12 Best Restaurants in Wilmington, Delaware

Last Updated on March 3, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Wilmington, Delaware may be a small city, but it packs a powerful culinary punch. Foodies will delight in Wilmington’s creative farm-to-table fare, mouthwatering multicultural restaurants, and impressive fine dining establishments. From Peruvian to Polish to down-home American classics, Wilmington’s best eateries showcase the diversity of flavors this city offers.

In compiling this list of the 12 best restaurants in Wilmington, careful consideration was paid to ambiance, service, value and, of course, the cuisine itself. Only restaurants with stellar online reviews and recommendations made the cut. This list spans all styles of dining and budgets to showcase the full spectrum of Wilmington’s impressive food scene. Whether you seek romantic riverfront views, family-friendly casual fare, or innovative spins on global comfort foods, Wilmington’s 12 best restaurants deliver outstanding meals guaranteed to satiate any appetite.

Best Upscale: La Fia

With its sleek modern interior accented with wood beams and an intimate riverfront patio, La Fia brings contemporary flair to classic Italian cuisine. Head Chef Bryan Sikora sources premium seasonal ingredients to craft inventive dishes like squid ink gnocchi, caramelized scallops with black garlic vinaigrette and citrus-cured artic char.

Their market fresh pastas and stunning signature cocktails attract special occasion diners, while the welcoming staff and reasonable pricing appeal to neighborhood regulars. With dishes as aesthetically pleasing as they are craveably flavorful, it’s no wonder La Fia has emerged as one of Wilmington’s premier destinations for creative Italian fare. Signature recommendation: Fettuccini Nero.

Best Farm-to-Table: Farmer & the Cow

Tucked away on a quiet downtown street, husband-and-wife owned Farmer & the Cow packs impressive flavors into its cozy space. Many ingredients are sourced straight from their family farm or other local purveyors, lending an ultra-fresh flair to the seasonal New American menu.

Come hungry to feast your eyes and belly on dishes like the Local Beet Burger piled high with Hakurei turnips and cheddar sauce or the cast iron baked eggs overflowing with local mushrooms, caramelized onions, spinach and smoky Hook’s five-year gouda. Pair your meal with a local craft brew or fresh-squeezed juice for a quintessential farm-to-table experience. Signature recommendation: Baked Eggs & Mushrooms.

Best Brunch: Eggspectation

Lately, it seems everyone flocks to Eggspectation to fuel up on scrumptious breakfast fare available well into the afternoon. Packed weekends mean there’s always a wait, but the free coffee and baked goods ease the line. Choose from options like fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes, savory open-faced sandwiches, or their famous challah French toast dripping with vanilla mascarpone and fresh berries.

They also shine at lunchtime with gourmet sandwiches and burgers. Whether you saddle up to the bar or nab a riverside table, the friendly staff delivers prompt, attentive service sure to energize your day. Signature recommendation: Crab & Shrimp Benny with Dijon Hollandaise.

Best Family-Friendly: Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen

With local brews for parents and giant pretzels for kids, Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen fires on all cylinders for familial dining. The laidback pub atmosphere keeps energy levels high while the globally inspired menu tempts the tastebuds.

Feast on wings with international spice rubs, wood-fired pizzas topped with exotic ingredients like honey ham and lychee or the iconic Grain Burger layered sky-high with applewood bacon and brie. With hearty helpings, reasonable prices and games to keep young ones occupied, Grain consistently delights parents and children alike. Signature recommendation: Fig & Pig Pizza with Italian sausage, goat cheese, caramelized onion, fig and arugula.

Best Mexican: El Diablo Burritos

At El Diablo Burritos, fresh pressed corn tortillas cradle staggering amounts of flame-kissed meats, melty cheeses, and vibrant veggies sourced locally whenever possible. Customize your culinary masterpiece by selecting protein, salsa, toppings and more from their extensive list of drool-worthy ingredients.

Hungry diners praise El Diablo’s gratuitously loaded burritos, energizing bowls and dangerously addictive house-made chips and spicy queso dip. With heat levels ranging from mild to daredevil, the signature Diablo burrito loaded with spicy adobo chicken will torch your tastebuds in all the right ways. Just be warned: you’ll need more than one napkin. Signature recommendation: Diablo Burrito with adobo chicken and habanero-mango salsa.

Best Italian: Piccolina Toscana

Housed in a 19th century bank turned swanky urban eatery, Piccolina Toscana transports diners straight to the sun-kissed Tuscan countryside. Handmade pastas, savory wood-fired pizzas and grilled meats married with Italian wines lure patrons to this sleek downtown dining room buzzing with energy and warmth.

Expansive chalkboard menus highlight seasonal specialties rounding out familiar favorites like seafood linguine, vitello capricciossa and the ever-popular truffle mushroom pizza. Whether stopping in for a quick pizza at the bar or lingering over a leisurely prix fixe dinner, Piccolina Toscana consistently delights with outstanding Tuscan fare. Signature recommendation: Pappardelle Bolognese with beef, pork and veal ragu.

Best Seafood: Banks’ Seafood Kitchen & Raw Bar

Offering sensational riverfront views matched only by its seriously fresh seafood, Banks’ Seafood Kitchen & Raw Bar reels in diners craving briny oysters, sweet crab and expertly prepared coastal classics. Their raw bar stars local Olde Salts and Cherrystones alongside jumbo shrimp and California tuna tartare, all icy-cold and masterfully shucked.

Composed plates like Hawaiian-style poke, seafood paella and bouillabaisse showcase global seafood influences while regional dishes like rockfish imperial nod to local Chesapeake flavors. With crispy fried favorites at lunch and an upscale seafood-centric menu for dinner—plus a buzzing bar pouring Tito’s cocktails until the wee hours—Banks’ FishHouse excels at satisfying any seafood whim. Signature recommendation: Shellfish Tower piled high with lobster, jumbo shrimp, clams, oysters and crab claws.

Best French: La Fia Bistro

Classic French techniques meet contemporary zest within La Fia Bistro’s sunlit 19th century dining room. Dishes marrying French soul food with modern aesthetics keep this downtown gem buzzing at lunch and dinner. Come midday to create your perfect croque monsieur oozing with Swiss and prosciutto or enjoy favorites like onion soup, salad Nicoise and Croque Madame at dinner.

Nighttime brings elegant dishes combined in unexpected ways, like the stellar lobster BLT drizzled in truffle basil emulsion and seared foie gras enhancing the Beef Bourguignon. With a seasonal menu leaning into local vegetables and seafood, La Fia Bistro delights Francophiles and casual diners alike with humble French dishes prepared impeccably. Signature recommendation: Steak Frites with red wine demi-glace.

Best Sushi: Mikimotos Asian Grill & Sushi Bar

From vibrant dining rooms downtown and midtown to their landmark location gracing Wilmington’s famed Riverfront, Mikimotos spreads epic Japanese cuisine all over the city. Their expansive, ever-changing sushi menu thrills with innovative rolls alongside favorites like spicy tuna and California. Signature selections like the Samurai Roll with tempura shrimp, avocado, cucumber, crab and spicy tuna mix perfectly balance flavor and texture.

Beyond sushi, the kitchen excels at composed plates from crispy tempura to hibachi to noodle dishes bursting with umami. Mikimotos also claims one of Wilmington’s best happy hours with deals on rolls, noodles bowls and Japanese bar snacks. Whether you belly up to the bar for ayce rolls or reserve the tempura room for an special occasion, Mikimotos’ outstanding Japanese cuisine and lively ambiance always satisfy. Signature recommendation: Godzilla Roll with spicy tuna, salmon, yellowtail, crab, avocado, cucumber and seaweed salad wrapped in soy paper.

Best Polish: The Baked Bear

In a city filled with Polish residents, the Baked Bear stands tall when a pierogi or babka craving strikes. This tiny spot off Union Street overflows with cozy charm thanks to its colorful wall murals and displays of Polish pottery. Their 20 rotating sweet and savory flavors of melt-in-your-mouth pierogis keep locals lining up for the daily special.

Enjoy favorites like sauerkraut mushroom, smoked brisket and seasonal specials like the Thanksgiving pierogi stuffed with turkey, squash and cranberry. Polish plates like stuffed cabbage, potato pancakes and kielbasa platters make hearty, homestyle lunches or dinners. Just save room for their insane cream puffs and decadent chocolate babkas. For a true taste of Polish soul food made with love, the Baked Bear delivers comfort by the pierogi-full. Signature recommendation: Combo plate with three pierogi flavors, one Polish side and dessert.

Best Thai: Warasin Thai-Lao Cuisine

Transporting diners to the vibrant streets of Southeast Asia, Warasin Thai-Lao Cuisine remains Wilmington’s longtime local favorite for superb Thai flavors. Their impressively aromatic curries, stir fries, noodle bowls and spice-popping street foods stand out among the city’s crowded Thai food scene. Expand your flavor horizons with dishes like gaeng hung lay, an intensely herbal Burmese-style curry, or nam kao tod crispy rice salad sharpened with lime, ginger and fresh herbs.

With nearly 100 scratch-made dishes encompassing Thai and Lao influences plus regional Vietnamese and Burmese specialties, diners continue discovering new go-to dishes among Warasin’s extensive menus. Whether dining in the elegant beige dining room or grabbing takeout, Warasin consistently delights with complex flavors influenced by Thailand’s diverse culinary heritage. Signature recommendation: Panang Curry with a choice of chicken, pork, beef, shrimp or vegetables in a rich red curry-peanut sauce.

Best Bar Food: Ernest & Scott Taproom

When happy hour cravings strike, Ernest & Scott Taproom serves outstanding bar fare accompanied by one of Wilmington’s most extensive craft beer selections. Their menu leans into fun, approachable versions of comfort foods like pretzel sticks dipped in queso fundido, Cuban sandwiches pressed crisp and thin or customizable brick oven pizzas.

Heartier plates include beer can chicken atop garlic mash and the ever-popular Ernest Burger dishing decadent toppings like applewood smoked bacon, jalapeno popper filling and onion tanglers on a toasted brioche bun. With weekly specials like mussels and fries on Mondays or $4 select drafts at happy hour, Ernest & Scott’s offers outstanding bar fare perfect for pairings with local IPAs or a glass of wine from their impressive list. Signature recommendation: Salted Caramel Stout Wings oven-roasted then fried for maximum crispness tossed in sweet and slightly spicy caramel sauce made with local stout beer.

Conclusion


From upscale destinations to casual neighborhood gems, Wilmington rewards food lovers with an array of outstanding locally owned restaurants. The city’s diverse culinary scene means globetrotting flavors served alongside regional specialties emphasizing fresh seafood and produce.

Whether enjoying a special occasion meal or simply seeking a delicious quick bite, Wilmington’s talented chefs consistently impress. Now hungry diners just face the delicious dilemma of narrowing down the city’s many top-notch eateries to crown their own definitive favorite. Bon appetit!

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