Almost nobody hears the phrase “world-class restaurants” and immediately think of Wilmington, Delaware. But that’s not true of many of the residents in this small port city. Sure, it may have only about 70,000 residents, and for lots of people in the US, that’s basically a small town. But this is one small town where the restaurants can compare with the rest of the world.
If you’re visiting Wilmington or you actually live here, then do yourself a huge favor and visit the following eateries:
Ristorante Attilio, 1900 Lancaster Ave, Wilmington
This is a family-owned Italian restaurant that you can find near Union Park Gardens. They use recipes here that have been handed down through generations, and they never cut corners here especially with the fresh ingredients.
Drop by here for lunch or dinner, and try the spaghetti. This isn’t your ordinary restaurant spaghetti, because the sauce is so tasty and fresh it’s almost magical. And the veal parmigiana is excellent as well.
Eclipse Bistro, 1020 N Union St, Wilmington
This is in the Little Italy part of town, and the overriding principle here is of simplicity and honesty. The atmosphere is quite inviting, and the food presentation is certainly outstanding.
For first time visitors, one must-order item is the Cream of Cauliflower. This is one fantastic start to the meal. One surprising favorite here is the Seared Scallops—it’s great, especially when you factor in that this place doesn’t really specialize in seafood at all.
Big Fish Grill on the Riverfront
Now if you’re looking for superb seafood, Big Fish Grill is a solid choice. The place offers a lively atmosphere, and you enjoy your food with a great view of the river. Try to get outdoor seating if you can, though this is only available on a first-come-first-serve basis. So, come early.
Maybe the food can get you here early, as it’s certainly good. You really don’t want to be late. The Linguini Seafood Pasta is fantastic, and you should also get a taste of the Lobster Parmesan and Calamari. There’s a raw bar here as well.
Del Pez Mexican Gastropub, 400 Justison St, Wilmington
There are some people who stoutly maintain that any city doesn’t deserve to be called a city at all if it doesn’t have decent Mexican food. And no, the Hooters Burrito doesn’t count.
This place certainly qualifies, though you do get that traditional vibe of an old-fashioned pub. It offers a festive atmosphere that makes for a good date setting, though it’s also a perfect place to just hang out with your friends.
Unlike most pubs, you do get a Del Pez Mexican menu that focuses on Mexican and Latin American flavors. Start the evening off with some crab quesadilla, along with a margarita or a craft beer, and you’ll have fun in no time. Just follow that up with the Blackened Chicken Sandwich and the churros.
Kid Shelleen’s Charcoal House & Saloon, 1801 W 14th St, Wilmington
This place has received a lot of “Best of Delaware” awards for its classic American dishes, so you know your tastes buds are in for a great time. The atmosphere is relaxed and cool, and it’s a great place to gather with family and friends. There’s an open grill and an open bar, along with an outdoor patio. And you have lots of TVs scattered around, in case you’re worried about missing the game.
Get Shelleen’s Nachos, as they’re widely regarded as the best in the city. All the ingredients are fresh, and the sauces are all made from scratch. If you’re here for lunch, then go ahead and order the French Onion Au Gratin and the Chili Lime Shrimp salad.