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.
One glance at the Volcano roll and you know why it was bestowed with such a name. Clusters of fried tuna, crabmeat, and cucumber form a pyramid with bright red roe at its peak and spicy sauce oozing down the sides. This isn’t the only creative endeavor of Kenny's Pan Asian Cuisine & Sushi Bar. Each of the eatery’s Chinese, Thai, and Japanese meals seems to be transformed into visually enticing masterpieces. Even, the spicy mama pizza—which consists of a tortilla-chip base laden with tuna and a latticework of sauces—looks like, well, a pizza.
But the masterminds behind Kenny’s menu don’t just stop there. Inside the contemporary restaurant, a black-topped bar sidles alongside high-backed bar chairs and dining-room tables receive a backdrop of rich, red and golden-orange walls. Modern metal sculptures, affixed with sporadically positioned lights, cast luminous glows across indulging diners as Asian-inspired paintings provide a solid canvas for creating midmeal shadow puppets.
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.
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).