The BEST Emerald Isle Restaurants to Try (NC)

Emerald Isle is one of the most beautiful places to visit in all of North Carolina. Americans flock here from around the country to enjoy the blue water, sandy beaches, and epic water activities.

There are plenty of fantastic things to do in Emerald Isle, and that includes enjoying all the delicious Emerald Isle restaurants. From fresh seafood to Mexican, here are all the best restaurants in Emerald Isle to enjoy!

The Best Emerald Isle Restaurants

Rucker John’s Restaurant

Rucker John’s Restaurant
photo via @ Rucker John’s Restaurant / Best Emerald Isle Restaurants
  • Cuisine: American
  • Location: 8700 Emerald Drive. (GPS)
  • Cost: Most main courses cost between $13.99 and $16.99.
  • Website: Link

At Rucker John’s, you’ll find traditional Southern dishes with a modern twist made with only the freshest, highest-quality ingredients available. On the menu, you’ll find many delicious items, including salads, seafood dishes, sandwiches, wraps, pasta dishes, and gluten-free options.

Some of the most popular items include the shrimp and grits, shrimp beurre blanc, the Carolina burger, and hickory seared tuna. The best part is you’ll enjoy your meal in an upbeat, friendly atmosphere. From time to time, events take place at the restaurant including cocktail hours and live music. 


Upscale Caribsea
photo via @ Caribsea / Emerald Isle NC Restaurants
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Location: 8921 Crew Drive. (GPS)
  • Cost: Most main courses cost between $14.00 and $58.00.
  • Website: Link

At Caribsea, you’ll enjoy an incredible meal made with top-quality local ingredients while overlooking the water. In the evening, one of the best things to do is enjoy a delicious signature cocktail at the lovely rooftop bar after or before dining at this fantastic Emerald Isle restaurant.

The fresh seafood is the biggest draw and includes dishes such as ceviche, crab cakes, and Charleston Shrimp & Rice Grits. However, the rest of the menu looks mighty appealing too, and includes items such as filet mignon and linguine bolognese. 

The Growler Bar Emerald Isle

The Growler Bar Emerald Isle
photo via @ The Growler Bar Emerald Isle / Best Restaurants Emerald Isle
  • Cuisine: Taproom, Craft Beer
  • Location: 200 Mallard Drive. (GPS)
  • Cost: Prices vary.
  • Website: Link

One of the best Emerald Isle restaurants is actually a bar! If sampling local and regional craft beers is something you like to do when visiting a new place, the place to be in Emerald Isle is at the Growler Bar. 

A wide variety of craft brews are on tap, but you can also enjoy wine. Outdoor seating is available, and live music is hosted at the bar on some days during the week.

The Trading Post

The Trading Post
photo via @ The Trading Post / Restaurants on Emerald Isle NC
  • Cuisine: Southern Restaurant
  • Location: 8302 Emerald Drive. (GPS)
  • Cost: Prices vary.
  • Website: Link

The classic Southern dishes served at The Trading Post are made using fresh, local ingredients whenever possible.  Hushpuppies, fried green tomatoes, fried pickles, corn-on-the-cob, and waffles are just some of the down-home favorites on the menu. Still, you’ll also enjoy familiar items such as crab legs, burgers, and a variety of seafood dishes. 

Enjoy your meal in the backyard lounge area where you’ll have access to fireplaces, and you’ll enjoy some local live music. 

Lazzara’s Pizza and Subs

Lazzara's Pizza and Subs
  • Cuisine: Pizza
  • Location: 9104 Coast Guard Rd. (GPS)
  • Cost: $5.99 to $33.00
  • Website: Link

While pizza is the most popular dish on the menu at Lazzara’s Pizza and Subs, you’ll find a variety of quality, classic Italian dishes made with the freshest, highest-quality ingredients available.

Subs, gourmet pizza, calzones, salads, and pasta dishes are served in a relaxing dining area and you can easily build your own pizza and choose from a wide variety of ingredients. 

Flipperz Family Grill

Flipperz Family Grill
photo via @ Flipperz Family Grill / Best Emerald Isle Restaurants
  • Cuisine: Seafoods,Steaks and Gourmet
  • Location: 311 Mangrove Drive. (GPS)
  • Cost: Most main dishes cost between $9.99 and $26.99.
  • Website: Link

Flippers Family Grill is known for its lively, island-vibe atmosphere and extensive menu.  Although the seafood dishes are the most popular, you’ll also find burgers, pasta dishes, hot dogs, sandwiches, steaks, and salads on the menu. Live music is hosted at the restaurant every week.

Kathryn’s Bistro & Martini Bar

 Kathryn's Bistro & Martini Bar
  • Cuisine: American, Seafood and Steaks
  • Location: 8002 Emerald Drive. (GPS)
  • Cost: Prices vary.
  • Website: Link

Said to be Emerald Isle’s top fine dining establishment, Kathryn’s Bistro & Martini Bar has an impressive menu featuring a wide variety of expertly-crafted dishes made with the best, local ingredients available. It’s considered one of the best Emerald Isle seafood restaurants.

Soups, salads, and favorites such as Bavette steak, sea scallops, and cold water lobster tail are just some of the amazing options available.  Kathryn’s also serves more than 30 delicious martini’s!

Shark’s Den Sports Bar & Grill

Shark's Den Sports Bar & Grill
photo via @ Shark’s Den Sports Bar & Grill / Emerald Isle Restaurants
  • Cuisine: Gourmet Burgers
  • Location: 8700 Emerald Drive. (GPS)
  • Cost: Most main dishes cost between $14.99 and $19.99.
  • Website: Link

Modern, beachy, laid-back. That’s how Shark’s Den Sports Bar and Grill can be described. The eatery is mostly known for its gourmet burgers, wings, and an assortment of craft beers on tap.

Sandwiches, seafood dishes, and other delicious options, such as chicken tenders, are also served.  Televisions are set up so you can catch the big game you’re wanting to see and trivia nights are held at the bar weekly. 

Fish Hut Grill

Fish Hut Grill
photo via @ Fish Hut Grill / Best Emerald Isle Restaurants
  • Cuisine: American
  • Location: 301 Mangrove Drive. (GPS)
  • Cost: Prices vary.
  • Website: Link

Fresh seafood and classic American dishes are what you’ll find at the Fish Hut Grill.  Fish tacos, dry rub wings, fried whole fish, sandwiches, burgers and salads are some of the items you’ll find on the menu. 

Take a seat at the bar, a tropical table or the surfboard counter. Dogs can join diners at the outdoor dining area as long as they are kept on a leash. 


We hope this guide to the best Emerald Isle restaurants helps you choose where to eat. For more travel around the region, see below:

Plan For Your Trip to the South!

  • Get Around: We suggest renting a car for traveling the Carolinas. Check Prices on
  • Our Favorite Travel Shoes: Our answer to this question is always Allbirds.
About Natasha

Natasha moved to North Carolina for college years ago (but she's not trying to age herself here). Her days were spent reading a book on the beach and enjoying a cold glass of sweet tea in between classes at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Upon graduation, she met her partner, Cameron, and they traveled the world together crossing 85 countries and seven continents. After, many years of international travel they settled down a bit and launched Lost in the Carolinas to share their experiences about and travel tips on South Carolina and North Carolina.

Leave a Comment