Beaufort is a small town with a big appetite. This waterfront community is home to a diverse selection of locally owned restaurants, each with its own unique flavor.

Whether you’re in the mood for fine dining or fresh seafood in a casual setting, you’ll find it all here. These Beaufort, NC restaurants have so much charm and character and the food definitely won’t disappoint.

After a day exploring the Rachel Carson Reserve, visiting Fort Macon State Park, or just lounging on the beach, there isn’t much better than coming into town for a delicious meal.

I visited Beaufort many times over the past few years and it’s one of my favorite coastal NC towns. Most recently, Tyler and I went in January 2023 which was the first time I had been in the dead of winter.

A world of caution – many of the restaurants in Beaufort were closed for part or all of January. Most seemed to open back up at the very end of January or first of February.

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17 of the Best Beaufort, NC Restaurants

All of these restaurants in Beaufort are top-notch and offer some of the best meals in the area. Whether you’re staying in Morehead City, Atlantic Beach, or Beaufort itself, these are all worth the drive to visit.

North Carolina is known for its beautiful coast and Beaufort makes for the perfect getaway to enjoy it.

1. Beaufort Grocery Company

sandwich and salad from Beaufort Grocery one of the Beaufort, NC restaurants

Beaufort Grocery is the perfect spot for any meal and a must-visit when in Beaufort. The sandwiches and salads are great for lunch and the upscale dinners are perfect for a special night out.

A sandwich and salad are exactly what Tyler and I got when we visited. I had the daily deli special which was a hot ham sammy and Tyler got the yellowfin tuna taco special but on a salad instead of tortillas.

They were so good about letting us mix and match here and didn’t require you to stick exactly to the menu.

It was also super nice of them to accommodate serving us outside since we had Barley with us. They even brought out a bowl for her! Highly recommend if you’re looking for dog-friendly restaurants in Beaufort.

Sunday brunch is also very popular here with great drink selections, sharables like pastries and biscuits, and traditional main courses with a twist.

The prices are fair for lunch but dinner can be pretty pricey so keep that in mind. Make sure you save room for dessert because their house-made treats are out of this world!

Beaufort Grocery has consistently excellent food, great service, and a refined ambiance that keeps people coming back on their summer vacations.

It reminds me of some of the amazing downtown Winston-Salem restaurants.

2. Front Street Grill at Stillwater

tuna tacos at one of the Beaufort, NC restaurants

Front Street Grill is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal with beautiful views of Taylor Creek. The restaurant serves lunch, dinner, and brunch, and the Blackened Tuna Tacos are a huge hit. The grouper bites appetizer is also great.

The Rhumbar is located at Front Street Grill and it’s one of the most popular bars in Beaufort. The bar has a great selection of beer, wine, and cocktails, and the bartenders are always happy to make recommendations.

Oh and the drinks are strong!

If you want outdoor seating on a nice day then get here a few minutes before they open since a line forms quickly. The outdoor patio is the perfect spot to relax and take in the incredible views. This really is one of the top Beaufort, NC restaurants!

3. Moonrakers

shrimp and grits at one of the best restaurants in Beaufort, NC
  • Location: 326 Front St
  • Price: $$-$$$
  • Cuisine: American/Seafood

If you’re looking for rooftop dining in Beaufort then Moonrakers is for you. Just note that the menu for their rooftop is different than what you get in the dining room. It’s the perfect place to grab drinks with friends and order a few small plates though.

The dining room is upscale and this is another great spot to celebrate a special occasion or a date night. With a menu full of seasonal seafood and fresh produce, you’ll want to come back for a second night!

They serve lunch and dinner – the Shrimp & Grits and any of their seafood dishes (especially Blackened Grouper) are the most popular. Everyone loves the calamari appetizer too.

It’s a great option for fine dining in Beaufort and they’ve even won a few awards from Wine Spectator for their extensive wine list.

4. Fishtowne Brew House

flight of beer

Fishtowne Brew House is Beaufort’s newest brewery downtown and it’s conveniently walkable to the Airbnbs near Historic Beaufort and bed & breakfasts in the area.

While they don’t have food all the time, you will find food trucks here occasionally, typically on Fridays and Saturdays.

They also have a great selection of beers and this is the perfect place to get a flight to enjoy inside, outside along Turner Street, or on their side yard area. Another dog-friendly spot.

The best part of Fishtowne Brew House is the atmosphere – it’s always festive and fun, thanks to the community focus and friendly staff.

If you’re looking for a great place to kick back and relax with a cold beer, Fishtowne Brew House is the place for you.

5. Finz Grill & Eatery

fried shrimp - a popular dish at Beaufort, NC restaurants
  • Location: 330 Front St
  • Price: $$-$$$
  • Cuisine: American/Seafood

Finz Grill is a staple of the Beaufort, NC restaurants. They’re known for their fried seafood platters but they also have burgers, sandwiches (mostly seafood), and salads.

Their beautiful outdoor patio also overlooks Taylor’s Creek which makes for stunning views. Open for lunch and dinner daily, you can get your seafood fix here for sure.

They also have a great bar menu with lots of frozen drinks, wine, and bottled beer as well as craft beer on tap.

6. Turner Street Market

french toast with bacon and a breakfast sandwich

Looking for a great place to grab breakfast or lunch? Turner Street Market is it! It’s a laid-back cafe offering delicious food at reasonable prices.

Whether you’re in the mood for an early morning cup of coffee, classic breakfast fare, or something from the lunch menu – this cafe has it all.

I can’t recommend the Biscuit French Toast enough – it was LIFE CHANGING. And I always love when people cook the bacon crispy.

It’s a really cute spot and you order at the counter before sitting down. You also bus your own tables.

They do sell wine and beer and they don’t do mixed drinks but you can make your own mimosas with what they have in the cooler. Just ask them about it and they’ll tell you exactly what to get!

If you’re looking for excellent coffee and tasty eats without breaking your budget, this place definitely delivers.

7. Clawson’s 1905 Restaurant & Pub

fried shrimp with fries and slaw from one of the Beaufort, NC restaurants
  • Location: 425 Front St
  • Price: $$-$$$
  • Cuisine: American/Seafood

If you’re looking for one of the historic places to eat in Beaufort, then look no further than Clawson’s 1905. They’re named for the year they opened.

With a menu filled to the brim with delicious dishes, there’s something to make the whole family happy. Plus, there’s the added bonus of dining in a building full of history that adds an extra bit of charm to your experience.

As for service – it doesn’t get much better than this! Prices are a little steep but the atmosphere is really neat here. We liked our meals for the most part but I would recommend not going with shrimp or fish when it’s out of season.

8. 34° North Restaurant

hamburger and fries from Beaufort, NC restaurant

With beautiful views, a fantastic bar, and locally-sourced food it’s hard to beat 34° North. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a weekend brunch special.

The complimentary valet helps set the tone for an upscale meal and if you visit on a nice day, try to get a seat outside.

Their menus change based on what ingredients they can source but note that the menu is a bit smaller than other nearby restaurants. Service can be hit or miss here especially with the labor shortage that’s been going on around the country.

9. Black Sheep

brick oven pizza

Get ready for a treat at Black Sheep Beaufort! This restaurant is known for their amazing brick oven pizzas, and they offer unique combinations of tasty ingredients.

We chose the Charcuterie Pie which had red sauce, pepperoni, fennel sausage, bacon, ovalini, caramelized onions, mozzarella, parmesan, fresh basil, and shaved serrano ham. I’ll be dreaming about it for weeks.

Best of all, you can enjoy your meal in a truly beautiful setting as the restaurant has an outdoor patio right on the water. The sunset view was stunning!

If you love a good drink with your meal then you’re in for a great surprise here – they have some of the best bartenders in town.

The prices are more than reasonable, making this one of the most popular restaurants in Beaufort, NC. So if you want some great eats, gorgeous views, and even better drinks, visit Black Sheep Beaufort and treat yourself!

Their brick oven pizzas rival the ones from Fresh – one of my favorite restaurants in Black Mountain, NC.

10. Royal James Cafe

blackboard with menu and prices and one of the restaurants in Beaufort

This is for those of you who love a good dive bar. You’ll find burgers, hot dogs, and fries here on the menu, and cold draft beer. There are pool tables to round out the hole in the wall feel.

They’ve been open for over 75 years and while the menu is simple, they serve many people’s favorite burger in Beaufort.

Note that it’s cash only and the closest place to get cash is about 2 blocks away so you’ll want to plan ahead. The prices are great though!

11. Mezcalito Grill

tacos with rice and beans

Mezcalito is a quickly growing North Carolina-based restaurant franchise serving Tex-Mex in five (soon to be six) different locations in NC.

The Beaufort location is said to have some of the best Mexican food in the whole state! They also have fun drink selections – Tyler got their jumbo margarita since they were having a special.

We both got their Mahi Tacos and thought they were very good.

12. CRU Coffee Shop & Wine Bar

pastry and coffee

CRU is a café that serves breakfast sandwiches, burritos, and pastries for breakfast plus sandwiches, wraps, soups, and pizza for lunch. It’s a full service coffee bar as well that serves a variety of hot, cold, and frozen drinks.

It’s a very cool space for breakfast or lunch and it’s connected to the CRU Wine Bar & Shop. They serve a variety of wines and draft beer and host entertainment often in the evenings.

The coffee drinks are a tad on the sweet side just so you know before ordering.

13. Aqua Restaurant

duck wings
  • Location: 114 Middle Ln
  • Price: $$-$$$
  • Cuisine: American/Seafood

For a fun space with lots of tapas and small plates, check out Aqua Restaurant. They also have wine specials running through the week and host WineOrama Wine Tasting nights which happen twice a month.

This is the perfect spot for a romantic date or to hang out with a group of friends and share some delicious food.

This is definitely one of the best restaurants in Beaufort, NC so I wouldn’t miss it! As a fan favorite, reservations are highly recommended – sadly, we weren’t able to get in.

I love ordering small plates at restaurants and getting to try a variety of dishes. That’s why I loved Sophie’s Cork & Ale, one of the best restaurants in Lexington, NC, so much.

14. City Kitchen

grilled fish with mango salsa at a Beaufort, NC restaurant

This is one of the few restaurants on the list not located in downtown Beaufort. It’s just off Highway 70 across the bridge from Morehead City.

The space is elegant and service is top notch as is the food. You’ll definitely want reservations here as well! Ask for a table near the windows for a waterfront view.

I had the nightly fish special which was delicious and we also tried the Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake for dessert. Yum.

15. No Name Pizza and Subs

stromboli

This is another laid-back spot for pizza and sandwiches. They’ve been open since 1982 and have a location in Beaufort as well as Morehead City.

You’ll find a huge variety on the menu but the safe bet here is their pizza. The pasta is also typically a good choice.

With great prices and solid food, you can’t go wrong eating here.

16. The Spot Grill

cheeseburger

Order at the counter at this old school restaurant that’s been open for over 60 years. They have great burgers and hot dogs plus fresh fried seafood. This is another cash only spot.

They’re only open for lunch but the food is so good that you’ll want to come back every time you’re in town. Great prices too.

If you’re looking for a no frills lunch place that serves great food then this is it.

17. Les Ciseaux

This amazing bakery is the perfect stop for a pastry or bread. They only serve pastries on Saturday and try to get there 20 – 30 minutes before they open – there WILL be a line in the summer.

It’s a small shop with room for only a few people at a time and they also have a small shop area with specialty items like high-quality peppercorns, kitchen knives, and more.

The chocolate croissants are to die for but honestly, you won’t find a bad item in the place. While this isn’t a full-service restaurant, it’s well worth a stop during your trip to Beaufort!

18. Marmalade Cafe & Bakery

We made a last-minute decision to try Marmalade Cafe for breakfast and I am so glad that we did! The cafe is on the first floor of a cute historic home along Front Street.

You order at the counter and they call your name. I had the breakfast quesadilla and Tyler got eggs and bacon. I wish I could have tried one of their pastries – they looked amazing!

In addition to the breakfast pastries like croissants, scones, and muffins they also had desserts like cheesecakes and cake slices.

It’s definitely one of the cutest breakfast restaurants in Beaufort, NC!

Beaufort, NC Restaurants Map

Beaufort Culinary Tour

Want to try a few of the best restaurants in Beaufort, but short on time? A food tour is a great way to try different places to eat!

My family and I took a tour with Hungry Town Tours a few years ago and it’s been one of my favorite food tours. You can take a walking tour or a tour on bikes but we did the Food by Foot Culinary Walking Tour.

The tour takes you to a few different Beaufort restaurants and lasts about three hours. It’s really one of the best ways to explore the food scene here in town.

The tours have been paused at the moment but they plan on starting them back up in spring 2023.

Wrap Up: Best Restaurants in Beaufort, NC

From fine dining to seafood shacks, Beaufort is a small coastal town with an impressive selection of delicious restaurants.

Whether you’re looking for steaks, seafood, pizza, or something more unique, this charming town delivers!

From the succulent steaks at Clawson’s 1905 to the unique tapas at Aqua Restaurant to the famous pizza at Black Sheep – your taste buds won’t go unsatisfied.

Enjoying a great meal in special company is one of life’s simple pleasures and Beaufort offers plenty of choices. So don’t wait any longer and explore some of these best restaurants in Beaufort, NC on your next trip!

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