Wilmington is a port city in North Carolina known for being a gateway to Cape Fear’s beaches. Its riverwalk has been voted America’s best river front and is located downtown in the city’s historic district. This district spans over 230 blocks and the city’s history can be seen all throughout its oldest structures. In Wilmington, you can enjoy horse drawn carriage rides, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. You’ll find some of the most unique restaurants in this city. And these restaurants are more than worth it to try out!
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122 Market St | Wilmington | theforkncork.com
The Fork N’ Cork has been on a roll ever since it first opened. This unique American restaurant was given the title of “best mac and cheese in the state” by Buzzfeed upon its second day of opening. Guy Fieri has featured it on Diners Drive-Ins & Dives. It’s most certainly not a bad idea to try this place out for yourself! You can choose from burgers, gourmet pot pies, and mac and cheese layered with brisket. They are partnered with a local business for access to fresh meat, so on top of having creative options, the food is made with the freshest of ingredients!
The menu has so many intriguing options, you might have a hard time choosing. On the appetizer menu, you’ll find Texas poutine, wellington bites, and toasted crab bread. Their burgers include the duck duck goose burger, a lamb burger, and a Carolina burger. On the sandwich list, they have monte cristo, salmon club, and Texas brisket. They also have a great list of specialty cocktails.
“Cool little bar / restaurant in downtown Wilmington. Nice local beer selection on tap and friendly staff. I had the chicken sandwich and the thing was massive. Cooked perfectly and very juicy. Not sure if the fries were hand cut homemade but they certainly seemed so. Highly recommend it.”–Yelp Review
402 Chestnut St | Wilmington | savorez.com
Savorez is a restaurant that shares bold flavors in a fun atmosphere. The small, brick building they’re housed in appears unassuming on the outside, but when you walk in, you’ll be hit by bright colors, people, and flavorful food. The name ‘Savorez’ comes from the Spanish word ‘sabores,’ which means ‘flavors.’ And they truly live up to their name by providing customers with foods that they’ll wish they could come back for again and again.
At Savorez, they are inspired by the vibrant flavors and colors that exist in the food of Latin cultures. The chef has taken inspiration from his North Carolina roots as well, which lead to his creating his own version of Latin inspired southern cuisine. Their menu includes tapas, empanadas, tacos, soups, and sides. Try a jerk shrimp tostada during lunch time or a caliente tostada during dinner. If you have room for more, you can have one of five desserts on the menu.
“This is the best restaurant I've been to in a long time. The medley of flavors in every dish were surprising and delicious. I'm not going anywhere else for dinner when I'm in Wilmington. Well done Savorez!–Yelp Review
A great meal to start off the day with. Image courtesy of Cityseeker.
319 N Front St | Wilmington | thebasicswilmington.com
The Basics is a breakfast restaurant that serves breakfast early on weekdays and longer on the weekends. It is a great spot for breakfast and brunch, and they also serve lunch and dinner later on in the day. They offer daily breakfast specials, so you never know what might be available from day to day. The recent list of breakfast specials includes an omelet with broccoli, tomatoes, squash, mushrooms, onions, and cheese with toppings, spiced apple yogurt, and 7-up cake.
On the rest of the menu, you’ll find bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits, southern eggs benedict, steak and eggs, blueberry pancakes, and much more. Breakfast at the basics is anything but disappointing. They also have a great list of drinks and cocktails to choose from. You can order bottomless coffee along with mimosas and bloody marys. They also have lavender gin gimlets, sangria, and Irish coffee.
“We went 15 minutes before they opened with no reservation. We had great luck and slid into the last 2 seats at the bar. Our server was great. She answered all our questions and was so nice. We had Southern Benedict and the Megas omelet. Both of us loved our meals. The lil biscuit they use as garnish was even perfect. Will definitely go back with reservations next time.”–Yelp Review
8 N Front St | Wilmington | circa1922.com
Circa 1922 is a restaurant that serves seasonal American food. What’s on the menu completely depends on what’s available to the local farmers that season. Circa’s core principle involves elevating traditional dishes to a modern experience. They use the freshest ingredients and custom meats alongside seasonal items. The foods served here are so delectable, they will have you leave with a very memorable experience. Each dish at Circa 1922 is crafted for that purpose.
Circa makes all its food from scratch with food sourced from the best local farmers and seafood merchants in their region. As a seaside city, they get access to the freshest seafood possible, straight off the boat. With that they make foods like seafood paella, seared sea scallops, crispy calamari, and tailgate bolognese. The menu is filled with great options. The bar offers delicious wines from all over the world and the pastry chef is always churning out desserts like 7 layer cake and creme brulee.
“Came here for a work dinner and we had a large group. I was very impressed with the fast and attentive service! We ordered many of the starters but my favorite was definitely the spring rolls. The beet salad was delicious! I had the salmon and it was very good. Mostly everyone in the group had the scallops and they all said they were really good too!”–Yelp Review
114 Market St | Wilmington | pinpointrestaurant.com
Pinpoint Restaurant serves food that is rooted deeply in tradition. It is located just a block from the Cape Fear River and was once named as one of the best restaurants in the south by Southern Living Magazine. It has won many other accolades since that one, and there are many reasons why that is! Pinpoint’s menu changes daily and often features fresh meats and seafoods from local farmers and fishermen.
This restaurant’s menu is filled with a variety of great options. You can’t really go wrong with your choice! The appetizers include creamed corn baked oysters, yellowfish tuna carpaccio, and beef tartare. The mains include charred octopus, pan seared mahi mahi, and buttermilk fried chicken. They also have a great list of cocktails. You can try their cilantro margarita, Caribbean manhattan, or a handcrafted mocktail. You can’t really go wrong!
“Our first time visiting PinPoint was absolutely incredible! Our server was Audri and she was so spectacular! 10/10 come here and enjoy the dinner service, you won't regret it”–Yelp Review
138 S Front St | Wilmington | littledipperfondue.com
Little Dipper Fondue is a restaurant that serves top notch fondue. Its historic location is characterized by bright and modern interior design that still manages to feel cozy. They serve a full course menu that includes a cheese fondue appetizer, entrees cooked at the table, and chocolate fondue to finish things off. They offer an a la carte menu in addition to the full course menu, and that menu includes gourmet cheeses, grilled meat, seafood, and salads, as well as dessert fondues.
All of this restaurant’s tables are handmade with at least one shared burner on top. Everyone at a table is meant to share the fondue pot and so you will make the choice about what style of cooking will be used together. Do you want your food cooked in peanut oil? In vegetable broth or beef broth? You will have to make these choices and more at Little Dipper. They are even known for the 17 sauces for meat, vegetables, and seafood.
“The entire experience was amazing! Loved the vibe. Staff were efficient and courteous. Food was fantastic! Loved the cheese fondue and fluffernutter dessert fondue. We are big melting pot fans, but this was outstanding and did not disappoint. I highly recommend Girls Night Out with great prices and a fun filled evening. I am a new fan of Little Dipper and I will be back.”–Yelp Review
10 Market St | Wilmington | capricebistro.com
Caprice Bistro is a French restaurant founded by a couple from France. It is a nice and relaxed place to have a good dinner in a quaint setting. They have a great menu filled with choices that will delight you and anyone you bring over with you. Just about anything you get is likely to be satisfying! The service is also excellent and will make you and your company feel very welcome.
On the menu, you’ll find a list of appetizers and entrees with French names and English descriptions. Some appetizers you can get are seared rabbit sausage, grilled romaine with pan fried shrimp, and a selection of imported cheeses. On the entree menu, there is beef bourguignon, duck confit, seared Norwegian salmon, and more. Don’t miss out on trying these amazing French meals!
“We stopped in for dessert and a cocktail and it did not disappoint! My boyfriend enjoyed the espresso martini. It's definitely a strong one. We'll definitely be back for dinner!”–Yelp Review
6801 Parker Farm Dr | Wilmington | fiveguys.com
If nothing on this list has caught your attention so far, you could always try an American classic. Five Guys is one of the best burger chains in the country, and it certainly never hurts to have more of it! Five Guys has over 250,000 ways to customize your burger and over 1,000 milkshake combinations!
They use fresh ground beef. You won’t even find freezers in the restaurant. They double cook their fries and hand prepare all their ingredients each day. The workers at Five Guys strive to provide their customers with the best experience they could have every time they visit. This classic burger spot never disappoints.
“Seriously addictive burgers!!! My daughter loves snacking on the available peanuts while waiting for our order. Typically fast service, and it's always good. The thin patties are cooked perfectly & they offer a bunch of toppings. They always give you plenty of fresh cut fries, I love them with malt vinegar! If you're looking for a quick, delicious authentic burger, this is my family's go to.”–Yelp Review
Wilmington is a city with plenty of unique restaurants within its borders. Unique restaurants of many kinds can be found on a ride through the city. Make sure to drop into one of them for a truly unique dining experience!