HOME > Chowhound > Mid-Atlantic >


Ethnic in Lower DE

  • j


NC hound caught in lower DE needs ethnic fix and willing to travel. Anything Indian, Mexican, Ethiopian in Dover, Milford, etc.

Thai place in Rehoboth is pretty good. Not really looking for Italian, that's readily available too.

Price not really a consideration so long as the food is good.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. My first reaction would be: Ethnic?!? In lower Delaware?! I mean, other than Rehoboth? MWAHAHAHAHA! You're joking, right?!

    Actually, I'm exaggerating horribly, but I grew up on Delmarva, so I'm allowed to make fun of it. The lower Delaware area (and most of Delmarva, really) is known for being severely culturally deprived and unsophisticated. But for ethnic food, it's gotten a bit better over the past several years. I am told by my parents, who are reliable Salisburian chowhounds, that Seaford has an excellent French restaurant called Bon Appetit, though it's a bit expensive compared to the usual stuff in this area. (My first reaction to this was, "HUH?!?!" And then, "GUH?!?!" And then, "Seaford?!?!!!! SEAFORD?!!") Other than that and Cactus Cafe (see below), that's it for lower Delaware. Unless there's something in Bethany.

    Oddly enough, there IS an excellent Indian restaurant, Shalimar, in Salisbury, MD, at 1724 North Salisbury Blvd (Business U.S. 13) not far south of the Centre at Salisbury Mall, just five or six miles across the DE-MD border. In Salisbury you'll also find an excellent new Korean restaurant called Seoul, at 1307 S Salisbury Blvd (Business U.S. 13) (northbound side) across from Salisbury University, but you'd better hurry because it'll probably go out of business well before the end of 2006, or maybe 2007 at the latest, for total lack of customers. It's authentic Korean food and that's WAY too weird for this area. They just renovated, too, presumably in the mistaken belief that they had no customers because of the decor. There's never anybody in the parking lot, but my parents and a few (a VERY few) of their friends LOVE this place. It compares very favorably to Korean places in NYC and Palisades Park in northern NJ.

    There also used to be an excellent Pakistani take-out joint called Grill Kabob Halal, but my parents think it's closed. If true, that's too bad, because the proprietor was very nice, and his food was yummy, though service was very slow. Also, there was the Greek Pita Place, a take-out joint also on Business 13, which had pretty good falafel (esp. since it was the ONLY falafel around) and gyros, etc., but I'm not sure if that's still open either. It wasn't open at lunchtime on July 3, but then, maybe they took the day off to go to the beach or something.

    Finally, there's good Mexican and Mediterranean at Cactus Cafe in Selbyville, DE, and good Mediterranean and South American at Cactus Taverna (a bit more expensive) at 2420 N. Salisbury Blvd. (U.S. 13) in Salisbury. Their specials are great.

    Cactus Cafe's cheesy web site is here:

    Uh oh, they've opened a second branch in West Fenwick. Hope that doesn't affect the quality. Still gotta be WAY better than the La Tolteca chain though (but La Tolteca isn't terrible, just uninspired).

    If you're desperate for Vietnamese you can drive all the way down to Chincoteague, VA, of all places. And if you ever happen to be up in New Castle, DE (although that's really so far north it's not even Delmarva anymore), there's an amazing little Mexican joint called Mexico Lindo.

    So, strangely enough, the few ethnic places that do exist are all actually really really good, fortunately. (At least the ones we've tried.) Unlike Annapolis, which has just one Indian place (if I recall correctly), which is horrible!

    You mentioned you're willing to drive up to Dover -- I can only tell you what's there, not if it's any good, but there's a Filipino place up there called Manila Garden, on U.S. 113 on the south side of town, just north of the Air Force Base, near the exit for Toll Route 1. I've never been there, and Filipino isn't my favorite cuisine because it can be a little fatty, but for Dover this is pretty freakin' exotic for sure. I once saw one or two tiny Thai joints on the south side of Dover on U.S. 13 (northbound side) too, between Route 10 and the Route 1 connector, but the last few times I've been through there, I couldn't spot them, so maybe they're gone. Ah, I googled this, and here it is: Thai Style, 1855 S Dupont Hwy (Route 13), Dover. That's definitely no guarantee it still exists, though. Also, delawaretoday.com lists a Vietnamese place called Viet Kieu as their Critic's Choice downstate for Vietnamese. Ummmm, that would be because it's the ONLY choice downstate for Vietnamese, surely?!?

    Oh, and: Ethiopian on Delmarva?! Yeah, sure... in my dreams!

    1. I would have to agree with the above post on lack of diversity in lower, slower Delaware. Aside from Japanese, nothing much below Dover. The (only) Mediterranean place in Rehoboth was the Camel's Hump and it closed awhile back. There is another Vietnamese place in Dover that opened recntly called appropriately "Vietnamese Restaurant" and it has good pho soup)at 266 S. Dupont Hwy (across from Target) 302/ 736-1606. Have heard rumors of an Indian place in Dover but have yet to track it down....curry out anyone?

      1. Thanks for the info. I agree, what ethnic there is tends to be decent. The Thai place on the avenue in Rehoboth has 2 dishes that are quite good- an eggplant and a chicken curry.
        As for Mexican, there is a place called Eldorado on 24 near Route 1 that is relatively new, but under newer management that is California Taco/Baja style. I haven't made it there yet. Also, there is Mexican out 24 near Millsboro called Quetzalteca, that isn't bad
        Right now, if I could find decent Indian I would be happy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jlwnc

          I can't imagine that any Mexican place in lower DE can top Cactus Cafe, but if so then I'd like to hear about it. Great or even good Mexican is pretty rare on the East Coast generally (which is why that place I mentioned way the heck up in New Castle DE is such a find). Although the really really great dishes at CC are their seafood specials which tend to be more Mediterranean-influenced.

          And if you're really craving Indian, then I would say that Shalimar, which is excellent, is worth the trip to Salisbury, though it depends on where you're coming from. If from Rehoboth, well, admittedly that's a good 45-minute to an hour drive. You'll encounter far less traffic if you go the back way -- Route 24 (Williams Hwy/Millsboro Hwy) to Millsboro and then continue straight ahead on 24; keep going straight and it becomes 30, and then 26, and then you'll cross in MD and it becomes 353. Despite all the numbering changes, it's a straight shot all the way into MD at U.S. 50. Then get on 50 West, continue onto the bypass around Salisbury, and then south on Business 13. And then -- yummy.

          Or, I forgot to mention before -- if you want some above-average cheap sushi (although I assume you can probably get that in Rehoboth, though I'm sure it's costlier), there's Hunan Palace at 1600 South Salisbury Blvd. (Business 13) on the Salisbury-Fruitland border, near the southern terminus of the 13 bypass. There's a few other sushi places in Salisbury these days, but oddly enough I've heard Hunan, despite being a Chinese place (and probably Salisbury's best and second-longest-lived one for that matter) may be the best.

        2. The Camel's Hump CLOSED!!!??? What a bummer! Lewes says it closed "awhile back" but it couldn't have been that long ago because I was there last summer. For the past 20 years, the highlight of any beach trip to Rehoboth was the CH's fabulous gyro salad or sandwich with lamb -- it just didn't get any better than that for lunch! However, while the food was consistently superb, they were a surly bunch and I will not miss that or their mediocre service one iota. Now -- back to the subject at hand, ethnic food in Rehoboth Beach. Hmmm. While not purely ethnic, EDEN is a fabulous restaurant and, imo, the absolute best to be found in Rehoboth Beach. It's beautifully decorated, and with intriguing voile panels draping the booths, soft lighting and seductive music, it's a tranquil and mildly exotic atmosphere in which to enjoy fantastic food that has no peer in Rehoboth Beach. Eden serves dinner only and offers quite an inventive and sophisticated Asian-inspired menu. It will not be an inexpensive meal, but you will get what you pay for which, in my experience, is often not the case in Rehoboth Beach. The slightly pricey menu virtually guarantees that you will enjoy your dinner without the inevitable selfish and clueless couple who drags their whiny, ungrateful and ill-behaved kids to dinner only to spoil yours. Having said that, Eden is no more expensive than other better establishments in Rehoboth such as Back Porch or Blue Moon, but these places just miss the mark in terms of food quality and atmosphere. Give EDEN a try -- I highly recommend it and doubt you'll be disappointed! You'll find them on Baltimore Avenue not too far from the Boardwalk.

          1. The Camel's Hump closed over the winter because the woman who owned it passed away. I moved here in November and never got to try it. (she was sick some time before they actaully put it up for sale)
            I will put Eden on my list.
            The Mexican on 24 is so much closer than CC, it will have to do for now.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jlwnc

              Just to keep this thread properly updated: Reliable sources tell me that Cactus Cafe has gone way downhill in quality recently. They wouldn't be the first restaurant to go downhill as a result of opening a second outlet (perhaps due to spreading the cooking talent too thinly between the two locations). Sounds like you're better off with the Mexican joint on Rt. 24, and the places mentioned below in Georgetown and Millsboro.

            2. Found the Indian restaurant - Taste of India 348 N. Dupont Hwy Dover, 302/ 677-0121. Rated Best Indian in southern Delaware by Delaware Today magazine, of course it helps its the only Indian restauarnt in southern Delaware.....although closed, Camel's Hump in Rehoboth still had a for sale sign last time I drove by.....oh and it looks like the Five Guys burger chain is expanding again and opening a branch on Route One in Lewes this Fall.

              1. I'll vouch for Taste of India - I noticed them in a recent trip to Dover to go to Kohl's, and popped in to try it out. I was lucky to go on one of their buffet nights even though I'm not normally a buffet fan, but the food was excellent and fresh with a nicely diverse selection, and fresh baked nan, authentic indian chai tea, and mango lassi were all included in the $9.95 price.

                Also the newer "Vietnamese Restaurant" across from Target in Dover is FAR better than the other one. Great pho, good grilled chicken on rice noodles, good shrimp spring rolls... can't remember what else we had. It was a basic menu, good prices, and good quality.

                Someone needs to talk these folks into opening in Sussex County.

                The Terrace in Rehoboth recently opened as a pan-latin restaurant. We've been there twice now and I'd rate the quality as uneven, ranging from ok to fantastic (though the absolute best mojito I've ever had anywhere, and I've not had better sweet plantenos that weren't home cooked by my Puerto Rican friends). I'm hoping that once they're open a while longer the quality will go up, but even with that unevenness, we'll definitely go back - the prices are excellent. For appetizers, definitely try the mussles in a ginger-based broth (ok yeah, so that's not so latin) and the plantenos.

                Georgetown has several totally authentic south american/mexican places. One little hole in the wall is particularly great, though I'm not remembering the name right now. There's also an excellent latin grocery store over by the train station that carries a wonderful range of things, and has their own butcher shop with cuts that you just won't find in a regular grocery store anywhere in Sussex.

                Also in Millsboro, on the eastbound side of 24 right kind of across and up from Georgia House is a new little place that serves american sandwiches and great authentic style south american -- their tacos for example are soft fried corn tortillas with nicely seasoned meat, onions,and lots of fresh cilantro. Not your standard americanized "mexican" and great prices.

                1 Reply
                1. re: tanama

                  I just want to say that I ate at "Vietnamese Restaurant" last night after driving up from Norfolk and it was EXCELLENT. I had never noticed the place before! The new owners are Thai, so they have added several Thai dishes to the menu while keeping the former owner's Vietnamese recipes intact.

                  I had Pho Ga and my husband had Thai Green Curry, which he claims was the best he ever tried (and he lived in Thailand for 2 years.) My chicken soup was awesome as well. I highly recommend this place. We are in Dover twice a year, and we will definitely go back every time.

                2. I agree with Tanama - there are a number of good south american/mexican places in Georgetown. One is on Route 9 on the way to the beach, right after Besche's Furniture on the right. There used to be another right along the railroad tracks in Georgetown, right off of Route 9. You turn at the latin grocery store Tanama mentions.

                  In Rehoboth, there is Dos Locos and Tijuana Taxi, which has been around for years. Their food is Mexican with a twist. What kind of twist, I'm not sure, but I have had many good meals there over the years.

                  There is also Cultured Pearl in Rehoboth (my fav restaurant) that has great Japanese food including excellent sushi.

                  Then there is Chez La Mer - French. It's been around for years too. I'm not sure how long it stays open in the fall though.

                  I haven't tried the Terrace but I am definitely going to do so.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JenBoes

                    For Mexican would suggest El Dorado which is located next to Gray Hare Tavern on Rt 24 just off Rt One between Lewes & Rehoboth. Very casual & friendly plus they have excellent fish tacos.

                  2. Another update: You can get outstanding Mexican food at El Nopal in Dover:

                    Also, down in Salisbury, MD, there are a few very very good Turkish/Mediterranean entrees available at Escape Restaurant, at 213 W. Main in the nearly-deserted but charming old downtown plaza. Entrees are about $15-$18. I'm not sure how long this place can last here, though. Very few people venture to the old downtown, which has been destroyed by the horrifying strip mall hell on the north side of town.

                    Or for cheaper, equally-good kebabs in a much less upscale setting, also try Tuscany Grill. Despite its name, it's known for its Middle Eastern cuisine. Get the kebab koobideh. It comes with grilled (?) flatbread which is outstanding, and luscious yogurt sauce.