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.

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

Try Carolina oyster stew or a classic shrimp and grits overlooking Currituck Sound in relaxed elegance.

Fresh, locally caught bluefish and crab are on the menu. You can even dine on a peaceful screened porch.

Fifties lunch counter-turned-stylish diner and martini bar. This restaurant pays tribute to Poole's Luncheonette, a downtown Raleigh landmark that opened as a pie shop in 1942.

Chic steak house

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

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.