With the winter doldrums nearly behind us, it’s time to consider a road trip, and nothing complements an overnight stay like a satisfying meal.
Fortunately, several local establishments offer tasty getaways for gourmands. Book before May, and you may snag a discount.
Le Cavalier and the Hotel du Pont
“Le Cav” occupies the former Green Room at the luxurious downtown Wilmington hotel, now owned by the developer Buccini/Pollin.
Built in 1913, the building still retains elegant appointments that recall the Gilded Age. The restaurant, however, has a more casual vibe, thanks to a new dining room bar and a menu that mines a French brasserie for inspiration.
Chef-partner Tyler Akin recently released a new menu with such dishes as Toulouse sausage with Le Puy lentils and pickled mustard seed; spaghetti aux palourdes with littleneck clams, white ine, capers, lemon and breadcrumbs; and loup de mer — branzino with coconut milk, blistered Fresno peppers, mint, dill, citrus and greens.
However, one of the bestsellers is Le Big Cav Burger.
As for the hotel, there are 217 sumptuous guest rooms and suites. With some planning, you can enjoy dinner and a show at The Playhouse on Rodney Square, the Grand Opera House or The Queen.
Krazy Kat’s Restaurant and the Inn at Montchanin
Located in an old blacksmith shop, Krazy Kat’s has far more than nine lives. It’s continued to hold a high-ranking position since 1996, despite changes in the kitchen.
The feline theme, however, has remained the same. Picture portraits of cats in military uniforms and tiger-striped chairs. Interestingly, the whimsical touches suit the surrounding Chateau Country, home of blue blood du Ponts.
The restaurant is part of a collection of historic village buildings that form the Inn at Montchanin. Many rooms and suites have antique furniture, fireplaces and soaking tubs.
Deep Blue at the Kitty Knight House
Jamestown Hospitality, owner of Tonic Seafood & Steak in Wilmington, recently purchased the Georgetown, Maryland inn, and the 11 guest rooms overlooking the Sassafras River have been updated.
The restaurant portion of the 19th-century structure salutes Tonic’s predecessor, Deep Blue. Jamestown’s managing partner, Paul Bouchard, who managed the first Deep Blue, always loved the name.
Deep Blue at the Kitty Knight House’s menu offers a mix of seafood, beef and chicken, all served with a soothing view.
Lupo Italian Kitchen and Hotel Rehoboth
Located on the ground floor of Hotel Rehoboth, Lupo has received a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence four years in a row. Credit the carefully curated all-Italian wine list.
As for the menu, fresh pasta is made on site, and classic Italian-American dishes include chicken or eggplant parm.
Above the restaurant, the 52-room Hotel Rehoboth is one of Rehoboth’s luxury properties. Another is the Bellmoor Inn & Spa, which has a lobby bar and serves breakfast but does not have a restaurant.
Since Hotel Rehoboth is a few blocks from the beach, there is a complimentary open-air beach shuttle equipped with towels and chairs.
The Blue Hen and Avenue Inn & Spa
The Avenue Inn’s expansion consumed such longtime restaurants as Planet X and the building that housed Yum-Yum. But it also made room for new establishments, such as The Blue Hen, the creation of Henlopen City Oyster House’s founders.
The Blue Hen is so much a part of the inn that you must exit the bar area to use the lobby restrooms.
Like its sibling across the street, The Blue Hen offers oysters and seafood dishes. However, the menu also features venison loin and a house burger. The fried chicken, served with hot sauce, is a surprising hit.
The family-owned inn, which started as a tearoom in 1937, has been updated for the 21st century. In addition to the spa, there is a saltwater pool, fitness center, sauna, and steam room.
Victoria’s and Boardwalk Plaza Hotel
The aptly named Boardwalk Plaza sits right on the boards facing the ocean, giving guests a room with a view. Even the rooms on the building’s side have thoughtfully angled balconies.
While the property boasts modern amenities, the decor salutes the late 19th century, right down to the restaurant’s name: Victoria’s.
The ambiance and the enviable view continue in the restaurant, whose tiered sections give tables in the back a glimpse of the sea. In warmer weather, the patio lets diners see and be seen.
The restaurant is a favorite for brunch.
You won’t need to leave the farm if you rent a cottage or loft apartment at Good Earth in Ocean View. The organic farm also has camping sites.
Shop in the market or dine in the on-site restaurant, which offers brunch and dinner, seven days a week. More recently, the farm welcomed Dicken’s Parlour Theatre for dinner and a show.
99 Sea Level and Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Inn Residence Inn
This Bethany Beach restaurant serves upscale cuisine with an ocean view. Not surprisingly, seafood options are abundant. Whole fish is available after 4 p.m. (The restaurant also serves lunch.)
You may also find tuna, trout and scallops, along with short ribs and a 32-ounce porterhouse steak.
The restaurant is in the Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Inn Residence Inn, an all-suites Marriott property with an indoor pool and direct beach access. Guests are a short stroll from all downtown Bethany has to offer.
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