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.

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.

Sophisticated southern

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.

Barbecue and Southern-fried sides for the whole family, in a bare-bones roadhouse that’s Carolina through and through.

Cozy Turkish mezze joint

The kitchen feeds a loyal following with breakfasts of country ham and Southern biscuits (snag a table on the sunny front porch).

Brooklyn-born Alicia Sessoms and her chef husband Jacob dress up the warehouse-like space of this restaurant with local daisies, echinacea, and bachelor's buttons for the hand-hewn maple tables.

French-Italian bistro in a former warehouse

Don’t be put off by the strip-mall location; locals swear by its slow-cooked pork and tangy sauce.

A modern take on a traditional Chinese noodle house.