Emerald Isle, North Carolina – 5 Great Restaurants you need to visit! Is there anything better than the beach? Laying in the sun is not what I am talking about. Exploring along the water’s edge, collecting seashells, taking long walks, exploring the area, and enjoying fresh sea food are my favorite things to do!
A southern wedding for my niece took us away from Kentucky and down to Pinehurst, North Carolina this past week. That whirlwind was over quickly, (You know how weddings go!) and since the beach was only four hours away, we headed to one of our favorite spots, Emerald Isle.
Although I had thought about taking the Papier-mâché Pumpkin with me, it along with the paint were left home. I am so anxious to get back to him and finish painting this week!
This is the view that greeted us from our balcony at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in Atlantic Beach. You can see why this place is called Emerald Isle! The water around it is emerald-green! We checked in at four and took a quick walk on the beach before heading out for dinner.
#1 Island Grille Restaurant
Dave found the Island Grille restaurant on the “Top Ten List of Restaurants”. He made reservations and after a short drive to the restaurant, we were seated promptly. After looking over the menu, Dave decided upon their Seafood Trio linguine, featuring shrimp, crab meat, scallops, tomato, spinach, and artichoke hearts in a Parmesan cream sauce. He ate the whole thing! (Okay, I did snitch an artichoke heart but I offered up a scallop, too.)
Lover of shrimp that I am, my choice was the ‘Shrimp and Scallop Grits’ with mushroom, bacon, spinach, lemon butter, and smoked gouda grits. Oh, my goodness! This was good! No, I didn’t eat all of it. I couldn’t! Seriously, does anyone have a recipe for this? We will have to find one!
#2 The Sting Ray Cafe
The next morning, we headed off to Tryon Palace in New Bern. New Bern is about an hour’s drive from Atlantic Beach. We didn’t have breakfast and Dave was hungry. This little cafe was across the street from the North Carolina History Center where tickets for the Tryon Palace can be purchased.
The Sting Ray Cafe doesn’t look like much from the outside. It’s right next door to a fresh seafood market and all of the seafood they serve is straight from there. We were seated quickly, and before we knew it, fresh southern sweet tea and hush puppies were set before us.
The walls were covered with a kitschy seaside decor and this little crab corralled packets of sweetener along with the salt and pepper shakers. How cute is that?
We quickly devoured the delicious hush puppies! (Dave kept saying, “These are really good.”)
Then our shrimp basket came! (Yes, I ordered shrimp again!) These were so fresh, so hot, and so good!
The fries had a bit of a kick to them! I asked the waitress what was on them and she confessed it was Old Bay Seasoning! Oh! I am gonna try this at home!
The Tryon Palace was so interesting! I’ll save that for another day, but if you are ever close, you should definitely go!
#3 The Crab’s Claw Restaurant
After the tour, we headed back to the hotel for another walk on the beach. That evening, we went to another local restaurant, The Crab’s Claw, a few miles down the beach. Dave chose this one, too. When we approached the entrance to this one, doubts were creeping into my mind.
We were escorted up a flight of stairs and seated by a window where we could see the deck and the ocean. It was raining. No one was eating outside.
After scanning over the menu, I was not crazy about their selections and told Dave that if this wasn’t good, I would be choosing the next restaurant! We made our choices. Dave chose the special that night, Blackened Trigger Fish over linguine in a cream sauce and then topped with Pecorino Romano cheese.
I chose the ‘Sweetie Shrimp’, sautéed jumbo shrimp, chicken strips, claw meat, Tasso ham, red bell peppers, red onion, and zucchini. All of this was tossed with penne pasta in a lightly spiced cream sauce and topped with Pecorino Romano cheese. After one bite, I looked at Dave and said, “This is really good. You’re lucky!”
This is a dish I would love to make at home, too. The next few weeks will include some searching for a recipe. Any suggestions?
#4 The Salt Water Grill Restaurant
While we looked over the menu, we enjoyed some of that southern sweet iced tea. Dave ordered an Angus Beef Burger on a Brioche Bun with all the trimmings and you guessed it, I ordered Shrimp and Grits. Waiting for our food, we enjoyed the view. You can see the ocean from everywhere in the restaurant!
Before leaving the Salt Water Grill, I tried the Secret of the Islands Coconut Exfoliating Salt Scrub, which is displayed in a small dish in the bathroom. Use the little wooden spoon to apply a nickel-sized amount in the palm of your hand. Rub this in a circular motion on your hands, rinse, and pat dry.
This stuff is amazing! My hands felt so incredibly soft! I bought a jar right there!
The directions say you can use this on your hands, feet, and your whole body to exfoliate, moisturize, and stimulate circulation. This is not recommended for your face and there is a warning about using in the shower and being slippery. (We are an Amazon affiliate and will receive a small percentage if you purchase through this link. Thank you for supporting this website!)
#5 Prime 1079 Restaurant
We read the reviews on the Prime 1079 restaurant located in the Double Tree by Hilton where we stayed. We were hesitant to go here but we walked so much on this day and didn’t feel like getting in the car and going out again.
The waitress was great. The food was great. We had dinner on the patio and the weather was great. This just goes to show you that some of the negative reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. Yes, I had more shrimp!
Emerald Isle, North Carolina – 5 Great Restaurants you need to visit! Hope you enjoy them, too!