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 really no better way to get to know us 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 important! 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! Download our free Vacation Guide 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 handy Vacation Guide.

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 a ceviche or a 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! For dinner, try the fried chicken or the low country boil, which comes with crab legs, shrimp, clams, corn-on-the-cob, potatoes, and andouille sausage.

Icehouse Waterfront Restaurant

Enjoy dinner with a view at the Icehouse Waterfront Restaurant. Choose from a wide selection of incredible seafood, like calamari, rare-seared tuna tataki, or hot crab dip. Stop by on Sunday morning for the classic brunch. If you’ve never tried grits before, make sure to order them here. They are a Southern staple.

Grab a Drink!

Goose Creek Growler

If you’re just looking for a drink, stop by Goose Creek Growler’s Emerald Isle Taproom. Enjoy a glass or two of the many incredible craft beers available and pick up a growler for home. Some of the beers are locally made, like the Weeping Willow Wit or the Hoptimist IPA. No matter your preference, you’re sure to find something at Goose Creek Growler.

Island Time Tavern

There’s always something fun happening every week at Island Time Tavern. Whether you’d like to put your trivia knowledge to the test at Trivia Night every Monday or show off your pipes at karaoke every Thursday, you’re sure to have a great time. Grab a snack and enjoy the 13 craft beers on tap.

The Carolina Wine Mixer

If you’d rather purchase a bottle of wine or some craft beer to take back with you, stop by The Carolina Wine Mixer. With over 108 different vineyards and 60 breweries featured on the shelves, you won’t have trouble finding something to try! Not sure what you’d like? The staff at The Carolina Wine Mixer is well-trained and can help point you in the right direction.

Stay at a Spinnaker’s Reach Vacation Home

Now that you know about all the best places to eat on Emerald Isle, it’s time to take a look at the best places to stay on the Crystal Coast. Spinnaker’s Reach has a wide selection of beautiful vacation rental homes from which to choose. If you know which section of Emerald Isle you’d like to stay, use our property map to find the ideal home.

Have you seen the gorgeous Pineapple Palace? This incredible retreat is worthy of its name. This is the ideal home for a vacation with the extended family. It features four floors, with five bedrooms and five bathrooms. There is a private pool on the property and convenient access to the beach via golf cart.

Be sure to contact us with any questions and book your Emerald Isle vacation today!