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Feb 21, 2008 03:57 AM

Outerbanks/Nags Head Off Season

My husband and I are going on a mini vacation to the Outerbanks next week. We will be staying in Nags Head. Would love recommendations for dinner close to Nags Head. For lunch, recommendations anywhere on the Outerbanks would be great.

Thanks much! We can't wait to hear the surf and smell the ocean air!

Jennifer in Etowah, NC

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  1. There is a huge thread here with some excellent recommendations, The Best and the Worst of the Outer Banks:

    If you're staying in Nagshead, a place good for either lunch or dinner that wouldn't involve a lot of driving would be Tortuga's Lie. Looks kind of divey, but the food is excellent. Their Baja Fish Taco Platter is wonderful.

    1. I hope you have a grfeat time, I haven't been down since a tuna fishing trip in late november.

      Unfortunately, John's Drive In is closed for the season. Their dolphin sandwich and a milkshake are legendary. I fear they may be on the verge of extinction since John passed away last year...


      Breakfast at the Nags Head Pier is a good bet. Get the Em special or hope for fish roe, salt herring, or some other delicious breakfast foods that look like bait. The view is great and the food is good.

      The Thai Room is a great example of OBX longevity. Jimmy and his family are friendly and the food is unique. Their shrimp cakes are great and the pad thai is really one of my favorites. Some say it has become too sweet...?

      Tortuga's Lie is as everyone says...always good. Check the specials in the winter as they can dream up some great stuff, but the menu (which hasn't changed in years) offers an interesting mix of seafood and what I call OBX Islander food. You can find similar laid back dining at Goombays or the Rundown, and maybe still at Quagmire's (the original occupant of Tortuga's) up at Corolla.

      The Blue Point in Duck is really worth the drive for a great meal. It is not cheap, but every meal is worthwhile and the atmospher is laid back/upscale. If not too busy you can get a great soundside view. The specials are always worth hearing and in the winter there are some wonderfully offbeat combinations that seem to always work. I would eat there if it were in Trenton, NJ!!

      The Weeping Radish was always a nice change of pace in Manteo. The German cuisine was good enough and their haus-brewed beers are excellent. They are now located back on the mainland near Powell's Point, but might be a nice day drive for a lunch of Wiener Schnitzel and an Octoberfest beer??

      Is the Sugar Shack open year 'round? Are you interested in cooking your own seafood?

      IF NOT, but like the idea of choosing your food to be prepared, I LOVE eating at the counter in Seamark Foods. They aren't allowed to serve raw seafood, but otherwise they have chowders, steam local clams, oysters, and shrimp, and make some nice comb plates. It is very affordable and you can see how fresh your food is before it is cooked. I do as much of my shopping there as I can. Austin's has good fresh seafood, but sometimes a shortened selection...

      Honestly, if you haven't been to Awful Arthur's, the winter is the best time to go. No lines to wait to get in, and frankly they do a good job of steaming, broiling, and frying seafood. You can order oysters by the peck, and some of the steamer combos are nicely priced.

      I always stop at Powell's to get produce and okra pickles in the summer (we live on peaches, tomatoes, melon, and corn all summer long!!) but I doubt they'll have much to offer in the winter.

      I like to get hot dogs and Captain Franks...pretty good.

      Call Oregon Inlet fishing center and see if any boats went out; if so, it's always great to watch them unload their catches around 4:00 PM. This time of year it's tuna or striped bass.

      Okay I have moved away from helping you to getting hungry and seriously considering driving down myself. Have a great time.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chefsalad

        Awesome! Thanks so much for the suggestions.

      2. One of my favorite restaurants anywhere, Basnight's Lone Cedar, is located on the causeway between Nag's Head and Roankoke Isldand. They are open year around and specialize in local seafood and everything is homemade, desserts, salad dressings, etc. Their new bar area provides wonderful views and a nice alternative to table dining. They have the freshest seafood and buy from local fisherman as well as produce from farms. Here is their website. . A few other's on a more casual scale would be Kill Devil Grill and Sam and Omies. Not sure if they will be open.

        1. I'll second Tortugas Lie and Blue Point. I like Mama Kwan's for a laid back lunch. Dirty Dick's crabs is terrible. Meridian 42 is a nice dinner spot too.

          1. At this point, you are probably already in Nags Head, but just thought I would put my 2 cents in!

            I believe these restaurants are open off season. We just went the week of Thanksgiving in 2007, and we went to all these places. Everything was just fantastic!

            The Black Pelican
            Located in Kitty Hawk. We ate here for lunch. Wood-fired 5-inch pizzas were great. Has a good selection.

            1587 Restaurant
            Located in Manteo at the Tranquil House Inn. Pricy, but good. Seafood and chophouse style cut steak, chicken, etc.

            Elizabeth’s Café
            Located in Duck. Expensive, but FANTASTIC! If they have their signature Flame Grilled Prime Angus Beef Tenderloin Medallion Au Poivre … it is by far the best steak I have ever had in my life! Literally melted in my mouth! You should also try the Lobster, Scallop and Brie Bisque with Granny Smith Apples. They have a la carte, prix fixe and wine pairing menu options.

            The Life Saving Station Restaurant
            Located in Duck at the Sanderling Spa & Resort. We went there for a special Thanksgiving menu, and it was very good. I think most regular outer banks visiters refer to this as the “Sanderling Inn.”

            Bob’s Grill
            Located in Kill Devil Hills. If you want a fast and fresh breakfast or lunch, this place is great. We always go for breakfast. With the hilarious slogan “East and get the hell out!” Good food, good price, good people!

            Sugar Shack Seafood To Go Fish Market
            If you want good seafood to go, you can get a “basket” pretty much any seafood fried up or you can get fresh seafood to take home to cook, or they can cook it for you.

            Full Moon Café & Grille
            Located in Manteo. Great lunch specials and soup of the day.

            I have not been, and I am not sure of their off-season hours, but my parents have been to these places with rave reviews:

            The Left Bank
            Located in Duck at the Sanderling Spa & Resort.

            The Blue Point
            Located in Duck.