As soon as the weather starts to warm in Delaware, people flock to the waterfront to relax, to play, and best yet, to eat! With miles of coastline along rivers, bays, marshes, and the ocean, you don’t have to look too far to find a place with waterfront dining. Some are open year round, some time with the seafood seasons, and some are only open during the busy late spring to early fall tourist season.
These establishments might have fine dining with fancy linens or might have plastic chairs and newspaper as a table covering. Either way, we think food tastes better with a great view!
1. Catch 54, Fenwick Island
Overlooking the marsh and Assawoman Bay from the deck or the dining room while feasting on amazing fresh seafood prepared simply but with style.
2. Harry's Seafood Grill, Wilmington
Harry's Seafood Grill is consistently rated as one of the top places to eat in Delaware--for seafood, waterfront dining, and just in general. Enjoy views of the Christina River and Wilmington Riverfront from the patio.
3. Victoria's Restaurant, Rehoboth Beach
Located in the very Victorian-era-inspired Boardwalk Plaza Hotel, Victoria's has ocean front views of the Atlantic Ocean. Try their afternoon tea service or dinner with a view from the dining room or boardwalk patio.
4. Rusty Rudder, Dewey Beach
Most people think about the Rusty Rudder as a place to party in the summer overlooking Rehoboth Bay. And, while that's not untrue, what most miss is that they offer great food too. Our favorite is the 'land-and-sea buffet.'
5. Big Fish Grill on the Riverfront, Wilmington
Another favorite along the Wilmington Riverfront is Big Fish Grill, a hit for fresh, delicious seafood. Its downstate sister restaurant (the original) is amazing too, but lacks the waterfront views.
6. Aqua Sol, Bear
Tucked in a quiet marina cove just off the C&D Canal is Aqua Sol. Indoor and outdoor dining offer a view of the water while you dine on Miami-inspired dishes.
7. Irish Eyes Pub and Restaurant, Lewes
There are several Irish Eyes restaurants in Sussex County, but none with a view quite like this. From the main dining room to the outdoor covered porch to the outdoor bar, watch the boats sailing along the canal or see the University of Delaware's wind turbine spinning along. Be sure to order the seafood shepherd's pie!
8. Paradise Grill, Long Neck
The palm trees and picnic tables on the sand at Paradise Grill make you feel like you're not in Delaware anymore! Known more for its live music and bar scene, the food is great too. We hear renovations are underway to expand this site along Indian River Bay.
9. Bluecoast Seafood Grill, Bethany Beach
From the outside, bluecoast doesn't look like anything special, but step inside and be treated to sunset views of Salt Pond as you enjoy fresh, upscale seafood. Be sure to order a hand-crafted cocktail with your dinner, from the same restaurant group (SoDel Concepts) that brings you Catch 54.
10. Que Pasa, Dewey Beach
The menu at Que Pasa isn't huge; it mainly serves simple tacos, quesadillas, and other Mexican dishes. But the real reason most come to Que Pasa is to eat on the sand with their shoes off, or to let their kids wade into Rehoboth Bay while they wait for their meals.
11. Sambo's Tavern, Leipsic
If steamed crabs are what you're craving, head to Sambo's in the quiet fishing town of Leipsic. The restaurant sits on the water, next to the docks where the crab boats tie up.
12. Serendipity Restaurant, Oak Orchard
Locals rave about the food and views at Serendipity, off the beaten path in Oak Orchard. Enjoy a full breakfast in the morning or come later for homemade pasta and breads with your view of Indian River Bay.
13. Abbott's on Broad Creek, Laurel
When most people think of Laurel, they don't think about waterfront dining. Abbott's will soon change that when word of their sumptuous food starts to travel farther.
14. Hammerheads Dockside, Indian River Inlet
Drive down to Hammerheads Dockside, or better yet drive up in your boat and tie up at the Indian River Marina. Seating is limited but if you have to wait, you can roam around Delaware Seashore State Park or ogle the boats in the marina.
15. The Lobster Shanty, Selbyville
If you're looking for lobster and a view south of New England, check out this place on Assawoman Bay. Reviews tell us that they have binoculars for bird watching while you wait.
16. Harpoon Hannah's, Fenwick Island
All year long, you can enjoy waterviews from Harpoon Hannah's which sits on the border of Delaware and Maryland. Waterviews are of what is know as "The Ditch" connecting Little Assawoman Bay in Delaware and Assawoman Bay in Maryland. The place is massive, with docks for boaters, stages for live music, bars and simple seating for enjoying seafood.
17. Crabby Dicks - Fort Delaware, Delaware City
From the patio of this restaurant in a historic former hotel, you can see cargo ships motoring up and down the Delaware River, or the ferry going to and from Fort Delaware. Try one of their 'tongue-in-cheek' menu offerings like the Major Dick Steampot filled with mussels, shrimp, clams and snow crab clusters.
18. JP's Wharf, Bowers Beach
We like JP's for fresh oysters, oyster fritters, and other local seafood specialties. Not to mention, the deck and outside dining are right on the Broadkill River where you can watch fishing boats come in and out from the bay.