Delaware has a great deal of versatility. It's a state that sports acres of lush foliage amidst miles of urban scenery. It's a place where all four seasons show their colors. For some, it's a walk in the park. For others it's a boat ride into the city, and for foodies, it's an open cornucopia bursting with unexpected flavor.
From the standard to the obscure, from the Zagat-rated to the locally-favorited, here's a look at Delaware's top 14 restaurants.
This Zagat-rated eatery is situated right along the border between Pennsylvania and Delaware, making it an optimal choice if you happen to be visiting either state. They serve up a fine sampling of five-star fare and have been doing so since the early '90s. Harry's is a tried and true staple of the Wilmington community, nestled unassumingly along the busy side streets of Naamans Road. All of its subsidiaries, including Harry's Savoy Ballroom and Kid Shelleen's Branmar Plaza, are locally-acclaimed and award winning year after year.
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill is quickly becoming a local favorite and has even reached No. 1 on Newark's TripAdvisor rating page. This fabulous, somewhat new steakhouse features several Delaware locations and all of them are equally scrumptious. The herb encrusted, slow roasted prime rib entrée combined with the minimalistic modern interior make for a great upscale evening at an affordable price.
If you like lazing, live music, craft brews and a backyard menu to coincide, then you'll love a trip to the Crooked Hammock Brewery. Located in Lewes, as part of La Vida Hospitality Group, this laid-back brewery has everything you could ask for on a lazy Sunday afternoon. You can even order it on a Tuesday. The Crooked Hammock happily hosts a wide variety of community-inspired events while serving up a delectable menu of backyard favorites like chicken kebabs and slow cooked short ribs.
President Barack Obama may have been quoted as stating that Five Guy's was his favorite burger joint but yours truly caught him chowing down at none other than Delaware's legendary Charcoal Pit not too long ago. Nobody can blame him. Their burgers and shakes are simply out of this world and the casual atmosphere puts us right where American cuisine belongs, in a stress-free location where good friends, good conversation and a good shake are all you need to have a great time.
Farm-to-table eating takes a seat by the sea in Rehoboth Beach Delaware at Salt Air, an aptly named oceanfront eatery serving locally grown food. Their menu is seasonal and therefore conditioned to change but we find there's always something savory and sweet here. It's definitely worth reserving a table, especially if you have yet to experience Delaware's fast-growing farm fresh movement. This is a seat at the kitchen table of Delaware's restaurant future.
If you're a fan of Asian fusion cuisine, particularly Chinese and Japanese, you won't want to miss Hunan. This Wilmington exclusive restaurant that has been a hit with the locals for years. They serve fresh, MSG-free favorites like crispy duck and General Tso's chicken, but they also have their own flavor with seasonal house specials spicing up the menu all the time. This restaurant is an excellent pick if you have allergies or dietary specific needs. They have vegan and gluten-free options available and the ornate semblance of the restaurant makes it a charming, however hidden, gem.
Speaking of hidden gems, if you're on your way to visit any of Delaware's sandy beaches, this roadside restaurant should be on your map of pit stops. Meding's is a local favorite serving up a whole lot of surf and a little bit of turf. This uniquely decorated restaurant could easily be mistaken for a grocery store but you'll never be able to miss the gold encrusted windmill situated out front. Out-of-towners are urged to sample their crab daddy, a cheese covered crab melt topped with a certified Angus burger and accompanied by their famous French fries.
As proof that Delaware can go from burger to buffet to high class at the turn of a fork, The Cultured Pearl takes a well-earned spot on our coveted list. Awe-inspiring oceanfront views combined with rooftop seating, a shimmering koi pond and a sushi bar that's won best of Delaware 20 years in a row make a seat at this eatery one of life's little treasures.
There's always room for pizza and when in Delaware, Grotto has the secret sauce. Their pies are baked to perfection and finger licking all the way down to the last slice. Grotto has set up shop in virtually every corner of Delaware state so finding one shouldn't pose a challenge no matter where you are on the map. Cheese lovers might want to order extra cheese as this pizza is designed to showcase their elaborate sauce.
Middle eastern fare is featured in an ideal setting here at Ali Baba Restaurant in Newark, Delaware. Enjoy thematic amenities like belly dancing and a hookah lounge in addition to the fabulous Moroccan-inspired dishes. The ambience alone is enough to ignite inside you a passion for international cuisine.
This award-winning riverfront attraction is famous, not just for their beer, but also for their ambience, their tasty eats and their calendar that's ever brimming with family-friendly events. If you're a fan of local brews, local entertainment and comfort food and you're already on your way to the Christina Riverfront, you can't go wrong by pulling up a chair at the now famous Iron Hill Brewery. Their unique take on architecture is pleasing to the eye and their all American cuisine goes down like a favorite out of grandma's kitchen.
This is definitely Delaware's unofficial go-to meeting center. Its upscale semblance, when paired with a soothing glass of something from behind the counter and a sizzling slice of steak, is a Delaware community classic. Sullivan's Steakhouse comes highly recommended. Their penchant for turning out picture-perfect entrées while providing a sophisticated atmosphere for patrons has kept them on the corner of Concord Pike in Wilmington for decades.
If you have a love for unique and a taste for Mexican food, you'll find both in Newark, Delaware. Simply drive down Christiana Road and look for the big sign that says eat. At Newark's acclaimed Border Café, you'll find authentic Mexican cuisine in a setting that looks and feels like you really are at the south of the border. We suggest the crawfish and cornbread.
Another farm-to-table favorite comes to Delaware, this time to breezy Fenwick Island, an ocean getaway worth diving into. At Just Hooked, patrons get the opportunity to enjoy fresh from the hook fish, which, of course, is the sinker. Locals suggest topping it off with a scoop of sea salted coffee ice cream to optimize the nautical experience.
Delaware has a few tasty tricks up its sleeves in the way of eateries so this list had quite a few close calls. Also noteworthy is Delaware's eclectic food festival scene, so be on the lookout for bake offs and chef's specials when stopping past.