La Dama’s women elevate Mexican flavor in Dagsboro

By Laura Walter
Posted 6/30/23

“This is not Tex-Mex. It’s Mexican,” said Ricardo Jimenez, as he handed me a menu to La Dama restaurant and bar, which just opened a few months ago in Dagsboro, Del.

You must be a member to read this story.

Join our family of readers for as little as $5 per month and support local, unbiased journalism.

Already a member? Log in to continue.   Otherwise, follow the link below to join.

Please log in to continue

Log in

La Dama’s women elevate Mexican flavor in Dagsboro


“This is not Tex-Mex. It’s Mexican,” said Ricardo Jimenez, as he handed me a menu to La Dama restaurant and bar, which just opened a few months ago in Dagsboro, Del.

“Awesome,” I said.

Authentic Mexican flavors and a warm atmosphere are a welcome to Savannah Square Shopping Center on U.S. Route 113.

La Dama means “The Lady” in Spanish. So this restaurant was created by “Ladies of the family, showing the men they can do it,” said Jimenez, general manager and friend of that family.

Indeed, an entire wall of the restaurant is painted bright with flowers and photographs of the restaurant’s women and other famous Latina women. The overall vibe is contemporary, but comfortable, with warm Mexican colors and patterns throughout. The space was previously a restaurant with more of a lounge/club vibe. Now, the emphasis is family-friendly.

Years ago, chef and matriarch Teresa Sanchez lost her parents as a little girl, so others raised her, and she learned cooking from her aunt. Now, Sanchez shares her passion for cooking and through cooking. Hailing from Vera Cruz, Mexico, she never attended culinary school, but instinctually measures ingredients almost perfectly by hand. She is working from the heart and leaving a legacy for her grandkids.

Sanchez is proud to share this opportunity with her own children. One daughter is Bianey Cordoba, who owns La Dama and several other Sussex County businesses, including Stop & Go Tacos in Rehoboth Beach.

The La Dama cocktail menu boasts a variety of concoctions, and I try La Paloma: a classic silver tequila, lime, Fresca soda, a dash of spicy/fruity chamoy sauce and a rim of Tajin spice. It chills in a hand-painted clay cup, a classic Mexican method of keeping drinks cool through natural absorption.

For dinner, the official “La Dama” platter highlights some of the restaurant’s biggest flavors. The entrée has steak, shrimp, lobster tail, scallops, plantains and a cold mango salad.

“You could cut that steak with a fork,” says a Selbyville woman who has ordered this meal before. She and her husband are on their third visit to La Dama, having tried the quesadillas, fajitas, entrées and desserts.

Street food fans might aim for the tacos, packed with carnitas (pork), asada (steak) or al pastor (pork and pineapple), loaded on soft, toasted corn tortillas with lime, onion and cilantro.

Delaware has some fantastic, authentic taco stands. But let’s be honest—plenty of us are also used to the U.S. style of grocery store seasoning packets and jarred salsa (you know the brand). There’s nothing wrong with that, so if your taste buds aren’t feeling as adventurous, La Dama can make a plate of crunchy beef tacos with cheddar cheese and lettuce.

But if you are looking for a new experience? Tacos can be served birria style, in which the beef is braised or stewed, and the emphasis is on the flavorful broth.

Decadence arrives in the form of La Torre – “the tower.” Imagine filling a pint container with cold shrimp, crab, octopus and tilapia, plus cucumber, avocado and pickled onion. It’s packed tight and then turned out onto a plate: a freestanding tower of seafood.

Perhaps most surprising was the Mexican-style spaghetti. With mozzarella cheeses and crema, it resembles an alfredo, with a dash of poblano pepper, adding some spice that just nudges the garlic flavor away from Italian toward Mexican.

The heart of any restaurant is in the details. Here, homemade sauces belong with each dish: a smokey salsa arrives early with chips for the table; a green tomatillo salsa comes with the tacos; an orangey-hot sauce is meant for the seafood tower, reminiscent of Maryland’s other classic seafood seasonings.

La Dama is an all-inclusive place, Jimenez emphasized. They want to “make sure all communities … have a good time and enjoy, not just the food,” but the atmosphere.

Live performances include karaoke, DJs, mariachi bands and even a drag show on July 7. There is a separate VIP area for birthdays, anniversaries or other special meals.

With the recent closing of another beloved Mexican-style restaurant six miles away in Selbyville, La Dama helps fill the gap in the region, for a sit-down spot with authentic recipes and mixed cocktails.

Find La Dama at 32175 DuPont Blvd. in Dagsboro, Del., and online at

Bay to the Beach: Byways is a regular column in which we explore interesting places and projects on the Delmarva Peninsula. Videos and more photos at

Members and subscribers make this story possible.
You can help support non-partisan, community journalism.