One of the Outer Banks' most well-known vacation destinations, Nags Head is a delightful coastal town in North Carolina. It provides visitors eleven miles of stunning beaches, an array of delectable restaurants, and a plethora of historic and natural attractions.
1.Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe
© Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe
Basnight’s Lone Cedar Café is a waterfront restaurant that delivers fresh, quality, and local Outer Banks seafood in Nags Head, North Carolina. The restaurant has maintained its tradition of receiving its seafood daily on its docks from local fishermen. It is then brought inside and cleaned, expertly prepared, and transformed into sensational dishes by the restaurant’s talented culinary team. Patrons dining here will enjoy warm hospitality, exquisite meals prepared with organic ingredients, and breathtaking Atlantic Ocean views. They’ll find menu favorites like the Fresh Whole Boneless Flounder with Jumbo Lump Crabmeat Stuffing & Dijon Beurre Blanc, served with seasonal vegetables and a grit cake.
7623 S Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-441-5405
2.Blue Moon Beach Grill
© Blue Moon Beach Grill
Blue Moon Beach Grill is a fun-filled and quirky dining experience situated along South Croatan Highway in Nags Head, North Carolina. The restaurant specializes in Southern comfort food while offering creative twists on classic favorites. The restaurant’s space is cozy, features original artwork throughout, and delivers a nautical theme. Features include a few flat-screen TVs over the bar, café-style tables, and surfboards that adorn the ceiling. The restaurant is equipped with a full bar offering a wide variety of craft cocktails and beer, and an extensive wine list. Try the Fish & Chips – beer-battered Mahi Mahi fried to perfection and served over hand-cut fries with a house-made slaw and signature jalapeno remoulade.
4104 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Mile Post 13, Surfside Plaza, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-261-2583
3.Sooey BBQ & Rib Shack
© Sooey BBQ & Rib Shack
Sooey BBQ & Rib Shack is a local, North Carolina barbeque chain with locations in Corolla, Duck, and Nags Head. The restaurant chain is known for having some of the best Carolina BBQ and bone suckin’ ribs around. The Nags Head location is situated along South Virginia Dare Trail between the shimmering Atlantic Ocean and Jockey’s Ridge State Park. The exterior features turquoise, blue, lavender, and yellow hues, while the interior features light-blue walls, bistro tables and chairs, and exposed wood paneling. The restaurant provides a very laid-back and casual dining atmosphere for its patrons. They’ll love menu favorites that include the Hand Pulled Pork BBQ, Smoked Beef Brisket, Pulled BBQ Chicken, and Crabcake Platter.
3919 S Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 25-449-6465
© Dune Burger
Dune Burger is an affordable, walk-up, window-order restaurant with outdoor seating situated across the road from Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, North Carolina. This charming red and white stand has been serving up delicious American fare at the Whalebone Junction since the 1950’s. No shoes, no shirt, no problem. It doesn’t matter if patrons are in bathing suits, dripping wet, and coated in sand, Dune Burger welcomes all. The restaurant’s close proximity to the beach makes it a breeze for patrons to easily come and go, and more importantly stay fed. They’ll enjoy American classics that include juicy cheeseburgers, hot dogs, onion rings, fries, ice-cream cones, milkshakes, and sundaes.
7304 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-441-2441
5.Food Dudes Kitchen
© Food Dudes Kitchen
Food Dudes Kitchen is a laid-back restaurant with a surf-shack ambiance, serving up Caribbean-inspired cuisine on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. This local favorite was the brainchild of two dudes who just loved great food and even better vibes. From the moment patrons enter they’ll be greeted with warm hospitality and sweet, welcomed aromas from the kitchen. The restaurant is equipped with an L-shaped dining bar along with a few smaller tables, a flat-screen TV, chalkboard menu, and beachy décor. From sandwiches to burgers to wraps to quesadillas, this mellow eatery consistently delivers fresh, creative, and exquisite cuisine. Try the delightful Fish Sandwich – grilled blackened or with jerk seasoning and served with a pineapple-mango salsa.
1216 S Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills, NC, Phone: 252-441-7994
© Grits Grill
Grits Grill is a throwback diner that serves all-day breakfast, burgers, and other classic-American fare in Nags Head, North Carolina. Visitors and locals alike will find this delightful diner located in the north end of the Outer Banks Mall. Upon arrival patrons will typically find the restaurant packed, but should have no fear as service is usually fast and the wait-times short. Paying homage to vintage diners, the restaurant is complete with retro green or pink vinyl, big comfortable booths, metal tables and chairs, and a counter with stools. Patrons will enjoy menu favorites that include Kiss Our Grits – prepared with two hot cakes, two eggs any style, grits or hash browns, and a choice of sausage or bacon.
5000 S Croatan Highway, Outer Banks Mall, Mile Post 14, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-449-2888
7.La Fogata Mexican Restaurant
© La Fogata Mexican Restaurant
La Fogata Mexican Restaurant offers authentic Mexican fare in a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere in Nags Head, North Carolina. Patrons will find this restaurant situated along the South Croatan Highway near the Outer Banks Mall. The interior of the restaurant features Saltillo tile floors, exposed brick, Outer Banks and Mexican-inspired murals on the walls, cantina-style tables and chairs, and several large, comfortable booths. The restaurant is equipped with several televisions as well as a full-service bar offering some of the best margaritas around. The Chilaquiles is a popular choice – prepared with tortilla chips that are blended with a special sauce and served with chicken, rice, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and guacamole.
4933 S Croatan Highway, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-441-4179
8.Lucky 12 Tavern
© Lucky 12 Tavern
Lucky 12 Tavern got its start in 2006, rapidly grew in popularity, and has been a local favorite ever since. Patrons will find this retro-funky bar and eatery situated along South Virginia Dare Trail, just steps from the sparkling Atlantic Ocean in Nags Head, North Carolina. The restaurant prides itself on providing the freshest locally sourced produce and Outer Banks seafood available. The interior features Saltillo tile floors, knotty-pine ceilings, a vintage bar and stools, a game room area, and 20 flat-screen TVs. The tavern offers 20 beers on tap to choose from, including several of North Carolina’s craft options. The menu offers mouthwatering items that range from chicken wings to grilled salmon to New York-style pizza.
3308 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-255-5825
9.Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar & Grill
© Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar & Grill
Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar & Grill is a festive and splashy eatery that serves Pacific Rim-inspired cuisine including their famous Mahi Mahi Tacos. Patrons will find this award-winning restaurant and bar located between the South Croatan Highway and shimmering Atlantic Ocean. Mama Kwan’s has been serving sensational dishes to locals and visitors of the Outer Banks for the last 16 years. As soon as visitors enter the restaurant they’ll be greeted with a fun and casual atmosphere that is perfect for the whole family. Patrons should begin their experience with Mama’s Hawaiian Pork Plate – marinated and pan sautéed pork tenderloin. Served with jasmine rice and an Asian cucumber salad.
1701 S Croatan Highway, Kill Devils Hills, NC, Phone: 252-441-7889
10.Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant
© Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant
Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant is a family-owned-and-operated restaurant overlooking the marvelous Roanoke Sound in the lovely beach town of Nags Head, North Carolina. Since 1982 the Miller’s and their restaurant have been dedicated to providing quality food and exceptional service to all of their guests. While patrons dine they’ll be entertained with acrobatic displays provided by windsurfers and kite-boarders in the surrounding waters. The bar area has an entire wall of roll-up windows that perfectly blends the restaurant’s casual atmosphere with the fresh outdoor elements. Patrons can enjoy the Pamlico Flounder and a fine glass of chardonnay while taking in a breathtaking Outer Banks sunset.
6916 S. Croatan Highway, Milepost 16, Highway 158, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-441-6151
11.Mulligan’s Grille in Historic Cottage Row
© Mulligan’s Grille in Historic Cottage Row
Mulligan’s Grille in Historic Cottage Row is situated between the South Croatan Highway and the Atlantic Ocean in Nags Head, North Carolina. The restaurant favors the farm-to-table philosophy, getting oysters and green-tail shrimp straight from the Pamlico Sound, and produce from Currituck County farms. The restaurant believes strongly in providing sustainable and locally sourced seafood from North Carolina’s waters. The restaurant features light-yellow walls, tall windows, exposed wood beams, wood tables and chairs, and beachy décor. Patrons will enjoy sensational meals with marvelous views of the rolling sand dunes and Atlantic Ocean. Visitors should try the Coconut Shrimp – jumbo shrimp dipped in coconut batter with a side of honey jalapeno sauce, served with southern slaw, beach fries, and hushpuppies.
4005 S Croatan Highway, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-480-2000
12.New York Pizza Pub
© New York Pizza Pub
New York Pizza Pub is an Italian restaurant situated along South Croatan Highway, just steps from the shimmering Atlantic Ocean in Nags Head, North Carolina. Since 2003, the Gurski family has been providing truly authentic Italian cuisine to visitors and locals of the Outer Banks area. The restaurant boasts two levels, is incredibly spacious, offers beachy décor, and provides a sleek, modern design. The restaurant is also equipped with a stage area where bands regularly perform live music for patrons to enjoy while dining. Patrons will be impressed by hand-tossed, brick-oven baked, New York-style pizzas that include the Seafood Alfredo – prepared with shrimp, bay scallops, garlic, sliced tomato, mozzarella, and scallions.
2217 S. Croatan Highway, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-441-2660
13.Old Nags Head Cafe
© Old Nags Head Cafe
Old Nags Head Café is situated in the Nags Head Beach Cottage Row Historic District, just steps from the Atlantic Ocean and Jockey’s Ridge State Park. For 33 years this family-run seafood restaurant has continued to provide quality food with warm, North Carolina hospitality to diners in the Outer Banks. The café’s laidback, beachy atmosphere offers the ideal setting for a friends gathering, quiet romantic evening, and everything in between. The interior is cozy and features hardwood floors, knotty pine walls, vintage and modern wall art, scattered bistro tables, and an L-shaped bar. A house favorite is the Crabmeat Fettuccine Alfredo – Fettuccine, jumbo lump crabmeat, and Alfredo sauce, served with a seasonal green salad and toasted French baguette.
3948 S Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-441-1141
Owens’ is a relaxed, Southern-style, white-tablecloth restaurant located just steps from Jennette’s Pier and Whalebone Park in Nags Head, North Carolina. The restaurant just recently celebrated its 73rd anniversary, making it one of the oldest family-run restaurants in Nags Head and the Outer Banks. The restaurant prides itself on preparing dishes with the freshest seafood and ingredients available, as well as using locally sourced produce. The restaurant features a bar area with flat-screen TVs, knotty pine, wood tables and chairs, and a large collection of antique memorabilia. A must-try menu item is the Carolina Jambalaya – prepared with crawfish, sea scallops, shrimp, Andouille sausage and Tasso ham, and white rice.
9126 S Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-441-7309
© Pamlico Jacks
Pamlico Jacks is a delightful, pirate-themed seafood restaurant overlooking the Roanoke Sound in Nags Head, North Carolina. Visitors will enjoy certified Angus beef, homemade pasta selections, and the freshest seafood in generous portion sizes. Guests dining here will appreciate the restaurant’s extensive and award-winning wine list featuring several vintage selections. The interior offers a casual atmosphere with nautical-inspired décor, wood tables and chairs, flat-screen TVs, and a full-service bar. The outdoor bar is a replicated pirate ship, authentically complete with rigging and sails. Patrons dining here will enjoy creatively prepared, sensational meals with gorgeous Sound views. Visitors should try the Oysters Rockefeller – five baked oysters, smoked Surry bacon, spinach, hollandaise, and parmesan.
6708 S Croatan Highway, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-441-2637
16.Red Drum Tap House
© Red Drum Tap House
Founded in 1998 by Chef Craig Errickson and Brian Brown, the Red Drum Tap House restaurant is situated along Virginia Dare Trail in Nags Head, North Carolina. The restaurant gets its name from a delicious fish that can be found in the local waters of the Outer Banks. A fitting name for a restaurant that serves fresh, local seafood as well as spicy ribs, juicy steaks, stuffed chicken, and many more tempting dishes. Patrons can relax in a casual dining atmosphere as they enjoy their meals. The restaurant offers several tasty craft beer selections on draft along with delicious menu items that include the Taphouse Wings tossed with a choice of buffalo sauce or honey habanero BBQ.
2412 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Milepost 10, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-480-1095
17.Sam & Omie's
© Sam & Omie’s
Sam & Omie’s is a down-to-earth, American-style, seafood restaurant that’s been serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner for over 70 years in Nags Head, North Carolina. Originally opened as a breakfast stop for Outer Banks fisherman, the restaurant has become a favorite amongst locals and visitors alike. The space exudes a “beachy” and barefoot atmosphere, creating a casual and relaxing dining experience for its patrons. The restaurant features several fishing photos that adorn the walls, nautical décor, hardwood floors, sky-blue booths, flat-screen TVs, and a full-service bar. Patrons will experience delicious menu items that include the Shrimp Burger prepared with a shrimp patty, coleslaw, cheddar cheese, and served with a choice of chips, French fries, or onion rings.
7228 S Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-441-7366
18.Darrell’s 2 BBQ & Seafood
© Darrell’s 2 BBQ & Seafood
Darrell’s 2 BBQ & Seafood is an unassuming barbeque restaurant located in a quiet strip-mall in Nags Head, North Carolina. The restaurant has been a staple of the Outer Banks since 1960, and has been carrying on its rich family tradition ever since. It provides a warm and inviting atmosphere, has a nautical theme, and places an emphasis on customer satisfaction. The décor consists of wood paneling throughout, pastel-colored walls, contemporary tables and chairs, and local artwork. Full-service catering is available for patrons who want to experience the restaurant’s mouthwatering dishes from the comfort of their beachfront cottage. Visitors will want to try menu favorites that include their BBQ Sandwich, Fried Oysters, and Hickory Smocked Ribs.
5000 South, Croatan Highway, Mile Post 14, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-449-5400
19.Sugar Creek Seafood Restaurant
© Sugar Creek Seafood Restaurant
Sugar Creek Seafood Restaurant is famous for its shrimp, but the menu offers everything from native crab cakes to prime rib to soups and salads. This waterfront restaurant offers marvelous views over the Roanoke Sound, and is located in Nags Head, North Carolina. Diners will find exquisite meals prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and seafood. The restaurant places an emphasis on consistency in quality food, as well as providing exceptional service for all of its patrons. The restaurant features a lot of exposed wood, nautical décor, an aquarium, diner-style tables and chairs, and large windows. A popular menu choice is the Yellowfin Tuna marinated in a tropical teriyaki sauce and broiled.
7340 S Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-441-4963
20.Taiko Japanese Restaurant
© Taiko Japanese Restaurant
Patrons will find the Taiko Japanese Restaurant located in the Outer Banks Mall along South Croatan Highway in Nags Head, North Carolina. Taiko first opened its doors in 2000, and has been serving classic Japanese fare in a casual setting ever since. The interior features mint-green walls, gray carpet, a sushi bar, wood tables and chairs, and a flat-screen TV. The restaurant prides itself on providing Outer Banks locals and visitors with some of the freshest and finest sushi around. Taiko offers a wide variety of sensational and authentic Japanese cuisine that includes hibachi, yakisoba, katsu, udon, shrimp tempura, and teriyaki entrees. Try the Sunset Roll prepared with spicy crab stick, eel, tuna, avocado, crunch, and masago on top.
5000 S. Croatan Highway, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-449-8895
21.Tale of the Whale
© Tale of the Whale
Tale of the Whale is an upscale, dinner-only, seafood restaurant located at the Whalebone Junction in Nags Head, North Carolina. The family-owned restaurant has been providing quality food and exceptional service to Outer Banks locals and visitors for the last 38 years. The restaurant is dedicated to using fresh, sustainable, locally sourced ingredients and seafood in every dish. Large picture windows encompass the elegantly designed restaurant, providing guests with breathtaking views over the Roanoke Sound as they dine. During the summer patrons can enjoy live music in the restaurant’s waterfront gazebo. The Mahi Oscar is a popular menu item – prepared with Mahi fish grilled to perfection and topped with jumbo lump crabmeat, fresh asparagus, and hollandaise sauce.
7575 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-441-7332
22.The Dunes Restaurant
© The Dunes Restaurant
The Dunes Restaurant is a family-owned, Southern-style eatery situated along South Croatan Highway in Nags Head, North Carolina. Since 1982 The Dunes has been providing Outer Banks visitors and locals with delightful cuisine and warm Southern hospitality. The restaurant proudly supports North Carolina fisherman, farmers, and purveyors by using locally sourced and sustainable products whenever possible. The interior features a few industrial design elements, “beachy” décor, wood tables and chairs, blue leather booths, and large picture windows. The restaurant is also equipped with a full-service bar providing classic cocktails, craft beer, and an extensive wine list. The Chicken & Waffles is a popular choice – golden fried chicken served on a warm Belgium waffle and drizzled with bourbon maple glaze.
7013 S Croatan Highway, Nags Head, SC, Phone: 252-441-1600
23.The Kill Devil Grill
© The Kill Devil Grill
The Kill Devil Grill is a casual restaurant serving American fare, located just steps from the Atlantic Ocean in Nags Head, North Carolina. For 15 years the restaurant has been filling up with loyal patrons either from or visiting the Outer Banks. The 1939 Pullman dining car is a unique feature that contributes to the restaurant’s place on the National Registry of Historic Buildings. The restaurant features dark knotty pine ceilings, tufted red leather booths, chalkboard specials, and a full-service bar. Patrons will crave everything from the savory Cheese Steak Eggrolls to the zesty Backyard Wings to the award-winning Key Lime Pie. A local favorite is the Crab Cake Sandwich prepared with tomato, lettuce, KDG tartar, and served with fries.
2008 South Virginia Dare Trail, Mile Post 9, Kills Devil Hills, NC, Phone: 252-449-8181
© Tortugas Lie
Tortugas Lie is a vibrant, Caribbean-style restaurant situated along South Virginia Dare Trail, near Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head, North Carolina. Since its establishment in 1989, the restaurant has consistently served some of the finest fare in the Outer Banks region, from mouthwatering appetizers to sensational dinners to extraordinary desserts. Patrons can work up a little sweat and appetite with a quick volleyball match on either one of the restaurant’s two, beach-sand volleyball courts – how cool?! Another fun aspect of the restaurant is its previous spotlight on Guy Fieri’s Diners Drive-Ins & Dives. Menu favorites include Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Skewered Shrimp Barbados, and Coconut Cream Pie.
3014 S Virginia Dare Trail, Mile Post 11, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-441-7299
© Yellow Submarine
The Yellow Submarine is a Beatles-themed pizzeria situated between the shimmering Atlantic Ocean and Roanoke Sound in Nags Head, North Carolina. For over 40 years this restaurant has been a local favorite to those in the Outer Banks area. They use only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients in their hand-tossed, made-from-scratch pizzas before they’re baked to golden perfection in an authentic stone oven. The restaurant features gray brick floors, black paneled ceilings, metal tables with wood chairs, charming black and yellow booths, and several flat-screen TVs. Patrons will enjoy menu favorites that include the Hawaiian Pizza made with traditional red sauce and topped with sliced Boar’s Head ham, pineapple, and extra shredded mozzarella cheese.
5000 S Croatan Highway, Outer Banks Mall, Mile Post 14, Nags Head, NC, Phone: 252-441-3511
25 Best Restaurants in Nags Head
- Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe, Photo: Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe
- Blue Moon Beach Grill, Photo: Blue Moon Beach Grill
- Sooey BBQ & Rib Shack, Photo: Sooey BBQ & Rib Shack
- Dune Burger, Photo: Dune Burger
- Food Dudes Kitchen, Photo: Food Dudes Kitchen
- Grits Grill, Photo: Grits Grill
- La Fogata Mexican Restaurant, Photo: La Fogata Mexican Restaurant
- Lucky 12 Tavern, Photo: Lucky 12 Tavern
- Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar & Grill, Photo: Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar & Grill
- Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant, Photo: Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant
- Mulligan’s Grille in Historic Cottage Row, Photo: Mulligan’s Grille in Historic Cottage Row
- New York Pizza Pub, Photo: New York Pizza Pub
- Old Nags Head Cafe, Photo: Old Nags Head Cafe
- Owens', Photo: Owens’
- Pamlico Jacks, Photo: Pamlico Jacks
- Red Drum Tap House, Photo: Red Drum Tap House
- Sam & Omie's, Photo: Sam & Omie’s
- Darrell’s 2 BBQ & Seafood, Photo: Darrell’s 2 BBQ & Seafood
- Sugar Creek Seafood Restaurant, Photo: Sugar Creek Seafood Restaurant
- Taiko Japanese Restaurant, Photo: Taiko Japanese Restaurant
- Tale of the Whale, Photo: Tale of the Whale
- The Dunes Restaurant, Photo: The Dunes Restaurant
- The Kill Devil Grill, Photo: The Kill Devil Grill
- Tortugas Lie, Photo: Tortugas Lie
- Yellow Submarine, Photo: Yellow Submarine
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of scottevers7 - Fotolia.com