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Southport, NC - Mr. P's Bistro or Live Oak Cafe?

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Hi,

I have a reservation at both Mr. P's and Live Oak Cafe this Saturday night and I don't know which one to pick. I've done A LOT of research on both, and I'm finding mixed reviews. I've asked both to fax menus, but I haven't heard back from one and can't get in touch with anyone at the other.

This is a very special weekend - price is not an issue, but eating good, fresh seafood is.

So, which of these two would you choose, and why?

Thanks!

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  1. Unfortunately, the dining situation in Southport area is not all that great. I have not been to Live Oak in yrs, and they since have lost their chef to Bella Cucina. The menu was always limited there and I recall most of the seafood (a farm raised salmon dish, and a shrimp dish) has not being all that great. Of course, they might have specials, but I would not assume it is local seafood. Inside the restaurant is very hush hush, small rooms (it is an old house)but they do have a screened porch with a few tables.
    Mr. P's is across the street in an old building. We have only eaten there once, and the focus is on Oysters, which I doubt will be local. The rest of the menu in unmemorable, although, I think it has the typical 'platters' , broiled fried this this and or this type thing.
    For more of an atmosphere, Josephs Bistro in South Harbour Marinara is much nicer. Italian menu, some seafood, and again will probably have specials. They do not take reservations.
    Fishy Fishy in the southport might have local seafood, sitting outside by the water is nice, but it is far too hit or miss for me to suggest them.
    For romance, the Pharmacy in downtown southport, is another old building converted to restaurant, but it has been yrs since we ate there.
    Good luck! Let us know how it all goes.

    2 Replies
    1. re: winedine

      Thanks for the reply - I just now saw it today. You're right, there isn't much in the way of dining in Southport. We ended up at Live Oak instead of Mr. P's. DH is pickier than I am and he was not impressed. We started with the crab dip - too much asiago overpowered the dish. I had the baked scallops, and it tasted almost exactly like the crab dip - lots of asiago. DH had the Wahoo special with white grits and roasted veggies, again, unremarkable.

      The next day we ate at Fishy Fishy for lunch. Their menu wasn't what I had in mind and again, had an unremarkable meal. I heard Provision Co. is OK, but we couldn't find it. Unfortunately, we couldn't find anyplace to eat that night - it was Sunday - and made the mistake of heading out in search of dinner at 8 PM when everything closes. So we settled for Mexican.

      We absolutely love the area though. At this time of year there is no one around and it's very relaxing. We will definitely try Joseph's and Bella Cucina next. In the meantime, I hope a good, local seafood restaurant that is NOT all fried foods will open.

      1. re: pinogirl14

        You might try Fishy Fishy for dinner (Provision Co. is right next door). I've had some great seafood specials at Fishy Fishy, gremolata-topped seared tuna a standout, and one night heard a few fellow diners complimenting the chef about some scallops. But the off-the-menu stuff was not so great. Would be curious to hear what you think of Bella Cucina. Keep us posted.

    2. Wish I'd seen this sooner. My wife and I have been going to southport for years and we love Live Oak Cafe. The food has always has always been consistent. We love the creativity of the menu and are never disappointed. Last summer we met the chef who is also the owner and has always been there. so the info below is incorrect. Maybe it was a cook that left, but not "the chef." Anyway, we love the small, quaint dining rooms and the ability to eat outside in the summer (screened of course.) Service has always been excellent.

      1. Well, it is 2011 and restaurants mentioned in these postings are still in business. I would never go back to Bella Cucina. This is very ordinary place and food is not good. Live Oak cafe is cute and food is OK. Josephs is great..lovely specials, fried clamary is the best I have ever had. The fish is fresh and they offer good balance of sea food and meets. I highly reccoment Josephs. We are planing to try Mr. P tonight, but it is Sunday I we do not know if they are open on Sundays. We 'll see. Cheers!