Skip to Content

20+ Must Try Restaurants In Wilmington, NC

2021 Update: Since people are definitely wondering about outdoor dining, we updated this 20+ Must Try Restaurants In Wilmington, NC to note if restaurants do or don’t have outdoor seating.

If you’re planning a trip to the area, check out all of our Wilmington, NC posts.

There are a ton of top restaurants in Wilmington, NC. Find out which are a MUST TRY in this post from Wilmington blogger www.drugstoredivas.net.

If you’re coming to Wilmington, NC, the best meal you’re gonna find is in my kitchen. But, unfortunately for you, I don’t let people just drop in if I don’t know them. If you’re coming to the area, you’re in luck. There are so many restaurants to try in Wilmington, NC.

This list is just our favorite restaurants. They’re in no particular order either, so don’t feel like you have to work your way down the list. You can just jump around.

And this is not a complete list of restaurants in Wilmington, NC either. There are a ton that aren’t listed here.

I did have a few requirements for the list.

The first was that the restaurant couldn’t be a national chain. If you can get it anywhere, it’s not on here.

The second was that the restaurant had to be open for over a year. A lot of restaurants come and go in this area, and I don’t want to constantly update this list. So if it had the staying power of a year, and hasn’t changed hands or cuisine in the first 12 months, it could make the cut.

And finally, it had to be a restaurant we’ve been to at least twice. There are a ton of choices here in Wilmington, and we don’t usually go back to somewhere unless we really love it.

20+ Restaurants To Try In Wilmington, NC

Image

Front Street Brewery

Address: 9 N Front St.

Cuisine: Bar food

Front Street Brewery was the first brewery in the area (there are over a dozen now). You can grab a beer at the bar, including the $1.99 mug of the day, and then enjoy one of the many appetizers or entrees on the menu.

What should you order at Front Street Brewery? Pulled Chicken Nachos

Does Front Street Brewery have outdoor seating? Yes. Front Street Brewery has a few tables set outside the restaurant.

There are a ton of top restaurants in Wilmington, NC. Find out which are a MUST TRY in this post from Wilmington blogger www.drugstoredivas.net.

True Blue Butcher & Table

Address: 1125 Military Cutoff Rd A

Cuisine: American steakhouse

True Blue Butcher & Table is one of the best restaurants we’ve been too. The burrata appetizer special was so incredible it was added to the menu full time. Grab it then check the menu for an entree, but also listen to the steak specials too.

What should you order at True Blue Butcher & Table? The New York Wagyu Beef special

Does True Blue Butcher & Table have outdoor seating? Yes. True Blue Butcher & Table has a few tables set on the side of the restaurant.

The Copper Penny

Address: 109 Chestnut St.

Cuisine: Bar food

If you like pub food, The Copper Penny is perfect. It is an Eagles bar, though, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to show up on a Sunday in Cowboys gear.

What should you order at The Copper Penny? French Onion soup

Does The Copper Penny have outdoor seating? Yes, but it’s very limited.

The Basics

Address: 319 N Front St

Cuisine: Southern

Our favorite brunch is at The Basics. It can get crowded, especially if you head out for Sunday brunch, but the wait to get to the large portions is worth it.

What should you order at The Basics? Crab Cake Benedict

Does The Basics have outdoor seating? Yes. The Basics has a couple tables outside under the covering of the rest of The Cotton Exchange.

Hops Supply Co.

Address: 5400 Oleander Dr

Cuisine: Bar food

Gastropubs with good food are a hot commodity right now, and Hops Supply Co. does it right. With a ton of taps and delicious food options, you’ll keep going back (but I keep going back for the same meal because I’m obsessed).

What should you order at Hops Supply Co.? Chicken ‘N Brie Orchard Sandwich

Does Hops Supply Co. have outdoor seating? Yes. And a lot of it.

There are a ton of top restaurants in Wilmington, NC. Find out which are a MUST TRY in this post from Wilmington blogger www.drugstoredivas.net.

Michaelangelos Pizza

Address: 228 Eastwood Rd #4-A

Cuisine: Pizza and Italian

There’s a lot of pizza in Wilmington, but the one we will drive out of our way for is Michaelangelos Pizza. The prices are great, the pizza is great, and the 20-plus-inch Godfather pie comes in the largest pizza box you’ve ever seen.

What should you order at Michaelangelos Pizza? The Godfather pie

Does Michaelangelos Pizza have outdoor seating? There’s not as far as we know.

Jax 5th Avenue Deli & Ale House

Address: 5046 New Centre Dr

Cuisine: Sandwiches

Pete loves a good sandwich, and you can get one with Boars Head meats at Jax 5th Avenue Deli & Ale House. The best part, though, is when you sit down, you get an appetizer of sliced pickles.

What should you order at Jax 5th Avenue Deli & Ale House? The Club Jax

Does Jax 5th Avenue Deli & Ale House have outdoor seating? Not that we’ve ever noticed.

Tarantelli’s

Address: 102 S 2nd St

Cuisine: Italian

Tarantelli’s is our favorite Italian restaurant in Wilmington. The first time we went, the menu actually made Pete cry because it reminded him so much of his mom.

What should you order at Tarantelli’s? Spaghetti Alle Vongole (get it with linguine)

Does Tarantelli’s have outdoor seating? Yes, there is a lot of outdoor seating.

JohnnyLukes KitchenBar

Address: 5500 Market St

Cuisine: American

The unassuming JohnnyLukes KitchenBar is the perfect date night restaurant. The atmosphere is relaxed, the food is delicious, and it’s enough off the beaten path that you don’t have to worry about the noise of downtown interrupting your conversation.

What should you order at JohnnyLukes KitchenBar? Brie In Pastry

Does JohnnyLukes KitchenBar have outdoor seating? Yes. JohnnyLukes has a ton of outdoor seating.

The George on the Riverwalk

Address: 128 S Water St

Cuisine: Seafood

Any restaurant on the water in downtown Wilmington is going to have a great backdrop, but you want to go to one with great food too. And, if you want one with a little great history, The George on the Riverwalk is where Pete and I went on our first date night after getting engaged (and started planning our wedding).

What should you order at The George on the Riverwalk? George’s Shrimp And Grits

Does The George on the Riverwalk have outdoor seating? Yes. And the seats are right on the water, so they’re the best seats.

Block Taco is one of the restaurants you'll fall in love with in Wilmington, NC. Find others at www.drugstoredivas.net.

Block Taco

Address: 120 Greenfield St #B

Cuisine: Mexican

Block Taco is the little hidden gem that Wilmington needed. Calling it a restaurant is a stretch because it’s literally a taco window, a hole in a wall — literally — in Satellite Bar and Lounge. Don’t overlook it. The tacos are incredible and honestly, the best tacos we’ve had in Wilmington.

What should you order at Block Taco? Brussel Sprout Taco

Does Block Taco have outdoor seating? There’s a long table with a few chairs outside, but there’s not much seating at Block Taco. However, Satellite Bar and Lounge has a huge outdoor area and you can take your tacos there.

Ezzells Breakfast House

Address: 2115 Carolina Beach Rd

Cuisine: Southern

Family-style Southern breakfast doesn’t get better than at Ezzells Breakfast House. Sure, it’s sort of weird to dine at a table with complete strangers, but it’s such a fun way to chit chat with others and get out of your comfort zone.

What should you order at Ezzells Breakfast House? Biscuits and Gravy

Does Ezzells Breakfast House have outdoor seating? No.

The Original Salt Works

Address: 6301 Oleander Dr

Cuisine: American

The Original Salt Works is only open for breakfast and lunch and only accepts cash, so you do kind of have to plan your trip in advance. So plan to eat at the 30+ year old establishment, then head across the street and enjoy the New Hanover Arboretum. 

What should you order at The Original Salt Works? Lima Bean Soup (trust us!)

Does The Original Salt Works have outdoor seating? No.

There are a ton of top restaurants in Wilmington, NC. Find out which are a MUST TRY in this post from Wilmington blogger www.drugstoredivas.net.

The Little Dipper

Address: 138 S Front St

Cuisine: Fondue/American

If you want to do fondue, but don’t want to go to a chain, The Little Dipper is perfect. You can go for dinner or dessert — or to get engaged (or, hey, maybe that was just us!).

What should you order at The Little Dipper? Fondue (of course!)

Does The Little Dipper have outdoor seating? Yes. There’s patio dining behind The Little Dipper with lots of tables and umbrellas.

Cousins Italian Deli

Address: 7 N 3rd St

Cuisine: Italian

Cousins Italian Deli is open for lunch, but what we really recommend is making reservations for the Italian style dinner on Friday and Saturday nights. The five-course menu is served family style (although, if you come with me, I’ll probably eat your arancini from the hot appetizer course when you turn your back).

What should you order at Cousins Italian Deli? The Italian style dinner

Does Cousins Italian Deli have outdoor seating? Yes. There are two tables outside the front of Cousins Italian Deli.

Bridge Tender

Address: 1414 Airlie Rd

Cuisine: Seafood

For our first Valentine’s Day in Wilmington, we went to Bridge Tender and were incredibly impressed. It’s right on the water and the fish is so fresh, you felt like they pulled it right out of the ocean in front of you.

What should you order at Bridge Tender? Lump Crab Cake

Does Bridge Tender have outdoor seating? Yes. Bridge Tender has a lot of seating, right on the water, so the outside seats are really the best ones.

Circa 1922

Address: 8 N Front St

Cuisine: Tapas

If you love tapas, you need to go to Circa 1922 for the $5 bar menu (where you sit in the bar area and eat all the tapas — but at a discount!). We always order more than we think we can eat — and always end up finishing the whole order.

What should you order at Circa 1922? Charcuterie (choose 5 meats and/or cheeses)

Does Circa 1922 have outdoor seating? In general, no. But Circa 1922 did add outdoor seating when restaurants were able to open back up last year.

There are a ton of top restaurants in Wilmington, NC. Find out which are a MUST TRY in this post from Wilmington blogger www.drugstoredivas.net.

Boca Bay

Address: 2025 Eastwood Rd

Cuisine: Seafood

Boca Bay is known for its seafood and oysters, but you can bring your land-loving friends with you and there are still options for them as well. Just leave them at home on Sushi Tuesdays.

What should you order at Boca Bay? Paella

Does Boca Bay have outdoor seating? Yes.

Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn

Address: 4002 Oleander Dr

Cuisine: Tex-Mex

You’ve never had a burrito until you’ve had one from Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn. They’re huge, filled with basically anything, and the Wasabi Avocado salsa should be poured in a pint glass and served with a straw.

What should you order at Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn? The aforementioned salsa, natch 

Does Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn have outdoor seating? There’s a lot of outdoor seating on the side of the building.

Manna

Address: 123 Princess St

Cuisine: American

If you have something special to celebrate, we recommend Manna because, despite good food, it is really pricey for Wilmington. But, if you can catch Sunday’s “Beggars Can’t Be Choosers” menu when you can get a chef’s choice entrée for a couple bucks, go!

Side note: We have gone for Beggars Can’t Be Choosers before, but that was a long time ago. It was on hiatus, and then came back, so I can’t promise it will still be a thing when you go. Call 910.763.5252 beforehand to check.

What should you order at Manna? Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

Does Manna have outdoor seating? No (as far as we know).

There are a ton of top restaurants in Wilmington, NC. Find out which are a MUST TRY in this post from Wilmington blogger www.drugstoredivas.net.

Winnie’s Tavern

Address: 1895 Burnett Blvd

Cuisine: Burgers

I’ll be honest and say that this is one place we’ve only been to once, but only because it’s out of our way not because the food isn’t good. Winnie’s Tavern has been around since 1962 and is (arguably) the best burger you’ll get in Wilmington.

What should you order at Winnie’s Tavern? Trailer Park Burger

Does Winnie’s Tavern have outdoor seating? Yes. There’s a huge, fenced in, outdoor area with picnic tables and umbrellas.

The Harp

Address: 1423 S 3rd St

Cuisine: Irish

Authentic Irish food in a restaurant owned by authentic Irish people is what you’ll find at The Harp. Plus, if you’re around on St. Patrick’s Day, you can kick off your day with Kegs and Eggs there.

What should you order at The Harp? Shepherd’s Pie 

Does The Harp have outdoor seating? Yes, it does.

Our Crepes & More

Address: 3810 Oleander Dr

Cuisine: French crepes

If you’ve only thought about crepes in a sweet form, you need to try Our Crepes & More for its savory crepes. You can choose a sweet or savory crepe off the menu or create your own if you’re feeling creative.

What should you order at Our Crepes & More? Mont-Blanc sweet crepe

Does Our Crepes & More have outdoor seating? Yes. It has a few outdoor tables on the side of the building.

There are a ton of top restaurants in Wilmington, NC. Find out which are a MUST TRY in this post from Wilmington blogger www.drugstoredivas.net.

The Fork ‘N’ Cork

Address: 122 Market St

Cuisine: American

The Fork ‘N’ Cork is a fantastic bar pub. There hasn’t been a single bite of food we’ve had that wasn’t incredible or a single guest we’ve brought that hasn’t been insanely impressed.

What should you order at The Fork ‘N’ Cork? Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Does The Fork ‘N’ Cork have outdoor seating? Yes, but only a couple tables.

Dram Yard is one of the restaurants you'll fall in love with in Wilmington, NC. Find others at www.drugstoredivas.net.

Dram Yard

Address: 101 S 2nd St.

Cuisine: American

Dram Yard is a new addition to this list because we were waiting for it to pass the one-year mark before we could add it. But from the first bite at Dram Yard, we were in love. The food is small plates served family style, and everything is so tasty and unique. This type of plating can add up in cost, but it’s so worth it.

What should you order at Dram Yard? The menu changes very, very often, but if you see the Char Siu Cauliflower, order it

Does Dram Yard have outdoor seating? Kind of. The restaurant itself doesn’t technically have outdoor seating, but Gazebo Bar — the courtyard portion of the restaurant — has a huge outdoor space. The menu for Gazebo Bar is different than Dram Yard’s menu.

Honorable Mention:

There are a ton of top restaurants in Wilmington, NC. Find out which are a MUST TRY in this post from Wilmington blogger www.drugstoredivas.net.

Dock Street Oyster Bar

Address: Moving

Cuisine: Seafood

Dock Street Oyster Bar had been voted best oysters for two decades running according to the sign above the door. Hopefully you tried them because due to a situation with the landlord, Dock Street Oyster Bar had to close its doors in October 2020.

According to Facebook, Dock Street Oyster Bar is planning on re-opening in a new location.

What should you order at Dock Street Oyster Bar? Dock Street Steamer Platter (with oysters, snow crab, shrimp, mussels, clams, corn, and potatoes — so bring a friend!)

Does Dock Street Oyster Bar have outdoor seating? Right now it has no seating.

Planning a trip to Wilmington, NC?

If you’re planning a trip to Wilmington, NC to check out one of these restaurants, these posts will help you make your trip complete:

Drink In Wilmington:

Enjoy Wilmington:

Which of these must-try restaurants in Wilmington, NC have you been to? Let us know about your experience in the comments.

Ellen

Saturday 25th of January 2020

Hi, thrilled to find this blog. We live in Southport loved all the tips on restaurants. Have you gone to Cafe Bistro on market. Its a must!

drugstore diva lisa

Sunday 26th of January 2020

If you mean Caprice Bistro, the French restaurant with the sofa bar upstairs, we have. The muscles there are SO good. I'll add it to the list =]