

Late Night Menu

Readers, upstate:KidShelleen’s Charcoal House & Saloon

1801 W.14thSt., Wilmington, 658-4600

Lobster Rolls

Editors, upstate: Whether it’s for lunch or dinner, the rolls atGeorge & Sons Seafood Market & Oyster Housewill satisfy your lust for lobster. George & Sons offers a choice of traditional or hot-buttered lobster claw and tail meat. The large chunks are packed into a butter-toasted split-top bun and served with chips and a pickle. Stop by the seafood market to see the live versions of these crustaceans, one of which may end up on the next roll.

1216 Old Lancaster Pike,Hockessin, 239-7204

Lunch Downtown

Editors, upstate: No more than a five-minute walk from almost any office,Chelsea Tavernwill feed you well and send you on your way with time to spare. The restaurant remains a highlight for creamy crab dip, individual pizzas and great sandwiches such as the big Chelsea Burger. After work, head back for a beer—there are more than 200 bottles to choose from.

821 N. Market St., Wilmington, 482-3333

Lunch Spot

Readers, upstate:Big Fish Grill on the Riverfront

720JustisonSt., Wilmington, 652-3474


Editors, upstate: The margaritas atMexican Postare worth their salt. The restaurant carries 24 brands of tequila and offers a fine selection of mixing options. At happy hour, grab a pitcher, but ask to replace the house tequila with a better brand such asHornitosor Patron. Or, order one of eight specialty drinks such as thePaloma—aka the morning margarita—of Avion Silver,Jarritosgrapefruit soda and a lime wedge. The Post also offers margaritas in mango, peach, strawberry, apple,piñacolada and banana. Try the No Mas Madras:CorralejoReposado, PatronCitronge, orange juice, cranberry juice and an orange slice.

3100NaamansRoad, No. 14, Wilmington, 478-3939


Editors, upstate: The irrepressible DonnieScalessais at it again at the newestScalessa’s “My Way” Old School Italian Kitchen, where he serves his famous homemade meatballs in sandwiches, on a salad and with spaghetti in gravy, of course.

1836 N. Lincoln St., Wilmington, 656-1362

Menu Makeover

Editors, upstate: Heaven isburratafromCorner Bistro, whose new menu features healthful fare such as a kale-quinoa salad, a classic cassoulet, and braised short rib on sweet parsnippuréewith spinach and local mushrooms. Corner Bistro never rests, reinventing itself every so often, and renewing our love every time.

3604 Silverside Road, Wilmington, 477-1778

Mexican Restaurant

Readers, upstate:LaTolteca

2209 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 778-4646; 4015 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 478-9477; LaTonalteca, 1237ChurchmansRoad, Newark, 294-1108, 700 Lantana Drive,Hockessin, 234-2400


Editors, upstate: The fresh steamed mussels appetizer atTuttoFrescois served with either a zesty red sauce or white wine-garlic sauce. We prefer the red. These plump bivalves also lend muscle toTuttoFresco’s seafood risotto andzuppadipesce.

514 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington, 762-9094


Readers, upstate:Two Stones Pub

300 Lantana Drive,Hockessin, 239-2200; 2ChesmarPlaza, Newark, 294-1890; 2502FoulkRoad, Wilmington, 439-3231

Neighborhood Bar

Editors, upstate: Sometimes you really do want to go where everybody knows your name. There is always a friendly face behind the bar ofDead Presidents Restaurant & Pubwho is ready to wet your whistle with a craft beer, a shot of Jamison or even a Cosmo. There are no judgments here. Pull up a stool at the bar or slide into one of the cozy booths for a good meal. You’ll feel right at home in no time.

618 N. Union St., Wilmington, 375-5627

New Brewery

Editors, upstate: Wizard Mike Dunlap creates sheer perfection in the list of standard brews atMidnight Oil Brewing Company. Wind your way through the corporate park to find the tasting room, where you can sample sweet and spicy SundownSaison, the ultra-smooth but potent Orion Double IPA or any of the six regulars. Visit on Mondays for the release of that week’s special brew. Distribution should begin soon.

674PencaderDrive, Newark, 286-7641

New Brewpub

Editors, upstate: Combine a diverse menu of sandwiches and “skillets” with 11 taps that draw as many styles of brews and you get a wealth of possible food and beer pairings atStitch House Brewery. Geek out with the brewer and barkeeps over which yeasts were used in the brews, or simply enjoy, say, adry-ishRyenotIPA with a rich short rib sandwich. Its downtown location makes it perfect for workday lunches, happy hours and a nightcap after a show at The Grand.

1829 N. Market St., Wilmington, 250-4280

New Mexican Restaurant

Editors, upstate: Takeout gem El Toro recently openedEl Toro Cantinain the old Wicked Vine down the street, and wecouldn’t be happier. Fans no longer need to wait for one of the four tables at the original. They can now spread out and relax in an updated room while enjoying El Toro signatures such as the incomparablechilesrellenosstuffed with cheesy mashed potatoes. And now that El Toro has a well-stocked bar, you can enjoy a margarita while catching thefutbolgame on the tube.

1934 W. Sixth St., Wilmington, 543-5635

New Restaurant

Readers, upstate:GrainH20

3006 SummitHarbourLane, Bear, 365-5795


Editors, upstate: If you’re not ready to end your night after a show at The Playhouse, saunter over to the Hotel du Pont’sGreen Room. The renovated hot spot is current and cozy, with a drink menu to match. Classic cocktails range from a Gimlet to a Moscow Mule. But be sure to read the whole menu. It includes decadent martinis, wines and plenty of scotch and bourbon.

42 W.11thSt., Wilmington, 594-3154

Old World Charm

Editors, upstate:La Casa Pastacomes by its roots honestly—founder GiuseppeMartuscellicame straight from the old country. For 40 years, his restaurant has created some of the best Italian food in the state, and a couple updates and an expansion of the dining room have kept the place fresh and contemporary. Our recommendation: seafood.

130 Four Seasons Pkwy., Newark, 738-9935

Outdoor Dining

Readers, upstate:Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

620JustisonSt., Wilmington, 472-2739

Pasta Dishes

Editors, upstate: The cozy, rustic atmosphere ofTavernapractically demands that patrons order at least one pasta platter. We’re partial to theOrecchietteMac & Cheese—an indulgent fusion of noodles,fontina, Parmesan, caramelized onions and prosciutto.

121 E. Main St., Newark, 444-4334

Philanthropy Program

Editors, upstate: It’s a winning formula that does a world of good: Host a chosen organization’s celebrity bartenders, let them invite all their friends and acquaintances toBBC Tavern and Grillon a Wednesday or Thursday night, then donate all the tips to great causes such as juvenile diabetes research or places like St. Anthony’s community center. The drinks will make you feel great. The philanthropy will make you feel even better.

4019KennettPike, Greenville, 655-3785



Readers, upstate:Pizza byElizabethsRead more about why Pizza by Elizabeths has endured.

3801KennettPike, Wilmington, 654-4478

Place Almost Off the Beaten Path

Editors, upstate: Housed in a tiny storefront,Nora Lees French Quarter Bistrois one of those places that seems to hide in plain view—easy to do in Old New Castle. Don’t be deceived. Inside, Nora Lees is bigger than it might seem from the street, but still cozy, a great place for classic Cajun-Creole food and live music amid typical N’awlinsdecor. Don’t miss it on Mardi Gras.

124 Delaware St., New Castle, 322-7675

Place for All Tastes

Editors, upstate: AtErnest & Scott Taproom, order your chicken wings Buffalo-style or coated in teriyaki. Tacos range from pulled pork with barbecue sauce to grilledportobellowithquesofresco. Sandwiches andentréesare equally diverse. And the taps feature everything from a range of craft styles to good ol’ Bud.

902 N. Market St., Wilmington, 384-8113

Place that Always Stands Out

Editors, upstate: Since the day it opened,RedFireGrill & Steakhousehas remained a consistently excellent performer. The dark red walls, stone and wrought-iron accents provide a warm, comfortable setting—as a traditional steakhouse should. The service is excellent, and the food never disappoints. Appetizers such as the fried calamari andcheesesteakspring rolls are as good as it gets and the signature burgers are just as tasty. But steak is the star here, and whether it’s the rib-eye, New York strip or tender filet,RedFiresears them to perfection in a 1,200-degree chophouse broiler. Even simple sides like the hand-cut fries are worth returning for, again and again.

400 Lantana Drive,Hockessin, 235-2600

Place to Bring Your Own Crowd

Editors, upstate: The former Firestone Roasting House was recently renamed asDocklands Riverfront, but the big patio on the Christina remains. There’s no better spot to crash with friends or coworkers for a drink, a bite and live entertainment. Docklands offers daily happy hour food and drink specials, and the brick oven that inspired the old name still cranks out tastyflatbreadsand craft pizzas. Along with a fun menu of specialty cocktails, there are 14 beers on tap and a nice assortment of craft brews. At Docklands, it’s OK to go along with the crowd.

110 West St., Wilmington, 658-6626

Place to Celebrate

Editors, upstate: At the Rail Wine Bar and Grille offers a panoramic view of the well-manicured golf course atWhite Clay Creek Country Club—and that is one of many reasons it’s a great place to celebrate a special occasion—like a jackpot win. The catering team at Delaware Park helps guests create a perfect menu—whether it’s a buffet, hors d’oeuvres or a served, sit-down meal—from what seems like a never-ending choice of options. A brunch buffet, for example, includes all of the usual offerings, as well as stations for waffles, omelets and even prime rib. There’s also a cold raw bar and beverage offerings go on forever. Whether it’s a birthday party, wedding reception or a corporate happy hour, At the Rail is a safe bet.

777 Delaware Park Blvd., Wilmington, 994-6700

Editors, over the line: The historicMendenhallInnprovides a spacious, elegant setting for any celebration—from weddings to birthday parties and anything in between. There’s a 70-room full-service hotel, a restaurant and tavern on-site. The inn boasts two large ballrooms that can seat 300 people each. The Grand Ballroom features a beautiful spiral staircase. The Gold Ballroom includes an outdoor patio. The food and service atMendenhallare as good as it gets. Picture a roaring fireplace, candles, fresh flowers and soft music. Let’s get the party started.

323KennettPike,Mendenhall, Pa., (610) 388-2100

Place to Drink without Worrying About the Kids

Editors, upstate: You can relax on a lawn chair while your little ones play in the sand atConstitution Yards Beer Garden, now in its third season of pleasing parents who could stand a cold Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA with similar stressed parents. Older kids can amuse themselves in the arcade or play badminton. When you need some activity,Baggoand bocce beckon. Everyone will enjoy fun fare such as chicken tenders, waffle fries and baby back ribs. There is no end of fun, and no better place to catch a cool breeze.

308JustisonSt., Wilmington, 407-5192

Place to Impress Your Snooty New York Foodie Friends

Editors, upstate:Eclipse Bistrois consistently creative and classic at once. Classic:Nicoisesalad. Creative: Breast of duck with belugalentil-favaraguand candied orange. All of it is relaxed. The intimate room is perfect for people watching and the occasional celebrity sighting. (Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir has been known to dine here.)The robust, reasonably priced wine list is pleasing to all palates.• Read more about Eclipse Bistro’s je ne saisquoi.

1020 N. Union St., Wilmington, 658-1588

Place to Impress Your Snooty San Francisco Foodie Friends

Editors, upstate: From the communal table upfront to the vaguely Victorian vibe, everything aboutMerchant Barhas the feeling of a hidden gem in thefoodiestof American food cities. The art on the walls follows a maritime theme. Influences on the menu range from the Mediterranean to Malaysia. May we recommend the crab pad Thai? You’ll be pleased to find lumps of Maryland blue, not the left coast’sDungeness.

426 N. Market St., Wilmington, 543-5574

Place to Pick Crabs All Day Long

Editors, over the line:TheWellwood, playground of U.S. presidents in a previous life, offers the quintessential Eastern Shore experience. Order fat Maryland blue crabs by the dozen, or opt for all you can eat. Dine in the Club Room lounge, or dig your toes in the sand in the outdoor areas while you enjoy live music and a summer breeze off the Northeast River.

523 Water St., Charlestown, Md., (410) 287-6666


Editors, upstate: Few dining experiences have rendered us as speechless as a meal atRamen Kumamoto. The unpretentious eatery produces breathtaking bowls of Japanese ramen with meat and vegetables married in a broth we’re convinced has healing properties. Whatever combination you choose, don’t skimp on the soft-boiled egg.

165. E. Main St., Newark, 733-0888​

Restaurant for a Party

Readers, upstate:Harry’s Savoy Grill

2020NaamansRoad, Wilmington, 475-3000

Restaurant Reboot

Editors, upstate: After nearly 15 years,CaféMezzanottehas freshened up beautifully. One thing thathasn’t changed is the excellent Italian food, from the antipasti of grilled vegetables, aged provolone and prosciutto to theburratato the cioppino and pork Milanese.

1007 N. Orange St., Wilmington, 658-7050

Romantic Atmosphere

Readers, upstate:The Green Room at Hotel du Pont

42 W.11thSt., Wilmington, 594-3154

Rooftop Bar

Editors, upstate: Up a narrow stairway you will find the deck and patio, a hidden treetop sanctuary atBuckley’s Tavern. Furnished with a spacious bar, bistro tables and a second level that gets you a little closer to the stars on a cool, clear evening, it’s the perfect spot for an intimate birthday gathering or your wedding after-party. No matter what the occasion, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world.

5812KennettPike, Wilmington, 656-9776


Readers, upstate:Pizza byElizabethsReadmore about why Pizza byElizabethshas endured.

3801KennettPike, Wilmington, 654-4478


Readers, upstate:Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop

430 Eden Circle, Bear, 832-8132; 1835 Pulaski Hwy., Bear, 838-8898; 120 Lantana Drive,Hockessin, 257-5222; 743 N. Broad St., Middletown, 376-7827; 708 W. Basin Road, New Castle, 322-6797; 230 E. Main St., Newark, 454-0200; 4132Ogletown-StantonRoad, Newark, 533-5132; 2124 Silverside Road, Wilmington, 479-9818; 510 N. Union St., Wilmington, 571-8929; 4522 Kirkwood Hwy., Wilmington, 998-0096


Readers, upstate:Big Fish Grill on the Riverfront

720JustisonSt., Wilmington, 652-3474

Seafood Market

Readers, upstate:Feby’s Fishery

3701 Lancaster Pike, Wilmington, 998-9501

Small Plates

Editors, upstate: Tapas may have yielded to the “small plates” section of so many menus, butOléTapas Lounge & Restaurantstill does them the traditional way, and the scene is better for it. We are crazy for Spanish standards such as braised oxtail andfabadaAsturiana, a stew of white beans and sausages topped with a fried quail egg. There is a variety of artisanal cheeses and cured meats, as well as several paellas. Need we mention the wine list?

1126 Capitol Trail, Newark, 224-9378

Smoked Salmon Bagel not from New York

Editors, upstate: When a craving hits for the sort of sandwich you’d find at an old-fashioned Jewish deli on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, head toMarket Street Bakery & Cafe. Its version layers a generous serving of lox with tomato, cucumber, red onion and fragrant dill cream cheese (an honest-to-goodness game-changer) on the buttery bagel of your choice. If only it were open on weekends.

823 N. Market St., Wilmington, 482-2553

Soul Food

Readers, upstate:Walt’s Flavor Crisp Chicken Express

103 S. Lincoln St., Wilmington, 429-2587

Sports Bar

Readers, upstate:Two Stones Pub

300 Lantana Drive,Hockessin, 239-2200; 2ChesmarPlaza, Newark, 294-1890; 2502FoulkRoad, Wilmington, 439-3231


Readers, upstate:Harry’s Savoy Grill

2020NaamansRoad, Wilmington, 475-3000

Steak and Seafood Together

Editors, upstate:Walter’s Steakhouseholds the title of the oldest steakhouse in Wilmington, but don’t confuse that with outdated. This distinguished establishment still makes our mouths water by sticking to what it does best: juicy steaks and succulent seafood. The prime rib is always on point, the Delmonico is delicious, and the lobster tails are luscious. Dine on Sunday or Thursday to take advantage of the complimentary seafood bar.

802 N. Union St., Wilmington, 652-6780


Readers, upstate:Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop

430 Eden Circle, Bear, 832-8132; 1835 Pulaski Hwy., Bear, 838-8898; 120 Lantana Drive,Hockessin, 257-5222; 743 N. Broad St., Middletown, 376-7827; 708 W. Basin Road, New Castle, 322-6797; 230 E. Main St., Newark, 454-0200; 4132Ogletown-StantonRoad, Newark, 533-5132; 2124 Silverside Road, Wilmington, 479-9818; 510 N. Union St., Wilmington, 571-8929; 4522 Kirkwood Hwy., Wilmington, 998-0096


Readers, upstate:MikimotosAsian Grill & Sushi Bar

1212 Washington St., Wilmington, 656-8638

Taste of the Isles

Editors, upstate: Next time you’re feeling peckish, fill your belly with some genuine British grub.Stoney’s British Pubserves all the U.K. faves, including fish and chips, toad in the hole and a variety of meat pies. (We are partial to the shepherd’s.) Owner Mike Stone says the recipes are his mum’s. You can wash it all down with any of the 50 single malts or 30 varieties of beer. It’s the perfect spot for watching soccer on the telly or listening to live music.

3007 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 477-9740

Taste of the Sea

Editors, upstate: The name may be new, but almost everything else atBanks’ Seafood Kitchen and Raw Barremains exactly as it has been since the former Harry’s Seafood Grill opened 15 years ago—with the addition of burgers and barbecue. You’ll still find a variety of oysters on the raw bar, as well the traditional half-price, half-shell special on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You’ll still find a selection of sashimi andceviche. You’ll still find delicious crab cakes. And you’ll still find chef David Leo Banks at the helm, looking for great new ways to prepare fish and shellfish.

101 S. Market St., Wilmington, 777-1500

Thai Restaurant

Readers, upstate:UbonThai Cuisine

936JustisonSt., Wilmington, 656-1706


Editors, upstate:Tony’s Cafemakes really tasty pizza, but a gigantic slab of tiramisu is the most imperative item on the menu. It gets all the ratios exactly right: a massive mound of heavenlymascarponecream atop espresso-soaked—but not saturated—ladyfingers. (If you’re feeling too full after your meal, take a piece home to enjoy in all its glory later.

366 Possum Park Road, Newark, 737-2411

Traditional Pizza

Readers, upstate:CaféNapoli

4391 Kirkwood Hwy., Wilmington, 999-7553

Vegan-Vegetarian Friendly

Readers, upstate:Home GrownCafé

126 E. Main St., Newark, 266-6993

Editors, over the line: If you’re a vegetarian, there’s no need to limit yourself to a salad atHarvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar. The menu is full offlatbreads, apps such as avocado-artichoke dip and steamed edamame three ways, severalentréesand a veg burger that must be tasted to be believed. Vegetarianism not required for max enjoyment.

549 Wilmington Pike, Glen Mills, (610) 358-1005

Water View Dining

Readers, upstate:Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

620JustisonSt., Wilmington, 472-2739

Way to Finish a Meal

Editors, upstate: As if enjoying one of its signature crab cakes or a savory filetisn’t a sweet enough experience,ValléCucinaItalian Steakhousehas to tempt you with one of its delectable homemade desserts. There is Key lime pie,crèmebrûlée, strawberry-bananacrème, apple crisp, a half-baked cookie and thepiècederésistance—Valle’s version of timeless tiramisu.

4752 Limestone Road, Wilmington, 998-9999


Wine List

Readers, upstate:Domaine Hudson

1314 N. Washington St., Wilmington, 655-9463

Wine Store

Readers, upstate:Kreston’s Wine & Spirits

448 E. Main St., Middletown, 376-6123; 904 Concord Ave., Wilmington, 652-3792



Readers:Pizza byElizabethsReadmore about why Pizza byElizabethshas endured.

3801KennettPike, Wilmington, 654-4478


Readers:Back Burner Restaurant & Tavern

25HockessinCorner,Hockessin, 239-2314


Readers:Cantwell’s Tavern

109 Main St., Odessa, 376-0600

New Castle

Editors: Step insideJessop’s Tavern—a 300-year-old building—that serves some of the best stick-to-your-ribs comfort food (think meatloaf and pot roast). The beer list is chock full of hearty Belgians and local crafts that pair perfectly with the English pub fare, Swedish sauces and old American dishes.

114 Delaware St., New Castle, 322-6111



90 E. Main St., Newark, 738-5811

North Wilmington

Readers:Harry’s Savoy Grill

2020NaamansRoad, Wilmington, 475-3000​​


Readers:Big Fish Grill on the Riverfront

720JustisonSt., Wilmington, 652-3474

Over the State Line

Maryland:Chesapeake Inn Restaurant & Marina

605 Second St., Chesapeake City, (410) 885-2040

Pennsylvania: WonderfulSovanaBistrodeftly walks a lot of fine lines: rustic and contemporary, continental and American, special and casual, local and cosmopolitan. The feelings manifest as grilled wild ramps with foraged mushrooms, pizzas with fiddleheads andbresaola, a roasted filet of beef with morelduxelles, and a wine list to match. We can never get enough.

696UnionvilleRoad,KennettSquare, (610) 444-5600