Powered by Outer Banks This Week

Hatteras Restaurants

Dining on Hatteras Island means that you can expect restaurants with originality, personality, fresh ingredients and even some secret family recipes.

The best thing about dining on Cape Hatteras is that there are no chain restaurants with predictable atmosphere and bland fare. All Hatteras Island restaurants reflect the laid-back personality of the island lifestyle in a variety of ways, but you can rest assured that the owners, chefs and staff are quite serious and very professional about the fare they serve and the experience they offer.

Most Cape Hatteras restaurants put a major focus on the bounty of the sea. Local menus tout such specialties as Gulf Stream fish (yellowfin tuna, wahoo and mahi-mahi), inshore fish (trout, flounder and drum), succulent crab meat, oysters, clams, scallops, mussels and more. Restaurants will let you know what’s in season, and therefore the freshest, when you’re on the island. If it’s soft-shell crabs, don’t miss a chance to taste these delicacies! Fried seafood is no longer the staple of local menus, but you can get it if you want it. Most Hatteras restaurants feature more healthy preparations, like steaming, grilling, sautéing, blackening or broiling. If you want to cook seafood yourself, there are several Hatteras Island seafood markets; those are included in the listings in our Hatteras Shopping page.

If you’re not a seafood lover, don’t worry. Even the Hatteras Island seafood restaurants offer a wealth of other options like beef, pasta, chicken, pork and vegetarian entrees. And not every restaurant is seafood-oriented. You’ll find down-home North Carolina barbecue, Italian restaurants, plus pizza places, delis, ice cream shops and bakeries.

Meals are fairly priced on Hatteras Island, and dress is very casual. Note that all of the towns on the island now allow liquor to be served in restaurants that have a liquor license. We’re telling you this because it’s a significant change on the island. Most Hatteras eateries close for some portion of the winter, though there is always something open, even in the dead of winter, to serve the growing population of locals. If you’re dining out from November through March, it’s best to call ahead to make sure your restaurant of choice is open. We have listed the Hatteras Island restaurants alphabetically within their respective villages, from north to south, starting in Rodanthe and ending in Hatteras Village.

 

Avon | Buxton | Frisco | Hatteras Village | Rodanthe | Salvo | Waves

 

Atlantic Coast Café

25150 N.C. Highway 12
across from the KOA Campground
Waves
(252) 987-1200

Expect great food and awesome service at the Atlantic Coast Cafe in Waves — featuring a comfortable, clean, casual beach atmosphere, friendly staff and free WiFi. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Stop in for great breakfasts and fresh coffee, lunches that showcase stuffed grilled wraps, tasty burgers, unique Reubens (crab cake, shrimp, classic), their famous marinated or Cajun grilled tuna, possibly the best chicken strips east of the Mississippi, delicately fried seafood baskets, a hefty chef salad, double-shelled fish tacos, creamy shrimp and grits and lots more, including a kids menu. Smoothies, café mochas/lattes, chai tea, fresh muffins, killer desserts and a variety of sodas, juices, beer and wine all add up to an enjoyable and affordable Hatteras Island meal. The full menu is available for take-out. 

Dolphin Den

40126 N.C. Highway 12
Avon
(252) 995-7717

Dolphin Den is a family restaurant that specializes in locally caught seafood and family-size take-out meals. If you want to feed a crowd at home, Dolphin Den’s separate menu includes full meals of barbecue, ribs, brisket, chicken, seafood and Italian fare. You can feed up to 10 people with one order, an especially attractive option if you’ve just arrived at your rental and don’t feel like cooking. Dolphin Den has a traditional sit-down restaurant as well. Their seafood entrees are served with the traditional accompaniments — cole slaw, cornbread and homemade French fries. Favorites include the coconut shrimp, crab cakes, crab legs, seafood platters and pastas. They also feature hand-cut steaks, a variety of special salads and appetizers, she-crab soup and homemade desserts. Dolphin Den’s Key lime pie was chosen as the best in North Carolina by the Travel Guide Association. Dolphin Den is open for dinner daily, and early bird specials are available from 4 to 5 p.m. They have a full bar serving liquor, wine and beer.

Good Winds Seafood & Wine Bar

24502 N.C. Highway 12
Waves Village Kiteboarding Resort
Rodanthe
(252) 987-1100

Whether you’ve worked up an appetite kiteboarding on site or you just want a meal with a water view, Good Winds is a good choice on northern Hatteras Island. With its second-floor perch over the Pamlico Sound and a deck for outdoor dining, it’s the place to watch the sunset. The menu features familiar local seafood — tuna, grouper, scallops, shrimp, crab cakes, fresh catch of the day — along with some more exotic offerings like house-cured bacon. And you can choose from appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, fish tacos, salads, seafood entrees, pasta, noodle bowls, chicken and ribs. Everything is chef-prepared and made from scratch. A kids’ menu is available. The bar has one of the most extensive wine and craft beer selections on Hatteras Island as well as a full liquor license, and it’s a good place to hang out after a ride in the wind. Good Winds is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week in season. The Early Bird deal from 3 to 5 p.m. daily offers 20 percent off all food items except all-you-can-eat specials. There’s an all-you-can-eat fried shrimp special on Tuesdays. On Fridays there’s a fresh fish fry and live music from 6-10 p.m.

Haoles Sushi & Sake Bar

41934 N.C. Highway 12
Hatteras Island Plaza
Avon
(252) 995-7253

“Haole” is a Hawaiian term meaning “outsider,” but you’ll feel welcome and right at home at this sushi and sake bar. Haoles has all the specialty sushi rolls you can imagine along with appetizers, soups, salads, sashimi and nigiri. Give their Fuji roll a try - you really can’t go wrong with tempura lobster, fresh tuna flown in from Hawaii, masago, spring onions, eel sauce and spicy mayo. Haoles uses local fish in their sushi too. They have a full liquor license and offer 20 different kinds of sake. Haoles will serve a non-sushi breakfast this year from 7 to 11 a.m. featuring 12 specialty Eggs Benedict options. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week in the summer. Call for off-season hours.

Hatterasman

57449 N.C. Highway 12
Hatteras Village
(252) 986-1005

For a fast meal that doesn’t taste like fast food, check out Hatterasman’s tasty burgers, hot dogs, fish sandwiches and baskets, famous homemade hushpuppies, NC BBQ pork, fries and kids’ meals for lunch or dinner. Burgers here are big, juicy and hand-pattied—try their signature Hatterasman burgers, served with cheese, barbecue sauce and an onion ring. We recommend a side of their delicious fried vegetables, and their french fries really can’t be beat. They’re adding fried chicken to their menu this year too. There’s ice cream for dessert, and Miss Donna’s special occasion homemade cakes are to die for. Hatterasman has a special place in its hearts for veterans, law enforcement officers, teachers, kids, families, seniors, runners, bikers, construction/labor workers, business owners and all Hatteras visitors. If you’re having a function in Hatteras Village they will cook off the menu and bring it to you. They always have specials, and there’s WiFi service here too. Picnic tables allow you to get your food and favorite beverage and eat in the open air. You can eat in or take it out seven days a week in season. 

Open Water Grill

39450 N.C. Highway 12
Avon
(252) 305-5287

Open Water Grill’s primo waterfront location definitely makes it worth the short hop up (or down!) to the north end of Avon. The back deck is practically over the water, and the view of the open sound from the back patio is unbelievable. There is plenty of outdoor waterfront seating, or you can also dine indoors, with a great view, or on the front patio. The owners are committed to serving fresh, high-quality food, and they do whatever it takes to serve the best local and regional steaks, seafood and produce. Open Water Grill serves breakfast starting in mid-May, and their lunch and dinner features sandwiches with Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, salads, burgers and seafood. Steaks are a specialty, from the 8 oz. filet mignon and 16 oz. ribeye to smaller portions for lighter eaters. Open Water offers a full bar. They serve dinner late into the night, and the bar stays open late. They also offer a shuttle service—they’ll pick up your entire party, drive you to the restaurant and take you back home at the end of the night—all for free. And if you’ve had one too many in the bar, they’ll also shuttle you home for free. Come as you are; the atmosphere is relaxed, casual and family friendly, but you won’t have to sacrifice food quality even if you’re dining in your flip-flops. 

Rusty’s Surf And Turf

47355 N.C. Highway 12
Buxton
(252) 995-4184

Rusty’s Surf and Turf brings the bold flavors and colors of the tropics to Hatteras Island. Owner and chef Rusty Midgett, a native who left the island and honed his restaurant and kitchen experience in some of Philadelphia’s top restaurants, is inspired in the kitchen by the places he has traveled on surf trips – the Caribbean, the Mexican Riviera, the Pacific Rim. Let him surprise you with his creative preparations of fresh fish and local seafood and premium beef. Midgett gets a lot of his seafood directly from Hatteras Island docks. The restaurant is fun and colorful with cheerful local artwork. Rusty’s has a full bar and specializes in North Carolina hand-crafted beers, and there’s a fun bar/appetizer menu. Rusty’s serves dinner seven days a week in the summer; call for off-season hours. It’s located between Natural Art Surf Shop and the ABC Store.

Shipwreck Grill

46618 N.C. Highway 12
Buxton
(252) 995-5548

In a convenient location near several hotels on the north end of Buxton, The Shipwreck Grill serves breakfast, lunch and early dinner every day. Breakfast is served until 11:30 a.m. because that’s how vacationers roll, and the lunch menu is served through the early evening. The breakfast menu features all the traditional breakfast favorites, including fresh biscuits made from scratch every morning. All of The Shipwreck Grill’s food and sauces are made in-house, featuring local-only seafood and other local ingredients. Their lunch and dinner menu change seasonally based on what’s fresh and available. Breakfast and lunch tend to be laid-back while dinner is a little more upscale, though still maintaining a relaxed, bistro-style feel. This is a great place to sit down for a meal or to pick up a picnic to take to the beach. 

The Wreck Tiki Bar

58848 Marina Way
Hatteras Landing Marina
Hatteras Village
(252) 996-0162

Hatteras Island’s happy spot is The Wreck Tiki Bar, located on the docks at Hatteras Landing next to the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry. The Wreck serves casual fare such as panini sandwiches, nachos and quesadillas with creative touches. Their homemade veggie chili won its category in the Outer Banks Chili Cookoff, so be sure to try some, either by itself or as an add-on. The Wreck has a nice draft beer selection with seasonal lines added for variety. The atmosphere is laid-back and fun, and outdoor dining on the deck is available; nightly Pamlico Sound sunsets are a highlight here. The Wreck hosts live acoustic music on the deck at sunset on Thursday nights Memorial Day through Labor Day from 7-10 p.m. In summer there’s also a Saturday welcome party from 12:30-3:30 p.m. for visitors rolling in to town—if your beach house or motel isn’t ready for check-in yet, stop by The Wreck for beer specials, live music and a place to cool down and relax. They serve lunch daily and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Kids’ menus and take-out are also available. Call for off-season hours. 

Turner's High Moon Bar

40618 NC Hwy. 12
Avon
(252) 995-6666

A coastal cocktail bar, Turner’s High Moon Bar is Hatteras Island’s newest spot for a little grown-up fun. Featuring 24 draft beers on tap, Turner’s also offers eight draft wines and two draft cocktails along with an impressive array of handcrafted cocktails by award-winning barman M. Spencer Warren. All cocktails are made with fresh ingredients. There’s also a large selection of beers and wines available by the bottle or glass as well as small plates. And Turner’s has other fun things to do like shuffleboard, music and dancing.