Known as ‘the Crossroads of Delmarva’, Salisbury is the biggest city on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and features a varied, vibrant dining scene fit for any self-respecting foodie. We’ve lined up some of the city’s very best food, from traditional Irish fare and modern brewpub eats to sushi and authentic Jamaican cuisine.
Market Street Inn, Salisbury Courtesy Market Street Inn/Photo: Jason J. Martin
Market Street Inn
Restaurant, American, Seafood, $$$
A downtown Salisbury dining institution since 1979, Market Street Inn has changed hands and cuisines many times over its 40-year history. But since 2001 with owner Rob Mulford at the helm, the popular eatery has established itself as the city’s top destination for casual, upscale dining. Opt for signature seafood and steaks like crab cakes with smashed potatoes, salsa fresca and caper aioli or seared ribeye with tomato and herb risotto and onion straws and combine with a selection from Market Street Inn’s extensive wine, martini and beer lists. A delightful deck outback overlooking the Wicomoco River is perfect for a spot of al fresco summertime dining.
Bringing the authentic tastes of Jamaican cuisine to the heart of the Delmarva Peninsula, Reggae Soul Café set up shop in early 2014 and has been enticing diners ever since with its unique, delicious food. Classic Jamaican fare like curry goat, jerk chicken and ackee and saltfish is served alongside Reggae Soul Café’s own creations like its flagship wings, deep-fried and glazed with the restaurant’s secret recipe sauce. The authentic theme extends to its drinks menu too where you can choose from classic Jamaican beverages like sorrel, ginger beer and carrot milk.
Local beer fans will know of Evolution Craft Brewing, the brewery and taproom originally opened in neighboring Delaware by brothers Tom and John Knorr in 2009. But it was a move to Maryland and the later establishment of its Public House that really put Evolution on the dining map. Named Metropolitan Magazine’s Best New Restaurant when it opened in 2012, Evolution’s Public House cooks up creative American pub eats crafted from seasonal, locally sourced produce with standout fare like the duck confit burger (topped with gruyere, rosemary-Dijon aioli, balsamic onion jam and arugula), spicy Virginia clams and artisan charcuterie boards. All which are perfectly paired with one of Evolution’s craft beers.
Voted Metropolitan Magazine’s Best Sushi Restaurant for six years running, Sushi De Kanpai is your best bet for authentic Japanese cuisine when dining out in Salisbury. Located in a smart, cozy space in Salisbury’s Downtown Plaza, the restaurant’s talented chefs prepare a wide range of traditional sushi, sashimi and hosomaki complemented by creative specials like the recent black snapper sushi with radish, asparagus, wasabi tobiko and black olive sauce. Larger sushi entrées are also served alongside locally inspired dishes with a Japanese twist like the crab cake lunch sandwich topped with wasabi tartar sauce.
Don’t let its strip mall location fool you as Cactus Taverna is one of the best restaurants in Salisbury and boasts one of its most multicultural menus to boot. Considering it has kept guests coming back for more than 20 years, it must be doing something right. Broadly speaking, the menu is Mediterranean but guests can expect cuisines as wide-ranging as Greek, Italian, Spanish and Middle Eastern. Select a number of tapas dishes like baked chorizo, spanakopita, smoked eggplant dip to share with friends and larger plates like the traditional paella with shrimp, mussels, scallops, calamari, fish, clams and saffron rice.
For a laidback evening of traditional American pub grub, look no further than Back Street Grill, a restaurant opened by husband and wife duo and local restaurateurs Mark and Leslie Reeve in 2007. It’s the ‘home of the build-your-own sandwich’ and guests can craft their perfect sandwich from a range of breads, meats, cheeses and toppings. The more indecisive diner can opt for one of Back Street Grill’s pre-designed options like turkey Reuben or oyster po’boy. Soups like jambalaya and cream of crab are also served alongside salads and appetizers like quesadillas, sliders and wings.
A hidden gem in the heart of Salisbury, café and bakery Acorn Market is quite possibly the city’s best loved lunchtime spot. Choose from a wide range of sandwiches including the signature Pilgrim (roast turkey, cranberry sauce and lettuce on a homemade stuffing roll) and the Jumpin’ Jack panini (chicken breast, caramelized onions, Monterey Jack and chipotle mayo) or opt for a refreshing salad of lettuce, crisp Gala apples, toasted walnuts, bleu cheese crumbles and homemade honey dressing. Don’t leave without picking up a box of Acorn Market’s famous sweet potato biscuits to take home.
Gourmet pizza meets craft brews at Specific Gravity Pizzeria & Beer Joint, a restaurant opened in 2009. Classic pies like the Greek or the Italian are offered as are inventive specialty pizzas including chicken cheesesteak and shrimp scampi, while each Monday evening, guests can build their own pizzas from a range of toppings for half the regular price. Plenty of Evolution beers are served alongside an ever-evolving list of other American craft brews and the recent addition of a shuffleboard lounge, complete with weekly tournaments, offers further fun for guests.
If hearty, traditional pub grub whets your appetite, The Irish Penny Pub & Grill, a homely, welcoming joint opened by friends Jeff Trivits and Scott Urban in 2012, is the place to head. Classic Irish dishes like shepherd’s pie, Guinness beef stew and boxty are offered alongside more American-edged fare like the angus beef burger topped with crispy bacon, Jameson Irish whiskey BBQ sauce, Dublin cheddar and caramelized onions or the rockfish tacos with mango salsa. Naturally, there’s a great selection of whiskey and beers on tap and traditional Irish folk music sessions take place each Tuesday.
Another restaurant from the successful Knorr brother restaurateurs, Sobo’s Wine Beerstro is a haven for budding wine connoisseurs, beer fans and foodies alike. A progressive wine list of over 100 New World wines is on offer. While a more concise, but nonetheless impressive, beer list showcases craft brews from across the USA with a special emphasis on locally brewed varieties. It’s innovative, contemporary American dishes are crafted to perfectly complement Sobo’s wine and beer with must-try dishes that include beer-braised little neck clams with chipped garlic, Virginia ham and crusty bread and signature angus beef burger with crumbled bleu cheese, bacon and caramelized onions.