North Carolina -- Outer Banks
- C. Checca
I'm heading to the Outer Banks in late August and am looking for good seafood that's not expensive or too touristy. Recommendations for dive bars and local joints appreciated.
Tortuga's Lie - just a little cinder block shack on the beach road (near Kitty Hawk, I think) - wonderful Outer Banks clam chowder - not cream or tomato, but a steely clam broth. Steamed clams are wonderful, very tender.
Also, if you don't mind spending a little make a reservation with Ocean Boulevard - this is our favorite restaurant (not just our favorite OBX rest. - our favorite anywhere) - you can go dressed up, or nice-casual. The food is what I guess you'd call fusion, but it all works!!! I have noticed in alot of "fusion" kitchens, the emphasis seems to be on making the oddest combinations of ingredients, whether they work or not. At Ocean Blvd, they ALWAYS work - everything is fresh, fresh, fresh and creative and delicious. If you want the food, but not the $$$, go to the Blue Point in Duck for lunch - very casual, same owners, chefs, etc. Lots of the same menu items - they sell a mean cookbook that I've never cooked a dud out of. Sorry so long!!! Post when you get back and tell where you went. We go alot and would love to hear about some new places!!!
I second that Tortuga's in Nags Head! It's great! We got to the OBX every summer and have never had anything but great fish (and we eat out a lot, and my husband hates buffets, so we never go to those). _Love_ Bob's Grill ("Eat and Get the Hell Out") But don't sit on the smoking side. This is, after all, tobacco country. Bob's is the place for breakfast.
Slammin' Sammy's is lots of fun, a riot of color, and the food is actually good. I had a great shrimp/pasta dish there. Also Pigman! The only place for 'q. Bubba's on Hatteras I. was lousy.
Just got back from OBX. Here's restaurant update: It's not Slammin' Sammy's. It's Mako Mike's. Great pasta dishes.
Dirty Dick's is the place from take-out shellfish. Plus they have the best slogan in the area, but it's a bit off-color and I guess I better not write it here. They have a website if you want to know what it is. The service at Bob's Grill was not good this year. Also I've found the pancakes better at Keeper's Galley, in Kitty Hawk. They are thin, huge, crispy-edged; eat 'em dripping with butter.
Went to Rundown Cafe (Milepost 1). Fun place, ok food, not very flavorful, but many different ethnic and original dishees. Visit the rooftop deck; view of ocean.
Tortuga's Lie: the food is fantastic, but the attitude and service suck big-time. They are so popular that I guess they can behave any way they want. We got our food 1 hour after we ordered; the appetizer alone took 40 minutes. A polite complaint was answered by a hostess rudely. My husband would go back, but I won't endure that kind of treatment for any kind of food.
Goombay's was ok; fun decor, good food, but too many flies.
The treatment we got at Tortuga's is anomalous for the OBX. Every other place, and there are dozens, treats you very nicely.
One phenomenon, iif you will, that we noticed: in places where there are fewer restaurants, in our case, Duck and Roanoke Island, the food was lousy. That kind of restaurant would never survive in the OBX from Kitty Hawk thru South Nags Head. There are so many in that area, they all have to be good to survive.
Pigman is still ok for barbecue, but not as good as it was. We could use the name of another 'q place down there...
I must confess, in two trips to the Outer Banks, I didn't find any exceptional seafood, BUT - you must have breakfast at Sam & Omie's in Nags Head. Plain, basic, simple, and good.
I also heartily recommend Ocean Boulevard and the Blue Point in Kitty Hawk and Duck, respectively. We love the food there. On one occasion at Ocean Blvd., an older relative with very specific dietary needs (that tend to change frequently so we were unprepared) was delighted by an entree the chef prepared "off the menu". We were extremely grateful for their attention but I'd recommend the food even if they weren't such nice guys.
Where in the Outer Banks are you headed, in case it's not in that area?
re: S. Rock
I am not an expert on this area, having only dined there one time. However, when I was there, I enjoyed an outstanding seafood meal, a fresh sea bass, at Owens' Seafood Restaurant. Not fancy, but the seafood was fresh and deliciously prepared. And no, it is not all fried, as is the case with some seafood restaurants in the South.