Published by Carl Hedinger. Last Updated on October 26, 2023.
Our bellies have done quite a bit of research for you, so we hope you’re ready for this list of the best Carolina Beach restaurants. With so many fun things to do in this wonderful coastal town, it’s easy to work up an appetite.
Thankfully, the restauranteurs of Carolina Beach are here for you, with buttery biscuits, famous donuts, upscale seafood dinners, and more. Join us on a culinary adventure as this guide explores all the places to eat in North Carolina’s most popular beach town.
The Best Carolina Beach Restaurants
You can visually plan your North Carolina travel adventures with this map we’ve created. Otherwise, keep reading about these alphabetically-organized Carolina Beach restaurants. Here’s a list of each restaurant in case you want to jump ahead:
- Britts Donuts
- Butts n Such
- Carolina Smokehouse
- Celtic Creamery
- Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn
- Fork n Cork
- Gulfstream Restaurant
- Hang Ten Grill
- Havana’s Restaurant
- Ida Thai Cuisine
- Island Burgers and Bites
- Kate’s Pancake House
- Michael’s Seafood
- Nollie’s Taco Joint
- Nauti Dog
- The Peach Cobbler Factory
- Pop’s Diner
- Salt Fish Restaurant and Tiki Bar
- Seawitch Cafe & Tiki Bar
- Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar
- The Southerly
- The Spot Bar & Kitchen
- Wake N Bake Donuts
Read More: The NC Tripping North Carolina Travel Map
11 Carolina Beach Ave N, Carolina Beach
Some of the best Carolina Beach restaurants focus on the most important meal of the day—dessert!
Britts Donuts is the first that many people turn to, especially on the Boardwalk. When it’s open during the busy season (typically April to October), this is THE place to go for quality donuts.
Britts has been a staple of the community since 1939 and has been owned by Bobby Nivens and his wife for over forty years.
If you’re visiting Carolina Beach in the on-season, then you must try one of their homemade glazed donuts. We promise they’re worth it!
Read More: Amazing Beaches Near Wilmington
Butts n Such
802 Lake Park Blvd S, Carolina Beach
An inviting atmosphere and staff paired with delicious casual dining make Butts n Such one of the best local places to eat in Carolina Beach. The staff has consistently been described as very friendly and welcoming while the food is just as highly rated.
The extensive menu includes burgers, onion rings, hot dogs, and more, making it the perfect family dinner spot.
9 Pavilion Ave S, Carolina Beach
Carolina Smokehouse serves BBQ plates, sandwiches, shrimp baskets, and more.l Regardless of what you order, each dish comes with a homemade tomato-based sauce.
While in Carolina Beach, grab a delicious and smoky dinner topped with one of their daily desserts.
201 N Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach
After a delectable dinner at any of the other Carolina Beach restaurants, enjoy some Irish-inspired ice cream from Celtic Creamery. Blending Irish and American flavors and desires, Celtic Creamery hand spins their ice cream with fresh and authentic ingredients.
Try flavors like Celtic Coffee, Rather Good Banana Pud, Irish Butter Pecan, and From the Sea and Bee for a unique dessert.
Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn
1140-A N Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach
Flaming Amy’s has been serving hot, delicious, and affordable dinners for over two decades.
Stop by for a Thai-inspired burrito, a Philly Hot, a Grilled Flounder, or even a Po’boy–the endless possibilities here!
Fork n Cork
102 Cape Fear Blvd, Carolina Beach
Fork n Cork serves some of the best mac and cheese to go with an impressive range of dishes. From mac-and-cheese to duck burgers to flatbreads, Fork n Cork’s rotating menu ensures something for everyone!
The restaurant also prides itself on having the freshest meat that hasn’t been processed for a better and healthier taste.
Dine on their outside patio and enjoy the beach and boardwalk views. Pair your meal with one of their 14 taps and specialty cocktails.
78 Myrtle Ave, Carolina Beach
Gulfstream Restaurant has some of the best food in Carolina Beach and has been family owned since its opening over 40 years ago in 1978.
They are only open for breakfast and lunch (6:00 am – 2:00 pm) and specialize in classic American breakfast, brunch, sandwiches, and seafood.
If you are looking for a cheap place to eat in downtown Carolina Beach, definitely check out this local favorite!
Hang Ten Grill
308 Lake Park Blvd S, Carolina Beach
While looking for where to eat in Carolina Beach, you’ll quickly find that Hang Ten Grill is one of the best places to grab lunch or dinner for a reasonable fare.
They serve lunch and dinner every day and seasonally offer breakfast on the weekends (check the website before visiting for breakfast).
You will find an array of delicious food at Hang Ten Grill, from burgers and sandwiches to seafood, tacos, appetizers, and signature cocktails.
1 N Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach
In a century-old beach cottage, Havana’s Restaurant serves the finest seafood in a casual yet refined environment.
Havana’s extensive menu includes fish, shrimp, and more for lunch and dinner. Become a Carolina Beach native for a day by joining the regulars for Havana’s Sunday brunch every Sunday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Ida Thai Cuisine
304 N Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach
Owners Jackie and Rachanee (Rach) are a husband-wife team who run a great Thai restaurant in Carolina Beach.
The menu at Ida Thai Cuisine is filled with perennial favorites like Pad Thai, Pad See Ew, and Pineapple Fried Rice. Lunch and dinner are offered every day they’re open, except for Sundays.
We think you should go all-in with their Roasted Duck, especially if there’s a special occasion being celebrated. Of course, you can’t go wrong with any of the choices here.
Read More: International Restaurants in Durham
Island Burgers and Bites
111 Carl Winner Dr, Carolina Beach
Island Burgers and Bites may be located in a gas station, but don’t let that fool you–it’s some of the best burgers around. Each burger is made to order with whatever toppings or layers you desire.
Paired with their handspun milkshakes and Hershey ice cream, these burgers will be the brightest point of your day! There’s also a little patio in the back of the parking lot for friends and families to sit and enjoy.
Kate’s Pancake House
102 Lake Park Blvd S, Carolina Beach
Start your day with breakfast at Kate’s Pancake House! It’s easily one of the best Carolina beach restaurants, especially for the first meal of the day.
As the name suggests, their pancake selection is quite vast, offering pigs-n-blanket pancakes, sweet potato pancakes, banana nut, s’mores, and more flavors!
For more variety, try their eggs benedict, omelets, biscuits, and waffles. Kate’s is the perfect place to kick off a day of fun and sun!
Read More: Breakfast in North Carolina
1206 N Lake Park Blvd A, Carolina Beach
Michael’s Seafood opened in 1998 by renowned husband-and-wife team Michael and Shelly McGowan. Michael passed away in 2012 after a battle with Cystic Fibrosis, but the determination and passion he poured into his restaurant are still visible.
Michael’s Seafood is an integral part of the community and continues to honor Michael’s memory to this day.
At Michael’s, choose from an assortment of seafood dishes, pasta, famous chowder, and specialty cocktails. They also offer special deals and theme nights regularly, so be sure to check when you arrive!
Nollie’s Taco Joint
3 Pelican Ln, Carolina Beach
If you’re craving tacos or other Mexican favorites, then Nollie’s Taco Joint is the place for you. This spot has become Pleasure Island’s go-to for all things taco, burrito, and quesadilla.
Nollie’s rocks a grunge vibe, with skateboards, bright colors, and flashy décor dotting the walls. It’s a dining experience you won’t want to miss out on!
5 Cape Fear Blvd, Carolina Beach
Located on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, Nauti Dog is a relatively newer eatery. Snack on gourmet hot dogs right along the beach at this clean and classy beachside takeout window.
Nauti Dog has something for a large variety of people, as they offer gluten-free and vegan options.
Don’t sleep on their onion rings as a side, as they might be the best we’ve eaten in North Carolina.
The Peach Cobbler Factory
1010 Lake Park Blvd S, Carolina Beach
Since its inception in 2013, Peach Cobbler Factory is a franchise that provides premium desserts of premium quality. The Factory puts its heart and soul into every product made and sold.
The cobblers come in all flavors, from strawberry peach to apple walnut, and their cinnamon rolls and puddings are just as delicious. You can’t visit Carolina Beach without trying a peach cobbler!
109 N Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach
A retro and ‘50s-inspired hidden gem is the best diner of the Carolina Beach boardwalk restaurants, Pop’s Diner serves the best diner food around. Enjoy an affordable meal of Philly Cheesesteak, funnel cake fries, and warm brownie sundaes.
Afterward, go for a relaxing stroll along the Boardwalk and take in the salty and cool breeze.
Salt Fish Restaurant and Tiki Bar
718 N Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach
A hotspot for both locals and tourists, Salt Fish Restaurant promises a night of quality seafood paired with signature Tiki cocktails.
Their dinner menu is inspired by dishes from the Caribbean and Polynesia, and their beverage selection is quite extensive. Salt Fish is a relatively hidden Carolina Beach gem and the perfect place for an exquisite meal.
227 Carolina Beach Ave, Carolina Beach
This tiki bar doubles as one of the best Carolina beach seafood restaurants. It’s not uncommon to find live music or other performances on the outdoor patio.
The menu has an array of food and drink specials. Most of the dishes are seafood based, such as the Ahi Tuna Nachos, Carolina Cost Ship Bruchetta, crab dip, and seafood scampi, but you can also order traditional burgers and sandwiches here if you aren’t the biggest fan of seafood.
SeaWitch Cafe is also one of the few affordable Carolina Beach restaurants on the water, so you should try to visit for sunset at least once while visiting Carolina Beach!
Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar
6 N Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach
In 2007, the first Shuckin’ Shack opened along the Carolina coast. The owners, two beach locals, cultivated a space for families and friends to gather for good food, drinks, and vibes.
Since then, the franchise has opened locations throughout the East Coast, including South Carolina, Florida, Maryland, Texas, and Illinois.
As the name suggests, Shuckin’ Shack’s signature dish is oysters, but they also serve shellfish, shrimp, and sandwiches.
Shuckin’ Shack is also committed to sustainability, so they have implemented a Skip the Straw initiative, and their food is sourced from sustainable fisheries.
206 N Lake Park Blvd Unit D, Carolina Beach
Open Thursday to Sunday, the Southerly serves some of the finest scratch biscuits, pies, and confections. You should try a traditional buttermilk biscuit, a funky catfish biscuit, or a spicy BLT biscuit with sriracha.
The Southerly pairs unique flavors together for a one-of-a-kind eating experience.
The Spot Bar & Kitchen
1006 Lake Park Blvd S, Carolina Beach
The Spot Bar & Kitchen offers a dining experience where you’ll be treated like family. Their American dishes switch out daily, with Wednesdays boasting a $3-off wing special and Sunday brunches until late afternoon.
You can find their menu and daily specials on their Facebook Page.
313 Canal Dr, Carolina Beach
Overlooking the dockside boats, Stoked is one of the best Carolina Beach restaurants for fresh seafood. Start with their irresistible lump crab dip, followed by some blackened Mahi, and with plenty of room left for their key lime pie.
Stoked also has live music on Fridays and Saturdays for a good time!
Wake N Bake Donuts
1401 N Lake Park Blvd #46, Carolina Beach
We’ve mentioned a few donut places but think you should also consider the last but not least of the best Carolina Beach restaurants for them. In fact, we think gourmet donuts from Wake N Bake Donuts are the perfect way to start your day.
Try funky flavors like Samoa donuts, Purple Rain, Fruit-filled, Strawberry Cheesecake, and more! The donuts come individually or in packs of dozen or more.
Wake N Bake also has cinnamon rolls, fritters, coffee, and other breakfast items. Pick up your donut every morning until 2:00 pm from Monday to Wednesday or Thursday to Sunday.
Ready to Enjoy These Carolina Beach Restaurants?
We love grabbing food in Carolina Beach, no matter the time of day.
If you know the area, what are your favorite Carolina Beach restaurants? Are there any that we need to add to this list?
You can kindly let us know in the comments section, send us an email, or even share your favorite places to eat in the area in our North Carolina Travel Facebook Group.
Before you do, though, here are some more travel guides to the Carolina Beach area, and its surroundings!