In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we asked readers what Brunswick County restaurants are the most romantic. When it comes to date nights, locals prefer seafood, great Italian food, intimate settings and water views.
Here are some of your recommendations. Did we miss your favorite spot for dining with your sweetie? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Joseph’s Italian Bistro
Located on the Intracoastal Waterway at South Harbor Village at 5003 O’Quinn Blvd in Southport, this restaurant received multiple nods for its picturesque setting and Italian food. Dishes like the polenta, shrimp scampi and lobster ravioli get raves. As do the sunset views. It’s been a Brunswick County favorite since 2003.
Another eatery with water views, this one is at Hughes Marina, 1800 Village Point Road SW, Shallotte. With a tiki bar and and restaurant, the dining can be both casual and charming. Located on the Shallotte River and Intracoastal, take in the view from the top deck while you enjoy some crab cakes or fried seafood. Keep in mind that Inlet View is only open seasonally and they plan to reopen on Feb. 16.
Mr. P’s Bistro
Another of Southport’s bistro restaurants, this one also had a number of mentions for the romance it can bring to date night. Mr. P’s is located at 309 N. Howe St. and specializes in seafood, although the prime rib is also a favorite. One notable dish to try is the Underground Tuna, which is sesame-encrusted and served with a Hawaiian sauce, ginger and wasabi.
With a motto like “the only thing we overlook is the ocean” this Oak Island restaurant prides itself not only on having great views of the Atlantic, but also thoughtfully prepared food and service. What to get? They recommend the crab dip, filet mignon and the Grouper Neptune, which is served with asparagus, seafood and béarnaise sauce. You can find them at 1407 E. Beach Drive.
The Oyster Rock
In Calabash at the southern tip of Brunswick County, this restaurant offers another gorgeous waterfront setting on the river. Although a focus is on the seafood selection and raw bar items, the restaurant also sources local and regional ingredients for a menu with a little something for everyone, from charcuterie boards to chicken and pork. They also offer 24 beers on tap, 30 wines by the glass, and a specialty cocktail menu. They are at 9931 Nance St.
Oliver’s on the Cape Fear
As the name implies, this is another great choice for waterfront dining. Oliver’s is open for lunch and dinner at 101 W. Bay St. in Southport. It’s known for elegant, upscale dishes (like lobster bisque, soft-shell crab and grilled steaks) in the historic setting of what was originally a ships chandler dating back to the 1700s.
Ports of Call
Another entry from Southport, this restaurant offers a menu with a global influence. They also make dining out an occasion by regularly hosting special dinners and events. February’s Wine Dinner, for example, features food from Australia, such as barbecued lamb chops and grilled prawns. (It takes place Feb. 23 and 24.) The restaurant at 116 N Howe St. posts hours for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.
One of Southport’s newer restaurants opened at 122 Yacht Basin Drive last year. But it’s already becoming well-known for its “fresh food by the water” approach. The inventive menu includes dishes like fried Brussels sprouts, a Korean rice bowl and “Pork and Donuts,” a chicken-fried pork chop with a maple-glazed donut, kale and brandy cream.
The Italian owner’s love of food and cooking comes through at this restaurant at 4332 Long Beach Road in Southport. In the five years it’s been open, it’s drawn both celebrity guests and many couples who are looking for good food served in an intimate atmosphere.
Allison Ballard is the food and dining reporter at the StarNews. You can reach her at email@example.com.