Overall Food Service Noise Bathrooms Value

Agave Restaurant and Bar

/ Updated on May 18, 2014
Overall
Food
Service
Noise
Bathrooms
Value

Picture a petite bistro in Manhattan or in a sparkling casino in Las Vegas. Now add Lewes to the equation, and you’ve got Agave Restaurant with its moderately priced cuisine, creative and unquestionably Mexican fare.

Most of the drinks involve Agave’’s huge selection of tequilas (over 70 varieties). One of the favorite drinks at our table is the Tequila Sunset, a multicolored blend of juices and spirits. The margaritas come in three sizes. Bring a designated driver (or an ambulance) if you plan to experiment with the extra large.

The Super Nachos are built around homemade chips and presented in a colorful metal serving tray with a combination of black beans, creamy white queso fresca, smoky salsa, cool sour cream and warm roasted peppers. The guacamole appetizer is served in a large molcajete, a traditional Mexican salsa bowl. No food processors here: It was fresh and obviously handmade with chunks of fresh avocado throughout. Several members of our party had the Chicken Tortilla soup, rich with spices and white-meat chicken, particularly appetizing in a striking pottery bowl.

The Cobb Salad Quesadilla entrée is infused with tidbits of corn, beans and crunchy vegetables. If you like Chicken Mole, definitely try it here. A dark, rich and not-too-thick Mole sauce is a hard thing to get right (see some of my other reviews), but Agave nailed it. At this point I have to pay tribute to their jalapeno/cheese cornbread. Just hope it is still on the menu! This is one of my own signature dishes when I entertain at home, so I was poised to criticize. It came very close to the moist and creamy mouth-feel of the real thing (mine, of course).

Leisa Berlin (owner Chris McKeown’s mother) was the opening chef at Agave, but is now ensconced at her very own Edie Bee’s Confection Shop a few doors away. Her daughter, Sarah, owns and operates Nourish in the space behind Edie Bee’s where Second St. Grill used to be. On our very first visit many years ago, Leisa sent out a taste of her Ginger Cilantro Garlic Corn. I’ll spare you the gastronomic superlative. If it is still on the menu as of this writing (cross your fingers), order it. You’ll not be disappointed.

Nothing can ruin a reviewer’s credibility faster than complimenting everything. Nobody’s perfect. In particular, the layout of Agave makes for lots of reflected sound, so the place is much noisier than it needs to be. There are things that can be done about that. Another ongoing problem is when things get busy (and they do!), servers rapidly find themselves “in the weeds” (a design-induced service-bar traffic jam exacerbates this problem). It’s important that you make it clear to your server what you want as an app and what you want as the mains. Otherwise, everything could come out at once.

That being said, owner Chris McKeown has skillfully married a well-stocked tequila bar with a lively Mexican menu. Design touches such as their cleverly shuttered wall murals, the understated flat-screen TV glowing from behind a half-silvered mirror, and the streamlined bar all add up to a great, tequila-soaked time. So be sure to eat!

They don’’t take reservations, but the wait will be worth it (pass the time with a pomegranate margarita). If you just MUST be seated immediately because you are very, very important, then get there early. Like 4:30. A couple of years ago Agave expanded into the neighboring space (where Rocky Mountain Chocolate used to be), but they didn’t really expand the seating. They made a store out of it. It just seems to me that a better use of those square feet would have been tables that most certainly would have filled. But it’s not my restaurant; just sayin’….

They are located at 137 Second Street in Lewes and can be reached at 302-645-1232. It’s hard to believe, but Agave has no website! I tried to link you to one of those menu sites, but the menu there was waaayyy outdated. Sorry. You can see their Facebook page, but it’s pretty lackluster. I suggest putting down that mouse and just going and having a good time.

(L. (limited–call), D., Bar) Price Range: Moderate .

Off-season Specials & Hours

Specials & Moods change quickly. Always call a restaurant first.

pp = per person.
BOGO = buy one, get one.
Bloody = bloody mary.
domestics = American-made beers (e.g., Bud).
imports = foreign beers (e.g., Heineken).
Rails = non call-brand alcohol.
Prix Fixe = one set price.
Mains = entrees.
Margs = margaritas.
Chix = chicken.
AYCE = all you can eat.
Lite = Miller Lite
drafts = draught beer.
Early Birds = arrive before a certain time.
Apps = Appetizers.
bottles = beer in a bottle.
à la carte = order off the menu (no prix fixe).
crafts = micro/artisanal brews (e.g., Old Leghumper Lager)

137 2nd St.
Lewes
302-645-1232

Closed for remodeling from December 3, 2016 until early March 2017.

Sunday
Open 3-10
See closing dates to the left.
Monday
Open 12-10
Happy Hour 2-5: $2 off margs, $1 off beers, tequila shop 1/2 price
See closing dates to the left.
Tuesday
Open 12-10
Happy Hour 2-5: $2 off margs, $1 off beers, tequila shop 1/2 price
See closing dates to the left.
Wednesday
Open 12-10
Happy Hour 2-5: $2 off margs, $1 off beers, tequila shop 1/2 price
See closing dates to the left.
Thursday
Open 12-10
Happy Hour 2-5: $2 off margs, $1 off beers, tequila shop 1/2 price
See closing dates to the left.
Friday
Open 12-11
Happy Hour 2-5: $2 off margs, $1 off beers, tequila shop 1/2 price
See closing dates to the left.
Saturday
Open 12-11
See closing dates to the left.
The Rehoboth Foodie

About the Author

"My goal is to promote Rehoboth Beach dining while remaining honest and impartial. I don’t gush unless a place deserves it, and I don’t pull punches, either. With so many good places to eat around here, it just doesn’t make sense to waste the calories — or the money — on anything less." View all articles written by The Rehoboth Foodie

Add Your Comment
  1. Char says:

    Hubby and I went last Thursday around 5:15, had a 45 minute wait, but it was worth it! The guac is delish and basically filled us up so that we only ate less than half of our dinners. I got the fish tacos, good, but very awkward to eat due to the oversized shell. I took one home and at it later that night and it tasted even better cold, the flavors really popped. Next time we will get the guac and one meal to share, as the couple next to us did. We will definitely go back.

  2. c says:

    You already know it will be a wait. plan for the wait. go there first put your name in then go do the other things you may have to do. they give you time to get back, when your table is ready. If they tell you 2 hours it WILL be two hours. get back in your car drive somewhere, play mini-golf. People have even gone to the movies before while waiting for their table. The only way to avoid the wait is to have a smaller party, and conversely the larger party you have the longer the wait. sometimes they will bump you up if there are only 3 or more person parties in front of you and a two-top leaves. although this is rare. Worth the wait and as stated previously in a popular resort beach town you will wait, just build a wait into your plans.

  3. Linda says:

    Had lunch today and food was nice but to charge me for a little sour cream with meal was a little bit much. Waiter was not attentive. Did not see anyone to complain / share over 24 .

  4. Kerrie says:

    Ate at Agave today for lunch. It was a bit pricy for lunch but well worth it. The size of the meal was huge. I would recommend Agave!. I had the Mole Chicken Enchilada and my husband had a layered chicken dish, they both were superb. Our waitress was excellent. We are locals and felt like we were transformed to another place in time! We will certainly go back!

  5. Mike says:

    Mel, I have not been to Agave yet but I guess I have an understanding about their decision to “comp you or lose you”. If my business is that good, and I’m being put in the position you proposed, I’d rather lose a customer that insists on consuming my wine for free than lose the customers that are probably spending more and paying for all of it. For everyone’s sake, I hope all of the other restaurants are able to please you.

  6. Meg says:

    If you’re driving over two hours to a popular restaurant, common sense tells me you should call ahead before making the trip?

  7. Philip says:

    Awesome & authentic mexican food, but wait times can be crazy (2 hours!) and service can border on unpleasant. Avoid on weekends.

  8. Jean Dormer says:

    .
    Food very, very good but acoustics need work, work, work.
    Reservations might help as well.
    Overall, cheers for the owners and staff.

  9. Wes says:

    We love Agave !
    Always a pleasant experience, the food and drinks are fantastic and fresh. Everything on the menu is typical Mexican and they have a variety of selections to suit everyone’s taste and pleasure
    The staff is always friendly and it’s worth the wait
    We entertain friends at Agave and have suggested this gem of a restaurant to everyone we meet. We always seem to make new friends while sitting at the bar
    We purchases 100’s of dollars in gift certificates for Agave every year. So disappointed and upset that due to present health reasons we will not be down by Black Friday and these certificates and the good money we spent will expire. At least that’s what it says on the back. How can this happen ? Is it fair ? Where does my spent money go ? Shouldn’t the money we spent for the certificate be refunded
    I hope that Agave will receive other reactions and comments from loyal customers like us that feel this is unfair and change their policy

  10. James says:

    Simply love the stacked tomatillo enchilada and the corn soup. Basic margarita as good as the one at Rick Bayless’ Topalabampa in Chicago.

  11. Lou -Delaware says:

    Agave is amazing! Been there a few times and the food is so worth the wait! You can’t go for dinner and expect not to wait an hour- get there early and do a late lunch or a very early dinner- every restaurant in Lewes is small ,and once dining and drinking – patrons don’t want to leave-(understandable) So – don’t expect there to not be a wait – it just shows you how great they are!

  12. Liam from Wellesley says:

    I agree with Tom from Lewes. A good thing is worth planning for. If the only only negative thing you can say is that there is a wait I say have a drink upstairs and enjoy when your number is called.

  13. Tom in Lewes says:

    Did it ever occur to any of you to just make an effort to get there early? Especially if you travel some distance or if you have a gift certificate?
    The definition of mental dysfunction is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Don’t be dysfunctional!
    It’s a busy, popular restaurant. Deal with it and get there early. You’ll always get a seat.

  14. Patty says:

    William, I have tried to go there 4 times in the past year. each time driving 45 minutes to get there to be told 2+ hours to wait. That is great if you live in Lewes. but at the cost of gas not great if you live a bit further. And I am trying to use a gift certifacate that was given to me as a gift. I think I spent the amount of the certifacate in gas getting there and still have not eaten there. Sorry it is not worth 2 hour wait when you have no where to go to wait but outside in the rain.

  15. Patty says:

    I agree with you Vetgirl. We have tried several times. Drive 45 minutes to get there to be told 2 to 2.5 hour wait. What am I to do in Lewes for 2 hours on a cold rainy evening. They really should take reservations. The cost of gas to get there it is really rather upsetting. Not sure I will ever use the 50.00 gift certifacate that was given to me for my birthday at this rate.

  16. Kathleen says:

    This would be because the staff are too busy getting drunk behind the bar to care if anyone else returns. It stands to reason that the business they do during the season makes up for the locals they are willing to lose as potential customers for life, such as myself and you!

  17. Kathleen says:

    I am not surprised with the other reviews. Agave, number one, does not take reservations. This means that, even in the off season, it will be at least a half hour, sometimes a two hour wait. The staff are not very accomodating, particularly the hostess and bar staff, who are your first impression of the restaurant. They are all young and inexperienced, getting drunk, and, quite frankly, are rude. AND I AM A YOUNG PERSON! We tried to go there a second time this past Saturday when my father was in town visiting.The cocktails are overpriced and made cheaply with poor quality ingriedients. I was sorely dissapointed and likely will not return. Which is unfortunate, because the food is outstanding, and, in agreement with the average rating on this site, a good value for the money.

  18. Tina R. Kaufman says:

    WOW, fabulous restaurant. I always order two guacamole, then get the black and blue quesadillas. Never had a bad meal EVER!!!!!! Just wish they served “virgin” margaritas.

  19. Mel says:

    We were becoming Agave regulars – the fish tacos are superb! — but here’s why we will never go to Agave again. On Dec 23 we had the misfortune to be seated at a table in the bar next to a loud, obnoxious table of 5 drunk young women. There was no other table to move to, and despite our direct pleas to the table to keep it down, it got increasingly worse. Our nice dinner out was ruined, and we asked the waiter to kindly comp my last wine since we would be leaving and not able to enjoy it. He said he could not, and we asked to speak to the manager, who was also tending bar at the time. She flatly refused, saying the drunk table was a family of ‘regulars’. To be clear, we asked if she was ready to lose a couple customers for good over a $7 glass of wine, and the answer was yes. So Agave favors the drunk, obnoxious ‘regulars’ over other diners.

  20. William says:

    the plaace is crowded but 100% worth the wait and mos days its just a 45 min wait

  21. Anne S says:

    We had lunch at Agave on Saturday afternoon, I had been there earlier this summer and told our family how wonderful it was. The food is well worth the wait, however, the service on Saturday was so disappointing. The waitress was obviously over tasked and it ruined the experience for us. Probably won’t be back.

  22. L. Bixby says:

    The freshest selection of herbs, vegetables, meats, seafood. The best margheritas, sangria, and tea. Excellent service and now a new shop with beautiful wares.

  23. Priscilla Nemeth says:

    Agave has a guacamole martini! Need I say more? I love it when the mixologists are creative and the drinks are delicious. Heck, I just love it when there’s a mixologist.

  24. Denise L says:

    We love Agave but we always go at the spur of the moment when it’s early (no later than about 6). Their guac is to die for and their margaritas are yummy. My fave entree is the fish taco. Can’t wait to go there again!

  25. catgirl says:

    We too were very disappointed at the wait, it was two hours at about 7 or 7:30 p.m.
    Yes that is prime time, but that is ridiculous
    I even had a groupon to use.
    Was also very mad, that every time you try to call the place you never get a real live voice till on Sat. I called, and then someone and then got a live voice and said they do not take reservations. We were going to celebrate a birthday, and ended up going somewhere else to eat, plus in the town of Lewes, the parking situation is terrible. I guess we will have to try agave some othe time at a earlier time.
    Kind of ruined our night as we were very much looking forward to going there for dinner.
    And that was this past saturday night

  26. Deb Griffin says:

    We go to Agave at least 2 or 3 times a month and we love it! The guac is the best I’ve had anywhere – and they offer it in several flavors! We like the goat cheese guac the best, but at our table, the shrimp ran a close second. The margaritas ROCK and are made with all natural ingredients; everything is very fresh and made to order. They’re expanding into the shop next door which will add another 24 seats, and you can always hang out in the lounge upstairs and order apps and salads. One of the best kept secrets in Lewes – don’t miss!

  27. Vetgirl1 says:

    My date and I attempted to dine at Agave. There was a THREE HOUR WAIT. IN FEBRUARY. True it was 530 on a saturday, but come on. Not going to try again, I can’t imagine the place in the summer!

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