Our Favorite Waterfront Restaurants

by Jan 25, 2018Greater Cape Fear, The Blog

The breeze, the view, and the scent of salt spray–we all love to dine at the waterfront! The fresh air whets our appetites and it’s a pleasure to linger with a drink after our meal.

It’s hard to choose the best waterfront restaurants, because each has its own ambience and flavor. But here are a few of our favorite waterfront restaurants in the Wilmington, NC area:

Smoke on the Water

Smoke on the Water in Wilmington NC

Smoke on the Water in Wilmington NC serves excellent seafood and burgers.

Traditional American and seafood items fill a menu that offers smoked chicken wings, ribs, and prime rib as well burgers and seafood. The setting is on the Cape Fear River with a peaceful, idyllic view and a great wine list.


An expanded pier reaches out over the beach to seat diners with an unimpeded waterfront view of Wrightsville Beach. Enjoy coastal cuisine at the Atlantic Ocean in three floors of indoor space too. Sunday brunch is served 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

South Beach Grill

South Beach Grill in Wrightsville Beach NC

South Beach Grill in Wrightsville Beach NC specializes in local produce and seafood.

Southern-inspired, locally-sourced cuisine is served on a covered patio overlooking Banks Channel at Wrightsville Beach. Public docks are available for boaters. Don’t miss the ever-changing chalkboard specials featuring seasonal fresh catches.

Daddy Mac’s


This Topsail favorite has a sweeping oceanfront view! Seafood specials include favorite standbys like shrimp, mahi mahi, and crab cakes. There are daily specials and plenty for the landlubber palate too. Brunch begins at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

Bluewater Waterfront Grill

Bluewater waterfront dining

Situated on Intracoastal Waterway, the Bluewater offers daily sunset views over the waterfront. Sample fresh coastal cuisine such as crab-stuffed salmon and Flounder Piccata, and sip a handcrafted cocktail or a varietal from the wine list.


Elijah's restaurant in downtown Wilmington NC

Elijah’s restaurant in downtown Wilmington NC has a deck overlooking the Cape Fear River.

This casual downtown eatery with a wide patio overlooking the Cape Fear River is a downtown Wilmington standby. Try the raw bar or hot oyster bar or the Mango Habanero Scallops. There’s steak and pasta for those who don’t love seafood.

Pilot House

The Pilot House Restaurant in downtown Wilmington NC

The deck at The Pilot House Restaurant in downtown Wilmington NC is a beautiful setting for cocktails and dinner.

This institution on the Cape Fear River offers waterfront dining and a sunset river view. Dine indoors, on the patio, or on the covered porch. Shellfish options include oysters and a steam pot, or choose a North Carolina Herb Flounder or a yummy Carolina Bisque as well as sandwiches and meats.

Holiday Inn Resort Dining

holiday inn resort wrightsville beach

Patio dining at Holiday nn Resort in Wrightsville Beach

Stop in to the Holiday Inn Wrightsville Beach to check out Oceans, specializing in delicious Southern cuisine and local seafood, and offering indoor and outdoor oceanfront dining with an amazing view. Don’t forget the Lazy Daze Bar and Grill, located poolside and serving burgers, sandwiches and salads.

Shell Island Resort

Shell Island Resort restaurant in Wrightsville Beach serves great food

Shell Island Resort restaurant in Wrightsville Beach serves great food

Enjoy reasonably priced, standard American cuisine with seafood specialties in a relaxed setting with indoor and outdoor seating and a gorgeous oceanfront view. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don’t miss the Shrimp and Grits!

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