The Reviews Are In: These Are The Best Restaurants in Wilmington, NC

Not Sure Where to Eat in Wilmington? Not Anymore. These Are the Best Restaurants for Everything from Steak to Tapas (Local Approved)

If you’re looking for the best restaurants in Wilmington, North Carolina, then you’re in the right place. Wilmington has a number of fine, upscale, and high-end restaurants and eating establishments, but not all of them can rank at the top of the list. We’ve scoured the Wilmington restaurant scene for the best of the best, and the list of top-rated restaurants we’ve come up with covers a variety of styles and cultures of cuisines, and the restaurants themselves have a myriad of upscale and down-to-earth atmospheres.

Finding the best restaurant in town can be tough – particularly in an area like Wilmington with such diverse restaurant offerings. Our list today takes the legwork out of pinpointing where you want to eat tonight. 

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best restaurants in Wilmington, plus all of the resources you need to plan your evening. The address, the part of town it’s in, even a link to the website for further detail. We’ve taken it a step further too and indicated which of these restaurants are currently participating with GiftYa, so that you know when you can grab a convenient digital gift card to any of the vendors.

GiftYa, you say?

As a reminder, a GiftYa digital gift card is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a gift card that functions just like every other gift card. It lets you make purchases at a participating bar, restaurant, or store up to the face value of the gift card. 

However, unlike traditional gift cards. GiftYa digital gift cards come with a few additional benefits. For instance, unlike a traditional gift card, a GiftYa can be sent straight to your phone in seconds and easily linked to a credit or debit card of your choice. 

That way you don’t need to deliver a GiftYa in person if you want to give it as a gift. You don’t even have to go to a store in person if you want one for yourself. You can just visit the GiftYa website and pick one up today.

Since GiftYa cards are sent directly to your phone and linked to a card you already have and carry with you every day, you never have to worry about misplacing them or forgetting to take them with you. 

In addition to that, your GiftYa also keeps track of the balance for you, which is so much nicer than having to try to remember how much was left over on those antiquated plastic gift cards. I mean you can’t write it on them very easily so idk what you’re supposed to do if you don’t use the total value the first time? Just guess the next time you are in town? 

Copper Penny

Wilmington’s Best Family-Friendly Pub

109 Chestnut St | Wilmington|

Sometimes you just get a craving for pub food. Juicy cheeseburgers, piping hot French fries, crispy chicken, sandwiches piled high with meat and veggies… it makes you hungry just thinking about it. Luckily, you don’t have to go through the trouble of finding a babysitter to enjoy a night out at the Copper Penny – this family-friendly restaurant serves up some of the best pub food in town, and everyone’s invited.

Copper Penny is truly a local venue, right down to their drink menu. Stocked with locally brewed craft beer and an NC-driven selection of speciality cocktails, stop in for a true taste of what Wilmington has to offer.

Locals can’t stop talking about Copper Penny’s french onion dip, so be sure to order the appetizer and whet your appetite for the rest of what is sure to be a delicious meal.

“Really good pub food.  Old town feel. Went for lunch, and would bet dinner would be great too.  Would highly recommend if you find yourself in the area” - Yelp Review 

Copper Penny doesn’t offer GiftYa digital gift cards just yet, but check back soon because we are always adding more of the best restaurants and attractions in Wilmington to our catalog!

The Fork n Cork

Put an Unexpected Twist on Your Favorite Comfort Food

122 Market St | Wilmington |

What’s your favorite, feel-good, pick-me-up food? Maybe it’s a hearty sandwich with plenty of meat and veggies to fill you up for a well-balanced (and delicious) energy boost. Or perhaps you prefer a plate piled high with ooey, gooey, melty mac-and-cheese. And nothing quite says comfort food like pot pie that takes you back to the warm food mom used to make on a cold winter’s day.

When you step into Fork n Cork, that’s what you can expect: homey, feel-good vibes. It may be one of the best restaurants in Wilmington, but their menu is packed with bona fide comfort food. Come hungry, and you’ll be sure to leave with a full belly and a big smile.

“Its the best place to have burgers I would say!!! It's such a cool spot. And the food is great..

Staff is awesome” - Yelp Review

You can’t get a digital GiftYa gift card to The Fork n Cork at the moment but be sure to check back soon as new restaurants and locations in Wilmington are added all the time!

Fish Bites Seafood Restaurant

Enjoy Exceptional Fresh Seafood at One of the Best Restaurants in Wilmington

6132 Carolina Beach Rd | Ste 11 |

When we think of “the best restaurants” anywhere, a few categories spring to mind. Trendy gastropubs. Elegant steakhouses. And of course, seafood restaurants. Located on the beautiful coast of North Carolina, Wilmington residents are no strangers to fresh, local seafood. And when they want the best of the best fresh, local seafood, they head to Fish Bites Seafood Restaurant.

Recently named the top seafood restaurant in North Carolina, there is a reason Fish Bites made our list of the best restaurants in Wilmington. Open for dine in and takeout, Fish Bites is widely known in the Wilmington region and beyond for its attentive staff and mouthwatering food.

Locals love the lobster bisque and clam chowder. Once you’ve revved up your appetite with one of their fresh soups, move on to heartier fare, like a crab cake sandwich, stuffed flounder, or shrimp scallop scampi. None of their dishes skimp on flavor, so you really can’t go wrong.

“Yet another awesome experience with Fish Bites! Absolutely call ahead to get on the waitlist, otherwise you'll be waiting for a long long time because it's so good and so popular!” - Yelp Review 

Unfortunately Fish Bites Seafood Restaurant isn’t one of the restaurants in Wilmington participating with GiftYa just yet, but check back soon cause they might be any day now.


One of the Busiest Restaurants in Wilmington = One of the Best Restaurants in Wilmington

7210 Wrightsville Ave | Wilmington |

There’s a certain wisdom in crowds. If you want to know what restaurants have the best food, best service, and best atmosphere, seeking out the restaurants that are always packed is a good place to start. And that’s why Ceviche’s has landed on our list.

Despite being consistently busy, restaurant reviews cite quick service and excellent staff time and time again. On top of receiving your meal quickly, you can rest assured that a meal at Ceviche will be as packed with flavor as their dining room is packed with people.

Ropa vieja, yucca frites, jerk shrimp skewers… the list of flavor-packed offerings go on.

“Its always my No.1 restaurant in Wilmington!!! Food is so tasty. Portion is good. They are busy all the time. The place is always packed but food came out fast never have to wait!Service is GREAT! Thanks for the good work.” - Yelp Review 

Right now you aren’t able to get a GiftYa digital gift card to Ceviche’s, but check back because there’s more best restaurants and stores in Wilmington added all the time.

Shark Bar and Kitchen

Casual Burger + Seafood Joint Right on the Water in Wrightsville Beach

13 E Salisbury St | Wrightsville Beach |

Looking for the best beach bar in Wilmington? You’ve found it. Shark Bar and Kitchen has all of your favorites – juicy burgers, fresh seafood – plus a full bar complete with frozen drinks that are the perfect way to chill out after a day in the sun. Plus, you can tell that the owners put the spoils of their success right back into the business: the upstairs is newly renovated, looks great, and features a raw bar where you can find some of the freshest seafood around.

Awesome food, great location. What more could you ask for?

“Drove to the beach from Fayetteville to see the beach and grab lunch. Ended up with the smashed avocado and spicy shrimp. Both were very good. The place is very busy and they have several very friendly and attentive staffers. If I am ever in the areas again I would purposely visit.” - Yelp Review 

There aren’t GiftYa digital gift cards available for Shark Bar and Kitchen as of the date of this writing, but there might be now! Be sure to check GiftYa itself for all the gift cards available for restaurants in Wilmington.

Johnny Lukes Kitchen Bar

Delicious Food, Decadent Cocktails, and Unmatched Service

5500 Market St | Ste 130 |

Locally owned and operated Johnny Lukes Kitchen Bar takes a casual approach to running a restaurant, and boy, has it paid off! According to co-owner John Jackson, his goal was to create a restaurant with food the he would actually like to eat. That down-to-earth approach must have resonated with the folks of Wilmington, which has landed on our best restaurants list.

Johnny Lukes’ created an upscale restaurant with a “touch of urban sophistication.” Which means you can chow down on a big plate of nachos or carefully cooked lamb chops, plates that reference pop culture (“Luke, I am your Father” crab cakes) or a ribeye steak. Plus with 19 craft beers on tap, you’re sure to find the perfect brew to wash down anything you choose.

Johnny Lukes also has a rooftop bar and heated patio, so you can enjoy outdoor dining no matter what the weather looks like.

“Best dinner ever..!!I took my whole family out for my birthday. everyone loved the food. Service was great. Staff was nice and friendly. Will be back!” - Yelp Review 

As always we’re busy adding new attractions and the best restaurants in Wilmington to GiftYa all the time, but you can’t get one for Johnny Lukes Kitchen Bar just yet. Check back soon.

True Blue Butcher and Table

Butcher Shop and Fine Dining All Rolled Into One

1125 Military Cutoff Rd A | Ste A |

The best restaurants aren’t always the most traditional. At True Blue Butcher and Table, you’ll find an updated take on the American steakhouse experience. They serve up the excellent food you’d expect of an establishment with an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars on Yelp – crab cakes, pork chops, filet mignon – in a bright atmosphere befitting of a beach town restaurant.

True Blue Butcher and Table serves high quality, locally raised meats and fresh local ingredients to create their menu items, so when you visit True Blue you can feel good not just about the delicious meal you’ll be enjoying, but about supporting local as well.

“Excellent food. I had a great time with my family here.The place is beautiful, Great live music. Service is good. the weekend is packed, please make a reservation. ..!!” - Yelp Review 

True Blue Butcher and Table isn’t accepting GiftYa digital gift cards just yet, but check here for all the other GiftYa available for the best restaurants in Wilmington.

That’s all, folks!

There you have it! Our list of the best rated restaurants you can find in Wilmington, NC.

Wilmington is a major hub of business and commerce, so it isn’t easy to narrow down the list of best restaurants to only what can fit in this post. But just from what we gathered for you here today you’ll be sure to find a location that's convenient for you with plenty of excellent menu options, whether you’re looking for seafood, New American cuisine, or something else entirely.

And don’t forget to check GiftYa for the latest digital gift cards to some of the best restaurants and attractions in Wilmington!

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Trae Bodge

Trae Bodge is the shopping expert here at GiftYa. Trae helps people find the best deals and ideas on popular new items to purchase.

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