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Restaurants – Downtown Wilmington Restaurants

There are a host of restaurants located in Downtown Wilmington, NC. We can recommend the following ones for three good reasons. First, the food is reliably good. Second, the prices are very fair. Third, we can almost guarantee that you won’t be disappointed if you dine in any of them.

PinPoint

Two things define Cape Fear cuisine more than anything else: fresh seafood and homegrown produce. Downtown Wilmington’s new PinPoint Restaurant, open only since mid-May 2015, showcases the combination in delectable seasonal menus with the perfect dash of creativity from a chef who has worked with the best.
Dean Neff ran the kitchen at Five & Ten, one of four Georgia restaurants owned by James Beard Award-winning chef and Bravo “Top Chef” judge Hugh Acheson. Neff was working alongside Acheson when Neff met longtime restauranteur Jeff Duckworth. The chefs were catering Duckworth’s wedding reception. Neff and Duckworth kept in touch, finally landing in Wilmington to develop PinPoint.Read more

Hell’s Kitchen

If you’re a fan of the CW Network show Dawson’s Creek, Hell’s Kitchen probably looks familiar. When producers worked a college bar into the program’s script, they created Hell’s Kitchen. When the show’s run ended, the watering hole went up for sale.
A local restaurateur bought the place – Dawson’s Creek décor and all. Fans of the show still stop by just to see Hell’s Kitchen, but don’t just come to relish in Hell’s Kitchen’s famous story. This is a spot for serious pub food, great drinks and good times.Read more

Slice of Life

Whether they’re seeking pizza for comfort, celebration or a quick something to eat, Wilmingtonians grab Slice of Life. The pizzeria is a Port City institution in business for more than 20 years and with four locations.
Get pies and slices however you like them. Twenty-five toppings include standard pepperoni and Italian sausage along with bacon, chicken, steak, pineapple, spinach, jalapenos, fresh basil, feta cheese and artichoke hearts. Dough made daily in-house produces crisp tender pizzas.Read more

Front Street Brewery

Happy faces at sidewalk tables and a tall, vertical, neon sign make Front Street Brewery one of Historic Downtown Wilmington’s most recognizable places. Seems everyone flocks to this distinctive, historic building for food, fun and some of the country’s finest craft beers as well as more than 70 premium and rare bourbons (in 2014, The American Bourbon Association ranked the pub as one of the United States’ “great bourbon bars”).
Brewmaster Kevin Kozak and team produce a changing array of micro-beers, some seasonal, some aged in bourbon or wine barrels, that have garnered national attention and gold medals. Flagship beers include light Coastal Kolsch, Port City IPA and the wildly popular Dram Tree Scottish Ale. Deep red and lightly hoppy, the latter is a natural with the kitchen’s Scottish ale barbecue ribs or sweet cinnamon doughnut bites.Read more

Rx Restaurant

Rx Restaurant in downtown Wilmington, at Castle and Fifth Streets, is a true farm-to-table experience. The name was inspired by the building’s former tenant, Hall’s Drug Store, one of Wilmington’s oldest businesses. A meal here feels and tastes good.
Chef James Doss, who grew up in North Carolina’s coastal plain, describes the cooking as “seasonally inspired, ingredient-driven, Southern cuisine.” He sources local produce, meat and seafood for the menu, which changes daily. You’ll see the names of farmers and fishermen in nearly every entrée description. Herbs are grown in the restaurant’s windowsills, and the kitchen makes everything from scratch, including biscuits, bacon jam, pimento cheese, Andouille sausage and the popular shrimp and grits with bacon, braised fennel, mushrooms, garlic, peppers and onions.Read more

Elijah’s

Elijah’s
Elijah’s is an American seafood grill and oyster bar that has been a mainstay in Historic Downtown Wilmington since 1984. Its building on Chandler’s Wharf was originally a maritime museum. Ship models, nautical artifacts and paintings depicting maritime history remain on display. A large deck facing the Cape Fear River and the pedestrian boardwalk named The Riverwalk is a wonderful spot for people-watching while enjoying drinks, lunch or dinner.
Seafood is the kitchen’s primary concentration. The famous creamy, cheesy, hot crab dip was requested for a North Carolina’s governor’s inauguration. Oysters come on the half shell, steamed, fried and Rockefeller-style. A Carolina Bucket is an abundant mix of steamed clams, mussels, shrimp, crab legs, sausage, new potatoes and corn on the cob. Seafood platters, grilled or fried, are buffets on a plate.Read more

Aubriana’s

One of downtown Wilmington’s most beautiful and most romantic restaurants, Aubriana’s features an American menu with European flair. Lovely as it is, friendly and welcoming defines this Front Street blessing, a couple blocks south of Market Street. It’s an out-of-the-way place worth finding.
The building has an interesting history (it has been a private residence and a mercantile store). Old brick work remains visible inside. What was once the horse-and-carriage area in back is a beautiful brick patio decorated with fresh herbs and flowers.
Whether you dine inside or out, native North Carolinian chef Tyson Amick and his brigade, one of the city’s best kitchen teams, present outstanding fare on a seasonally changing menu and a specials board that always impresses. Read more

Manna

The name of this downtown Wilmington restaurant is fitting. Manna (from Heaven) seems just right to describe the outstanding food, spot-on craft cocktails and swanky urban feel of this Princess Street spot between Front and Second streets. Billed as an American restaurant, chefs here have a wide range. They apply classic French technique to America’s melting pot of options in imaginative but not contrived ways. Nearly every ingredient is sourced from the United States, and much of what the kitchen uses is grown or raised locally. Everything is homemade. Chefs even churn the butter. Read more

Little Dipper

At 138 South Front Street,  find Little Dipper, the first Wilmington restaurant to offer tableside fondue. In 2011, the nationally-acclaimed restaurant website OpenTable.com named The Little Dipper one of America’s top 100 restaurants. Six cheese fondues are served. Diners get to choose the beer blended into Cheddar Ale Fondue, rich with sharp cheddar and Emmenthaler cheeses. Stella Artois is light in color and flavor, Yuengling produces a medium body and nutty flavor while Guinness imparts a full-flavored dark beer taste. Classic Swiss fondue also gets a twist. Read more

Fork ‘n’ Cork

Chef James Smith first grabbed Wilmington with his wildly popular burger truck named The Patty Wagon. When he traded in the truck for permanent gastropub digs on downtown Wilmington’s Market Street, fans got a full taste of his comfort food with a twist. His famous burgers as well as brisket and meatloaf sandwiches still populate the menu at Fork ‘n’ Cork, (gluten-free buns available), but think gastronomic experience rather than typical pub food at this oh-so-comfy restaurant.
The intimate, 36-seat space is all red brick, dark wood and artsy stained glass wall hangings. Scotch eggs and deep-fried, confit duck legs are famous here. Fans adore the mac ’n’ cheese creations. Read more

The George

Downtown Wilmington dining is at its best with a waterfront view. The George is one of the most beautiful places to dine along Cape Fear River. The covered deck is wide and cozy, with tables under an awning and in full sunshine, even heaters for chilly days. Watch sailboats breeze by and the most spectacular sunsets you can imagine as you enjoy Southern coastal cuisine featuring steaks, pasta, salads and, of course, fresh local seafood. Sip crisp, cool white wine while nibbling Cajun Angels – five jumbo shrimp wrapped in applewood smoked bacon and lightly blackened before being served atop jicama-apple slaw and fried rice noodles, all drizzled with red wine reduction. Read more

Pilot House

The Pilot House opened in 1978 and was the first restaurant in then-newly restored Chandler’s Wharf, a significant section of Wilmington’s port city industrial past. Initially, only salads and sandwiches were dispensed from a service window to customers who sat outdoors. Lots more delicious things have happened since an on-site kitchen was added in 1988.The restaurant specializes in Southern regional cuisine, traditional and with contemporary flair.
From-scratch dishes showcase fresh, local ingredients. Read more

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Hankering for a USDA Prime steak? Ruth’s Chris Steak House in downtown Wilmington’s Hilton Wilmington Riverside hotel is the place. Enjoy your favorite cut in the main dining room overlooking the Cape Fear River and the magnificent Battleship North Carolina. Selections include filet, strip, rib-eye, T-bone and a porterhouse for two.
The lamb, pork and veal chops are delectable. Seafood, including a huge, three-pound live Maine lobster, is available. Read more

Kilwin’s

Follow your nose to Kilwin’s Chocolates and Ice Cream, a Market Street sweets shop in the heart of downtown Wilmington. Fudge, kettle corn, nut brittles and waffle cones made on the premises emit sugary aromas. Just beyond the fudge factory, visible through the front window, fudge bricks in various flavors greet you near the door. Next is a line of chocolate candies and chocolate-dipped madness. Read more

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Wilmington Today is the premiere guidebook for visitors and newcomers to Wilmington and the surrounding areas. Owned, produced and published by locals who are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about Southeastern North Carolina, our website and publication features engaging writers who highlight all the area has to offer. Our full-color, hard cover book is placed throughout the coastal communities of Wilmington, Brunswick County, Topsail Island, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Figure Eight Island and more.

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