Find Authentic Coastal Cuisine with Waterfront Dining in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands

Waterfront Dining

No beach vacation is complete without enjoying fresh seafood with a view. Throughout North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, waterfront restaurants are serving up local fare in scenic settings. The area offers waterfront dining set along the Atlantic, the Cape Fear River, the Intracoastal Waterway and more, making for memorable meals for any getaway to the Brunswick Islands. Top it off with a visit to “The Seafood Capital of the World” in Calabash, and you’re in for a treat! Take your pick of the below waterfront dining options in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands.

Calabash seafoodThe Calabash seafood phenomenon began in the town of the same name, now home to several restaurants along the Calabash River. The folks at Waterfront Seafood Shack own their fishing and shrimp boats, and the fresh catches go straight to the seafood shack, ready to be prepared and eaten all in the same day. Visitors to this dining locale find themselves in the vacation mood with tiki-style décor and outdoor picnic tables for a true coastal dining experience by the water. Diners looking for scenic river views and an authentic Calabash seafood dining experience will find the perfect setting at Captain John’s Seafood House, Captain Nance’s Seafood or Dockside Seafood House Restaurant.

Moving along the coast, Twin Lakes by the Sea in Sunset Beach boasts panoramic views of the Intracoastal Waterway. Take in the beautiful sunsets while you dine on fried, sautéed, grilled, broiled or blackened seafood. Chef Alysa Watkins creates Calabash-style seafood with southern flare for guests to enjoy by the Intracoastal Waterway.

Waterfront dining view

On nearby Ocean Isle Beach, The Isles Restaurant & Tiki Bar sits along the ocean, serving fresh seafood in a family-friendly, fine dining atmosphere. Enjoy a summer evening at The Isles’ oceanfront tiki bar. Over on the Intracoastal Waterway, Sharky’s Restaurant is Ocean Isle’s oldest restaurant and features 200 feet of boat docking for easy water access. The menu includes a variety of seafood, along with unique twists on other casual dining favorites. Next door on the Waterway, the Ocean Isle Fish Company Restaurant features a tiki bar on its upper deck where diners can enjoy expansive views (including boats bringing fresh seafood right to the dock) while feasting on coastal favorites. Just opened in April, Jinks Creek Waterfront Grille overlooks the water with spectacular sunset views each evening. Menu items highlight fresh, local seafood, and guests can also get on island time at the restaurant’s raw oyster and tiki bars. On the mainland, The View at Brick Landing Plantation offers Intracoastal Waterway views from multiple patios and the spacious dining room. The restaurant’s seasonal menu is full of fresh seafood options and traditional dishes.

Several restaurants sit along the Intracoastal Waterway in Holden Beach. Captain Pete’s Seafood Restaurant features Chef Matt Karas’ creative culinary takes with an elevated view of the Waterway, including outdoor seating. Famous for their incredible shrimp burgers, Provision Company is a laidback, open-air dining destination providing views of the boats passing along the Waterway.

Provision Company Holden Beach

Back on the ocean, Island Way in Oak Island is a fine dining establishment with 18 large windows for guests to enjoy the coastal views. Perfecting steaks and seafood, the restaurant is ideal for celebrating a special occasion. Find even more panoramic views of the ocean at The Flying Fish Café, known for their innovative menu of local ingredients with “West Coast style.” On the other side of the island, the Fish House Restaurant offers fresh seafood and Intracoastal Waterway views. Just over the bridge to the mainland, The Dead End Saloon Fish Factory Grille is located at the South Harbour Marina on the Intracoastal Waterway. Bring the whole family to enjoy the dog-friendly patio, and the restaurant’s “fun” (rather than “fine”) dining and casual atmosphere. Also on the Marina, Joseph’s Italian Bistro serves award-winning cuisine with fantastic views of the Waterway. Try the fresh seafood options with the restaurant’s authentic Italian flavors.

waterfront dining at Fishy FishyHead over to Southport for views of the Cape Fear River as it meets the Atlantic Ocean. The Historic Yacht Basin is a picturesque waterside area with a host of eateries featuring scenic water views, many accessible by both land and water. The well-known Fishy Fishy Café has true vacation vibes with colorful décor, fun cocktails and delicious seafood small plates and entrees. Be sure to catch a sunset from the outdoor deck! The menu at Yacht Basin Eatery includes homemade comfort food and North Carolina beers, all to be savored overlooking the stunning waterfront views. Next door, The Provision Company of Southport is a no-frills seafood shack offering quality seafood with unobstructed water views. Sit on the covered patio for a delicious meal, and feel the waterside breeze.

The Frying Pan offers yet another option for admiring a breathtaking waterfront view with a spectacular meal, including variations of classic seafood dishes with southern twists. Oliver’s on the Cape Fear, originally a ships chandler dating back to the 1700s, is now a fine dining restaurant with large windows facing the water, ideal for watching boats make their way up or down the river from the Atlantic. Sip on a seasonal cocktail at the restaurant’s outdoor patio just steps from the water.

The Inlet View Bar and GrillToward the mainland, The Grillin’ Crab sits along the river on Shallotte’s Main Street. The restaurant’s covered waterfront deck is positioned perfectly for sunset views over the Shallotte River. Featuring Southern Coastal Fare, the menu showcases fresh seafood, along with prime cut steaks, as well as casual lunchtime options. On the Intracoastal Waterway and Shallotte River, the Inlet View Bar & Grill has been family owned and operated for nearly 40 years. Diners can savor fresh seafood with the shrimp on the menu coming straight from the family’s boat.

Half the fun of vacation is discovering new dining spots to taste culinary creations and local flavors of the area. To explore all the dining options in North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, visit http://www.ncbrunswick.com/fun_and_adventure/dining.

Welcome to Calabash: “Seafood Capital of the World”

Seafood Capital

“Good Night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are…”

 

Fans of classic television and radio will remember star Jimmy Durante and this infamous phrase, but not many know its connection to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands.

Legend has it that while visiting Calabash, Durante was feeling a bit under the weather. A local restaurateur offered to fix him something to make him feel better. When she did, he told her he’d make her famous, and from that day forward, he closed each and every show with this tribute!

Fast forward to today and Mr. Durante would be right at home –  still delighted to find delectable shrimp, clams, fish and oysters coated in a light batter, quickly fried to lock in freshness and served up in very generous portions!  This is dining Calabash-style, and the reason the town has earned the title of “Seafood Capital of the World!”  Restaurants from coast to coast have tried to replicate the style, but there is nothing like the experience of enjoying it in its home town of Calabash.

Calabash seafood

As you drive down to the docks that line the Calabash River, restaurant after restaurant beckons – family-owned and each holding their secret recipes tight! Enjoy a bucket of oysters, platter of Calabash shrimp, crab, flounder and even a full menu for land lubbers, if you must.

Calabash waterfront

Check out this list of dining options that any foodie or seafood aficionado will appreciate:

Beck’s Restaurant

Calabash Seafood Hut

Capt. John’s Seafood House

Capt. Nance Seafood

Dockside Seafood House

Ella’s of Calabash

The Boundary House

Waterfront Seafood Shack Market and Eatery

Insider Tips:

After a filling meal of local Calabash seafood, a stroll along the docks is the perfect way to walk off those generous portions and take in the ambiance of a working waterfront.

Try a scoop (or two) of Calabash Creamery’s Cow-a-Bash Crunch ice cream named one of “50 irresistible ice cream flavors” by USA Today.

If you prefer cooking up your own seafood, you can buy freshly caught fish and shrimp right from the docks along Calabash’s waterfront. Or you can catch your own by going out on one of the charters that leave from Calabash.