Restaurant Reviews – North

Dinner Club visits a new restaurant once a month. Ratings reflect the reviewer’s reaction to food, ambience and service, with price taken into consideration. Rating of stars is “regionally adjusted” and is based off a limited number of visits; one of the real keys to an excellent restaurant, regardless of price or cuisine, is the consistent delivery of a fine dining experience.      

///// October 2014
Name:             22 North
Cuisine:
          Contemporary American
Location:       22 N. Lumina Avenue, Wrightsville Beach NC
Contact:         910.509.0177 /
www.22north.com
Food:               Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:          Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:     Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:               Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:          Two Stars
Located on historic Wrightsville Beach, it is nothing special from the outside and not very fancy inside either. 22 North is half restaurant and half bar; the venue is a bit of a beach dive. Traditional Lower Cape Fear cuisine, they provide the most unique and eclectic Southern comfort food in the Wilmington area. The locally sourced menu is ingredient driven and changes daily. Blackboard menu is brought right to your table on an easel. The chef makes what he can get fresh and once it’s gone for the day it’s crossed off. Expect a meal worthy of any white table cloth restaurant. Fresh food artfully prepared, with prices that are very reasonable for the quality level.  What a wonderful surprise!

///// 2012
Name:          
Bento Box 
Cuisine:        Contemporary Asian
Location:     1121 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington NC
Contact:      
910.509.0774 / www.bentoboxsushi.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert

Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Three Stars
The name, The Bento Box, means lunch box.  The name also signifies the smaller portions of many different flavors and the menu is designed to encourage sharing.  The main focus of the restaurant is on the sushi bar. If you are near the Mayfaire Town Center I would go here, when downtown try Yo Sake.

///// 2013
Name:           Big Thai 2
Cuisine:
        Thai
Location:     1319 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.256.6588 /
www.bigthai.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars

Small low-key restaurant located in the Landfall shopping center. It’s a nice option if you are in the area and worth checking them out. But frankly, it’s no Indochine.

///// August 2014
Name:           The Black Sea Grill
Cuisine:
        Mediterranean
Location:     118 Front Street, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.254.9990 /
www.blackseagrill.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
The Black Sea Grill is a family owned and operated Mediterranean style restaurant, located on the south end of Front Street in historic downtown Wilmington. It is a small but inviting place with very limited seating so the atmosphere is cozy and intimate. Mediterranean, Seafood, Turkish, Vegetarian cuisine highlights the menu. It’s not upscale dining, more of your any-night-of-the-week restaurant. If you want a healthy, fresh, delicious well-rounded meal at a reasonable price then you should try this place.

///// 2013
Name:           Boca Bay / Circa Group
Cuisine:        Seafood
Location:     2025 Eastwood Road, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.256.1887 /
www.bocabayrestaurant.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Three Stars
Boca Bay is one of six restaurants in The Circa Group. We expected it to be pretty good and it certainly was. This one is primarily a seafood restaurant, beach dining in style. The menu has incredible variety offering something for everyone, making deciding what to order rather difficult. Despite being a large facility there are several sections to be seated in which made it feel much more intimate. We had an outstanding dining experience, it was worth the trip.

///// 2011
Name:          
Brasserie du Soleil / Circa Group
Cuisine:        French
Location:     1908 Eastwood Road, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.256.2226 /
www.brasseriedusoleil.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Three Stars

Brasserie du Soleil Bay is one of six restaurants in The Circa Group. This one is primarily a French bistro, an informal café. They seem to have a very popular build your own salad option, on the Lunch menu only, that was voted Best Salads, in the Best of Wilmington done by Encore Magazine. Outside seating is a good choice, not as noisy and it’s a beautiful setting. Overall it was a very pleasant dining experience.

///// July 2016
Name:           Cape Fear Seafood Company
Cuisine:
        Seafood
Location:     5226 S. College Road, Wilmington NC
Contact:      
910.799.7077 / www.capefearseafoodcompany.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
Cape Fear Seafood Company restaurant is ranked #3 out of @505 restaurants located in Wilmington. Serving regional food, in a casual relaxed atmosphere. Recognized by Our State Magazine as one of five restaurants in NC to try Shrimp & Grits. That said, I have no idea why the rave reviews.

///// July 2018
Name:          
Caprice Bistro
Cuisine:        French
Location:     10 Market Street, Wilmington NC (downtown)
Contact:       910.815.0810 /
www.capricebistro.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Four Stars
Caprice Bistro looks every bit like a real authentic French bistro.  A bistro is a small restaurant serving moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting. The menu has a great traditional bistro selection of authentic French & Belgian cuisine prepared home-style. The atmosphere is welcoming, warm and inviting. The art-filled upstairs sofa lounge and bar area is great. This is a personal favorite of mine because of the consistent delivery of a fine dining experience every time that we go there. Certainly, it is among the best restaurants in town; you really should put it on your short-list of must try restaurants.

///// November 2017
Name:          
Catch
Cuisine:        Seafood
Location:
     6623 Market St., Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.799.3847 or www.catchwilmington.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Three Stars

Located in a nondescript strip mall on the main drag away from downtown Catch prepares modern seafood cuisine and is an award-winning eatery. Celebrity chef and owner Keith Rhodes opened Catch Restaurant in 2006. He has always favored wild caught or sustainably raised seafood and continually supports local fisheries and organic farmers. At Catch it’s all about the food, which is amazing!  If you dine out just for the food, not for anything else, Catch is one of Wilmington’s top restaurants. Despite the food being outstanding it was still over-priced. The prices are those of an upscale restaurant and they just aren’t one. Therefore, it’s hard to justify the expense. They still are on my short list of favorite restaurants.

///// October 2016
Name:           Ceviche’s
Cuisine:
        Panamanian
Location:     7210 Wrightsville Avenue, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.256.3131 / wbceviche.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Three Stars
Ceviche’s is a Latin America seafood restaurant located on Wrightsville Avenue, just before the bridge. They offer a creative Panamanian inspired menu specializing in serving ceviche which is a seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of Latin America. The dish is typically made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices, and spiced with various peppers. It’s a very busy place, with seating for only eight-seven (87) people, that is filled nearly every evening. Be advised to be cautious about making dining plans during prime tourist season, it was jammed on a Tuesday night in October. If you want to eat there you probably should call ahead to be put on their waiting list, they do not accept reservations. The cuisine is fresh and interesting, it’s a nice change from the same old same old. We enjoyed the dining experience at this place, it was Delightful!

///// June 2018
Name:          
Circa 1922 / Circa Group
Cuisine:        New American
Location:     8 Front Street, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.762.1922 /
www.circa1922.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Three Stars
Circa 1922 is a popular destination, it is home to tapas-style dining and wine bar in historic downtown Wilmington. It is not just a tapas restaurant; they are only a small portion of the eclectic menu. The crown jewel in owner Ash Aziz six restaurants in The Circa Group, this one is primarily a vintage 1920’s era speakeasy. Certainly it is among the best restaurants downtown, an extraordinarily good restaurant that does not disappoint.  

///// March 2016
Name:           Copper Penny
Cuisine:
        American
Location:     109 Chestnut Street, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.762.1373 /
www.copperpennync.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
Located in downtown Wilmington, the Copper Penny menu offers simple bar food done well. It is a very popular place to grab a bite to eat with the menu being the same for both lunch and dinner. The food is quite good and reasonably priced with sandwiches as the primary fare. The humongous bar gives it a saloon atmosphere which is adorned with Philadelphia sports and fan memorabilia. Although they are not a beer brewer they offer a wide variety of craft beers with over one hundred (100) different brews on tap and in bottles. Don’t miss out, it’s totally worth a visit.

///// 2013
Name:         
  Elijiahs   
Cuisine:
        Casual American Grill
Location:     2 Ann Street, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.343.1448 /
www.elijiahs.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
Established in 1984, Elijah’s has been Wilmington’s premier outdoor dining destination. The food is just average and that’s being kind. So why go? The restaurant is located in historic downtown Wilmington on the Riverwalk with a scenic view of the Cape Fear River.  They feature expansive indoor and outdoor waterfront dinning, all with spectacular panoramic views. The
location is the best part, so I recommend getting drinks and appetizers there and dining elsewhere.

///// July 2015
Name:          
Fish House / Blue Water Point Marina
Cuisine:        Seafood
Location:     5710 57th Place West, Oak Island, NC
Contact:       910.0278.6012 /
www.bluewaterpointmotel.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:    Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
The facility is not much more than a beach shack. Located at the Blue Water Marina, easier to get to by boat than by car, the view overlooking the marina and ICW is outstanding. It’s a very busy place. You can expect to wait for a table during prime tourist season. The menu is pretty basic; nothing exotic is being done here. The portions are huge and the food is very good but a little pricey. Well worth making the trip!

///// January 2017
Name:           Freddie’s
Cuisine:
        Italian
Location:     111 K Avenue, Kure Beach NC
Contact:       910.458.5979 /
www.freddiesrestaurant.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
Freddie’s offers a wide variety of Italian / American cuisine choices with moderately priced entrees. They are known for their pork chop creations which is their signature dish. It’s a comfortable, friendly casual environment, nothing fancy, the place is small and seating is limited. We went to eat here with high expectations, we were not impressed. Definitely, not worth the trip!

///// 2013
Name:           Front Street Brewery  
Cuisine:
        Brew Pub
Location:     9 North Front Street, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.251.1935 /
www.frontstreetbrewery.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
The place is booming, with a line out the door for the dining room most of the time. It’s a small microbrewery with ten (10) different locally handcrafted brews available on tap. Surprisingly the food is quite good and very reasonably priced. I was quite impressed. Handcrafted beer, good food, a humongous bar, with a great atmosphere and all at a reasonable price – What’s not to like?

///// October 2018
Name:           Genki Sushi
Cuisine:         Japanese
Location:    
4724 New Centre Dr Ste 5, Wilmington, NC
Contact:       910.796.8687 / http://www.genkisushiwilmington.com/
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
/////
Genki Sushi is an authentic Japanese restaurant that is located near Costco in a nondescript strip mall off Market Street. It’s the real deal! It is ranked #3 out of @559 restaurants located in Wilmington. The main focus of the restaurant is on the sushi bar.  Upon entering you receive a warm welcome, the service reflects a commitment to the customer, combined with great Japanese cuisine it makes for a delightful experience.  

///// 2013
Name:          
Hops Supply Co.
Cuisine:
        American Gastropub
Location:     5400 Oleander Drive, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.833.8867 /
www.hopssupplyco.com
Food:
             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
The restaurant opened in October 2012 at the former Eddie Romanelli’s building and was voted Best New Restaurant in the Best of Wilmington done by Encore Magazine. Gastropub is a British term for a pub which specializes in food which is a step above the traditional pub grub. Their focus is on offering a menu that complements the assortment of beers and wines that they offer. The menu is the same for lunch and dinner, very affordable although it is quite limited. The place looks great with the ambience being upscale and despite the large space it feels cozy when seated in a booth. They have a beautiful huge bar with a great selection of both beers and wines. What surprised me the most was that the burger I ordered was one of the best burgers I’ve had in a while. Bottom-line, it is worth a visit.

///// July 2018
Name:            Indochine   
Cuisine:
        Asian
Location:     7 Wayne Drive, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.251.9229 /
www.indochinewilmington.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Three Stars
Indochine is an Asian fusion restaurant serving delicious authentic Asian cuisine. It is a great food establishment, the place is always packed. The food is incredible; the portions are huge, with relatively inexpensive prices. The beautifully decorated environment is delightful both inside and outside and is like a trip to the Orient.  In a nutshell it is a great value for the price. This is my favorite restaurant in Wilmington. It’s about as good as it gets! They have been voted Best Restaurant Overall, Best Thai Restaurant, Best Atmosphere, numerous years running in the Best of Wilmington done by Encore Magazine.

///// April 2014
Name:            Jerry’s
Cuisine:        American

Location:     7220 Wrightsville Avenue, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.256.8847 / www.jerrysfoodandwine.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Three Stars
Jerry’s is located in a strip mall next to a Domino’s Pizza at the intersection of Wrightsville Avenue and Eastwood Road, just before you cross the bridge to Wrightsville Beach. It’s a small restaurant that is very unassuming from the street. You will be pleasantly surprised when you step inside to the intimate dining room. Jerry’s ranks among the finest of Wilmington’s upscale dining establishments. A favorite among locals, they have been providing a superb dining experience for the past twenty years. Jerry’s isn’t inexpensive; the food was exceptional and well worth the price. They do have a reasonably priced wine list and many of the entrees are offered as a half portion (1/2) too. It is everything one would expect from a high-end restaurant.

///// August 2014
Name:            Joseph’s
Cuisine:        Italian Bistro
Location:     5003 O’Quinn Boulevard, Southport NC
Contact:       910.454.4440 /
www.josephsitalianbistro.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Three Stars
Probably easier to get to by boat than by car but don’t be discouraged by the trip for good things can be found in out of the way places. Located at the South Harbour Marina, the view overlooking the marina and ICW is outstanding.  Be advised reservations are not accepted so be cautious about making dining plans during prime tourist season. It’s a busy, busy place, but the great bar makes waiting a pleasure. The menu reflects home-style interpretations of their family favorites and is the finest Italian cuisine in the area.

///// 2013
Name:          
K-38 Baja Grill
Cuisine:        Mexican
Location:     5410 Oleander Drive, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.395.6040 / www.liveeatsurf.com  
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars

They focus on Mexican flavors with an added West Coast California flair and were voted Best Mexican Restaurant in the Best of Wilmington done by Encore Magazine. They just reopened after undergoing a major renovation. I went to eat here with high expectations. Unfortunately I just can’t really find anything good to say about this place. Good luck trying to eat here at dinner time usually there is a long wait. The venue is just too small for how popular they are. You are seated on top of each other; besides feeling cramped the seating was uncomfortable. Found the restaurant to be very uninspiring, food was decent but not great enough to overcome the other issues. Bottom-line, I will not be going back there again.

///// 2009
Name:          
Live Oak Café
Cuisine:
        Nouveau American
Location:     614 North Howe Street
Contact:       910.454.4360 /
www.liveoakcafenc.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
They operate out of a bungalow in historic downtown Southport. You can either dine at the nine tables in their three dining rooms inside or at the three tables on the screened porch.  Live Oak Cafe advertises that they offer a fine dining experience with a relaxed atmosphere. We found it to be pretty standard.

///// September 2017
Name:           Loco Jo’s  

Cuisine:        Casual American Grill
Location:     602 North Howe Street, Southport NC
Contact:       910.457.9009
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
Eclectic menu offers a nice variety of great food for a small bar restaurant. Certainly not fine dining but it is an excellent place to grab a bite to eat and try one of the sixty (60) plus beer choices offered there. I was pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the food coming out of the kitchen. The fish tacos were some of the best I’ve ever had. Bottom-line is that I was impressed and I think you will be to. Plan to make it a must lunch stop next time you are in Southport.

///// August 2018
Name:          
Manna
Cuisine:
        New American
Location:     123 Princess Street, Wilmington NC (downtown)
Contact:       910.763.5252 /
www.mannaavenue.com      
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Three Stars
Opened in the fall of 2010, Manna is touted as one of the best restaurants in Wilmington for fine dining. They offer a very limited menu that changes with the season. Unlike our last visit, this time they exceeded our expectations. What a delightful dining experience. Manna’s menu has imaginative entrees with amusing dish names, using local ingredients, served in a relaxed yet sophisticated ambiance. The bar area deserves mentioning and was one of the best we’ve ever been to. I would recommend putting it on your short-list of must try restaurants, but it’s not your any-night-of-the-week restaurant it’s more of a special occasion type place.

 ///// 2013
Name:           Michael’s Seafood         

Cuisine:        Seafood
Location:     1206 North Lake Park Boulevard, Carolina Beach NC
Contact:       910.458.7761 /
www.mikescfood.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
Established in 1998 Michael’s Seafood Restaurant has been consistently receiving rave reviews. They have been voted Best Seafood Restaurant, in the Best of Wilmington done by Encore Magazine. Their seafood chowder is a multiple-year champion of the International Seafood Chowder competition held in Rhode Island. They have established a reputation for fresh, healthy food, with no fried food on the menu.  That said, I have no idea why the rave reviews.

///// 2012
Name:          
Mr. P’s Bistro
Cuisine:
        Low Country
Location:     309 North Howe Street, Southport NC
Contact:       910.457.0801 / www.mrpsbistro.com
Food:
             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
Mr. P’s has been voted as one of the best restaurants in Brunswick County for the last several years. It’s a local favorite and it’s a place you’ll want to keep going back to. It’s known for its seafood but they offer other dishes too. For me it’s just not the same since they moved from the waterfront to its current inland location.

///// 2010
Name:          
Nicola’s
Cuisine:
        Italian
Location:     5704 Oleander Drive, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.798.2205 /
www.nicolasitalian.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Three Stars

Billed as Italian with a Twist, it is not your typical Italian restaurant. High quality food is offered in a casual dining setting. Everything is prepared fresh, from scratch, every day. This is what Italian food is all about. Stop by there for some of the best Italian cuisine in the area. You will not be disappointed!

///// September 2016
Name:          
Oliver’s on the Cape Fear
Cuisine:
        American
Location:     101 West Bay Street, Southport, NC 28461
Contact:       910.477.9299 / www.oliversonthecapefear.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:         Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
A popular waterfront restaurant, with indoor and outdoor dining options, serving upscale New American cuisine. The building on this site has a long history and was completely remodeled in 2015. Oliver’s is a welcome addition to the restaurant scene in Southport. Finally, excellent food with a beautiful panoramic view! This is one of the better restaurant offerings in the area; I’d put it on your short-list of must try restaurants. 

///// October 2017
Name:           Osteria Cicchetti / Circa Group
Cuisine:
        Italian
Location:     1125-K Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.256.7476 /
www.osteria-cicchetti.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Three Stars
Osteria Cicchetti, known to locals as the O.C., was voted the Best Italian Restaurant in Wilmington. It is one of six restaurants in The Circa Group all are outstanding. The rustic design of the eatery welcomes diners into what feels like an Italian countryside. We had a wonderful dining experience. The menu offers something for everyone. An exceptional value with large portions and moderate prices for the quality of the food served.  If you haven’t been to this restaurant you should put on your list of places to try.

//// February 2017
Name:           Pin Point
Cuisine:
        American
Location:     114 Market Street, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.769.2972 / www.pinpointrestaurant.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Three Stars
Pin Point located in downtown Wilmington is in the space that had been Deluxe. The place has a rustic looking interior with exposed brick and high ceilings, creating a comfortable relaxed ambiance. The farm-to-table venue serves an upscale version of Southern comfort food alongside traditional American favorites; the locally sourced seasonally inspired menu changes frequently. They have a very limited menu that only offers about a half dozen entrée choices. The food is very good but a little pricey. This is one of the better restaurant offerings in the area. I’d recommend that you put it on your list of places to try.

///// 2010
Name:          
Port City Chop House
Cuisine:
        Steakhouse
Location:     1981 Eastwood Road, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.256.4955 /
www.chophouseofnc.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
Port City Chop House is a high end steakhouse and a franchisee of a successful restaurant chain. They primarily serve steaks at an exorbitant price to people willing to pay it. I don’t object to that if I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. Unfortunately that was not the case, I was very disappointed. If you’re looking for a great steak in a high end steakhouse I’d recommend
Ruth’s Chris as a much better choice for you.

///// August 2015
Name:          
Port Land Grille
Cuisine:        Progressive American
Location:     1908 Eastwood Road
Contact:       910.256.6056 / www.portlandgrille.com    
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Four Stars
Port Land Grille, located in Lumina Station, is the oldest local fine-dining eatery that has not changed chefs or owners. They set the standard for what local fine dining should be. They are on my short list of favorite restaurants and are one of the best fine-dining experiences I have ever had anywhere. The restaurant itself is a pleasant blend of understated elegance. An open kitchen and bar separate the two dining rooms. Vintage photographs from Wilmington’s past line the walls. Wicker and rattan furniture reinforce the coastal ambience.

///// 2013
Name:          
Ports of Call  
Cuisine:        Mediterranean
Location:     116 N. Howe Street, Southport NC
Contact:       910.457.4544 /
www.portsofcallbistro.com  
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
The downtown bistro, bakery and gourmet market, located two blocks from the water in the former Maritime Museum on Howe Street, offers a unique international dining experience. The menu emphasizes the global flavors of Mediterranean food prepared in a healthy manner. The atmosphere is warm and comfortable, a homey local restaurant with a well-rounded menu of comfort foods.

///// August 2016
Name:          
Roko
Cuisine:
        Italian
Location:     6801 Parker Farm Drive, Wilmington NC (
Mayfaire Town Center)
Contact:      
910.679.4783 / www.rokoitalian.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Three Stars
Roko is a casual-upscale family run Italian bistro featuring classic Italian dishes infused with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. It’s a small busy place, with seating for only sixty-eight (68) people, that is filled to capacity nearly every evening. If you want to eat there you probably should call ahead for reservations. Serving some of the best Italian cuisine in the area, it’s an exceptional Italian restaurant in Wilmington!

///// July 2017
Name:          
Ruth’s Chris
Cuisine:        Steakhouse
Location:     301 North Water Street, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.343.1818 / www.ruthschris-wilmingtonnc.com    
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Four Stars

Ruth’s Chris Steak House, located inside the Hilton Wilmington Riverside Hotel in the heart of historic downtown, is renowned for its aged USDA Prime steaks. They offer a variety of other dishes besides their unbeatable signature sizzling steaks. Despite being a franchisee of the largest upscale steakhouse restaurant group in the world it is everything one would expect from a high-end steakhouse; the only negative is it is very pricey but it is so worth it.

///// August 2014
Name:          
Rx Restaurant and Bar
Cuisine:        Southern Comfort
Location:     421 Castle Street, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.399.3080 / www.rxwilmington.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional   / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Three Stars

Rx is located in downtown Wilmington on the corner of Fifth and Castle; in a residential neighborhood away from any other downtown eatery. The name Rx pays homage to the building’s heritage, occupying the old Hall’s Drug Store. Rx offers an upscale version of Southern comfort food alongside traditional American favorites in a comfortable relaxed environment. The locally sourced menu is ingredient driven and changes daily in order to bring in the freshest ingredients that they can. I now know what all the hype is about. They could easily become one of my favorite restaurants. I’d put it on your short-list of must try Wilmington restaurants.

OpenTable, a provider of online restaurant reservations, recently released its list of the 50 Best Southern Cuisine Restaurants in America for 2018 and RX Restaurant and Bar is on it.

///// August 2018
Name:           Savorez
Cuisine:        Latin American
Location:     402 Chestnut St, Wilmington, NC 28401
Contact:       910.833.8894 / www.savorez.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
After years in area kitchens like K-38 and Ceviche’s, local chef Sam Cahoon opened Savorez, his first restaurant. The name says it all, Savorez is flavors in Spanish. Savorez spices up homegrown southern style with Latin flavors with a focus on fresh sustainable local ingredients. They are located just off the beaten path, nothing fancy, the place is really small with seating for only thirty (30) people. The venue is just too small for how popular they are, and they do not accept reservations. The menu is the same for lunch and dinner, so it is a better lunch than dinner venue. Surprisingly, according to a Yelp report, Savorez is the Best New Restaurant to try in North Carolina in 2018, frankly it did not live up to that kind of rating.

 ///// March 2018
Name:           Shuckin’ Shack                                                                                                     Cuisine:        Seafood
Location:     1175 Turlington Ave., Leland NC
Contact:       910.221.5522 / http://www.theshuckinshack.com/location/loc/leland
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
The Shuckin’ Shack is a franchise with double-digit locations in multiple states. The closest one to us is located at The Villages of Brunswick Forest in Leland. Relaxing casual atmosphere it’s a cool little place. The menu is the same for lunch and dinner. Although the menu offerings are somewhat limited, they have a lot of good stuff there.  It’s totally worth a visit, however I’m thinking it is a better lunch than dinner venue. Their slogan says it all, showing each guest A GOOD SHUCKIN’ TIME!

///// June 2016
Name:           Surf House
Cuisine:
        Seafood
Location:     604 N Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach, NC
Contact:       910.707.0422 / www.surfhousenc.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
The Surf House is located just south of Wilmington, It’s a casual dining spot popular with the locals. Nothing fancy, the place is small and seating is limited so reservations are a must. Their menu features local sustainable seafood. A true Farm to Table establishment that sources nearly all its ingredients locally; that even includes the bar.  That said, I have no idea why the rave reviews.

///// 2013
Name:          
Szechuan 132  

Cuisine:        Chinese
Location:     419 South College Road, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.799.0866 / www.szechuan132.com 
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars

Szechuan 132 has been serving Wilmington for the last twenty-five (25) years since 1988. They have been voted Best Chinese Restaurant, for fifteen years in a row, in the Best of Wilmington done by Encore Magazine. It’s an unassuming restaurant located in the corner of University Landing a strip shopping center. Have no idea why the raving reviews, food is decent but it’s just a nice place serving typical Chinese food that you would find in any other American style Chinese restaurant. 

///// 2013
Name:           Tandoori Bites
Cuisine:        Indian
Location:     620 South College Road, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.794.4545 / www.tandooribites.net
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars

Tandoori Bites was voted Best Indian Restaurant, for the third straight time, in the Best of Wilmington done by Encore Magazine. It’s an unassuming restaurant whose ambiance makes you feel as if you are on an exotic adventure. Tandoori Bites offers fine authentic Indian cuisine at affordable prices. Their lengthy menu offers 74 dishes including many that are vegetarian. If you are unfamiliar with Indian cuisine I would recommend their lunch buffet so that you can try a varied selection of the dishes they offer.

///// June 2017
Name:           The District Kitchen & Cocktails
Cuisine:        American
Location:     1001 N. Fourth Street, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.769.6565 / www.districtnc.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         One Star
The District is located a few blocks north of Market in the Brooklyn Arts District, thus the name. Family owned and operated by Luke and Lisa Poulos who had previously operated a steakhouse in Fayetteville. In a casual environment, they offer a limited seasonal menu with less than a dozen entrée choices. It was standard fare, while it was good, it wasn’t worth returning for.

///// November 2015
Name:           The Fork ‘N’ Cork  
Cuisine:
        Casual American Grill
Location:     122 Market Street, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.228.5247 /
www.theforkncork.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Two Stars
Fork N Cork’s success as a food truck has transformed into a permanent storefront. This small downtown restaurant looks like any other bar/pub/cafe. Don’t be fooled. Fork and Cork offers a unique dining experience serving high end bar/pub fare. The menu is the same for lunch and dinner; it features just ten (10) burgers and nine (9) sandwiches as well as a hand full of specials. The menu has some unusual dishes, although it is quite limited, with the average price being around twelve (12) dollars. The star of the show here are its burgers and fries. I highly recommend dining here, however I’m thinking it is a better lunch than dinner venue. It’s totally worth a visit.
Their slogan says it all, IT’S FORK’N DELICIOUS!

///// October 2018
Name:           Turtle Island 
Cuisine:        American
Location:     6220 East Oak Island Drive, Oak Island NC
Contact:       910.278.4944 /
NA
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         One Star
A seafood-driven menu, where the high prices do not reflect the laid-back beach atmosphere.

///// 2010
Name:             Yo Sake                                                                                                                         Cuisine:      Asian Fusion
Location:     33 South Front Street, Wilmington NC
Contact:       910.763.3172 /
www.yosake.com
Food:             Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:        Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:   Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:              Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:         Three Stars
Yo Sake is located on the second floor of the historic Roudabush building in downtown Wilmington. Hardwood floors and exposed brick walls are juxtaposed by Japanese anime-style paintings and views of downtown Wilmington. Their extensive menu offers much more than just sushi. The half price special menu is a real bargain and is available from 5pm – 7pm daily. I loved this place and will definitely go back!

///// Bar

Cloud 9 / 9 Estell Lee Pl / Wilmington, North Carolina 28401 / 910.726.9226
Enjoy panoramic views from the Cloud 9 rooftop bar which overlooks picturesque downtown Wilmington. This premier open-air rooftop venue is located on the Riverwalk on the ninth floor of the Embassy Suites. The bar is open seven (7) days a week at 4:00 PM and is currently serving almost fifty (50) different brews on tap and in cans and more than 20 wine selections. They also offer live music Thursday through Saturday evenings throughout the summer months. This is a must visit the next time you are in Wilmington.

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