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ISO - Good Eats! Wilmington and surrounding area

Hello all!

I did some Chowhound searches but came up pretty empty handed for anything terribly recent regarding great food spots in the Wilmington area.

My husband and I will be visiting for approx. a week in late June. We are seeking locally owned eateries for several meals that week. We enjoy creative ingredients and pairings, locally produced items and small menus that focus on the season, when possible.

I'd like 1-2 "nice" evenings - the kind of evening where (at least in other cities) you might spend 150+ on dinner, wine, etc.

In addition, any great lunch spots for sandwiches, tacos, etc. I love a good brunch, too. I am not really interested in ethnic - we can get that back home.

If anyone has suggestions, i'd appreciate some updated ideas to choose from.

(PS - The Kitchen and Circa has previously been recommended to me - are these worth a stop?)

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  1. Actually, I think there are several pertinent Wilmington threads with good information for you. In any event, some places I recommend are Crow Hill, Caprice Bistro, Circa 1922, Phun, Catch and PortLand Grill in Wilmington; 22 North in Wrightsville Beach; and Ports of Call and Provision Company in Southport.

    1. Marc's on Market
      South beach grille

      1. Having just been in Wilmington a couple weeks ago, I can endorse Circa 1922. Had a selection of their tapas (which were discounted at the bar), along with one of their small desserts (photos attached ... sorry they aren't better, just took my little point n shoot camera with me). Delicious, beautifully prepared and excellent service.


        1. For 'nice' go to Manna on Princess Street downtown-you will not be disappointed!

          1. I second Circa and Marc's, and would add Deluxe and Brasserie du Soleil for both dinner and lunch/brunch (I believe Deluxe only does brunch). Dixie is also fun for brunch on the casual side, Causeway Cafe for breakfast (upgraded greasy spoon) and the cupcake shop is worth a stop (I can't remember the name. Maybe Coastal Cupcake?)

              1. We used to live in Wilmington and I am completely addicted to Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn. It's a funky hole in the wall kind of place with the world's best overstuffed burritos. I dream of them....fave is the Flaming Amy (hot and spicy). They also have a salsa bar and icy cold beers. Give it a try! I wish I could now!

                1. I, too, will soon be in Wilmington (I've never been), and in addition to the most intriguing recommendations I've seen here (Circa 1922, Port Land Grille, 22 North, and Deluxe), a friend who lives down there has recommended the following:

                  Reel Cafe
                  Pilot House

                  Wrightsville Beach:
                  Bluewater Grille

                  Does anyone know anything or have any particular feelings about these establishments?

                  Finally, does there happen to be anywhere in the area known for exceptional BBQ?

                  To the extent it is pertinent, I will be dining out for 2 lunches, 2 dinners, maybe 1 breakfast, and will be staying at the Hilton Riverside Wilmington.

                  Thank you all for your help. It is greatly appreciated.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: MonMauler

                    I've always thought ofElijah's and Pilot Huse as tourist traps, and have avoided them. Maybe I'm missing something, but there are too many other choices that I know are good to bother with them.

                    I've been to banquet events at Bluewater and Oceanic. The former was decent, the latter was terrible.

                    The best BBQ I know of in Wilmington is Jackson's Big Oak BBQ, but it's decent to good, not outstanding.

                    1. re: carolinadawg

                      Go to Elijah's for the view from the deck. The food is good enough, if not great. I've eaten there several times over the years and never had a bad meal; more often than not, quite the opposite.

                      SWMBO and I had a wonderful dinner at Caprice Bistro the last time we went to the beach (2010, IIRC). The food and service were both excellent.

                    2. re: MonMauler

                      There are much better choices IMHO.

                      Marc's (our fav)
                      Portland grille
                      Caffe Phoenix
                      South beach grille

                      For lunch do not miss dockside on the water. Burgers, blackened fish,
                      And other tasty sandwiches. The beer battered onion rings are wonderful. Sweet potato fries also good.

                      1. re: megabytes

                        Thanks, everyone!

                        Unfortunately, my companions on this trip aren't terribly adventurous when it comes to food, so I'm going to have to exercise a bit of discretion in the dining choices. I think this is going to rule out Marc's, and a number of other suggestions.

                        I am going to try to steer the group to two of Deluxe, Port Land Grille and Circa 1922 for dinner, although I could easily see them leaning towards Boca Bay one of the evenings.

                        For lunch it looks like Dockside is a must, and I can see us choosing between South Beach Grille and Brasserie du Soleil for another lunch.

                        It looks like BBQ is out. I love BBQ and try to get some of that great Carolina BBQ whenever I'm down that way, but I'm not going to sacrifice indulging in fresh, local seafood for decent to good BBQ.

                        If I could possibly pose one more query? I will be staying at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside at 301 N Water St, and I was wondering if there was a decent bar (casual ambience, pleasant/knowledgeable servers) within walking distance that has a good selection of craft/micro-brewed beers on tap, even better if some are local? My research has thus far pointed me towards Front Street Brewery and Cape Fear Wine & Beer, so any thoughts or other suggestions are greatly appreciated. I'm looking for somewhere to post up Saturday/Sunday afternoon.

                        Thanks, again.

                        1. re: MonMauler

                          I love the Summer Kolsch at Front Street. That would be a great choice for you, I think.

                          1. re: MonMauler

                            South Beach Grille is a great choice for lunch - never had a bad meal there.

                      2. The nicest are Marc's and Portland grille. Catch good but less ambiance.
                        Several other good choices in the noisy, fun, bar centric include
                        Brasserie and boca bay.

                        Lunch on the water at dockside is a must. Not so much for dinner.
                        Saltworks is good local lunch and trolley stop is famous for dogs.
                        Downtown is a whole different set of choices.