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Casual but delicious dinner in Wilmington, DE?

cbn456 Jan 25, 2012 09:14 AM

My boyfriend and I will be driving to DC from NYC in a few weeks and plan to stop in Wilmington for dinner along the way. Neither of us have ever been. Can you all suggest somewhere casual, but also delicious? Maybe for a great burger or something similar? I've read some of the Wilmington posts and the recommendations tend to skew a little fancier (i.e., Domaine Hudson, Eclipse, Moro) than what we were looking for. Thanks all!

  1. c
    cbn456 Feb 24, 2012 04:39 PM

    We just left El Diablo. Man those were good burritos! I had the short rib one with goat cheese and my bf had something with steak. These were more delish than our local place and definitely beat anything we could have found at a NJ turnpike service turnoff. Thank you all for the suggestions! I have a feeling we'll be back to El Diablo!

    2 Replies
    1. re: cbn456
      travelmad478 Feb 24, 2012 05:32 PM

      Great, glad you liked it! I moved out of that neighborhood right as they opened, so I've only eaten there once. I should try to go back if I'm passing by.

      1. re: travelmad478
        bluehensfan Feb 27, 2012 07:39 AM

        Glad you liked 'em. Next time you should try the citus pork one!

    2. g
      genevapics Jan 28, 2012 11:10 PM

      Sounds like you want something quick, good and in a decent setting. I don't know when you are traveling, but if you like a really good burger, may I suggest Union City Grille on Union Street in downtown Wilmington? Monday night is half priced burgers. $5.00 gets you a wonderful 8 oz. burger w/cheese and fries. Very nice decor and relaxed atmosphere. We are there most Monday's as the GF loves their burgers. Obviously, any other night and the burgers are $10.00.

      If you want a little more hip place, why not try Chelsea Tavern on Market Street, again in downtown Wilmington. Casual dining and good food.

      1 Reply
      1. re: genevapics
        jenscats5 Feb 4, 2012 12:31 PM

        I have to disagree about Chelsea Tavern - food isn't that good and not always fresh. And for what they offer, it's not done well. Now, I haven't been back since the old chef left & the sous chef became head chef, so it may have improved. Great beer selection tho!

      2. f
        FriedClamFanatic Jan 28, 2012 08:37 PM

        The Charcoal Pit that is about 3 miles up the 202 exit off 95 has some of the best burgers and shakes around. They used to be cash only, but think they now take Credit Cards

        2 Replies
        1. re: FriedClamFanatic
          bluehensfan Jan 30, 2012 02:27 PM

          The Charcoal Pit takes credit cards. It's about as good as it gets for a frozen pre-formed burger. (Yes...I do like eat there and like them). Good fries and onion rings too.

          1. re: bluehensfan
            scoopG Jan 30, 2012 06:54 PM

            Agreed. I do like the CP Cole Slaw though. Lucky's Coffee Shop further on down 202 has a much better burger.

        2. a
          audell Jan 25, 2012 03:25 PM

          I used to live in Wilmington and now I live in NYC and I have to say that Mikimoto's has some of the best sushi I have ever had. I have not found a place in NYC I like better!!! So if you like sushi and a cool ambiance go there!! 1212 N Washington St Wilmington, DE Otherwise, to check out the "cute" part of town go to Cathryn Rooney's for Irish food and a cool bar scene or the more trendy Tuscana Kitchen and Bar (I strongly suggest the Kitchen Sink Salad and their pasta)

          11 Replies
          1. re: audell
            bluehensfan Jan 25, 2012 04:03 PM

            How casual is the OP looking for? To me Harry's Seafood Grill and Toscana (which went significantly downhill since the renovation IMO....) seem almost as fancy as Eclipse and Domaine Hudson. I wonder if Kid Shelleen's might be a good option for a burger (help me out...haven't been there in 100 years!) Mikimoto's does have pretty good sushi if that's what you're looking for. Whatever you do, avoid the Columbus Inn or anything else by the Riverfront other than Harry's (unless I am missing something).

            1. re: bluehensfan
              audell Jan 25, 2012 04:14 PM

              Toscana's not really fancy any more since they renovated a few years ago. Kid Sheleen's is good too and very casual. I would recommend to stay away from the Riverfront area too.

            2. re: audell
              scoopG Jan 25, 2012 06:00 PM

              Mikimoto's cannot be compared to any great sushi place that NYC has to offer. Exactly what NYC sushi places have you been to?

              1. re: scoopG
                audell Jan 26, 2012 08:01 AM

                I completely disagree. For the same price, quality and quantity of fish, and creativity of specialty rolls (for example the Mikimoto, Hairy Mexican, Green Caterpillar), I have not found a better joint in the city. Where would you recommend? I am in the East Village.

                1. re: audell
                  scoopG Jan 26, 2012 11:38 AM

                  Have you been to 15 East?

                  Here's a recent thread:

                  1. re: scoopG
                    audell Jan 26, 2012 02:35 PM

                    I haven't but it looks really good I'll definitely check it out. It is very different than Mikimoto's though- more expensive and no specialty rolls.

              2. re: audell
                CindyJ Jan 26, 2012 08:02 AM

                What's the name of that pub-like place, right next to Mikimoto? That's a casual place for a good burger.

                1. re: CindyJ
                  audell Jan 26, 2012 08:07 AM

                  Ale House

                  1. re: audell
                    CindyJ Jan 26, 2012 08:10 AM

                    Right! It's the Washington Street Ale House. http://wsalehouse.com

                    1. re: CindyJ
                      travelmad478 Jan 27, 2012 08:59 AM

                      That would be an OK option--casual, not "delicious," but just fine if you are not setting your sights very high. I find Mikimoto's annoying, not being a fan of things like "Hairy Mexican" rolls. (God save us.) A plus for Washington St. Ale House is its extreme proximity to I-95, if that is a bonus.

                      El Diablo is also great, but not a place to relax, really. The ambience is kind of Subway-esque. But it is also not far off 95. A few blocks further on, Kid Shelleen's is a decent choice as well, but it is pretty much the same thing as Washington St. Ale House so if you are in a mood for burgers and the like, you might as well save yourself ten minutes of driving.

                      I am not completely anti-Riverfront as long as you stay away from the giant food warehouses (Joe's Crab Shack, etc.). The new Thai place that just opened there is decent, and Kooma (pan-Asian) was decent the one time that I ate there. (If anyone has more recent experiences I would like to hear them!) These are also a short distance from 95. Both are a step up from the Ale House and Kid Shelleen's in terms of atmosphere, but not fancy.

                2. re: audell
                  jenscats5 Feb 4, 2012 12:34 PM

                  I like Mikimoto's - fish is always fresh & the sushi always done well. I've never had a bad meal from them. The Washington Street Ale House (WSAH) is decent for a bar-like/pub scene. Food isn't bad (I like it better than Chelsea Tavern) and there is a good selection. Presto - next door to WSAH has good desserts & coffee IMO...

                3. scoopG Jan 25, 2012 03:04 PM

                  You really should spend time reading through this thread:

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: scoopG
                    cbn456 Jan 26, 2012 06:05 AM

                    That's actually the thread I did read. It seemed kind of outdated (though I see that people are still commenting even today), and I got lost when people started talking about sub shops. I'm looking for something above a sub shop, but below white table cloths. I mean, this is a stop along a little road trip, so I wasn't planning to be wearing heels.

                    1. re: cbn456
                      scoopG Jan 26, 2012 11:37 AM

                      You won't need heels for any restaurant in Wilmington! I think Eclipse would work.

                      1. re: scoopG
                        MrRuffles Jan 27, 2012 01:17 PM

                        Eclipse wouldn't be a bad choice. It's definitely not white tablecloth and you don't have to have a full-blown dinner there. Last time we were there we had the burger and the pork sandwich. And it's not too far from 95.

                        1. re: MrRuffles
                          scoopG Jan 27, 2012 02:42 PM

                          I think their pulled short rib Bolognese Pappardelle is a wonderful dish. Good point about being close to 95.

                      2. re: cbn456
                        jenscats5 Feb 4, 2012 12:27 PM

                        Wilmington isn't really a "heels" city unless you want to wear them. I've been out to "nicer" places & worn jeans without any looks......Eclipse is a very good restaurant and while seemingly "fancy" really isn't & has good food.....and is quite casual & not snobby in the least.

                    2. g
                      gfweb1 Jan 25, 2012 02:17 PM

                      Harry's Seafood place is pretty casual. Good crab dishes.

                      1. bluehensfan Jan 25, 2012 09:26 AM

                        The braised pork and short rib burritos at El Diablo in Trolley Square are really good.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: bluehensfan
                          cbn456 Jan 26, 2012 06:03 AM

                          Burritos are my boyfriend's favorite food! I'll definitely consider this.

                          1. re: cbn456
                            bluehensfan Jan 26, 2012 07:45 AM

                            El Diablo is seriously really good. It's a hole in the wall, Americanized place that is spotlessly clean and not fancy. They have about six tables or so (it's a small place) but what they do, they do really well. In fact there are times when we go out to fancier places in Wilmington and afterwards I wished I'd have gone to El Diablo instead.

                            1. re: bluehensfan
                              genevapics Jan 28, 2012 11:13 PM

                              I almost spit out my scotch when you referred to El Diablo as a "hole-in-the-wall." I get that the place is small and a bit cramped, but when I think of "h-i-t-w" El Diablo doesn't come to mind. That said, it is a fantastic small joint that might just be the ticket for our NYC guests.

                              1. re: genevapics
                                spyturtle008 Feb 2, 2012 06:15 AM

                                Ditto'ing (tritto-ing?) the El Diablo rec. If you're looking for a quick bite with some good and unique twists, this is your spot. Love the mushrooms and the sherry onions.

                                There is an ice cream shop a few doors down that sells Bassetts ice cream (famous Philly ice cream), if you have room for dessert. Pumpkin is my favorite when it's in stock.

                                1. re: spyturtle008
                                  bluehensfan Feb 3, 2012 11:35 AM

                                  It's called Temptations. And the pumpkin ice cream is even bettter with a scoop of cinnamon.

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