Southern Sandi’s Top 5 Seafood Restaurants

by May 16, 2024Restaurants & Bars, Southern Sandi, The Blog

Explore Southern Sandi’s top 5 seafood restaurants in Wilmington, NC.

It’s no secret that Wilmington is a sea-foodie town. The city is home to many delicious restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisines utilizing our water’s freshest bounty of seafood. Here are my Top 5 Seafood Restaurants — in no particular order, just five of my favorites!

Cape Fear Seafood Company
Cape Fear Seafood Company is a local chain with locations in Monkey Junction, Porters Neck and Leland and with its sights set for Southport. They have a large menu, and one of my favorite dishes is the Figure 8 Stuffed Flounder in which two roulades of flounder are stuffed with premium crab then baked and topped with a silky beurre blanc. They also offer some of the most delicately fried or broiled seafood platters with all the fixin’s. This is a great date spot with a large open interior, and the dishes are always consistent at a fair price.

Cape Fear Seafood

Catch Restaurant
Catch is an upscale hidden gem located on Market Street in an unassuming strip plaza. Chef Keith Rhodes is an accomplished restaurateur with many accolades. He prepares modern Southern seafood cuisine with an international flair from coast to table. The grilled octopus starter is among my favorite dishes of all time, while the Drunken Angry Lobster has an equally appealing presentation as it does taste. The award-winning jumbo lump crab cakes will make this one of your regular stops with moderate pricing. You can tell when you step inside the door that you are in a place that is frequented by locals. Catch Restaurant also has a food truck that can be seen around town at bottle shops, events and breweries.

Catch Wilmington NC

Seabird is a fine dining experience with exceptionally artistic dishes. The attention to detail is evident with each plate served. The raw and baked oysters are served with a homemade seaweed mignonette, sambal cocktail and seasoned baked crackers — I get six every time I visit. The cioppino is full of fresh clams, hogfish, shrimp and scallops swimming in a savory rouille. Their Seasonal Seafood Tower comes with an abundance of seafood and a jaw-dropping presentation intended to share. Most of the dishes are unique in component combinations, colors, vinaigrettes, glazes and herbed garnishes. The interior has an airy, beachy vibe in the heart of Downtown Wilmington. Reservations are suggested, although I have never been able to walk in without one, and prices are comparable for a fine dining experience.

Seabird Photography by Leigh Roberts

Photography by Leigh Roberts

Seaview Crab Company
Seaview Crab Company deals directly with the fishermen, so it does not get any fresher than this. They supply many area restaurants with seafood as well as the community and tourists with fresh uncooked seafood from their numerous markets. This is my go-to place to get raw oysters, local shrimp, whole fish and live crabs to cook for my family. However, they are not just a wholesale and fresh seafood market; they also have a kitchen and food truck with food at exceptional price points. The kitchen is in Downtown Wilmington, and the menu changes daily (depending on the season and what is being caught). The food truck can be seen at various events and breweries and regularly at their Carolina Beach Road location. The poke bowls and seafood salads are among my favorite dishes and are often offered with various sauces, seasonings, toppings and spreads and accompanied by unique sides. With the creativity and colors of each dish, you forget you are standing in a fish market or outside a food truck.

Seaview Crab Photography by Laura Glantz

Photography by Laura Glantz

Michael’s Seafood
Michael’s Seafood is located on Carolina Beach right over the bridge. This restaurant has a laid-back, beach-life feel where sandy feet are welcome. Captain M’s Seafood Chowder is an award-winning chowder that you must try. Typically, I will buy a few pints of the chowder to take home and freeze — it’s so good. Their shrimp tacos are deliciously simple and fresh with only a few ingredients. I like the customizable options on their seafood dishes in which you pick your seafood option and then pick your preparation preference (picatta, blackened, scampi, island, etc.) But never ask for it to be fried. Pricing is reasonable, and the atmosphere is always fun. Michael’s also caters for large events and parties and has a food truck that can been seen around the island.

Michael's Seafood

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