Eating Out In Wilmington, Delaware

Oliver Griffin

Surrounded by vineyards and the Brandywine Creek, Wilmington’s rural setting belies its cultural prowess: with Delaware’s Art Museum, Grand Opera House and numerous contemporary galleries nearby, the city is a cultural hub to be reckoned with. Dining-wise, Wilmington is no slouch either. Since The Culture Trip last covered the city the culinary scene has developed fast, so we’ve updated our guide to the city’s 10 unmissable eateries.
Venison Tartare | © Nick Webb/Flickr

1. Ulysses

Gastropub, Pub, Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Beer, Wine, Cocktails, Pub Grub

©Bernt Rostad3§
When the hero of Homer’s Odyssey, after whom this restaurant is named, arrived back in his native Ithaca after years of wearisome travel, the first thing he probably wanted to do was to sit back in a cosy chair with some nice hearty grub and a wholesome pint of real ale. Now taking after the classic British gastro-pub (a traditional pub that serves good food along with traditional ales), Ulysses is one of a kind in Wilmington. Think of it as fine dining meets a drink after work with friends: this pub is all about good food, good drink and good company. At Ulysses you can enjoy fine food, but guests won’t have to sacrifice the fun. Now that’s something we all can drink to.

2. Domaine Hudson

Restaurant, American

Love built this restaurant. Well, a marriage. After they tied the knot in 2006, Mike and Beth decided to pursue their lifelong dream and open a restaurant. After a chance meeting with chef Tom Hudson, they trio combined forces and created Domaine Hudson; the restaurant has since taken Wilmington’s dining scene by storm, wooing customers with its top-notch service, thoughtful European menu and, perhaps most impressive of all its palate-pleasing food and wine pairings. If you’re not confident in your wine choices, and many of us aren’t, then in-house sommelier Roger Surpin is on-hand to advise and guide; although if you just fancy a relaxing evening chowing down on poached shrimp, venison tartare and pistachio torte, all washed down with the impeccable house bottles, that will also be delicious.

3. Moro

Restaurant, Italian

Michael DiBianca’s passion for food was evident from an early age: as a boy, he worked on a New Jersey market stall and grew up surrounded by food. Lit up by all things foodie, he went on to New York’s renowned Culinary Institute of America and, from there, finally realised his dream when he opened his own restaurant — Moro, the much-lauded venue set in Wilmington’s historic Trolley Square. Known for high-class cuisine, Moro is ideal for both a romantic date of casual dinner, as DiBianca’s emphasis is firmly on good food, not on formality or fuss; just as it should be.

4. Pizza By Elizabeths

Pizzeria, Restaurant, European, American

At Pizza By Elizabeths, you can be sure of good company. The walls are littered with images of famous historical Elizabeths, including Elizabeth Taylor and Queen Elizabeth II of the UK. Despite specialising in pizza, don’t worry if you’re not in the mood for a big dough pie or thin crust, as this restaurant manages to cater for all caprices. With a capacious menu of more than 60 toppings, including mushroom duxelles sauces, goat’s cheese and rosemary onion sautée, Pizza By Elizabeths manages to plumb new depths in the pizza oceans. ‘This restaurant is something between a dream and a miracle’, to paraphrase Elizabeth Barrett-Browning.

5. Pochi

Restaurant, American, Chilean

There’s one South American country whose culinary culture you don’t often encounter, and that’s Chile. The thinnest country in the world also has some of the meanest restaurant representation in international locales, but no more, not in Wilmington at least. Pochi serves up Chile’s best national cuisine to Delaware’s discerning foodies, drawing flavour influences from Arica, a town at the northern tip of the country in which the rich smoky flavours of nearby Peru collide with the salty freshness of seafood from Chile’s coast.

6. Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

Restaurant, American

The Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant in Delaware takes its name from an important battle in the American Civil war in Delaware State. As a restaurant and brewery, Iron Hill is a purveyor of great food and artisanal craft beer. With friendly staff and home décor, the restaurant has a really relaxed feel that is perfect for dining in. Main dishes include baked eastern shore crab cakes, served with wedges, sweetcorn and mustard sauce, and flat iron steak with onions and peppers and a chipotle lime sauce. Those with a sweet tooth are equally well catered for, with a lemon pie, chocolate torte, and trio of cupcakes being available for dessert.

7. Deep Blue Bar and Grill

Bar, Restaurant, Seafood, American

While steak houses are de rigueur in many countries – and especially America – fish grills are much harder to come by. To that end, Deep Blue Bar and Grill is a much more individual restaurant than people might expect, and the dishes are equally unusual. Starters include classics such as deep fried calamari, served with a creamy aioli sauce, as well as more innovative dishes such as ginger and lime tuna tartare. Moving onto main dishes, the menu expands with lobster risotto, wild Alaskan salmon, and crab ravioli. The restaurant also has a selection of meat dishes for those who don’t like fish.

8. Charcoal Pit

Diner, Restaurant, American

Nothing screams America as much as a traditional American diner. This 1950s offering from the Charcoal Pit is Wilmington’s answer to the diner, with 50s tunes, milkshakes and diner food from an era gone by. The doors first opened in 1956, meaning the Pit has almost been serving food for 60 years, making it a real Wilmington institution. One of the Charcoal Pit’s most famous draws is its selection of fantastic ice cream sundaes. Generous portions of ice cream are crowned with all manner of toppings – hot sauces, whipped cream, fruit and nuts are just a few of the options available, all of which are adaptable to different tastes.

9. Harry’s Savoy Grill and Ballroom

Harry’s Savoy Grill and Ballroom

An ornate establishment at the heart of Glendale, Harry’s Savoy Grill and Ballroom serves fantastically prepared fine dining cuisine. As with most grills, the specialties here are freshly cooked meat and fish dishes, served with an array of sauces and sides, making any dinner completely customisable. Main dishes include pan seared duck breast with figs, chanterelle mushrooms and creamy polenta with a port reduction, and grilled swordfish with a mango and peach relish. Grill items are equally impressive, with a huge selection of steaks and shellfish for guests to choose between. Portions are large and rich, so be prepared to be full after eating – wear your baggy trousers.
Harry’s Savoy Grill and Ballroom, 2020 Naamans Rd, Wilmington, DE, USA, +1 302 475 3000

10. Lucky’s Coffee Shop

Cafe, American

A self-described Delaware dining institution, Lucky’s Coffee Shop serves great food and hot cups of Joe (that’s coffee, to non-native speakers) to tourists and Wilmington residents alike. Breakfast dishes include huevos rancheros, fried eggs with potatoes, beans and salsa, French toast, and Monte Cristo (which is French toast with extra bacon and sausages). Moving into dinner, Lucky’s opens up with classics such as meatloaf, British-style fish and chips, and pot-roasted beef. Coffee is also a major part of Lucky’s, with the café serving fantastic artisan-roasted Pike Creek Coffee Roasterie – an excellent addition to breakfast, or perfect way to finish off a meal.

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