From upscale eateries to dockside cafes, dining in southern Delaware is truly a culinary adventure. The art of food has been and continues to be an important tradition here, and it’s apparent that area chefs take pride in their delicious creations using straight-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables and freshly-caught seafood right from Delaware’s shores.
From Rehoboth Beach to Fenwick Island, you’ll find a wide variety of restaurants, including chef-owned and -operated bistros inventing uniquely appetizing menus to family-owned eateries preparing locally-sourced favorites.
Fresh veggies from the many farms on the Delmarva Peninsula are paired with fresh catches, enticing meats and other delectable entrees to make a locally-sourced meal you’re sure to love. Delaware has two-and-a-half counties on the Peninsula—Kent and Sussex—making up nearly 80 percent of the state’s land, and fresh veggies can be found here year-round.
Springtime brings favorites such as asparagus, parsnips and different types of leafy, green lettuces. The abundance of summer’s bounty provides juicy tomatoes, red raspberries, sweet peaches and varieties of squash. Restaurant menus are still filled with local ingredients during the fall and winter including pumpkins, winter squash, turnips, leeks, Brussels sprouts and beets. Look for these items prepared any number of creative ways at some of the fabulous restaurants along the Delaware Beaches.
Many local restaurants focus on local flavors, such as the famous Chesapeake blue crabs available April through December. You’ll see these popular seafood staples prepared different ways from battered and fried to steamed and served with a piping hot bowl of melted butter. Sometimes chefs will use these sweet, succulent chunks of blue crab meat to form perfectly shaped crab cakes, often prepared with little filler and topped with spicy remoulade or sweet tartar sauce.
Other seafood favorites found along the Delaware Beaches are the deliciously moist rockfish, tasty tautog and flaky and delicate flounder available at different times throughout the year. If you familiarize yourself with the types of seafood available in the region during certain times of the year, you’ll benefit by getting the freshest, tastiest seafood. You’ll also be giving back to the local harvesters in the area, which preserve this long-time fishing tradition.
High-End Meat Eats
Of course, there are plenty of options besides seafood at the many restaurants here. Meat is always in season, but there’s a lot more to it than your average beach burgers. Here in Delaware, chefs perform some of their wildest experimentations, and the results are always extraordinary. Menus boast offerings such as slow-roasted pork belly with braised fennel, bacon-wrapped quail stuffed with goat cheese, roasted prime rib and grass-fed burgers topped with foie gras.
If you’re in the mood for a succulent steak, you’ll notice that many eateries here take pride in this one menu item. Chefs often highlight their juicy steaks and take great care in preparing a tender and flavorful steak cooked just to your liking.
Cosmopolitan Dining in the Delaware Beaches
Restaurants in the Delaware Beaches have been attracting loads of media attention, as area restaurants have expanded beyond the typical beach resort establishments to creative and gourmet eateries. You’ll still find the classic mom-and-pop diners, as well as beach food favorites, seafood dishes and a unique atmosphere.
Added to the mix are cosmopolitan eateries with fusion cuisine, international restaurants and chef-owned eateries with changing menus using the best of local flavors. The farm-to-table, or in some cases the tide-to-table movement, is taking over the mindset of many area chefs as the need for building community, not to mention, obtaining great tasting food.
Dining Al Fresco
Start your morning off on the patio of a locally-owned breakfast and coffee shop and end it with a delicious meal and cold beverage at one of the several waterfront restaurants in the area. Delaware Beaches are a host to casual dining, family-friendly eateries—all with plenty of outdoor seating.
What makes the fresh and local food in Delaware Beaches all the more enjoyable is where you enjoy your meal. There are dozens of outdoor places to dine throughout the area, whether you are vacationing in Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island, Dewey Beach or Lewes.
After dinner, the town continues to sizzle with nightly concerts by the beach and popular downtown hotspots. Many also head to nearby Dewey Beach for a night out on the town. Dewey, a more casual and smaller version of Rehoboth, features many popular restaurants and bars that attract crowds into the wee hours.
Of course, you will find a plethora of seafood restaurants that are traditional or in a buffet-style where you can indulge in your favorite seafood dish. There are a variety of non-seafood restaurants in the area as well. From delis and pizzerias to authentic Mexican and barbeque, you won’t have trouble finding a place to eat that the whole family will agree upon.
If you’d rather eat at home or are having dinner on the beach one night, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes offering carry out so you can avoid the wait and pick up your meals to-go. Or head over to Bethany Beach to visit the local butcher’s shop where you can order hand-cut steaks and other high-quality meats for a fun cookout with family and friends.
No matter what you choose to take on the go, you are sure to love the variety of delicious dining options while in Delaware Beaches.
Don’t Forget Dessert
Finish off your meal with a tasty dessert at one of the local bakeries, ice cream or frozen yogurt shops where you will find plenty of treats made with fresh and local products satisfy your sweet tooth.
Whether you’re craving fresh-from-the-shores seafood, a piping hot pizza or a little sweet treat, you’re sure to find all this and more inside the superior restaurants in Delaware Beaches. So, indulge a little and enjoy a meal that you’ll remember forever.