As more and more people get interested in trying out new meals and discovering other cultures, gastronomic tourism is becoming a more popular trend in the travel industry.
North Carolina’s port city of Wilmington is renowned for serving as a gateway to Cape Fear Coast beaches.
With a 2019 estimated population of 119,045, it is the eighth most populous city in the state and the principal city of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes New Hanover and Pender counties in southeastern North Carolina.
The pinnacle of good eating is frequently thought to be fine dining. In a Wilmington dining environment, food is not just fuel but also an artistic creation to be experienced and appreciated.
The burgeoning food scene in Wilmington offers a wide range of cuisines. Everything is available in the city, including chic cafes and fantastic seafood stands.
Would you like to know the best restaurants in Wilmington, NC? Below is a perfect list.
Best Restaurants in Wilmington
1. Genki Sushi
Genki Sushi is Wilmington’s best and solely authentic sushi bar and restaurant. The food at this restaurant is prepared using only the finest, freshest ingredients, and everything they offer is made using the best ingredients.
Chef Danny has dedicated his life to perfecting the true art of making genuine Japanese sushi and cuisine because he is passionate about food. At Genki, they are committed to giving Wilmington the best possible Japanese experience and the freshest, highest-quality ingredients.
At Genki Sushi, you can dine indoors and enjoy your meal in a warm and relaxed atmosphere, or you can carry your food out as a takeaway option. Curbside pickup is also available in this establishment.
Since 1998, Genki Sushi has provided authentic Japanese cuisine like sushi, sashimi, ikura salmon roe with quail egg, udon, and chirasi to Wilmington and the surrounding communities. At Genki, you’ll get a genuine taste of Japanese culture.
Genki Sushi welcomes customers on Tuesdays to Sundays from 11:30 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm.
Address: 4724 New Centre Dr #5, Wilmington, NC 28405, United States. Phone: +1 910-796-8687.
Do not be fooled by the Savorez’s diminutive stature or modest brick facade; the restaurant is bubbling with prominent, robust flavors and kind staff members eager to indulge you inside.
The name of this Wilmington restaurant is a dead giveaway. The Spanish term Sabores, which means tastes, evolved into Savorez. The vivid flavors and eye-catching food of Latin cultures serve as an inspiration to the staff here.
Savorez’s mission is as straightforward as providing a dynamic atmosphere and great food to pique your senses. Their services are fast and efficient, they offer healthy and vegan options, and you can enjoy your meals in the restaurant or have them packaged for you.
Chef Sam Cahoon has perfected his cooking style while sourcing regionally and being true to his North Carolinian background. His exquisitely prepared meals, including tostadas, huevos rancheros, seared tuna, and fish tacos, are a southern homage to Latin flavors.
Only premium ingredients and freshly squeezed juices create their beautifully made cocktails. The wine list features ever-changing choices of wines from diverse nations, regions, and grape varieties.
Savorez is open Mondays through Fridays from 11:30 am to 10 pm, on Saturdays from noon to 10 pm, and on Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm.
Address: 402 Chestnut St #4026, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States. Phone: +1 910-833-8894.
3. Pinpoint Restaurant
Food at PinPoint Restaurant is firmly steeped in customs and culinary practices. As far as possible, the cuisine uses seasonal ingredients produced locally by farmers, fishermen, oystermen, and crabbers in Wilmington.
In the center of Wilmington’s downtown, only a block from the Cape Fear River, the Pinpoint Restaurant opened its doors in the spring of 2015. This establishment prioritizes its customers’ needs and therefore provides all wheelchair-accessible services.
You can either dine in or take your food out on the go. Either way, you are guaranteed to have a wonderful eating experience.
They serve beef tartare, heritage pork chop, cheesecake, baked oysters, charcuterie plates, fried green tomatoes, and a farm cheese omelet.
The eatery was featured on The Best Thing I Ever Ate in 2018 after being voted one of Southern Living Magazine’s top new eateries in the South in 2016.
They are open weekdays from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm and weekends from 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm.
Address: 114 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States. Phone: +1 910-769-2972.
4. The Basics
The Basics is a premier fine dining destination in the heart of downtown Wilmington. The restaurant offers a unique dining experience focusing on simplicity and seasonality.
Apart from the dine-in and takeaway option, The Basics also offers a fast and reliable delivery service, which is an excellent option for those who do not want to leave their homes.
All of the meal selections available at the restaurant, including Southern Benedict, fried green tomatoes, spinach dip, southern Cobb salad, spinach feta dish, and filet mignon, are made with the utmost care and attention to detail.
From the magnificent decor to the flawless service, this fine dining is among the best Wilmington restaurants and provides a memorable experience.
The Basics operates daily from 8 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm.
Address: 319 N Front St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States. Phone: +1 910-343-1050.
5. Indochine Restaurant
Indochine is an upscale Vietnamese and Thai eatery and one of the best places to eat in Wilmington, NC. The restaurant is renowned for its artistic and delicious presentation of traditional and contemporary Vietnamese cuisine.
This restaurant is dedicated to upholding a constant high standard for the cleanliness, quality, nutrition, and presentation of the exquisite cuisine they provide.
Their philosophy of providing “nutriceutical” cuisine emphasizes the health-promoting and therapeutic advantages of good meals that are rich in fiber and vital minerals and are accompanied by an abundance of fresh vegetables and herbs.
Depending on your group size and your demands, Indochine also offers a variety of meeting and banquet spaces. You can enjoy your meals at the outdoor seating, dine indoors, opt for the takeout option, go for the curbside pickup, or order online and have your food delivered.
Your eating experience at Indochine will be all-encompassing with menu options like fried green tomatoes, Thai food, pad ki mao, papaya salad, red curry chicken, mango with sticky rice, and drunken noodles.
Indochine opens Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 10 pm; on Saturdays, they operate from noon to 3 pm and 5 pm to 10 pm; and on Saturdays and Sundays, they are open from 5 pm to 10 pm.
Address: 7 Wayne Dr, Wilmington, NC 28403, United States. Phone: +1 910-251-9229.
6. Circa 1922
Circa 1922, a fantastic Wilmington restaurant, bases its menu on the idea that classic foods may be made more contemporary.
With a constantly changing seasonal menu, they emphasize the freshest ingredients, specialty meats, and nice flavors. The chefs at Circa take great satisfaction in using only the best ingredients to create each dish.
By working together with neighbors, they highlight the best aspects of the area and let each dining occasion highlight the distinctive flavors that the region has to offer. Dine indoors at Circa 1922, or enjoy the sun at their outdoor seating as you eat.
Circa also offers takeaway options for customers who are in a hurry.
Fresh ingredients, in Circa’s opinion, only serve to improve the finished product. They not only prepare meals like crab dip, cobia tartare, seafood paella, and salads from scratch but also buy their ingredients from the finest local fishmongers and farmers.
Circa brings the cleanest fruits and fish, taking delight in the area’s abundance. As a coastal city, the seafood for this restaurant is delivered by local vendors straight off the boat.
Circa 1922 operates on weekdays from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm and on weekends from 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm.
Address: 8 N Front St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States. Phone: +1 910-762-1922.
7. Paddy’s Hollow Restaurant and Pub
Paddy’s Hollow Restaurant and Pub is known for its fine dining experience, as well as its extensive menu of American cuisine.
The restaurant is a well-liked hangout for residents and tourists due to its extensive wine and beer selection. Here, you can make payments with debit and credit cards, eat in or go for the takeaway dining option.
Paddy’s features Guinness French onion soup, crab dip, Reuben sandwiches, wedge salad, shepherd pie, Paddy’s seafood platter, Swiss mushroom burgers, crab melt with French fries, and fish tacos.
Paddy’s Hollow will always make you feel right at home whether you’re a local or just passing through, which is why it remains one of the best restaurants in Wilmington, NC.
They operate on weekdays from 11 am to 5 pm, Fridays from 11 am to 8:30 pm, and Saturdays from 11 am to 9 pm.
Address: Cotton Exchange Free Parking, 10 Walnut St, Wilmington, NC 28401, UnitedStates. Phone: +1 910-762-4354.
8. Black Sea Grill
Established in 2008, Black Sea Grill is a family-run establishment that commits to providing service that pleases not only the eye and nose but also the palate.
They strive to package their food so that you can enjoy the high quality of their meals in your home. And if you are looking for a hassle-free way to enjoy some of the best seafood, Black Sea’s curbside pickup service is the perfect solution.
This popular Mediterranean restaurant serves gyro, Turkish patties, chicken kebab, Black Sea combo, grouper, baby lamb chops, mahi-mahi, green salad, falafel, souvlaki, eggplant delight, and chicken kebab.
They deservedly rank among the top Wilmington restaurants.
Black Sea Grill is open from Tuesdays to Thursdays from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, Saturdays from 5 pm to 7:30 pm, and Fridays from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5 pm to 7:30 pm.
Address: 118 S Front St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States. Phone: +1 910-254-9990.
9. The Copper Penny
This is another one on our list of top restaurants in Wilmington, NC. The Copper Penny, situated in Wilmington’s historic downtown, serves various mixed beverages, beers, appetizers, salads, and sandwiches.
This Wilmington restaurant offers both dine-in and takeout service options. You can also call ahead to place your order for the curbside pickup, then swing by the restaurant, and they’ll have your food ready and waiting.
They take great pride in the high-caliber cuisine, such as onion rings, fish and dips, French dip, Philly cheese steak, coleslaw, and spring rolls that they create, and they go to great lengths to uphold those standards.
The Copper Penny’s laid-back ambiance and some of Wilmington’s best inexpensive cuisine and drinks make it the ideal spot for lunch, dinner, or cocktails with friends.
They are open from 11 am to 9 pm on Mondays to Thursdays and from 11 am to 10 pm on weekends.
Address: 109 Chestnut St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States. Phone: +1 910-762-1373.
10. Little Dipper Fondue
Since 2005, Little Dipper Fondue has been a Wilmington favorite eatery. They aim to commemorate your significant life events, including birthdays, first dates, marriage proposals, anniversaries, and more.
Little dipper offers dine-in options, wheelchair-accessible seating and toilet, late-night food, spirits, wine, small plates, and vegetarian options.
With their 17 housemade dipping sauces, their menu offers premium meats, fresh seafood, vegetables, and more. You can start your night out by dipping a choice of bread, fresh fruits, and vegetables into warm, melted cheese that has been made tableside by your server.
You could also sample prawns bathed in wasabi lime aioli, sashimi tuna marinated in Asian ginger sauce, and filet mignon with heated au pouivre sauce.
A romantic supper or special occasion with family, friends, or co-workers is best celebrated with Little Dipper Fondue.
Little Dipper one of the best Wilmington restaurants and it welcomes guests from 5 pm to 10 pm on Tuesdays to Fridays and from 4 pm to 10 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Address: 138 S Front St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States. Phone: +1 910-251-0433.
11. Pilot House Restaurant
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wright Jr. established The Pilot House Restaurant in May 1978 as the first restaurant in the recently renovated historic Chandler’s Wharf. The Pilot House is one of the top Wilmington restaurants and has worked hard for its many years of operation to uphold a tradition of Southern regional food.
For more than 25 years, Wilmington’s top destination for fine regional dining, The Pilot House Restaurant, has catered to the needs of the city’s residents, innumerable visitors, and celebrities both indoors and in the outdoor seating space.
They use locally-sourced fish and poultry in their recipes, prepared from scratch with the freshest ingredients. The menu includes scallop scampi, shrimp and grits, hot crab dip, Carolina bisque, and traditional Southern dishes with a modern spin.
The restaurant has received outstanding ratings from The Washington Post, The New York Times, Fodor’s, Mobil Travel Guides, and Frommer’s.
Pilot House welcomes guests on weekdays from 11:30 am to 9 pm and on weekends from 11:30 am to 10 pm. They are closed on Tuesdays.
Address: 2 Ann St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States. Phone: +1 910-343-0200.
12. Dixie Grill
Dixie Grill has been a stalwart of Wilmington for many years and ranks among the top restaurants in Wilmington, NC. Dixie Grill started serving food during a Gatsby-like age of flappers and jazz. Since then, it has developed into a favored neighborhood hot spot serving inventive, delectable Southern cuisine.
Dixie is a popular destination for both locals and tourists because of its laid-back vibe, warm southern hospitality, and of course, delicious food. Customers can have access to all wheelchair-accessible options here.
Southern mainstays like fried chicken, sweet potato pancakes, Louisiana hash, strawberry banana pecan French toast, huevos rancheros, corned beef hash, shrimp and grits, fried green tomato BLT, and hush puppies are on the menu.
Operating hours are Wednesdays through Sundays from 8 am to 2 pm and Mondays and Tuesdays from 8 am to 12 pm.
Address: 116 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States. Phone: +1 910-762-7280.
13. Platypus and Gnome
Platypus and Gnome is one of the best restaurants in Wilmington, NC, and offers a distinctive and pleasurable eating experience that combines fantastic food in a unique setting with the opportunity to be in the center of busy Historic Wilmington.
In this fine establishment, you can relax over lunch or supper while sitting at a table downstairs or on a comfortable couch upstairs. You can even eat outside while taking in the scenery.
The menu at this restaurant features amazing salads, fresh wild boar soup, specialty burgers, sandwiches, and a full dinner selection that changes periodically.
They are open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 am to 9 pm, on weekends from 11 am to 10 pm, and on Sundays from 11 am to 8 pm.
Address: 9 S Front St, Wilmington, NC 28401, United States. Phone: +1 910-769-9300.
14. Hieronymus Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Bar
Since it opened in 1979, farm-to-table and avant-garde recipes have distinguished Hieronymus Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Bar from other restaurants.
For each plate, this translates to locally farmed vegetables. Hieronymus injects new life into tried-and-true dishes for anything from seafood feasts to surf and turf to ensure that diners savor every mouthful.
Hieronymus provides outdoor seating, takeout, dine-in options, and a curbside pickup option for the convenience of its customers.
Local fish, vegetables, craft beer, drinks, and some of the best Wilmington cuisine are served at this seafood restaurant. They specialize in farm-to-table cuisine, and the welcoming environment they create for their customers reflects the spirit of the neighborhood.
Encore Magazine named Hieronymus “Best Seafood in Wilmington” in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
They operate daily from 3 pm to 9 pm.
Address: 5035 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28405, United States. Phone: +1 910-392-6313.
15. Boathouse Restaurant
The Boathouse restaurant in Wilmington is one of the most unique and best places to eat in Wilmington, NC.
It is located on the Christina River, just a short walk from the city’s bustling downtown. The restaurant’s riverside patio is the perfect place to enjoy a meal or a drink while taking in the stunning views of the river and the city skyline.
There are several kinds of seafood and some non-seafood alternatives on the menu, like fried catfish, hush puppies, ribs, and snow crab legs, and you won’t have to spend a lot of money to have lunch here because all the meals are reasonably priced.
After a stressful day, relax at Boathouse in a casual, laid-back setting.
They are open daily from 7 am to 9 pm.
Address: 6328 Oleander Dr, Wilmington, NC 28403, United States. Phone: +1 910-679-4224.
Plan a Trip to Wilmington, NC
Food tourism, for many people, involves more than just eating and drinking; it also consists of experiencing diverse ways of life and discovering new traditions.
If you want to make the most of your time in Wilmington, take full advantage of every second. Remember to consider how the food and drink look, smell, and taste.
Enjoy the company of pleasant people and stimulating conversations. And most of all, enjoy the food!