The Outer Banks (OBX)

We spent the last two weeks in the outer banks of N. Carolina, so while here I thought I would share our dining experiences.  Because OBX is really about casual, we very seldom visit the 2 or 3 upscale restaurants, we have eaten in the past at Aqua S in Southern Shores in Duck, Prime Only in Nags Head and the Sanderling in Duck. However, after plunking down between $2000 and $4000 a week most folks are looking for casual dining with a slightly lower price, well much lower!

Our ist of places we have eaten is long, however, I will keep the list to our current visit.  We usually eat diner in because we always stay in a friens house at the 20-mile marker and usually have copious amounts of wine, need I say more?  This trip we have eaten at:

Blue Moon Beach Grill Located at mile post 13 in Surf Side Plaza on the beach road.

We have eaten diner at Blue Moon ever since they opened about 3-years ago, over the winter that expanded the restaurant.  This visit was for lunch, there were 4 of us, the girls shared a Spinach & Arugula Salad and split the beach burger and fries.  The guys each had the sour of the day, which was crab and blue cheese chowder and one of us had the shrimp “not a burger” and the shrimp  po’ boy. The shrimp “not a burger” a zesty sandwich comes with blackened shrimp, fried green tomato & sharp provolone.  Served on toasted ciabatta bread with arugula, basil aioli and a balsamic reduction and erved with fries. Excellent.

The Crab and blue cheese chowder  was thick with a slight tastes of blue cheese and loaded with crab and finished with a bit of sherry.  The chowder was not too thick, it could have been a bit warmers, this seems to be an issue here on the outer banks, possibly to protect the tender seafood ingredients. This was a very tasty soup and would be enjoyed by folks who may not be a fan of blue cheese. I would definitely order again if it appears back on the menu.

Food Dudes Kitchen located at mile post 9.5 on the beach road in Kill Devil Hills.

New to the area we were turned on to them by two locals who go often.  We when the for Sunday brunch after church.  We dined al fresco over looking the parking lot, the place is very small.  Everyone ordered off of the Sunday Brunch menu, the normal menu is also available.  Jo had the eggs benedict over country ham on sweet potato biscuits, Bruce the sausage frittata, with home fries, Pat the sausage, vegetable and egg scramble with oat grain toast and Mike the eggs benedict over pulled pork with chipotle Hollandaise  sauce on a toasted english muffin.  We also ordered a couple of orders of sweet potato biscuits with ham and apple butter.  Of course there was far too much food, but we had to try everything.

Everyone enjoyed their breakfast, my only complaint was  eggs were over cooked, probably becuse Jo ordered her’s well done, I should have made sure they did not do the same with mine.  The pulled pork was very tender but the chipotle Hollandaise sauce a bit thin and could have used a bit more kick.

We all agreed we would return in the future, for this group that is like a 4-star review.

Ortega’z Southwestern Grill and Wine Bar on Sir Walter Raleigh Street in Manteo across the bridge.

We were out for a late lunch and decided to visit Ortega’z.  We arrive about 45-minutes before they stopped serving, service was a bit slow due to a large part inside, we sat outside on the front patio, under the big fan, adjacent to the heater, I do not think they will need the heater for the remainder of the summer.

Three of us had the fish tacos, two on the hard blue corn tortillas and one of the soft flour tortillas, Bruce ordered a cheese steak wrap and the soup of the day which was a poblano crab bisque .  The bisque was flavorful but very mild with no poblano pepper flavor identifiable , and as usual no to hot, again the OBX way.

The fish tacos were made with sword fish and were very good served with pico de gallo, sour cream, and a remoulade, saffron rice with black beans.

Sugar Shack Dining on Roanoke Sound, just before the bridge to Manteo, and not in Virginia

The Sugar Shack

The Friendly Staff

OK when on vacation we all have those craving whether it’s ice cream or whatever..

In this case it is fried seafood and I can think of no better place than the Sugar Shack, located adjacent to Sugar Creek which is a pretty good restaurant for seafood, but you have conflicts; waiters and waitresses, kitchen delays, etc.

At the Shack you check out the menu, sorry white board, or the cooler case and decide what you want an place your order.  The next you know it is delivered you your table, either inside or outside adjacent otnthe sound.  The staff is friendly and beer is on tap, of course that have soft drinks as well.  All baskets come with house made chip, there are also onion rings, hushpuppies, slaw and other southern favorites.  We had the flounder and the calamari, of course we always get asked if everything was OK because the portions are for the young appetite, and of course we leave a little on our plate!

It is not gourmet, just fresh seafood cooked to perfection served immediately, so net time in Nags Head give them a try and tell them Mike and Pat sent you!

Beach Road Grill – Mile Post 11 on the Beach Road

The Beach Road Grill on the Outer Banks features a casual menu featuring burgers, fresh Outer Banks seafood, wraps and a steam bar.

This is without a doubt the cleanest restaurant I have ever been in anywhere in this category of laid back casual restaurant.

They have a white board at the rear of the restaurant with the specials of the day.  Last night it was Ribeye, a shrimp with pasta dish, blackened Cobia, a couple of deserts, and the fish of the day was Mahi-Mahi and softshell crabs.

The Ribeye was $12.99 and done just the way you asked for it, we ordered medium-rare and that’s the way it came.  The girls had the BGR Burger, fish & chips and chicken tenders with a side of french fries. Fish tacos were discussed but never materialized.

We have been here before for lunch but this was our first time for diner.  I would recommend this as a great casual place to eat while in the outer banks.

Tortugas’ Lie Shellfish Bar and Grill

Nestled among the dunes of the Outer Banks town of Nags Head, you’ll find a delicious slice of the Caribbean known as Tortugas’ Lie. Founded in 1989, Tortugas’ is home to some of the beach’s finest fare, from mouthwatering appetizers to dinners and desserts so delicious you can’t help but come back again and again.

The day we visited the two specials, which are always listed on their web site, were Yellowfin Tuna with provolone cheese and asian slaw on a roll and also a Shrimp Wrap loaded with shrimp, may be a halff-pound, and lettuce and tomato and severed with onion rings.  The Yellowfin Tuna sandwich was excellent, the tuna done to perfection; about medium-rare unlike many who cook it ti death.  The only complaint I heard about the Shrimp Wrap was there was a lot of shrimp, not really a negative.

I'm sure you can find something you like

Tortugas’ made Coastal Living Magazines list of 84 of Americas Best Seafood Dives this year (June 2011, page 95), a well deserved honor!  All Dive but a good place to eat!

Other places and our recommendations:

Pamlico Jack’s Pirate Hideaway – Great place to sit on the deck and have a drink and watch the sun go down  sun go down, may be have an appetizer then go some where for diner.

Awful Arthur’s Oyster Bar – Mile post 6 on the beach road.

As an added subject, if you are interested in the Outer Banks Beach Re-nourishment project you can get an update here

The project Plan

Courtesy of the William Miller House
Mike Rohde and Pat Daniels, Innkeepers
Richmond, Virginia

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