Despite being small in population, Dover, Delaware’s capital, is a thriving place, packed with historical spots. But in addition to this cultural heritage, the city also boasts a number of wonderful restaurants and bars. Discover Dover’s best cuisine with our curated list of the city’s top local restaurants, an update of our previous guide.
As the name suggests, 33 West Ale House and Grill is a combination of alehouse and grill, guaranteeing guests a rip-roaring good time. A favourite among Dover locals and out-of-towners, this laidback restaurant serves food that belies its humble appearance. You won’t find any stuffy waiters or floor-length tablecloths here, but you can be sure of quick, friendly service that is sure to cheer anyone up. Staple dishes, such as shrimp and chicken wings, are American classics that also appear on the restaurant’s happy hour. Fancy roast meat? 33 West also has a famous carving station, where seemingly never-ending portions of roast meat are available for hungry diners.
Bar, Restaurant, Vegetarian, Seafood, American, Wine, Beer, Fast Food, $$$
Cool Springs Fish Bar is a restaurant that specialises almost exclusively in fish and seafood dishes. The interior is bright and airy, using vibrant colours and open space to encourage customers in. Starters, such as steamed clams and Bombay spiced shrimp, are perfect appetisers, but the main event is certainly the ‘fish bait’ dish, which showcases the best elements of each starter. The menu also offers such dishes as salmon en papillote, Maryland crab cakes, and stuffed shrimp. For those fancying something different, the honey bourbon salmon is fantastic. There are a few meat and vegetarian options as well.
Fraizer’s is a quiet and calm family-run restaurant with a waterfront patio, located in downtown Dover. The restaurant is decorated simply, with wooden tables (no tablecloths) and ancient fans that keep the dining room lovely and cool during the summer. There is a large selection of dishes available, including main courses with European influences. Choices include a variety of great burgers, steaks, sandwiches and wraps, with specials produced daily to tantalise the taste buds. For those who have room, there are a number of fantastic desserts too.
Delaware was once voted one of America’s most boring states. However, exciting restaurants like Franco’s Pizza & Pasta, which offers a little piece of Italy in the city, is leading the fight back. Serving huge pizzas alongside hearty pasta dishes, Franco’s won’t leave diners hungry. Mood lighting, exposed brickwork and simple furnishings help to create a homely atmosphere. As well as pizza and pasta, Franco’s serves enormous stromboli – the calzone’s big brother, stuffed with all manner of pizza toppings. There are a few less doughy dishes, but not many – the seafood platter is a lighter dish but is still a big serve.
Little Richard’s is a local barbecue joint in downtown Dover, specialising in succulent meats and delectable sides that are indulgent treats, but for everyday consumption. The exterior of the building is ordinary (a small brick shed) – people could easily pass by without realising what was inside. Serving beef brisket, sausage sandwiches, ribs and pulled meats, Little Richard’s has everything a barbecue enthusiast could ever want.
Everyone loves a good Irish pub, and McGlynn’s Pub & Restaurant, first opened in 1983 by Bob Ashby, is as good as any Irish haunt. Located next to Delaware’s Silver Lake, diners can enjoy spectacular views of the calm waters while they indulge on food and drink. One of McGlynn’s most popular dishes is the bourbon roast salmon, which is a delightful combination of smoky, salty fish and sticky sweet bourbon glaze – a real treat for fish lovers. Other dishes include rib eye steak, fried-fish platter, and slow-cooked rack of baby back ribs. The restaurant also features nightly specials, where certain items are half price or come with extras at no additional cost.
Michele’s is an award-winning fine dining restaurant found in the Dover Downs hotel and casino complex. Don’t let the bright lights and loud crowds put you off – Michele’s has a good pedigree and is renowned for the quality of its food and drink. The restaurant itself sits on the hotel’s second floor, and offers great views of the mezzanine lobby below. Specialists in steak, the menu at Michele’s features a number of meaty dishes, as well as surf and turf with lobster tail. Desserts are particularly impressive, with multiple flavours of crème brûlée and mini Baked Alaska proving to be big hits.
The family-run Restaurant 55 is an ode to beer and burgers, and is a must-visit for barbecue enthusiasts. Using a number of high-quality local food suppliers, the burgers are made from the very best ingredients. The restaurant is experimental too: a chicken teriyaki burger, glazed with sticky sauce and a pineapple slice, makes a great alternative to classic beef burgers. For pudding, the team serves up their renowned cupcakes, sweet treats that keep guests coming back time and again. The beer menu changes regularly, with new choices often added.
Afternoon tea is quintessentially English – finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and delicate cakes. Set in a beautiful Victorian-style building, Tea for Two has been carefully designed to look as close to that historical period as possible. The tearoom has 50 varieties of loose-leaf teas, as well as German cakes, pastries, and more. Guests can also choose a number of tea platters, specially combined with a choice of sandwiches and desserts that are designed to complement each other.
A local barbecue joint in downtown Dover, Where Pigs Fly first opened its doors to expectant crowds in 1993, and has been serving classic pork-style barbecue ever since. With the weather in Dover (and Delaware as a whole) fluctuating between seasons, Where Pigs Fly offers a sunny outside porch for dining when it’s warm, and a cosy fireside for cooler times. Lunch specials include a half-rack of baby back ribs, or a quarter of smoked barbecued chicken. There are also a number of pulled-meat platters, involving tender pork, chicken, or classic smoked beef brisket.