33 of the Best Places to Eat in North Carolina

Get ready to chow down on some seriously good eats in North Carolina! We’re taking you on a tasty tour from the mountains to the coast, exploring local joints that serve up everything from finger-lickin’ barbecue to inventive plant-based dishes.

1587 – Manteo

Nestled in the cozy town of Manteo, 1587 dishes up a delightful dining experience inspired by coastal flavors. With a menu that boasts fresh seafood and mouthwatering steaks, this waterfront restaurant takes you on a tasty journey with the bonus of scenic views.

Back Porch – Ocracoke

In the heart of Ocracoke, the Back Porch is a hidden gem known for its laid-back atmosphere and scrumptious seafood. Picture yourself enjoying a seafood feast while surrounded by the island’s unique charm—it’s a must-visit for those seeking an authentic coastal dining experience.

Salt Box Seafood Joint – Durham

Dive into the flavors of the sea at Salt Box Seafood Joint in Durham. With a commitment to fresh and locally sourced ingredients, this seafood spot offers a casual yet incredibly tasty menu, featuring everything from fish sandwiches to flavorful shrimp boils.

Rise – Durham

For breakfast enthusiasts, Rise in Durham is a haven of heavenly biscuits and donuts. Picture yourself savoring a warm, freshly baked biscuit—whether sweet or savory, Rise has a delightful array of options that will elevate your morning meal.

Dame’s – Durham

Craving the perfect chicken and waffles? Look no further than Dame’s in Durham. Known for its unique spin on this classic dish, Dame’s Chicken & Waffles promises a soulful and satisfying experience that keeps locals and visitors coming back for more.

Heirloom Restaurant – Charlotte

Nestled in Charlotte, Heirloom Restaurant celebrates the flavors of the Carolinas with a farm-to-fork approach. With a menu that changes with the seasons, Heirloom ensures a culinary adventure showcasing the best local ingredients.

Price’s Chicken Coop – Charlotte

For a taste of classic Southern fried chicken, Price’s Chicken Coop in Charlotte is a go-to spot. This iconic eatery has been serving up crispy, golden-brown chicken for decades, earning its place as a beloved local institution.

Gamekeeper – Boone

In the scenic town of Boone, Gamekeeper offers a unique dining experience with a focus on game meats and locally sourced ingredients. The rustic charm combined with exquisite flavors makes Gamekeeper a top choice for those seeking an adventurous palate.

Colington Cafe – Kill Devil Hills

With its coastal-inspired menu, Colington Cafe in Kill Devil Hills provides an intimate dining experience. Whether you’re indulging in fresh seafood or savoring a perfectly cooked steak, Colington Cafe captures the essence of Outer Banks dining.

Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe – Nags Head

Situated in Nags Head, Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe combines waterfront dining with a menu highlighting North Carolina’s seafood bounty. From oysters to crab cakes, this eatery offers a true taste of the Outer Banks.

RX – Wilmington

Located in Wilmington, RX Restaurant offers a unique dining experience in a historic pharmacy setting. Step into the past as you dine amidst vintage apothecary decor and enjoy a menu inspired by Southern cuisine with a modern twist. From hearty brunch options to inventive dinner dishes, RX serves up a variety of farm-to-table fare using locally sourced ingredients. Sip on craft cocktails at the bar or relax on the outdoor patio while soaking in the charming ambiance.

The Beach Shop and Grill – Topsail Beach

Located in Topsail Beach, The Beach Shop Grill offers a laid-back dining experience with a beachy vibe. This cozy restaurant serves up a variety of tasty dishes, from fresh seafood to juicy burgers and sandwiches. With its friendly atmosphere and ocean-inspired decor, it’s the perfect spot to grab a bite after a day at the beach or enjoy a leisurely meal with family and friends. Whether you’re craving seafood classics or comfort food favorites, The Beach Shop Grill has something for everyone to enjoy.

Lexington BBQ – Lexington

Known as the “Barbecue Capital of the World,” Lexington BBQ serves up mouthwatering, slow-cooked goodness. Dive into a plate of tender pork shoulder paired with the signature Lexington-style barbecue sauce for an authentic taste of North Carolina barbecue.

Allen Son BBQ Pittsboro

In the heart of Pittsboro, Allen Son BBQ continues the tradition of exceptional North Carolina barbecue. With a focus on wood-smoked meats and homemade sauces, this family-owned spot captures the essence of a classic Southern barbecue joint.

Crook’s Corner – Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill’s culinary gem, Crook’s Corner, brings Southern comfort food to a whole new level. Renowned for its innovative twists on traditional dishes, this eatery offers a sophisticated yet approachable dining experience.

Poole’s Downtown Diner – Raleigh

Located in Raleigh, Poole’s Downtown Diner is a modern take on the classic diner, serving up elevated comfort food. Indulge in dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, and don’t miss out on their famous macaroni and cheese.

Beasley’s – Raleigh

Craving fried chicken? Beasley’s in Raleigh has you covered. This Southern-inspired eatery is a go-to spot for crispy fried chicken, comforting sides, and a cozy atmosphere that captures the essence of Southern hospitality.

Fiction Kitchen – Raleigh

For those with diverse dietary preferences, Fiction Kitchen in Raleigh offers a plant-based menu that surprises and delights. Explore inventive, meat-free dishes that showcase the creativity of plant-based cuisine.

Wilber’s BBQ – Goldsboro

A Goldsboro institution, Wilber’s BBQ is a must-visit for barbecue enthusiasts. With a commitment to tradition, this spot serves up pit-cooked pork and all the classic Southern sides for a true taste of Eastern North Carolina barbecue.

Chef & the Farmer – Kinston

Celebrity chef Vivian Howard’s Chef & the Farmer in Kinston is a culinary destination with a focus on Southern-inspired, seasonally driven dishes. Immerse yourself in a farm-to-table experience that highlights the best of the region’s produce.

Skylight Inn – Ayden

As a James Beard Award-winning barbecue joint, Skylight Inn in Ayden is a testament to North Carolina’s barbecue legacy. Savor whole hog barbecue with crispy skin, a hallmark of Eastern North Carolina barbecue.

Artisanal – Banner Elk

Situated in the picturesque town of Banner Elk, Artisanal offers a refined dining experience with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. The menu, featuring contemporary American cuisine, reflects the flavors of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Kindred – Davidson

Kindred in Davidson is a culinary haven, known for its modern Southern cuisine. With an emphasis on seasonal ingredients, this eatery invites guests to experience the artistry of its dishes in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Herons – Cary

Nestled within The Umstead Hotel and Spa, Herons in Cary is a fine dining destination that offers an exquisite culinary journey. With a focus on contemporary American cuisine, Herons provides a luxurious dining experience amidst a sophisticated ambiance.

The Snappy Lunch – Mt. Airy

For a taste of nostalgia, The Snappy Lunch in Mt. Airy is a true gem. This iconic diner has been serving up classic American fare since 1923, making it a cherished spot that captures the essence of small-town diners.

Ryan’s Restaurant – Winston-Salem

Ryan’s Restaurant in Winston-Salem is a culinary gem that combines Southern hospitality with upscale dining. Known for its delectable seafood dishes and creative cocktails, Ryan’s is a perfect choice for a special evening out.

The Copper Door – Hayesville

Nestled in the charming town of Hayesville, The Copper Door is a cozy spot offering a diverse menu with a touch of Southern flair. Enjoy a delightful meal in a warm and inviting atmosphere, showcasing the best of local and seasonal ingredients.

On the Square – Tarboro

On the Square in Tarboro is a culinary destination that brings together the charm of a historic setting with a menu highlighting Southern-inspired dishes. Immerse yourself in the town’s history while savoring delicious, locally sourced cuisine.

Amos Mosquito’s – Atlantic Beach

Embrace the laid-back coastal vibe at Amos Mosquito’s in Atlantic Beach. This waterfront eatery offers a diverse menu with a focus on seafood, providing a perfect setting to enjoy a relaxing meal with ocean views.

Johnson’s Drive In – Siler City

For a classic American drive-in experience, Johnson’s Drive-In in Siler City is a beloved spot. Indulge in timeless favorites like cheeseburgers and shakes in a nostalgic setting that transports you back in time.

River’s End – Bryson City

Situated in Bryson City, River’s End offers a delightful dining experience overlooking the Tuckasegee River. With a menu highlighting regional flavors and outdoor seating, it’s an ideal spot to enjoy a meal amidst nature’s beauty.

Beefmastor Inn – Wilson

Beefmastor Inn in Wilson is a local favorite known for its hearty steaks and welcoming ambiance. Step into a cozy, old-school steakhouse setting and savor a perfectly cooked steak paired with classic sides.

Spoon River Artworks and Market – Belhaven

Spoon River Artworks and Market in Belhaven is not just a restaurant but a cultural hub. Combining art and cuisine, this spot offers a unique dining experience where you can enjoy locally inspired dishes surrounded by creativity.

Well, folks, we’ve reached the end of our foodie road trip through North Carolina. What did we learn? This state sure knows how to cook up a storm! From classics like Lexington BBQ to the plant-powered wonders at Fiction Kitchen, there’s something for every palate.

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