Anyone on the east coast of America can tell you that North Carolina is home to some of the best beaches that the Atlantic has to offer. With this proximity to the ocean comes an abundance of delicious seafood. Here’s a list of the best NC seafood restaurants for eating the freshest catches.
Located in the southern part of the Outer Banks, ChowdaHeads provides a great option for families or friends looking for quality and affordability. If the name wasn’t a big enough give away, they’re known for their delicious offering of clam chowder, but also remember to save room for dessert. The kids will be as excited with the cakes and smoothies as the adults are with the varied selection of beers. For those on a budget, make sure to checkout the midweek specials and snag a delicious meal for even less.
For those who love local charm and casual dining, the Harbor House Seafood Market is the perfect spot. Located in Hatteras, this popular market is owned and run by the beloved local Ms. Vicki who can provide you with her scrumptious seafood as well as her knowledge and advice about the area. Beyond simply selling fresh seafood that can be purchased and eaten at home, this market is known for the prepared seafood dishes, such as seafood enchiladas or crab burritos.
Tourists flock to Calabash for the numerous scenic golf courses, and between rounds there is no better place to head over for a meal than the Waterfront Seafood Shack. Calabash prides itself as the ‘Seafood Capital of the World’, so being the best restaurant is no small feat. While sitting outside, patrons enjoy the sunshine and sea breeze during their meal. Not only can diners taste the freshness of the food with each succulent bite, but they also get to see the boats coming up to the dock to unload the catch of the day.
In the busy city of Raleigh one upscale restaurant stands out as the best place to find seafood away from the shore. 18 Seaboard offers a varied option of sauces made in-house so that diners can tailor their seafood to their particular tastes. Although this venue lacks the beach views of some of the other establishments, 18 Seaboard offers rooftop seating so diners can take in the beautiful Raleigh skyline.
Away from the beach in Charlotte, Cabo Fish Taco offers scrumptious offerings with the relaxed atmosphere usually reserved for the sea. The fish tacos are generous in their portion size and can be customized with almost any type of fish and flavoring. From beer battered shrimp tacos to barbecue mahi-mahi tacos, this restaurant caters to all tastes. To complement your dining experience be sure to order one of the many flavored margaritas or one of the 16 draft beers.
Eating in a restaurant isn’t simply about the food; it’s about the experience. This spot is located in a historic renovated home that was converted into a restaurant. Floyds 1921 is the place for southern charm and atmosphere that epitomizes North Carolina. But the fun certainly doesn’t stop there, Floyds has a large and lively outdoor dining area where live music serenades diners while they eat and drink to their hearts’ content.
This Wilmington restaurant serves up seafood in a way that is rarely found in a Southern restaurant. Ceviche’s brings Panamanian food, drink, and culture directly to North Carolina. Along with your ceviche you can order tapas and other sides, such as their coconut rice. Ceviche’s is also open for brunch, serving a variety of Latin American options and seafood as well as reasonably priced mimosas.
On your next family beach trip to the Outer Banks, stop by Salt Water Grill in Corolla. The menu features varied offerings of both fried and steamed seafood as well as sandwiches. Don’t forget about the ‘big plates’ for after those long days when you’ve worked up an appetite riding the tides. The Salt Water Grill is perfect for a family affair and has options for those who are gluten free or vegetarian to keep everyone in the group happy.
For diners looking to try something new but still wanting to ensure they will have a quality meal, 1618 Seafood Grille is the perfect spot. The menu features seafood classics with flare, such as calamari with wasabi glaze and paprika flounder with avocado salsa. Patrons consistently rave about the amazing service and food presentation along with the exquisite taste of the food. The local craft beer selection is vast, and the servers are said to be helpful in making selections and suggesting pairings.
Scallops, Blue Moon Beach Grill | Courtesy Cara Godwin
Those who are fans of Surf City’s sunsets should head over to Beauchaines 211 for their next dinner out. This ‘casual fine dining’ establishment has many of the traditional menu items expected of a seafood restaurants, but with a recent revamping, the menu has also been given new life. Frequent visitors rave about the appetizers, including the Cajun fried oysters and sweet chili calamari, and the stuffed flounder.
Owned by local fisherman, Dockside N’ Duck is a community fish market that is perfect for when you want to prepare seafood for yourself. The fish are caught daily and brought to the market, so patrons know that there truly is no better to place to get fresh, local seafood. Even better, the market has everything you need to make a complete meal including homemade bread, sides, and desserts. For when you need to whip up a quick delicious meal, get a steamer pot that has all the seafood, sides, and seasonings ready with instructions on how to cook it.
In Nags Head, Blue Moon Beach Grill is loved by locals. The varied menu, prompt service, and generous portion sizes keep many diners coming back, so it is understandably busy during the evenings. Get there early to avoid the queue, or even better, grab a seasonal beer, glass of wine, or one of the signature cocktails and sit at the bar or on the deck as you wait.