Rest assured you will eat well on Roanoke Island. For such a small island, it has a good share of restaurants.
Manteo, NC, 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, Dunkin Donuts and Subway), the rest of the restaurants on Roanoke Island are independent establishments with character you won’t find anywhere else. If you don't know this area well, the island is divided into the town limits of Manteo, the town of Wanchese and then the rest of the island that doesn't fall within those two specified areas.
Local fare at Manteo, NC, restaurants 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 at a Manteo, NC, restaurant, you haven’t fully tasted this 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 restaurants on Roanoke Island. Meat eaters will not be disappointed, and most restaurants can happily accommodate vegetarians and vegans. Manteo, NC, restaurants can also boast of an expanded ethnic palate with Mexican, Chinese and Peruvian fare.
Visiting Manteo, NC, Restaurants
Most Manteo, NC, restaurants do not require dinner reservations except, possibly, the upscale 1587 Restaurant. You may have to wait a few moments for a table at some places, but the wait for restaurants on Roanoke Island will definitely be shorter than at the beach. 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 Manteo, NC, restaurant where things are a little less crazy.
Manteo establishments can serve mixed drinks as well as beer and wine. We even have our own Manteo brewery! Most local restaurants cut back their hours in the off-season, and several take a break for a month or so in the winter. If you’re considering visiting one then, be sure to call ahead first and make sure that they’re open.