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Chowhounds in Wilmington NC!!

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beachcomber Nov 22, 2006 04:46 PM

Hi,

Well I'd like to find out if there are any members who live and go out to eat in Wilmington. Considering how many good restaurants there are here it seems like a good place to compare notes.

Bon appetit...

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  1. Andiereid RE: beachcomber Nov 22, 2006 04:49 PM

    Me! Me! Pick me! I posted not long ago a bunch of my favorites for someone who was visiting here a couple of weeks ago. I agree with you. I'm really impressed with the number of good restaurants here. Been here about six years and still haven't discovered them all. Happy to swap notes with you. We're always looking for new places to try.

    1. b
      beachcomber RE: beachcomber Nov 22, 2006 07:17 PM

      Hi Andie, nice to meet you. So, it's a tough choice, but Eddie Romanelli's is my favorite place, for the pork chops! How 'bout you?

      1 Reply
      1. re: beachcomber
        Andiereid RE: beachcomber Nov 22, 2006 07:21 PM

        Nice to meet you, too. Have to confess Eddie's isn't one of my faves - but I've only been there once and had a really mediocre pasta dish. Love K-38 next door, though! Would have to say my favorite restaurant in town, bar none, is Deluxe, but there are just so many!

        Have you eaten at Viet Bistro?

      2. j
        joshuahmel RE: beachcomber Nov 29, 2006 08:59 PM

        We ate at Viet Bistro last month. We had the summer rolls, pho with beef balls and rare steak, pho with chicken and a traditional banh mi sandwich (ham & pate). My wife and I are very familiar with Vietnamese food (having moved from the Northeast and her being Cambodian). We absolutely loved the food. Very fresh and well made, albeit a little more expensive than most casual Vietnamese places. The service was excellent as well.

        On another note: we did not Banyan Cafe at all.

        1. Andiereid RE: beachcomber Nov 29, 2006 09:05 PM

          I love Banyan - but I did have one not so great meal there on a night when the regular chef was out. I think it's much better than Indochine.

          What do you know about other Italian places? I really was disappointed when they changed the format of Prima and turned it into another bistro - it's good, but Prima was the only up-scale Italian place we had that I know of. We've had takeout at Portofino's, but that's about it. You know any others?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Andiereid
            j
            joshuahmel RE: Andiereid Nov 30, 2006 12:00 PM

            The food was lukewarm and rather flavorless at Banyan. We ordered tamarind soup (one of our favorites) and got some unknown poultry broth-based soup. We sent it back, thinking it was a mistake, and they brought back the same thing. Service was terrible. We have not gone back since.

            We usually make Italian food at home. We have been leery of any places down here. We have not tried Indian food here either, for fear of being disappointed.

            We were very diappointed by Lazeeza, a Middle Eastern restaurant on South 17th Street. We ordered a Greek salad one night for take-out and it had wilted lettuce, unripe tomatoes and pepperoncinis that tasted like dish soap. And, to top it all off, it was almost $10.

            We loved Nagila: Morrocan Cafe on Wrightsville Avenue. The prices were a little high, but the food and service were excellent.

            1. re: joshuahmel
              Andiereid RE: joshuahmel Nov 30, 2006 12:16 PM

              I love the food at Nagila, but I'm a little put off by the owner. We have some friends who took their visiting parents there, and they ordered extra pita to take home and asked how much it would be. They were told it would be $2.00 each. They got home and discovered that they'd been charged $4.00 each. When they called, the owner told them that it was $2.00 for extra pita in the restaurant, but $4.00 for pita to take home. Huh??? Then the last time I ate lunch there, the owner hovered over the new waitress and insulted, ridiculed and belittled her in front of us - kept talking about how stupid she was to us - then he kept trying to push more food on us in a very "slick salesman" fashion. But I agree the food is good. And all the other service besides his was excellent.

              I really am sorry to hear about your experience at Banyan. I think I know what waiter you probably got - we had one there once that was a few slices short of a loaf. He's gone now, and there's a girl who works there who is great. We know the owner, Nelson, and he's one of the nicest guys on the planet. I really love their food.

              I'd heard not great things about Lazeeza and ditto for Lanterna, on College.

              We eat Indian food at India Mahal on College. It's not bad - the place has zero atmosphere, and I can't say the service is all that good, but it's kind of funny, since it's family-owned and the teenage kids are waiting tables and obviously not happy about it. I don't mind their sulking a little, since I grew up having to work in my dad's retail store. That's just kids. But the food is pretty good. We have a friend who is from India and she says it's not bad, for American Indian food. But then, the family who owns it is Indian.

              Have you tried Double Happiness yet? It's pretty good, especially since we have a dearth of Chinese restaurants that aren't all-you-can-eat buffets.

          2. b
            beachcomber RE: beachcomber Nov 30, 2006 07:35 PM

            Andie, you haven't tried Giorgio's?! It's really delectable. Plus one meal there is easily enough for two people. Many times I've gone there and done the "Chinese restaraunt" thing, where everybody orders something and then shares it with everyone else.

            Also you really should try Taste of Italy, next to India Mahal. It's strictly take-out (well, they might have a small table by the window) but it is outstanding!

            I like India Mahal but I haven't eaten there in forever. I do remember their curry being pretty bad - all of their fried breads are excellent though.

            I don't think Lazeeza is that bad, but I only ever get kebabs there.

            Also I love the pork sandwich at Viet Bistro. I had read about Vietnamese restaraunts offering this so I was thrilled when they opened and offered it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: beachcomber
              Andiereid RE: beachcomber Nov 30, 2006 07:40 PM

              No, I've heard a lot of people talk about Giorgios. I definitely need to give it a try. And yes! Shame on me! I keep meaning to go to Taste of Italy, I hear they have such an excellent deli and great cheeses and I've been awful and not gone. I have a new motivation for going, though, since Harris-Teeter stopped carrying pancetta in anything but pre-packaged very fatty slices. Blegh.

              I haven't had the pork sandwich at Viet Bistro. I usually get their Pho. Man, I hope he makes it. The food there is just so good.

              Have you guys tried Tango du Chat yet? I did and was very disappointed. Too much muddle of flavors in the food. It was like the chef dumped every seasoning conceivable into one dish and it was just a confusion of spices.

              I really really really miss Harvest Moon - not the second iteration as much as the first full restaurant James did. That place had the best food in town. Expensive, but worth it.

            2. b
              beachcomber RE: beachcomber Nov 30, 2006 07:51 PM

              PS: Giorgio's (if you hadn't guessed) is Italian, though it's owned by a Greek family.

              2 Replies
              1. re: beachcomber
                Andiereid RE: beachcomber Nov 30, 2006 07:58 PM

                It's not owned by Ashe, is it? The same man who owns Brasserie del Soloeil, Max's, Circa 1922 and Bijou? I know he's Greek.

                1. re: Andiereid
                  Andiereid RE: Andiereid Nov 30, 2006 08:57 PM

                  Never mind. Not the same guy. He's Egyptian, not Greek.

              2. dpnpt RE: beachcomber Nov 30, 2006 07:54 PM

                My (chowhound) parents live in Southport, so my annual flight into ILM and lunch in town is coming up soon. Thanks for these recommendations!

                1 Reply
                1. re: dpnpt
                  Andiereid RE: dpnpt Nov 30, 2006 07:59 PM

                  That Thai restaurant in Southport is pretty good! If you haven't been back in a while, you'll be amazed at how much the area around Southport has grown. Wow.

                2. b
                  beachcomber RE: beachcomber Nov 30, 2006 07:59 PM

                  Haven't been to Tango du Chat - it's been recommended to me though. Maybe I should take that with a grain of salt, heh heh.

                  I really want to try the new Mexican place on Oleander near the Post Office (actually it's behind a gas station on Oleander), the menu looks really good. It's a Mexican seafood restaraunt.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: beachcomber
                    Andiereid RE: beachcomber Nov 30, 2006 08:07 PM

                    Are you talking about El Agave on Oleander? If so, it's one of our friends' favorites, and they're Mexican food afficianodos. They cruised down the coast of CA and Mexico and came through the Panama Canal and love authentic Mexican. Another friend of mine has highly recommended the tamales at some mexican place in town that is near the stadium? I still haven't found it, but he said it's VERY authentic - none of the customers speak English. I need to get the name of that place. I was pleased that the La Costa down the street from us on Market reopened after their fire. I love that place for inexpensive Mexican.

                    I only went to Tango once, and maybe I went on an off night. But my meal there was pretty unextraordinary. The decor is cool, though.

                    Did you see that the Fresh Market out at Mayfaire is going up?

                    1. re: Andiereid
                      j
                      joshuahmel RE: Andiereid Dec 1, 2006 12:20 AM

                      Do either of you know where one can buy fresh/frozen tamales in Wilmington? The grocery stores don't even have the Goya ones. I was shocked when we first looked.

                      1. re: joshuahmel
                        Andiereid RE: joshuahmel Dec 1, 2006 12:36 AM

                        The place near the stadium is the only place I've heard, and I'm sorry, but I don't know the name. They apparently make amazing fresh tamales. I'll try to find out.

                        1. re: joshuahmel
                          a
                          anika RE: joshuahmel May 12, 2007 08:06 AM

                          you should try some of the mexican stores in town, i know the one on carolina beach rd near monkey junction has them (frozen kind)
                          As a mexican native this is what i've found when it comes to authentic mexican cuisine...
                          that seafood place is "el marinero" they have pretty good food, but nothing out of the ordinary, still i'd suggest you try a shrimp cocktail :)

                          el agave is good, the serve the freshest food compared to others, they make their own tortillas, but it is best to catch them for lunch, when we've gone for dinner, they are tough and taste old, so who knows when they make them. they used to make them on demand.

                          that place near the stadium may have good tamales, but the place is filthy and their health score is less than desirable, food is too greasy.

                          there is an alternative to it though, try "7 regiones" in university landing (where bdobo is), food is the closest to authentic and their owner is nice. Service is also close to authentic, so dont be offended if you dont get a lot of attention. they have a seafood soup that is out of this world, and it's a mix of fish, crab, shrimp and octopus. I'm not big on seafood but thats what i've heard from seafood aficionados.

                          Bdobo is one of my very faves, mongolian food with a twist and the best of it is, you can never go wrong when you pick your own ingredients.
                          And it is not good to talk food when one's starving :) off to lunch!

                    2. b
                      beachcomber RE: beachcomber Nov 30, 2006 08:24 PM

                      No, it's not El Agave, which is my favorite (excellent) Mexican place in town. It's really hidden - a yellow building behind the Citgo on Oleander, I can't think of the darn name... something with an "M". I'll post what I think of it, maybe I can make it there this weekend...

                      La Costa rocks!

                      That place you're talking about must be in the pink Mexican grocery near the stadium. I didn't know there was a restaraunt there! It really is about a block from the stadium, heading towards downtown.

                      There used to be an authentic Jamaican place on Carolina Beach Rd. near the stadium. Really excellent curry. But it burned down about two years ago.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: beachcomber
                        Andiereid RE: beachcomber Nov 30, 2006 09:48 PM

                        Oh, I think I've seen that - that's near (or maybe even on) 44th or 43rd? On the right as you're going down Oleander away from downtown? I wasn't sure what that was, actually. Thought maybe it was a bar. If you try it, let me know. I do also want to know about the Mexican place near the stadium. We keep threatening Eddie with a lunch date so he can take us there - maybe we need to do that. I am pleased with the number of good Mexican places we have. I've also been told that the tortillas at the Tortillaria down the street from us on Market has excellent fresh tortillas. Another place on my list.

                        Didn't know about the Jamaican place. Sorry I missed that. Our ethnic food is probably pretty good for a city this size, but there are a few I wish for - like a really good, authentic Greek place, and a really good breakfast place that does something beyond a typical diner breakfast.

                        Now I'm really going to have to give El Agave a try. I keep getting great recs for it. We just get lazy and keep heading to LaCosta.

                        1. re: beachcomber
                          j
                          joshuahmel RE: beachcomber Dec 1, 2006 12:18 AM

                          There is a Jamaican place on Red Cross Street, just east of North Fifth Avenue. Haven't been, because we don't like Jamaican food (besides jerk chicken).

                          1. re: joshuahmel
                            b
                            beachcomber RE: joshuahmel Dec 1, 2006 08:48 PM

                            Joshua, thanks! I will have to give it a try...

                        2. b
                          beachcomber RE: beachcomber Nov 30, 2006 08:27 PM

                          Ah yeah... I did see we're getting a Fresh Market... I'm going to be moving to Rogersville Rd. this weekend so I'll be in shouting distance of it!!

                          1. j
                            joshuahmel RE: beachcomber Dec 1, 2006 12:17 AM

                            Two of our friends had a terrible experience at Tango du Chat. One of them had their food thrown out before being asked if they wanted to take it home. No offer of a comp or anything else was forthcoming after they complained.

                            They also went there for New Years Eve one year. The place had NO decorations, noise makers, masks or anything special. Our friends had to ask the owner to turn on a TV for the countdown at midnight. They all ended up dancing in a secret basement lair at the end of the night with the owner.

                            We went there one night for a romantic dinner. We sat at the bar first to try some apps. The food was good, but they had a TV on and the bartender, a waiter and a wine salesman had a pretty vulgur conversation through my wife and I. We were stuck in the middle, trying to eat.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: joshuahmel
                              Andiereid RE: joshuahmel Dec 1, 2006 12:38 AM

                              Oh, lovely. So you didn't tell them you weren't "swangers"? We just had a regular dinner there, and I was very disappointed in the food quality.

                            2. j
                              joshuahmel RE: beachcomber Dec 1, 2006 12:21 AM

                              We are planning to try Tuscan Grill in Carolina Beach this weekend. Has anyone been? I will post a report if not.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: joshuahmel
                                Andiereid RE: joshuahmel Dec 1, 2006 12:38 AM

                                We haven't. Would love to hear what you think.

                                1. re: joshuahmel
                                  Andiereid RE: joshuahmel Dec 5, 2006 12:25 PM

                                  Joshua, did you get to Tuscan Grill?

                                2. b
                                  beachcomber RE: beachcomber Dec 1, 2006 08:49 PM

                                  Andie, definitely check out El Agave. I've never had a bad meal there.

                                  1. Andiereid RE: beachcomber Dec 2, 2006 12:59 PM

                                    Has anyone eaten at El Guarjiro on Kerr? Newish Cuban place? It got a really good write-up in Currents.

                                    1. v
                                      VaNC RE: beachcomber Dec 2, 2006 02:20 PM

                                      Hey! I am enjoying reading this, as we have a place in Wrightsville and are in Wilmington often. I have seen a number of places ya'll have mentioned and wonder if they are any good. Viet Bistro and Banyan are too I wondered particularly about.
                                      We often go to Elizabeth's pizza when there and have walked into the tortillaria and it looks and smells pretty great. We have not tried them as we really don't need stacks of tortillas while at the beach for a weekend. I always wondered how the mexican place next door was...figured at least they had fresh tortillas????

                                      I had heard a rumor years ago that there was a great source of tamales at some flea market out near Monkey Junction. Any word?

                                      Also, how is that food coop on Oleander? Good source of produce, etc?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: VaNC
                                        Andiereid RE: VaNC Dec 2, 2006 03:34 PM

                                        Well, joshuahmel and I disagree on Banyan, but I'm a real fan. I've always found the food to be very good, and have switched a number of my friends on to it. Had my 39th birthday party there in June - they have a very nice private room for that sort of thing and they also recently opened up their dim sum bar - I haven't tried that yet.

                                        Viet Bistro I also absolutely love. The atmosphere ain't great, but the food is authentic and really good.

                                        Don't know about the mexican place next door to the tortillaria. I usually go to La Costa, down the street on Market, since it's closer to home anyway.

                                        Don't know about the tamales or the food coop.

                                        1. re: VaNC
                                          OrganicGal RE: VaNC Dec 4, 2006 01:17 PM

                                          Tidal Creek Food Coop is pretty nice for a cooperative grocery. Their produce department actually goes through the same organic certification process that a food manufacturer goes through. They get inspected annually to ensure they are handling organic produce so it won't be contaminated by materials prohibited by the USDA organic rule. Apparently they want to try to have the whole store certified organic over time, but right now are just focussing on the produce department. The organic rule states specifically that stores don't have to go through the certification process, but they can if they want to. I think it speaks quite well of Tidal Creek that they choose to do this.

                                        2. Andiereid RE: NC hound Dec 17, 2006 11:48 AM

                                          Has anyone been to Nicola's in the original Harvest Moon spot on Oleander? Noticed that as we drove by yesterday.

                                          1. j
                                            joshuahmel RE: beachcomber Dec 18, 2006 01:07 PM

                                            Where is there a "restaurant row" on Market Street? Are you referring to the cluster of chain restaurants between Kerr Avenue and College Road?

                                            1. c
                                              captainzero5 RE: beachcomber Dec 19, 2006 11:11 PM

                                              Wilm-

                                              BBQ- Jacksons on kerr
                                              Amazing country buffet-Caseys on oleander
                                              Burgers- PT's
                                              Romantic Dining- Roys - downtown
                                              Pizza-Elizabeths on Market St.
                                              Breakfast Bagels: Ken's Bagels on Oleander
                                              Mexican: LA Costa
                                              Burritos: Flamin' Amys
                                              Baja Style Mexican: K-38 on Oleander
                                              On the Waterway: Dockside or The Fish House
                                              On the Ocean: Oceanic
                                              On the River: Elijahs'(crab dip)
                                              Steaks & Chops: Port City Chop House

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: captainzero5
                                                m
                                                martinifontaine RE: captainzero5 Mar 22, 2007 05:26 PM

                                                Wilm-

                                                Jackson's Big Oak BBQ: Great ribs and sandwiches, fast service, best for take out

                                                Amazing country buffet-Caseys on oleander -- My husband and I tried this place when we first moved here last year on the recomendation of several people we knew...I will NOT go back. It was awful. There were *literally* 9 kinds of beans, and not much else. The potatoes and several other dishes looked like they came from mixes or cans. It was completely unappetizing.

                                                Burgers- PT's -- This place is wonderful. We don't eat "fast food" so it's nice to have a burger joint around that can grill a mean cheese burger.

                                                Pizza-Elizabeths on Market St.--pretty decent "italian" food. HUGE portions, prompt service and fun atmosphere. I've hear the pizza there is pretty good, too.

                                                Mexican: LA Costa -- Good tamales! Which really is the sign of good mexican food, isn't it? I also like the roasted spinach queso at Carolina Cantina on Market

                                                Burritos: Flamin' Amys -- Of course. Huge burritos...one can feed two people, easily. But we always get two anyway, because they are so goooood. Personal favs: the fried chicken burrito, buffalo style, the Thai Me Up and the Fajita-rito

                                                Steaks & Chops: Port City Chop House -- Amazing!! Wonderful food, service and ambience. The price was extremely reasonable, too. It's a great place for a special occaision meal. We'll definitely hit that one more than once.

                                                I'll add a couple of our favs to this list:

                                                The Little Dipper on Front Street, downtown. Fondue -- expect dinner to take longer than normal, especially if you are going for the whole meal deal. You can get just cheese, or cheese first, followed by chocolate. The two times we have had the full meal (meat, veggies and cheese) we have not been able to consider dessert...too full! Great date-night restaruant. And in the summer, they have a lovely patio upstairs.

                                                Circa 1922 -- Also on Front Street, downtown: great wine, service and perfect portion sizes. If you order a dessert, be prepared to share or take at least half of it home...they are huge!

                                                The Mellow Mushroom on Oleander next door to Chuck E Cheese: I'm surprised no one has mentioned this one yet (or did I miss it?)! THE best pizza in town. They have a decent micro-brew selection, too. And sandwiches....they have an excellent veggitarian selection as well. Very casual. They often have live music on the weekends.

                                                This is a great thread! I'm learning all kinds of great things!!

                                                1. re: martinifontaine
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                                                  Ando RE: martinifontaine Mar 22, 2007 07:18 PM

                                                  For really good NY style pizza, do try Brooklyn Pizza Co. on Market St just past Gordon Road heading towards Ogden, behind Hollywood Video and the Waffle House. They do deliver but I'm not sure where.

                                                  1. re: martinifontaine
                                                    s
                                                    sdoby22 RE: martinifontaine May 14, 2007 07:42 AM

                                                    All this info about Wilmington is Great - I am there about 6 mos a year (grandchild)
                                                    and love the place. Can't wait to get back and the places you all are talking about.

                                                2. v
                                                  VaNC RE: beachcomber Jan 19, 2007 07:43 PM

                                                  Had to report in that we were in Wrightsville last weekend and tried Airlie, which is in the old Fish House spot. Clues point to their being owned by the same people as Bridgetender, next door...can anyone confirm?

                                                  We are usually Dockside people, but I think everyone will agree that you don't go to Dockside for the food. While okay, you go for the cold beer and good "vibe". In fact, my kids were rather upset that were trying somewhere else.

                                                  Well, mostly,the report is good. I have been sickish for weeks and was pretty grumpy when we got there. But the food and service made me feel much better. We sat outside (well, it was 70 degrees!) and our typical UNCW student server was attentive and good. I got the spinach salad with fresh tuna, candied pecans, bries and something else I can't remember. Well, it was flat out great. Everything was fresh and the tuna was about the best cooked piece of tuna I have had ANYWHERE in years. I gave my husband a bite and had to fight his fork off my salad the rest of the meal. In short, I woofed it. My husband got a salad with salmon, grilled veggies, etc. and said it was very good, too.

                                                  All was not perfect, however, as the kids got fish and chips (made from cod) and it was soggy and tasteless. The chips were kinda so-so. They also got a cheese quesadilla and reported it good. I give the waiter extra points for when I said "I see you have a quesadilla on the menu, can they get one with just cheese?", he said, quickly, "No problem".

                                                  (Don't get me started on my diatribe about redundant, obesity producing kid's menus!!! Why can't they just have small portions of simplified versions of what they make anyway????? At Delux, you can look on the menu and say "I see you have greens beans and mashed potatoes, can she have some of them on a plate" and they go "sure". Okay, most places are more likely to do this if you come early, but they still should do it. Why are my kids only options prefrozen CRAP!.....okay, must stop ranting, must stop ranting!)

                                                  So, we would definately go back. It looks like they have lots of outside seating all around the place. I don't recall Fish House having so much outside seating. I also recall, in the summer, that it doesn't "stick out" in the waterway as much as Dockside, so it doesn't get as much of a breeze, so I remember it being hotter and having a fly problem. But I have only been there twice in the summer....can anybody confirm?

                                                  We also ate at Bridgetender with insistent older family members. It was mediocre, as remembered. I got crabcakes with the least amount of crab I have EVER seen in a restuarant crab cake. They should have called them "crumb cakes" instead. And they didn't have much flavor. Not my first choice, but we can never talk these people into South Beach, etc.

                                                  Finally, we are mourning the loss of MOA. I don't know how we are going to cope. I have been going there since I was a kid! I love their breakfasts! I see that McDaniel place on College is advertising MOA is there. What's the word?

                                                  1. c
                                                    cnb RE: beachcomber Feb 15, 2007 10:39 AM

                                                    I LOVE Lazeeza, never have had anything not be perfect there. They make everything fresh and I think it's by far the best mediterranean in town. They have greek, lebanese, etc. They have a pretty casual basket lunch with some american food, but dinners are top notch and more formal. Lunch tastes good, just not fancy. Also love The Little Dipper in Wilmington. Expensive, but a great romantic dinner spot. Lazeeza is not as pricey, and on a Saturday night it's is great - they have a belly dancer. I don't think the Little Dipper has entertainment, but fondue is so fun. My two favorites! For causal dining, I like to grab a slice of pay by the slice michaelangelo's pizza down at Carolina beach- I take it down with me and watch the waves roll in...

                                                    1. w
                                                      wineandcheese RE: beachcomber Feb 15, 2007 12:02 PM

                                                      Speaking of authentic I bet none of you have tried Cocina De Carman. It is Market Place Mall on the end closest to Viet. The food is from El Salvador. Beans, rice etc. But, they make there own tortillas! Combo #3 was really good. From the outside it looks like a place I would never go but was glad when a friend insisted we try it. The couple who has recently taken it over is changing the name to Sombrero Azul. (color of El Salvador)

                                                      12 Replies
                                                      1. re: wineandcheese
                                                        c
                                                        cnb RE: wineandcheese Feb 15, 2007 04:03 PM

                                                        I have never been to Cocina De Carman, but that sounds very interesting, I have never had El Salvadorian food before. Where are they?

                                                        I didn't care for Laterna, seemed too, well, commercial. I like the more quaint yet tasteful feel of a small place that isn't buffets and all that. I think the Lazeeza stuff tastes fresher...I will concede when they first opened I wasn't sold on Lazeeza either. But a lot has changed since then and now they seem to be fast and the food only gets better - plus decorating helped out quite a bit too. I just bought some great smelling soap at the little grocery Lazeeza built in, it's all stuff directly from Greece. I also like that because I love to cook. My best friend is a total olive snob, and finally I can find some great tasty olives she will love.

                                                        By the way as for my recommendations:
                                                        The Little Dipper is downtown by the waterfront - they are open mostly for dinners I think
                                                        Lazeeza is on 17th Street across from the New Hanover Regional Medical Center - they are open lunch and dinner- they used to have dinner on fridays & saturdays but just found out they will be starting to open every night starting soon. they also have a new expanded menu.
                                                        Michaelangelo's has a few locations, but my favorite is on Front street in Carolina Beach. They're very friendly, open lunch & dinners I think daily.

                                                        Also wanted to recommend any Port City Java for a great coffee roasted fresh in Wilmington - and yunny pastries and baked goods. VERY GOOD!

                                                        1. re: cnb
                                                          w
                                                          wineandcheese RE: cnb Feb 15, 2007 07:37 PM

                                                          Cocinca de Carmen is in the marketplace mall. As you look at it it is on the right end. They are changing the name to El Sombero Azul but the cocina sign is still up now. The food is similar to other latin american food with some differences. Go try it.

                                                          1. re: wineandcheese
                                                            c
                                                            cnb RE: wineandcheese Mar 28, 2007 01:29 AM

                                                            Cool, will check that out! I am just getting into sampling new foods. Have to admit that I am eating mediterranean too much (Lazeeza- on 17th st), but it's seriously gourmet. I need more variety! Now that I am exploring ethnic, what is totally different?

                                                            Was reading thread about Giorgios (Monkey Junction by Walmart)- Giorgios is okay, the salads are europen, with lots of different greens, and big. Overall nice, good noodles, large portions, but frankly the alfredo could have been better. But then haven't ound a fabulous alfredo in Wilmington- Olive garden is good but not excellent. Still have to give preference to the little guy tho.

                                                            Have to give props for Mama Mias on Carolina Beach (right on main drag) - FABULOUS food- smaller portion size but worth it. Quaint and locally owned to boot. I am avoiding the big bucks places and the chain eats these days for the most part. Besides, the little places work harder and I think taste better.

                                                            Does anyone know a good Indian place that isn't too spicy within a 1 hour radious of Wilmington???

                                                            1. re: cnb
                                                              Andiereid RE: cnb Mar 28, 2007 04:56 AM

                                                              We like India Mahal on College. It's a little hole in the wall place between Wrightsville and Oleander. Very reasonably priced. We've never had a bad meal there.

                                                              1. re: janebono
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                                                                Cake Ladies RE: janebono Apr 16, 2007 03:39 PM

                                                                If you like Portofino, you've got to hit Martino's Fine Italian Foods and Catering, 7041 Wrightsville Ave, 9105092727. No table service, but by far the finest Italian food in the area, including stunning meats, deli meats, lots of great take-out hot foods.

                                                                1. re: Cake Ladies
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                                                                  Ando RE: Cake Ladies Apr 17, 2007 08:30 AM

                                                                  Where exactly on Wrightsville Avenue? Have been wanting to try Martino's.
                                                                  Thanks

                                                                  1. re: Ando
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                                                                    Cake Ladies RE: Ando Apr 25, 2007 09:00 AM

                                                                    Martino's is at the Wrightsville end of Wrightsville Ave. If you take eastwood to the stoplight just before the bridge, you can turn right on Wrightsville. Then travel just a couple blocks and it's in a little storefront on the right. You could also take the Eastwood to Wrightsville little cut-thru road across from Boca Bay at Kefi, Pavilion Place, I think. The road that hosts Sweet and Savory. Martino's will be at the end on the right.

                                                              2. re: wineandcheese
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                                                                alsal RE: wineandcheese Oct 16, 2010 05:22 PM

                                                                My spouse and I ate at El Sombrero Azul (used to be called La Cocina De Carmen) and we loved it. It's a small restaurant with friendly service and great tasting food at a reasonable price. I give it 5 stars.

                                                            2. re: wineandcheese
                                                              marlowebeach RE: wineandcheese Mar 30, 2007 10:56 AM

                                                              Tried El Sombrero Azul this week. Ordered the yuca & pork appetizer, a grilled shrimp, and the marinated chicken. We were the only people there. Chips and salsa to start -- salsa was good, with sort of a smoky, roasted tomato quality. Ended up not ever getting the shrimp; they served my husband the yuca as his entree. The food was fine, interesting variation on rice and beans! I might try again for lunch.

                                                              1. re: marlowebeach
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                                                                wineandcheese RE: marlowebeach Mar 30, 2007 08:22 PM

                                                                Sorry El Sombero wasn't a great experience for you. Often I go for lunch and one of the few tables there. I think they have great rice and love the pulpusas. They are a sort of stuffed masa tortilla thing.
                                                                This week I got back to Catch for lunch and had a fried calamari salad with red curry dressing. I loved it.
                                                                I have also had some good lunches lately at the Everyday Gourmet. The couple who owns Temptations owns it and they have made a Temptations cafe on the north side of town for those of us out here in the Porter's Neck area. They will let you buy a bottle of wine off the shelf and drink it at lunch for retail price. That is a good deal!

                                                              2. re: wineandcheese
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                                                                thaiguy66 RE: wineandcheese Apr 22, 2007 09:08 PM

                                                                I read your comments about Lazeeza and felt a responsibility to respond. So...I actually went through the trouble of registering (not a big deal, really) so I could send this message. My wife and I recently visited Lazeeza and were extremely disappointed. My wife is Greek and she said that it is "practically criminal" for them to charge the outrageous prices they charge for their Greek food in the little grocery they have there. In New York we regularly bought Retsina wine for one-third the price that they are charging at Lazeeza. To add insult to injury, when we commented (politely) on this at Lazeeza, the snotty little girl who worked there said, "Don't tell me, I just work here." Needless to say we will never go back. For great food, prices, and service go to Olympia Restaurant. Just a recommendation...but Lazeeza may seem okay unless you know how much their products are supposed to cost.

                                                                1. re: thaiguy66
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                                                                  janebono RE: thaiguy66 Apr 23, 2007 04:43 AM

                                                                  Not to justify rude waitress but things do cost more here than in NY. Maybe its the unavailabilty of specialty items. or how far they have to travel to get to Wilmington. years ago we couldn't even get this items so I don't mind paying up

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                                                                abmermaid RE: beachcomber May 5, 2008 02:46 PM

                                                                I loved Indochine (Thai) on Market Street! The food and the atmosphere are top-notch! On the other end of the spectrum is The Little Dipper on Front Street downtown. Their forte' is fondue and it is FABULOUS!! You'll need reservations on the weekends.

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