Best of Delaware 2010
You told us your favorites. We have a few of our own. Herein, the great big list of winners.
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Best Mediterranean Restaurant
READERS, UPSTATE | Ali Baba Middle Eastern Cuisine
175 E. Main St., Newark, 738-1111
READERS, DOWNSTATE | Café Azafran
109 W. Market St., Lewes, 644-4446
CRITICS, UPSTATE | Olé Tapas Lounge and Restaurant
1126 Capital Trail, Newark, 224-9378
Warm, rustic, utterly authentic tapas make the grade at Olé Tapas Lounge, as do artisinal charcuterie and exhilarating Valencian paella. The common thread is bold Mediterranean flavors, especially those stemming from Spain. See the chorizo gratin, with melty tetilla cheese for more, as well as the bacon-wrapped mission figs with cave-aged cabrales cheese. Buy small glasses of wine to match.
CRITICS, DOWNSTATE | Espuma
28 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-4199
Espuma owner and chef Jay Caputo uses Sussex produce and is committed to preparing farm-to-table cuisine. Two farms in Houston provide organic eggs, while milk and yogurt often come from less than half an hour away. Because Espuma’s menu depends on available produce, its artful dishes vary from season to season. Entrées include paella with shrimp, chicken, chorizo, saffron and mussels. Its Chesapeake crab-stuffed scallion crepe with ruby red grapefruit, cucumber and avocado is another popular choice.
Best Mexican Restaurant
READERS, UPSTATE | La Tolteca
60 N. College Ave., Newark, 737-8220
4015 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 478-9477
1724 W. Newport Pike, Wilmington, 636-9484
READERS, DOWNSTATE | Agave
137 Second St., Lewes, 645-1232
There was major buzz when Agave Mexican Grill opened in 2008. Locals learned that owner Chris McKeown had just returned from Mexico, where he toured 15 distilleries in Jalisco, the center of the tequila industry. As a result, Agave offers 70 varieties, not to mention an impressive list of authentic Mexican fare. The buzz continues.
CRITICS, UPSTATE | Palacio Maya Mexican Restaurant
7288 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, 239-5590
Palacio Maya belongs to the La Tonalteca family, but it seems more like an interesting cousin than a sister restaurant. This is authentic Mexican dining with an upscale feel. The menu includes staples such as chile relleño and chimichangas, but it also offers dishes such as pescado a la Veracruzana: a catfish fillet covered with a sauce of Caribbean chiles, onions, tomatoes, capers and Spanish olives, all served with rice and avocado. The margaritas are unsurpassed.
CRITICS, DOWNSTATE | Mariachi Restaurant & Bar
14 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-0115
Mexican, Spanish and some Peruvian cuisine are served with class at Mariachi, a hotspot with an awesome second-floor deck and food to match. Settle in for a happy hour of half-priced sangria and Spanish tapas such as fried yuca con chicharron with vinegary shredded pork. Being so close to the ocean, seafood is a natural highlight. Try the broiled trout topped with fresh tomatoes, cilantro, red onions and the housemade Peruvian criolla sauce.
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