The Outer Banks are a stunning chain of barrier islands of the idyllic North Carolina coast. They are known as a charming romantic getaway destination in NC full of quaint beachside buildings, pristine wilderness, expansive shores, and rich nautical history. We are so happy to relay that we can all now add one more delicious reason to visit these scenic seaside towns – their culinary prowess. Read on as we’re breaking down the best Outer Banks restaurants!
As you may imagine, the banks are home to some of the freshest seafood you’ll find anywhere. Straight from the ocean, there’s an abundance of shellfish being cooked to perfection among these esteemed establishments. There are also surprising flavors being incorporated into cuisines here from all parts of the globe. From classic Carolina BBQ and boils to authentic Indian and Caribbean creations, the diversity of the dining delights never ceases to amaze. These are the best Outer Banks restaurants.
Delicious Outer Banks Restaurants to Try
Awful Arthur’s Oyster Bar
Kill Devil Hills
This Kill Devil Hills institution has long been a local legend in the Outer Banks and it’s one of the best restaurants in Outer Banks. They are serving up fresh oysters straight from the sea in every manner imaginable. Watch them slide off the steamers sizzling. Slurp them down straight after seeing them be shucked. Savor them seasoned and fried to the perfect crisp. The copper topped bar is a sight for seafood sore eyes to behold. The oceanfront views are unparalleled.
What better way to enjoy a spectacular meal than with a side of salty sea breeze? The space has a cozy nautical feel that captures the coastal Carolina spirit. The menu provides a whole host of options from pastas to poultry to various kinds of fish. The world is your oyster at Awful Arthur’s.
This little gem of in the small OBX town of Corolla packs big flavors on the plate in an intimate setting. Everything is farm-to-table, ensuring a truly fresh and local dining experience. They create a range of new American fares that never cease to surprise and delight. Some of the beloved dishes here are the Pork Shanks with a house made hot sauce, blue cheese slaw, sweet pickles, and pork rinds or the Crispy Catfish with the coveted comeback sauce, sure to convince you to do just that.
Each plate feels carefully concocted in this quaint Outer Banks eatery. A delicious departure from the usual seafood suspects, Urban Kitchen is serving up some of the most refined dishes in the area, securing its place among the best Outer Banks restaurants.
The Blue Point
One of the best Outer Banks seafood restaurants. A laidback local haunt in Duck, the Blue Point is home to locally sourced seafood and high-end Southern fares. Nestled on the banks of the picturesque sound, it features an open kitchen and retro decor. The menu changes seasonally, ensuring the best of fresh ingredients. Southern hospitality is in abundance in this sweet setting.
Sweeping views overlooking the sparkling waters are the perfect companion to any feast. We highly recommend dining during the scenic sunset. You can also pull up an Adirondack at the backBAR for a cold drink and some live tunes in the warm Carolina sunshine. The bread is all freshly baked, and the food is straight from local and sustainable fishers. The Jumbo Lump Crabcakes and She Crab Soup from scratch are favorites among neighbors and visitors alike.
High Cotton BBQ
This unassuming Kitty Hawk hotspot is serving up some of the best barbecue in the banks. It’s a no-frills-down home joint where the flavors of the meat speak for themselves, and loudly. Owned and operated by a Carolina connoisseur, the offerings are country classics and cooked to perfection.
In the traditional Eastern North Carolina style, consistent temperatures and hours smoking over hickory coals create the stuff of Southern dreams. It comes with all the favorite homemade fixings – chopped slaw, baked beans, and hush puppies. Whether you’re in the mood for pulled pork, fried chicken, or beef brisket, High Cotton has your back (and your BBQ sauce).
The Paper Canoe
The Outer Bank bistro sits right on the sound shores of Duck. They’re known for the breathtaking vista on their iconic waterfront location, but the gourmet grub comes in close second. The chalkboard is constantly showing off some new and exciting dishes that you may have never expected and subsequently won’t be able to live without.
Many of the ingredients are grown right in their own backyard and picked fresh daily – you can’t get any more local or fresh than that. The dishes are developed to be simple, unique, and inspired by Southern fare as well as the more immediate surroundings. The plates are pleasing to both the palette and the eyes, as the kitchen here has a passion for presentation.
The ambiance is warm and inviting with wood covered walls soaked in sun from all the natural light streaming in. There is an extensive wine list and craft beer on tap to pair with your pick. The Crab Stuffed Shrimp and Skillet Seared Scallops are sensational.
Family owned and operated for generations, Miller’s is a quintessential Nags Head haven for seafood and steak. Chock full of rustic charm, the environment reflects the easy-going coastal character of the banks. The views of the Roanoke Sound offer plenty of entertainment to accompany your meal in the form of windsurfers, kite-boarders, and if you’re lucky a glowing sunset.
The fresh North Carolina Flounder and the BBQ Pork Poutine are delectable dishes, especially when paired with a cold beer or the Miller’s famous bloody Mary. With a wooden dock stretching through the waters right out front, you can even arrive by boat. Miller’s has surf and turfed its way right into all of our hearts as one of the best Outer Banks restaurants.
Outer Banks Boil Company
Outer Banks Boil Company is home to the best pot on the beach. They offer an exciting way to share a meal and a refreshing departure from the typical dining experience. A boil is a time-honored coastal tradition that everyone can now partake in together. It includes a fresh assortment of jumbo shrimp, andouille sausage, red bliss potatoes, corn on the cob, and sweet Vidalia onions all seasoned to perfection. You can even customize your boil with extras such as crab legs, mussels, clams, and lobster tails.
The beloved boil is then ceremoniously dumped out right on the tablecloth for everyone to forage and enjoy. These signature-style seafood sessions can be served up right in the comfort of your (rental) home. You can pick up a pot to go or have them come to you for a full-service affair.
Tucked among the dunes of the Outer Banks, this mouthwatering(hole) lies in Nags Head and is cooking up Caribbean culinary creations. It’s known as a hotspot for surfers for it’s chilled out vibes and fresh far-out fares. They’ve got it all at Tortugas – steamed shellfish, inventive sandwiches, burritos, burgers, and Jamacian jerk-style meats.
The flavors are bright and tropical, much like the quaint and OBX beachy establishment itself. The Cajun Conch Fritters and Creole Crawdaddies are surely the best way to start out your feast here. The backyard boasts a sand volleyball court if you want to work up an appetite prior to your plates, or watch some competitive teams battle it out as you dine. Tortugas’ Lie is a fun and festive eatery for all to enjoy.
Kill Devil Hills
This vibrant eatery is a celebration of Pacific Rim flavors and fares in Kill Devil Hills. There’s just something about a Tiki Bar that gets everyone smiling. Joy is served up in the form of delicious and different craft cocktails. New creations are constantly being invented, but the Bahama Mama is a rum drinker’s dream and the Bushwacker makes it hard to only order one of something so delicious.
Plus, they’re often served in a kitschy souvenir glass that you get to keep, a sweet gift from mama to you. The Mahi Mahi Tacos have developed a cult following along with the Big Daddy Tuna Plate and Thai Money Bags. If you want to go all out, order the Garbage Plate, which advertises a little bit of everything. This is the place to let loose and live a little, promising fun times, friendly faces, and fantastic food. Treat yourself at Mama Kwans.
Kill Devil Grill
Kill Devil Hills
This retro chic diner makes traditional American offerings with an upscale twist. A favorite among anyone who frequents the banks, their pristine reputation precedes them. The cheese steak eggrolls are a showstopper here. If curiosity alone isn’t enough to convince you to make the order, just ask around town to hear rave reviews. Everything is made from scratch in-house. The chicken wings are marinated for days and then smoked, roasted, and grilled with a special sauce. There is always a daily special on deck that is sure to warm your heart and fill your belly.
The desserts are to die for if you have a hankering for something sweet and the full bar is always open. The selection of Carolina craft beer is extensive and pairs well with these homey gourmet fares. Kill Devil Grill is a foodie favorite and scrumptious secret gem of these sandy shores.
Home of the best beach burger in the banks, Art’s features classic American foods in a funky seaside setting. A popular neighborhood hangout in Kitty Hawk for decades, a meal here has become a tradition in the area. They may very well be the last local little hole in the wall joint around.
The atmosphere is friendly and familiar in a perfectly casual way. The deck bar boasts sweeping views of the sparkling sea and often hosts live local bands. The fresh hand-cut fries that accompany each order are worth a visit alone. The Baja Burger comes topped with swiss cheese, grilled red onion, spinach, pineapple, and a balsamic reduction for the win. Go by for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Art’s will be waiting with open arms.
An easygoing eatery, this coastal cantina cooks up Mexican cuisine with a seaside flare. You can dine al fresco to appreciate the phenomenal views of the nearby lighthouse. The ambience is very relaxing, a great way to unwind after a day of fun in the sun. Everything is fresh and handmade in-house. The Baja Fish Burrito and Ahi Tuna Tacos are some of the favorite fares.
There are vegetarian and vegan options here as well, lovingly deemed as Rabbit Food on the menu. The credo here is, be kind and unwind, and it feels easy to do with a mouthwatering margarita in hand and loaded nachos on your plate. It’s well loved by locals and anyone who happens to stumble upon this cozy cantina in Corolla.
La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita is home to classic Italian fares made with love. Using family recipes handed down for generations, everything is homemade and hand tossed all from scratch. The deck faces the sound for a stunning sight surrounded by flora and warm Carolina sunshine. A whole slew of seafood pastas are sure to please your palate, try the Seafood Diablo or Clams Bianca.
Fresh baked bread starts off every meal. The gourmet pizzas are baked in the stone oven on site, and they can be ordered with a wide range of fresh and traditional toppings. The wine list is extensive and curated carefully. Be sure to leave the gun and take the cannoli on the way out. La Dolce is home to the best Italian cuisine in the banks.
Masala Bay Grill
Masala Bay brings all the tastes of India right to the Outer Banks. The authentic fares are a first for the area and we must say, it really is something to celebrate. Its waterfront location on the banks of the Currituck Sound adds a special ambiance to this culinary stand out of Point Harbor. To create their famous and eponymous sauce they use spices from all four corners of India, though the fares themselves are in the style of the North.
Each dish is thoughtfully created with its own distinctive well-balanced and complex flavors. The dishes are rich, the vegetables are fresh, and the meat is tender. The Lamb Biryani and the Chicken Tikka Masala are mind blowing culinary masterpieces. The atmosphere feels simple and comfortable yet refined, allowing the view and the food to be the focus. If you’re looking for exotic tastes in an exceptional setting, it’s Masala Bay all the way.