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Outer Banks suggestions

I went to the Outer Banks for the first time last summer, and while we had a great time and loved the beaches, there really were no culinary highlights like there have been at other beach towns/areas I've been to. None of the seafood places we went to, for example, could match some of the joints in/near Ocean City, MD (like Waterman's). We went to the Carolina Buffet and Bob's Grill, among others.

So, folks, what did we miss? I'd love to hear what people's favorite places to eat in the Outer Banks are. We will be staying in Kill Devil Hills, but will probably go all the way south to Ocracoke and north to Duck/Corolla. I'm especially interested in good seafood. We head there on June 25th.

Thanks in advance,
Brian L.

Bob's Grill
1219 S Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

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  1. Not sure what type of food you're looking for, but we just returned from OBX and had the best meal of our trip at Kill Devil Grill. I had a seared tuna over stone ground grits with a crab, sweet corn and grape tomato salsa. I'm still dreaming about it.
    Might I suggest searching the boards - there are quite a few existing threads that may provide the info you're looking for. Just search on 'outer banks' 'obx' or the specific town where you're looking for recommendations.
    Have a great trip!

    Kill Devil Grill
    2008 S Virginia Dare Trl, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

    3 Replies
    1. re: AmyInNC

      Thanks, Amy! I'm not sure why we didn't go to Kill Devil Grill last year--I recall discussing it. We'll definitely go this time.

      Kill Devil Grill
      2008 S Virginia Dare Trl, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

      1. re: brian14leonard

        I wish we'd gone earlier in the week so we could've hit it up twice :) let us know what you think!

    2. Tortugas Lie in Nags Head

      Cap'n Franks for the best hot dogs

      1 Reply
      1. Have been to Kill Devil Grill for lunch- really good. Had the crab cake sandwich. We eat all of our meals at our rental, so I usually only get to try restaurants the day before check in and check in day. Have also been Corolla Village BBQ in Corolla, behind the lighthouse and the Twiddy rental office. DOnt know a lot about BBQ- but it was good!

        Kill Devil Grill
        2008 S Virginia Dare Trl, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

        1 Reply
        1. The Sugar Shack is almost right as you enter Nag's Head. It's a take-out place but I've never gotten a bad order from them. I always hit them up coming in and then again going out. I also second Tortuga's Lie.

          1 Reply
          1. the only place that can be called a foodie spot close to you would be 1587 in Manteo. Its in the Tranquil Inn. The Colinton Cafe isn't bad but 1587 is tops. If you go all the way to Okracoke don't expect much. Howards is the most known spot but it seems to have lost alittle bit over the last few years. The Back Porch on Okracoke isn't bad as well. In Hatteras if you like shrimp go to Risky Business under the Breakwater restaurant and order some jumbo shrimp steamed with some spices. ask for them hot and sit outside with a beer and eat them. you won't be disappointed. also up the beach in Frisco(right by the high school) go to Pops Bar for the coldest beer and bar seafood. steamed shrimp and fried oysters are tops here. Its not foodie heaven but its bar food heaven. Last if you are down in Buxton early in the day go to the Orange Blossum cafe for good coffee and the best apple fritter around. :)

            The Back Porch
            1616 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29201

            1 Reply
            1. I just got back from OBX and stayed in KDH too. I'll add my accolades to Kill Devil Grill. We had dessert there one night and came back the next for dinner because everything looked so good. Had fantastic cheese grits with softshells there, and my hubby had wonderful Opah fish from Hawaii. If you go say Hi to the kiwi waitress from us in PA. Anyway, the best dinner we had was in Duck at The Blue Point with a beautiful sunset view. She crab soup, catfish, pork, pickled tomatoes and mac and cheese and cornbread finished with a delectable biscuit with strawberries and cream. Great fish tacos, and wahoo tacos at MamaKwan's, again within walking distance in KDH. From reading posts here, I had the impression it was a hole in the wall, but it isn't. We would have gone back for dinner, except we wanted to try different places. We also ate at the Food Dudes, again walking in KDH. Food was also good (and large portions), The fried green tomatoes and crab cakes and blackened tuna were all memorable. But not as friendly a vibe as the other places. And one of our favorite places was Brine & Bottle on the highway to Roanoke. It had small plates and everything was interesting , fresh, and yummy. They pickle their own stuff and the fried pickles were not in the same universe as those you get at large chains. We also ate at OBX Brewing, which was good but not great. Oh--you gotta try Duck Donuts--there is one in KDH as well as Duck. Bad Bean was ok, but I wouldn't go back. Ate at Black Pelican and had the pizza, which was very good. Best thing would be to sit on the porch with a drink and some bar food. We did have breakfast at Ship's Wheel which had excellent hotcakes, omelettes and real hash browns. We did have some time to sightsee as well as eateateat.

              Ship's Wheel
              2028 S Virginia Dare Trl, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

              Kill Devil Grill
              2008 S Virginia Dare Trl, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

              3 Replies
              1. re: atownbrucefan

                I'm so glad that the Blue Point in Duck is great. I haven't been able to get back to the Outer Banks for 7 years, but the Blue Point was one of our favorite places.

                There was a fabulous seafood market in Kitty Hawk with very fresh raw seafood. My memory puts it right across the hang gliding dunes, and they definitely had a giant shark in the front yard. These guys had the best seafood and I hope they are still there.

                1. re: Terrie H.

                  Thanks, Terrie--I'll look for the shark.

                2. re: atownbrucefan

                  Thanks! I did have Duck Donuts last time--yummm. I'll say hi if we see the kiwi waitress (I'm guessing she'll have a New Zealand accent). Hey, I'm originally from PA , too (Williamsport) and I'm a big Bruce fan.

                  Duck Donuts
                  1190 Duck Rd, Duck, NC 27949

                3. We have a cottage in Duck, so we're down there quite a bit (except summer when it's rented). Our favorite restaurant is Blue Moon Beach Grill around MP 13
                  4104 South Virginia Dare Trl # 16
                  Nags Head, NC 27959-9282
                  (252) 261-2583

                  In Duck, The Wave Pizza (tell Ryan Frank and Linda sent you) at the back of Osprey Landing rivals the best pizza on the OBX. They have tables out back right on the sound, sunsets are terrific.

                  Roadside Raw Bar and Grill in Duck has excellent food and the service is good. However we've not enjoyed the experience once or twice when our waiter was obviously hopped up on something.

                  Blue Point, as others have said, is excellent but expensive, and not a place you'd take toddlers.

                  Red Sky in Duck used to be one of our favorites, but that was back in '07 before they lost their good chef. I think he's at The Pearl now. We haven't been there yet. After a couple bad meals at Red Sky we stopped going there. Went back last weekend and the service was excellent, but the food was just OK, and it was WAY overpriced.

                  Duck Donuts (several locations including Duck in Osprey Landing) shouldn't be missed....fresh hot doughnuts are scrumptious.

                  For coffee beans and the best coffee, Front Porch Cafe in KDH and NH do their own roasting. I always go there first thing for a couple pounds of Ethiopian Harrar.

                  NEVER GO TO Sunset Bar and Grill in Duck. View of the sound is outstanding, service and food are about the worst on the OBX.

                  Haven't been to Firefly, the redo of Prime Only. Have heard nothing but raves about it from owners, renters, and locals alike.

                  Slice Pizza, MP 8.5, was our favorite pizza before The Wave opened in Duck. It may be a toss up, but The Wave's prices are better, and it's only 2 blocks from our cottage.

                  Owens, MP 16.5 on the beach road in Nags head is a favorite of ours, but it's over 20 miles from us.

                  Kill Devil Grill, MP 9 3/4, has great food and service. The front part is a diner that I think is on the historic diner list. Their key lime pie will slay you after a wonderful meal of fresh seafood.

                  Avoid ALL BUFFETS! The worst and dirtiest is Jimmy's, Carolina Buffet and Georges has food you can get anywhere in the country.

                  King crab legs are NOT fresh and NOT local. Wait till you get home to buy them at your local grocer.

                  Carawan's Seafood in front of Wall Mart just east of the Wright Memorial Bridge is our seafood shop of choice even though there's one spittin' distance from us in Duck. You can always trust that the fish is fresh. If you see Katherine or Christina, tell them Linda Baldwin sent you.

                  There's a brand new restaurant in Duck on the left just before you get to the Sanderling called Paper Canoe. It's getting rave reviews, and we're going to try it out weekend after next.

                  The Life Saving Station at the Sanderling is super with wonderful service. It's a little more formal than most restaurants on the OBX, but they won't turn you away. Just wear a nice shirt and some shoes other than flip flops if you have them. It's expensive.

                  We tried Aqua S in Duck a few times. The service, sound view, and bread are to die for, but I'm not particularly impressed with the food. Last time we were there I ordered fois gras, and they served it with peanut butter and jelly!!! Ugh. Last summer we had their gazpacho and it just wasn't right, not fresh tasting, more like canned soup. I've heard someone say that the sauce they had on something was nothing more than canned cream of chicken soup. Maybe we'll give it another try, but we're not ready to experiment right now given their high prices.

                  For groceries, stick with Harris-Teeter.

                  With a little help from some on line friends, I've prepared a mile post guide that should be helpful while you're there: http://chatterboxtoo.com/MilePosts.htm (case sensitive


                  I also have a list of Charter Cable channels:



                  If you find you need the digital/high def channels, email me at linda@thebaldwins.com and I'll send you a link to that list.

                  If you're into bike riding, or interested in other things to do, I have some links at our site:

                  Linda Baldwin (Frank's wife)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fcbaldwin

                    Linda, thank you very much! I will check out your site right now!

                  2. The Red Drum is on the beach road. It's mainly a locals place and not too much to look at, but they have an outstanding blackened grouper sandwich. We usually go there at least twice on our visits to that part of our coast.

                    1. So sorry this reply missed your dates in OBX. Hope the trip was great. What were you favorite places to eat ? Did you make it to Paper Canoe & if so please tell me - how was it...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ToddBryantsMom

                        We had meals at Roadside & The Pearl. Roadside was awesome as usual. Had the tomato pie and pasta with sbrimp, scallops artichokes...excellent. The Pearl was outstanding. Service was awesome. We had frogs legs app, french onion soup Normandy style (cream style rather than broth), Coc-a-vin, and sea bass with buerre blanc, amazing rib eye AuPoive, filet mignon with pinot noir sauce. Their potato side was incredible. The potato was thinly sliced and had a bunch of bacon slice pieces with it. Desserts are all homemade in house and include choc. souffle and homemade ice cream. View outstanding, too! Will definitely be back!

                        1. re: ToddBryantsMom

                          We finally were able to go to Paper Canoe during the week of July 4th (2011). Reservations are only accepted for groups of 6 or more and we had our daughter , son in law, and two grandsons (ages 13 and 12) with us.
                          Paper Canoe is located across from, and just south of the Sanderling Inn in north Duck. The building is totally Outer Banks beachy and right on the sound with a great view from all of the windows. Our waitress was genuinely friendly, knowledgable of the offerings, and gave us great service. All of the food that we ordered was excellent. Catch of the day was Mahi, which son in law and I ordered, and was perfect. Linda had a real specialty of the chef, duck lasagne, and was thoroughly impressed. One grandson had the "big bowl of seafood", consisting of shrimp, scollops, mussels, and topped by a big piece of tuna. He had to fight off the rest of us from reaching over and taking some of it. The other grandson had a steak (I think it was porterhouse). He had a choice of 12 oz or 16oz. He chose 16oz and ate every bit of it. Daughter had a salad. The whole meal was great and everyone agreed. Bottom line, the place is great. We will go back often.