Located in downtown Wilmington for more than 15 years, this laid-back pub was named one of the Best Bars in America by Esquire in 2007. Devote the first 100 bites of your administration to an appetizer of irish nachos ($8), which are actually french fries wearing a cunning disguise of chopped bacon, scallions, jalapeños, and shredded cheese. The entrees match the campaign paraphernalia and images of deceased commanders in chief that festoon the restaurant's walls. Teddy Roosevelt groupies can dirty their robust moustaches with the Bull Moose ($12)—a San Juan Hill of roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, dried cranberries, and gravy piled high atop toasted sourdough bread. Otherwise, finish meals in disgrace with the criminally tasty chicken Nixon sandwich ($9)—a blackened chicken breast grilled with bourbon barbecue sauce and topped with bacon and melted cheddar. The presidential debates continue through Sunday brunch (11 a.m.–2 p.m.) with the LBJ french toast ($7.50) versus the Garfield omelette ($7.75).
Jasmine Restaurant’s chefs cull culinary influences from different corners of Asia: the menu catalogs Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese recipes. From the Japanese portion of the menu they prepare sushi and sashimi, crafting specialty rolls such as the Jasmine stuffed with lobster claw, avocado, cucumber, and spicy mayo. They even add a little Latin flair by preparing the Samba roll with salmon, jalapeños, and mozzarella cheese. Along with the sushi, the kitchen team plates korean barbecue short ribs, pad thai, and charbroiled lemongrass chicken to round out the Asian fusion menu. Soothing music accompanies the soft clink of forks and knives as they slice into wok-cooked filet-mignon entrees in the recently renovated dining area. There, wooden tables sit beneath hanging lights, and beaded curtains offer a jangly threshold to another dining area, a lounge, or a parallel universe in which Japanese food is all hamburgers.
Brothers Riyad, Ousamah, Bachar, and Haitham Albaroki draw from years of work at their family restaurant in Fez to transport diners to the Maghreb region with exotic banquets of Moroccan cuisine. The walls and floors set the scene with red, yellow, and green rugs and drapes, and stone vases and receptacles of polished brass evoke images of rustic North Africa. After washing their hands with fragrant rose water, diners take their seats amid a sea of cushions and, on weekends, troupes of dancers regaling the room with flowing movements and metronome impressions. Over the next two hours, guests work through seven courses, which they can complement with honey-drizzled pastries and flavorful wines from Europe, California, and Morocco.
In Vallé Cucina’s kitchen, chefs form fresh jumbo lump crabmeat into thick patties, pan-sear them to a golden-brown hue, and drizzle their crispy crusts with beurre blanc. The eatery’s crab cakes have been hailed by Delaware Today as the city’s best for several years running. Vallé Cucina’s classic Italian entrees are held to the same high standard: chefs hand-roll gnocchi and drizzle them with slow-simmered tomato sauce, and accent dry-aged steaks with elegant flourishes such as peppercorn brandy cream sauce and blue cheese. Servers recommend selections from Vallé Cucina’s vast wine list to enhance steaks or Trevi Fountain reproductions.
In 1940, crowds of people would line up outside Tresilla Robino's front door, all awaiting coveted seats in the tiny dining room she had set up in her basement. Today, Mrs. Robino's great grandson replicates her beguiling Italian recipes and maintains a family business that has thrived for more than 70 years. Cooks place hearty meatballs atop tangles of housemade spaghetti and tuck seasoned meat and creamy ricotta cheese into hand-formed pockets of ravioli. The kitchen staff also breads veal cutlets by hand before topping them off with provolone and red sauce, and dusts sweet cannolis with powdered sugar for clear fingerprinting.
For the past 27 years, a single family has passed Ristorante Attilio from parent to child. Now helmed by the second and third generations, the eatery specializes in housemade pastas shaped into manicotti, linguini, and gnocchi, with gluten-free options available. The hand-crafted noodles come drenched in a choice of sauces, which run the gamut from meat- and clam-infused varieties to meat-free options for pastatarians. Other classic dishes, such as veal parmigiana and the cheesesteak sandwich, round out the kitchen’s offerings, which staffers can infuse with hot peppers or smelt for a burst of Italian flavor.