Atlantic Beach, NC recs?
On a trip to Atlantic beach last year I tried Circa 81 in Morehead City. Every dish was a winner and they had a good selection of beer and cocktails. I still remember the pork "taco" featuring pork belly in an Asian style bun, quite delicious. The mussels were a treat too. Te menu was not necessarily heavy on seafood but all ingredients were high quality.
By and large my wife and I enjoyed the restaurant scene in the Atlantic Beach area. First the highlights:
1. Island Grille. We ate there twice. First on a Tuesday, which offered a two-for-one special. I had scallops and shrimp with linguini in a light, tomato parmesan sauce while my wife had swordfish. We returned the following Saturday and I had shrimp and grits while she had the scallops. Both meals were excellent. Be sure to make a reservation, especially on Monday and Tuesday, the restaurant fills up quick.
2. Blue Moon Bistro, Beaufort. This was a lovely restaurant. Once again I order shrimp, with a "perlo" ham risotto. My wife order a caesar salad with shrimp. The atmoshere, service just added to a wonderful dining experience.
3. Bistro by Sea, Morehead City. We both started with the she-crab soup, which was out of this world. My wife and I both ordered a locally caught bay snapper stuffed with crab meat. Delicious.
4. Aqua, Beaufort. Another winner. It was pirate weekend in Beaufort so the staff were decked out in full regalia. I had an appetizer of shrimp of grits and an entree of short rib pappardelle, while my wife had the bouillabaisse. Fantastic meal.
5. Amos Mosquitos. Loud, crowded, so-so food. Reminded me of a TGI Fridays. Okay as a last resort.
6. Crab's Claw. Wonderful view, lousy food. My wife and I booked a table on the patio, overlooking the beach and ocean. Watched a beautiful sunset, and then we tucked into our food. Awful. The less said the better.
Recently outside renovated Beach Tavern (lost it's "dive" charm after the renovation) has great pizza.
Drive a little way down to Salter Path and eat at the Crab Shack. Second the Big Oak Drive In recommendation.
Amos Mosquitos is still quite good; worth the wait. McClurdy's is good as well.
The Watermark used to be very good, but now isn't worth the money nor the time. Neither is Channel Marker...
4 Corners (or whatever it's called now) is a great breakfast place at the main intersection as you enter AB from Morehead City. The shiny diner looking place on the corner - years ago it was called Tommy's Pancake House.
Find Capt. Wilis' for some fresh seafood to cook at your place if you have the capacity to do it there.
If you are a pizza fan then head to Luigi's in the Belk shopping center in Morehead. These guys are the real deal. Owners are Italians that had a pizzeria in Brooklyn. Most authentic NY style pizza I have had in NC. Their cheese steaks are also incredible.
I never found four corners to be worth it. The waits are too long and I can fry an egg as well as they do. The restaurant in the Sands condominiums is better quality IMO.
Crab Shack has great hushpuppies and a basket of steamed crabs is always a treat. Very basic menu.
Willis' Seafood Market is absolutely top notch. They have whole fish that you can have filleted assuring you the freshest of the catch.
Island Grill Monday/ Tuesday is a must but remember reservations well in advance. Outstanding stuffed fillet mignon and the shrimp and scallop Roma is quite tasty.
For lunch the Crabs Claw right on the beach has the best grilled Mani or tuna sandwiches but ask for their homemade tartar sauce, the best I've ever had. The rest of the food is average but don't miss the fish sandwich.
A friend of mine has a place in Atlantic Beach. It seems like everytime she is there she and my sister go to the Island Grille.
The menu looks very good - reviews are good too. Monday and Tuesday they have a special buy 1 entree get one free on a special menu.
You might want to check out Amos Mosquitos also. I've been but it's been a long time since I've been. My above mentioned friend also goes here - more casual, a bit lower priced. Can get very busy in the summer.
Also, if out and about driving around - in Salter path there is Big Oak Drive Inn for great shrimp burgers. In Morehead City there is El's Drive Inn for also great shrimp burgers. A must stop for me!