Marco Rizzo regularly strolls local markets, handpicking ingredients for Ristorante Marco's kitchen. He learned to cherish fresh food as a child, when growing up in a small Italian fishing village meant his family had to grow and harvest much of what they ate on a small farm plot. He also learned from his mother, a chef herself, how good food can bring people together—Marco's house regularly erupted into activity at dinnertime, with conversations and Xbox tournaments carrying well into the night.
Now, at Ristorante Marco, the Italian native draws upon these memories as he crafts the dishes he grew up with, from housemade pastas to seafood. Valuing entertaining as much as he does cooking, Marco relishes chatting with guests and recommending a drink from the restaurant's list of more than 100 wines, including a selection from his hometown, Santa Maria di Castellabate. Such touches earned Ristorante Marco the 2010 Critics' Choice award for Best Upstate Italian Restaurant in Delaware Today.
Tandoori Grill's eclectic menu of halal and kosher delicacies guides diners on a journey through authentic Indian flavors. Vegetable samosas ($2.50) and potato-stuffed aloo naan ($2.50) kick off a palatable dinnertime parade of biryanis confettied with spices ($7–$9) and tandoori-grilled kebabs ($7.95–$9.95). Vegetarians can join in games of tabletop basketball previously reserved for meatball-eaters with the malai kofta, savory spheroids of fried vegetables in a rich curry sauce ($8.95). Weekday lunch specials focus on simple, easily scarfed classics, including a chicken kebab in a naan wrap ($4) and mutton curry with rice ($8). Any heated arguments over the last piece of naan can be cooled by a creamy mango lassi ($3).
The only original business remaining since the New Castle Farmers Market’s 1954 debut, Alex's placates palates with fresh platters off its ocean-raiding menu. Served with signature "sinus clearing cocktail sauce," the freshly shucked clams on the half shell (starting at $1 each) tease noses and thrill tongues like extra-bubbly bubbly. Cheesy crab fries heap cheddar, colby jack, and mozzarella cheeses atop fries garnished with old bay spice and fresh crab meat ($11.95). Fillets of fish ($19.95), from salmon to mahi mahi, sport golden tans from a fryer or the broiled perfumes of seasoned lemon butter, prompting unlucky fishermen to relate the tale of the 7,000 that got away. Land loyalists can allay their consciences with the boneless rib-eye steak and six butterfly shrimp ($34.95).
Each day, fishermen along the Atlantic coast ship the contents of their freshly opened crab cages to the Celtic Crab House. Upon arrival, cooks quickly prepare the crabs for patrons' mallets and mouths with a thorough steaming and seasoning. Glasses of domestic and imported draft beers leave cool rings on tables after washing down plates of sunset-orange dungeness crabs, massive king crabs, and lobster tails. In the kitchen, chefs slice open flounder to stuff them with crabmeat, and battered oysters in hot oil crackle merrily like pamphlets on how to overcome pyromania.
Voted Critics' Choice for Best Burgers in Delaware by Delaware Today three years in a row, Jake's Wayback Burgers is a treasure trove of handmade burgers, house-cut potato chips, and throwback milkshakes. From a single location on Route 273, Jake's exploded across the nation, getting pickles and lettuce all over America's most important monuments. The eatery's hand-dipped shakes and monthly burger specials—such as the Texas Jake burger—can be enjoyed in 10 different states, alongside a menu of 100% beef hot dogs and triceratops-friendly veggie burgers.