The Restaurant Issue: 96 Favorites
In our tiny state, 96 restaurants may seem like a lot, so let’s put this in perspective: The Delaware Restaurant Association counts 1,900 members, everything from pizza joints to Zagat-listed classics. How do we choose 96? Editors considered the atmosphere, novelty, quality of cuisine, reputation, longevity, wine program, service and value at 200 top-tier restaurants (plus a few just over the state line), including past Best of Delaware winners. We didn’t include every neighborhood tavern—we’ll get to them in another issue—nor every neighborhood Italian place. (Find them at www.delawaretoday.com/Delaware-Today/February-2008/Dining-Guide-World-Class/.) Left standing: a diverse roster of places you simply must visit—if you haven’t already.
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Palacio Maya Mexican Restaurant
The Cedillo family built its La Tolteca-La Tonalteca empire on the strength of well executed yet familiar Tex-Mex, and introduced those who dared to authentic regional Mexican with Palacio Maya. From earthy quesadillas de huitlacoche, the sweet-and-savory chiles en nogada and reverence to Gulf shrimp, Palacio Maya creates flavors that go well beyond the norm. 7288 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, 239-5590
Still spicy after all these years, the Union Street original melds Southeast Asian influences—think loads of chilies, garlic, ginger, limes and tamarind—in its chicken, seafood and vegetable dishes. Its pad thai is a longtime favorite, especially for the many chili-heads who order it with maximum heat. The upstairs bar-lounge is a great place to unwind, thanks to a relaxing atmosphere accented with candlelight and original artwork. 837 N. Union St., Wilmington, 652-6633
The Parkway Restaurant
Consistently delicious, The Parkway is an institution in Bethany, the place that started the town down the road of fine dining. Winter brings hearty peppercorn-crusted filets of beef with cognac cream, as well as roasted lamb chops crusted with pecans and rosemary, all drizzled with a demi glace of dried cherries and Shiraz. Summer brings favorites with a twist, such as crab cakes with a sweet chili remoulade. If you like West Coast wines, this is your place. 114 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany Beach, 537-7500
Pickled Pig Pub
Pickled Pig hits that sweet spot all good gastropubs aim for, somewhere between fine dining and fun, atmospheric bar casual. Thank the food, invented by creative chef Michael Stiglitz, and one of the area’s better selections of craft beer. It’s not often you get the chance to pair beer-braised boar cheeks with herbed spaetzle with a pint of North Coast Brother Thelonius Dubbel. 18756 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach, 645-5444
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