Roanoke Island Restaurants

Every, Single Roanoke Island Restaurant

You’ll eat well on Roanoke Island. For such a small island, it has a good share of restaurants.

Manteo restaurants are found in the historic waterfront area and along the main highway; Wanchese also sports several great places to eat. Except for a few fast food chains on the main highway (McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway), Roanoke Island’s restaurants are independent establishments with character you won’t find anywhere else.

Local fare revolves around what’s the freshest: seafood. If you haven’t eaten crispy fried oysters, silky she-crab soup or the spindly legs of a soft-shell crab, you haven’t fully tasted Roanoke Island. As a major hub for trawlers and fishing vessels, Wanchese is a serious commercial seafood center. Boats from all over bring their catches straight to the Wanchese fish houses, where the seafood is prepared for market.

But seafood isn’t all there is. This is eastern North Carolina, after all, so expect to find genuine, down-home country cooking and Carolina-style barbecue as well as fresh local produce at most Roanoke Island restaurants. Meat eaters will not be disappointed, and more and more restaurants are accommodating vegetarians.

Most Manteo restaurants do not require dinner reservations except, possibly, the upscale 1587. You may have to wait a few moments for a table at some restaurants, but the wait will definitely be shorter than at the beach restaurants. In fact, many Outer Banks locals know that the secret to an enjoyable dinner during the busy summer months is to forgo the beach and dine at a Roanoke Island restaurant where things are a little less crazy.

Manteo establishments can serve mixed drinks as well as beer and wine. Most local restaurants cut back their hours in the off-season, and several take a break for a month or so in the winter, so be sure to call ahead.

Roanoke Island Restaurants by Category or Location

Manteo Restaurants | Wanchese Restaurants | Nags Head/Manteo Causeway

1587 Restaurant

405 Queen Elizabeth Street, The Tranquil House Inn, Manteo
(252) 473-1587

1587 is by far the most elegant restaurant on Roanoke Island. It exudes cosmopolitan class with soft lighting, a copper-topped bar, polished wood, subtle lighting and a view of the harbor. Dining here is an intimate experience with servers that make you feel as if you’re their only customer. Food presentation is a priority, and all dishes are works of art. Taste is important, too,... read more

Avenue Waterfront Grille

207 Queen Elizabeth Avenue, The Waterfront Shops, Manteo
(252) 473-4800

If you want to see the water while you dine, Avenue Waterfront Grille is a good place to do it. Shallowbag Bay and Roanoke Sound are visible from every seat in the house, and their patio seating overlooks the Manteo docks. Whether you boat up to the Manteo docks or walk up from the waterfront, Avenue is all about maintaining the relaxed and fun attitude... read more

Basnight’s Lone Cedar

7623 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head/Manteo Causeway, Nags Head
(252) 441-5405

This Outer Banks restaurant landmark is where you’ll find many a local eating every night, so you know the food must be really good. This restaurant is, in fact, at the top of the list of many locals’ favorite spots. The service is genuinely friendly, and the portions are more than generous. You’ll enjoy the vast views of the sound and dining on their outdoor... read more

Big Buck's Homemade Ice Cream

106-A Sir Walter Raleigh Street, Manteo
(252) 423-3400
207 Queen Elizabeth Avenue, Waterfront Shops, Downtown Manteo, Manteo
(252) 423-3118
794F Sunset Boulevard, Timbuck II, Corolla
(252) 453-3188
3810 N. Croatan Highway, The Bypass, MP 4.5, Kitty Hawk
(252) 715-0779

For a tasty treat, head to Big Buck’s Homemade Ice Cream. Choose from more than 50 flavors of made-from-scratch ice cream plus sherbet, sorbet and soft serve. You can get any flavor made into a shake, split, sundae or float, even a brownie sundae — yum! Big Buck’s has an espresso bar and all the espresso-based coffee drinks you need to pick up your day.... read more

Darrell’s Restaurant

523 S. U.S. Highway 64, Manteo
(252) 473-5366

Darrell’s is a family-style seafood restaurant that’s a locals' favorite and has been operated by the Daniels family for 54 years. Darrell Daniels started the Polar Bear Drive-In in 1960, and when the second generation came on board in 1972, the family changed the focus to a family-style seafood restaurant and renamed it Darrell's Seafood Restaurant. Now the third generation is working here, and seafood... read more

Full Moon Cafe & Brewery

208 Queen Elizabeth Avenue, Manteo
(252) 473-6666

This café is a locals’ favorite for its relaxed atmosphere, friendly service and eclectic eats. Notable for bringing a touch of big city style to the downtown Manteo Waterfront, The Full Moon Café is located at the intersection of Queen Elizabeth Avenue and Sir Walter Raleigh Street. Take a seat at one of the umbrella-covered outdoor tables on a sunny day or balmy summer night... read more

Hungry Pelican Deli and Ice Cream

205 Budleigh Street, Manteo
(252) 473-9303

The Hungry Pelican is known and loved for its fresh deli sandwiches and superb baked goods. In their new location on Budleigh Street, beside the Pioneer Theater, the restaurant serves sandwiches, salads and kids' fare along with hand-dipped ice cream and baked goods. With a big range of lunch choices, it's a great place to pick up a picnic before a boat tour from the... read more

Hungry Pirate Waterfront Café

207 Queen Elizabeth Avenue, The Waterfront Shops, Manteo
(252) 423-3133

At the Hungry Pirate Waterfront Café you’re sure to find something to satisfy all your cravings! With a health-conscious approach to menu specialties such as sandwiches, paninis, European-style hot dogs and fresh-baked breads, plus a variety of salads made with top-quality ingredients, the chefs at the Hungry Pirate place an emphasis on serving up dishes that are low in sodium and use seasonings such as... read more

Lost Colony Brewery

208 Queen Elizabeth Street, Manteo
(252) 473-6666

Roanoke Island doesn't confine celebrating its mysterious history to just theater. We celebrate with beer! Yes, beer, too, can mix drops of Roanoke Island culture in with all the hops and barley. Lost Colony Brewery is located in the middle of downtown Manteo near the waterfront. This brewery used to be the Full Moon Brewery, next to Full Moon Cafe. But don't worry, just because... read more

Poor Richard's Sandwich Shop

303 Queen Elizabeth Avenue, Manteo Waterfront, Manteo
(252) 473-3333

Poor Richards is the local meet-and-greet neighborhood sandwich shop by day and bar by night. It has two doors, one leading from the Manteo boardwalk and another off the street. You can eat inside in a booth or table or sit outside on the patio right next to the water. You order at the counter, get your drink and your number then wait for your... read more