Discovering the culinary gems along the serene shores of Nags Head unveils a palate-pleasing journey, particularly when seeking the finest seafood delights that the Outer Banks have to offer. With an array of coastal eateries boasting flavors that tantalize taste buds, these reviews aim to uncover and celebrate the 10 best seafood establishments in Nags Head. From quaint seaside shacks to upscale dining destinations, each locale promises an unparalleled seafood experience that captures the essence of this charming beach town’s gastronomic prowess.
Reviews of the 10 best seafood in Nags Head
1.Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant – best seafood in Nags Head
Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant in Nags Head embodies a timeless charm and culinary excellence that has captivated patrons for decades. Steeped in tradition, this waterfront gem offers more than just a meal; it’s an experience steeped in nostalgia and the joy of savoring exquisite cuisine amidst stunning sunsets. Visiting since the ’80s, my wife and I have consistently relished our annual pilgrimage here, finding ourselves enamored by the magical ambiance and delectable offerings. Despite the bustling crowds and parking challenges, the anticipation builds as we receive a beeper to explore the property until our table is ready. The sight of the sunset over the Roanoke Sound, especially from a sound front table, is nothing short of breathtaking, instilling a sense of renewed youth and love in us, celebrating 49 years of marriage.
One consistent factor at Miller’s is the exceptional quality of their meals. The She Crab Bisque remains a must-order, complemented by unique drink choices like the triple jam cider and the locally recommended Wicked Weed Pernicious IPA draft. Chandler, our attentive and knowledgeable waitress, effortlessly guided us through the menu, enhancing our dining experience. Opting for the Filet Oscar, a dish fit for royalty, exceeded expectations with its flavorful Bearnaise sauce and perfectly blanched asparagus.
The Hush Puppies, a topic of conversation from a previous visit, are a testament to the culinary prowess here—warm, moist, and bursting with flavor, they’re worth every penny of the $4 charge. While acknowledging the restaurant’s overwhelming popularity, resulting in crowdedness and parking constraints, it’s evident that Miller’s success is both a blessing and a challenge. Nevertheless, the prices remain reasonable considering the exceptional quality of food and service.
Other diners echo our sentiments, emphasizing Miller’s signature dishes like the Fried Green Tomatoes, seafood entrees, and the fresh Fish of the Day. Despite occasional wait times, especially on busy evenings or weekends, the restaurant continues to draw admirers seeking not just a meal but an encounter with remarkable flavors in a vibrant, albeit noisy, setting.
For those seeking a quieter seaside experience, dining inside might be preferred, although it doesn’t detract from the impeccable service and the delicious meals that await. While the She Crab Soup might not rival Charleston’s, the freshness and flavors of dishes like the fried flounder with lump crab leave an indelible impression, beckoning a return visit.
In essence, Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant stands as a bastion of culinary excellence and seaside charm, where exceptional cuisine meets an ambiance that exudes both warmth and nostalgia. Despite the challenges posed by popularity, this establishment remains a beacon for those seeking a taste of coastal magic and superb dining on the Outer Banks.
Address: 6916 S Croatan Hwy, Nags Head, NC 27959, United States
Phone: +1 252-441-6151
2.Fish Heads Bar & Grill – best seafood in Nags Head
Nestled in the heart of Nags Head, Fish Heads Bar & Grill offers a quintessential Outer Banks dining experience. This seaside restaurant captivates patrons with its outstanding food, cozy ambiance, and breathtaking ocean views.
Patrons rave about the exceptional fish and chips, a standout dish that’s not only delicious but also reasonably priced, earning rightful acclaim among regulars and newcomers alike. The menu’s diversity shines through dishes like the tuna sandwich and fish basket, both delivering delightful flavors that please the palate.
Service is consistently highlighted as a standout feature. The staff’s friendliness and efficiency leave a lasting impression. Diners appreciate the attentiveness of the servers, who ensure that orders arrive promptly and piping hot. Regular check-ins ensure a comfortable and enjoyable dining experience for guests.
The restaurant’s prime location directly on the pier allows for mesmerizing ocean views, making every meal a scenic delight. Visitors are encouraged to savor their meals and then bask in the serene ocean breeze or even try their hand at fishing from the pier—an added bonus that adds to the overall charm of the place.
Repeat customers are a testament to the restaurant’s allure. Guests return year after year, drawn in by the easygoing atmosphere, friendly staff, and consistently good food. Whether indulging in starters like steamed shrimp or relishing in favorites such as NC BBQ pulled pork, coconut shrimp, or the delightful Key Lime Pie and PB pie, patrons find plenty to love about Fish Heads Bar & Grill.
While the restaurant doesn’t offer liquor, its extensive selection of draft beers and Prosecco ensures there’s something for everyone. However, parking might pose a challenge during peak times, a minor inconvenience in an otherwise outstanding dining experience.
In summary, Fish Heads Bar & Grill is a must-visit destination in the Outer Banks. With its delectable cuisine, friendly service, breathtaking views, and a relaxing atmosphere, it’s a spot that encapsulates the essence of a perfect seaside dining adventure.
Address: 8901 S Old Oregon Inlet Rd, Nags Head, NC 27959, United States
Phone: +1 252-441-5740
3.Owens’ Restaurant in Nags Head
Stepping into Owens’ Restaurant in Nags Head feels like entering a portal to the past, where the elegance of the 1940s remains preserved in every detail. This classic establishment exudes a unique charm, offering patrons a delightful experience that transcends time.
The decor and ambiance, reminiscent of its opening era in the 1940s, impart a sense of nostalgia and uniqueness that sets this place apart. The staff, dressed impeccably and welcoming, contribute significantly to the restaurant’s vintage aura. The unhurried pace of service allows diners to savor every moment, making the meal a true experience rather than just a dining occasion.
Guests often commend the exceptional quality of the food. From the homemade bread to the fresh fish and delectable desserts, every dish is prepared with utmost care, leaving patrons thoroughly satisfied. The rejuvenating feeling upon leaving—content and invigorated—is a testament to the restaurant’s ability to create memorable dining moments.
Despite an unconventional reservation policy, patrons laud the friendly professionalism of the hostess and the overall impressive service. The hush puppies, a standout item, come highly recommended by visitors, adding an extra layer of delight to the dining experience.
The tenure of the staff, exemplified by Desmond, speaks volumes about the restaurant’s commitment to providing exceptional service. Diners appreciate the dedication and expertise demonstrated by long-term employees, further enhancing the dining pleasure.
However, some guests express disappointment with the attire of certain patrons, feeling it clashed with the restaurant’s elegant ambiance. Despite this, the overall experience of enjoying sumptuous meals, like the tender and perfectly prepared ten-ounce tenderloin, remains a highlight for many.
For returning visitors, Owens’ Restaurant retains its allure and consistency. The accommodating nature of the staff, coupled with outstanding dishes like fried oysters and scallops, keeps drawing patrons back time and again. Even with potential slight price increases, the quality of service remains unwavering, ensuring a promise of a remarkable dining experience.
In essence, Owens’ Restaurant stands as a testament to tradition and quality in the heart of Nags Head. Its rich history, impeccable service, and exceptional cuisine make it a must-visit for those seeking an authentic and timeless culinary journey.
Address: 7114 S Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC 27959, United States
Phone: +1 252-441-7309
4.Tortugas Lie – best seafood in Nags Head
Tortugas Lie in Nags Head is more than just a restaurant; it’s an experience that encapsulates the vibrant essence of the Outer Banks. Frequented by locals and tourists alike, this spot promises a lively atmosphere, exceptional food, and dedicated service.
For many, a visit to Tortugas Lie is a celebration, be it for birthdays or simply the joy of a beautiful day at OBX. Despite the wait during peak seasons, the rear bar area becomes an extension of the fun, offering drinks, appetizers, and games like cornhole to pass the time. Live music adds to the ambiance, enhancing the overall experience.
The standout feature of Tortugas Lie is its exceptional service, with staff members like Holly going above and beyond to ensure a pleasant dining experience. Accommodating food allergies and providing helpful suggestions, Holly’s attentiveness stands out and contributes significantly to the restaurant’s stellar reputation.
The food, undoubtedly a highlight, receives consistent praise. From fantastic fish tacos to delectable black bean and fish burritos, the menu offers a diverse array of mouthwatering options. The quality of dishes like the jerk burger, steamed shrimp, and flavorful rice garners rave reviews, making every item a delightful choice.
While popularity has led to increased wait times, the swift service ensures that once seated, orders are promptly delivered. Guests also appreciate the provision of cool drinks for kids, adding to the family-friendly appeal of the restaurant.
The lively ambiance does come with a trade-off – the noise level can be quite high, making it challenging for intimate conversations. However, the bustling energy of the place contributes to its charm. Outside seating offers a slightly quieter option and tends to fill up quickly.
Staff efficiency is notable, although the busy environment might limit casual interaction. Despite this, guests appreciate the attentive service and commendable efficiency, with mentions of excellent service from staff members like Dave the bartender.
In conclusion, Tortugas Lie stands as a vibrant and inviting spot in Nags Head, offering delicious food, a lively atmosphere, and dedicated service. While wait times can be lengthy and the noise level high, the overall experience is a testament to why this restaurant remains a favorite among both locals and visitors to the area.
Address: 3016 S Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC 27959, United States
Phone: +1 252-441-7299
5.The Dunes Restaurant – best seafood in Nags Head
Nestled in the heart of Nags Head, The Dunes Restaurant stands as a beacon of exceptional service and mouthwatering cuisine, drawing patrons in for delightful breakfasts and delectable dinners.
For many, breakfast at The Dunes is an essential part of their OBX experience. Despite a short wait, guests find the service impeccable. Dishes arrive promptly, steaming hot, showcasing the kitchen’s efficiency. Ayrar, a standout server, leaves a lasting impression with attentive service and a welcoming demeanor, making guests feel right at home.
Dinner experiences vary, yet the consistent element is the quality of service. Despite a miscommunication during a large group visit, the staff swiftly adjusted, ensuring a seamless dining experience. Quick service, even amidst challenges, and genuine care are hallmarks of their commitment to guest satisfaction.
The breakfast menu impresses with its array of delights, from omelettes to eggs Benedict, waffles, and pancakes, all prepared with quality ingredients. While the hash browns might not suit every palate due to the presence of onions, the freshness and overall quality of the dishes elevate the dining experience.
For dinner, The Dunes continues to charm. Patrons rave about the excellent food selection, be it the fried chicken or the shrimp, emphasizing the deliciousness of every dish. The 1/2 lb of steamed spiced shrimp receives commendation as a delightful appetizer choice.
Highlighting the experience is Ayrar G.’s attentive service, noted for going above and beyond to ensure guests’ needs are met promptly and with a friendly demeanor. His commitment to customer satisfaction adds to the overall positive dining experience.
Guests appreciate not only the food but also the ambiance and decor of the restaurant, adding to the overall pleasant dining environment. The friendly staff consistently receive high praise for their warmth and attentiveness.
In conclusion, The Dunes Restaurant stands out in Nags Head as a place where exceptional service, scrumptious food, and a welcoming atmosphere converge. With a commitment to customer satisfaction and an impressive menu, it’s a must-visit spot for both breakfast and dinner, promising a delightful culinary journey with every visit.
Address: 7013 S Croatan Hwy, Nags Head, NC 27959, United States
Phone: +1 252-441-1600
6.Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe in Nags Head
Nestled amidst the charms of the Outer Banks, Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe stands tall as a beacon of exceptional dining experiences. For many, it’s a breath of fresh air, marking a standout in a sea of eateries with its impeccable service and delectable offerings.
The journey at Basnight’s begins with a warm welcome from their attentive staff. Guests commend the remarkable service, where names like Rachel, Sarah, Riley, and Jeff stand out for their charm, attentiveness, and commitment to ensuring a delightful dining experience. Their dedication to service amplifies the overall atmosphere of hospitality that Basnight’s aims to deliver.
The culinary voyage here is nothing short of extraordinary. Diners are treated to a variety of delightful dishes, from the renowned crab dip that surpasses expectations to sumptuous soups like the She Crab and French Onion, leaving taste buds tingling with delight. The seared tuna and scallops earn rightful acclaim for their outstanding flavors and freshness, pleasing even the most discerning palates.
The interaction with Vickie, the owner, demonstrates the establishment’s commitment to personal connections and guest satisfaction, leaving patrons feeling valued and appreciated. The attention to detail and genuine care from the staff, paired with the exceptional quality of the cuisine, showcases why Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe remains a staple for many returning visitors to the OBX.
While the ambiance might not be classified as overly fancy, its upscale feel resonates through the service, quality of dishes, and the well-kept grounds. The establishment’s dedication to maintaining a welcoming and inviting atmosphere reflects the pride taken by the owners in their business.
For seasoned visitors to the Outer Banks, Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe remains a consistent choice, offering not just great food but a personalized experience that transcends the ordinary. From the delectable scallops and cheese grit cake to the engaging presence of Lucy and Ricky, the resident ospreys, the restaurant provides an unparalleled dining spectacle.
In conclusion, Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe stands as a shining star among OBX dining establishments, offering exceptional food, remarkable service, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. For anyone seeking an unforgettable dining experience in the Outer Banks, Basnight’s is an absolute must-visit destination.
Address: 7623 S Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC 27959, United States
Areas served: 27959
Phone: +1 252-441-5405
7.Blue Moon Beach Grill – best seafood in Nags Head
Nestled in Nags Head, the Blue Moon Beach Grill is a gastronomic delight that beckons with its diverse menu, vibrant atmosphere, and exceptional service, making it a must-visit for visitors and locals alike.
Upon arrival, the warmth of the staff sets the tone for an inviting dining experience. Even during peak hours, the wait staff adeptly navigates the bustling environment, ensuring guests feel attended to and well-informed. From the community table camaraderie to the attentive service provided by servers like Cori and Colby, the hospitality elevates the dining experience.
The menu showcases an array of culinary treasures. From wings and craft beers to exquisite dishes like the “to die for” ceviche, mussels, pork belly end pieces, and the delectable shrimp and grits, every bite is a flavorful adventure. Guests rave about the impeccable taste and presentation, accentuating the restaurant’s commitment to culinary excellence.
The newly built establishment, boasting a beautiful backyard setting and an outdoor bar, adds to the allure. While the ambiance impresses, some patrons express concerns about the acoustics, which can dampen conversations during busier times. However, the quality of food and the inviting community table atmosphere mitigate this issue for many.
While the restaurant has expanded to accommodate more guests, maintaining its popularity, some reviews express disappointment regarding perceived changes in staff demeanor compared to the previous location. However, standout servers like Alexis continue to shine, leaving patrons delighted with their friendly and attentive service.
The variety and quality of dishes cater to diverse palates, offering options like crispy Brussels sprouts with apples and goat cheese, shrimp & grits, salmon over risotto, mahi tacos, and even a delightful cheesesteak for the younger guests. The consensus among diners is the exceptional quality and taste of the meals, making it a standout experience among their OBX visits.
Despite some concerns raised about certain responses to reviews, which seemed to be from the owner and were perceived as sarcastic, the overall experience of dining at Blue Moon Beach Grill remains stellar, with patrons returning for its tantalizing menu offerings and welcoming service.
In conclusion, Blue Moon Beach Grill stands tall as a culinary haven in Nags Head, offering a diverse menu, attentive service, and delightful flavors that captivate taste buds, making it a top recommendation for anyone seeking a memorable dining experience in the Outer Banks.
Address: 102 E Dove St, Nags Head, NC 27959, United States
Phone: +1 252-261-2583
8.Lucky 12 Tavern – best seafood in Nags Head
Nestled in Nags Head, Lucky 12 Tavern stands out as a local favorite, enticing patrons with its delightful menu, attentive service, and a vibrant, welcoming atmosphere that keeps guests coming back for more.
For many, discovering Lucky 12 Tavern is a fortunate find, especially during busy hours. The six of us were promptly seated in the bar area, where the drinks were top-notch and the food surpassed expectations. The Oyster Po Boy, a standout dish, boasted fat, sweet oysters fried to perfection, accompanied by crispy yet slightly thicker fries that pleased the entire group. The seafood selections were a hit, leaving everyone thoroughly satisfied. The efficient service and the absence of kids in the area added to the pleasant dining experience.
Consistency is key at Lucky 12, evident during a busy Tuesday lunch. The attentive waitress efficiently handled a group with diverse menu preferences, making substitutions seamlessly. The Southwestern Salad with grilled tuna, a personalized choice, showcased the restaurant’s commitment to accommodating customer requests. Freshness permeated every dish, from salads to soft shell crab specials, highlighting the quality of the food and the attentive service.
The charm of Lucky 12 extends beyond its excellent cuisine and service, especially during the festive season. Jingle 12, its December-themed setup, offers a unique experience adorned with vintage Christmas decorations handpicked by the owner. The private Igloos, Ice Fishing Hut, and Ski Lodge Hut in the backyard add an extra layer of enjoyment, complemented by a special Christmas menu and drinks. Patrons relish the festive vibe and the owner’s generous spirit, offering candy and enhancing the joyful ambiance.
Even during an impromptu visit for lunch, Lucky 12 proved to be a delightful surprise. The fun and friendly atmosphere set the stage for enjoyable meals, with a California Cheeseburger and a flounder filet platter leaving a favorable impression. The accommodating waitress ensured a pleasant dining experience, further solidifying the decision to return.
While some reviews express concerns about crowds, the bustling atmosphere at Lucky 12 seems to add to its charm, with the staff, including the hostess and the owner, pitching in to ensure every guest feels welcomed and catered to.
In conclusion, Lucky 12 Tavern shines brightly as a local gem in Nags Head, offering fantastic food, attentive service, and a festive atmosphere that captivates guests year-round, making it a must-visit for those seeking a delightful and enjoyable dining experience in the Outer Banks.
Address: 3308 S Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC 27959, United States
Phone: +1 252-255-5825
9.Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar & Grill in Nags Head
Nestled in Nags Head, Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar & Grill stands out as a tropical haven, offering delectable dishes, a vibrant atmosphere, and exceptional service that transports diners to a vacation paradise.
From the moment patrons step in, Mama Kwan’s exudes a vacation vibe. The Garbage Plate and Mama’s Hawaiian Pork were exceptional choices, delivering bites of perfection, while the blackened Fish Tacos impressed with their flavor and perfect seasoning. Complementing the meal, the Hawaiian iced coffee was a delightful treat. The tropical ambiance further enhanced the experience, creating a sense of being in a local hangout with a vacation feel.
For returning visitors, Mama Kwan’s holds a special place, consistently delivering memorable experiences over the years. The ginger shrimp appetizer stood out as a unique and flavorful delight, setting the tone for a fantastic dining experience. The blackened fish tacos left a lasting impression, earning high praise as possibly the best in the OBX, testament to the restaurant’s culinary expertise. While popularity brings longer wait times during peak seasons, the fall season offers a perfect opportunity to savor the dining experience without the crowds.
The groovy vibe and friendly bartenders make dining at the bar a preferred choice. Patrons relish the warm hospitality and flavorful options like Mama’s Garbage Plate, catering to varying tastes and preferences. The accommodating staff adds to the overall positive experience, providing friendly answers to inquiries and ensuring a memorable visit.
Visitors are consistently impressed by the flavorful wraps, abundant in meat and enhanced by teriyaki seasoning, complemented by perfectly cooked fries. The excellent service during a less busy time exemplifies the restaurant’s dedication to providing a pleasant dining experience, leaving first-time visitors eager for a return visit.
Mama Kwan’s strikes a balance between a sports bar atmosphere and a tropical paradise. The congenial staff, a mix of locals and tourists, create a welcoming environment, ideal for enjoying delicacies like the Mahi Fish Tacos, which are served in a unique DIY style, ensuring freshness and a personalized touch to each bite.
In conclusion, Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar & Grill is a culinary gem in Nags Head, offering delightful dishes, a relaxed ambiance, and welcoming service, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a taste of the tropics and a memorable dining experience in the Outer Banks.
Address: 1701 S Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948, United States
Phone: +1 252-441-7889
10.Goombays Grille & Raw Bar in Nags Head
Nestled in Nags Head, Goombays Grille & Raw Bar is a hidden culinary gem, captivating locals and visitors alike with its delectable dishes, vibrant beachy atmosphere, and exceptional service that exceeds expectations.
The recommendation from a local led us to a delightful dining experience. The Jazzy Chicken and Cabernet shrimp were exceptional dishes, highlighting the excellence of the kitchen. The beans and rice paired perfectly with the chicken, while the abundance of perfectly cooked shrimp and garlic sauce in the Cabernet shrimp left a lasting impression. The friendly and attentive servers added to the positive dining experience, making us wish we lived closer to indulge in their flavors regularly.
The surprise of excellent food at the bar exceeded expectations. The Tuna Oscar and Seafood Kingston showcased the restaurant’s culinary prowess, surpassing meals from even upscale establishments. Despite the casual beachy ambiance, the quality of the food and service proved outstanding, offering great value for money.
Opting for lunch proved to be a delightful choice, with the Oyster Basket and Mahi fish fingers delivering scrumptious flavors. Plentiful portions of oysters and delicious cole slaw made the meal memorable, while the light batter on the entrees added a delightful touch. The warm and friendly staff further enhanced the lunchtime experience.
Returning guests experienced exceptional service and flexibility in menu choices. The off-menu Coconut Shrimp Dinner, Coconut Shrimp Salad, and Al-E-Gator showcased the restaurant’s willingness to accommodate guest preferences. The prompt food preparation, attentive service, and a manager ensuring guest satisfaction contributed to a pleasant dining atmosphere.
With a quaint interior, Goombays Grille & Raw Bar might have a wait, but it’s undoubtedly worth it. The Alligator bites and Oysters stood out as great starters, while the attentive bartenders ensured guests enjoyed their waiting time. The recommendation to visit in smaller groups for a shorter wait, coupled with the bartender’s attentive service, further emphasizes the dedication to guest satisfaction.
In summary, Goombays Grille & Raw Bar stands out as a must-visit culinary destination in Nags Head, offering outstanding food, a lively atmosphere, and exceptional service that consistently impresses patrons, making it a highly recommended spot for a memorable dining experience in the Outer Banks.
Address: 1608 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948, United States
Phone: +1 252-441-6001