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.