top of page

The best restaurants in Wilmington, NC and nearby areas

Updated: Oct 5

One thing no one can argue, Wilmington has GREAT food. From James Beard nominated chefs to casual dive bar food, we have options for everyone. This blog will cover the best restaurants in Wilmington, NC downtown, seafood restaurants in Wilmington, NC, casual spots, romantic date night spots, and more. Exploring our food scene is one of my favorite things to do in Wilmington, NC.


I'm organizing this article by location: downtown Wilmington, central Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach area, and surrounding areas. Keep reading for more details, photos, and locations or you can screenshot the list below.


Downtown Wilmington

Central Wilmington

Wrightsville Beach & nearby

Surrounding Areas

The Half

Genki

Origins

Island Burgers

Seabird

The Keg and Egg

Pipeline Poke

Soul Flavor

Savorez

Cape Fear Seafood

Ceviches

Nauti Dog

On Thyme

Savor

PT's

Salt Fish & Tiki Bar

Three10

Jimbo's

Wheelz Pizza

Island Bagels

Indochine

True Blue Butcher and Table

Dram Yard

True Blue Butcher and Barrel

Hell's Kitchen

Croftons Pretzels




Downtown Wilmington



The Half


Anyone who knows me, is not the least bit surprised that this is the first restaurant I have to mention. The Half is a casual (but trendy) sandwich shop that cannot be missed and is a hidden gem. The actual location is actually a little off of downtown located at 510 1/2 Red Cross St, Wilmington, NC 28401. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu, but my go to order is a chipped ham, pickle chips, and one of their locally brewed beers on draft. Gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian options are available!

Turkey sandwich cut in half showing the insides at a restaurant in wilmington, nc


Seabird


Seabird is a must visit for any of my foodie friends who want a nicer dinner option. The chef here does amazing work with seafood and seasonal ingredients while honoring Wilmington, NC. You will not be disappointed by this James Beard nominated Chef! On a budget? Enjoy $1 oysters on Mondays from 5-6 pm in the bar area. Located at 1 S Front St, Wilmington, NC 28401 in the heart of downtown!

raw oysters on a blue plate at seabird restaurant in wilmington, nc


Savorez


Another hidden gem you do NOT want to skip. I highly recommend going for lunch or brunch. Their brunch was voted as the best brunch in ALL of North Carolina! Brunch is only served on Sundays from 10 am- 2 pm and there is typically a line a soon as it opens. Worth it! Located at 402 Chestnut St #4026, Wilmington, NC 28401.

plate filled with black beans, pesto eggs, pork belly, and drizzled with a spicy sauce.


On Thyme


This is a newer foodie spot located right off of downtown on Castle st and is a perfect lunch spot. This is some of the BEST food in town! Wings, po boys, egg rolls, it's a cannot miss but is easily overlooked since it is not directly downtown. Located at 918 Castle St, Wilmington, NC 28401.

seafood egg rolls stuffed with shrimp, crab, and lobster with a spicy sauce on it from On Thyme in Wilmington, NC


Three10


Three10 is the perfect elevated dinner option for anyone who loves seafood! Located off of downtown in the Brooklyn Arts District, Three10 has a seasonal menu constantly rotating with seasonal offerings. Everything is so fresh and put together perfectly! Located at 1022 N 4th St, Wilmington, NC 28401.

scallop and risotto dish


Indochine


This spot has been viral on social media multiple times, and for good reason! You might be surprised to find authentic Thai and Vietnamese in Wilmington, NC until you try this place! The food and drinks are SO good, but what sets this place apart is the ambiance. You truly feel like you are in another country. Get there for dinner when they open at 5 or go for lunch to avoid crowds! Make sure you sit outside and request a hut if you can, it is worth the wait! Located at 7 Wayne Dr.

red cocktail with a blue umbrella


Dram Yard


Foodie HEAVEN! If you love small plates and creative ideas, you will love Dram Yard. Located at 101 S 2nd St, Wilmington, NC 28401.

blonde girl wearing a purple dress posing with an orange cocktail and eating fried Brussel sprouts at Dram Yard in Wilmington, NC


True Blue Butcher and Barrel


True Blue restaurants are consistently good in Wilmington, NC, and Butcher and Barrel is no exception! They always have amazing specials like $5 burgers on Wednesdays from 4-7 pm. Located at 110 Greenfield St Suite 114, Wilmington, NC 28401.

A table filled with food. Pork belly buns, wedge salad, chicken tenders, and fried plantains at True Blue in Wilmington, nc


Hell's Kitchen


Hell's is located in the heart of downtown and is perfect for film/tv lovers. Shows like Dawson's Creek (the actual boat is on the wall), One Tree Hill, The Summer I Turned Pretty, Zoey 102, and Florida Man have been filmed here. They also have my favorite wings in town and awesome daily specials. Located at 118 Princess St, Wilmington, NC 28401.

chicken sandwich with sweet potato fries, cesaer wrap with tator tots, and tacos


Crofton's Pretzels


Pretzels. Need I say more? They have SO many options for stuffing, including sweet options! I love the pretzel dog and the buffalo chicken stuffed pretzel. This is also the only place you can get a Dr. Enuf that I've found, my Tennessee people get it. Located at 1620 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28401.

salted pretzel with cherry dr enuf

Mess Hall



Central Wilmington


Genki


If you love sushi, like really love sushi, you cannot skip Genki. This is the best authentic sushi I have ever had! Small and unassuming, don't be deceived, you need to call ahead or make reservations for Genki. Located at 4724 New Centre Dr STE 5, Wilmington, NC 28405.

huge plate filled with sashimi and sushi


Cape Fear Seafood Company


A local favorite that I love to take family visiting. There is something for everyone! This is your classic southern seafood restaurant. There are multiple locations but we like the Porters Neck location at 140 Hays Lane Unit 140 Wilmington, NC 28411.

plate filled with banana french toast


The Keg and Egg


Keg and Egg is a dive but one of our personal favorite brunch spots! Breakfast every day! Their lunch and dinner menu is great as well. Located at 4039 Masonboro Loop Rd, Wilmington, NC 28409.

brunch plate with eggs benedict and a mimosa


Savor


I'll just say it, this is one of the best brunch spots in Wilmington, NC. If you drink, make sure you order the boozy iced coffee flight. Located at 3704 Carolina Beach Rd, Wilmington, NC 28412.

boozy iced coffee flight


Jimbo's


A Wilmington staple and your classic diner breakfast. Get here early, the line is always long and for good reason! Located at 1529 College Rd, Wilmington, NC 28403.

pancakes, bacon, eggs, and hash browns


Wrightsville Beach and Nearby


Origins


If you are looking for a nicer dinner option near WB, checkout Origins! They have delicious cocktails, oysters, steak, and pasta (I highly suggest the pasta dishes OMG). And just trust me, ORDER THE BREAD! Located at 102 Autumn Hall Dr Unit 120, Wilmington, NC 28403.

pasta with beef sauce and parmesan cheese on top


Pipeline Poke


The best poke in town! Everything is SO fresh! Get the lava flow poke bowl if you like spicy and don't skip out on the tuna salad. Located at 102 Autumn Hall Dr Suite 130, Wilmington, NC 28403.

blonde girl holding a poke bowl


Ceviches


Located just before you cross the bridge to WB, another great dinner option. My favorites are the sangria, empanadas, and fried oysters (get extra of the curry sauce, I could drink it!). Located at 7210 Wrightsville Ave, Wilmington, NC 28403.

empanadas and fried oysters


PT's Old Fashion Grill


PT's a casual lunch spot with bomb burgers and amazing lemon pepper fries! Quick, casual, and affordable.

side angle of a cheeseburger with fried in the background


Wheelz Pizza


This food truck can be found all over Wilmington, NC at any given time or you can order pick up from one of their stand alone locations! Perfect to grab and eat on the beach!

pizza in a box with a blonde girl taking a bite


True Blue Butcher and Table


If you are celebrating anything, this is the spot. They can accommodate a large party if needed and the menu has a ton to offer with various price ranges. This location also offers $5 burgers on Wednesdays from 4-7 pm. Located at 1125 Military Cutoff Rd A, Wilmington, NC 28405.

cheeseburger with melted cheese running down the side


Nearby Areas


Island Burgers & Bites


Did you know the best burger on the planet is located in a gas station? Don't knock it till you try it! Located at 111 Carl Winner Dr St, Carolina Beach, NC 28428.

cheeseburger in tin foil


Soul Flavor


Another Carolina Beach restaurant you might skip but you SHOULDN'T! Some of the best southern seafood dishes I have ever had. They have seafood and none seafood options, a great place to take people visiting. Located at 716 N Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach, NC 28428.

fish over risotto and asparagus on the side


Nauti Dog


Hot dogs and tummy drinks right on the CB boardwalk! A perfect lunch spot for all ages. Located at 5 Cape Fear Blvd, Carolina Beach, NC 28428.

hot dog on a pretzel bun


Salt Fish & Tiki Bar


Super laid back dinner spot that will absolutely satisfy your taste buds. Get the Saigon noodles and one of their tiki drinks, you won't be disappointed. Located at 718 N Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach, NC 28428.

tiki drink and noodles





bottom of page