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Gin and beet-cured steelhead lox, sweet potato blini, smoked trout roe, and beet creme fraiche at Heirloom in Lewes, Delaware
Gin and beet-cured steelhead lox, sweet potato blini, smoked trout roe, and beet creme fraiche at Heirloom in Lewes, Delaware
Heirloom/Facebook

Where to Eat and Drink at the Delaware Beaches

Big-time breakfasts, breweries with stellar pub grub, and truly standout dinner destinations abound in Rehoboth, Bethany, and beyond

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Gin and beet-cured steelhead lox, sweet potato blini, smoked trout roe, and beet creme fraiche at Heirloom in Lewes, Delaware
| Heirloom/Facebook

When it comes to heading “downashore” — local vernacular for a drivable beach vacation — Philadelphians have two distinct beach destinations within a reach. The first and decidedly more familiar is the expansive coastline of New Jersey, where summertime revelers can opt for over-the-top Atlantic City or head for more peaceful enclaves like Long Beach Island. A bit farther down the Atlantic, the beaches along the Delaware coastline — which include Lewes, Rehoboth, Dewey, Bethany, South Bethany, and Fenwick Island — are summertime destinations with characters all their own. Delaware’s beach towns share a similar drive time to the Jersey shore, but have a decidedly more laid back vibe and some truly noteworthy dining destinations.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Harbour Restaurant at Canal Square

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Harbour offers some of the loveliest views in Lewes along with a kitchen that’s committed to locally sourced produce and sustainable seafood. The result is a seasonally inspired roster of elevated classics: Think beer-battered Chesapeake catfish and Old Bay fries as well as high-minded combos like seared rockfish with beluga lentils and cantaloupe lime salsa.

Heirloom

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While many beach restaurants can rely on scenic locales and a steady influx of tourists, James Beard Award nominee Heirloom isn’t just good for the beach — it’s a standout dining experience year-round. Situated in an intimate Victorian home in Lewes, Heirloom serves stellar cocktails and wine, and the kitchen kicks out stunning plates of locally inspired fare, and the service is first-rate. Booking a table at Heirloom is a must when visiting the area. 

Conch Island Key West Bar and Grill

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Beach vibes wise, Rehoboth is about as far away from Key West as possible, but this Jimmy Buffet-inspired dive on the main drag is nothing but good times. The menu leans traditional pub grub with a sprinkling of southern Florida staples thrown in for good measure — think conch chowder and peel-n-eat Key West pink shrimp. The real draw here are cheap beers and a jam-packed lineup of nightly live music. Conch Island is cover band heaven. Be sure to check out Matt Avery — otherwise known as The Human Juke Box — on weekend nights.

The Blue Hen

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The Blue Hen is a crowd-pleaser. There’s a seafood plateau for those craving a raw bar moment; crab cakes and spaghetti with crab for those looking for mid-Atlantic seaside staples; and hanger steaks and burgers for those in the market for something more substantial after a day at the beach. A short and sweet drinks menu hits all the marks with a thought-out list of cocktails, beer, and wine.

Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats

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A trip to Rehoboth wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the state’s premier purveyor of IPAs. Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and the pub grub menu lines up beer-friendly dishes like chili-topped nachos and fried pickles, along with pizzas and burgers cooked in a wood-fired grill.

Henlopen City Oyster House

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Henlopen City Oyster House might not have ocean views, but what it does have is a killer raw bar and seafood-focused menu with an assortment of steamers as well as caviar service. Henlopen’s bar program is also on point with oyster shooters, expertly crafted cocktails, and a lengthy list of natural wines.

When it comes to beach vacations, breakfast is always a priority and Rehoboth has no shortage of a.m. options. Egg sets itself apart with smart spins on morning fare, from lemon curd crepes to eggs Norway and bite-size croque madames. Daytime drinks enthusiasts will appreciate brunch potables like a breakfast margarita and a bloody mary garnished with both Old Bay shrimp and candied bacon.

Dewey Beer Co.

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With locations in Dewey Beach and Harbeson, Dewey Beer Co. is giving Dogfish Head a run for its money when it comes to craft beers by the beach. Dewey’s list is heavy on both high ABV IPAs and a unique style of fruited sour that the brewery has dubbed the Secret Machine series. These sours have secured a solid fan base with out there flavor combos like strawberry, blackberry, marshmallow, and push pop.

Good Earth Market & Restaurant

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With locations in Ocean View and Rehoboth Beach, Good Earth Market is a favorite destination for Delaware beachgoers. There’s a health-food-meets-gourmet boutique, adorable little cottages for rent, and of course, a beloved restaurant with ample garden seating. At Good Earth, days kick off with mimosa brunches before moving onto a menu of snacks, salads, and sandwiches. Come dinnertime, the kitchen turns out seasonal fare like Sicilian spiced swordfish with heirloom tomato and cucumber salad and summer squash with black lentils and herbed yogurt.

High Tide Coffee and Bowls

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High Tide has only been around for a little less than a year but in that time, this morning destination on Fenwick Island has revolutionized the beach town’s breakfast game. Psychedelic hued breakfast bowls begin with bases like chia pudding and agave dragonfruit and can be topped with everything from hemp granola and goji berries to sunflower butter and bee pollen. Breakfast sandwiches and platters are on offer alongside an array of rarely seen at the beach beverages like lattes infused with CBD and activated charcoal.

Rusty Jimmies Seafood Market & Eatery

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Rusty Jimmie’s is the is the kind of place that only exists in a very specific stretch of the Eastern Seaboard. It’s a frozen in time seafood shack where families have been enjoying local crabs, shrimp and various catches of the day since before sourcing close to home was a thing. Jimmie’s is a BYO so come prepared to chase all of those Old Bay steamed crabs with plenty of cold beer.

Harbour Restaurant at Canal Square

Harbour offers some of the loveliest views in Lewes along with a kitchen that’s committed to locally sourced produce and sustainable seafood. The result is a seasonally inspired roster of elevated classics: Think beer-battered Chesapeake catfish and Old Bay fries as well as high-minded combos like seared rockfish with beluga lentils and cantaloupe lime salsa.

Heirloom

While many beach restaurants can rely on scenic locales and a steady influx of tourists, James Beard Award nominee Heirloom isn’t just good for the beach — it’s a standout dining experience year-round. Situated in an intimate Victorian home in Lewes, Heirloom serves stellar cocktails and wine, and the kitchen kicks out stunning plates of locally inspired fare, and the service is first-rate. Booking a table at Heirloom is a must when visiting the area. 

Conch Island Key West Bar and Grill

Beach vibes wise, Rehoboth is about as far away from Key West as possible, but this Jimmy Buffet-inspired dive on the main drag is nothing but good times. The menu leans traditional pub grub with a sprinkling of southern Florida staples thrown in for good measure — think conch chowder and peel-n-eat Key West pink shrimp. The real draw here are cheap beers and a jam-packed lineup of nightly live music. Conch Island is cover band heaven. Be sure to check out Matt Avery — otherwise known as The Human Juke Box — on weekend nights.

The Blue Hen

The Blue Hen is a crowd-pleaser. There’s a seafood plateau for those craving a raw bar moment; crab cakes and spaghetti with crab for those looking for mid-Atlantic seaside staples; and hanger steaks and burgers for those in the market for something more substantial after a day at the beach. A short and sweet drinks menu hits all the marks with a thought-out list of cocktails, beer, and wine.

Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats

A trip to Rehoboth wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the state’s premier purveyor of IPAs. Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and the pub grub menu lines up beer-friendly dishes like chili-topped nachos and fried pickles, along with pizzas and burgers cooked in a wood-fired grill.

Henlopen City Oyster House

Henlopen City Oyster House might not have ocean views, but what it does have is a killer raw bar and seafood-focused menu with an assortment of steamers as well as caviar service. Henlopen’s bar program is also on point with oyster shooters, expertly crafted cocktails, and a lengthy list of natural wines.

Egg

When it comes to beach vacations, breakfast is always a priority and Rehoboth has no shortage of a.m. options. Egg sets itself apart with smart spins on morning fare, from lemon curd crepes to eggs Norway and bite-size croque madames. Daytime drinks enthusiasts will appreciate brunch potables like a breakfast margarita and a bloody mary garnished with both Old Bay shrimp and candied bacon.

Dewey Beer Co.

With locations in Dewey Beach and Harbeson, Dewey Beer Co. is giving Dogfish Head a run for its money when it comes to craft beers by the beach. Dewey’s list is heavy on both high ABV IPAs and a unique style of fruited sour that the brewery has dubbed the Secret Machine series. These sours have secured a solid fan base with out there flavor combos like strawberry, blackberry, marshmallow, and push pop.

Good Earth Market & Restaurant

With locations in Ocean View and Rehoboth Beach, Good Earth Market is a favorite destination for Delaware beachgoers. There’s a health-food-meets-gourmet boutique, adorable little cottages for rent, and of course, a beloved restaurant with ample garden seating. At Good Earth, days kick off with mimosa brunches before moving onto a menu of snacks, salads, and sandwiches. Come dinnertime, the kitchen turns out seasonal fare like Sicilian spiced swordfish with heirloom tomato and cucumber salad and summer squash with black lentils and herbed yogurt.

High Tide Coffee and Bowls

High Tide has only been around for a little less than a year but in that time, this morning destination on Fenwick Island has revolutionized the beach town’s breakfast game. Psychedelic hued breakfast bowls begin with bases like chia pudding and agave dragonfruit and can be topped with everything from hemp granola and goji berries to sunflower butter and bee pollen. Breakfast sandwiches and platters are on offer alongside an array of rarely seen at the beach beverages like lattes infused with CBD and activated charcoal.

Rusty Jimmies Seafood Market & Eatery

Rusty Jimmie’s is the is the kind of place that only exists in a very specific stretch of the Eastern Seaboard. It’s a frozen in time seafood shack where families have been enjoying local crabs, shrimp and various catches of the day since before sourcing close to home was a thing. Jimmie’s is a BYO so come prepared to chase all of those Old Bay steamed crabs with plenty of cold beer.

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