If you enjoy your time at the beach and seek some excellent Carolina Beach restaurants, you are in luck! After soaking up the sun here with family for countless summers, we have narrowed down a few of the best restaurants in Carolina Beach.
You can’t go wrong with any of these beach eats from seafood restaurants to the boardwalk and even a few restaurants on the water. If you want to explore further, check out our favorite restaurants in Wilmington.
The Best Carolina Beach Restaurants
The Shuckin’ Shack in Carolina Beach is somewhat of an institution in Wilmington. Located right on Lake Park Blvd, you really can’t miss it when you visit Carolina Beach. If you’re in the mood for some fried seafood and oysters in an eclectic spot, pay a visit here.
The food here is responsibly sourced and seriously fun; this motto from Shuckin’ Shack is no joke. It’s a shellfish sanctuary like no other. With a few southeast locations, the first one was in Carolina Beach.
While the crab balls, calamari, and clams may get all the well-deserved attention, we love to go for the good old fashion Lowcountry boil. Order it single, double, or family-sized and partake in this time-honored coastal Carolina tradition: a pot of succulent shrimp, sausage, potato, and corn seasoned with Old Bay and served right out on the table cloth. We’d be remiss not to recommend the lobster roll as well.
Salt Fish Restaurant and Tiki Bar
Salt Fish is an unassuming restaurant in Carolina Beach that has become a local favorite. To let the exterior fool you would be a mistake. Once you step inside, you’ll be blown away by the flavors.
Every dish has a twist on the typical seafood staple. Like the Half Pineapple stuffed with shrimp, fried rice, edamame, and sausage. Or try the tuna poke with fried mahi-mahi bites. You can’t go wrong here!
Also, salt Fish has a fun cocktail menu with fruity cocktails that only feel right at the beach on offer! It is a small space, so we recommend you secure reservations.
Billed as a Soul food restaurant, this Carolina Beach restaurant feels like so much more than that. Across from Lazy Pirate, Soul Flavor offers American comfort food in a relaxed bar setting.
The mission of Soul Flavor is to provide dishes only made from the freshest and most locally sourced ingredients. There are many healthy options on the menu and unique dishes like the Sea Pho! Many people rage about Marybeth’s Eggplant Parmesan and Nana Maria’s Paella.
The interior is welcoming with inviting decor from famous soulful musicians, soft jazz playing in the background.
Michael’s Seafood Restaurant
Michael’s Seafood Restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants in Carolina Beach and one of the best seafood restaurants in the Wilmington area. Especially with locals as they stay open all year round, unlike other Carolina Beach restaurants that are only open in the high season.
Michael’s Seafood offers daily specials with only the freshest catch. Their claim to fame is their award-winning chowder, which is a rich cream with clams, crab meat, scallops, veggies, and potatoes – it’s a must-try! Beyond the chowder, we highly recommend trying the bacon-wrapped scallops and crab cake sandwich. On nights and weekends in the summer, it’s wise to make a reservation as you’ll likely be waiting a while without one.
Don’t have a car? Micheals offers free pick-up and drop-off service to island guests! To make an appointment, call 910-458-7761.
SeaWitch Cafe & Tiki Bar
The SeaWitch Cafe & Tiki Bar is one of the most happening places on a summer night in Carolina Beach. It’s been around ever since I can remember; I even had a job interview there in college! They host weekly entertainment with local musicians and artists. Combine this with an incredible menu, and you’ll have a fantastic time at the beach!
SeaWitch has a great brunch menu with Crab Benedict and Southwest Omelette items. While the dinner menu items include delicious Ahi Tuna Nachos and Mahi Tacos. Make sure to pay attention to their weekly special; they often have great drink deals from Monday to Friday!
Are you craving a hot dog in between surfing and walking along the boardwalk? Try this colorful beach shack at one of the best beaches in NC! Grab a “Nauti Dog,” a beer, and enjoy some shade on the patio. It’s right next to the boardwalk!
If you seek a cheap and quick option at Carolina Beach, Nauti Dog may be for you. Here you can try any of their signature dogs – like the Cali Dog – a turkey dog, cucumbers, tomato, red onion, and guacamole. Or my personal favorite, the Jamaican Me Nauti.
Do you love hot dogs, but someone else at your party doesn’t? Don’t worry! Nauti Dog offers sandwiches, wings, and even “deconstructed dogs.”
Nollie’s Taco Joint
After a fun day at the Wilmington beaches, a taco can typically make anyone even happier. Nollie’s Taco Joint is one of the best Carolina Beach restaurants if you are in the mood for delicious tacos and burritos. We always eat here when we visit Carolina Beach, as Nollie’s is a laid-back joint perfect for a casual lunch or dinner.
Established in 2017, Nollies has quickly become every local’s favorite eatery. Head here for So-Cal-inspired tacos, salads, quesadillas, and nachos! They have vegan and vegetarian options as well as all-day breakfast.
My only qualm with Nollie’s is that they are often pretty slow, so you could be waiting a while for your tacos. Food thing, they have a great patio with ample beer options!
Hang Ten Grill
Hang Ten Grill is one of the most laid-back Carolina Beach restaurants you can find! If you are driving from Carolina Beach to Kure Beach on Lake Park Blvd, you can’t miss it on your right-hand side.
It’s a great spot to stop for lunch or dinner. Come wearing your beach attire if you haven’t had a chance to change at your Carolina Beach pad it’s that kind of place. The atmosphere is fun and friendly, with a wide selection of menu items.
You can’t go wrong here, from seafood to burgers (or seafood burgers)! Hang Ten Grill has a lot of space and can easily hold larger groups. We often come here with the family for a delicious shrimp burger and fried okra!
Kate’s Pancake House
Start your morning off with some quiet time at Carolina Beach State Park and then enjoy an amazing breakfast here! Kate’s Pancake House is another institution at Carolina Beach. You can’t visit this area and not have at least one breakfast meal here. After many years in business, it’s safe to say that Kate’s has their breakfast pancake down pat.
You can get quality menu items here like very berry pancakes and corned beef hash for a very affordable price. While it’s not customary to make reservations, we do recommend getting in there early, especially on a Sunday. This place fills up!
While Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar has good food, it’s made a spot for itself on the best restaurants in Carolina Beach because of its location.
The Tiki Bar stands on the remnants of the Center Pier, which was destroyed in 1996 by Hurricane Fran. Now it’s a great bar in Carolina Beach that offers the best views of the Atlantic. They offers festive dishes like the Shrimp roll or classic fish tacos. Head out towards the pier at sunset for an ice-cold mojito.
Although it’s one of the best Carolina Beach restaurants on the water, it’s only open during the spring, summer, and fall. If you’re visiting during these times, having a drink here is one of the best things to do in Carolina Beach.
Britt’s Donut Shop
While Britt’s Donuts isn’t exactly a Carolina Beach restaurant, I know that I have to mention it, so I don’t get a slew of online hate!
Everyone who lives in Wilmington and around the coast raves about Britt’s Donuts on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. I’ve never really been much of a donut fanatic, but I can confirm that Britt’s Donuts are delicious and will have even the most grumpy of downers happy.
Britt’s has perfected the glazed donut, and besides coffee and milk, it is the only thing they sell. Arrive on the weekend in the summertime, and you’ll likely be waiting in line to try one. Make sure to check their hours, as they often have limited hours. They also only accept cash!
TRAVEL AROUND THE AREA
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- 11 Best Southport Restaurants To Try (NC)
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Plan For Your Trip to the South!
- We like to use VRBO when searching for vacation apartment rentals and Booking.com when searching for hotels.
- See our favorite cooler for the road!
- Get Around: We suggest renting a car for traveling the Carolinas. Check Prices on RentalCars.com
- Our Favorite Travel Shoes: Our answer to this question is always Allbirds.
- Check out our favorite North Carolina Souvenir!
- Fly For Free: Turn your spending into airline miles and points with travel credit cards (that’s what we do!). See our favorite travel credit cards.