North Carolina

Restaurants in North Carolina

In the great lexicon of barbecue styles, North Carolina is split down the middle. If you’re visiting BBQ restaurants in North Carolina’s Eastern region, expect a whole hog, family-style experience. If you’re heading elsewhere, the BBQ is focused on pork ribs and pulled pork. Either way, expect NC-style vinegar sauce.

Seaside restaurants in North Carolina, of course, have excellent seafood. You’ll see signs proclaiming “Calabash-style” throughout the region. At these North Carolina restaurants, you’ll know the seafood is incredibly fresh, and the lightly battered and fried shrimp, flounder, grouper, and snapper will be delicious.

When you are driving through the state, remember that some of the best restaurants in North Carolina are simple, locally owned spots that specialize in down-home Southern and low country cooking. Common dishes are Brunswick stew, which also originated from the Calabash, NC area, pickled okra, collards slow-cooked with ham hocks, Scuppernong grapes, and Hatteras-style clam chowder.

Though the building’s a flyspeck, the long lines of cars at the drive-through window testify to the restaurant’s celebrated sweet tea and fried chicken biscuits.

A modern take on a traditional Chinese noodle house.

North Carolina’s legendary pit master Ed Mitchell presides over this airy restaurant in a former meatpacking warehouse.

Cuban steaks and margaritas are the draw at this relaxed tropical-style restaurant with a high, open-beamed roof and a polished-wood bar.

Stop by this family-owned grill and store for a hearty breakfast of ham and eggs, or enjoy live bluegrass jams Saturday afternoons and evenings.

This BBQ mecca opens at 6 a.m. for breafast brains and eggs; country ham; grits. The pork is ready closer to 10 a.m. and is worth the wait. Sit in one of the knotty pine–paneled rooms, with wooden schoolhouse chairs and red-checked tablecloths to chow down on their perfect sandwiches.

Elevated low-country menu

Sophisticated southern

Grab a burger while kids entertain themselves in its toy-stocked Tadpole Corner play area.

Pick up club sandwiches, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and other provisions for a gourmet picnic on the beach.

Housed in a former fish market, this restaurant has trained many of the South’s top toques. The current chef, Bill Smith, is an expert at dishes with ethereal, rustic ingredients, such as honeysuckle sorbet made from flowers he collects on bike rides.