I will be the first to say that moving to the suburbs was never high on my list and I’m still not happy about it. Either choice I had was going to be a lifestyle compromise for me and I’ve been making the best of it.
So what does one do for food when they move to the suburbs? Become a glutton for chain food? Well, not always. In comes Bardea, with the hope to save us suburbanites from the torture of a life of chain restaurants. Bardea recently opened in downtown Wilmington, Delaware on Market Street, which has been an area focused on revitalization for some time and definitely promising.
620 N Market St
Wilmington, DE 19801
What I Ate:
Nonna’s meatballs – stuffed with scamorza, heirloom tomato, basil gremolata
Bucatini- “Cacio e pepe” aged pecorino romano, toasted black peppercorn
When you walk into Bardea you’ll feel like you’re in a restaurant that could be found in Philly; because it’s absolutely stunning and atypical to the area in general. They definitely put thought into the interior and ambience of the restaurant, which I certainly appreciate. It was mounted in a space that formally housed a Kennedy Chicken and features some of the same interiors repurposed and upscaled. The lighting, bar set-up, mural and open kitchen make for a really cool space to attract the young crowd moving into the area.
It was a hopping night; the bar was full and the main dining room had few empty tables. The service was inconsistent, but overall okay. Like any new restaurant there are always a few quirks that needs to be worked out over time. No big deal. I was greeted upon entry and seated fairly quickly. My server provided me a lot of background information about the restaurant and even pointed out the chef, owner and manager, which I thought was a nice touch. The only other thing that was rough was timing in between dishes. Again, probably will tighten up over time. They also had two large parties seated.
There were some nice touches though. I asked for a spoon and it was delivered to me on a plate with a napkin. I felt like that was the type of extra detail you’d expect at a place that is trying to be the big man on the block.
I really liked the truffle toast; it was the perfect combo of flavors with those delicious am arena cherries on top. Because it was on the sweet side I paced it out throughout my meal. The meatballs were divine; stuffed with scamorza, heirloom tomato, basil gremolata it made all of the flavors come bubbling to the surface. The one dish I wouldn’t order again was the pasta, it just wasn’t for me.
Overall, Bardea is an amazing addition to Wilmington. They have really been trying to revitalize this area of Market Street and make it a contender with Philly. It’s a cool scene with good food. Will it rival Philly? Go check it out and let me know what you think!