Gilligan’s Waterfront Restaurant & Bar | Lewes
For waterside dining, few spots equal Gilligan’s, a restaurant crafted from an old Key West fishing boat with a canal-front deck built around shady trees. But so do chef/owner Cheryl Tilton’s award-winning crab cakes—8-ounce softball-esque orbs of jumbo lump that are dusted with panko and flash-fried. Have your cake on a specialty salad (add $15), on a Kaiser roll ($18) or, after 4 p.m., as an entrée ($25) with mashed potatoes and asparagus. (If you opt for the sandwich, order a side of crispy sweet potato or regular fries for the table. The portion is big enough to share.). 134 Market St., Lewes, 644-7230, gilliganswaterfront.com.
Irish Eyes | Lewes
Irish Eyes has Gaelic roots, but it’s clearly embraced its waterfront location in Lewes, where it’s survived—and risen from the ashes of two fires—since 1986. The menu embraces crab with items like soft pretzels topped with crab dip and cheese, and even crab bruschetta. The crab-cake sandwich, “Kelly’s Ketch” ($15), is a mix of backfin and super lump, broiled, then perched on a brioche with lettuce and tomato. (A small amount of panko keeps it all together.) The dinner entrée includes two crab cakes served with rice, fresh vegetables and lemon-caper aïoli ($25). Sit on the porch to watch the boats glide along the canal. 213 Anglers Road, Lewes, 645-6888, irisheyespub.com.
Jerry’s Seafood | Lewes
It’s easy to spot Jerry’s specialty: A red crab flashes a grin on the sign that hangs on Second Street. And the dining room is appropriately dressed in nautical blue. Jerry’s is “home of the Crab Bomb,” 10 ounces of jumbo lump baked and seasoned with Old Bay, and the “Firecracker Bomb,” which is rolled in dry mustard and cracked black peppercorns. (Both are $34; a six-ounce version is $28.) The regular crab cakes are a manageable 4 ounces. Get one on a sandwich ($16) or a pair as an entrée ($29) with addictive deep-fried potato wedges and a novel veggie slaw that, on our visit, included zucchini. 108 Second St., Lewes, 645-6611, jerrys-seafood.com.
Striper Bites | Lewes
Panko breadcrumbs make a crisp difference in the 4-ounce super-lump crab cakes at this landmark gathering spot for locals and tourists. The sandwich ($15) features one patty with lettuce and tomato on a potato roll with rémoulade on the side. The entrée ($27) has two 4-ounce cakes plus mashed potatoes and the veggie of the day. If your appetite allows, try the sherry-laced crab bisque ($8), a creamy, decadent soup made with a guarded recipe. We also love the spinach salad ($10) with feta and Granny Smith apples, especially when you top it with a crab cake for an extra $9. In warm weather, take a seat on the patio for a leisurely meal. 107 Savannah Road, Lewes, 645-4657, striperbites.com.