Last Updated on January 8, 2021
Last Updated on January 8, 2021
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There are so many Outer Banks restaurants vying for your attention after arriving at your rental (especially for folks who live in the area), but which ones should you visit? We keep frequenting this part of the coast so we can keep updating this list of amazing places to eat in the Outer Banks.
Keep reading for our mix of local haunts in each town, along with visitors’ favorites, and more.
These Outer Banks places to eat are just a part of your trip. Check out our jam-packed guide to a weekend in the Outer Banks! This guide is part of our series on the Outer Banks and more places to visit in Eastern North Carolina.
Outer Banks Restaurants
This article has been organized geographically, from Outer Banks restaurants in Corolla to Buxton. And for each of these places to eat, we’ve included address info.
But if you’re more of a visual planner or quickly need to find one or more Outer Banks restaurants that we’ve mentioned, scroll down to our map at the bottom of this post.
807 Ocean Trail
There are only two places in on the Outer Banks that we would recommend for bagels, and Lighthouse Bagels is one of them! Perfectly chewy, these bagels rival some of the best delis out of New York! Get a shmear and some lox or take a dozen to go, either way make sure you don’t miss this incredible Outer Banks restaurant!
794 Sunset Blvd G
Serving the northern end of the barrier islands for over twenty years, North Banks dishes up delicious seafood all while preparing everything in house with local produce and ingredients.
From hand-grating their cheeses to preparing all of the sauces and dressings, you know that a meal at North Banks is the freshest possible!
From the homemade hushpuppies to the hand shucked regional oysters- fresh seafood and a comfortable environment is what you’ll find at North Banks!
1209 Duck Rd
Featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Coastal Cravings is the perfect spot to chill on the patio or drive-thru for a seafood pot to take back to your vacation rental.
In fact, Coastal Cravings is the only drive-thru in Duck! Tucked next to a gas station, this unassuming little spot packs giant flavor.
This Outer Banks restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with fresh salads, sandwiches, and seafood on the menu. Breakfast is incredibly affordable for the value and any other time, please don’t skip the seafood trio!
The Roadside Bar & Grill
1193 Duck Rd
Tucked away and in a renovated cedar-shaked house, The Roadside Bar and Grill is one of the best restaurants in Duck. Serving delicious southern fare with fun décor, the ambiance is one of the things that sets The Roadside above the rest. Live jazz in the evenings, plenty of outdoor seating, and a relaxed atmosphere are what keep hungry beach-goers coming back year after year.
Southern Shores Restaurants
Barrier Island Bagels
5549 N Croatan Hwy
Barrier Island Bagels in Southern Shores is without a doubt a labor of love. Run by an incredible couple, you can walk in and smell the waft of bacon and yeast from the morning’s work.
I mark the quality of a bagel shop on whether or not they a) offer egg bagels and b) if they don’t look perfect. Having previously worked with Lighthouse Bagels in Currituck, Allison and Josh are now proofing their own bagels for the people of Dare County.
Bonus: because they have kids, visitors to BIB will find an awesome kid section, for tired parents like us to sit and drink coffee while the little one plays! For these reasons and more, we also included BIB among our favorite breakfast restaurants in North Carolina!
Kitty Hawk Restaurants
I Got Your Crabs
3809 N Croatan Hwy
I Got Your Crabs is fresh, delicious, and definitely busy! It’s also locally owned, family-operated, and one of the best places to get fresh Outer Banks blue crabs in season.
If you’re wanting to dine in or grab a bushel for your beach house, these fishermen are working hard to provide locally caught seafood!
From live, steamed, and fried, there’s no shortage of fresh seafood. Grab a sandwich, seafood plate, or our favorite—heavily seasoned Medium Jimmy. That dozen blue crabs is some of the tastiest seafood you’ll find on the barrier islands!
1701 S Croatan Highway
The best mahi mahi tacos you’ll find in North Carolina! Mama Kwans Tiki Bar and Grill is an Outer Banks restaurant not to be missed. The flavors at Mama Kwans are bursting with Pacific flavor and freshness. Order the tacos (blackened- trust us) and a side of the sesame seaweed salad. Oh! And don’t skip the Hawaiian Iced Coffee!
3708 N Croatan Hwy
With hundreds of beer labels and thousands of wine bottles in-house, it’s almost easy to forget that OBX TRiO in Kitty Hawk serves up really delicious food to soak it all up. To top off the trifecta, you’ll find a great assortment of cheeses from all over the world.
They perfectly pair with a baguette, soppressata, and the rest that makes up Trio’s European Breakfast, which you’ll find on their brunch menu.
The fun continues through dinner, where you can choose from appetizers, large plates, and charcuterie to go along with more of that wonderful cheese.
We also mentioned TRiO and other year-round restaurants in our off-season guide to The Outer Banks!
5218 Virginia Dare Trail
Ocean views, live music, and Polynesian food with a laid back vibe?! Sign us up for a meal at Rundown Cafe. The ocean view deck is the perfect place to sit and soak up the waves while local bands play every night during the summer.
A beautiful mural and tiki decor make the perfect backdrop for soaking up the most of your Outer Banks vacation. Make sure to order their namesake traditional Jamaican soup and the Hawaiian Poke Bowl!
Another added bonus to Rundown Cafe is that they are incredible family and kid-friendly!
Stack’em High Pancakes and So Forth
3801 N Croatan Hwy
Filling tables and bellies since 1985, Stack’em High Pancakes and So Forth is the perfect breakfast spot for your stay in the Outer Banks. It’s served up cafeteria-style, and you grab a tray as you did in elementary school.
Choose grab-and-go items like fruit, muffins, or yogurt and then place your hot food order at the end.
Known for their signature light and fluffy pancakes, Stack’em High Pancakes and So Forth also has scrumptious waffles and traditional eggs and meat sides. You can also take home their Original Pancake/Waffle Mix!
Kill Devil Hills Restaurants
Awful Arthur’s Oyster Bar
2106 N Virginia Dare Trail
Locally sourcing their oysters from the Outer Banks, Awful Arthur’s is the best raw bars and restaurants in the Outer Banks! Everything is steamed to order and you can guarantee a friendly and delicious experience.
If you don’t get the oysters at Awful Arthur’s, you are missing out! Rated as one of the best Oyster Bars in the Nation by Coast Living Magazine, Awful Arthur’s was the first of its kind to open 35 years ago and the quality has stayed the same. Order a peck of raw oysters and leave room for some of their incredible steamed shrimp!
Food Dude’s Kitchen
1216 S Virginia Dare Trail
“Quality Food with Laid Back Vibes” isn’t all you’ll get from Food Dude’s Kitchen! At this small shop in Kill Devil Hills, you’ll also find a Caribbean-inspired menu fused with the delicious local seafood. All their dishes are packed with flavor.
Jerk chicken, blackened fish, and the most mouthwatering nachos you’ll ever taste just a few of their signature menu items. And trust us, you’ll keep coming back.
While you wait for a return trip, you can drool over their menu items and specials on FDK’s Instagram!
1608 N Virginia Dare Trail
A local favorite with bright and vibrant décor, Goombays is a tropical themed restaurant and raw bar that makes eating in the Outer Banks a memorable experience.
From the wall of vintage license plates to the tropical drinks, the cocktail hour is strong! Grab a Goombays Smash or a Kill Devil Smash which features Kill Devil Rum or choose from one the 50 craft beers including many North Carolina favorites!
Oh, and don’t think just because they have amazing cocktails that it isn’t kid-friendly! If the fish tank doesn’t keep your little one occupied than the kid mocktails that come with a little toy will!
Wright Cottage Court in Kill Devil Hills sits right around the corner. After a lovely time there, we decided to include it among our favorite places to stay in North Carolina!
Kill Devil Grill
2008 South Virginia Dare Trail
When we originally posted this guide, we got a little bit of flack for leaving out Kill Devil Grill. It’s a key institution in the OBX food scene and we knew we had to rectify it on our next trip.
This place’s interior takes on the classic American diner, mixed with random vintage décor.
If you’re want to sum up the vibe inside, think punk rock meets the Happy Days. However, the food is what should really draw you there. Featuring fresh seafood, juicy burgers, and award-winning desserts, there was nothing that wasn’t absolutely delicious!
And if you’re looking to visit on a specific day, be sure to check KDG’s Facebook page for their Chalkboard specials!
Nags Head Restaurants
Biscuits N’ Porn
2112 S Croatan Highway
Didn’t you know that biscuits and porn go together!? Just kidding… but in the Outer Banks they do! Biscuits N’ Porn isn’t really a restaurant, but instead a convenience store that features the best drop biscuits in North Carolina. The Stop Quik food joint serves two kinds of biscuits- plain and cheese stuff with any of the meat choices you so desire.
The name though- it’s both a smart marketing ploy and a name that just stuck. Like most convenient stores in the early 2000s, there was a rack of adult magazine somewhere around the deli. The name stuck- but one can also argue that it’s also because it’s some major #foodporn. So if you see someone walking around with a Biscuits N’ Porn t-shirt, give them a high five!
One of the coolest things about Black Pelican is that the building is a 1874 former lifesaving station! In fact, it was from this building that the Wright Brothers sent the telegraph announcing their successful first flight! Right up on the beach (with beach access!), Black Pelican comes highly recommended from locals and frequent OBX vacationers.
Fresh seafood dishes, an extensive menu for landlubbers, and even incredible pizzas- Black Pelican is a restaurant for the whole family. And make sure someone at your table orders the Scallops St. Jacque for the adorable puff pastry fish!
Tale of the Whale
7575 S Virginia Dare Trail
Looking for an upscale option for dinner? Tale of the Whale is the spot to dine overlooking the Roanoke Sound. Located at Whalebone Junction, live music fills this dinner-only steak and seafood restaurant that has been family owned and operated since 1980.
Come hungry as the portions at Tale of the Whale are, well, whale-like! The she-crab soup and grilled fish trio is definitely a top order! But if you’re in the mood for surf and turf, that is also highly recommended!
3016 S Virginia Dare Trail
One of the first restaurants I ate at while in the Outer Banks is one that has stuck with me for more than 10 years. I remember the cool and funky décor, the open bar seating, and above all- the fresh Caribbean flavors. Tortugas’ Lie is probably one of the most recommended Outer Banks restaurants, and trust us when we say we agree!
This Nags Head favorite serves up jerk pork, coconut shrimp, and some of the best blackened fish in the barrier islands!
Tortuga’s Lie is not far from Outer Banks attractions Jennette’s Pier, Wright Brothers National Memorial, and Jockey’s Ridge State Park!
Waverider’s Coffee, Deli, & Pub
3022 S Croatan Hwy
We had to include two on Nags Head, mainly because of the awesome things happening at Waveriders Coffee, Deli, & Pub. Right off Croatan Highway and close to Bonnett Street Beach Access, this is one of the best Outer Banks restaurants. You just have to get in early because Waverider’s gets busy.
Don’t worry, though, because you can join and enjoy their amazing food and drinks. You can also grab a board game and hang out with friends before and after eating.
We just recommend you order either the Waverider (duh!) or the Black Bean Burger, which is one of the best light options you’ll find in the Outer Banks.
Lost Colony Brewery
208 Queen Elizabeth Ave
Dubbed as the “home town restaurant where first dates, prom dates, wedding proposals” and more have taken place for more than 20 years, Lost Colony Brewery is both a craft brewing and café serving delicious food.
Located along the water on a busy corner of Manteo, guests can expect fresh seafood, a wide selection of sandwiches, and elevated appetizers.
Don’t forget to wash it down with a brew! Pouring British and Irish style beers, we recommend getting a flight to taste them all!
Read our North Carolina Brewery guide for more delicious hop producers across the state!
With a large selection of craft beers and a beautiful beer garden, Pangea Tavern is one of the best restaurants in Avon. Overlooking the beach from the popular Koru Village, the food is also something to write home about!
Fresh seafood with an emphasis on locally sourced, Pangea Tavern is above the rest! Make sure to slug down on of their 14 North Carolina craft beers on tap and enjoy your meal!
47359 Highway 12 Osprey Shopping Center
Buxton Munch has been serving up delicious seafood and “goovy” food for over twenty years. So it’s no surprise that this is one of the most recommended Outer Banks restaurants by our readers.
With house rules like “Be nice, Be Happy, Be Patient, Be Mellow,” you know this isn’t a place to expect to quickly pop in and out.
Using high-quality ingredients, Buxton Munch is considered a local secret- but we’re letting the cat out of the bag! Grab some of their delicious blackened rockfish tacos or incredible crab cakes! This gem on Hatteras Island is a must-eat!
Orange Blossom Bakery
Famous for their Apple Uglies, everyone and their mamma drives down to Buxton for Orange Blossom Bakery! The Apply Uglies are huge, ugly, and can feed an army. But man are they literally something to write home about!
If you are still hungry after splitting an Apple Ugly with 4 friends, then Orange Blossom Bakery also has some of the best biscuits on the Outer Banks! Grab some donuts and turnovers and you will have all the baked goods you’ll need for your Outer Banks trip.
Hungry for More?
So are you hungry for more Outer Banks food? Ever been to any of these Outer Banks restaurants? If not, which one would you like to visit first? If you’re still thinking of things to do beyond these awesome restaurants, check our Weekend travel guide.
It includes eats, but also many things you’ll want to do and see during your Outer Banks vacation. Either way, we hope you enjoy your trip to the Outer Banks.
We also look forward to hearing about how your vacation went. As always, feel free to contact us and let us know!