The Best of Delaware 2009
From crab cakes and cheesesteaks to prime rib and clam bakes, little Delaware is packed with great places to eat and terrific places to shop. Here’s the cream of the crop.
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Best Casual Classic
Critics, upstate: Customers of Del Rose Café know what makes it a classic, and that’s why some eat there four or five days a week. For nearly half a century, the laid-back Trolley Square landmark has been a second home to its regulars, who go for traditional Italian fare such as homemade lasagna. The antipasto is legendary—Del Rose sells 200 to 300 orders a week—in part because the ingredients are combined before they are chopped, fusing their respective flavors. The Del Rose’s second personality comes to life around 10 p.m., when sit-down dining is swapped for drinking and dancing to live bands. The chicken fingers and other late-night menu selections are tough to beat. And for those who tire of the rowdy nightlife at neighboring establishments, Del Rose’s outdoor patio, with its fully loaded bar, is a great place to escape. (1707 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 656-3015)
Critics, downstate: While the rest of Ruddertowne continues to transform, The Rusty Rudder has maintained the formula that makes it a classic: solid American seafood and steak (including a reasonably priced seafood buffet) served indoors or on the deck, a great view of Rehoboth Bay and live music. This Dewey landmark no longer remains open year-round, but during summer, it’s still the place to catch some of the area’s most popular cover bands. Dancing to Love Seed Mama Jump on the deck is pure Dewey tradition. (113 Dickinson St., Dewey Beach, 227-3888)