Can you eat at every great restaurant in Southern Delaware in one long weekend? No, but I almost died trying. Take it from me, it’s a great way to go.
I often write about outdoor recreation and adventure along with my normal travel articles, but recently I've been trying a new style adventure - that is food adventure. With roadtrips to the south and the eastern seaboards recently, I've been discovering so much good food that it seemed to be a shame not to clue you in on some of these gems.
I'd suggest printing this article, and filing it in your travel file so you'll remember these names next time you head to Southern Delaware. In no particular order, here are some great finds from my last trip.
Eating Rehoboth Technically, this isn't an eatery, but it was an adventure. Show up in Rehoboth Beach and Paul and Bob will lead you to five or six local eateries. You won't know where you are going until you get there, but everywhere we went was top notch. Great conversation along the way as well.
Spice and Tea Exchange When the vacation is over and you're back in your kitchen, you'll enjoy the spices and herbs available from here. They also have a great selection of teas, sugars and oils. Samples available. Sniffing is suggested.
Another thing worth mentioning before we start with the individual eateries is the upcoming Midatlantic Wine + Food Festival 2014. For one amazing weekend, you’ll have the opportunity to pick from 50 top notch dinners, 23 learning courses put on by 90 world renowned chefs and 20 winemakers. More details here if you aren’t too late.
So let’s get to some specific great places to dine:
Nage This casual bistro is a Rehoboth Beach classic, serving creative food without the attitude for ten years now. The Chesapeake Crab Cake comes with a tomato jam, asparagus and the most wonderful sweet corn succotash I've ever had anywhere. Gotta try it.
Mariachis Fine authentic Spanish & Mexican cuisine just off the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach. The upstairs porch is the holy grail of table locations if you can get it. Try their pupusas and spicy cole slaw for some real authentic Mexican tastes. They also make a great Sangria.
Espuma Restaurant & Martini Bar In their 11th season now, menus rarely repeat themselves, so each visit will delight with northern Meditteranean cuisine and artfully matched wines. Their scallops were to die for and they do a 72-hour bacon that's worth a try when it's available. Spanish wines are a specialty.
Abbott's on Broad Creek
Abbotts on Broad Creek Away from the crowds at the beach, this hidden gem in Laurel, Delaware features "familiar foods" done amazingly well. Their Crispy Rainbow Trout with watercress, jalapeno, radish and mint might be the most phenomenal fish I've ever had anywhere. Just incredible.
Just Hooked A farm and ocean to table restaurant in Fenwick Island, this bright, cheery space does a terrific job making simple taste superb. Try their grilled salmon blt for a taste treat served on sourdough bread and accompanied by pesto fries. Add a craft beer and you'll be happy all afternoon.
Lupo di Mare
Lupo di Mare One of seven restaurants operated by Matt Haley, James Beard Humanitarian of the Year 2014 award winner. To heighten the enjoyment of this fabulous Italian cuisine, be sure to try a bottle of their Prosecco Treviso extra dry sparkling wine. Located in the Hotel Rehoboth. Fabulousosso!
Bramble & Brine
Bramble & Brine Joe & Megan have created a wonderful restaurant that feels very homelike. Seats only 55. The classic menu and nostalgic northern Italian cuisine is fine dining for a special evening. If Rob is behind the bar, be sure to try one of his killer Strawberry Rhubard Martinis.
JD's Cafe on Savannah
JD's Cafe on Savannah This breakfast and lunch restaurant is just a short stroll from downtown Lewes and is worth the walk for a big morning breakfast. My huge omelet was delicious and kept me full til mid-afternoon. Formerly known as JD's Filling Station it still has a fun atmosphere with its auto motive.
Semra's Mediterranean Grill
Semra's Mediterranean Grill is also on Wilmington Avenue in Rehoboth Beach. Semra hails from Turkey and specializes in Turkish and Greek dishes with a perfect blend of spices. Their Grilled Kofte Lamb Kabobs were fabulous and they also come with beef.
Striper Bites Right in downtown Lewes, this is a nautical feast for the eyes as well as the palette. Inside and outside seating is available. Try the fish tacos before spending an afternoon shopping the historical district right across the street.