cedarrapidslunch Photo by Karen Rice via Flickr Creative Commons

No trip to Delaware would be complete without a couple of meals based around fresh crabs from Chesapeake Bay. The state is also famous for its chicken, often fried, and special seasonal seafood like rockfish and roe shad. Throughout Delaware, the dining scene is casual, especially at the eateries along the coast. Dinners are consumed fairly early and the nightlife is notably muted though by no means dull. Overall, food and drink in Delaware are affordable given the quality of the goods.

Bars and Pubbing in Delaware

Delaware’s vibrant city of Wilmington is the center of performing arts and has a fairly good bar scene. For such a small state, the quality of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, Opera Delaware, and DuPont Theater are impressive. Wilmington’s Grand Opera House (818 N. Market Street, Wilmington) is a spectacular venue for whatever is playing, with plenty of rock bands and jazz to go with the ballet, opera, and chamber music. Dravo Plaza (Riverfront, Wilmington) along the riverfront is another great venue during the summer concert season. But overall, the Wilmington nightlife scene is pretty mellow. Check out Mojo13 (1706 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington) for live bands.

The only real nightlife you’ll find along the Delaware coast is in the neighboring beach towns of Dewey and Rehoboth. In Rehoboth, an essential stop is the famous Dogfish Head Brews and Eats (320 Rehoboth Ave, Rehoboth Beach), one of America’s leading craft breweries. Irish Eyes (52 Rehoboth Ave, Rehoboth Beach) is good for weekend DJ music and live sports during the season.

Dewey Beach has even more options, catering to a young party-hungry crowd. Between the Bottle & Cork (1807 Highway 1, Dewey Beach) and the Rusty Rudder (113 Dickinson Street, Dewey Beach), bar visitors will find great live music, outdoor parties in summer, and other events designed to create magical moments. Last call is usually at 1:00 a.m. or earlier in Delaware if it’s a mellow drinking establishment.

Dining and Cuisine in Delaware

Food in Delaware is by and large a casual endeavor. The only restaurants that even come close to the jacket and tie category are in the charming town of Wilmington, such as the Green Room (Hotel DuPont, 11th and Market streets, Wilmington), the state’s top restaurant. Another Wilmington institution not to be missed is Krazy Kat’s (Inn at Montchanin Village, Route 100 and Kirk Road, Wilmington), with its fantastic New American meals in a cozy, candlelit dining room.

All five of Delaware’s beach towns have a great selection of restaurants, particularly seafood restaurants. Rehoboth has two branches of the noisy, bustling Jake’s Seafood House (29 Baltimore Ave, Rehoboth Beach) because it’s so popular. At any seafood locale, be sure to try anything with crab, as the nearby Chesapeake Bay is arguably home to the worlds finest. Nage (19730 Coastal Highway, Rehoboth Beach) raises the bar a bit, with its high-end fish and New American cuisine.

Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island also have plenty of affordable, unpretentious dining spots, both on the water and in town. Bayside Harpoon Hanna’s (142nd Street, Fenwick Island) is a huge place but still manages long waits for a table in summer. Its sunset views are lovely, the seafood fresh, and reservations are not accepted so come early to claim a prime window table. Sedona (26 Pennsylvania Ave, Bethany Beach) is a posh café with a slick interior that goes well its creative New American menu.

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