Real ingredients sourced from neighborhood farms and neighboring waters.
Locally brewed, nationally recognized craft beer on tap.
House-made charcuterie, breads … and scrapple.
The restaurants of Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley reflect the best that MidAtlantic cuisine has to offer, where world-class chefs work with the best products the Mid-Atlantic has to offer to produce food that’s casually elegant, endlessly surprising … and for a fraction of big-city prices.
Five must-visit destinations on your gastronomical tour of Greater Wilmington, Delaware:
Domaine Hudson. Wine lovers can plunge into the deep wine list that OpenTable members voted as the best in the Philly metro area, even if just ordering by the glass – but truly special prizes await on the bottle list. In the kitchen, Chef Dwain Kalup – an alum of Chicago’s Michelin-starred Blackbird Restaruant – creates wonders in his intimate space, with house-made pasta in goat cheese agnolotti (served this winter with smoked walnut milk, tarragon and walnut crumble) and house-cured meats that fill the best charcuterie plate in the state. Sit at the bar and dine with Mixologist John D. Holton, whose Orange Manhattan might tempt you away from the wine list at the start.
La Fia, Merchant Bar and Cocina Lolo. Acclaimed Chef Bryan Sikora took Philadelphia’s BYOB scene by storm in 2001 after opening Django, and in 2009, New York Magazine ranked his Talula’s Table in Kennett Square as the third-hardest reservation in the country (harder even than the French Laundry). Today, Bryan and his wife Andrea Sikora preside over a small restaurant empire on Wilmington’s Market Street: The flagship 35-seat restaurant La Fia (“worth a train trip,” says the Washington Post), the cool cocktail lounge Merchant Bar, and the Mexican-inspired Cocina Lolo, with its life-changing crab guacamole. (Now there’s some Chespaeake-Mexican fusion cuisine for you.)
The House of William and Merry. On Delaware’s north-western border, in the last suburban enclave before rural Pennsylvania, Bill and Merry Hoffman live with their family on the second floor of a century-old farmhouse. Downstairs, The House of William and Merry restaurant has become a dining destination for people seeking bold takes on farm-fresh ingredients – some grown in the herb and vegetable garden that the Hoffmans maintain in the backyard, others from local foragers who know how much Bill prizes local ramps, Fiddleheads and mushrooms, picked fresh in season and served fresh only hours later. For the best cooking show in town, grab a seat at the bar overlooking the open kitchen.
Stone Balloon Ale House. Last year, Chef Robbie beat the Food Network’s Bobby Flay for shrimp scampi superiority on Flay's cooking show challenge. Today, Chef Robbie Jester’s signature scampi remains on the Stone Balloon’s menu today, surrounded by re-imagined comfort foods like venison Salisbury steak and short rib stroganoff. Bar taps offer a quick tour of famed regional breweries -- Dogfish Head, 16 Mile, Yards, Victory – and if you find something special you enjoy, ask to bring some home. Bartenders can package any beer on draught into a can on the spot.
Green Room at the Hotel du Pont. This grand dame of Delaware’s dining scene, the elegant Green Room holds the title as the longest tenured AAA Four Diamond restaurant in the country, earning its rating every single year since AAA began rolling out its ratings for restaurants in 1985. (As the story is told, Prince Rainier III of Monaco rented the romantic Green Room as a quiet setting to dine with Grace Kelly in December of 1955.) Guests at the hotel frequent the restaurant for any meal of the day, after a pre-dinner drink in the small, intimate lounge. Travelers and locals fill the room for its ever-popular Sunday brunches, classically lavish afternoon teas are served daily, and no one leaves without sampling some of the delectable desserts, including the Hotel du Pont's famous macaroons.