Fresh to Table, From Farm & Sea in Wilmington, NC
Wilmington and its nearby island beaches are surrounded by water, and the climate here allows for bountiful farmland produce. Everywhere you turn, find fresh-caught seafood – from the most beautifully prepared fish and perfectly plump shrimp to succulent blue crab and local oysters. Savor locally smoked meats, fresh greens, seasonal vegetables and artisanal cheeses. Prepare your palate for our unique Southern-coastal fare with this sampling of restaurants – just a few that put fresh ingredients first.
Benny's Bigtime Pizzeria
Guests who visit Benny's Bigtime Pizzeria can expect farm- and sea-to-fork Italian cuisine that ranges from wood-fired pizza, homemade pastas, big salads and smaller, shareable dishes. The restaurant is owned by celebrity chef Vivian Howard, star of the Daytime Emmy Award-winning PBS series, “A Chef’s Life," James Beard Foundation winner of Best Television Personality and Best Chef Southeast semifinalist.
Blue Surf Café
Travel+Leisure wrote, “Blue Surf really captures Wilmington's laid-back beach vibe,” and we couldn't agree more. Grab a quick, healthy bite at Blue Surf Café in Midtown. The menu changes each spring and fall to include local in-season ingredients. These seasonal offerings accompany sandwiches made with braised beef brisket, Mahi and more.
You may recognize Catch owner and chef Keith Rhodes from Bravo TV’s "Top Chef." He has also been nominated by the James Beard Foundation as a finalist for Best Chef Southeast. The menu shows off his passion for North Carolina seafood, and he sources every ingredient from organic growers and local fisheries that support sustainable practices. First-timers must try the award-winning Catch Signature NC Lump Crab Cakes. You can also enjoy Chef Rhodes' creations through his Catch the Food Truck, an on-the-go favorite that serves fresh seafood tacos.
manna ave. 123
The rotating menu at manna features wholesome ingredients from the local farmers and fisheries of North Carolina. The chef curates his vision of the American restaurant, with locally sourced meats, vegetables and seafood. manna is a AAA Four Diamond Award-winning restaurant, noted by the reviewer for its "warm and knowledgeable" service and "heavenly" food and beverages.
Chef Sunny Gerhart, a James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best Chef Southeast, helms Olivero in downtown Wilmington. Serving delicious house-made pastas, wood-fired eats, locally sourced seafood, meat and vegetables, Olivero’s menu showcases Spanish and Italian influences on Gerhart’s traditional New Orleans cuisine.
Named among “The South's Best Restaurants” by Southern Living, PinPoint Restaurant is known for showcasing the bounty of Wilmington and our island beaches. The restaurant's menu changes daily and features local seasonal offerings from Wilmington-area farmers, fishermen, oystermen and crabbers. Pinpoint’s Southern fare was even featured on The Cooking Channel’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”
Port Land Grille
Port Land Grille searches out local sources for ingredients and purchases only when in season, bringing freshness and vibrancy to the menu while supporting those who make their livelihood off the land and the sea’s bounty.
Salt Fish Restaurant and Bar
Inventive and exotic, Salt Fish Restaurant and Bar brings a unique variety of Caribbean- and Polynesian-inspired cuisine to Carolina Beach. Enjoy Fried Mahi Bites, Spicy Kani Salad or the Dirty Candy Bowl, containing mixed root veggies served over coconut rice. While the drinks and dishes may be exotic, the interior reflects the laid-back, fun vibe of Carolina Beach, instantly transporting you to island time.
Spanish-inspired Savorez restaurant brings big Latin flavor using local ingredients. The menu includes fresh salsas, tacos and traditional Latin seafood dishes. The vegan and vegetarian options are also popular, like vegan rellenos or sweet potato and black bean empanadas. Savorez was previously featured as one of the “best new restaurants to try in North Carolina” by Buzzfeed.
Captained by James Beard Foundation Best Chef Southeast semifinalist Dean Neff, Seabird is a seafood and oyster bar dedicated to sharing the Wilmington area's coastal and land bounty. Savor freshly caught oysters raw with lemon, hot sauce, champagne mignonette and sambal cocktail or try them baked with Worcestershire butter with lemon, harissa and roasted shrimp. Or, drop in for weekend brunch to enjoy made-to-order biscuits with fried chicken or an olive oil muffin with passion fruit curd, all made in-house by award-winning pastry chef and Neff's wife, Linda Clopton.
Kipos Hellenic Cuisine
Kipos Hellenic Cuisine takes prides itself on bringing locally sourced, Greek-inspired meals to your table. Opt for the Catch of the Day featuring fresh fish from local markets including Wrightsville Beach's Mott's Channel Seafood. Or, try the Kakavia, a seafood stew with shrimp, mussels, lobster, saffron and more. Open Tuesday through Sunday, Kipos provides dishes packed full of the area's freshest offerings.
South Beach Grill
The menu at South Beach Grill highlights the bounty of fresh Carolina coastal seafood. Situated just across from Banks Channel in Wrightsville Beach, a meal on the large patio offers spectacular water views, especially at sunset. You'll find seafood classics and contemporary twists with dishes like Sea Scallop Maison-boro, Sweet Potato Crusted Flounder and Grouper Linda.