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3 of the Best Restaurants in the Outer Banks

Updated on May 29, 2016
Rosie writes profile image

Rosie was an elementary school teacher for 13 years, teaching grades 3-5. She is now a library media specialist in an elementary school.

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Experience Dining in the Outer Banks

From firsthand experience, the three restaurants I have reviewed below are excellent choices for eating out during your vacation to the Outer Banks, a series of long, narrow barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina which include Nags Head. These fabulous restaurants will provide friendly and efficient service, delectable food, and you will leave each one feeling completely satisfied with your dining experience. I do not have any connection with the restaurants listed, but am a restaurant critic at heart, so rest assure that I am a non-partial and reliable source. At the end of each restaurant's description, read the italicized paragraph, retelling my own experience at each restaurant.

Seafood Restaurants in the Outer Banks

The Black Pelican is my choice for seafood. There may be a wait but it is worth it; there is a lovely giftshop to linger in while you wait to be seated. Dining options include lunch, dinner, takeout, late night, and dessert. This restaurant is good for families with children and large groups. Located at 3848 Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, NC.

Interestingly, the restaurant was formerly a lifesaving station and weather bureau, built in 1874; fortunately, memorabilia is displayed throughout the building reminiscing it's former purpose. From their website, "The Black Pelican serves lunch and dinner daily. In addition to our menu we serve delicious lunch and dinner specials. Fresh seafood, steaks, vegetarian dishes, sandwiches and wood oven pizzas are some of the items offered on our menu. The Black Pelican also has a menu designed just for kids. We have comfortable dining rooms that will accommodate dinner for two or 22. Lunch and dinner are served at our full service bar, along with some local color."

My personal experience at the Black Pelican was with a large party, 10 people. Without reservations, we waited for about 35 minutes, mostly in the gift store, and partially outside, on the "porch" area. Service was efficient and our meals were delicious. There was not one complaint and we had four children with us. For my meal I chose the Wanchese Fishermans' Risotto, which involved scallops, shrimp, and jumbo lumpcrabmeat. Need I say more? Check out the impressive dinner menu at their detailed website.

Barbecue & Ribs in the Outer Banks

High Cotton NC BBQ was a welcoming surprise to my entire family. From the high quality of food, service, and low prices, you can't beat this one in the Outer Banks. Located at 5230 Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, serving lunch dinner, takeout, and dessert. This restaurant is good for families with children, large groups, and definitely if you are dining on a budget..

From their website, "High Cotton is owned and operated by a native North Carolina family that was born and raised in the heart of barbecue country. They serve authentic, eastern North Carolina–style pork barbecue. The pork is smoked for hours over hickory, hand-chopped and then seasoned with a light, vinegar-based sauce that doesn’t overpower the natural flavor of the smoked meat. The Southern fried chicken is crisp and delicious. The smoked chicken is so tender it falls right off the bone, and the Texas-style beef brisket is smoked, sliced and served with a tangy sauce. The St. Louis cut ribs are the local’s favorite for good reason. Portions here are generous. They serve traditional side dishes like cole slaw, baked beans and fresh vegetables plus hush puppies and French fries. The sauces are homemade and available for purchase. They have a children’s menu. This is a great place to feed a crowd, and they have a speedy to-go counter for take-out. Check out their convenient to-go packages and bring home your own pig-pickin’. The restaurant also offers catering. High Cotton serves lunch and dinner every day in season and closes for a short time in the winter."

This was our very last stop before leaving the beach. I'm so glad we did, for several reasons. The food was absolutely delicious by all standards. The place itself was invitating and very nice inside, not cramped like many restaurants. The servcie could not have been better. We loved the raised area where you could purchase sauces, t-shirts, and other branded items. Be sure to check our the photo-pictures hanging on the restroom doors. They will give you a good laugh!

Check out their menu.

Italian - American Restaurants in the Outer Banks

New York Pizza Pub

Cuisines: Italian, Pizza

  • 2217 S Croatan Hwy, Nags Head, NC 27959-9010
  • Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Takeout, Dessert
  • Good for: Families with children, Large groups

Winner of “Best Pizza on the Beach” award. Serving traditional Italian dishes, including seafood, chicken and pasta made with the freshest ingredients. Their Angus steaks and burgers are flame-broiled to perfection! N.Y. pizza and sandwich classics. Kids' menu. Large families welcome. Smoke-free dining.

Everything was delicious. You won't be disappointed. Excellent service here as well. From wings and pizza to comforting classic Italian dishes, they have it all.


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    • Rosie writes profile image
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      Rosie writes 6 years ago from Virginia

      I agree that Captain Georges is very good, however it is a chain restaurant and one I can visit in other cities. Black Pelican is unique to the Outer Banks and a real treat when we are visiting the area.

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      Doug & Barbara 6 years ago

      Stack em high. Best breakfast in town.

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      Beverly Foltz 6 years ago

      I have lived here for 2 1/2 years and I would insist that Captain Georges is one of the best places on the beach. The price may seem high at first, but when you take in account that you get your appetizer, entrée ( snow crab legs incl) and dessert, as much as you can eat, it is comparable. The food is wonderful.

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