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Jan 25, 2012 09:14 AM

Casual but delicious dinner in Wilmington, DE?

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!

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

    5 Replies
    1. re: bluehensfan

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

      1. re: cbn456

        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

          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

            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

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

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

      1. You really should spend time reading through this thread:

        5 Replies
        1. re: scoopG

          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 It seemed kind of outdated (though I see that people are still commenting even today), and I got lost when people started talking about sub shops.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

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

            1. re: scoopG

              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

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

            2. re: cbn456

              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. 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

              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

                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

                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

                  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: scoopG

                      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

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

                    1. re: audell

                      Right! It's the Washington Street Ale House.

                      1. re: CindyJ

                        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.

                  1. re: audell

                    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...

                  2. 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

                      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

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