Outstanding food, beautiful views, and a rich history all make for a memorable dining experience, and few places can match Calabash in these attributes, especially for seafood lovers.

For generations, visitors to the Brunswick Islands and surrounding counties have made the trek to Calabash for its world renowned seafood. At first, local fishermen and their families served up fresh seafood straight from the boat right on the banks of the Calabash River. Then in the 1930s, these families opened restaurants near the waterfront serving uniquely delicious, lightly breaded fried seafood. This style of cooking became known as Calabash-style seafood and led to the sleepy fishing village earning the nickname “Seafood Capital of the World.” Other restaurants have tried to imitate the Calabash-style of preparing seafood, but nothing compares to enjoying authentic Calabash seafood where it all originated.


Even today, shrimp boats still call the Calabash waterfront their home and their daily catch can be purchased fresh from the boats right on the docks. These days, the shrimp boats are joined by fishing charters and head boats providing half day and full day fishing excursions. Not a fisherman? Try a two-hour dolphin cruise or a sunset cruise that will delight the whole family! Or simply take in the quiet beauty of a walk on the docks after a perfect meal of shrimp, clams, oysters, fish, or scallops. And if you’re there in the early morning or in the evening you’ll be amazed at how the shrimp boat captains deftly maneuver the large boats alongside the docks.


Delight Your Taste Buds

Whether you are a tried-and-true Calabash traditionalist or looking for a contemporary variation, there are plenty of restaurants with lots of seafood choices. From a classic Calabash fried seafood platter to signature oyster dishes, or the catch of the day served fried, broiled, blackened or sauteed, you’ll be sure to find a dish to dazzle your taste buds along with a friendly atmosphere. Whether you choose a restaurant with a waterfront view or one located “up the hill”, you can’t go wrong. The restaurants of Calabash routinely make the lists of must visit seafood establishments in publications such as Southern Living, Coastal Living, and more. You can’t miss The Oyster Rock, recognized by Open Table as one of the Best Restaurants for Outdoor Dining in America, and the Waterfront Seafood Shack Market and Eatery, recognized inside the Top 50 of Yelp’s 2024 list of Top 100 Seafood Spots. The good food doesn’t stop there. Be sure that Beck’s RestaurantThe Boundary HouseCalabash Seafood HutCaptain Nance’s SeafoodDockside Seafood House, and Ella’s of Calabash, are also on your dining list.

restaurant with outdoor deck by the waterfront

Other Offerings

For visitors looking for alternative dining options, Calabash has something to please every palate! Start your morning off right with a shareable breakfast board from Milk and Honey or opt for any of their signature omelets or benedicts. You'll find even more specialty just down the road at Toasted, known for their innovative and award-winning "Biscuit Bottoms,' as well as their menu of over 50 kinds of mimosa cocktails. Calabash Gourmet & Sushi Bar offers fresh sushi and sizzling Japanese fare. Grapevine Restaurant serves pastas, salads, and seafood with a Mediterranean flair. Meanwhile MMM Que Rico brings the tastes of Peru and Argentina to Calabash. For fans of surf and turf, Angus Steakhouse and Seafood serves steaks as well as seafood on the banks of the Calabash River. There are also spots serving New York deli favorites, pizza, Southern fare, bagels, hot dogs, burgers and more. If you are in the mood for something sweet, try the delicious ice cream flavors at Calabash Creamery. Its Cow-a-Bash Crunch ice cream made USA Today’s list of “50 Irresistible Ice Cream Flavors.” Then once you’ve completed your culinary adventure through Calabash, grab a brew at the craft beer bottle shop, Coastal Craft Beverage Co.

Half the fun of vacation is discovering new dining spots to taste culinary creations and savor local flavors. If Calabash isn’t on your foodie radar yet, it should be. Start exploring the dining options in Calabash or to plan your trip to North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands today, visit www.ncbrunswick.com.