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7 of the Best Places to Eat on Emerald Isle

Of all the things to do during your stay with Spinnaker’s Reach, enjoying a delicious meal is one of our favorites! There’s no better way to get to know the Crystal Coast than to try the food that defines this region. And when you spend time surfing, fishing, or exploring our stunning island, getting a good meal is essential! From the seafood restaurants in Emerald Isle, NC, to the oceanfront bars, there’s a little bit of everything here. We’re here to give you the inside scoop on the best places to eat on Emerald Isle. 
While you’re enjoying the best places to eat on Emerald Isle, take some time to explore the rest of the Crystal Coast! Take a look at our Things to do List to get suggestions for great fishing spots, places to rent scuba gear, family-friendly water parks! It’s easy to explore the 12 miles of untouched shoreline of the Crystal Coast with our curated list. 

See More Things to Do

Discover the Best Places to Eat on Emerald Isle 

Willis Seafood Market

Commonly regarded by locals as the best fish market in the area, Willis Seafood Market stocks incredible shrimp, crab, and many varieties of fish. Make sure you get the crab cakes when you visit; they’re legendary around these parts! For dessert, try the key lime pie. Willis Seafood Market is located about 10 minutes from Emerald Isle in Salter Path, NC.


If you’re looking for an upscale restaurant, visit Caribsea, one of the new restaurants on Emerald Isle, NC. It serves modern coastal cuisine and is the perfect spot for a date night. This isn’t just your classic surf and turf menu. Chef Patrick Hogan utilizes sustainable local seafood and prime Angus beef that has been aged in-house to create spectacular meals. Whether you’d like your meats expertly cooked or served raw in ceviche or tartar, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Caribsea in Emerald Isle, NC.

The Trading Post

The Trading Post in Emerald Isle, NC, serves up classic Southern dishes using fresh, local seafood. If you’ve never tried hushpuppies, fried green tomatoes, or fried pickles, you need to stop by The Trading Post. And those are just the appetizers! Try the fried chicken or the low country boil for dinner, which comes with crab legs, shrimp, clams, corn-on-the-cob, potatoes, and andouille sausage.

Flipperz Family Grill

The name doesn’t lie! Flipperz Family Bar & Grill is a fun time for the whole gang. With live performances almost every week and a menu packed with plenty of options, there’s something for everyone here. As any parent to a picky eater will tell you, this is an essential feature of family restaurantsSo, while Flipperz is known for its incredible seafood, you can also order burgers, spaghetti, hot dogs, or even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the little ones! For adults, the drink menu is fantastic. If you want a taste of the South, try the Flippin’ Sweet Tea. It’s Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea vodka with lemonade, served in a mason jar.

Rucker Johns Restaurant

Rucker Johns Restaurant is putting a new twist on some classic dishes! An excellent example of this is the shrimp and grits, a Southern favorite. Rucker Johns’ version includes a Parmesan garlic sauce and is finished with tomatoes, mushrooms, and applewood bacon. If you want to try something a little sweet and a little spicy, order the hickory-seared tuna: a seared filet of yellowfin tuna dusted with a hickory molasses spice blend and served with a honey-citrus dipping sauce.

The Village Market

If you’re looking for a great lunch in Emerald Isle, head to The Village Market. This gourmet deli and sandwich shop serves a wide variety of hot and cold sandwiches, soups, salads, wraps, as well as a full breakfast menu and great coffee!

Lazzara’s Pizza and Subs

Once you’ve had your fill of seafood and steaks, head to Lazzara’s Pizza and Subs for a laid-back Italian meal. The pizza at Lazzara’s is the real deal. It is made using all-natural ingredients with no additives, preservatives, or artificial coloring, plus 100% real cheese and dough made fresh daily. In addition, you’ll also find delicious calzones, Stromboli, and sub sandwiches.

Make a Homecooked Meal at a Spinnaker’s Reach Vacation Home

If you’re a home chef, then one of the best places to eat on Emerald Isle is going to be in your vacation rental from Spinnaker’s Reach! Each of our homes comes with a roomy kitchen, so you’ll be able to whip up a delicious feast for the whole family. Plus, you can have groceries delivered right to your front door before you even arrive. A vacation means it’s time to kick back and relax, and there’s no better place to do just that than in a rental home from Spinnaker’s Reach! 

Browse our complete selection of vacation rentals and book today! We look forward to having you.

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