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Mar 22, 2007 02:31 PM

Emerald Isle, NC and vicinity -- good eats?

My husband, 10-year-old son and I are headed to Emerald Isle over spring break. Any suggestions for tasty eats while we're there? I saw some posts from last year on this topic on the website but thought I would see if anyone has anything new to add. Thanks!

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  1. Can't recommend anything in Emerald Isle. Old reliables and newbies have been getting bad reviews of late, but if you venture east, a couple places to try include Bistro By the Sea in Morehead City, Blue Moon Bistro in Beaufort and Cafe Zito in Morehead City, Thoughtfully prepared food in each. Food not as refined at Bistro by the Sea, but it's a fun, lively place, especially as the evening progresses. And a great sashimi tuna appetizer.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Cake Ladies

      Speaking of Beaufort, is Aqua as good as I remember? My wife and I went a few years back and loved it.

      We also enjoy Clawson's in Beaufort for a more casual experience (and great desserts). My understanding is that they are owned by the same people.

      I will ask a good friend of mine who owns a B&B in Cape Carteret if he knows of anything good in EI. Will report back.

      EDIT: spoke with said friend. He recommends Carton's in Salter Path -- a 40-seater that serves amazing crab cakes and fresh-from-the-docks seafood. Fresh tuna and grouper is now on the menu.

      1. re: peetoteeto

        Aqua is still delicious. Small plates, ambitious food, good wine - but friendly and unpretentious atmosphere.

        LOVE Blue Moon as well. Delicious, friendly, intimate.

        I still like Beaufort Grocery for lunch, but not so much for dinner - the food is just too . . . too. As my mom says, I always want to subtract about two ingredients (and a tablespoon of salt and another of cream) from my plate. Spouter Inn in Beaufort is also a great place for lunch, with lots of tables on the deck overlooking the water.

        My parents (who live in Beaufort) like Bistro by the Sea a lot - I haven't been, but they are pretty discriminating.

        By the way, even the most fine restaurants down there are casual by the standards of any other place. No heels for women, no socks for men!

        1. re: peetoteeto

          We have to second the Carlton's recommendation (1401 route 58 in Salter Path). Small and un assuming but a great meal. We were there this week and it sounded like they just expanded the menu a little. I read a lot about their crab cakes but they just added a lobster cake to the menu which we tried and was excellent. We also had the "NC Cioppino" - variety of shell fish in a tomato broth over risotto - very good!

        2. re: Cake Ladies

          you have to get a shirmp burger from Big Oak at Salter Path, maybe 3 miles away.

          1. re: Cake Ladies

            A big shout out to Cake Ladies. This woman knows good food. We have just spent a week at Emerald Isle and, after terrible meals at Jordan's and T and W (not in Emerald Isle, but on that side of the area) we decided to head east and had wonderful meals at Blue Moon Bistro (our top choice overall) and Cafe Zito.

            Just curious, Cake Ladies, about your experience with Carlton's. We went there several years ago and it was OK, not great. Better than the rest of the Emerald Isle places, but that is not saying much. Why is it that Emerald Isle doesn't have a really good restaurant?

            1. re: brentk

              Hey brentk. Thanks. Sorry for the delayed reply. Haven't been on the board much in the past few months, working, traveling, but have not been to Carlton's (Salter Path's my go-to for shrimp burgers at Big Oak) but I see the restaurant is open year round. I'll check it out.

          2. Agree whole heartedly with Cake Ladies response, would add William's however in Morehead City as this is one of my two favorites along with Blue Moon Bistro


            1. Big Oak Drive Inn in Salter Path has fabulous shrimp burgers. Could go for one right now!


              1. Must agree with Cake Ladies, she mentioned my two favorites: Cafe Zito in Morehead City and Blue Moon Bistro in Beaufort. Anyone know about Kathryn's in Emerald Isle? I've never been there myself.

                2 Replies
                1. re: justjoy

                  for just good inexpensive fish,,Jordans,,also no atmosphere,,,the home salad at Rucker johns,,honey mustard dressing and pastry with it,,the crab soup at the place in KW shopping strip..Kathryns overpriced,

                  1. re: orzobino

                    Thanks very much to everyone who has replied so far and to all who might do so in the next week or two!

                2. Can anyone give their opinions on:

                  1.What are some of the good things on the William's (in Morehead) menu?

                  2.How about the Watermark near Emerald Isle (the steak is apparently the bomb)?

                  3.Any good all you can eat crab leg buffets in the area, similar to a Jimmy's Buffet (near Duck), or Dirty Dicks? People give them guff, but if a buffet can do crabs right, and all you can eat... I am there...

                  I've heard good things about both above places, but what are the specialties?...i found little other info online about them...

                  anyways, thanks in advance

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: musebandrules

                    Not sure about William's in Morehead City, but a local place for a good, no frills meal is Cox's Family Restaurant. Seafood is good, breakfast is killer..... like I said, it's mainly a locals place, not expensive because you're not paying for "waterfront"....

                    Watermark may be the best place on Emerald Isle. I'd put their steaks up against any from anywhere - they cook over charcoal. Their seafood is fresh and is very good as well. Always a "must do" when we're in the area; just about worth a drive down from the triangle area just for the food. Bands/live entertainment most weekend nights after 9 or 10...

                    Will second the Jordan's (Emerald Isle) recommendation, especially if you need a "fried fix".

                    At Kitty Hawk, try Kelly's... also try the Red Drum. RD isn't much to look at but the best blackened grouper I've ever had came from there.

                    1. re: musebandrules

                      Everything is always excellent and they change their menu seasonabley. Always excellent lamb and fresh fish.