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Wilmington NC - Where do YOU dine?

Just found this board! Lived here for 15 years (from NYC) and have watched good food come and go here. We're always looking for a new place to add to our list of favorites. This may be repetition for some, but tell us your favorites....from fine dining to holes in the wall with great food. Everyone has their tastes an opinions, but some are universal. I'll start with a few.

- At the top - higher end favorites....
* Port Land Grille - Lumina Station - Just a moment under the exhaust fans is wonderful. Consistently terrific albeit pricey. You get what you pay for.
* Marc's on Market - Tucked into a strip center with a sign shop and a place that sells pepper spray, it's easy to miss. Simple decor and great food.
* Caprice Bistro - Only tried once...but looking forward to our next trip.
* Zooi Bistro - Smaller menu, but another "thumbs up."
* Deluxe - Another favorite.
* Rafaella - Not to be confused with the inexpensive Italian place that is no longer at the Galleria - Tried once and so far, it has been great except that we were near the noisy kitchen.
* Bento Box - a unique sushi experience.

Looking into Osteria Cicchetti, Tayste and Dan's Mason Bistro

-Second tier - quality meals you can have wearing jeans...
* Yosake - Especially from 5-7PM - Great sushi & Japanamation.
* Indochine - Some people disagree and I've had a couple of misses on the menu, but you can't beat the decor and food tends to be consistently good.
* Double Happiness - Mentioned here often and gets my pick for chinese...a sleeper that needs for the word to get out. We want them to STAY!!
* Banyan - No complaints so far.
* Circa 1922 - fun for small plates.
* Kiva Grill - Great food - A bit pricier than the older and more casual sibling K-38, which has always been a favorite after the beach.

-Fun casual & good food....
* Nikki's - At the downtown original you can get hummus, nachos and sushi!
* Flaming Amy's - In a location that was jinxed in times past - huge portions!
* Mellow Mushroom - Our incarnation of the Asheville institution. Great pizza despite the occasional wait for it.
* Szechuan 132 - Great chinese! Joe has been in that location for over a decade.

* Brooklyn Pizza - Hey, I'm from NY...and so are they. Big floppy slices and a great calzone.
* Los Portales - You'd better learn how to speak Spanish and be willing to squeeze in. Real, traditional, Mexican...not Americanized.

We've got more....tell us your favorites.

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    1. re: jimingso

      I would second Brasserie du Soleil. Excellent French food.

      I would also add El Guajiro on South Kerr Avenue. They serve wonderful homestyle Cuban food. We really like Dockside for the atmosphere and Wrightsville Grille for the food and drinks.

      Any list would be incomplete withour Laterna, which serves up great fresh Greek/Mediterranean food.

    2. Whenever I visit Wilmington:

      For weekday lunch, *Catch on Princess Street downtown. Same chef as Deluxe.

      For seafood, *South Beach Grill out on Wrightsville Beach.

      For good home-cooked Southern food that won't bust your artery: *The Basics - downtown Wilmington on Front Street.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mikeh

        Catch is yummy!!! I sure do miss that place. I moved to Chapel Hill in July of last year. Have they started serving dinner yet? I will be visiting in May and would love to go there.

      2. Our favorite for sushi, (and it doesn't get mentioned much), is Mineh in the University Landing shopping center. Great food; not just for sushi; and really nice people.

        1. Timechime, excellent information...thank you! We are coming to Wilmington (staying in Topsail) the last week in May and need an upscale or fine dining location for 17 people. Any suggestions? Any with private rooms that you know of? Thanks so much!

          1 Reply
          1. re: chrissue

            Timechime does have some good recs. Today we tried Jessamine Thai and sushi again. They are still working to open the sushi bar but our experience was much improved over when they had first opened. The space looks so much better. The purple trim is gone and so is the funny divider wall that went down the middle. Lots of choices for lunch. Many of the items from Big Thai are on the menu. The angel wing app was terrific and so was the calamari. So light and crisp. My husband had the papaya beef salad which he said is just the same as it was at Rim Wang,SPICY! My curry chicken noodles were good too. They also have brought back thePHO from Viet Bistro, actually using the old Viet recipe. If you have not been lately, go again. I think we might make it a regular Sunday lunch spot!

          2. Possible add on's

            Top end - Jerry's Food and Spirits

            Second Tier - Hells Kitchen downtown and Dockside

            Fun and casual & great food - South Beach on Wrightsville

            1. Thank you so much for this post as I am on my way from the Twin Cities to visit your wonderful city (and my family) in two weeks FOR two weeks. My family doesn't actually go out to eat much but I really want to experience the best local and regional food I can while I'm "on the beach."

              What about seafood joints? I used to enjoy Pearls - a greasy spoon diner that is now closed. What are some good options now?

              I will also want to take my teen age niece and nephews out but NOT to a chain - any easy for everyone but good for a foodie places?

              Thanks so very much!

              3 Replies
              1. re: Abacus

                For seafood, I'd recommend South Beach Grill - on the sound side of Wrightsville Beach. I think your niece and nephew would like that fine - it's got a good view and outside seating. Kind of has that nice mix of beach casual but still decent atmosphere.

                1. re: Abacus

                  Abacus....most of the better restaurants mentioned here have great seafood dishes. One of my favorites when I want some crab legs is Dock Street Oyster Bar downtown. The rest of the menu is marginal, but we generally reserve it for evenings when we want to jam some crab legs in our faces and then walk it off by the river.

                  For teens...I'd go for Mellow Mushroom....place is generally hopping and has great pizza. You'll sometimes wait for it, though. Szechuan 132 or ask to sit at the recessed tables at Double Happiness if you've got a hankering for some Chinese. Osteria Cicchetti ...now referred to as "OC" is another good place to bring teens...nice and informal...good italian.

                  1. re: timechime

                    elizabeth's for good, simple italian dishes. i really like the pizza there.

                2. Chrissue - for 17 people...end of May. Upper end food.....go with Port Land Grille. I would be willing to bet nobody will leave unhappy. Keep in mind it is a bit expensive, but IMHO...worth every penny. I think they have private rooms. AND see below. Not much that I'm aware of in Topsail...The old Latitude 34 at the south end of the island is now gone. I'd suggest coming into Wilmington.

                  Got to try some new places since my last post. Osteria Cicchetti was a great - old-worldish Italian experience with good food and fun ambiance. Lots of smaller plates that would go very well for a large bunch wanting to split a lot of different things. Reasonable pricing. Dans Mason Bistro was also great. It is on the south side of town so it would be a haul from Topsail, plus it is a bit small to be accommodating such a large crowd.

                  Had lunch at Catch and was extremely pleased. Couldn't help but watch all of the attractive and great smelling dishes coming from behind the counter....

                  We've been waiting to see if Jessamine was going to pan out. From the road, it doesn't look very professionally set up. Sounds like it might be a good place. Someone mentioned Mineh. I have had a few lunches there and was generally pleased.....tend to gravitate towards Genki's fat rolls and their great Hijiki and vinegared catfish apps.

                  Some new places downtown have opened...Rim Wang is now another Thai place we haven't been to yet. Although I've only been there once, I want to try Big Thai again. It's located in an unlikely spot on N 4th, but that never mattered to me. They're building something at Mayfaire, but I'm thinking it'll be a chain.....

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: timechime

                    Big Thai rocks. I love that place. Haven't tried Jessamine yet. I'm still nursing the wound from Viet Bistro closing there. The owners and menu are apparently still the same at Rim Wang - it's the wife of Big Thai - they are only changing the name.

                  2. Hi everyone,
                    I'm already printing up some of the recommendations with driving directions. I truly appreciate your thoughts and glad this board exists. Wilmington is a great town and I loving visiting.

                    1. Update....Tried Jessamine and was quite pleased. Owner is, in fact, one of the partners from the old Rim Wang...now Charin Thai. I received a recommendation for an item that actually wasn't on the printed menu...Tamarind Beef. It was great...and is now among some of my favorite dishes eaten locally! My wife had a crispy duck dish that had so much duck, she couldn't finish it. Duck was tender and lean and not overly fatty as some duck can be. My only concern is that the former Shoney's location is jinxed. We were one of three tables in there at prime time on a Friday and the place could easily hold 100+. I would have gone for the Pho (a la Viet Bistro) but I wasn't feeling like hot soup on a 95 degree day. Curious to hear some of the other reviews.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: timechime

                        Just so you know, Zooi closed if that was an option for you. I am sad about this, so now must recommend Caprice Bistro downtown. We have not been there much lately because Zooi was closer to home and the babysitting parents.
                        The panang shrim curry at Jessamine was also very good as were the dumpling app. We have been a lot lately and have had great experiences every time.

                        1. re: wineandcheese

                          That is bad news. Zooi was one of our favorites and an excellent value. The rabbit and sweetbreads for wonderful. Ditto for the muchroom strudel app.

                          The Forum is cursed. Every restaurant there has come and gone.

                          1. re: wineandcheese

                            I heard that a bunch of restaurants closed in the last two weeks. Savannah's, Frankie's, Zooi, and Rockola. While it's sad to see many good ones go, (some not so sad), someone is right there ready to open another restaurant in the same spot.

                            1. re: Ando

                              Savannah's did not close.Zooi and Frankies did. Bento box will move to zooi space and the old members of Salty's have opened at Lumina Station in the Opus/Fathoms spot. We'll see how that goes.

                              1. re: wineandcheese

                                I'm glad to hear Savannah's did not close my husband and I love the Sunday Brunch it's the best in town

                                1. re: wineandcheese

                                  Frankie's closed not surprised but I miss Salty's it's previous owner although the food was okay I loved the fact that there was a place to go for the over forty crowd and enjoy live music and dancing.........
                                  Can't Wilmington open a venue for the over forty crowd with fun food and a nightspot for live music preferrably the 60's throught the 80's and dancing?
                                  I've spoken to a lot of people my age and we're all bored with Wilmington nothing to do except see a movie or go to dinner......What do you all think?

                                2. re: Ando

                                  Rockola is probably being phased out - they closed the one in Burlington as well quite recently.

                                  1. re: Ando

                                    As of July 1, Savannahs was alive and well. My wife had the rack of lamb and thought it was the best she had ever had. My duck was superior!

                                    1. re: Fond of Food

                                      Sorry. I guess you shouldn't believe everything you hear. I'm very glad to hear it. We like Savannah's. Haven't been lately, but we have never been disappointed.

                                3. re: timechime

                                  Had lunch at Jessamine today and it was excellent! I had their chicken noodle bowl and it was really delicious. Rice noodles, romaine lettuce and grilled chicken in a lemon curry sauce. It was so flavorful. The coconut soup they served first was also perfect. Great balance of sour/coconut/salt - beautiful, despite the fact that it was 99 degrees outside. It was a small bowl anyway. The chicken noodle bowl was a pretty huge serving. I brought home half of it. My lunch companion had the shrimp pad thai and was less impressed with that. I tasted it and agreed with her - it was mostly just sweet, without anything to cut it. But she tried my chicken noodle bowl and loved it. I'll definitely be going back there.

                                4. We ate at the following on our recent vacation to Wilmington:

                                  La Costa
                                  Casey's BBQ (both on Oleander)
                                  Dockside at the waterway
                                  Kate's (Carolina Beach)
                                  Chris' Cosmic Kitchen (Eastwood)
                                  Bon Apetit (Carolina Beach Road)

                                  All of which we highly enjoyed. No complaints about either, really.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: dkst0426

                                    Savannah's has not closed - we ate there for dinner night before last. It was OK - not great, but not bad. We recently gave Dockside another shot as well, and I have to say I was pretty disappointed. The view is nice, of course, but the food was just below good. We all had the soft shell crab special, and it tasted like the crab had been fried earlier in the day and then reheated in a mircrowave before serving. The crust was soft and stale tasting. I will say the french fries were great, though.

                                    1. re: Andiereid

                                      As I have never eaten at Savannahs, what did you have? Cost?

                                      As far as Dockside, service is usually slow and food usually comes out warm at best. Cold beer and steamed shrimp are pretty good there. And of course, a great view and atmoshpere make this a fun place to go even though the food is average at best.

                                      1. re: webvanman

                                        I have eaten at Caprice Bistro for years, on our semi-annual jaunts to Wilmington. Dined there last month and was disappointed-didn't think the menu was as varied or unique, and the exeuction wasn't as good as in the past. The service was wonderful as always! I wondered if the Chef was spending his time at Zooi, or had maybe retired. Now hearing that Zooi has closed, does anyone know if there has been an ownership/managment change, or are the original owners back at Caprice?

                                        1. re: ksbee

                                          The original owners are at Caprice. Was very sorry to hear about Zooi though.

                                          1. re: ksbee

                                            The original owners are at Caprice. Was very sorry to hear about Zooi.

                                          2. re: webvanman

                                            We ate there with my brother's sister and her husband. They ordered appetizers - fried calamari, which none of them liked very much. They said it was a little rubbery and the breading wasn't very crisp. They also ordered the cornmeal fried oysters, which they said were OK, but not great. I didn't try either, so I can't give my own opinion. They also ordered one of the special appetizers - some kind of grilled shrimp. Just didn't have much flavor, really. None of us liked it much either.
                                            My husband had the triggerfish for dinner - I had a bite of his - good, but just not jump off the plate wonderful. I had the aged prime tenderloin French Seared. It was a good cut of meat, and cooked exactly as I'd ordered it, but the pan sauce tasted almost like it had a burned, bitter edge to it, and was very salty. I will add that I like my food saltier than most people.

                                            For dessert, I had a cappucino cake with some kind of side sauce made to look like a fried egg. It was some kind of creme anglaise with a peach puree in the middle. It was pretty, but again, just didn't deliver on flavor.

                                            Prices: The appetizers were around the $7 - $9 price range, the salads are about the same, the entrees were in the $21 area, maybe slightly more. Nothing that made my hair stand on end, certainly.

                                            I didn't find the prices unreasonable. I'd just had hoped the food would be better. It wasn't bad, by any means, it just wasn't great.

                                        2. re: dkst0426

                                          Haven't tried Casey's yet, but I've heard good things.

                                        3. Bad news about Zooi. The inside scoop on the Forum is that the rents are outrageous so any downturn in business could be disastrous.

                                          Recent discussions about Dockside confirm what I've felt to be a problem all along...namely that most of the places offering a great view of the water tend to suffer quality problems in the long run. When you've got captive tourists, why make good food if you don't really have to? In my experience, there have only been a very few exceptions to this rule. If you can see the water, beware. Chances are you'll be paying for the view and not the food. For me...more often than not, the best dining experiences happen where there's not much to look at outside the windows.

                                          6 Replies
                                            1. re: timechime

                                              I definitely agree, timechime. It's a shame that you can't really get excellent food and the great water view, but I haven't experienced a place yet that delivers both in Wilmington. The best places are definitely off the water.

                                              1. re: Andiereid

                                                Maybe I'm the sole voice of dissent, but we were very pleased with what we had to eat at Dockside. Maybe it's a case of what one chooses to order?

                                                1. re: dkst0426

                                                  I do agree that most places on the water do not take pride in their food. Many are food factories churning out mediocre fare. I would say there is one exception we know of. I have always had excellent meals at South Beach on Wrightsville. Yes the view is not the best, but sitting outside watching the boats is relaxing and the food is interestingly different from the other tourist barns. South Beach would be my choice if entertaining guests for a casual dinner on the water. IMHO its the best food on the beach and its inexpensive too.

                                                  1. re: epicurious2008

                                                    Yes, I do like South Beach. I guess I don't count its view so much because it's across the street from Banks Channel and you don't really get the water view except at maybe one or two tables inside. If you see the water, it's mostly from their outside tables, and then there's an awful lot of traffic and then a park separating you from the water view. But yes, the food is very good.

                                                2. re: Andiereid

                                                  Try Bluewater's or Oceanic you'll have a great view and very good food

                                              2. Darn...went and broke my own rule. With all the good words about South Beach floating around, I decided to try it again since I hadn't been there for 5 years. Unfortunately, the experience left a lot to be desired. The staff raved about the crab nachos, so we bit. What arrived was a mushy, less than flavorful mess of a few chips with a tiny bit of something that might have resembled crab. I had a negimaki plate that was tasty, but hardly enough of an appetizer for a three year old. (I don't eat a lot either.) The entire edible contents of the plate would have fit on my fork. We left without having dinner.

                                                Maybe I caught a bad day since so many seem to enjoy it, but I definitely paid for the (partial) view only.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: timechime

                                                  I also had those nachos and agree with your "mushy" review. Did have a tasty tuna sandwich though with a nice tartar sauce. Overall, have to agree with you; not very impressed.

                                                2. Have to agree with you on your selections.We also like Jerry's a lot. They have redecorated. We ate there night and had great softshell crabs. Dan's Mason Bistro is another of our favorites. Small but nice atmosphere and great service.

                                                  1. Los Portales is wonderful! Just wish I'd found out about it sooner. Most of the servers speak English, though I've now happily picked up enough Spanish to place an order. I'm always on the lookout for similar cheap and good places to eat, and can't wait to try some of the recommendations here.

                                                    I also particularly like Double Happiness because it serves some of the food I crave from SE Asia.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: woceht

                                                      Agreed, woceht. Ate at Los Portales a few weeks ago and it was excellent. Had a burrito the size of my head stuffed with delicious pork and a big glass of rice water. They handed us two flash-fried jalapenos while we were eating that were delicious. Nice folks, great food - another good lunch find.

                                                      If you haven't been already, I'd highly recommend El Guajiro, right down the street. Authentic Cuban. Very very good.

                                                      El Guajiro
                                                      1015 S Kerr Ave, Wilmington, NC

                                                      1. re: Andiereid

                                                        Andieried, woceht,

                                                        I can't remember how I heard about Los Portales, but I love the whole idea of completely un-Americanized Mexican food. We often stop there only to find you can't get in the door because its so crowded. Some of the dishes must be off-menu because I've seen some interesting stuff going out...either that, or I'm not deciphering the menu well. Gives me a chance to practice what I remember of high school Spanish. I never order a "large" anything. Anything medium there is a pretty darn good size and is plenty filling. Great little spot!

                                                        I intend to try El Guajiro next.

                                                        1. re: timechime

                                                          timechime, I think you'll love it. Be sure to try their cafe con leche. Sweet, rich and delicious. Makes a nice finish to the meal.

                                                      2. re: woceht

                                                        Where is Los Portales is it new?
                                                        I've been meaning to eat at Double Happiness but haven't gotten a chance yet what dishes did you try?

                                                      3. Well, perhaps not the best recommendations as I'm not a local, but whenever I visit Wilmington, I make sure to eat breakfast at Dixie Grill, and have seafood at Dock Street (both downtown).

                                                        1. My family and I went to Carolina Beach last week and spent one afternoon in Wilmington. This means that I have been in Wilmington for about two hours out of my 34 years of life so take this for what its worth.

                                                          We had dinner at Fat Tony's in the River District (or area?), and thought the food was great. Would definitely go again when we're in the area.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: littlecsr

                                                            Where'd you eat at Carolina Beach? Did you go to Kate's? We thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast there when we were there Memorial Day weekend.

                                                            1. re: dkst0426

                                                              Actually cooked breakfast pretty much every day. For other meals, we went to Michael's (pretty good but pricey), Big Daddy's (terrible), and the place across the street from Big Daddy's (can't remember the name, but it was great).

                                                          2. Jerry's is in my top 5 places I LOVE to eat...my nephew is executive chef there, but even despite that it would be in my top 5...Hiro japanese steak house is also very good, but be prepared to wait

                                                            1. Just tried Jamaica's Comfort Zone near UNCW - University Commons or Landing or something. Never saw it and they claim to have been open since November. It is in the spot that used to be Tower 7. I happen to like Jamaican food...Jerk, Escoveitch etc. I was very pleased! Nice flavors. Our area has not had a Jamaican place and Comfort Zone is a nice change of pace. I briefly spoke with the owner, who I'm guessing is from...Jamaica. Nice experience...authentic.

                                                              On another note, Kiva Grill has morphed into the Porter's Neck location of K-38 Baja Grill. I always liked Baja's laid back atmosphere. I never felt bad about visiting K-38 freshly sandy from the beach. Word is that Kiva was languishing as a high end southwestern place and bringing in the more casual atmosphere and fare of K-38 is a strategy to attract more people in as money gets tight. A smart move in my opinion.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: timechime

                                                                Actually, there has been a Jamaican place downtown at the intersection of Rankin Street and North 6th Street for a couple of years.

                                                              2. has anyone been to cornerstone? I heard they are supposed to have great food

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: northerngirl

                                                                  I have never seen anyone in the place!I put in an application there one day and I was the only one in the place and it was lunch time.The Staff is really slack.

                                                                  1. re: jellybear

                                                                    Kornerstone, at Porters Neck, is a great spot. Wood-fired pizza and other Italian entrees as well as gelato. A great family spot, quiet, nice decor, great pics of Italy on the walls. Have only been for dinner; not really a place in the heart of lunchtime traffic.


                                                                  2. re: northerngirl

                                                                    Living in Hampstead, we've found Kornerstone to be our favorite "neighborhood" spot if we don't feel like driving into Wilmington/Wrightsville. Never been disappointed with their pizza, pasta or entree specials.

                                                                  3. I like Elijah's, The George, Carraba's and I haven't been to the new Ruth's Chris downtown, but every Ruth's Chris I've ever eaten at has been excellent. I always order spinach every way they serve it. Best creamed spinach ever and yummy potatoes.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: southportchow

                                                                      Ruth's Chris my husband and I have been anxious to try it but was't sure if it was worth it or not now we'll try it because of your recomendation

                                                                    2. I moved out of downtown Wilmington a year ago - and am now out at Porter's Neck. It's been fun trying out the restaurants in the area.

                                                                      I had an AMAZING dinner at Savannah's last weekend. The seafood stack with fried green tomatoes rocked my world. Then I had veal paillard with a mustard and lemon sauce that I could bathe in. I had no room for dessert but the menu looked yummy. Our waitress was lovely - and the owner could not have been more charming. I cannot wait to go back there again!

                                                                      The following morning I tried Tydes for brunch. Terrible coffee - and I miss the way the patio used to look and feel back when it was Fathoms... Next time I will eat inside so I do not have to deal with smokers. That being said, the prices are more than reasonable and my eggs benedict were delicious.

                                                                      I order take out from Kornerstone at least once a week. I find their pizza to be fine but not great. I usually get the salmon or the fra diavlo pasta. The bar is a great spot to have a glass of wine or a meal alone. The prices are steep...and keep rising for some reason. Antonio's across the street has better pizza in my opinion.

                                                                      I did curbside take-out from Macaroni Grill a week ago - and it was delicious. I did create your own pasta, and the blue cheese salad, and cheese cake the size of a catcher's mit! You really get your money's worth there - and with take-out you do not have to deal with the crowds or noise.

                                                                      My new favorite dinner is take-out sushi from the newest Nikki's (across from Mayfaire). I get it made with brown rice - and the flavors are phenomenal.

                                                                      I had shrimp and grits from NOFO a few weeks ago...and it made my eyes roll into the back of my head. The shrimp were so fresh...and at a very reasonable price.

                                                                      Antonnio's (spelling?) Carribean Cafe - go for the conch fritters (ask for different dipping sauces), the crab cakes, the mango & passion fruit cheese cake - and the live music. The owner and staff are lovely - and make you feel like you are a welcome guest in their home.

                                                                      For those of you who do not know, Wahoo Willie's has closed its doors. Very sad.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: darasingmaster

                                                                        Has anyone tried Tayste?? I haven't heard a thing about it or known anyone who has tried it.

                                                                        1. re: PickyDiner95

                                                                          My husband and I ate there a couple of months ago and really liked it. The restaurant has a cosmopolitan feel but cozy. The quail appetizer was really good my husband I inhaled it and the fish entree was excellent as well. A little pricey but what fine restaurant worth its salt isn't.

                                                                      2. Why go to Tayste and miss an opportunity to eat at Catch?

                                                                        Bon Appetit serves dinner now (I think they've just changed their dinner hours to Wednesday through Saturday 4:30 - 9) and it is INCREDIBLE. They usually have cajun themed specials (~10$ a plate) on Saturday nights and dear god they are to die for. Their Po Boy is quite authentic and is very generous on the oysters for ten dollars... I had the catfish with veggies; it came with a dill cream sauce and the creole seasoning on the catfish was perfection. A couple of New Orleanian transplants were sitting near us and we couldn't help overhearing their praise (they had the catfish as well.) The complimentary bread is also baked fresh in house and is delicious... garlic knots, foccacia, and your standard italian comes out with pesto... I've heard the french dip sandwich is excellent from friends, as well as the Prociutto wrapped shrimp appetizer. I'd rank the calamari among the best in the city; very tender, served with marinara.

                                                                        For everyone used to the bustle at breakfast, for dinner we go later (8ish) and it has been empty every time, which is wonderful for us but unbelievable since it is a top rate meal very reasonably priced. Service is notably better at night, and they've done a good job with getting a dinner ambiance. Go, but please don't tell your friends.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Liz0415

                                                                          Thanks for the info, Liz. I've had lunch at Bon Appetit several times and always love it, but haven't tried out their dinner yet. Have heard good things about it.

                                                                        2. I just got back from a week vacation on Wrightsville Beach (we go down a few times a year as Fiance's grandparents live in the area) and thought I would add my two cents, as I used this and another big thread for reference. I want to thank you hounds, I finally got fiance's parents to let me pick restaurants and with your help, I didn't let them down and I will probably get to pick them again:

                                                                          Best Meal: Catch- I haven't gotten to go to Deluxe, yet but we went to Catch and I was really impressed. I had the shrimp wrap with crinkle cut fries- the shrimp was fresh and really good, the greens is the wrap were dressed perfectly so there wasn't too much or too little, it had a nice little bit of spice, but not too much. Fiance's fish tacos on special were good too, he really liked them. I had a bit of the crab cake and curried potato salad, while the crab cake was ok, I prefer mine MD style as that is where I am from, but loved the potato salad. I absolutely love this place and hope it does well so I can go back.

                                                                          Savannah's- It seemed a little french/low country to me, but it was good. I had the fried green tomato starter, the tomatoes were a little thick, but I liked the shrimp and crab with it, I couldn't eat it all, but it was good. For entree I had the corvina (I wish I knew exactly what the fish was) which was really good, whatever it was, it had a great texture, and good flavor, the cornbread here was very good, especially since we don't get much good cornbread in DC.

                                                                          BlueWater- They always go to either here or Oceanic. I wanted to get the Swordfish special, but they were out, and for some reason the chicken sounded good (I think I was perhaps a little seafooded out at this point). It was actually very good chicken, not that you would probably get that since they probably have better fish, but I didn't want something fried, and the other options didn't sound as good, but it was moist and juicy and came with good sides, I was happy, not the best chicken of my life, but definitely solid. I think I might like Oceanaire a little better though as we have been there twice and I think they have a few more non-fried options.

                                                                          Dockside- I had a softshell sandwich with cole slaw and onion rings. The soft shell was good, I needed to put a little more sauce on it, but I really liked it. The cole slaw was sweet (is that a NC thing?) and I really don't care for sweet cole slaw, but the onion rings were good, I liked that type of batter. Also they had a good beach bar ambiance with good drinks, which was quite appreciated after a few days with the Fiance's fam :)

                                                                          Romanellis- So we always get taken here, I am not quite sure why, but is it under new management? I normally played it safe and got a salad, as that was well safe, and I had a bad calzone experience in the past and was told by his parents to just get the shrimp salad, but they had at least reformatted the menu. I got chicken parm, and it wasn't terrible. I still don't understand the pesto pizza thing, I would love some plain bread instead, but the chicken parm was pretty decent for chicken parm (I picked it because it is pretty hard to screw up). So if you get taken there, it isn't too bad, the pasta with it... not so great, but the chicken itself is good. I would avoid this place if you can go elsewhere though...

                                                                          Terrazo (sp?)- we got take out pizza from here, it was ok, a little undercooked in my opinion because it got gloopy, I would have liked the crust a little more well done, but I got spinach with sundried tomatoes and buffalo mozz and the toppings were good. Next time will ask for well done crust. But I liked the variety of toppings and think with a more well done crust that isn't quite so gloppy it could be really good.

                                                                          We ate at a Mexican restaurant in Hampstead (I think they have another location near Jungle Rapids and Romanellis) I can't remember the name, but I was surprised how good it was. As his grandparents go often and well... But it was good, I had a roasted pork dish off the favorites section that was really great, better than any Mexican dish I have had here in Mexican starved DC. Next time I go back it will be hard not to get that again, but now I know when his grandparents want to take us out to vote for the mexican place because it was really good.

                                                                          Smithfield- Fiance likes their BBQ I am not really a huge fan. I think their cole slaw is sweet, potato salad is too mayonnaisey and I really am not in love with the BBQ, anyone have some better recs for NC style Q in the area?

                                                                          We also ate at Trattoria Cicchetti and I liked this place, I got a fish special that was really good just fresh fish is a tomato brothy kind of sauce, Fiance got a pesto pasta which he liked (he said we could make it at home but it was good), everyone seemed to like it, especially the decent wine selection. The starting salads were huge! I forget which one I got, it was like the italian one, but it was fresh and had something other than plain ice berg which I appreciate, I was happy. And his family which eats pretty safe really liked this place for a change of pace. I wish they had an antipasto salad on the menu, I didn't see one, maybe it was with the cheese or salami menu, I would have liked that.

                                                                          I have yet to make it to the trolley stop, but I want to go next time. We also didn't make it back to South Beach Grill which I have really loved in the past, I hope to go there and to Marc's on Market next time. So thank you hounds for all the recs. I hope to keep eating well with you recs as we go back! Especially now that his family will let me pick where we eat some nights. Thank You.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                            I live in Hampstead and was wracking my brain trying to think whether I've missed a Mexican restaurant all this time!???!?! :-) Most likely you ate at La Costa at the Porters Neck location near the Harris Teeter plaza. Also a usual stop for us (most recently Saturday), never ever a bad meal there. Great stuff.

                                                                          2. For dinner Dan's Mason Bistro is great. I also love Indochine, Bonefish, Double Happiness for chinese although its been off and on lately. Baja Grill K-38 is one of my lunch places and they make a mean margarita. Taste of Italy is more of a deli. but if you are from NYC you will appreciate it. Circa is good and so is boca bay. Brasserie du Soleil is really good, too. Osteria Cinchetti is another one of Ash's restaurants that is good. (Boca Bay, Circa, Brasserie and Osteria are all owned by Ash.) If you are in Kure BEach go to Freddie's. They make a mean pork chop, although the appetizers and italian food are lacking.