Delmarva’s beaches are famous for the surf, the sand and the boardwalks. But the resort-area towns also have become a destination for foodies. Here are 33 eateries we think are worth a visit.
For decades, Fenwick Island visitors have dined at Warren’s Station, which dates back to 1960. It’s family-oriented—there’s no alcohol—and family-run. Jeff and Paula Mumford have owned it since 1971. Expect homey stuffed flounder, crab imperial and crabcakes. Since founder Warren Johnson was a turkey farmer, you’ll also find a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Warren’s Station is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
1406 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island, Delaware, 302-539-7156, warrensstation.com
Just Hookedbenefits from owner Steve Hagen’s experience as a chef in seafood restaurants. Try the creamy corn-and-jalapeno crab bisque and the pillowy pan-seared scallops with almond hummus, olive tapenade and a warm tomato salad. Hagen’s other “Hooked” restaurants are located in Bethany, Ocean City and Millville. The latter is an alehouse with more casual fare.
1500 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island, Delaware, 302-581-0098, justhookedfi.com
Guests in the two-story Catch 54 can watch the sunlight flicker over the marina while dining on buttermilk-fried oysters with coleslaw and fries, or seafood stew spiced with aged chorizo. The restaurant was the recipient of a 2018 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. If you’re craving street corn—slathered in cream, cilantro, red chili dust and cotija—or ancho-grilled chicken tacos, Papa Grande’s Coastal Taqueria is next door. Both restaurants are owned by SoDel Concepts and share the peaceful view.
38931 Madison Ave., Selbyville, Delaware, 302-436-8600, catch54.com
Ropewalk is a resort-style take on the original restaurant, a Baltimore tavern in Federal Hill. The Ocean City site eschews the historical element in favor of beachy touches, including Adirondack chairs under swaying palm trees in an enclosed outdoor space. The vacation attitude continues with all-day happy hours Monday through Friday and music on weekends. The menu has a hefty steamer section that includes crawfish, lobster and snow crab. There is a Ropewalk in Bethany Beach and a sister restaurant, Big Eye Jacks, in Fenwick Island.
8203 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, Maryland, 410-524-1009, oceancity.ropewalk.com
Billed as Jamaica, U.S.A., Seacrets walks the walk with thatched roofs, fountains and sand-strewn floors. The bar/restaurant/nightclub is so large you might see seven bands or DJs on a single Saturday, from opening to close. You won’t lack for libations: Seacrets has a distillery. It also has a solid menu with Caribbean flavors and Maryland standards. Think baby back ribs, jerk chicken breast topped with crab imperial, and spicy chicken covered in cheesy crab dip. And there’s a kids menu. What’s with the name? As a teen, founder Leighton Moore got his GED diploma and headed to Jamaica. He returned to Ocean City to build a business with clubs and real estate. Seacrets, which started as a modest bar and was a bit of a secret, grew into a tribute to his favorite Caribbean island.
117 49th St., Ocean City, Maryland, 410-524-4900, seacrets.com
If you gotta have a gimmick, then Liquid Assets has a good one. The stylish restaurant is inside a liquor store. Success is in the details. Kale is “massaged” to tenderness, and the steak tartare is made from wagyu flank steak. If it’s available, try the chicken and “slippery” dumplings made the Delmarva way, which means they’re more noodle than dumpling. Not surprisingly, the wine list is exemplary.
9301 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, Maryland, 410-524-7037, la94.com
To travel to another place and time, open the door of Rosenfeld’s Jewish Delicatessen, Warren Rosenfeld’s tribute to growing up in the 1960s in the D.C. area. For many customers, Rosenfeld’s sells memories along with corned beef, Reubens, tender pastrami and matzo ball soup. You’ll find tongue, even if many Ocean City visitors won’t buy it. Save room for the giant eclairs that take two hands to hold. Rosenfeld’s also has a location in Rehoboth Beach and, if you’re headed inland, at the Salisbury airport.
6301 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, Maryland, 410-520-0283, rosenfeldsjewishdeli.com
Pam George’s work has appeared in Baltimore magazine, Delaware Beach Life, Forbes magazine and Men’s Health. She is the author of six books, including First State Plates: Iconic Delaware Restaurants and Recipes.