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Best and worst on the Outer Banks

I am sure alot of us chowhounds out there are familar with the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Was just wondering what everyones favorite place to dine at is. And also the least favorite would be helpful also. Thanks....OBX

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  1. These are both pretty obvious, and not really Chowhoundy (like so much else on this board), but I've had really outstanding meals at both the Blue Point in Duck, and Penguin Isle in Nag's Head. It has been 2-3 years since I last visited the Outer Banks, so I can't vouch for the current quality of either, but put it this way: the meal we had at the Blue Point was so good that we completely rearranged our schedule to eat there again the next day -- and we were staying in Salvo, a full 50 miles south of Duck.

    I probably won't get back to the Banks for another year or two, but I'd definitely be eager to hear recommendations for more downscale/hole-in-the-wall type of joints, as well as for fish markets.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rossgrady

      As far as fish markets go...there is only one I ever recommend, Austins Market in Nags Head. They have been doing a great job for almost 50 years in the same location. They are directly across from Jockey's Ridge. You know your there when you see a big shark in a cage in the parking lot. A couple "locals" favorite places I would suggest are Awful Arthurs on the Beach Road, Art's Place, Chili Peppers, and Sam & Omies. Hope you enjoy..

      1. re: rossgrady

        Hey there - definitely go to Kill Devil Grille...not sure what milepost, but it's on Beach Road...it looks like a little diner...but it is way more than that! My boyfriend and I stumbled upon it last summer and to say the least, we were pleasantly surprised! The food...it's awesome! Everything is fresh and delicious. Go on a Wednesday for dinner and bottles of wine are 1/2 price. I have been going to the OBX my entire life & this place is hands down the best place I've eaten at down there. We went again this summer and once again, they did not disappoint! This is a MUST TRY.

        We also ate at Reddrum this summer (Beach Road). It was good food...though, the portions were on the small side and it was a little pricey. But it's worth a try.

        Do not...I repeat...do not eat at Miller's! I don't know what I was thinking, but I went there this summer and spent a lot of money on a meal that I could've made much better myself with my eyes closed and little to no cooking skills. (yes, it WAS that bad!) The atmosphere is overly touristy and "blah", I could barely stand it. I only ate there because it was late and I was very hungry. What a waste of money.

        Another place (for breakfast) you should try is Jolly Roger...also on Beach Road. It's just great breakfast food...my family has made it a tradition to go there.

        For a good burger, hit up Snowbird on Beach Road. It's actually known for it's 24+ flavors of ice cream, but the burgers were always really good there. I don't know if it's changed though..I haven't gotten a burger there in a few years.

        Also, for live crabs....I recommend buying them at Sugar Shack on the Nags Head/Manteo Causeway. This summer the place I always used to get them at (Austin's) and another place near our rental home were both sold out. Also the owner/manager of Austin's is not exactly friendly. Sugar Shack was not sold out of crabs, the service was great, and turns out..they're less expensive!

        Hope this helps :-)

      2. In summers past our family's mainstays were RV's and Owens. RV's was casual; Owens more upscale, or rather, old school. If nothing else the decor in Owens lobby is worth a stop for a cocktail. RV's also has a nice sound view.

        1. It's been a few years since we've been to the Outer Banks, but the two places I really wish I could go back to are Jockey's Ribs and Sam and Omie's. Jockey's Ribs had the best ribs and very good steak. The ribs were perfectly caramelized, fall off the bone with a sauce that was not too sweet and not too spicy. We got to Sam and Omie's too late for breakfast but just in time for lunch. I got a special of some pork that was good but the mashed potatoes were amazing. I even asked how they were made and the cook came out and told me, "I'm Irish. You throw potatoes, onion and garlic in a pot. That's all."

          Other places that we found to be decent were Pigman's BBQ, Big Al's on Manteo (more for the '50's atmosphere), and Coastal Cactus.

          We did not like Miller's for either food or service.

          1. I've always liked Basnight's Lone Cedar Cafe overlooking the sound in Nags Head.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jsb23nc

              Curious as to why you "avoid" Argyle's. We have been going to the Outer Banks for about 20 years and have decided that the Blue Point and the Colington Cafe are two of the finest restaurants the area has to offer. We get to both every year. Last year on a tip from a local we went to Argyle's and had a wonderful meal. We definately would go back based on that experience.

            2. I'm an OBX local of over 20 years and a real chowhound...here are my recommendations:

              Fine Dining: The Blue Point in Duck. The best, bar none.
              Ocean Boulevard in Kitty Hawk. Flying Fish Cafe', Kill Devil Hills and Colington Cafe' in Kill Devil Hills, Colington Road. In Corolla, there's Metropolis, for Tapas. 1587 in Manteo is great. And, we mustn't forget Owens, in Nags Head for a touch of history and good seafood prepared well.

              Great Sandwiches/deli stuff: Beach Bread in Kitty Hawk, Good Life Gourmet in Kill Devil Hills and for a great lunch, Seaside Vegetarian in Kitty Hawk. Captain Franks in Kitty Hawk does great Hot dogs. John's Drive-In on the beach road in Kitty Hawk for the dolphin boat and amazing milk shakes.

              Family favorites: Sam and Omie's, Nags Head, Chili Peppers, Kill Devil Hills, Lone Cedar Cafe' on the causeway to Manteo, Black Pelican in Kitty Hawk (love the off season steamed oyster special), RV's has been sold, so I don't know if it's still good. Lodavechi's is pricey, but has good Italian Food. And, if you're in Manteo, try Daryl's. Good fried seafood, hush puppies and if the striper s in season, you can't beat their broiled preparation.

              Beer & shrimp/casual dining places: Art's Place in Kitty Hawk, Awful Arthur's in Kitty Hawk, Slammin' Sammy's sports bar in Nags Head, Kill Devil Burger (great burgers and custard ice cream), Five Guys (of DC fame) for burgers and Cosmo's in Southern Shores for pizza. And if you're not a stickler for atmosphere, the local supermarket, Seamark, has a great eat in seafood bar: steamed shrimp, oysters, fresh tuna salad and great seafood chowders and oyster stew at great prices.

              There's not a good BBQ place on the north beach, but on the way here, in Coinjock on Highway 158, there's the Currituck Barbecue Company (look for the neon pig) that does great NC style BBQ and some decent beef brisket with a nice selection of BBQ sauces, so you can pick your favorite. Pray for sweet potato casserole as a side and don't forget the banana pudding.

              Steak and Ribs: JK's in Kill Devil Hills cooks everything over mesquite and their ribs are to die for. Prime Only in Nags Head is a la carte and pricey, but the steaks are excellent.

              Asian food: The Thai Room in Kill Devil Hills. There's a Japanese Hibachi/sushi place here that is pretty good, but I'm sure it's better where ever you live.

              Places we avoid: Kelly's, Mako Mike's, Argyle's, Pigman's, Penguin Isle in Nags Head has gone downhill in the last couple of years, Jolly Roger, Keeper's Galley, the Sanderling Inn, all the take out Chinese places.

              I'm not so familiar with the southern beaches, but I do like the Froggy Dog in Hatteras and Bubba's BBQ.

              I'd be happy to elaborate on any of my suggestins, you only have to ask. Happy Trails!

              21 Replies
              1. re: SweetPhyl

                Excellent list! Add the Roadside Bar & Grill in Duck for delicious clam chowder.

                1. re: Jeanne

                  Sorry, my bad...LOVE Roadside, great chowders and salads and BLTs!

                  1. re: SweetPhyl

                    Just heard that Lodavechi's may not be opening this comig season.Which is really sad to hear. They really are good people and were trying to do a good job. Which brought me to this thought.As you know SweetPhyl we are losing more and more good places to eat here on the beach. This is such a monster of a place to try to run a business. I guess I am trying to figure out what is it that us locals can do to try to help keep the local eateries from going belly up.It is so sad to see all the "chain" places that are opening up. Just something to think about....OBX

                    1. re: obxspiritdreamer

                      Pass ordinances that make it impossible to open chain restaurants. It's a little more complicated than that, but it's pretty common, I think, in coastal areas.

                      1. re: obxspiritdreamer

                        Well, the restaurant business anywhere is tough, but in a seasonal area, it's especially difficult. We have that "100 days of glory" in the summer and most of the places here that stay open year round, do so just to keep their employees; there's not much profit or they break even. However, things have changed and while I agree that we're losing some of the smaller places, we'e also getting new ones all the time. And, there's a place for the chains, too. Back in the old days, if you didn't want a fried seafood platter, you were pretty much out of luck for dining on the OBX. Now, we have a varied selection and I've been known to hit Outback for an affordable steak dinner. As for what the locals can do, our economy is soooo dependent on the real estate market here. When real estate suffers, so does everybody else: attorneys, surveyors, contractors, mortgage lenders, grocery stores, restaurants, EVERYBODY. It's amazing how much lagging sales affect the local economy. So, my advice to local restaurants, is to cut your prices in the off season and be happy if you break even. Most of the locals I know cannot afford to eat out right now...it's really sad. Pray for a return of the real estate market!

                        BTW, I'm truly sad to hear about Lodavechi's...loved their picatta and always felt truly welcomed by Sonny & Dawn. Pity.

                        1. re: obxspiritdreamer

                          The formula is very simple on keeping the mom and pop restaurants going AND successful. I spent 24 years in the restaurant business and the last 16 years selling all kinds of food to restaurants. The chains are known for consistency even if it's mediocre consistency....you know what you're gonna get. If the mom and pops would stick to these few things and do them consistently well, most would solve their own problems.
                          1. A clean looking exterior with all the lights working properly
                          2. Someone who is friendly greeting you once inside the door
                          3. Fast, but not too fast friendly service and be knowledgeable with your menu.
                          4. Easy one....serve hot food hot and cold food cold and serve it fresh and tasty..use local in season ingredients
                          5. Clear plates and glasses as the meal progresses
                          6. Friendly thank yous and goodbyes upon end of meal and exiting

                          These 6 things are the ONLY things important to a restaurants success in season and out of season.

                          These 6 things are

                      2. re: Jeanne

                        This was going to be my suggestion, too. They also do well for burgers and do a bit more upscale stuff at night. They had a duck entree that I was a fan of and the woman who runs the front of the house is also a dessert lover and makes a lot of recipes from current cooking magazines for their dessert menu.

                      3. re: SweetPhyl

                        What a nice list....My wife and I are also locals of about 7 years now and you hit the good ones pretty much on point.One that I would add as a personal favorite would be The Tale of the Whale on the causeway heading to Manteo...Thanks again SweetPhyl

                        1. re: SweetPhyl

                          Hi SweetPhyl,
                          Thanks for the great suggestions! I will be in Avon with Hubby and dog so we plan to cook most nights. Any suggestions for great seafood Market's down that way? Someone mentioned Austin's in Nag's Head..........
                          Also, do you fish? We will be bringing our gear:)
                          Thanks so much!

                          1. re: SweetPhyl


                            hey pards - your posting bout obx restaurants got me to join this chowhound deal - I think that seamark reco is up our alley- we planning on being obx for a week in feb.
                            mostly round that ockracoke- I saw a plate of grits and shrimp on tv and i'm wanting to find the places where the locals go- seemed you made some great recos but we eat beef everyday - and are looking forward to a couple of good "home style" type places like what folks from NC eat- if you think on it a bit more and something like that comes to mind please respond. I wrote another guy - not chowhound - just personal and he knew a place where we got a 2 pound cheeseburger in a bowling alley in NE Colorado. We of course are leaning more seafood and local stuff- my wife tried fried okra and she likes that as of june. Any extra help would be appreciated.

                            Thank you
                            dakotah territory

                            1. re: dakotah

                              Aw geeze Dakota...I Love Ocracoke, but I'm really clueless about the restos there. I'm more of a north beach gal. Anybody out there got a clue about "the number one beach in America"? I've heard great things about The Back Porch, but haven't eaten there...

                              Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

                              1. re: SweetPhyl

                                The Back Porch is excellent...my favorite restaurant on O'coke.

                              2. re: dakotah

                                We know Ocracoke well. Great place to vacation, especially in Fall and Spring when there are fewer tourists. In February, however, most restaurants will be closed for the season. The only places that will definitely be open on the island in wintertime are Howard's Pub (big burgers, raw bar, huge beer list: http://www.howardspub.com/main.html) and Jason's (pizza, subs, etc.), which is across the street from Howard's. Neither has the best food on the island, though both are fine for eating.

                              3. re: SweetPhyl

                                I grew up in Nags Head and my parents and some family are still there. I was gonna go all local expert on your a%# but honestly, I couldn't have done better (and no doubt would have done a lot worse) than SweetPhyl. That rundown is perfect.

                                Oops . . .cept I would mention the Nags Head Fishing Pier for breakfast. Not so much for the food (it's ok - i always get the em special with bacon) but the view is AWESOME.

                                1. re: happypig

                                  The salt herring for breakfast at Nags Head Pier would be worth a trip even if the restaurant was in the desert.

                                2. re: SweetPhyl

                                  Sweet Phyl... I am curious about Daryl's.... I couldn't find anything about them online, do you know their address? I will be visiting the OBX during Thanksgiving, currently live in CA and need to get my fill of hush puppies when I am back east. Any other suggestions for top hush puppy spots? Also, I am looking for somewhere to go for a thanksgiving meal. I was considering the lifegaurd station at the sanderling inn, curious why its on your avoid list. THANKS!!! =)

                                  1. re: SweetPhyl

                                    i'm at the outer banks right now, and have eaten at a few places listed in the thread (and on your list in particular):

                                    - sam and omie's. i had the crab eggs benedict. quite tasty, and the staff alone makes it worth the trip. i see how they have earned their rep.
                                    - thai room. again, what an amazing staff. i'm relatively sure the lady refilling our drinks was also the owner, and the food was excellent.
                                    - jockey's ribs. overpriced. WAY overpriced. and the ribs were pathetic. i had a gumbo that was tasty, though; this place feels like it has an identity crisis, trying to bridge the gap between a grub-type rib place and fine dining, and it doesn't work.
                                    - mama kwan's. i had the fish tacos one day for lunch. decent. there are better fish tacos available where i'm from (huntington, wv). how does huntington west virginia know how to better make fish tacos than a place at the beach?
                                    - corolla pizza. this place is quality. my (large) family ate two pepperoni pizzas, a works pizza, and a white pie (the one sans ricotta) and were thoroughly impressed.
                                    - beach bread. haven't eaten here per se, but bought a few cookies and a loaf of seeded rye, all of which was AWESOME. i'm buying a loaf of their country white to freeze and take back.
                                    - austin's seafood. bought some soft shelled blue crab. the staff was extremely helpful, explaining in detail how i should prepare them and just in general being super nice.
                                    - the blue point. food was excellent. the little rolls they bring pre-meal were like little clouds of delicious yeasty goodness, and i'm relatively sure the crew consumed a good four plates of them. we ordered two appetizers: the chipotle prawns and the fried green tomatoes. can someone PLEASE give me the recipe for something that tastes like the lemon tarragon mayonnaise they put on the tomatoes? holy moses. i personally had the crab cakes, but others around the table ordered the fried catfish, scallops, and new york strip, all of which were stunning in appearance and delicious in flavor. desserts were good if a bit dainty. i prefer my desserts huge and decadent, and it's clear they're shooting for a more french aesthetic in this department. definitely try the strawberry rhubarb cobbler. it was the star of the four we ordered (strawberry banana bread pudding, chocolate torte, creme brulee, and the cobbler).

                                    on the whole i've come away relatively unimpressed thus far with the food at the outer banks. have i just eaten at the wrong places? i did so much research, and tried to take everyone's advice, but the best meals i've had are the ones i made myself. what's the story?

                                    1. re: beelzebozo

                                      thanks for the post- great timing for my vacation. We are off to Corolla (whalehead) in July. We have been searching for good pizza in Corolla onn each visit, and have yet to find it. Will definitely try Corolla pizza this July- one question- Is Corolla Pizza the pizza olace in a small strip mall with a gas station out front? TIA

                                      1. re: macca

                                        i'm actually not sure. i'm pretty sure it's down near thai room (mile point 8.5 on the beach road) in kill devil hills, but i can't promise that. you should be able to do a google search and get the telephone number. we had their pizza specifically because we got in our house late (~7:30p) and didn't feel like going out after the long drive.

                                        1. re: beelzebozo

                                          Thanks- will check it out. Can't wait to get there. Hope you are enjoying your vacation. We have a long drive, too- coming from Massachusetts.We usually go down a day early and get a hotel room for one night, then up and shopping before we check in on Sat am. Will keep this thread for ideas.

                                    2. re: SweetPhyl

                                      Thank you for this very helpful post. I just got back from a two week stay in Duck during which time I had the opportunity to sample the local dining options. I would like to say that The Flying Fish has a new chef and it is not a good thing. The taste is mediocre at best and the presentation resembles something one would find at a diner. My husband and I decided to take both meals home and ended up throwing them out the next day. Truly awful and very expensive...good idea to avoid at all costs!

                                      My personal favorites however are The Pearl, Ocean Boulevard, and The Blue Point. The Pearl offers Sunday brunch, is oceanfront, and the chef's special attention to detail is outstanding...I could go on and on about this place because we truly loved it. Highly recommend it.

                                      Another place we visited was Owen's. It is great for families since the portions are huge, very shareable, and fresh. I would not categorize it as fine dining since the preparation is simple and traditional (no frilly stuff).

                                      Finally, if you are craving fish tacos or a very fresh inexpensive lunch without sacrificing taste, I highly recommend THE BAD BEAN (2 locations). This place is a 10 on cravability!

                                      Hope this post help someone = )

                                      Flying Fish Cafe
                                      2003 S Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

                                    3. My family goes to the OBX every two years. We eat m ost of meals in ( there are 20+ of us). We did get some good BBQ last summer in a tiny joint off rte 12 in Corolla ( near the lighthouse)- directly behind the Twiddy offices. We also got some good fish ( not as good as the ones we caught!) at a place near the Wright Memorial bridge, but I can't remember the name.
                                      If anyone can recommend a good pizza place, I would be thankful. WE usually get a place in WHalehead, and have yet to find a place remotely edible in the Corolla area. We like to order pizza the last night we are there, but I think we may have to resort to making it ourselves.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: macca

                                        The Black Pelican has the best pizza I have ever had. They are small, one person pies but they have a wood fire oven and make the dough fresh every day and very fresh toppings.. Worth a try. During the summer I would go during the day or early evening and avoid night because they are so busy you WILL wait for a table. Also with their catering dept. they started they now deliver, you need to call a few days ahead though.

                                        1. re: OBX_chef

                                          Thanks, chef- Will keep these notes for our next vacation (2008- can't wait). If the Black Pelican in Corolla?

                                          1. re: macca

                                            The Black Pelican is on the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk at MP 4.

                                      2. As for Pizza, I can once again recommend Cosmo's in Southern Shores--not the one in Corolla. If you're looking for pizza in Corolla, try Corolla Pizza (next door to Wink's in Corolla Village.) Alas, Cosmo's doesn't deliver, but I think Corolla Pizza will deliver IN SEASON and they make a good NY style pizza.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: SweetPhyl

                                          Hey, OBXspiritdreamer, where do y'all go for breakfast? We go to the Pilot House in season, but haven't found a decent affordable breakfast during the off season. Just want a place with decent coffee, eggs and pancakes. Any suggestions?

                                          1. re: SweetPhyl

                                            We usually will stop by Art's Place off-season morning fare. Its not the best gourmet...but it's Arts..Thats what makes it so wonderful.Also I am told that Grits Grill does a pretty good job for breakfast. Havent been there for over a year myself. Another place to check out is the Ocean Trellis in the Sea Ranch. I met friends there a couple months ago for breakfast and they do a pretty good job...and how can you complain on the veiw..Hope this helpd...OBX

                                          2. re: SweetPhyl

                                            I think we tried to get pizza a few years ago at Corolla Pizza- if that is that place that also has a gas station in the same area. But- the surf was up, and everybody was out surfing. That year, instead of Whalehead, we tried the 4 x drive area, so did not want to wait around. We ended up at a place I think was called the Sweet TOmato (?) in Corolla. It was beyond terrible- especially after the long drive over the sand! Will keep Corolla pizza in mind for next time.

                                            As an aside- I have to say that I had the best peaches of my life from your area. Every time we go, i gorge on them all week, and stop at a local stand to bring some home.

                                            1. re: macca

                                              Ha Ha...you said it! Surf's up, you're risking availability of workers..it's an OBX thing. You probably ate at Tomato Patch in Monteray Plaza. The pizza sucks but I do like their Gyros and Greek Salad--the original owners were Greek.

                                              Yep, peaches and Silver Queen Corn make life on the OBX in the summer quite tolerable.

                                              1. re: SweetPhyl

                                                That's it- it was Tomato Patch. Only got the pizza. And you are right- the corn was great, too. Though we do get good corn here later in the summer.CAn't wait to go back. It is now a family tradition for us. We begin looking at houses about 15 months in advance, pick our house, think about it for months. Make our trips to BJ's and Cosco and then the long drive from Boston. Huge grocery shopping when we arrive- glad to see there is another option besides Food Lion in COrolla- and the week just flies by. Great fun.

                                          3. Just curious, we haven't been to the OBX in a few years - is Owen's still open? It was a landmark and we liked it a lot, we ate there at least twice.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                              Owens is still here and doing great...it's an OBX institution. We had our Company Christmas party there and it was FABULOUS!

                                              1. re: SweetPhyl

                                                I remember going to Owens as a child on family vacations. I was pleased to see it when I began going back to the Outer Banks in recent years. But I haven't been there since. It's good to hear that I ought to!

                                              2. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                They just celebrated 60 years of doing it right...On the OBX that is amazing.

                                              3. I also agree with SweetPhyl's recommendations. My husband grew up here in the OBX and I've lived here on and off for 10 years.

                                                Fine Dining:
                                                Fine Dining wise, one of my all time favorite restaurants is 1587 - great atmosphere, amazing food...I've never had a bad meal there. Owens is also high on my list. Roadside and Blue Point are great as well. Blue Point recently remoldeled and have about triple the space in the dining room now.

                                                I've tried Flying Fish cafe repeatedly and it is always a dissapointment. The food sounds great on the menu but comes out bland and extremely overpriced, in my opinion.

                                                Casual Dining:
                                                Tortuga's Lie is probably my all time favorite here. Hole in the wall with about 12 tables and an active bar on MP 10 on the beach road. Steamed food, seafood, coco loco chicken, cold beer, warm atmosphere.

                                                I love Mama Kwans - great pacific rim/cali inspired dishes. The chicken tacos at lunch are to die for.

                                                John's Drive In is a staple in the summer. Excellent Dolphin Boats (fried mahi mahi and fries) as well as milkshakes. A little pricey but well worth it.

                                                Basnight's Lone Cedar Cafe is always a good consistent choice. Try the Hershey Bar Cake - it's sooooo good.

                                                Chili Peppers has always been a favorite as well, especially their winter tapas menu on Thursdays, but it has REALLY gone downhill since they have a new chef. I've eaten there a couple of times with the new chef and everything is totally bland and unappealling. It's such a shame.

                                                Promising Newcomers:
                                                The Seaside Vegetarian has outstanding food for take out only, lunch and dinner. They aren't strickly vegetarian (they do offer fully vegetarian and vegan selections) and have some very creative seafood dishes and wraps. Reasonably priced and always very fresh.

                                                Coastal Provisions Market open fairly recently in Southern Shores near Meridain 42 (a great place for drinks) and has great takeout as well. They are a fully supplied gourmet market but have a good selection of prepared foods that change daily - turkey meatloaf, eggplant parm, baked potato chowder, veal marsala, etc.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: dddhokie

                                                  We just ate last night at Chili Peppers for tapas..Last year we almost never missed a night..This was our 1st time this year...We will give it one more try before I complain to Jim....It was terrible...Way over priced for what little we got..I know it is tapas....but $8.50 for 6 small fried oysters on a bed of a overly lemon sauce....Not for this OBX'r...OBX

                                                  1. re: obxspiritdreamer

                                                    OBX - I know - it's such a shame. The prices have stayed the same but the quality has gone down significantly. Kevin was such an innovative force in the kitchen - I never had a bad meal there until the staff change. Too much moola for a bland meal.

                                                2. Tortugaz Lie.....fabulous, we've been known to eat lunch there 3 times in a week visit. Fabulous fish tacos, burgers, grilled tuna, and just about everything else is great. Laid back bar atmosphere but they have also been accomodating when we had kids with us.

                                                  1. Most of these recs are for the northern end. If you head to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands, here are some ideas:

                                                    Bubba's BBQ: In Frisco and a smaller one in Avon. I think the original Frisco one is better. Excellent NC pork BBQ.

                                                    The Pelican: Ocracoke Island. Their she crab soup is dreamy. And they do 15 cent peel and eat shrimp during off hours (I think 3-5pm).

                                                    Cafe Atlantic: Ocracoke Island. Fresh seafodd, much of which is caught by the local fishermen. Entrees rage $13-23. Less expensive for Sunday lunch/brunch.

                                                    Howard's Pub: Ocracoke. VERY Overrated. The best thing about this palce is that they are the only place on the island you know will always be open, even Christmas day. The worst thing is the unpredictability of the food. It's a great place for a burger and beer (huge beer list), but not so great for a nice dinner.

                                                    Smac 'N Ally's: Ocracoke. Only open in the warm months, this place is one of our casual favorites. Seating is outdoos on the docks where the charter fishing boats dock. Be there 3-5pm and watch the boats unload their catch for the day. You cna even watch the skilled crew butcher and filet for their clients. The food at Smac's is simple but good. Fresh local raw bar, great burgers, and more personality than anywhere else.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: mojoeater

                                                      Thought I'd chime in here. I've been vacationing for 20 yrs in Hatteras village and I've had the chance to sample both good and bad in the area.

                                                      I'll second The Pelican on Ocracoke for an excellent dinner in a wonderfully simple dining room. Open air/no AC in the screen porch that makes up the largest part of the dining room. Both the shecrab soup and the fish chowder are fantastic. Some of the best crabcakes I've ever had-as either an appetizer or an entree. Consistently excellent "catch of the day"-some of the most exotic offerings anywhere, have ranged from wahoo to pompano to drum, prepared several different ways to one's liking.

                                                      I actually enjoy Howard's for what it is-a fun lunch stop. It can be almost prohibitively crowded during prime lunch time, but if you can opt for a late lunch (3 ish), and like a fat crabcake sandwhich with excellent handcut fries and a cold beer from a beer list in the hundreds, go for it. Burgers, peel-and-eat shrimp also get my thumbs up.

                                                      Some of the best sushi I've ever had comes from the Hatterasman in Hatteras village. They may only offer it on certian nights-typically we order it on Saturday, and typically we call ahead by several hours. Check their hours, because they used to close for a few hours mid-to-late afternoon, between lunch and dinner. Even with calling ahead, I make it a point to show up early, drink a can of PBR or two and spend some time with the resident Boston Terrier. Won't find fresher magura or snapper anywhere.

                                                      I've had several excellent meals at Austin Creek, but somehow I just feel the place just doesn't "fit" Hatteras. I've also had excellent fine dining at The Breakwater on Oden's Dock-the only drag is that they don't take reservations and sometimes the wait can be an hour or more.

                                                      Bubba's is...well, it's Bubba's. Lots of food. Lots of sauce. Lots of napkins (actually paper towels). My experience is that if you show up much after 5:30 or so, there's a good chance they'll be out of something-"sorry, no more chicken". Best bet is a bellybuster lunch, and the Frisco locale beats the strip-mall Avon place hands down.

                                                      Two guilty pleasures for us are the Orange Blossum Bakery in Buxton for morning "Uglies" and the Dancing Turtle coffee shop in Hatteras for an afternoon cuppa before heading back out to the beach.

                                                      1. re: DrSkimeister

                                                        Oh man, the Apple "Uglies" are great at the Orange Blossom (right across from the hattaras lighthouse entrance). Howard's on Ocracoke was awful...wasn't even good as far as pub food is concerned, but good beer selection. And, the Weeping Radish in Monteo makes a good microbrew pint and lots of german grub for the money.

                                                        1. re: DrSkimeister

                                                          Bubba's is definately the best New Jersey BBQ I've ever had. It's also the only New Jersey BBQ I've ever had. It may easily be the worst BBQ restaurant in NC. How they keep their health dept. rating I have no clue.

                                                      2. I always enjoy a few beers and steamed shrimp at the Red Drum near MP11 in Nags Head, I had 'found' it a few years ago then realized that it is a favorite of my wife's friends at the beach. Very relaxed atmosphere, ok for kids but good for beer too. Pool tables in the back but I 've never played on them.
                                                        They have good local fish and shellfish, highly recommended for a laid back meal.

                                                        1. We always go back to Ocean Boulevard and The Blue Point. Cosmo's has the best pizza. High Cotton's Barbeque is pretty decent.

                                                          Would not go back to Argyle's-- they served us burned food. We were really disappointed with Elizabeth's: the quality of the food, wine and service do not compare to Ocean Boulevard or the Blue Point. After reading and listening to all of the hype (mostly from Leonard's newsletters), perhaps it was inevitable that it wouldn't live up to expectations, but we haven't wanted to go back and try again because the newsletters are so pretentious.

                                                          1. Penguin Isle has horrible service don't go around there if it's still opened that is. unfortunately there aren't too many restaurants around the area. we own an oceanfront home in duck and we have to drive 20min to nags head to go somewhere decent & everywhere is crowded with families of 20+ all with little kids, thus making the wait even longer. the obx is horrible

                                                            1. Awesome! Are there any good fresh seafood places, where you can get it to cook at home? Thanks in advance.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Lakeffect

                                                                Risky Business in Hatteras and Buxton-the Hatteras location is right on the dock next to the fish cleaners that cater to the charter boat patrons. If there is a particular fish that you don't see displayed and you know it's in season, be sure to ask as they sometimes have a secret stash in the back.

                                                                1. re: DrSkimeister

                                                                  The Hatteras Risky Bidness is a great, great little joint. We stayed at the hotel on the same property, and every day for dinner would just walk across the parking lot, pick uo the day's freshest, and go back to the hotel and cook it up on the camping stove. Awesome. Try the mackeral; truly fresh mackeral is an awesome thing.

                                                                  However: avoid the restaurant upstairs. "Tourist trap with bad food" alert.

                                                              2. Surprised by the lack of info on Ocracoke. Back Porch restaurant is among the best on the Outer banks. Ocracoke Coffee House proves that going to the beach does not mean bad coffee all week. Howard's Pub for a pound of steamed shrimp to go, for a picnic on the beach.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: NCCAR

                                                                  A Melita filter or Bodum press means always having great coffee, no matter where you go. ; )

                                                                2. My family (all adults) & I just got back from a week in OBX. We've been regulars there for over 25 years. As is evident by many of the posts things change dramatically from year to year. Some observations from this year's visit. Penguin Isle, which we greatly enjoyed in the past, was very disappointing this year. Incorrect orders, lukewarm and mediocre (for some of us) food, poor service and no effort to mitigate the problems by the waitstaff or management pretty much assures that we'll not be returning.

                                                                  On the other hand, Mama Kwans still continues to please as does the NY Pizza Pub for a casual family experience. High Cotton BBQ is worth a stop for its brisket but the pulled-pork is nothing special. RV's on the Manteo Causeway is now Sugar Creek and worth a trip for a casual lunch or dinner. Our favorite break from the all seafood diet is Mulligans for hamburgers which has relocated to MP 12 just past Kitty Hawk Kites. It has more space and less noise, a welcome improvement.

                                                                  As far as fish markets and live crabs we frequent Austins and Billy's (in Collington) but the Sugar Shack Shack located next to Sugar Creek mentioned above has a lot of variety very nicely displayed. We've not been particularly impressed with Dirty Dicks which seems somewhat over-priced.

                                                                  FYI-Basnight's Lone Cedar Cafe apparently had a devastating fire and seems to be in the process of being totally rebuilt to re-open later is summer.

                                                                  Hope this helps.

                                                                  1. Just adding a couple more two cents (from a tourist on summer vacation point of view) to some comments already posted: the Uglies at the Orange Blossom in Buxton sell out early but they're worth getting out of bed for; baked goods at Austin Creek Bakery in Hatteras Village are *not* worth getting out of bed for; if you go to Risky Business in Hatteras Village in the late afternoon you will find Steve Baily outside filleting fish and telling stories -- go in the shop and look for the $1 pieces of smoked tuna in ziplock bags next to the cash register, and get a pound of spicy steamed shrimp to go. We visit Hatteras Village every year, and it is hard to find good restaurants. We do better by just buying fresh fish every day and cooking. I have had good food at the Breakwater (Hatteras Village) but it's been a couple of years since I was there last -- it's nice to have a drink on their back deck to watch the sunset ('skeets willing). I like the Jolly Roger in Ocracoke Village because it's a laid back dockside bar that makes an excellent fried fish sandwich, usually flounder or bluefish, very simple and fresh. The Sno Cone place in Frisco, get the "Hatteras style": a scoop of icecream topped by a cloak of shaved ice with the syrup of your choice. Vanilla icecream with black cherry ice or vanilla with rootbeer ice are faves. Concur with all the positive recs for Sam and Omies in Nags Head -- best fries ever!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: lintsao

                                                                      Exactly, lintsao. Bring your cooking gear and a propane camping stove and cook your own. Risky Business is reason enough to stay in Hatteras Village. AMAZING frsh fish. And get some mackeral, which doesn't travel well but is awesome fresh. Love Risky Business

                                                                      I think Breakwater might have closed. The restaurant above Risky Business is awful.

                                                                    2. I've been living and vacationing at the OBX for 4 decades. Best resturants are the Collington Cafe and Sam and Omies. The best place to get seafood is at AUSTINS SEAFOOD hands down. I had a BAD experience with Billy and the seafood of BILLY'S SEAFOOD.

                                                                      1. Just back from a few days at the Outer Banks. Was very disappointed with The Pelican in Ocracoke. Clam Chowder all gummy potatoes with a little clam and not much flavor. Crab Cake sandwich, cake was tasty but skimpy. Flying Melon (Ocracoke) had great & reasonably priced breakfast. Had a wonderful dinner at the Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills. A little noisy but the food was fantastic, fresh & fairly innovative. Service was friendly, helpful and attentive.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: meatn3

                                                                          We were also very disappointed with The Pelican. Went for lunch and only the outside part was open and we were constantly battling flies. Service was terrible. I had stuffed shrimp, which were good, but the hush puppies were dry and hard, and the other food was just so-so. It was too hot to try the she-crab soup. All in all a very unpleasant experience.

                                                                          1. re: meatn3

                                                                            Just got back from a few days in Ocracoke. Found 3 good places...Cafe Atlantic (great food especially if you're the non-seafood eater in the group, great location and atmosphere); Captain Ben's was okay food, not much on atmosphere, but then it was a very slow night (Monday).

                                                                          2. Nothing new to add, but just wanted to agree with -

                                                                            Tortuga's Lie
                                                                            Thai Room
                                                                            Black Pelican
                                                                            Mama Kwon's

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: planbee

                                                                              Best dinner (no flip flops): Blue Point
                                                                              Best lunch (casual): Tortuga's Lie
                                                                              Best breakfast: Sam & Omies

                                                                              The Blue Point never disappoints; worth the drive from Nags Head to Duck.
                                                                              You cannot go wrong with Tortuga's Lie and Sam & Omies.

                                                                              1. re: gbailey75

                                                                                i'm new at the site and i just wanted to agree...

                                                                                tortuga's lie (great fish tacos!)
                                                                                sam and omie's (the fries...yummm)

                                                                                has anybody mentioned meridian 42 at southern shores crossing for dinner? we've been there a couple of times and it was delicious (although i remember it being quite pricey) but we haven't been back for a while, anybody have good/bad experiences there?

                                                                              2. re: planbee

                                                                                PlanBee - I'd forgotten about the "Thai Room" on the beach road in KDH. They have the best sticky rice (authentic) that I've ever had for being southbound & not to mention in a somwthat rural beach town.

                                                                                1. re: JayVaBeach

                                                                                  I agree with Jay - it hasn't been that long since I've been to the Left Bank at the Sanderling and had a great meal. I have been several times and have enjoyed the atmosphere, service and cuisine. In fact, last year The Left Bank was named on Hampton Roads Magazine's (www.hamptonroadsmagazine.com) Top 50 restaurants in the HR metropolitan area (a bit of a stretch, but lots of HR folks head to the OBX often.) Disclaimer - I am food editor for HR Mag, but I don't get any free meals at the Sanderling. BTW Jay, email me - I'd like to pick your brain about HR food. My email addy is patrick at hrmag dot com.

                                                                              3. What's wrong with the Sanderling? Had a wonderful meal there years ago, in the dead of winter. They could not have been more accomodating and the food was very good. Has something changed?

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: nosey

                                                                                  I just thought of another place I enjoyed out there a couple of years ago, but I can't remember the name...I'm hoping someone here can jog my memory.

                                                                                  It was the definition of a dive, but I really enjoyed the food. It was south of Nags Head on hwy 12...probaby south of the wildlife refuge too. All I can remember is we were on the way to Ocracoke, starving, and this joint was the only option for quite a while. Unfortunately I don't remember if it was a certain distance north of Hatteras, or on Ocracoke...or what.

                                                                                  It was basically a bar with a handful of tables, one person working, and a couple of locals hanging out. Dim, smoky...all that good stuff. I never even bothered to look at the name..it could have been Joe's for all I know. I just know they had great crab fritters and I want to try and find it in a couple of weeks when I go back down. I believe it was on the left side of the road as we were headed south, and I seem to remember a lot of mobile homes and the like in the vicinity.

                                                                                  I know...shot in the dark. Any help is appreciated though.

                                                                                  1. re: nosey

                                                                                    The Sanderling has big problems with consistency. I've had a great meal on a Tuesday only to be followed with the worst food I've ever eaten on a Thursday. If you check with the locals around here, you'll get much the same story. It's a real shame beacause the atmosphere is excellent and you *want* the food to be be as good as the atmosphere, and it never happens.

                                                                                    1. re: nosey

                                                                                      The Sanderling has lost its splash so-to-speak. It's still elegant & classic; however, it's unpredictable, unlike 25 years ago when it was "the place to go." I'm referring to a time when there was no "obx acronym" & the northern part of Duck Road required, not an suv, but rather a 4X4. Just like anything, sometimes age & growth doesn't necessarily agree nor does it maintain the original classic qualities.

                                                                                      I highly recommend Duck's, Blue Point (est. 1989) as it still offers quality cuisine!

                                                                                    2. What I'd like to know is, where can I get the best, thickest REAL chocolate milk shake on the OBX? I don't care if it's ice cream or chocolate custard, I just want to avoid the soft serve machine-dispensed stuff.

                                                                                      And, why is it that the Dairy Queens here are the only ones I've ever seen that don't serve burgers? It's just weird, is what it is lol

                                                                                      OBX local since 1/99

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: CDjockey

                                                                                        Laughing at the Dairy Queen comment. I once visited one in New Jersey and had been craving a DQ chili dog for weeks. When I got to the counter and ordered, they replied "sorry, we don't cook hot dogs after 6 pm." What's up with that?!?

                                                                                        1. re: CDjockey

                                                                                          Best shakes, and anything ice cream are at Uncle Eddy's in Buxton.

                                                                                          Also wanted to report on a fine dinner my wife and I had recently at The Inn on Pamlico Sound, also in Buxton. Fine dining on the island. Not especially kid friendly. Reservations are a must. I had an excellent Fulton Street Market Chowder followed by nicely prepared shrimp/scallops/crab in a light pink vodka-like sauce. My wife had a perfectly prepared beef tenderloin in burgandy sauce. Small but well thought out and nicely priced wine list.

                                                                                          1. re: CDjockey

                                                                                            The best milkshakes on the Outer Banks Northern Beaches is John's Drive-In on Beach Road in Kitty Hawk! They are closed on Wednesday...

                                                                                          2. My fiancé and I met Wes Atkins (chef for OBXChefs2Go) at the Outer Banks wedding expo in January 2007. My fiancé and I selected them mainly because they offered two things we felt we needed at competitive prices:

                                                                                            *Use of our in house coordinator and planner to assist you with your wedding plans and related events;

                                                                                            *Unlimited Email and telephone assistance of our in house chef in menu planning, design and presentation.

                                                                                            We went to the Outer Banks to sample the food that my fiancé and I selected from their menu (he will tell you that he can make anything) in April. Our concern began when we arrived at their little restaurant/antique shop?. Wes had prepared some of the food we requested, but mainly food we didn't request. He blamed it on being busy and misplacing an e-mail. He promised he would be better organized as the process went along. Unfortunately, we believed him. We gave him a second copy of the menu we wanted and he promised to have a revised copy to us with a price quote in a week or two.

                                                                                            We gave him our deposit to reserve our wedding day shortly after the tasting and began to grow concerned when we had not received our revised menu and price quote after a month. My fiancé tried to contact Wes many times until it became a daily occurrence to leave a message on his voice mail. Finally, Wes got back to us with a revised menu that was not what we had requested. This went on and on until we finally sent the following e-mail:

                                                                                            “Justin and I have been trying to get a final menu and pricing for both our wedding and rehearsal dinner since April 18 as you can see by the email below, and today is July 13. We have sent emails and called several times. We need you to get in touch with us. Three months is too long to ignore a customer”.

                                                                                            After tracking Wes down through numerous phone numbers that we found online, we finally received a brief and rude phone call from him telling us to resend him the menu we wanted! Having lost total confidence in Wes as an individual and the "company" as a whole, we have terminated our contract and our in the process of looking into legal action to recover our deposit. Not surprisingly, Wes is attempting to keep the deposit and I can't help wondering if this was his plan all along: Give us no choice but to find a new caterer and keep our money for doing nothing. That is simply speculation on my part, but it makes a little too much sense to just ignore it.

                                                                                            Fortunately, we have found another caterer through a personal favor from my fiancé's employer and our very happy with our new arrangement. Keep in mind, however, that we were very lucky to get a caterer on such short notice. It is a small island and you might not be so fortunate. I am not listing the name of our new caterer as I do not want to lose credibility by making this into an advertisement.

                                                                                            Take my advice or leave it, but this is a special time in your life and you will have enough wedding planning stress without trying to track down a caterer who won't return phone calls or e-mails for months at a time.

                                                                                            1. Just came back from OBX and had terrific meals based on recommendations from this thread!

                                                                                              Weeping Radish in Manteo
                                                                                              Tortuga's Lie in Nags Head
                                                                                              Smac 'N Ally's in Ocracoke
                                                                                              Austin's Fish Market in Nags Head

                                                                                              All were great. Our relatives (who did not check this board before coming) had a truly horrible experience at Outback. Two hour wait to be seated, another hour to get food, had to be sent back several times, then for dessert: severe stomach pains lasting 24 hours. My wife, previously a skeptic, is now a total believer in this board's recommendations. Thank you all!!

                                                                                              1. We had a good meal a couple of nights ago at the Kill Devil Grill, MP 9.5 or so on the beach road. Fried Green Tomato appetizer, wings and shrimp for dinner. And I had sweet tea (Alton Brown and I agree about sweet tea), which is not very common at restaurants here.

                                                                                                Also wanted to mention that the local papers are reporting that Basnights may be reopened as early as the end of this month (August). It should be interesting to see what the new place looks like inside.


                                                                                                1. We just returned from Nags Head and loved Lucky 12 Tavern. It's casual w/ a full menu and a separate pizza menu. We went there twice during our 3 day weekend. My husband and the couple with us loved the pizza, I had great fried shrimp, awesome hand-cut fries and truly to die for remoulade sauce. I'll also second on Sam and Omie's and the Weeping Radish.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: hipquest

                                                                                                    FYI, the Weeping Radish in Manteo is closing as of September 8, after their Oktoberfest. They are moving their operation to their new butchery on the mainland in Jarvisburg.

                                                                                                    Re: breakfast - while we like Sam and Omie's just fine, we're not crazy about it for breakfast. We ordered scrambled eggs with cheese there and got eggs with a slice of Kraft plastic cheese on top. The best place we have found in 10 years for breakfast is The Ship's Wheel. All they do is breakfast, so they put their all into doing it well. They have amazing food, good prices and fantastic service. Try the Mexican omelet and add onions - to die for! They have great hash browns with lots of onion. They're only open Mayish-October, though.

                                                                                                    1. re: Leronis

                                                                                                      I was lucky enough to eat there the week before they closed. They had just given the servers the news, who were all in shock. Our waitress had worked there since 1998. I thought the place was a gem, I'm sad to see it go.

                                                                                                  2. Lucky 12 Tavern http://www.lucky12tavern.com/ on the beach road is hands down the best chow hound place in Nags Head. The groovy tatooed owner is all about fresh ingredients which shows in the salads to the pizzas. Their chowder is a delicious creamy soup not the dirty dishwatery chowder you’ll get at the mediocre places like Red Drum. I showed there twice in the week I was on the Outer Banks. Others I was vacationing with went there 4 times!

                                                                                                    Kill Devil’s Frozen Custard on the bypass, MP 8.5, in Kill Devil Hills is just south of the Wright Memorial is a good place for lunch. It's a picnic tables place with good burgers, dawgs, and frozen custard. The BBQ was surprisingly good.

                                                                                                    Why does everyone rave about Sam and Omie's? My breakfast was not so good—bland, watery grits and a dried up shingle of a scrambled egg. However the staff is really, really nice. So nice that I feel bad saying I didn’t like their food. I did have a good breakfast at Grits Grill in the big shopping center on the highway. Gigantic portions—a biscuit the size of my head and grits that were pretty darn good. Consider splitting one dish between two very hungry people.

                                                                                                    If you want a good raw bar reco then go to Pop's Raw Bar, 48967 on Hwy 12 in Buxton. It’s a short drive from the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. Tiny hole in the wall. I had the delicious steamed shrimp and gorgeous hush puppies. The staff was friendly which is saying a lot since I was there just after Labor Day. Plenty of locals chatting around the bar gave this place a nice Cheers-at-the-beach feeling.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: KateChows

                                                                                                      Re: Clam chowder on the OBX -- "Hatteras-style" clam chowder is a legitimate regional variation that is broth and vegetable based rather than having a cream base. Delicious and healthy, too! You will find it at lots of restaurants along the Outer Banks - one thing we do like at Sam and Omie's is this soup. Many restaurants serve the cream based soup only because it's what the tourists expect, and many offer both styles.

                                                                                                    2. Hands-Down,,,The Blue Point in Duck, NC

                                                                                                      Chef/Owners, John & Sam are awesome & not just because they're Norfolk natives & NA alums, but they've remained professional, humble & successful - wow!

                                                                                                      Consistently wholesome for nearly 2 decades!

                                                                                                      1. I am new to this, but have loved going through the 79 previous entries. I agree with most of them. My top three are 1587, Ocean Blvd, and Collington Cafe. On the casual front, my wife and I make a regular habit of Tortuga's Lie, and KDG (Kill Devil Grill) is fantastic and still kind of a best kept secret where you don't often have to wait... But while all of these great places were mentioned multiple times, I was suprised more people had not discovered The Pit Surf Shop and Boardriders' Grill. Killer Cali style wraps, hot sammies, burgers and great vegitarian options. Small place, really worth checking out.

                                                                                                        1. Just to add to the pile that The Blue Point in Duck is amazing. It's the perfect balance of fine dining in a non-stuffy atmostphere; relaxed but professional service; inventive but by no means "arty" food. Colington Cafe is a very good resturant, but The Blue Point is a great resturant, and still would be considered as such in any major city. Just go.

                                                                                                          Bad food: Sooeys. Okay, it wasn't bad, but it was ho hum. Good flavor, way over done so it could have been an off day. But with other BBQ choices around, I would take a pass.

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: tkropp

                                                                                                            We've only been to the Blue Point for lunch, but it was very good and the atmosphere is great. Another great spot in Duck is the Roadside Cafe - their Roadside salad and oyster stew are to die for!

                                                                                                            Sooey's is so-so. The best bbq on the OBX is Corolla Village BBQ, and it's well worth the drive. We regularly drive from Nags Head to Corolla - 40 miles one way - to get it. They're only open from late spring to early fall. Try their baked beans - they're really good, as is their sauce.

                                                                                                            1. re: Leronis

                                                                                                              I'm in agreement with you Leronis - The Blue Point is tip top quality & the chef/owners are Norfolk natives (as am I). They've (John & Sam) consistently maintained an unsurpassed level sine '89 when they opened.

                                                                                                              Also, Roadside is great for sandwiches & such - I love their corn fritters too !

                                                                                                              1. re: Leronis

                                                                                                                Roadside's clam chowder is also fantastic!

                                                                                                            2. Heading out to the OBX in a couple of days. We'll probably cook the majority of our meals at the rental (in the Nags Head Area). However, I'm sure we'll go out a few times for lunch and maybe one nice dinner. I haven't done my usual thorough research as it's my Mom and Dad's trip and they're calling the shots.

                                                                                                              Anyway....I've forwarded some websites to everyone and had the most positive feedback about:

                                                                                                              Tortuga's Lie
                                                                                                              Sam & Omie's
                                                                                                              OBX Brewing Station
                                                                                                              Meridian 42 (for one nice dinner)

                                                                                                              Are these good choices? Any recent experiences? Anything we're crazy for missing??

                                                                                                              Comments are much appreciated...and I promise to post back. Thanks!

                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                                Tortuga's - our experience is spotty. It's very small, so expect to wait unless you get there right when they open. Their specials are consistently an interesting salad with grilled fish (usually salmon) on top, the same fish in a sandwich, and a soup.

                                                                                                                Sam's and Omie's - many like it, but we find it to be overrated. The breakfast is OK - they do pretty good hash browns and their bacon is the crispest on the beach. Expect to wait here too, especially for breakfast on weekends. Their Hatteras clam chowder is good, but be aware that it's a regional specialty - if you're expecting a cream-based soup then don't get it.

                                                                                                                Goombays' is our new favorite. Their many daily specials are consistently great. The decor is fun if you have kids along - the main dining area is decorated as though it's underwater. There are surfer's legs and jellyfish and sea turtles peeking through the surface of the ceiling.

                                                                                                                Brewing Station - we were put off several years ago by their anti-tourist attitude in the off-season. The food is good and interesting, but don't go if you mind attitude.

                                                                                                                We've never been to Meridian 42.

                                                                                                                One place you didn't mention that also consistently has great specials, plus a good regular menu, is the Black Pelican. It's also an interesting setting as the building is an historic life-saving station. They also have ocean views. They're a favorite of many locals, who hang out in the bar and play Buzztime Trivia and eat the off-season $4.95/dozen oysters that are available after 4pm.

                                                                                                                1. re: Leronis

                                                                                                                  I recommended/seconded the Black Pelican above, but have since been back. I must say it is only getting better. The food was somehow better and it seemed even more casual than the last time I visited. This past visit was about the best meal I've had at any coast, ever. The Pecan Crusted Shrimp were mind-blowingly flavorful and amazing in texture. My standard entree - Baked Shrimp and Crab - was over-the-top buttery and delicious, and my fiancee's Dungeness was reportedly awesome. ;) Long live that place!!!

                                                                                                                  1. re: Leronis

                                                                                                                    We haven't been to Meridian 42 in a couple of years. When we went, the food was good. One interesting note, the restaurant says it's name refers to the Mediterranean style food they serve, and that both the OBX and the Med are on the 42nd meridian......except that meridians on maps, etc run north to south, not east to west...

                                                                                                                  2. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                                    Just got back....we had an incredible time....love, love, love the Outer Banks. We stayed around mile point 21 (Nags Head). It was wonderful..we saw dolphins just about every day and had fantastic weather. Can't wait to go back. However, I think we'll stay in Duck next time - we just liked the vibe a little bit better.

                                                                                                                    We had problems accessing the internet - so I was unable to see the responses to my post until we got back. Wish I would have known about The Black Pelican as we passed it countless times.

                                                                                                                    As predicted, we did most of our eating/cooking at the rental - my Mom is a great cook so it's hard to complain too much.

                                                                                                                    Anyway.....we went to Sam & Omie's our first night in - it was close to the rental and the casual atmosphere was exactly what we were looking for. The food was so-so. They were getting ready to close for the season - so I'm willing to give them a little bit of a break. The service was great and we had a blast - we were also very giddy with that first night of vacation "high".

                                                                                                                    We also had a pleasant dinner at the Outer Banks Brewing Station. The food was tasty and we enjoyed trying some of the brews (Monkey's Drunkel and Rye & Shine ( I think??) were some of our favorites). My Dad's swordfish was outstanding. Our server was ok - seemed a bit frazzled more than anything.

                                                                                                                    We ordered from the Sugar Shack one night - we all got different "Boats" - Fried scallops/shrimp/calamari/clams/grouper w/ homemade potato chips. They were good - especially the clams. And we thought a pretty good deal for all the food you get - around $7 to $9 a "Boat".

                                                                                                                    Our absolute favorite was Goombay's. The food was excellent - my Dad's blackened scallops w/ a creamy cajun sauce was outstanding. I had the fish tacos - great! My Mom's fried flounder sandwich was the best of the trip. The atmoshpere is so much fun. The kids loved it - they had drinks where they got to pour blood (grenadine) out of a toy shark in to their Sprite - they thought it was a hoot. However, it would also be a fun place to go sans kids and throw back a few Goombay Smashers. Our service was the best of the trip. Can't say enough good things about it.

                                                                                                                    As for food shopping - we found just about everything we needed at the Food Lion. However, we also enjoyed Coastal Provisions for a little bit more gourmet fare (don't expect to do a big grocery shopping here - it's tiny - but tasty).

                                                                                                                    Thanks for the input....it was fun to go back and read all the posts again now that we're more famliar with the lay out of the land and drove by so many of the restaurants mentioned here.

                                                                                                                  3. We went to the brewing station in June. The food was very good, service very good, noise level a bit high. If you aren't into kids, the family friendly aspect might be a bit much.Seems to turn more adult later in the evening. We would go back!

                                                                                                                    1. Can anyone tell me if a place called the Buoy 9 is still open? My parents used to frequent this bar & grill back in the early 80's. It was a local hangout and we lived in KDH for a short while.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                        Sorry - Buoy 9 is gone as of a year or two ago. I can't remember what took its place, but I'm not even sure it's a restaurant.

                                                                                                                      2. SO many wonderful images in my head of our beloved Banks reading all these posts....

                                                                                                                        We've been spending time in the Outer Banks every year since 1992; our son's first trip was in 1993 when he was a month old. He's 14 now, and this past June was his 15th such trip!

                                                                                                                        We always rent Sunday to Sunday, these days, and we always have lunch at Sam & Omie's upon our arrival. When we rented Saturday to Saturday, we would breakfast there on the way out, and I always had the same thing: Crab Benedict. Eggs Benedict with fresh, local lump crabmeat instead of Canadian bacon.

                                                                                                                        We've stayed in Nag's and Corolla, but basically we're south beachers, having spent most of our time in Avon, Buxton, Hatteras Village. Now we mostly stay in the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo area.

                                                                                                                        We love The Fish House in Buxton, on the sound side. Fresh, local, outstanding seafood. MacDaddy's Crab Shack in Avon is very good, and has its own local beer, called Kinnakeet (historic name for Avon) Swamp Water. Bubba's is good BBQ when you're tired of seafood. (I never am, but my wife is sometimes.) Buoy's in Buxton is good as well -- a bit pricier than some places, however.

                                                                                                                        Howard's Pub on Ocracoke is excellent, as is the Pelican.

                                                                                                                        I echo the Blue Point as a good place. And Port O' Call on the beach road was wonderful when we went there our first year.

                                                                                                                        Stay away from Dirty Dick's. And the Windmill Point. And the Pelican Isle.

                                                                                                                        Basnight's Lone Cedar burned down, I heard.

                                                                                                                        I echo the idea that I usually cook my own seafood at our rented house; we stop at one of the local produce markets on the way down and buy all our fruits and vegetables. Any of the Risky Business locations is good; last year I noticed that Risky Business had acquired Stoney's in Avon. Lately, in Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo, I've stuck to Jo-Bob's Trading Post -- not the huge selection, but it's all fresh and local. I got tuna there this year cut from a fish that had been in the water an hour before. A great little "fisherman's" grocery. As a fall back, I use Austin's Seafood and Produce in Rodanthe.

                                                                                                                        Island Market in Avon has been a nice "gourmet" market addition -- lots of upscale mustards, wines, a good deli, etc. It's an OK basic grocery too, and a welcome change from the madness that is the Avon Food Lion on "check-in" days. Really, between the local produce places, Jo-Bob's and Island Market, I got pretty much everything on my shopping list. What they didn't have, I didn't need -- and benefitted from the substitution.

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                          Basnight's has been rebuilt and re-opened Labor Day.

                                                                                                                          1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                            Funny how none of this stuff existed when we vacationed, and eventually moved, there back in the 70s & 80s. I preferred it then, when there was absolutely no commercialism whatsoever. In fact, my family bought land in Duck and my mom opened a restaurant in KDH. I briefly attended 6th grade @ Kittyhawk Elementary. They weren't real fond of a yankee tourist making roots in the off season back then!

                                                                                                                            The restaurant eventually went under and we moved back to PA. They weren't quite ready for northern year-rounders. 'Course all that's changed now! I now live in Charlotte and have been to the outer banks since the early 90's. I think I'm overdue for a trip... and to check out some of these eateries!

                                                                                                                            1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                              This post is almost four years old, so an update: Fish House has changed hands. Doesn't look promising, and is no longer crowded at the dinner hour. We've written it off.

                                                                                                                              VILLAGE Market (not Island) in Avon will have a Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo location by next year.

                                                                                                                              Lisa's Pizzeria in Rodanthe has become a favorite "not seafood" meal. Very, very good -- favorite is the fried chicken pesto pizza.

                                                                                                                              Atlantic Coast Cafe is a good place -- we particularly like it at breakfast.

                                                                                                                              Lisa's Pizzeria
                                                                                                                              24158 Nc 12, Rodanthe, NC 27968

                                                                                                                              Atlantic Coast Cafe
                                                                                                                              25150 Nc 12 Hwy, Waves, NC 27982

                                                                                                                            2. No one mentioned the Rundown Cafe at MP 1 on the Beach Road. We just got back from dinner at the newly built Lone Cedar. Their food is hands down wonderful. I wish I had their corn bread recipe.

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: bunsnpigs

                                                                                                                                Just back from our first visit to the Outer Banks (although I grew up near Topsail Beach), we stayed in Kill Devil Hills & actually cooked at home quite a bit. We ate at La Fogata (KH), Howards (Ocracoke), Chili Peppers (KDH), Awful Arthurs (NH)-all were good, my favorite was Howards. I wish we had made it to Kill Devil Grille, Mama Kwans, Tortugas Lie-maybe next time...

                                                                                                                                1. re: thistle5

                                                                                                                                  Any of your maybe next time destinations are way better than La Fogata.

                                                                                                                              2. Had a very nice meal at Owen's last night. I'm glad it was recommended by some of you. The place was beautiful also. I had a filet mignon with lump crab with a mushroom sauce over it and my partner had the sirloin special along with lobster ravioli with extra lobster over the top of it. Would definitely go back again. Richie

                                                                                                                                1. dropping in to emphasize once again that BEACH BREAD has some amazing loaves for sandwiches. i made their seeded rye bread into jalapeno cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches, which was good, but the real star of the show turned out to be two slices of their country white bread, toasted, with strawberry rhubarb jam and sea salt.

                                                                                                                                  it was the best toast i've ever eaten. make sure you get them to slice it thick.

                                                                                                                                  1. I'm a frequent mid- and off-season visitor and in general can't stand the big family/loud kid atmosphere (no offense to anyone). I'm usually looking for relatively quick, good/consistent/fresh food in between outdoor activities. Good beer and good coffeeshops are also high priorities. Most of my time is spent from KDH south through Ocracoke. North to south, here are some of my favorites:

                                                                                                                                    - Weeping Radish, Jarvisburg (http://www.weepingradish.com/). Only been one time to the new location, but the vision is ambitious and impressive, including an on-site eco-farm, focus on local farmed ingredients, on-site German butcher, and of course beer brewed on premises. The new location is on mainland Currituck County, so certainly not local to Hatteras or Ocracoke Islands or even the KH/KDH/NH area, but if you are driving in from points north via 158, you'll pass right by it.

                                                                                                                                    - Front Porch Cafe. Excellent coffeeshop with a couple locations; one in KH and one in KDH/NH.

                                                                                                                                    - Outer Banks Brewing Station, KDH (http://www.obbrewing.com/). Service is generally good; I've found the owners to be very cool and friendly. The food is consistently good to excellent and they are one of the most underrated breweries in the state (prolly b/c they don't bottle/distribute). There is almost always something new and unusual on tap and most of what they do is innovative and largely successful. They do sushi one afternoon-evening (I think Sunday), and a tapas thing another.

                                                                                                                                    - The Dunes, NH. Massive heart-stopping breakfast buffet on weekends. LOTS of big families/loud kids. Good fresh fruit at the buffet.

                                                                                                                                    - Sam and Omies, NH. A lot has already been said. I've had an underwhelming breakfast there and usually hit it for lunch "on the way in" to the banks. Best soft shell crab sandwich I've ever had and a good shrimpburger to boot. Great OB-style clam chowder. Eat (and drink) at the bar for some local flavor (esp after the comm. fishing boats are done for the day!).

                                                                                                                                    - Atlantic Coast Cafe, Rodanthe (http://www.atlanticcoastcafe.com/acch...). Pretty solid place for breakfast and lunch/sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                    - Pickled Steamer, Avon. Excellent blackened/seared tuna sandwich. I also like the side of black beans, rice, and salsa. Some of their other menu items (the flatbreads) aren't as impressive.

                                                                                                                                    - Island Grocer, Avon, is a good place for groceries, with a wide selection of gourmet/higher end stuff. They also have decent prepared food/sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                    - The new coffeeshop right at the turn on NC 12 at Cape Hatteras (Buxton) is good, but the hours are erratic. Had some amazing homemade chocolate chip cookies there, as well as good coffee.

                                                                                                                                    - Orange Blossom Cafe, Buxton (http://www.hatterasguide.com/orangebl...). The apple uglies are indeed good, but their breakfast sandwiches are awesome as well.

                                                                                                                                    - Diamond Shoals Restaurant, Buxton. Great ob-style clam chowder.

                                                                                                                                    - Dancing Turtle Cafe, Hatteras Village (http://www.hatterasguide.com/dancingt...). Great coffeeshop all-around with super, year-round hours. Lovely place.

                                                                                                                                    - Howard's Pub, Ocracoke (http://www.howardspub.com/ordereze/de...). Good beer selection (draft and bottle), consistent if not spectacular food, superb hours. Their shrimp cocktail is consistently good.

                                                                                                                                    - Pelican, Ocracoke. Mixed reviews here. I've had an excellent dinner and good breakfast here. Cute place.

                                                                                                                                    - The Back Porch, Ocracoke. Excellent food, service, and atmosphere (although the porch can be drafty and quarters are somewhat tight). Love the poke (tuna sashimi in lime wasabi) appetizer.

                                                                                                                                    - Ocracoke Coffee Company. Great, though often busy, coffeeshop. Free wifi. Good fresh smoothie selection. I dig the mix of locals and tourists/travelers in the morning shift.

                                                                                                                                    - Thai Moon, Ocracoke. This place is a find. All takeout (from a window/tiny room). All cooked to order. Excellent Thai at typical Asian takeout prices.

                                                                                                                                    - Fig Tree, Ocracoke. I think the previous management/ownership was a bit more hip to unique local flavor but they still have pretty good breakfast sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                    - El's Drive-In, Morehead City (yeah, I know not outer banks...but if you ferry from O'coke to Cedar Island and take 70 back to Raleigh, it counts :) Great shrimp and oyster burgers (order the "super") and shakes if you are into that sort of thing.

                                                                                                                                    Worst eatery: Bubba's BBQ. I've eaten here twice, separated by about 14 years and the experience was similarly atrocious. Perhaps this place is better when they move some cue in-season...

                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: surffisher

                                                                                                                                      I haven't been to the Outer Banks in five or so years. Reading these comments made me want to pack the bags tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                      I would agree with so much already written here, but my three "never-miss" eateries:

                                                                                                                                      Sam and Omies: breakfast and/or lunch
                                                                                                                                      asual Dining:
                                                                                                                                      Tortuga's Lie: great burger, great laid-back dinner
                                                                                                                                      Blue Point: The best nice dinner and great, great room.

                                                                                                                                      I'm ready to go tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: surffisher

                                                                                                                                        Re: Pickled Steamer - Have they moved to a new location? If not, they are no longer operating. We drove past there this spring and noticed they were gone. Too bad - they were quite good, and very different from the usual fried or broiled seafood fare we've found on Hatteras Island.

                                                                                                                                        We are in complete agreement about Bubba's - atrocious! Try Corolla Village BBQ at the opposite end of the islands - great bbq and bakes beans.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Leronis

                                                                                                                                          Totally agree with regard to Bubbas. Worst BBQ joint in NC. Seeing them in anyones best of OBX list is astounding.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: whitehackle

                                                                                                                                            The title of this thread is "Best and Worst on the OBX", so its not really too astounding.

                                                                                                                                      2. My wife and I go to the Outer Banks often. In Duck, our favorites are Blue Point (sit on the screened porch for the sunset over the sound if weather permits) for a fine dinner. Also, Roadside Bar and Grill has never disappointed. We usually get whatever they are recommending in seafood that particular evening, and it's always great. In Kill Devil Hills, at milepost 9 3/4 on the Beach Road, Kill Devil Grill is always a winner with us. Get the Key Lime Pie for desert. Owens in Nags Head (milepost 16) rounds out our favorite dinner places. For lunch I really like Capt. Frank's (milepost 4.5 on the bypass). And in Wanchese on Roanoke Island Fisherman's Wharf has reopened this summer after being closed for several years. Same family owns and runs it! Fantastic atmosphere on the docks there and fantastic seafood. Get the hushpuppies as a side.

                                                                                                                                        1. We're just back from 2 weeks in Hatteras Village, 17th vacation there in 24 yrs. Notable chows from this visit:
                                                                                                                                          Very good sandwiches at Martha Jane’s Kitchen in the Stowe on Twelve, Hatteras Village, and the Harbor Delicatessen in the Hatteras Harbor Marina. I was very happy to find that the woman that used to do excellent sushi at The Hatterasman now does the same on Thursday and Friday evenings at the Harbor Delicatessen. Some of the freshest maguro I've ever had.

                                                                                                                                          My wife and I finally had the chance to go to Pop's in Buxton and had a great dinner. They have a "dinner for two" on their menu that provided more food than I think 4 people would typically eat. The menu said the spread consisted of shrimp, scallops, crawfish, hushpuppies, slaw and king crab legs. When we ordered, we were told they were out of the crab legs so they'd substitute additional shrimp and scallops. We had ordered their clam chowder as an appetizer (which had been highly recommended on another food site). When the dinner came out before the chowder, the waitress admitted to not having placed the order. Eventually the chowder arrived and turned out to be the most tasty I've ever had. Chock full of clams in an essentially clear broth with nicely smoked bacon. And...we didn't get charged for it! Also had one of the locals at the bar buy a beer for both my wife and myself.

                                                                                                                                          After many year's absence, we made it back to The Pelican in Ocracoke for breakfast one day. We've been for dinner almost every year, but it's been 10+ years since I've been for breakfast and again enjoyed what is one of my favorite all-time breakfasts-Eggs Benedict Pelican-style. Two toasted English muffins topped with super-meaty crab cakes and perfectly poached eggs, then drizzled with a superb Hollandaise sauce.

                                                                                                                                          We also did the Hatteras Firehouse fish fry one Saturday night. Tasty as always.

                                                                                                                                          1. I have been n the OBX for 10+ years, own a business and have visited most restaurants in the area. Overall, we have a few great restaurants, several good restaurants and too many average restaurants. What we do not have is a great seafood restaurant. I would be wealthy if I collected a dime for every customer asking for a great seafood restaurant. Ask them what hey want - they want crab legs - hell, get hose in Iowa! This is the OBX, not Alaska. And off they go to Jimmy's Seafood Buffet or Carolina Seafood and they gorge on overcooked, bland food. Oh well. Here's a list of reliable restaurants and a few to scratch off your list.

                                                                                                                                            Avoid -
                                                                                                                                            1. Kellys - Food is an after thought. They focus on the bar for profit and the food is often bland.
                                                                                                                                            2. Jolly Roger - Please, anything with tomato sauce is not Italian food, Unfortunately, the OBX does not have a good Italian food restaurant, no matter what anyone tells you, Italian food does NOT exist on the OBX.
                                                                                                                                            3 Slammin' Sammys - good ol greasy wings, chips and tv. Thankfully they have been sold and will be an IHOP next year.
                                                                                                                                            4. Sunset Grill - Great views, mediocre food, long waits. Why would a restaurant in the OBX offer seafood from Sysco and not fresh seafood? Profit!
                                                                                                                                            5. Windmill Point - used to like this restaurant. Good food and a grat lounge upstairs. They have neglected the place over the years and quality has pluunged.
                                                                                                                                            6. Port O' Call. Little Whorehouse on the OBX - at least the decor suggests it is. The quality of the food has never been great but people do like the gift shop!
                                                                                                                                            7. Black Pelican. Average food but in the evening, forget taking the kids - they will hit you up for a meal of very average quality, a loud setting and a bill to make yori eyes bulge. Not bad for sitting at the bar and drinking beer and eating peanuts!!
                                                                                                                                            8. Jimmy's Seafood. Cold, overcooked and soggy seafood. Yum. And people wait for hours to have their crab legs. Get a life!
                                                                                                                                            9. Not far behind is Dirty Dicks. They make more off their T's than food. I Got My Crabs form Dirty Dicks! Great family fun.
                                                                                                                                            10. Aqua S. New in Duck and vastly overpriced. Fancy ingredients do not equal superior taste. They have tried to copy the Left Bank, but but just don't have the talent in the kitchen to pull it off. Small dining area, noisy )poor acoustics) and visually boring.
                                                                                                                                            11. All restaurants offering breakfasts, except The dunes. Stack Em High is just awful.

                                                                                                                                            Great and worth a try:
                                                                                                                                            1. Blue Point - Consistently offering great food in an adult setting. many have tried to copy them, and have failed. Just visit Ocean Blvd. and see what I mean - but they do have great martinis.
                                                                                                                                            2. Elizabeth's Cafe - pricey and worth it. A must ofr those that love wine/food pairings.
                                                                                                                                            3. Rundown Cafe - Consistent for 15 years, a local favorite. Great, fresh food and affordable, usually dinners are less than $15. Can't beat that!
                                                                                                                                            4. Basnight's Lone Cedar - Fresh quality food, great family-oriented restaurant.
                                                                                                                                            5. Left Bank - Pricey, exquisite, adult.
                                                                                                                                            6. Meridian 42. Best (maybe only) tapas on the beach. Fresh, different.
                                                                                                                                            7. Argyle's. Feels like you are not at the beach - and that's a good thing sometimes. Attentive service, quality food, great atmosphere.
                                                                                                                                            8. Owens is a longstanding favorite for families, locals and tourists.
                                                                                                                                            9. Flying Fish. Intimate, great preparation and presentation and great prices.
                                                                                                                                            10. Collington Cafe. great food, intimate, out of the way. Service can be iffy at times though.

                                                                                                                                            Hope this helps. All honest opinions - from me and customers.

                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: ohiobx

                                                                                                                                              We're heading to OBX in October. We plan on doing some cooking at the house where we are staying. Expectations will be high as I do a food blog with my own recipes. Is there a farmers market or somewhat local food source? Where's the best place to buy seafood to cook at home? Thank you so much for any help you can offer! I don't want to be an idiot tourist in the usual traps.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: ExpatChef

                                                                                                                                                This thread addresses the seafood market aspect.


                                                                                                                                                I'll be there in early October. This is my first visit where I'll have a kitchen, so I'll watch for responses to your question! I am planning on bringing most of the basics with me and mainly get seafood locally. I may be wrong, but at most of the beaches I've stayed at in the past, the prices for groceries tends to be higher than usual, and the selection a little less expansive. IIRC the best selection of groceries was in the northern beaches, in Kill Devil Hills I think.

                                                                                                                                                BTW, if you have interest in liquor by the bottle: NC is state regulated and sales are through ABC stores. There are only a few on OBX. This link has a good list:


                                                                                                                                                1. re: ExpatChef

                                                                                                                                                  There are several Harris Teeter stores that really do a nice job. There is one up almost to Corolla on Route 12 and one across from Mama Kwan's on the main drag (milepost 14?). They are building a new one where the old Seamart was in the Walmart shopping center just across the bridge too. I would vertainly get fresh seafood at one of the specialty shops. We use one just north of the Walmart just across the bridge. Good luck and hope the weather gets better than it is today.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ExpatChef

                                                                                                                                                    Where are you staying on the OBX?..It's over a 100 miles long, so there are different seafood stores up and down the Banks.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: ohiobx

                                                                                                                                                    I had one of the worst meals in my life last night at Sunset Grille in Duck. We should have taken the warning when we saw the disoc lights and cheesy silverware and sticky menues. The building looked great from the outside, the setting was beautiful. I had the bourbon filet mignon tips with coconut rice and green beans. The bourbon sauce was awful, it tasted very fake, almost like it came from a bottle. That item should be reworked or taken right off the menu.The rice was not coconut rice and I still cannot figure out what the flavor was as it was awful and the texture was that of mush! If anything I would go here for a drink and watch the sunset and then leave. The sunset is the best thing going for this place. I read in another thread this place was recommended for fine dining...no way. I could have had finer dining at Ruby Tuesday or Chili's!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: javaandjazz

                                                                                                                                                      So why didn't you heed my advice above? They prepare all dinners early in the day and heat them all day so you have them asap, which is usually a long time. Really, the food is overcooked, bland and over priced. IT IS A BAR!
                                                                                                                                                      BTW - it is in Duck, not KDH.

                                                                                                                                                      Sunset Grille & Raw Bar
                                                                                                                                                      1270 Duck Rd, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ohiobx

                                                                                                                                                        Wish I saw your post too before we wasted $300!!! Your right, its beautiful on the outside but what a shocker inside!

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: ohiobx

                                                                                                                                                      We had a nice lunch in Ocracoke yesterday at Dajio's, Just had a burger wikth their homemade potato chips and achicken caesar salad. Didn't quite like their coleslaw as it has cucumbers in it and I am not a cucumber kinda guy! Had a fig spice cake for dessert that was good excpet for the tiny piece of a nut shell my partner was crunching on from his last bite.

                                                                                                                                                    3. My husband and I are native NYers and accustomed to finding really good food where ever we travel. We just returned for a quick get-a-way to Kill Devil Hills. What we found;
                                                                                                                                                      The THAI ROOM. On the beach road (Virgina Dare) at around M.P. 8.5. Excellent food and service. Family run place. All from scratch. Highly recommend. The place was a bit rundown, but if you are looking for good food rather then a cool atomosphere...it's well worth it. We also tried Barefoot Bernies. M.P 4.5, also very good. For Breakfast, we went back to Stack Em' High Pancake house. I am not a fan. I do not like the seasonings they put in their omlettes or breakfast burritos. My husband had the clam hash, which he raved about.

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: EturnalSunshyne

                                                                                                                                                        We can second the rec for Thai Room - friendly folks and good food. We also love Barefoot Bernie's - our faves are the fried oyster BLT and the Cuban-style steak with chimichurri sauce - melt-in-your-mouth tender.
                                                                                                                                                        Our favorite breakfast spot is the Ship's Wheel - fast, friendly with amazing omelets and pancakes. Get one meal and share - their portions are huge! Sam & Omie's is our second choice.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Originally posted on Don Rockwell, here's my report on my stay in Corolla, OBX. Bad Bean and North Point are in Corolla, Blue Point Bar and Grill is in Duck and the Nags Head Pier House is in Nags Head, MP 11.5.

                                                                                                                                                        We grabbed dinner at Bad Bean Taqueria on our first night there. After traveling, unpacking and food shopping (along with just about everyone else who checked into their digs for the week-my advice would be to do your food shopping early the next morning to avoid massive lines at checkout) I was in no mood to cook.
                                                                                                                                                        We enjoyed beef burritos, stuffed Cali-style with rice, beans, guaoc, sour cream and spicy pulled brisket. Unfortunately, I didn't return to try the fish tacos-I would have liked to based on the recommendation and many other patrons ordering them.
                                                                                                                                                        Crabcakes at North Banks lived up to their reputation. Two large cakes were made from sweet lump crab and a touch of Old Bay and minimal binder. I savored each one, along with the remoulade that pooled beneath them. Smashed red potatoes were homemade-comfort, and a cold zucchini and squash salad (I'm guessing the dressing was rice wine vinegar-based) worked nicely with the seafood.
                                                                                                                                                        The service, while competent and pleasant, was a bit too quick. We were served our apps within minutes (we weren't having wine or cocktails, but if we were, I would have appreciated having more time to linger over them a bit instead of diving right in), and our mains while I was still eating my Caesar salad. Once I got my entree, I pushed the salad to the middle of the table, and Mr. MV and I enjoyed it with our entrees.
                                                                                                                                                        The Caesar salad was served in a chilled plate, which I appreciate. It consisted of fresh, crisp romaine, dressing that was not from a bottle, homemade croutons and shredded Parmesan. Mr. MV's clam chowder was thick and full of clams. He enjoyed and would recommend it.
                                                                                                                                                        Mr. MV's main was a seafood alfredo that again, was really generous with seafood.
                                                                                                                                                        Other than the hurried service, I would highly recommend North Point. If your in the mood for seafood, and who isn't at the shore, you will find this restaurant very satisfying in terms of selection, price and quality.
                                                                                                                                                        The Blue Point Bar and Grill in Duck is right on the sound and who knew that a restaurant could have a view and good food? Mr. MV and I sat at the bar for dinner. I started with she crab soup, and for $11, I wished that I had opted for the seasonal cream of squash soup with duck rillets. The soup was more of a shrimp bisque that was in the fashion of a tomato-based Manhattan chowder. Most of the crab was shredded meat, with one or two lumps of crab. After waiting for what seemed to be way to long to pour soup in a bowl, I realized that the soup had sat at pick-up for a while (server issue discussed below), as it arrived luke-warm with a skin on top. I've eaten my share of really good she crab soup in Charleston and surrounds, and this soup did not compare. While the stock was deeply flavored from shell stock, it was not so much cream-based but thicken with perhaps a roux, such that when it cooled, it congealed-in my experience, cream soups do not so much change texture as they cool, they just get cold.
                                                                                                                                                        Service was a bit of an issue. Two bartenders served us. One, a gentleman, was friendly and engaging. He was on top of refills etc. The other, a young lady, was indifferent at best. For instance, Mr. MV was flat-out ignored when he tried to get her attention to refill my water glass. After our entree, she went to give us back our menus, ostensibly to look at dessert etc, and even though Mr. MV tried to tell her "no, we're too full" with a head shake and hand motions, she ignored him, purposely looking at other patrons as she placed the menus in front of us. Pitiful. We tipped at 20% non the less for the sake of the bartender who deserved it. I would definitely return and get a table by a window-I'm thinking the poor service reflected one individual vs. the establishment.
                                                                                                                                                        OK. On to the good stuff. My ettouffe was full of homemade andouille, smoked chicken, shrimp and crawfish. The spicy roux was a long-lingered-over mahogany, and spiked with white pepper. This was delicious and a great value at $23.
                                                                                                                                                        Mr. MV started with an iceberg wedge with butermilk blue cheese, bacon, tomatoes and spiced pecans. Very good. His main was the real highlight of our dinner-mollases-glazed, bone-in pork chop that I suspect was brined thoroughly and could be cut with a fork. Three cheese mac and cheese was served casserole style, not dry and was made with Tillamook cheddar, parm, fontina and pepper jack.
                                                                                                                                                        The Nags Head Pier House restaurant was a delight! I'm so appreciative that I read about this little diner. Situated at the base of a pier, it's unpretentious, cheap and a greasy spoon in the best sense of the words. If you're in the mood for a hearty breakfast, this is your place. I ordered a combo of 2 over-easy eggs (perfectly cooked) with fried trout, rye toast and hash browns. I focused on the proteins and made a small dent in the carbs-this was a lot of food.
                                                                                                                                                        Mr. MV enjoyed plate-sized pancakes with spicy breakfast sausage.
                                                                                                                                                        The service was so friendly, and the view was unbeatable.
                                                                                                                                                        Admittion to the pier is $1.50 for the day (more if you're fishing). The restaurant will even fry up your fish! You catch and scale it-they'll cook it. Can it get any fresher?

                                                                                                                                                        1. My faves are:
                                                                                                                                                          -Orange Blossom (bakery) down in Buxton, right near the entrance to the light. The apple uglies are killer.
                                                                                                                                                          -Finnegan's Dining Haul (Buxton). Not pretty but the food is good. Service can be slow...but I love this place, I've never had a bad meal.
                                                                                                                                                          -Topper's Pizza in Avon, near Food Lion. Ok pizza, great burgers.

                                                                                                                                                          My favorite place was Bubba's in Frisco when Bubba was still alive and it was his only location and he was there in the kitchen. Great guy, the place went downhill after he passed on. RIP, Bubba.

                                                                                                                                                          1. Just opened in Feb., '09, The Blue Moon Beach Grill at MP 13 in Surfside Plaza strip shopping center. Excellent! We had dinner there last night for the first time. It is family owned and operated and the food and service is truly great. We can't wait to return.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: fcbaldwin


                                                                                                                                                              109 Bar & Grill
                                                                                                                                                              4542 S State Highway 109, Slocomb, AL 36375

                                                                                                                                                              1 2 Trak's Sports Bar & Grill Owner
                                                                                                                                                              3721 Mexico Rd, Saint Charles, MO 63303

                                                                                                                                                            2. Anyone willing to give a new summary of best/worst for OBX? I'm headed to the OBX Marathon this weekend and would love to find spots for local, healthy fare including seafood, salads, maybe a good steak and or BBQ. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chispa_c

                                                                                                                                                                We're headed to Carolla over Thanksgiving week. I'm looking for similar updates. In particular, is there a good seafood market north of Kitty Hawk? I checked out Austin Seafood Co, but they are closed for the season. Many thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: spunky_monkey

                                                                                                                                                                  I don't know about seafood markets in Corolla, but Carawan Seafood in Southern Shores is good, and will likely still be open. It's on the right shortly after you cross the bridge from the mainland, near the WalMart/Harris Teeter strip mall.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Leronis

                                                                                                                                                                    Well, we were in Nags Head late this summer (not sure if these places will be open in winter) and our absolute favorite was Kill Devil Grill (ate there 2x - awesome!) and Blue Moon was a close second. Tortugas Lie was good but a little overrated, i thought. We didn't get the hype about mama kwan's either. It wasn't horrible...just nothing special. Sugar Shack fit the bill for our fresh and fried seafood needs (I actually may have preferred it to Austin's).

                                                                                                                                                                    Kill Devil Grill
                                                                                                                                                                    2008 S Virginia Dare Trl, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

                                                                                                                                                              2. We escape Northern Virginia and spend most of our summer in the Outer Banks....

                                                                                                                                                                EVERYONE...please try the incredible food from Seaside Gourmet To Go (formerly Seaside Vegetarian) at MP 4.5 (in the Dunes Shops) in Kitty Hawk. Chef Andy makes the best food I've had anywhere. He creates flavor-packed dishes with fresh seafood, local produce and herbs, and delicious soups. His vegetarian recipes and soups are killer as well. The dill havarti-stuffed risotto cake is to die for. The wraps are fantastic, too. He has a nice wine cabinet to choose from, too...one stop!

                                                                                                                                                                Also great: Kill Devil Grill (bruschetta...mmmm), Cosmo's Pizza, Rundown Cafe (chowder and tsunami dinner salad with journey's end dressing), Duck Donuts (if you like that sort of thing)

                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lori_in_va

                                                                                                                                                                  As my name implies I love Ribs. Where do you recommend I go when I’m in the area? I’ll be a first time visitor. I’m from the north so I like a bite to my meat.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: More Ribs Please

                                                                                                                                                                    If you read through this thread you'll find some reccomendations, including Jockeys Ribs and JK's. I can't vouch for either. I'd also call and make sure they are open, as many restaurants close in the winter on the Outer Banks.

                                                                                                                                                                2. I know this thread is a bit old, but I came across it while Googling for restaurant recommendations in the Outer Banks, and it was very helpful. We were only there three nights, but we did a fair amount of eating out, and just thought I'd add my observations.

                                                                                                                                                                  The first night we ate at Thai Room. Enjoyable place, the food was decent, although I've had better Thai food. (I am a bit picky about my Thai food.) Next day, we went to the Nags Head Pier restaurant for breakfast. This was surprisingly good--at least for breakfast. My omelet and my daughter's blueberry pancakes were great, as were the fresh hash browns. It's a dive, but the atmosphere is fun--literally on top of the ocean. For lunch, we went to the Blue Moon Beach Grill in Nags Head--cheerful place, overall good food. (By the way, for those looking to eat in, there is a wonderful Harris Teeter in, I believe, Nags Head.)

                                                                                                                                                                  The next day, we had lunch at Lighthouse Bagels in Corolla--very good bagels and bagel sandwiches. I'd also recommend the wonderful homemade ice cream at Big Buck's at the Timbuck II shopping center in Corolla--it's expensive, but worth the splurge. We ate dinner at Goombay's on our second night. Delicious--my husband thought this was the best meal we had. Kid-friendly too.

                                                                                                                                                                  Thai Room Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                  Oceanside Plz, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

                                                                                                                                                                  Harris Teeter
                                                                                                                                                                  , New Bern, NC 28560

                                                                                                                                                                  Blue Moon Beach Grill
                                                                                                                                                                  , Nags Head, NC 27959

                                                                                                                                                                  1. On our last visit to North Carolina, we discovered this super-great micro brew called The Whipping Radish with a great butcher shop. The beer was amazing as well as the sausages, love that place ! The Obx beer and their Christmas one were really good. The butcher is a German Master Butcher. He's originally from Kassel, Germany and he has been a butcher for 34 years. We liked the apple Brats and the Kielbasa.


                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Naco

                                                                                                                                                                        The bullied younger sibling of the Whipping Radish?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. We just got back from the Outer Banks. Here is what we experienced.

                                                                                                                                                                      For breakfast we tried Stack 'em High and found they gave you very little food for a lot of money and the coffee was awful. Then we tried Bob's Grill - Eat and Get the Hell Out and loved it. They give huge portions and the coffee was good. We will definitely go here from now on for breakfast.

                                                                                                                                                                      For dinner the first night we went to Hurricane Mo's - it was so loud that the waitress had to kneel down next to you and scream to take your order. The food was good. Not sure I would go back due to the noise from the bar which is in the same room as the small seating area.

                                                                                                                                                                      The second night we went to NY Pizza and Grill. We are from NY and this place was awful. I had a philly cheese steak and it was like real dry steak um's with a slice of kraft cheese on top. My daughter got a turkey wrap that was tiny. My son got the hot wings but they looked like the kind you buy from walmart frozen in a bag. Definitely would not go back here again.

                                                                                                                                                                      We also went to Dunkin Donuts and Dairy Queen while there and they were great as expected from a chain establishment. Very consistent with what you are accustomed to.

                                                                                                                                                                      On another note we stayed at the John Yancy Inn and though it was old we loved it. We did not try their continental breakfast in their lobby at all so cannot tell you how that was.

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: trvlarrngr

                                                                                                                                                                        @trvlarrngr - you should have tried Basnight's Lone Cedar on the Causeway to Manteo. It is the BEST restaurant. Cornbread to die for and the fish they serve is caught fresh daily. They even list the fisherman's name! We have never ever ever had a less-than wonderful meal there.


                                                                                                                                                                        We also love 'Eat and Get the Hell Out' as well as Mama Kwans. NY Pizza and Grill is awful.. agreed. Also did not like Hurricane Mo's. We have a house there that we rent out but we go during off season.

                                                                                                                                                                        Lone Cedar Cafe
                                                                                                                                                                        7623 S Virginia Dare Trl, Nags Head, NC 27959

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I was searching for a crab cake recipe and came across this discussion, we've been visiting the OBX for the past 6 years and we love it!! We have 3 kids, 2 of them bring friends along so we do a lot of cooking in, but we do like to take them out for a nice dinner. Every year we pass The Sunset Grille (heading to Corolla) and say we have to go there this year, and everytime we go its packed! This year we tried a little later and got right in, we couldn't sit outside, it was closed to kids, inside was loud and I was not impressed with the food for the price! Big let down! I guess its better outside before the sun goes down! On the other hand, we did try to redeem ourselves by going out again, and I have to say Captain George's buffet was excellent!! I've never seen 5 kids eat sooooo much, definitely worth the money, and we were seated right away! We've tried Jimmy's Buffet in the past and it was very good too but the atmosphere at Captain George's was much nicer! The first year, driving down from PA, we giggled at the signs for Dirty Dicks so of course we had to go there! The night we went, the broilers and the steamers were not working! Fried food all around! Plus the gift shop was closed! So was not impressed there! Last year we tried Mike and Diana's in Timbuck II excellent! Sad to say our fav lunch spot closed, Donkey Hotay's is now Taco Stop! Tried The Bad Bean instead, it was ok. Capt'n Franks at mp 4.5 is now our #1!! Its the last place we go before headed home! We also like Corolla Pizza for late night munchies or The Tomato Patch! But, my all time favorite place is the Seaside Farm Market, they have "The" BEST peach pie I have EVER tasted!! I brought 10 home this year to share with everyone back home and they all agree win me! Its located right at the entrance of Timbuck II in Corolla, across from The Tomato Patch. Their fruits and veggies are delicious & very fresh, they also make salsas and dressings, you can even get milk & eggs there too! Best thing is you can sample the dressings & salsas before you buy anything. They sell it all from seafood to eggs very convenient! We absolutely love it down there and enjoy our time together as a family, reading the other comments will help us try new places when we return next year, which can NOT come soon enough! Thank you all for sharing your info!

                                                                                                                                                                        Jimmy's Buffet
                                                                                                                                                                        4117 N Croatan Hwy, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949

                                                                                                                                                                        Sunset Grille
                                                                                                                                                                        5850 Fayetteville Rd, Durham, NC 27713

                                                                                                                                                                        Corolla Pizza
                                                                                                                                                                        PO Box 8151, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949

                                                                                                                                                                        1. The address list for the Sunset Grille is not the one we tried we ate at the one near Duck!

                                                                                                                                                                          Sunset Grille
                                                                                                                                                                          5850 Fayetteville Rd, Durham, NC 27713

                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: shadesofobx

                                                                                                                                                                            Just returned from another visit to the OBX and thought I'd post an update as much has changed since this thread was started.
                                                                                                                                                                            Austins is still around and hasn't changed a bit. If you are going for fried food remember they turn off the fryers at 4pm and they only steam after that. Don't be afraid to get in the market and walk ALL the way around the seafood counter. This way you can see if the fish you want looks good before you order. Fried scallops and steamed shrimp were awesome.
                                                                                                                                                                            Villa Thai in Kitty Hawk in a small strip plaza across from the Hilton is truly a Chow Hound type place and well worth a visit. Pad thai was killer and the Gyoza are hand made.
                                                                                                                                                                            JK's has really gone down hill. When you arrive you can't smell any word burning for their "live fire" grill and the steaks were not aged at all. We had bone in strips that were supposed to be aged for 28 days and the were poorly cut, tasteless and tough. The ribs were truly awful.
                                                                                                                                                                            Fish was grossly over cooked. I used to really like JK's but we will avoid them in the future.
                                                                                                                                                                            Duck donuts was good as always but skip the gas station style coffee.
                                                                                                                                                                            The Weeping radish was deserted on a busy weekend and is now just a faded pole barn so we passed on that.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                                                                                                              I just got back from the Outer Banks a few weeks ago. We had BY FAR our best meal at The Brine and Bottle. That was the one place we ate that could be compared with the good restaurants in Charlotte and the Triangle and Asheville.

                                                                                                                                                                              We also really enjoyed our lunch at Blue Moon Cafe.

                                                                                                                                                                              Everything else was what you would expect at the beach.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ickymettle

                                                                                                                                                                                My brother and sister-in-law introduced us to Brine & Bottle on the 21st and it was the best meal I had on OBX, or even for a while back at home. They have a good selection of small plates and a few larger plates. My wife, who is very picky, had the NY Strip steak and pronounced it the best she's had in a long while. I had a selection of small plates and can strongly recommend the gazpacho and also the hammachi. The four of us split the cheese plate which was, on that day, a selection of three locally produced cows milk cheeses, crackers and some small picked beet cubes and some sort of jelly which set off the cheese perfectly.
                                                                                                                                                                                They also had a "pickle cooler" which was white wine, some fruit juice and some cucumber and it tasted like pickled watermellon, but was probably the cucumber that was pickled. I don't know that I'd get it again, but I'm glad I tried it.
                                                                                                                                                                                Definitely worth a stopping by. On Friday the 20th, they were closed because Food Network's "Diners, Dives, and Drive-ins" was filming there, though they are not really a diner, drive, or drive-in.
                                                                                                                                                                                It's a small place, so go at off hours or make reservations.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                                                                                                                The weeping radish is now on 158 before you cross the bridge. Thanks for the updates. We will be there soon, and will be in Kitty hawk the night before we get our rental. Villa Thai sounds great. For BBQ, we like Corolla Village BBQ.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: macca

                                                                                                                                                                                  We were in Corolla a few weeks ago and also liked Corolla Village BBQ (better than Sooey's). We also liked Bad Bean Taqueria. For pizza, we liked Corolla Pizza (very fast delivery) and Tomato Patch wasn't bad either.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Philly Ray

                                                                                                                                                                                    Never been to sooey's- and have heard good things about Bad BEan. We usually get our pizza from Cosmos in Corolla light- though we are tempted to try Corolla pizza as we have heard good things about them. We did stop by there one friday afternoon and they were closed- and the sign said "gone surfing!" Gotta love it! And I respectfully have to disagree about Tomato patch. We tried it once about 6 years ago and haed it!!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: macca

                                                                                                                                                                                    The weeping Radish has been on 158 for several years. I was less pressed to give it a shot again after finding Long Board in stock at the Food Lion in Kitty Hawk. There was a BBQ joint in the same plaza as villa thai that was bumping and several on 158.
                                                                                                                                                                                    First visit ever that we didn't go to Owens.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                                                                                                                      I remember when weeping radish was behind the food lion in corolla. Loved to stop in there for a sandwich and a sampling of beer. Wish it were still there- I bought some small pilsner glasses there about 8 or 10 years ago and the last one broke a few weeks ago. The kids loved them- always asked to have the "beach glasses".

                                                                                                                                                                              3. Beside the fact that it's expensive, what can someone tell me about The Life Saving Station at the Sanderling Resort.

                                                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                  We ate there about 17 years ago and had an outstanding experience -- beautiful, fresh, creative cuisine, emphasis on local seafood and produce, elegant but not fussy. Haven't heard anything recently.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                    The LSS at Sanderling in a word: inconsistent. I've had truly excellent and truly awful meals there. For the money, you're better served to try Paper Canoe (right next door) or the Blue Point down the road in Duck Village.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: SweetPhyl

                                                                                                                                                                                      I would love to hear more about the Paper Canoe, such as the atmosphere, noise level, selection of specials, etc.. I've been going to the Outer Banks for 20 years and haven't heard of this place. I'll be down in about a week and am looking for a good restaurant to take my fiance to on his birthday. I'm a vegetarian which continues to make getting a "good" meal in that area a challenge (for reasons I don't understand). We've done the Blue Point, though my last meal there as disappointing as I didn't like the selection of sides I was served. Thanks in advance for any additional feedback you, or anyone else, has.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Laura D.

                                                                                                                                                                                        My wife and I ate at The Paper Canoe earlier this summer over the 4th of July holiday weekend. We tried to get a reservation for two, but they told us they don't take reservations for less than a party of four. If you're a party of two, you'll have to roll the dice and wait around in hopes of getting one of the very few two tops in the bar area.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Anyway, they ended up working with us and put us down for a reservation for two on a Saturday night. My guess is that Saturday nights are typically a slow night because most OBX rentals are Saturday to Saturday affairs and most people are either packing up to leave town or are just unpacking after arriving in town on Saturday nights instead of eating at a nice restaurant. The dining room was only about half full most of the time we were there.

                                                                                                                                                                                        As for our dining experience, I thought the food was good but not noteworthy. Definitely a bit expensive for what it was, but I understand that you're paying for the location and the view to some extent.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The one thing that really irked me was that my wife ordered the "last available" tuna steak special for the evening (according to our waiter) which was supposed to be cooked rare-medium-rare and it came out cooked all the way through. More like medium-well. When we alerted our waiter to this he took it back to the kitchen and returned to say that the chef had "found" another couple pieces of tuna steak but they weren't as perfect, aesthetically, as the first steak she had ordered. Since she has a gluten intolerance and doesn't eat red meat, there weren't a lot of other alternatives for her so we said, "yeah, go ahead with another tuna steak".

                                                                                                                                                                                        The second tuna steak was served on the very rare end of medium-rare and you could tell the dish was hurried out of the kitchen with less attention to detail. The garnishes and sauces weren't as carefully presented and the tomato compote that came with it wasn't cooked down and refined as much as the first time around.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The crab cakes I ordered from the standard menu ($28) were fine, definitely a bit on the small side, but not as good as the ones I make at home. Plus, they were cold by the time my wife's corrected tuna dish arrived.

                                                                                                                                                                                        All in all, its a nice restaurant, but we definitely left a bit disappointed especially when considering the amount of money we spent. I would have left feeling better had they tried to make it up to us with a couple glasses of complementary wine or dessert, but it wasn't to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: SweetPhyl

                                                                                                                                                                                        The LSS is actually in the Sanderling. I suspect you were talking about The Left Bank which is indeed on the other side of the road and next to Paper Canoe. I have heard that the Left Bank will be (or is) closed in the near future.


                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                        We didn't visit the Sanderling this time but in years past our experience there was not so great. Not really bad either but IIR it was fairly expensive for what was served and no better than the other tourist places. The "blue crab" they used was the imported pasteurized "blue swimmer" crab and not local or even domestic blue crab. Just so wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                          Best place on the banks for breakfast!!! That's all you need to know!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                            The bar there has great burgers and I loved their crab/shrimp/corn chowder. We loved it there. Although from Wyo where we have great beef, we went ahead and had the ribeye at the Lifesaving Station... best steak ever. We were there last year.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: SittingOnAMtnTop

                                                                                                                                                                                              You and me both. When I'm in that area the only places I eat at are Orange Blossom (apple ugly + coffee), Finegan's Dining Haul and Papa Nino's for pizza.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rick in asheville

                                                                                                                                                                                                I understand Finegan's has closed and has been replaced by a place called Hurricane Heather's which is getting pretty good reviews. Anyone been there?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rick in asheville

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Those are the ONLY places you eat in the Outer Banks? I'm a little surprised.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's been it for me. Toppers a few times for pizza over the years but I always stay in Avon or Frisco and avoid the northern part of hatteras like the plague. I live in a town with a lot of great restaurants so I can eat top notch food whenever. When I'm on Hatteras for fishing/surfing I opt for generic, locally owned places. I don't think some of the fancy places would appreciate me walking in wearing flip flops, board shorts and a t shirt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rick in asheville

                                                                                                                                                                                                      When you say northern part of Hatteras, do you mean Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo? We've stayed there for years and have always eaten pretty well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Northern meaning KDH/NH/etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        There is a place in Avon near the Food Lion that's ok...Highway 12 cafe? That place was good the last time I was there. The chinese place there is ok, too. Plus the pizza place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rick in asheville

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kill Devil Hill And Nags Head aren't on Hatteras Island...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I refer to the entire OBX has Hatteras, have since I was a kid and lived 30 min away. Sorry for the confusion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rick in asheville

                                                                                                                                                                                                              As an FYI, Hatteras Island is a specific barrier island between Hatteras Inlet and Oregon Inlet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rick in asheville

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That would be a first for me. Hatteras is Hatteras. The entire OBX is not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Thanks to everyone who posted here! I've been following and researching for the trip to the OBX my husband and I are taking next month (the 3rd week in September). I have a list of restaurants that we are planning to visit while we're there and I'm hoping you all can let me know if anything has changed:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    On the way down, we're planning on stopping at Currituck BBQ Co.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Breakfast we'll probably eat at our rental most days, but I plan on getting out to try:
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Duck Donuts
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nags Head Fishing Pier (we'll be staying very close to here)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lunch - again, we'll probably eat at our rental most days also but if we go out:
                                                                                                                                                                                                    John's Drive In

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lunch or Dinner - we'll be eating out for dinner every day:
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe 1 "fancy" meal - Blue Point in Duck if we feel like driving that far, or else Colington Cafe, Flying Fish Cafe (which I see has new owners - has anyone eaten here since the switch?), or Ocean Boulevard
                                                                                                                                                                                                    We are most excited about Blue Moon Beach Grill, Kill Devil Grill, and The Brine & The Bottle - from what I've read, these are all very good - has anything changed?
                                                                                                                                                                                                    We'll probably also eat at Lucky 12 since it's very close to our rental
                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also have Goombay's on my list as a place we might try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Will all of these places be open since we'll be there at the start of the off-season? Any recommendations for other places to add?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks in advance for the help!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: arae1017

                                                                                                                                                                                                      We ate at Goombay's once a couple years back and loved it. The soft-sculpture ceiling is worth the trip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: arae1017

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Just as an FYI for you--my parents head down to OBX in mid-September every year and always comment on how many businesses are either closed or closing early each night. So, definitely be sure to call ahead as much as possible to make sure that places will be open at the times you wish to go. I honestly think that by mid-September the business owners are so burnt out that they close/close early as a way to get a bit of a break.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: arae1017

                                                                                                                                                                                                          our crew of 25 is finishing up our fourth trip to obx (kdh) today. food highlights for the week:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          colington cafe - had a fantastic dinner there last night. the setting was great, service was excellent, and the food was some of the best restaurant food we have had in obx. i had a tomato and spinach salad with tapenade - the best tomatos that i have had all season. for dinner i had one of the two fish specials: pan fried tile fish with tasso, a small crab cake, smoked gouda mashed potatoes, and succotash. we had plenty of wine all night and got out for $50 per person, plus tip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          duck donuts - really good, fresh donuts. kids loved them

                                                                                                                                                                                                          tortuga's lie - a standby for us. very good steamers. i had a blackened tuna steak sandwich for lunch one day and it was very nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          aweful arthur's - a good selection of beer and fresh oysters

                                                                                                                                                                                                          red drum - very good selection of beers

                                                                                                                                                                                                          mexicali - great place for late night beers out on their cornhole court

                                                                                                                                                                                                          mama kwan's - good beer selection, deep fried wonton apps were a bit disappointing, good blackened fish tacos

                                                                                                                                                                                                          billy's - fresh seafood store on colington rd. that the bartender at aweful arthurs recommended. great selection and great prices (a bit cheaper than austin's, and harris teeter)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          blue crab - a great local/dive bar on colington rd. that we happened across on the way to billy's. five cans of beer = $10.75. have been twice this week and will go back once more today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: xman887

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just booked a reservation at The Colington Cafe for this Wednesday night, since it seems like everyone here is saying great things about it. Thanks for the other recommendations!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Laura D.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I went to the website...how quaint!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Laura D.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                You'll love it! I live here and Colington Cafe has been kind of a "secret" for years.(Great for us locals!) Can't figure out why as I've seen it highly recommended many times. Guess it's because it's off the beaten path. It's a house surrounded by large old trees. Service is great...food is even better. A great menu, with plenty to choose from. Enjoy...and report back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Laura D.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Colington Cafe turned out to be great! We split a hot brie appetizer, and my fiance had the scallop appetizer too. He had the Waloo special, served with shrimp over risotto, and I had the pasta primavera. For dessert he had the creme brulee and I had the Toll House pie. With two glasses of wine and an espresso the bill came to about $100 pre-tip. I honestly liked that the menu was a bit "old-school." Some might say it was dated, but it seems like every menu these days involves food that is so overworked and contrived, and consists of so many different flavor palates that might or might not work together, that being able to come to a restaurant with more "classic" dishes can be a welcome change. We purchased a gift certificate for my parents who will be in the Outer Banks in a few weeks, and they are excited to go as well. We will definitely be back!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Laura D.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Laura D,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the report...so happy you liked it. One thing you should know about ALL of the restaurants here on the beach...their menus ALL tend to be dated. Most cater to the "tourists" coming in each year and not the "locals". They mostly serve what they THINK the tourists like. My biggest complaint about the restaurants here is there's very little change to their menus from year to year. Go to any restaurant...and you'll probably see the same menu from 5+ years ago...with little to no change. Their nightly specials are usually where you find something newer. A little minus for living here and having the good fortune of seeing the Atlantic ocean everyday...so who am I to complain!!! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Does anyone have a great barbecue recommendation that also has entrees (or substantial sides) to accommodate a vegetarian (like mac and cheese, etc.). In past years we've tried Sooey's, High Cotton, Duck Deli, and maybe another one of two. Thus far the meat eater has liked the barbecue from High Cotton the best, but the selection of sides for me, the vegetarian, seemed limited. So, we're open to trying something new. The favorite barbecue items for the meat eater are pulled pork and ribs, though he sometimes will get other meats. I'd be thrilled if the place offered vegetarian mac and cheese, grits, mashed potatoes, hush puppies, biscuits, corn, etc. We're here (meaning in Duck, though we're willing to drive about 20-30 minutes) through Saturday, so any suggestions are helpful. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Laura D.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                We liked Corolla Village BBQ. Not sure about the vegetarian options, but we did like it better than Sooey's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Laura D.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agree with Corolla BBQ and also recommend Fat Crabs across the street in the Corolla Light Center.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Be sure to try their "50/50" bbq sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Laura D.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've lived here for almost 20 years...and have yet to find a really good "authentic" Carolina BBQ place here on the beach. High Cotton is about the best...but I do agree with you on the very limited sides they offer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Laura D.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i have tried many of the places between kitty hawk and hatteras and have been dissapointed with all of them. have not been to carolla bbq.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      had good bbq two years ago on the ride in on caratoke hwy - maybe 10 miles before the bridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Laura D.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for the recommendation. We went to Corolla Village BBQ for a late lunch on Thursday. While I wasn't enthralled with it (since I didn't have anything) my fiance enjoyed his pork sandwich, baked beans, and cornbread a lot. I'm not sure that we'd drive there just for the BBQ, but we would definitely try to stop there again if we are in the area. Thanks again!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Laura D.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Vegetarian eats at a barbeque joint in eastern NC would be quite a contradiction, I believe. I can’t imagine many places outside of Chapel Hill that would offer both and do them well. Nevertheless, I’m glad you found something in Corolla.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You’re in a beautiful place with many terrific outdoor places to eat. Why not do take out at a couple of places and REALLY enjoy the Outer Banks?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think High Cotton has the best barbeque in the area for sure. There used to be an excellent place on Roanoke Island called Saul’s (it later moved to the mainland on 158, but was not quite as good).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Go to http://www.vegobx.com/ for vegetarian spots.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ahhh, a marriage planned between a meat eater and a vegetarian….good luck!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Laura D.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Back in the day, and it's been a few years....the original Bubba's BBQ was good. Way down the island though. I went one day in December, he was about to close up for a bit and fed me. I could barely move, then he gave me an aluminum pan with bbq, cornbread, baked beans and slaw. Too bad he died and the place lost focus, that was good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. We just visited for 4 nights in the Outer Banks, and had some great (and some just ok) meals. Here's my recap:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kill Devil Grill (KDH) - Pretty good, but didn't blow us away with anything. About a 30 minute wait on a Saturday night (no reservations), but they have a fun ring game out front to keep you entertained....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Stack 'Em High (KDH) - We went directly here when we arrived while we waited for our room to be ready... We're suckers for pancakes any time of the day. We were impressed, pancakes were good - lots of options for toppings/fillings. The home fries were great too - covered in cheese and bacon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sugar Shack Seafood Market (Nags Head) - A great place for blue crabs - affordable too ($18/dozen steamed). This is a primarily a seafood market, but they have several tables and beer on tap. They make a good carolina style bbq sandwich too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Food Dudes Kitchen - I have to say this was the biggest let down. We went for lunch. The service was abominably slow. It took over 20 minutes to get menus once we sat down. Food was nothing special.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Poor Richard's Sandwich Shop (Manteo) - This was a game time decision when we went to Manteo. Turned out to be good - they were slammed for the lunch rush, so it was a little slow, but the sandwiches were quite good. Sit outside at the back on the docks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Brine and Bottle (Nags Head) - Very good, lived up to the hype. Bacon jam was delicious, as was the duck breast and peach cobbler. Only thing that wasn't great was the soup that night, a cream of tomato.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Corolla Village BBQ (Corolla) - Very difficult to find, but well worth it. Excellent BBQ - we tried both the pork and the chicken. It's outdoor seating only, and the flies can get quite irritating around the picnic tables.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Blue Point (Duck) - Up there with Brine and Bottle for the best place we ate. I had the pork chop, which was good and very well brined, but needed some sort of sauce to go with it. There's a great view, and the service was good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lpbucw

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lot's of good reccomendations on this board.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'll be staying in KDH in 2 weeks and I'm looking for some good seafood places or anything that is traditional or regional OBX. What kind of seafood is in season late September? I have no problem driving any distance north or south.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Qball

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Everything is plentiful in Sept/Oct. If you are a picker of blue crabs...they're at their heaviest, just about now. (I get mine from a local crabber, for a lot less than most are charging.) There really isn't such a thing as regional OBX here. Unfortunately, the restaurants cater to the tourists and serve your typical standard fare. Fried and steamed seafood you can get almost anywhere. Most serve frozen seafood also, not fresh caught...like they'd like you to think. (It's cheaper to serve, more profit for them.) Most of the "fine" dining restaurants only deal with fresh seafood, but you'll pay for it. I highly reccommend Colington Cafe. Won't break the bank, and is very nice. (Be sure to call for reservations) If you plan on cooking it yourself, go to Carawan in Kitty Hawk. For a nice casual lunch or dinner...Tortuga's Lie & Kill Devil Grill are very good also. High Cotton in KH, is a BBQ joint that's about as regional as you'll find here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Phoebe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Just back from OBX this weekend. We own a house there, so we're regulars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Two new finds, both will be featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Coastal Cravings in Duck. Located in a BP service station - well really just attached to it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                & Outer Banks Brewing Company in Kill Devil Hills. Both were excellent with scratch made food!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Phoebe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Phoebe, I agree with you about Carawan. For those who don't know, it's right on the highway in front of Wal-Mart. We have a cottage in Duck that we rent out in the summer and a few weeks in spring and fall, and I won't buy seafood anywhere else even though there's a seafood shop within walking distance of our cottage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  New this year is Josephine's, We've been there once and will be back for sure. She's not new to the OBX, was once owner of Cosmos Pizza. Her menu changes each Tuesday and she keeps the web site menu updated. She makes the bread (complementary), and it's the best I've ever had in a restaurant. Aqua in Duck used to have our fave bread, but they can't hold a candle to Josephine's. Oh, and she plops a bunch of fresh homemade pesto in the middle of a bowl of olive oil for your dipping pleasure. Chicken picatta was delicious as were veal saltimbocca and shrimp scampi. Everything there is from scratch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Another favorite that you should all try is The Wave Pizza in the little Osprey Landing shopping area. It's right on the boardwalk and they have picnic tables outside on the deck right over the sound. Sunsets are fantastic! Fortunately for us it's just a short walk from our cottage. When you go there, tell them Frank and Linda sent you. We don't have any financial relationship with them, just enjoy seeing them do well. We do think they make the best pizzas (and subs) on the OBX.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Hey all. I've been coming to Nags Head on particular for close to 10 years during the summer. The Flying Fish is amazing. I reccomend the 10oz Filet Mignon, a Ceasar Salad, and you can't go wrong with any of the appetizers. Especially the fried oysters!! the baileys cappuccino milkshake is always a good end to an amazing meal. the best steak around, by far. kill devil grill is definitely a more family oriented outing...nothing special...just a good beach vibe. duck donuts for breakfast is a must. Beware...if you order a dozen assorted...don't expect any "normal" donuts. Take the extra 5 minutes and fill out a yellow sheet. Owens is great, tortugas lie...wish I could think of more. Take a drive....more then enough options.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. This past week we made point of visiting all local restaurants that weren't chains. Our first stop coming in late this past Tuesday evening was Slice. Owners from our hometown of Baltimore by coincidence. Jeremiah greeted us and after finding out we were from suggested the crab cake platter he just placed in the oven. Get this only $12.99. For myself I had to have his off the hook deep dish stuffed everything pizza. Nowhere in the world can you find pizza incredibly as good as this. The crab cake proved to be authentic chesapeake old bay flavor. No one could ever touch this. Jeremiah has it all together. The "O's" were on the screen as well. This is a place you just can't possibly miss.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We were recommended to try Food Dudes and the next evening we took this one on! Once again without question another one Great find on the beach road.She had shrimp enchiladas which were light on shrimp and heavy on the enchiladas. The red beans served with this were just enough spice. Unfortunately they were out of pulled pork so given I hadn't had a cheese steak in years I decided to give it a try. When we served I was amazed at the shear quantity of food. The steak was fresh prepared with sliced grilled portabellos served chibata bread. This was so enticing to my taste buds I would rate this as a 9.5 on a scale of 10. Portion was so great i had the rest for lunch the next day. Great job Dudes. Driving on the highway we noticed a new place that just opened in a strip mall near one of our other favorites Josephines Sicilian Kitchen. One of the partners was the chef from the Brew Station and another partner partner worked at Black Pelican formed an Asian Fusion carryout named Pok Art. Our first impression was that you could dine in. We ordered
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Red Curry and Thai Coconut soup along with Chicken Katsu with exqusite macaroni salad, jasmine rice and pickled vegetables. Al was well worth it as these guys surely know their cuisine.