The Crystal Coast Food Scene

Eat Like A Local

Photo by Brandyn Latham

Photo by Brandyn Latham

Local tip: "Many restaurants have weekly specials for locals! Island Grille does buy-one-get-one-free entrées on Monday and Tuesday all year long, and Amos Mosquitos does half-off entrées on Wednesdays in the off-season!" – Holli A.

Emerald Isle

This restaurant is well known as one of the finest dining experiences on the Crystal Coast, serving up modern coastal cuisine. The staff is friendly, the food presentation is amazing (and tastes even better), and the view from the rooftop bar is unbeatable. See ya there!
8921 Crew Dr., Emerald Isle
(252) 424-8400

Rucker Johns
Since 1988, this family-owned restaurant has been a part of Emerald Isle. Rucker Johns is a great family-friendly spot with a broad, diner-style menu that includes steaks, seafood, burgers, and pasta. Along with their large menu, you'll find indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a bar with the nicest staff. Check out their daily specials online!
8700 Emerald Dr., Emerald Isle
(252) 354-2413

The Village Market
This daytime deli offers a hearty breakfast menu, premium meats, and sandwiches in a cheerful atmosphere. If you need somewhere the whole family can enjoy, including your pets, this is the place to go. They recently added sushi to their menu Thursday through Saturday evenings, and it is a must-try!
7802 Emerald Dr., Emerald Isle
(252) 354-6592

Flipperz Family Bar and Grill
Flipperz is a family-friendly steak and seafood spot with an island-themed setting. You'll also find weekly live entertainment, and the cutest shop with apparel and gifts. Make sure you try their homemade fudge! You also have to check out their penny bar that was carefully topped with 4,000 pennies.
311 Mangrove Dr., Emerald Isle
(252) 354-7775

The Trading Post Southern Food and Spirits
Welcome to the South, where you'll find comfort food like chicken and waffles served in a down-home joint with a backyard lounge and weekly live music. Their breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu is all delicious, and they have the best outdoor area for the whole family to enjoy.
8302 Emerald Dr., Emerald Isle
(252) 424-8284

Shark's Den Sports Bar and Grill
This spot is locally owned and operated, serving fresh, high-quality food prepared to order. There's 16 beers on tap, including craft brews along with a full bar with a large menu. Eighteen wing sauces, 13 burger variations, salads, and gigantic sandwiches will please anyone in your group. Check out their wing night every Tuesday evening.
8700 Emerald Dr., Emerald Isle
(252) 354-3030

Fish Hut Grill
Your home base for relaxation and refreshments in a casual dining experience. Fish Hut Grill offers local seafood, American classics and more, indoor and outdoor seating, along with a surfboard counter. Pets are always welcome, but please keep them on a leash.
301 Mangrove Blvd., Emerald Isle


Church Street Deli and Irish Pub
Located in the heart of downtown historic Swansboro, this quaint Inn and pub will soon become one of your favorites. They serve specialty sandwiches, Boar's Head dogs, salads, and even a kids' menu for the whole family to enjoy. Check out their large beverage menu with espresso, coffee, brews, and wine.
105 W. Church St., Swansboro
(910) 326-7572

Yana's Restaurant
Is breakfast your favorite meal? Yana's will quickly become your new favorite spot. This is a casual, '50s-themed joint offering daytime diner classics such as pancakes, burgers, and so much more.
119 Front St., Swansboro
(910) 326-5501

Saltwater Grill
Located right on the water, the views from every table are beautiful, and their commitment to freshness sets them apart. The menu is based on market availability, so their selection changes day to day. This is the perfect spot for a special occasion, date night, or even an evening out with the whole family.
99 W. Church St., Swansboro
(910) 326-7300

Olea Mediterranean Kitchen
They are a Greek/Mediterranean-inspired fresh, fast, and casual restaurant offering something different from the norm. Olea offers fresh and healthy options, house-made spreads and dressings, and even a build-your-own service style option.
674 W. Corbett Ave., Swansboro
(910) 325-8332

Morehead City

Ruddy Duck Tavern
In their waterfront setting, you'll find a menu packed with seafood, gourmet burgers, thin-crust pizza, beer, wine, and spirits. Ruddy Duck's uses local and organic products to provide high-quality food served in generous portions at an affordable price. Being a local to the Crystal Coast, you can appreciate that they help support other local businesses, and also make safe choices to protect our coastline through minimal take-out wrapping and straws only upon request.
509 Evans St., Morehead City
(252) 726-7500

Snapperz Grill and Steam Bar
With two locations along the Crystal Coast, you already know this seafood restaurant and oyster bar is a local and tourist favorite! Family-owned and operated ensures you'll have a great experience through fresh food, and friendly service.
3710 Arendell St., Morehead City, (252) 240-1313
8106 Emerald Dr., Emerald Isle, (252) 354-5722

Soundside Restaurant
The chef strives to use fresh, local ingredients to offer a light, but filling meal that the whole family can enjoy. Soundside is an airy, upscale spot featuring charcoal grilled steaks, locally sourced seafood, and a long wine list. There's something for everyone on this menu.
5000 Hwy. 70 W., Suite 112, Morehead City
(252) 648-8298

Circa 81
This tapas restaurant offers locally sourced small plates and cocktails served in a chic minimalist setting. Looking for a date night out or a nice spot to meet up with friends? Check out Circa 81, and if you like to plan ahead of time, make a reservation online or by calling their restaurant.
4650 Arendell St., Morehead City
(252) 648-8300

Cox Family Restaurant
This is your family-friendly hub for American-style comfort classics, like burgers, sandwiches, and omelettes. Since 1976, they've offered friendly customer service that will have you leaving satisfied. They also offer take-out, reservations, space for large groups, and catering.
4109 Arendell St., Morehead City
(252) 726-6961

Parrot's on 11th
This menu is based on simple Carolina comfort food where the taste and quality stand for what this restaurant believes in. Parrott’s is your destination when dining downtown. Coming to Parrott’s you will get a full experience – not only with the food prepared by Executive Chef Michael Perry, but also great wine and spirits. Oh, yeah, and the service is great too.
105 S. 11th St., Morehead City
(252) 773-0532

The Banks Grill
The Banks Grill is a go-to breakfast and lunch spot here on the Crystal Coast. They're a bustling, American-style joint featuring classic breakfast fare, burgers and salads in a relaxed setting. Delivery is available for large orders, take-out is always an option, and with advanced notice, they'll even have your food ready to go for that early-morning off-shore fishing trip.
2900 Arendell St., Morehead City
(252) 499-9044

Dank Burrito
Dank Burrito is a popular, counter serve restaurant, providing an array of inventive burritos and tacos in a colorful, offbeat space. This one is definitely a place to try, especially when you're needing something different. You can also book their food truck for large events, or book their private dining area located in Beaufort. Check out all the information on their website.
4135 Arendell St., Morehead City
(252) 499-9677

El's Drive-In
At this enduring fast-food joint, you'll experience car hops serving burgers, hot dogs, shakes, and other American classics. El's has been serving up fried chicken and barbecue since 1959, and they're proud to be serving third-generation regulars. You'll always receive fresh-made food, along with fun and friendly customer service.
3706 Arendell St., Morehead City
(252) 726-3002

Floyd's 1921 Restaurant, Bar and Catering
Floyd's offers steaks, Southern dishes, seafood, and live music in a white clapboard house with a patio and fire pits. This is definitely a great place to go and enjoy yourselves, either with or without the kids. This has been a local favorite since 2005, and if you're hosting a large event, their catering options will amaze you.
400 Bridges St., Morehead City
(252) 727-1921

Off the Hook
This spot is spectacular for the views, large lunch and dinner menu, and their Sunday Brunch. Sundays at Off the Hook is the best place to relax before your week ahead, offering outdoor seating, chef-prepared cuisine, Bloody Mary's, mimosas, and live acoustic entertainment. If you're looking for a place to host a private event or wedding party, visit their website, or call to speak to one of their friendly staff.
105 S. Seventh St., Morehead City
(252) 499-9150

Red Fish Grill and Bar
Locally sourced seafood and daily specials offered in a relaxed venue with a bar and patio tables. They are a busy restaurant and do not accept reservations, but you can enjoy the spectacular views and a drink while you wait, because they're located on the waterfront. The portions are large and priced fair!
711 Evans St., Morehead City
(252) 648-8269

Ioanni's Grill
Their extensive menu offers something for everyone, and everything is cooked to order with careful attention to detail. This late-night sports bar provides draft brews, cocktails, and creative comfort food. If you're in Morehead City or Atlantic Beach, they'll deliver to the comfort of your own home.
4138 Arendell St., Morehead City
(252) 808-0008


Beaufort Grocery Company
The homey, wood-paneled bistro brings subtle grace and charm reminiscent of a French-country bistro in the local scene. For nearly three decades, this restaurant has been serving up lunch and dinner, fresh-baked bread, and a large assortment of homemade desserts. Brunch can be found here on Sundays, and they always offer take-out, prepared in a picnic basket if you'd like. Daily seafood specials are offered, with a variety of other menu options when they transform to a more sophisticated setting for dinner.
117 Queen St., Beaufort
(252) 728-3899

Front Street Grill
Front Street has been a casual bar/eatery since 1987 with great food and a coastal ambiance that give an extraordinary dining experience. This restaurant has been renovated to reflect Beaufort's port history, and the location offers views of island horses, Taylor's Creek dolphins, and panoramic sunsets. They also have boat dockage available for guests.
300 Front St., Beaufort
(252) 728-4956

The Spouter Inn
Here you will find local seafood and baked goods served in a relaxed setting with a waterfront deck and boat docks. Their dedication to quality, consistency, and true Southern hospitality has made them a favorite among locals and visitors for over 30 years. They serve lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch for your small group to large event. You can call them to make reservations, and visit their Facebook for special events, wine tastings, and live music.
218 Front St., Beaufort
(252) 728-5190

La Perla Restaurant
This is a casual fine-dining outpost for Latin-inspired Southern fare and wild-caught seafood specials. They have very limited seating for large parties, so you may need to make a reservation. Their dinner menu changes slightly every few days, but this is a foodie's heaven. If you love it, join their loyalty program so they can show appreciation to their regular customers.
305 Front St., Beaufort
(252) 838-9032

Mezcalito Grill and Tequila Bar
This modern Mexican cuisine restaurant also infuses Latin dishes into the menu. The food here is beautifully plated and tastes even better. This is a family-friendly restaurant, where you'll start off with their homemade chips and salsa, and if you're up for it, try one of their fresh margaritas because their mix for those is also homemade.
521 Front St., Beaufort
(252) 728-3702

Black Sheep Beaufort
They feature brick-oven pizza, salads, deli sandwiches, charcuterie and cheese plates, along with a large variety of craft beer, wine, and craft cocktails. They offer indoor and seasonal outdoor seating right on the Beaufort boardwalk. Nestled in the heart of Beaufort, this is the perfect destination for casual waterfront dining.
510 Front St., Beaufort
(252) 269-7272

Atlantic Beach

Table 9 Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Bar
This prime location offers upscale dishes where authentic Greek roots are integrated with a love for local, coastal ingredients. This is a great dinner spot for large groups, families, and special occasions. They do not accept reservations, but you can enjoy a drink at their bar while you wait!
1104 W. Fort Macon Rd., Atlantic Beach
(252) 499-9032

Amos Mosquito's Restaurant
Amos Mosquitos, established in 1999, is a cozy eatery and bar in a fun environment with a patio overlooking the water. The menu is eclectic but primarily seafood, and it's all made from scratch, served flavorful, and reasonably priced. This is a must, but reservations are not accepted, and they fill up fast, so get there early.
703 E. Fort Macon Rd., Atlantic Beach
(252) 247-6222

4 Corners Diner
Old-school diner offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their menu includes daily specials, fried seafood, and other American comfort food. You'll always find affordable prices and a friendly staff that ensures you leave feeling full.
100 E. Fort Macon Rd., Atlantic Beach
(252) 240-8855

The Island Grille
The Island Grille is a trendy spot for up-scale seafood and meats, plus brunch in a simple, stylish setting. Every dish is prepared to order by hand with the seafood that is ordered daily. They offer hyper-local, small-batch dishes that are a modern take on honored, traditional recipes.
401 Money Island Dr., Atlantic Beach
(252) 240-0000

The Shark Shack
This family-owned-and-operated restaurant specializes in fresh seafood. Palm trees shade the yard at Shark Shack, and you'll here reggae music while you sit outside enjoying your meal that's fresh cooked and full of flavor. Leashed pets are always welcome, and if you need your meal to go, just ask!
100 S. Durham Ave., Atlantic Beach


Musashi Japanese Steak and Seafood Restaurant
Musashi's has been a family-owned-and-operated business dedicated to hospitality and delicious food since 1995. They are a family-friendly establishment offering a large menu for lunch and dinner. Their specialties are hibachi, seafood, sushi, and a variety of noodles, with many options for kids.
219 U.S. 70, Havelock
(252) 444-1389

Bayside Restaurant
Founded in 1985, they are a well known, local family restaurant serving the full menu 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The environment is friendly, with a great staff, and even better, quality food.
700 E. Main St., Havelock
(252) 447-2111