Foodie Favorites in Wrightsville Beach, NC
Dive into Sustainable Seafood and Local Produce
Experience the delectable local flavors where the bounties of the sea and locally sourced produce are beyond the average beach fare. From fresh-to-table meals to one-of-a-kind eats and seafood markets, Wrightsville Beach invites you to savor every bite and moment of a foodie beach vacation.
Fresh to Table
With its unique coastal surroundings and close proximity to Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach’s culinary scene celebrates the flavors of the ocean, the sound and the Intracoastal Waterway, as well as local farms. Dine at a number of restaurants dedicated to fresh-to-table menus.
Situated on the Crystal Pier, Oceanic stands out not only for its breathtaking ocean views but also for its coastal-inspired cuisine. Influenced by the abundance of local fisheries and fishermen, the restaurant offers a menu filled with fresh catches such as tuna, littleneck clams, oysters, flounder and mahi mahi– complemented by produce, poultry and pork sourced from a variety of North Carolina farmers. Start your meal with the Carolina Crab Dip, Sun-Kissed Shrimp or Crispy Parmesan Oysters. For the main course, savor dishes like the Carolina Grit Cake, Crab Stuffed Salmon and more.
EAST Oceanfront Dining, located in the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, prepares its menus with fresh local seafood, produce from the resort's own garden and other ingredients sourced from local purveyors. Dig into specialties like the Blue Crab Cake, Lobster Tail and Clam Linguini – all accompanied by lush gardens and peek-a-boo oceanfront views.
South Beach Grill’s daily specials, which are Southern-inspired and locally sourced from both the land and sea, include items such as the Sea Scallop Maison-boro, Eggplant Shrimp Stack, Low Country Seafood Mac and Cheese and Sweet Potato Crusted Flounder. While freshly caught seafood is the star of the show, the ambiance is equally tasteful, with an indoor dining area that pays homage to the building's art deco origins, as well as a covered, dog-friendly outdoor patio overlooking the scenic Banks Channel.
Cross the drawbridge to reach Ceviche’s and immerse yourself in the vibrant flavors of Panama. This cozy Latin American restaurant houses a bar crafted from reclaimed wood sourced from Panama, a convenient deli counter and a charming outside courtyard. As seen on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” Ceviche’s is known for its namesake dish, ceviche, which “cooks” fish in citrus juices and aromatic spices rather than traditional methods. The restaurant also serves tantalizing options like the Panamanian Paella and Caribbean Fried Oysters, as well as a variety of empanadas.
Indulge in shareable plates, local seafood entrees, gourmet burgers and more at 22 North. Enjoy the signature 22N Burger, which is topped with cheddar, bacon and a drizzle of homemade pub sauce. Or, try the Shrimp and Grits prepared with locally caught shrimp, creamy grits and Cajun cream sauce. On weekends, the restaurant transforms into a nightclub with live DJ and a late-night menu.
Dating back to 1919, Robert's Grocery is the oldest store in Wrightsville Beach. Stocking beach day essentials, cold drinks and more, the shop has remained a favorite among locals and visitors for its delicious homemade pimento cheese and chicken salad.
Nestled next door to Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier, Shark Bar & Kitchen is the perfect spot for lunch, dinner or weekend brunch before hitting the beach. For a taste of fresh catch, order casual dishes like the Baja-Style Shrimp Tacos and Grilled or Blackened Mahi Mahi. For a sweet finale, try a homemade dessert like the Louie’s Cheesecake or Key Lime Pie.
King Neptune, a well-known Wrightsville Beach spot dating back to 1947, serves favorites like Bacon Wrapped Scallops, Flounder Francaise and Grilled Ribeye Steak, as well as an extensive wine and beer list. The cozy restaurant’s Pirate Lounge offers a lively atmosphere with a full bar menu.
A staple seafood market in Wrightsville Beach since 1990, Motts Channel Seafood is the place to go if you’re looking to whip up your own seafood meal while staying in one of the island’s vacation rentals. The knowledgeable staff can help you pick out the perfect cut or piece of seafood and advise on spices, marinades and cooking techniques. They will even pack your carefully selected items in a cooler to ensure safe delivery straight to your vacation rental, or to take back home as a delicious souvenir. Be sure to grab a bottle of Motts’ signature Cocktail Sauce – it's the perfect accompaniment to your seafood feast.
Taste it All
If you want to sample a wide range of local flavors on a single vacation, plan your visit during the annual Taste of Wrightsville Beach in the fall. The festival, which features a variety of island restaurants, craft beers and fine wines, allows visitors to sample delectable local flavors from more than 30 vendors, all in one place.