12 Best Restaurants in Dover, Delaware

Last Updated on March 2, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Dover is the capital and second-largest city in Delaware. Known for its rich history as one of the oldest cities in the state, Dover also boasts a vibrant dining scene with various cuisines to explore. From farm-to-table New American cuisine to authentic Italian joints, the city offers delicious flavors for all tastes and budgets.

To discover the top dining destinations in Dover, we compiled this list of the 12 best restaurants that you must visit on your next trip. Our selections were based on consistent rave reviews, awards and accolades, as well as recommendations from locals and visitors. From upscale fine dining to hidden gem ethnic eateries, read on for the most mouthwatering restaurants that capture Dover’s eclectic culinary landscape.

Fire & Ice Grill

If you’re looking for a contemporary twist on classic American cuisine paired with handcrafted cocktails, make a reservation at Fire & Ice Grill. Located in a restored 1930s home in downtown Dover, the warm and intimate ambience matched with tantalizing flavors makes Fire & Ice a favored special occasion venue.

Start your meal with their signature Fire & Ice Salad with mixed greens, strawberries, spiced pecans and goat cheese tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. For your main course, favorites include the herb crusted rack of lamb served with rosemary mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus as well as the pan seared scallops with mushroom risotto and truffle oil.

And save room for the housemade desserts like the crème brûlée cheesecake or the warm chocolate lava cake.

The Golden Fleece Tavern

Travel back in time to 18th century Delaware at The Golden Fleece Tavern, housed within the recreated Colonial-era Johnson Victualing House. Expertly prepared tavern fare includes favorites like shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, bangers and mash, and ploughman’s lunch featuring local cheeses, handmade sausages and crusty bread.

For a unique experience, try the spit roast menu items that are slowly cooked over an open fire, such as the prime rib of beef and whole roast chicken served with herb roasted potatoes, seasonal vegetables and pan gravies.

And be sure to pair your meal with a pint or two of their British and domestic ales, lagers and hard ciders on tap. With costumed servers, candles illuminating dark wood interior and fires flickering in hearths, The Golden Fleece transports you to 18th century Dover.

Rosebud Lounge

For live jazz performances with inventive eats and signature martinis, make your way to the sultry and stylish Rosebud Lounge nestled within the historic Reed House. Their eclectic small plates shine, like the drunken mussels steamed in beer, garlic, tomatoes and fresh herbs or the mixed green salad with dried Michigan cherries, candied pecans and juicy pears tossed in a cherry ginger vinaigrette.

More hearty options include classics like Angus beef sliders stacked high with caramelized onions and smoky bacon alongside crispy fries or linguine tossed with plump shrimp, calamari, clams and spicy tomato-herb brodino.

And complete your evening of jazz lounging by sipping your way through their extensive martini list, such as thecherrypy martini with bourbon vanilla vodka, Door County Michigan Montmorency cherries and tart cherry juice. With live entertainment nightly, impeccable service and a stylish atmosphere, you’ll want to dress your best for an evening out at Rosebud.

Agave Mexican Restaurant

For freshly prepared Mexican cuisine crafted with locally sourced ingredients, Agave Mexican Restaurant consistently delights taste buds with every visit. Start with their homemade guacamole, made right at your tableside, with warm chips and spicy salsa for dipping. Or try the perfectly fried and seasoned chicken wings with your choice of chili lime sauce, mole or mango habanero glaze.

Favorites for your main course include the sizzling fajitas overflowing with onions, bell peppers and your choice of grilled steak, chicken or shrimp. You also can’t go wrong with the Yucatan Cochinita Pibil with achiote and orange marinated pork shoulder roasted until fork tender and topped with their signature habanero onion relish.

And satisfied your sweet tooth with one of their rich flan offerings like coconut, chocolate or classic Mexican vanilla custard. With colorful decor, excellent service and top-notch tequila and mezcal cocktails, Agave brings authentic and flavorful Mexican cuisine to Dover.

The Mad Hatter Restaurant

For an enchanting dinner party inspired experience, don a whimsical hat and nosh on artfully plated dishes at The Mad Hatter Restaurant. Nestled within the historic Hartly Mansion, this AAA Four Diamond restaurant delights with both its fanciful Alice in Wonderland inspired ambience and their seasonally inspired modern American cuisine.

Start your meal with their signature Mad Tea with savory blue crab fritters, smoked salmon, cremini mushroom bruschetta and strawberry salad paired beautifully with a steaming pot of tea, of course. For your main course, seared diver scallops sit perfectly atop a savory parsnip silk gnocchi, asparagus, sweet corn, baby carrots, peas and mushrooms for bright spring flavors.

Or the crispy Amish chicken breast brings comforting flavors with purple potato mousseline, haricot vert, oyster mushrooms and a vibrant heirloom carrot ginger emulsion. And save room for the marvelous desserts like their housemade marshmallows or the bittersweet chocolate silk purse filled with chocolate mousse, fresh raspberries and chocolate shavings.

With whimsical decor and scrumptious upscale dining, make a reservation at The Mad Hatter for your next special occasion.

The Grey Fox Grille & Public House

For elevated tavern fare in a relaxed pub atmosphere, locals and visitors alike flock to The Grey Fox Grille & Public House. Housed within a renovated 1930s bank building, the soaring ceilings, crystal chandeliers and vintage artifacts make this downtown hot spot an intriguing venue for a tasty meal.

Start with shareable nibbles like the signature bacon and leek potato cakes served with sour cream and snappy scallion or the mammoth Bavarian pretzel sticks served with warm beer cheese fondue dip. For your main course, the Low Country shrimp and grits brings Southern flavors to Dover with andouille sausage, bell peppers and sweet corn sauce over creamy grits and seared shrimp.

Another favorite is the hearty Fox burger piled high with sautéed mushrooms, crispy onions, Vermont cheddar and applewood smoked bacon all stacked on a fresh kaise​r roll. And be sure to pair your meal with one of their 30+ craft and import beers on tap featuring many Delaware breweries. With exposed brick walls, repurposed vintage decor and tasty upscale pub grub, The Grey Fox brings a trendy urban dining and drinking experience to historic downtown Dover.

Sammy’s Kitchen

For some of Dover’s most mouthwatering homestyle Mexican food served up fresh and fast, make your way to Sammy’s Kitchen. This counter-serve eatery started out as a food truck before moving into a brick and mortar location due to its overwhelming popularity.

You’ll be immediately overwhelmed with tempting aromas when you step inside to place your order, as flavorful proteins like perfectly marinated carne asada steak, crisp carnitas, spiced chicharrones and smoky Mexican chorizo sizzle away on the flattop grill.

Build your own combo plate with your choice of protein paired with cilantro lime rice, charro beans, buttery elote corn salad or housemade red or green salsas. Or try one of their signature plates like the Taco Palenque with your choice of steak or grilled chicken, beans, lettuce, pico de gallo, Mexican sour cream and queso fresco wrapped in two oversized homemade tortillas.

Even their vegetarian options shine, like the roasted poblano pepper stuffed with sauteed vegetables, chihuahua cheese and tomatillo salsa. With hassle free counter service amid festive decor, it’s easy to grab a quick yet scrumptious Mexican meal at Sammy’s Kitchen.

Azure Restaurant

For breathtaking views of the St. Jones River paired with contemporary fine dining, book a table at Azure Restaurant. Located within the luxurious Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, Azure’s elegant interior and expansive floor-to-ceiling windows provide a sophisticated setting for special occasion dinners or romantic date nights.

Begin your meal with their extensive raw bar featuring oysters on the half shell, chilled lobster, crab legs, Ahi tuna tartare, and jumbo cocktail shrimp paired perfectly with sparkling wines or handcrafted martinis. Signature appetizers shine like the lobster bisque with Meyer lemon foam or the crispy veal sweetbreads with celery root remoulade, charred shishito peppers and pomegranate gastrique.

For your entree, favorites include the dry aged bone-in ribeye capped with crispy shallots and red wine demi as well as the pan roasted Icelandic cod with saffron couscous, roasted tomatoes, artichokes and green olive tapenade.

And complete your meal by indulging in decadent desserts like the Grand Marnier chocolate mousse with a toasted almond crust and berry coulis. With sublime views, impeccable service and expertly crafted cuisine, Azure provides a world-class fine dining experience in downtown Dover.

Golden Palace

When you’re craving authentic Chinese cuisine made with high quality ingredients, locals suggest Golden Palace. Family owned for over 25 years, this local favorite’s warm attentive service provides the perfect backdrop as you nibble on starters like their signature salt and pepper calamari fried up crisp and tossed with jalapenos, green onions and chili flakes.

For your main course, try the ginger scallion lobster plucked live from their tank, wok seared and finished with caramelized onions, mushrooms and snap peas in a savory ginger soy sauce. Another specialty is the crispy honey walnut shrimp cloaked in a light tempura batter then wok fried until golden brown for a sweet yet savory contrast of flavors and textures.

And regulars rave about the fragrant basil eggplant claypot loaded with Chinese eggplant braised with garlic sauce, sweet basil and chili peppers served sizzling hot alongside a piping bowl of steamed rice.

With an extensive menu of Cantonese favorites, attentive caring service and high ingredient standards, Golden Palace is a go-to spot for excellent Chinese cuisine in Dover.

La Baguette Bakery & Cafe

For freshly baked French pastries, custom cakes, specialty coffee drinks and quick cafe lunches, La Baguette Bakery & Cafe has been a local favorite sweet spot and cafe since 2001. Each morning their ovens churn out racks of flaky croissants, rich chocolate banana bread, cheese and herb infused savory scones as well as cookies, tarts, muffins and more.

Pair your pastry with one of La Baguette’s unique coffee drinks, like the Vietnamese iced coffee sweetened with condensed milk or the Dover mudslide loaded with chocolate sauce, caramel and a hint of Irish cream liqueur.

For lunch, build your own deli sandwich from freshly baked breads stuffed with Boar’s Head meats and cheeses or choose one of their hot paninis like the customer favorite cubano piled high with ham, pork, pickles, Swiss cheese and mustard pressed until crisp.

And their case overflows with the most stunning custom cakes that are almost too beautiful to eat, crafted specially for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and more. With Parisian charm and flavors in downtown Dover, no trip here is complete without a stop at La Baguette Bakery & Cafe.

The Starboard

For stunning waterfront views with your meal, snag a patio table overlooking the St Jones River at The Starboard. Tucked within the Waterford Marina just across the river from historic downtown Dover, The Starboard boasts casual yet contemporary cuisine focused on locally sourced ingredients, particularly highlighting fresh catches from the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware coastal waters.

Start with their Eastern Shore crab and corn chowder brimming with vegetables and crab meat in a velvety cream base or their signature tuna nachos piled high with fresh diced ahi tuna, mango salsa and wasabi drizzle atop house made tortilla chips.

For your main plate, seared diver scallops shine seasoned simply with lemon pepper and olive oil alongside whip potato puree and buttery asparagus spears.

And their fish tacos always satisfy with panko crusted white fish, citrus slaw, cilantro lime crema and fresh pico stacked into three warm corn tortillas.

Pair your meal with one of 24 craft draft beers on tap with many from local Delaware breweries. With stunning views and emphasis on quality local ingredients, The Starboard brings refined waterfront dining to Dover’s historic harbor.

Milford Diner

For homestyle comfort cuisine prepared from scratch for affordable prices, no visit to Dover is complete without experiencing Milford Diner. This local landmark has been keepin’ it simple in downtown Dover since the 1960s, serving as the go-to greasy spoon for stick to your ribs plates paired with free flowing coffee to fuel locals, college students and visitors alike.

The extensive breakfast menu has all your favorites like fluffy biscuits covered in sausage country gravy; tall stacks of buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup; and loaded three-egg omelets stuffed with meats, veggies and oozing cheese.

For lunch or dinner, try southern style fried chicken, hand battered onion rings, pot roast slow braised until fall-apart tender or their classic patty melt on thick rye, smothered in gooey Swiss cheese and caramelized onions.

And the dessert case always houses fresh hot fruit and nut pies, towering layer cakes and old fashion ice cream sundaes. With retro decor, counter stool seating and friendly downhome service, no tourist or college student’s trip to Dover is complete without experiencing this longtime fixture on the city’s dining scene.

Conclusion


With locally owned eateries spanning fine dining destinations, ethnic gems, bakeries, diners and more, Dover offers a tasty selection of restaurants to satisfy all appetites and occasions. On your next visit, dine your way through downtown Dover and beyond by sampling as many of these raved about restaurants as possible.

From creative cuisine with waterfront views to interactive teppanyaki performances and stick-to-your-ribs greasy spoon diners, Dover’s eclectic and vibrant dining scene has something to suit every taste and budget for an unforgettable foodie getaway.

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