You don’t take a vacation to Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, or anywhere else in the Outer Banks without wanting to eat some delicious seafood—I mean it’s just one of the essentials on a beach vacation. On my recent visit to the Outer Banks I scouted out some of the best seafood dishes in Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk. Most of these restaurants offer plenty of seafood dishes for your Outer Banks beach vacation, but these are the dishes that stood out to me.
Beer Can Shrimp from Kill Devil Grill ($21)
For some reason, a stop at Kill Devil Grill has become my traditional first stop on an Outer Banks vacation. The signage and shape of the restaurant has a fun, ‘50s diner feel, but the menu is packed with fresh seafood.
My go-to is a pound of Beer Can Shrimp. A plump pound of shrimp arrive steaming hot, plated with the end of the can of PBR they were cooked in combined with a helping heaping of Old Bay. This dish is a classic done just right. Add a split of Zonin Prosecco and your trip is off to the perfect start.
If you go for a full meal, make sure to check out the specials boards hanging throughout the restaurant for the freshest catch in Kill Devil Hills.
Blackened Sea Scallops from Mako Mike’s ($12)
Mako Mike’s has a large menu with traditional seafood dishes, wood-fired pizza, pasta, and even prime rib, but one of the restaurant’s newest appetizers is like nothing I’ve tried before. Perfectly cooked, blackened sea scallops perch atop creamy, yellow stone-ground grits and rich, smoky red pepper relish. At the top of the plate a bright green onion puree freshens and brightens, creating a distinctive flavor combination that’s a spicier, fresher, more creative spin on the shrimp and grits vibe.
Jalapeno Crab Balls at Goombays Grill & Raw Bar ($13)
Mostly crab with the right amount of filler to bind, these tasty bites are studded with bits of chopped jalapenos to provide an extra satisfying kick. They are fried to crispy and hot, but not at all greasy. Dip them in the accompanying zesty cocktail sauce and you’ve got an ideal Outer Banks appetizer.
Wanchese Fishermans’ Risotto at The Black Pelican ($24)
If you never think a dish has enough seafood, this one is for you. Creamy roasted garlic risotto arrives steaming hot and overflowing with scallops, shrimp and jumbo lump crab meat, not to mention bacon, sweet corn, tomatoes, and spinach to dial up the flavor. The whole concoction is topped with a crispy sweet potato nest, adding an extra layer of texture to an already creative dish.
Crabmeat ‘N Butter at Awful Arthur’s Oyster Bar ($16)
There are a million ways you can get fancy with crab meat, but if you are a true seafood lover, this is the best way to enjoy it. A tiny crock of warm, fresh crab sprinkled lightly with Old Bay and chopped parsley served with melted butter, more Old Bay and cocktail sauce on the side so you can dress and dip as you please. No cracking or shells, just glorious, succulent crab meat heaven. What else could you ask for? Wash it down with a signature oyster shooter if you’re brave enough.