Azzurro Italian Oven & Bar

/ Updated on December 11, 2019

Tonya and Francesco Agostino's new Azzurro Italian Oven and Bar is up and running in the old Chez la Mer / Papa Grande's location at 210 Second St. at Wilmington Ave. in Rehoboth. The very first thing that will strike you is the massive redecoration job they did to open up and brighten that formerly dark building. Light white and gray tiles grace the white walls, and a generally uncluttered and austere look sets that restaurant apart from its predecessors.

CLICK HERE to listen to Tonya & Francesco on the May 5th, 2018 Sip & Bite Show.

The Agostino family owns a number of restaurants in Europe, and have brought some of those concepts to Rehoboth, including the Italian tradition of Aperitivo – a small plate delivered alongside before-dinner cocktails. The menu will provide traditional rustic Italian goodies, and there will even be a little post-dinner surprise! (I don't want to give everything away!)

2018 was a very busy summer, and it took me forever to get in there, but I had had some tastes here and there on the restaurant tours and knew I was in for a happy experience. For example, do not miss the Caesar salad. The image in the gallery (take a leisurely scroll through) is the split version – so the full portion certainly qualifies as Elaine Benes' famous “big salad”. This ain't yo'mamma's Caesar, so you are in for some surprises.

The feature image for this article is Chef Fran Agostino's paella. Beautifully presented, it is a panoply of mussels, clams, happy little crawfish, etc., etc. The denouement is the delicious rice at the bottom of the platter. It has had time to absorb all the flavors and it is simply amazing. I'm not sure if this particular presentation is the same as on the menu, but the ingredients certainly will be the same. It's a great dish to split as an appetizer.

Another little bite I had on the EatingRehoboth tours was the lasagne. It's my go-to dish for any new Italian joint in which I happen to find myself. Let's face it: If they can't do that, they can't do anything. The Rehoboth Foodie is here to tell you that they certainly CAN do that. It stands tall and proud on the plate, and is full of flavor. It even has a tiny bit of heat that makes for a great mouth feel for the deeply savory meat sauce. Regulars here at RF know I have my favorite lasagnes in town (two to be exact). Azzurro's lasagne makes it three.

Take a look at the gallery for more photos!

Since it took me so long to get my rather ample butt into that place, I had a chance to peruse many emails that kind people send to me containing their impressions of a new place. Other than a few new-opening missteps (ALWAYS in a brand new restaurant), the feedback has been overwhelmingly good. And many of these emails waxed rhapsodic over the Branzino al Cartoccio platter. A salt-crusted whole branzino lounges happily in a mix of cherry tomatoes, white wine with lemon, shallots and parsley. This one's a winner. My accompanying foodie chose to order it filleted, which sort of loses the salt crust effect, but it was still light and lemony. If you are OK with your food looking back at you, I suggest you order it whole. It's easy to start it down.

I have several more visits on the books to bring you more photos, etc., so check back often. I need to catch up with everyone else who's been there already.

See more at Give 'em a call to check hours, etc. at 302-212-2409

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

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  1. Avatar Suzanne Goode says:

    We discovered Azzurro late summer 2018, and it’s hands-down my favorite Italian in the area. Neighborhood Italian feel due to young, “chill” waitstaff. For vegetarian/pescatarian like myself, menu is pure delight. Ravioli primavera is my favorite among the pastas, but also love the pesto tagliatelle and the seafood pastas. Family members enjoy the grilled branzino, as well as the pastas. This time of year, don’t miss the half-price pasta on Tuesdays, and 25% off your check on Thursdays. Homemade bread and desserts are an indulgence but totally worth the calories! Couple who own this restaurant are lovely — with Tanya running front-of-house, and Francesco cooking and supervising the kitchen staff. Both the wine and the mixed drinks are top-notch. Prices are reasonable, and a bargain if you’re there during the off-season.

  2. Avatar Jason Cooper says:

    We tried Azzurro for the first time a little over a month ago. We’ve been back twice since. It’s become our favorite restaurant in Rehoboth.

    The first time we went I was expecting Italian-American style food which I love, but prefer real Italian food. I was pleasantly surprised to find a great menu with great classic dishes.

    If my better half didn’t have me on a diet I would definitely be there every Tues for 1/2 price pasta and risotto night!!! The Caprese was hands down the best I’ve ever had including my time living in Europe and going back and forth in my younger years.

    I definitely recommend giving Azzurro a chance!

  3. Avatar Tom Schwab says:

    Fantastic old world (continental) experience. The family has been to this restaurant on a few occasions. Service has been excellent. Well constructed menu. Homemade pasta al dente as expected. Best expresso I have tasted. If you love Italian food you must dine here.

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