I'm afraid that the restaurants that are right on the river don't offer the best that Wilmington has to offer. You would be better off eating at one of the many places downtown a block or so away, then walking along the boardwalk afterward. Deluxe, on Market Street is excellent, as is Caprice Bistro, just a block further down (almost on the river). The Basics is also good, down at the end of Front Street at the Cotton Exchange. If you're looking for great Thai food, I'd highly recommend Big Thai, which is in our up-and-coming "Brooklyn Arts District" (no, I don't know why it's called that). Big Thai is on North Fourth Street.
Hope you enjoy your stay!
114 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28401
319 N Front St, Wilmington, NC 28401
10 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28401
My husband and I recently spent an anniversary in Wilmington. Most of the best food recommendations we got were not on the river. We ate at Deluxe, which was absolutely fantastic, and Circa 1922, which was also wonderful. Afterwards we walked along the river to burn some of the calories!