Try These Local Favorites for Seafood and Southern Cuisine on Emerald Isle

Photo of shrimp: a common dish at the Emerald Isle restaurants

Try These Local Favorites for Seafood and Southern Cuisine on Emerald Isle

Are you searching for a vacation destination where you can lounge on the beach and dine on mouthwatering seafood? If you answered yes to this question, then consider planning a getaway to beautiful Emerald Isle on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. Emerald Isle restaurants reflect the unique culinary traditions of North Carolina, from freshly caught seafood to southern soul food. Today, we’re sharing some of our favorite restaurants in Emerald Isle for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Start the Day with Breakfast in Emerald Isle


Start your morning with the most important meal of the day at Gaffers. Their breakfast items are a great introduction to southern cooking – and yes, you can have seafood for breakfast! Their menu has everything from shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy to pancakes and omelets.

The Village Market

The Village Market is a local favorite for breakfast on the Crystal Coast. They have something for everyone with bagels, biscuits, breakfast sandwiches, Belgian waffles, eggs, and hearty breakfast plates. Order a cup of Joe with your breakfast, and you’ll be ready for a day of adventures in Emerald Isle.

Giovanni’s Brooklyn Bagels

We recommend stopping at Giovanni’s if you want something light for breakfast. The bagel flavors include cheddar, everything, asiago, garlic, cinnamon, sesame, poppy, and jalapeño cheddar served with various spreads. These bagels are not to be missed during your vacation!

Emerald Isle Restaurants for Lunch

Flipperz Family Bar and Grill

Flipperz is an excellent restaurant for a hearty lunch in a family-friendly atmosphere. They specialize in seafood, but you can also find steaks, sandwiches, and salads on the menu. Seafood lovers will love the crab cakes, shrimp, scallops, and oyster platters available here.

Surf’s Up Grill and Bar

Surf’s Up Grill and Bar is located at the Bogue Inlet Pier and offers beautiful ocean views. Unwind with a frozen drink while watching the waves and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere during your meal. With a variety of mouthwatering appetizers and seafood entrees, you are sure to love your lunch at Surf’s Up.

The Best Dinner Spots in Emerald Isle

The Trading Post

Southern hospitality is a central part of The Trading Post, where you can get more than just a delicious meal. The outdoor patio features activities for your family, such as cornhole and hula hoops. They have extensive options for seafood and burgers but are best known for Southern dishes like shrimp-n-grits, fried green tomatoes, hushpuppies, and chicken-n-waffles. The Trading Post is a must-stop for dinner in Emerald Isle!


If you are looking for a romantic date night spot, stop at Caribsea for an upscale dining experience. They focus on locally sourced seafood, exceptional steak, and signature cocktails. The menu constantly changes to reflect seasonal ingredients, but the baked oysters and crab dip are local favorites.


RuckerJohns offers a unique dining experience with fresh made to order dishes. They have something for everyone with sandwiches, salads, seafood, steaks, and flatbreads. The waterfront views, outside dining options, and relaxing atmosphere offer a wonderful ambiance for your dinner in Emerald Isle.

If you want a sweet treat after dinner, we highly recommend getting some ice cream from Sweet Spot or Ben and Jerry’s!

Photo of one of our Emerald Isle properties with Bluewater

The Perfect Family Vacation in Emerald Isle

The Emerald Isle restaurants have something to satisfy even the pickiest eaters with fresh seafood and southern comfort food. If you’re interested in visiting the Crystal Coast, choose Bluewater Vacation Rentals to host your getaway. Our Emerald Isle properties offer close proximity to the oceanfront, soundfront, and nearby restaurants. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your vacation in Emerald Isle today! 


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