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Anniversary Dinner in Wilmington

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I'll begin with a disclaimer: Despite the number of Wilmington threads, previous posts are a bit all over the map regarding recs or a bit dated or lacking in replies or focused on different types of dining than what I'm looking for so....here's a new one....

I'm looking for a place for an anniversary dinner, preferably right downtown so we can stumble to our B&B. I'm considering Caprice, Catch, Deluxe, and Jerrys (although, I would rather not have to drive from our hotel near downtown).

I've ruled out Circa as the menu seems to be all over the map and Elijah's menu just doesn't look that interesting. While we would typically do something swankier for an anniversary, we're leaning towards Caprice because we always enjoy good bistro fare and it appears that the chef has a good reputation.

I would really appreciate any thoughts or suggestions as I'm not familiar with Wilmington and I haven't found a lot of solid info one way or the other. One more note, the Mrs. was raised by a chef so, while she's not a snob, she has a fine tuned palate and the food has to be good - that is, it would be better to go more casual and have a great meal than go somewhere with a romantic, white glove ambience and have mediocre meal. Thanks.

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  1. Le Catalan is outstanding on the water close to your area. Good luck.

    Le Catalan French Cafe @ 224 South Water Street, Wilmington, NC 910 - 815 - 0200.
    http://www.lecatalan.com/

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    Le Catalan
    224 S Water St, Wilmington, NC 28401

    1. If you are willing to drive, Marc's on Market is the best around.

      1. Not sure this is in the same category as I have not been but have been intrigued by what I've heard about Crow Hill on South Front street. Has anybody been there that can offer a report on its emphasis on fresh local and rustic?

        1. Thanks for the recs, although I'm more torn than ever now. All of these new options sound interesting. Given the good options near where we are staying, I'm going to rule out Jerry's and Marc's so that I don't have to drive and can enjoy some wine and because I have rule out something. I might do Le Catalan for lunch as it looks a bit more casual than I'm looking for.

          Has anyone tried Crow Hill? If so, how's their wine list?

          Are there any others from my initial list that I can rule out?

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          Le Catalan
          224 S Water St, Wilmington, NC 28401

          2 Replies
          1. re: dinersaurus

            We were in Wilmington a couple of weeks ago and were surprised to find it was restaurant week. So we decided to try some new restaurants and see if any could be added to our list of favorites. To start, our favorites are DeLuxe by a landslide, before the new chef took over, and Catch. We really like Keith Rhodes approach to cooking seafood with an oriental leaning.

            Restaurants we tried were Caprice where the food was quite good, not great, and the noise level was intolerable. We had full dinners including soup, salad, main course was fish for both of us, and we split a dessert. Service was best part of the dinner. Next day was lunch at The Basics which was very, very good. Order of fried oysters was best I can remember. Husband had meatloaf and finished every bite. It was the best meal we had during our 2 day trip. Dinner that night was at Cameo 1900 which got some good reviews and we love the flexibility of a tapas menu but we later both agreed we should have walked out. Out near Landfall, the place looks like a movie set in a hookers apartment, all red walls and modern furniture from DWR. Menu had some choices that sounded interesting so we stayed and ordered. Shrimp dish was ok, macaroni and cheese was huge size, rich and heavy, two other dishes not good enough to remember. I think there was something light with cucumber. My impression was these were the only dishes the cook knew how to make, all thrown together and called tapas. Of course that's just my opinion, I could be wrong (and often am.) Next on our list to try was Fish Bites out toward Carolina Beach. Oysters were nowhere near as good as The Basics. Fish was greasy. It's a dive but we had high hopes since they said their menu that week was highlighting all the best dishes on the menu. A waste of time, except for the fact that we stopped at the seafood market up the street and got a couple of dozen oysters to take home that were fresh, briny and delicious.

            In order to regain our love of Wilmington restaurants, we'll have to come back and try our old favorites again. I'm sure they won't disappiont.
            In fact,

            1. re: dinersaurus

              You should also try Aubriana's - food is excellent. Located 115 S. Front Street. Caprice is my 2nd choice if you don't want to drive out to Marc's on Market, which is one of the best restaurants in Wilmington. Easy to get to up Market street but I can understand not wanting to drive after enjoying an anniversary dinner. Bon Appetit!

            2. One of the new places on Princess Street is Manna. Very innovative food and should please your wife and her fine tuned palate. Great rack of lamb. Excellent beet salad.