Wilmington, NC Restaurants

Must Visit Restaurants

Cape Fear SeafoodFloriana
Jerry’sCast Iron Kitchen
Taste of ItalyPortland Grille

Best Seafood Restaurants

Best Burgers

  • Mess Hall
  • Fork N Cork
  • PT’s Grille
  • Captain Bill’s

Best Steaks

  • True Blue
  • Portland Grille
  • Port City Chophouse
  • City Club
  • Junction421

Best Sushi

  • Genki
  • Bento Box
  • Yosake

Best Cocktail Bars

  • Earnest Money & Sons
  • Blind Elephant
  • City Club
  • Jerry’s
  • Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot

Best Italian Restaurants

  • Floriana
  • Taste of Italy
  • Tarentelli’s

Best South American Restaurant

  • Savorez

Best Mexican

  • Los Portales Taqeuria
  • Si Senor
  • Islands Fresh Mex Grille

Best Upscale Fine Dining

  • Portland Grille
  • Jerry’s
  • Floriana
  • Pinpoint
  • RX

Best Pizza

Best Indian

  • Tandoori Bites
  • Nawab

Best German Restaurant

  • The German Cafe

Best Chinese Restaurant

  • Szechaun 132

Best French Restaurants

Best Asian Fusion

  • Indochine

Best Breakfast/Brunch

  • Cast Iron Kitchen
  • Eternal Sunshine Cafe

Best Vietnamese

  • Pho Cafe

Best Coffee Shops

  • The Complex Bean
  • Drift Coffee

Best Ice Cream

  • Boombalatti’s

Restaurants to avoid:

You probably notice I don’t review chain restaurants. Chain restaurants are well known, and all chains (not just fast food) serve lower quality food due to corporate constraints on costs. Eat local and support locals.

Outside of chains, I do not like the restaurants on the riverwalk in Downtown Wilmington: Elijah’s, The Pilot House, and The George. Great atmosphere for watching the river and a sunset, but none of them have food that is very good. Great spot; but they MUST cook better food, else they will only serve the tourists that don’t know any better.

Similarly, the Oceanic has an incredible view at Wrightsville Beach, but again, food is just not as good as it should be, especially given the cost.

The Front Street Brewery and Bourbon Street are great places for starting, having, or ending a night of partying. Located along that coveted section of Front Street near all the bars, the crowds are always high, but their food quality is always low. Front Street makes some good beer, so its good for a drinking spot, but not an eating spot. And with my love of New Orleans restaurants, every time I try Bourbon Street, I am disappointed.

I list above my favorite sushi restaurants. There are some other decent sushi places, like Tokyo 101, but Nikki’s is NOT one of them. There are several Nikki’s sushi restaurants in town, and I dislike them all.

Finally, I know the Bridge Tender has been in Wilmington for years, has a great view, and some people swear by it. Unfortunately, you can’t vote for restaurants based on history or past awards; it comes down to flavor, and the Bridge Tender just isn’t good. I don’t rank Blue Water in my top seafood restaurants, but its decent, and if I’m close to Bridge Tender, I would much rather cross the bridge and eat at Blue Water.