Dive Into Sustainable Seafood and Local Produce
Wrightsville Beach is no stranger to fresh seafood, sustainably produced vegetables and local fruits. From fresh-to-table meals to unique eats and seafood markets, Wrightsville Beach has plenty of options to inspire booking a foodie beach vacation here.
Fresh to Table
Thanks to Wrightsville Beach’s unique coastal surroundings – including the ocean, sound, Intracoastal Waterway and close proximity to Wilmington – a number of restaurants feature fresh-to-table menus created from fish, meats, fruits and veggies found on or around the island.
Known for its spectacular ocean views, the Oceanic is one of the few restaurants in Wrightsville Beach situated on the Atlantic Ocean. The restaurant’s coastal-inspired cuisine is heavily influenced by access to local fisheries and fishermen and rivaled only by its panoramic views of the ocean. Visitors to the Oceanic will find a menu filled with local seafood selections including tuna, littleneck clams, oysters, flounder and Mahi Mahi, which the chef often complements with produce, poultry and pork sourced from a variety of North Carolina farmers. Start your meal with Sun-Kissed Shrimp, Crispy Oysters or Lobster and Shrimp Sliders. For the main dish, seafood selections include Seared Scallops, Carolina Crab Cakes and Oceanic Seafood Linguine, or go for the seasonal fish.
Located in the historic Blockade Runner Beach Resort, EAST Oceanfront Dining’s award-winning chef Jessica Cabo – who appeared on Season 1 of “Hell’s Kitchen” – prepares her menus with fresh local seafood, produce from the hotel’s own garden and other items sourced from local purveyors. Dig into Locally Harvested Clams, Bacon and Collard Dip, Ahi Tuna Tartare or Pomodoro Pappardelle, 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 Makers Mark Salad, Seafood Napoleon, Crab and Seafood Nachos and Sweet Potato Crusted Flounder. Seafood is fresh caught each day and served in a remodeled interior that pays homage to the building's art deco origins, or visitors can sit outside on the covered, dog-friendly patio overlooking scenic Banks Channel.
Indulge in the flavors of Panama just over the drawbridge at Ceviche’s, a cozy Latin American restaurant that houses a bar made of reclaimed wood straight from Panama, a deli counter for easy ordering and a charming outside courtyard. Featured on Guy Fieri’s television show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” Ceviche’s is known for the signature dish it is named after – ceviche – which “cooks” fish by placing it in citrus juices and other spices rather than traditional cooking methods. The restaurant also features Tuna Poke Wraps, Jerk Camarones and Tres Queso Empanada, Caribbean Fried Oysters and Panamanian Paella.
Swing by Shark Bar & Kitchen for a taste of fresh catch of the day, including Pan-Seared Mahi Mahi, Crispy Soft Shell Crabs or Baja-Style Shrimp Tacos. Next door to Johnnie Mercers Pier, Shark Bar & Kitchen is the perfect spot for lunch, dinner or weekend brunch before hitting the beach. Don’t forget to save room for one of the homemade desserts like Louie’s Cheesecake and Strawberry Jam or the Abita Root Beer Float.
A staple seafood market in Wrightsville Beach since 1990, Motts Channel Seafood is the place to go if you’re looking to test your skills in the kitchen and whip up your own seafood meal while staying in one of the island’s vacation beach cottage rentals. The knowledgeable staff can help you pick out the perfect cut or piece of seafood, as well as 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 with you when you leave the island. Don’t forget to grab a bottle of Motts’ signature Cocktail Sauce, too.
Taste it All
Can’t choose just one restaurant or style of food to indulge in during your trip? Plan your visit to Wrightsville Beach in spring to experience the annual Taste of Wrightsville Beach, which features a variety of island restaurants, craft beers and fine wines. The festival allows visitors to sample local cuisine from more than 30 restaurants, all in one place.
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Sip on craft cocktails waterside or in lush gardens or taste local brews in beach bars.
Experience island walking tours, dinner on an uninhabited island and scenic sunset cruises.
From iconic staples to waterfront eats, find foodie options beyond your average beach fare.