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People really love sandwiches, Italian, sushi and country cooked seafood in Wilmington, which provides an extensive list for visitors and residents. The North Carolina city is full of excellent attractions and eateries, so it’s not hard to find a unique dining experience. We tried to get a little outside of the box from other foodie Wilmington articles because there really are so many restaurants that deserve to be on a list! So here’s our take on the best places to eat in the oceanside city.
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Our Crepes and More
Maybe it used to be a Wendy’s or McDonald’s—regardless, we are so glad this old structure has been converted to a vibrant aqua and yellow crepe shack! Creative ingredients go into the authentic French crepes, whether it be a sausage, egg, cheese and crispy hashbrown topped breakfast crepe, or other savory options with fresh produce and Brie cheese. Dessert crepes are draped in chocolate, strawberries, whipped cream and other sweet deliciousness, and kids in particular love candy and Nutella topped variations. Gluten-free crepes are available as well, so more people can enjoy them.
Cape Fear Seafood Company
You can’t visit Wilmington without having seafood, and this creative spot is a fine place to do that. Flounder, shrimp, scallops—it’s all amazing. However, the classic shrimp and grits literally take the cake and is certainly the dish of all dishes at Cape Fear Seafood Company. The grits are perfectly creamy and full of savory flavor and the shrimp taste fresh from the water. Cocktails are unique–the Bloody Mary comes stacked with okra, olives and even shrimp. Modern enough, the interior still has homey vibes and a touch of coastal flair.
Blue Surf Cafe
Blue Surf Cafe has an island-esque themed menu with the use of ingredients like coconut pesto, jalapeño relish and mango salsa, which comes on top of the famed Mojo pork with coconut rice, black beans and jalapeño cornbread. Sandwiches are also crowd pleasers, with the meatloaf with sriracha mayo, house-made ketchup, bacon, cheddar, arugula and onions being a top pick among guests who’ve left reviews on TripAdvisor. Breakfast is also solid, and gluten-free bread is on the menu too.
If you’re wanting southern fried seafood, one of the more iconic cuisines of the coastal Carolinas, Boathouse Restaurant has you covered. Oysters, fish, shrimp and other ocean favorites are fried classic “calabash” style, which is a well known frying technique in an area between the North and South Carolina. Light, golden and crispy, the selections pair seamlessly with the sweet corn hushpuppies, fried okra and French fries. Sure it’s indulgent, but worth the splurge.
Looking for filling American dishes on a budget? Winnie’s menu is full of hefty burgers and sandwiches like tuna, fried bologna and a classic BLT. Try a burger towering with cheese, bacon and fried green tomatoes and you’ll be in foodie heaven. Garlic fries go perfectly with just about anything, but you’d be missing out if you didn’t munch on some crispy onion rings or freshly made potato chips. Chicken and beer battered fish and chips just add to the decadent selections – trust us, choosing is not easy.
The Fortunate Glass
Sometimes a fine wine and artisan snacks are the only things that will hit the spot, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at the appropriately named Fortunate Glass. Premium and award-winning wines can be paired with an impressive variation of meats and cheeses—for example, salt-cured, air-dried beef that’s been aged for three months, and a dreamy creamy French Brie cheese. Small plates range from bruschetta, antipasti, duck sliders and truffle mushroom pizza to a wide selection of pate. And don’t forget to do some dessert pairings! A flourless chocolate cake, rich truffles and cheesecake can be paired with a long list of dessert wines. Hundreds of bottles and glasses are available.
Cousins Italian Deli
This is as close as you can get to an authentic Italian experience – Cousins Italian Restaurant serves a six-course meal “family style”. Gather around the table, but know there is not a menu to select from, so guests just enjoy what’s being cooked up by the kitchen chef that night. Expect homemade everything, from pasta, sausages, bruschetta, cannolis to biscotti–everything is true to Italy. The experience overall is just warm and cozy as if you quite literally were visiting family in Italy.
Jax 5th Ave Deli
Just amazing sandwiches and pizzas with surprising twists sums up Jax, another Wilmington favorite. French Dips are paired with Guinness au jus, and there’s a phenomenal pita pizza with Gorgonzola cheese, sweet figs, caramelized onions and a slightly sweet balsamic drizzle. Sides like the potato salad and slaw are favorites accompanied with any dish, and the laid back retro style is pleasantly light-hearted and relaxing. You can’t miss the shiny metal exterior when driving down the road.