For such small towns, Duck and Southern Shores have a good number of restaurants and some pretty sophisticated dining options.
Whether you want delivered pizza or upscale cuisine matched with a Wine Spectator award-winning wine list, you’ll find what you’re looking for. Most Duck NC restaurants, like so many on the Outer Banks, stick to American fare, with an emphasis on seafood. That doesn’t mean there aren’t creative chefs here; you’ll find some very innovative preparations of seafood, meats, fresh produce and traditional ingredients. Southern Shores restaurants include a couple of chains (ever heard of a little place called Starbucks?), a great pizza place and a wonderful gourmet foods market/cafe.
Duck NC restaurants can boast of three of the top food and wine destinations on the Outer Banks. You can sip coffee in a front porch rocker, have a romantic dinner with a sound view, savor wine under a canopy of live oaks, eat al fresco while listening to jazz, catch sports on a bar TV, grab a slice of pizza, lick an ice cream while feeding ducks or take the whole family out for a seafood dinner.
In the summer, when there are way more people than there are Duck restaurant seats, you may want to eat out early or late or make a reservation (where possible). The least crowded nights at Duck restaurants and Southern Shores restaurants are, maybe surprisingly, Friday and Saturday nights. That’s because of scheduled arrivals and departures at the vacation rental companies. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are typically the busiest nights in the summer, local restaurateurs say. In the off-season, Duck dining is much more relaxed and accessible. Some restaurants close in the dead of winter, but there is always something open. Several Southern Shores and Duck restaurants are now staying open year round. Both towns have full ABC permits, so you can order beer, wine or liquor at restaurants that have those options.
We’ve arranged the Duck NC restaurants in alphabetical order. When they are located in a collection of shops, we give the shopping center’s name for the address; if it’s a stand-alone establishment, the address is given as Duck Road, which is the same as N.C. Highway 12. All the Southern Shores restaurants are in The Marketplace or Southern Shores Crossing, on the northern side of N.C. Highway 158, near the intersection where you turn north to head to Duck. Click on the Restaurant Featured Plates link to the left for detailed, information that’s updated daily by the restaurants themselves—what’s featured today, reservation policies, large group accommodations, pricing, payment options, hours of operation and more.