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Aug 23, 2009 08:47 PM

Fair Hill Inn, Elkton, MD - worth trying? (or anything else really good relatively near to Newark, DE)

My wife and I will be in the Newark, DE area for a couple of nights and I was thinking of trying the Fair Hill Inn in Elkton, MD based on a post I saw here (and checking their menu, of course). Is it worth the money or should I just stay in the Newark area and eat somewhere cheaper?

Alternatively, is there someplace a little further away that's worth checking out? I considered driving over to Rehoboth to try a nice place we ate at many years ago, but that's a little too far.


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  1. You can't stay at the Fair Hill Inn, but Newark is about 8 minutes away and the drive is easy. I like the FHH. There are a couple young chefs who have a very good seasonal menu that changes each month. The wine list and cheese selection is great. I like the place a lot. Aloso consider the Stone Balloon Winehouse in Newark and Ristorante Nonna just outside of town.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gfweb1

      I already have a hotel room in Newark at the Hilton, great rate courtesy of Priceline, just looking for someplace to eat. I checked out the Stone Balloon's website and it didn't really thrill me. Thanks.

    2. Looking at Fair Hill's website, their approach seems similar to Domaine Hudson in Wilmington (innovative food, good cheese, good wine)--you might put that one on your list too. It's about a 15 minute drive from your hotel, maybe 20 minutes tops. This is one of the few places in the area that I'd call a "destination" restaurant.

      Orillas Tapas in Wilmington is another good choice.

      5 Replies
          1. re: travelmad478

            Thanks for the suggestion of Domaine Hudson. I checked their menu and it looks really good, several things I would enjoy eating (Fair Hill Inn had a much more limited menu), and I like that you can order the entrees as small plates (at roughly half price) so I could actually try 2 entrees. And they take reservations via Opentable, which was a big plus for me since it allowed me to make one now. I'll post my review after Friday.

            BTW just found a review of Harry's Seafood elsewhere on Chowhound, it also looks very good. maybe next time (my son will be attending UD so we will be down there fairly often).

              1. re: gfweb1

                Harrys we have found to be very special. They have fresh Seafood and sashimi and their calimari is the best in the area. We live 5 minutes from the Fair Hill Inn and know the owners. The owner chef is European trained and the food is always good. You can select from the Fixed Price menu or select small plates.

                Fair Hill Inn
                3370 Singerly Rd, Elkton, MD 21921

          2. I like the food at Fair Hill Inn but I don't like the atmosphere. The building is lovely but I find the tables too small and close together. The two-tops are particularly small especially when you consider that you are given numerous menus and lists when you are seated- it feels like quite a juggling act. Also- the restaurant makes a big deal about their wine by the glass selection but, when I had a question about a wine I was told that one can only ask the sommelier a question about bottles, otheriwse you have to be content with the waitress (ours that time know red from white and that was it). I was also there one night when the waitress obviously had a bad cold (caugh, caugh, sneeze, sneeze) and also kept telling us how awful she felt. She certainly had my sympathy but I prefer to be served only food - without the flu. That being said - it is a lovely drive out there, the space is lovely, the food is decent to good.
            I have been going to the Stone Balloon winehouse quit a bit for snacks and full meals and enjoying it very much. I really like the atmosphere and the food is good. The bartender, Joseph is the sort of perfect bartender - helpful, chatty when you want him to be, leaves you alone when you wnat to be left. Since you are going to be visiting a student you should know that you have to be 21 to enter the Stone Balloon. Finally - just so you know - the Hilton is about 15 minutes from Newark.
            During the school year the Univerity runs a restaurant, called Vita Nova. I have only been there once but the food and service were very nice. It is a good buy - you are given appetizer, salad, main and dessert for about $30.
            Have a good time in Newark!

            12 Replies
            1. re: Fiona

              We've stayed at the Hilton before. I know it's not right next to the university but it's a very nie hotel and at $41 a night on Priceline, I am ok with the drive (which I think was closer to 10 minutes).

              1. re: MisterBill2

                Absolutely it is worth the 10 minute drive. I had no idea the price could be that good!

                1. re: Fiona

                  Yes, the Hilton has been coming up at some excellent prices on PL for at least the last couple of months. A bunch of UD parents are staying there for move-in as well as for parents weekend in October. The hotel restaurant is available on, but I'd rather pay move and have a good meal.

                  BTW we are planning to eat at Ali Baba the first night we are there since it seems to be relatively cheap and good. Any better suggestions?

                  1. re: MisterBill2

                    Ali Baba is a good choice - if you haven't been the eggplant salad is s-o-o-o-o g-o-o-o-d. For an informal atmosphere and good food I also like Cucina di Napoli. It is not expensive and good basic "red gravy" Italian food. the portions are huge so order accordingly. It is not a place to go out of your way for but I have never had a bad meal there and I have always had a good time.

                    1. re: MisterBill2

                      I tried Ali Baba a few years ago and thought it was terrible, actually. While I would not put myself up as the world's expert on Moroccan food, I have spent time in Morocco and eaten a lot of Levantine cuisine in my life. What Ali Baba puts out is a really, really poor product. If you know anything about this food you will be severely disappointed. There are many better choices for international food, equally cheap and far more tasty/authentic. You have two fine Korean places within a 15-minute drive of your hotel, for instance--one up and one down Kirkwood Highway.

                      1. re: travelmad478

                        travelmad -
                        Unfortunately I have never spent time in Morocco and I have not eaten much Levantine cuisine so I can't comment on the authenticity of Alli Baba. Here is my perspective - I go to Ali Baba pretty frequently - it is in walking distance, a local Newark business, and not expensive. I have always found the food to be tasty, the staff friendly and I have always had a good time whether I have been with one friend or a larger group. It may not be authentic but it is a convenient and enjoyable place to get a meal. Yes, there are other and more authentic opportunities for for international food close to Newark (my Koren students say the Koren restaurants are jus tlike home). Just my perspective.

                        1. re: Fiona

                          Your points are entirely valid. I just don't appreciate a restaurant saying that it is "authentic whatever" and then serving food that has barely a passing relationship with the cuisine that it claims to be. Even putting that aside, I didn't particularly enjoy the food at Ali Baba, and found it to be not all that good. The chicken I ate was pretty bland and the salad watery.

                          1. re: travelmad478

                            Point taken - food that is not good is never a good thing. I am sorry that you didn't enjoy it.

                            1. re: travelmad478

                              This reminds me of a Persian restaurant in my area (Westchester County, NY) which was getting rave reviews here on CH (including from one person who had eaten at similar places regularly in NYC). I asked a friend of mine, whose wife is Persian, about it. He told me they had just eaten there and his wife thought it was terrible. In fact, she relayed a message through him, "tell him it was garbage".

                        2. re: MisterBill2

                          So we never got to Ali Baba tonight, we went to a reception for parents and they had snacks so we decided to just eat there. Then we decided to go to Woodside Farm Creamery for ice cream, since we hadn't been able to get there the last time. What a great place (and I do not see it mentioned here on Chowhound)! Verhy strange, they charge for ice cream by the ounce (49c) but it's great stuff. In the middle of nowhere on the outskirts of Newark. I never would have found it without my GPS.

                          Here's the link:

                          1. re: MisterBill2

                            Woodside's excellent ice cream is sold by several ice cream shops around the area--I haven't been to the farm itself, but I love the ice cream and get it at a place closer to my house.

                            1. re: travelmad478

                              So we ate at Domaine Hudson on Friday night and it was excellent. In fact, so much so that we made reservations for the Saturday night in October that we will be back for Parents Weekend, which happens to coincide with Delaware Dines Out (aka Restaurant Week), so we will take my son and take advantage of the $30 for 3 courses meal.

                              I particularly liked the brussell sprouts appetizer and tuna entree. The lamb entree was ok, I think the latter would have been better had I gotten it medium rare instead of rare (also the cassoulet did not wow me). For dessert, I had the Woodside Farms peach ice cream with peach upside down cake. It was good, but the cake would have benefited from more peach and less cake, or even with just being served with something like grilled peaches instead. My wife had the tomato with mozarella and miushroom Napolean and the steak entree, and some cheese (I don't really care for cheese) and she thoroughly enjoyed them.