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Best Restaurants in Rehoboth/Bethany Beach?

My family is spending a long weekend at Bethany Beach at end of the month to celebrate my brother's 30th birthday, but none of us have ever been to the area. We'll want to take him out to a nice dinner on Friday. We're 6 adults with no picky eaters....but all love good food so I'm looking for the favorites and best of the beaches! Any suggestions? Chowhound search gave me info on Lupo Di Mare, is that the best restaurant in Rehoboth or Bethany? Any other good places to keep in mind?

Also, he expressed interest in a crab-feast for Saturday. Heard about Mickey's Crabhouse and Blue Crab in Bethany...which is better? Any other good ones? OR...is there a place we could purchase a bushel of crabs to steam at rental house?

Any advice/guidance would be appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. VaTechLuv, Bethany is a wonderful beach for families. Here is a good thread that might answer some of your questions: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/536292
    I have always liked The Cottage Cafe in Bethany for breakfast and lunch.

    I have not eaten yet at Lupo Di Mare but I can tell you it is beautiful and people are saying good things about it. My family's favorite Rehoboth restaurant is The Cultured Pearl though.
    http://www.culturedpearl.us
    Here is a very good recent thread that you might find helpful in reference to Rehoboth: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/619916

    1. Hi, VaTechLuv, I can't comment on Bethany, but you asked about Rehoboth as well.

      First of all, I want to say that these are beach towns, and the restaurants need to turn a profit in a few months and cater to vacationers' tastes, so please don't expect big city choices. But that said, there are good meals to be had.

      About crabs: You asked about eating them at your rental house, and I think if you can find a place near Bethany (or even the few miles to Rehoboth) that will take your order and steam them for you, for your pickup at a certain time, that is a good way to go. Just be clear that you don't want any crabs re-steamed (that have been sitting around). Also, count the claws as you pick them, and if they haven't included two per crab, that is one sign that the place may be slack or had a bad day (but it's not a big deal, if you were happy with the crabs in general). I know you asked about steaming them at your rental house, but you probably won't have the right equipment to do it as well as a crab house or seafood market can do. With crabs, temperature of the meal is less important than quality of the steaming.

      A couple of places to pick crabs around Rehoboth:
      1) Claws. I was surprised to find a place on Rehoboth Avenue (summer of 2008) that felt like a crab house. We had good crabs, and good service. The atmosphere was upbeat. I'm not sure it is still around this summer; I checked the website but it hasn't been updated in a few months, so it would be better to check before going.

      2) Lazy Susan's, on Rt 1 north of Midway Shopping Center (about 3 miles north of Rehoboth, I'm guessing). I haven't been to the new place on the east side of Rt 1. Some reviewers on other sites give it mixed reviews, but those people seemed to be expecting a full-service seafood restaurant. Good crab houses aren't often also good "seafood restaurants," in my opinion. You go for one, or the other.

      Note: you are at the ocean, not the bay, so crab houses aren't as plentiful as on the Chesapeake.

      Other Rehoboth restaurant favorites:

      Cafe Sole (small place with small patio, also)

      Stoney Lomen (basic better-than-pub food but ask about nightly specials if you go during the week, you may get a relative deal)

      Cultured Pearl (for a big night out, I agree with Lewes17266 this may fit your vacation. Call and reserve a rooftop table, if the temperature isn't too hot)

      Breakfast: Retro Cafe ( great service, they will split an order and plate it nicely, and before or after the meal, you can walk 1/2 block to view the ocean at the boardwalk).

      Beach boardwalk food:
      Cafe Pappillon (crepes, etc, in the open air. Gotta do it once a summer).

      Fries: Beach Lunch/Luncheonette just south of Dolle's or George's Lunch one block south of Rehoboth Ave (both on the boardwalk)

      Grotto Pizza (beardwalk or Rehoboth Ave): just a regular "cut" (slice), to sit on the boardwalk and enjoy (watch out for the seagulls). Eat it fresh, but don't eat in the restaurants.

      Ice Cream: Kohr Brother's Soft Serve (next to Dolle's on Rehoboth Ave) I know, I know, but where else can you get mint chocolate chip soft serve?

      Other: Dolle's caramel popcorn. The popcorn is really good when fresh. All natural, but look at the ingredients, because it's not all good for you. This is a family-owned business from way back, and it has changed little in many years. The building was rebuilt in 1962 after the March storm, but they saved the (then) brand new taffey machine.

      2 Replies
      1. re: consaacs

        Ate at Lazy Susan's last night. Wasn't pleased with the service. They couldn't seat a party of 12 together, then couldn't get their heads around the fact that people at two tables were actually a single party. Kept delivering food to wrong places, and we waited and waited for a second dozen crabs. Turned out they thought they'd delivered both. So, it seems they're having trouble adjusted to their larger space.

        That said, the crabs were outstanding. I've been going for 20 years and last night the crabs were as good as ever. Despite the problems, I'll give them another chance.

        1. re: consaacs

          We made it to Cafe Papillon for the first time yesterday and wish we had gone sooner. This is a very special little place. Everything was so good. My son had the salmon crepe and I had the strawberry and cream crepe. We also shared a spinach croissant because we were curious and both love croissants. We are going back again soon before they close for the season.

        2. Lupo is certainly one of the best but its in Rehoboth, 12 miles North of Bethany. In Bethany try either Blue Coast on Hwy. 1 or NorthEast Seafood in West Bethany off Rt.26. Both serve the best seafood in the area. Mickey's or Blue Crab are both decent, you may want to try Fenwick Crab House 5 miles South in Fenwick Island.

          1. We vacation in Rehoboth every summer and our favorite local seafood restaurant is Big Fish (http://bigfishgrill.com). It is located on Highway 1. Great food, service and selection.

            1 Reply
            1. re: aussiedaydream

              On a nice day we enjoy ordering lunch in their market then eating outside. Big Fish has nice salads and sandwiches.

            2. Add to the list of possibilities:

              Nage, on Highway One - Fun food, and a bit daring.

              Espuma - There's a reason chef Jay Caputo has earned his reputation as one of the best in DelMarVa: he's simply that good.

              Abstractions - the alternative to the Cultured Pearl's sushi, and the one I personally prefer.

              1. In Rehoboth Mariachi's has excellent latino / mexican food . Clean friendly outstanding service and food. Also Fins is great .

                1 Reply
                1. re: meremar

                  FINS is our one of our new favorite rehoboth beach restaurants. The fish specials are plentiful and always delicious. Plus, if you like raw oysters - you can't beat their selection and knowledgeable staff.

                  Having said that, to echo S. Woody, Espuma is not only one of the best restaurants in rehoboth, it is one of the best restaurants I have been to (including multiple upper end Philly restaurants). Jay Caputo has a magnificent talent for using local, fresh ingredients. The bartender does lovely flight of wine and even mojitos. It will test your wallet though, so you might want to save it for a special night. Having said that, I hope you go!

                  Enjoy your trip!

                2. anyone ever eat or post a review of Nage?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: FISHINC

                    Kevin Reading's Nage, on Highway One? The place many people locally consider to be one of the more innovative, fun spots around? (Even though it's located in a strip mall with a huge parking lot, next to a warehouse liquor joint and a vacuum cleaner store?) Headed by a chef who ranks up there with Jay Caputo and Matt Haley as one of Rehoboth's best?

                    Nope, the place has never been mentioned before.

                    (Kidding.)

                    http://www.nage.bz/

                    1. re: FISHINC

                      Pretty sure that I have if not. I could write a book on it. Always save room for dessert. I prefer their lunch options over their dinner menu.

                    2. Thank you everyone! That's very helpful information and I'm sure it'll make our dining experience in DE great!