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Outer Banks, NC

Best Restaurants in the Outer BanksOur favorites include some of this destination's best restaurants—from fine dining to simple fare.

By Inspector 33

Spread along the 113 miles separating the southern tip of the Outer Banks at Ocracoke and the northern end at Corolla are local restaurants specializing in seafood (of course), down-home comfort food, haute cuisine and just about everything in between. You shouldn't have problems finding any of these establishments, since practically all of them are either on or just off SR 12, the destination area's main thoroughfare.

Where to Eat in OBX

Howard's Pub & Raw Bar Restaurant is one of the few food places open year-round in Ocracoke , and that alone guarantees its popularity. The excellent menu, an added bonus, is served on island time, though—so sit back and relax with one of the pub's more than 200 domestic, imported or microbrewed beers while you wait for your meal to be prepared from scratch. Oysters are shucked and burgers weighed and formed to order. The french fries are hand cut and the desserts are homemade. TVs, video games and coloring books will keep the kids entertained with things to do. The lengthy menu includes pizza, sandwiches, burgers, soups and salads as well as heartier fare like fresh seafood, steaks, chicken, ribs and shellfish from the raw bar. For a striking view of the ocean, sound and dunes, sit upstairs on the rooftop deck.

Fine dining in the beach tradition is the order of the day at the casually elegant Back Porch Restaurant & Wine Bar , which offers its patrons a choice of dining either on its screened porch (as its name implies) or indoors. This Ocracoke mainstay not only offers fun things for couples to do but also features an extensive wine list with choices that complement its menu of local seafood, steaks, chicken, duck and nightly specials. Favorites include the signature crab beignet appetizer and entrées such as seared wild salmon and bourbon pecan chicken. The homemade desserts are a delicious way to complete a meal.

Eating Out at a Local Restaurant in the Outer Banks

Owens' Restaurant, said to be the oldest dining establishment on the Outer Banks, has been owned and operated by generations of the founding family since 1946. Fresh local seafood—often broiled, fried or sautéed—joins Angus beef, Maine lobster and pasta dishes on the menu at this Nags Head fixture. House specialties include grilled North Atlantic salmon, margarita sea scallops and Miss O's crabcakes, and the homemade desserts are not to be missed. Within the restaurant's gray-shingled building, which is evocative of a weathered Outer Banks lifesaving station, are interesting things to see, including a collection of maritime artifacts from the U.S. Lifesaving Service as well as other pieces of historic Outer Banks memorabilia.

Fun Things for Couples to Do in the Outer Banks

A favorite with Outer Banks residents for more than 10 years, Mama Kwan's Grill & Tiki Bar is a casual Kill Devil Hills hangout where guests can enjoy an eclectic menu of Asian and island-influenced fare. The restaurant's laid-back atmosphere is enhanced by its funky tropical décor. Guests rave about the jerk chicken soft tacos, teriyaki beef wrap, California-style fish tacos and pad thai. A late-night menu and karaoke fun are featured nightly at the bar in season—offering things to do with friends or a fun date night.

Also in Kill Devil Hills is JK's Restaurant which, since 1984, has offered its patrons only the best aged Western beef and fresh local and regional seafood. Diners also can choose from flavorful chicken, ribs, pasta and veal. Most meats are grilled over mesquite wood coals after being dry-rubbed with the restaurant's secret weapon, JK's #5 Seasoning. Though the dining room is large, it is subdivided into small sections that offer a feeling of privacy and intimacy. An expansive wine list with many affordable selections adds a touch of class to your night out.

Reservations are recommended at Ocean Boulevard Bistro & Martini Bar , particularly in summer, as this American bistro is popular with locals and out-of-towners on vacation. The unassuming building in Kitty Hawk was formerly a hardware store, and its humble exterior belies a casually elegant two-level dining room. Red brick walls and crisp white table linens promote an upscale, yet cozy dining experience. Guests can relax on the patio before dinner and enjoy one of the restaurant's signature martinis or a selection from the award-winning wine list. The menu, which showcases world influences, changes seasonally in order to spotlight only the highest-quality fresh, local ingredients. All selections are presented with a precise and artful flair.

With a dining room overlooking Currituck Sound, it's not difficult to figure out the focus of The Blue Point in Duck. The restaurant creates innovative dishes in a style known as Southern coastal cuisine, which emphasizes local and regional seafood and produce. The bistro's commitment to quality is evident throughout the food place, from the contemporary yet comfortable feel of the decor to the well-trained waitstaff and the creative presentation of each course.

Kimball's Kitchen —an elegant bistro—is part of the Sanderling Resort hotel complex. The intimate, posh dining room affords premium views of brilliant sunsets over Currituck Sound. The menu features French-influenced contemporary American cuisine and changes often to showcase seasonally available ingredients. Diners can watch the talented chefs at work courtesy of the bistro's display kitchen, and an outstanding selection of fine wines is available to enhance this fine dining experience. The dress code for gentlemen indicates that collared shirts are requested.

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Outer Banks, NC

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

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Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks/Kitty Hawk

5353 N Virginia Dare Tr. Kitty Hawk, NC 27949

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TownePlace Suites by Marriott Outer Banks Kill Devil Hills

2028 S Virginia Dare Tr. Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

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Holiday Inn Express Kitty Hawk Outer Banks

3919 N Croatan Hwy. Kitty Hawk, NC 27949

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Comfort Inn Oceanfront South

8031 S Old Oregon Inlet Rd. Nags Head, NC 27959

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