15 Best Restaurants in New Bern, NC

New Bern, NC
Grzegorz Czapski / shutterstock.com

History, the arts, dining, and shopping come together in New Bern, North Carolina.

The historic town holds a well-deserved reputation as one of North Carolina's culinary towns, with an ever-increasing influx of discerning visitors keeping its restaurants' chefs on their toes.

If you visit the city, you may only get the chance to dine at a few restaurants in a single trip, so deciding where to make a reservation might be tricky.

Each of the restaurants below is not just a place to dine.

Instead, each is a destination in and of itself, crowned with magnificent interior design, breathtaking scenery, and remarkable culinary experiences.

You could get hungry thinking about them, so buckle up and explore some of the best restaurants in New Bern, North Carolina!

The Chelsea

Specializing in New American Cuisine, which features center-cut beef, the freshest seafood, delightful pasta, and seafood, the Chelsea is an excellent pick for exquisite dining in New Bern.

You can indulge in modern takes on regional and Southern favorites or go with Maryland crab cakes, served with steamed vegetables, crab meat, and rice.

The restaurant also serves dishes influenced by Cajun, Asian, Italian, German, and French cuisine.

With the ideal blend of modern elegance and vintage appeal, you can enjoy a meal with colleagues or family while taking in the views of downtown New Bern through the building's historic transom windows.

Located on 335 Middle Street, the Chelsea offers a banquet room upstairs that can accommodate up to 120 guests, or you can choose options from their extensive menu, and they'll bring the party to you!

The Chelsea - New Bern, NC
Specialties: Noted for its “New American Cuisine” the Chelsea prides itself on its many repeat customers. French, German, Italian, Asian, Cajun, and American entrees are on the menu or served as specials, in addition to traditional Southern dishes. Built in 1912, this historic structure was first u…

Baker's Kitchen

You'll find great local flavor at Baker's Kitchen, along 277 Middle Street.

While it's a renowned breakfast spot, it also offers filling and delectable dishes for brunch and lunch.

They serve excellent country-fried chicken, served with generous gravy and scrambled eggs.

Baker's Kitchen may not be as upscale as some nearby eateries in New Bern, but it nevertheless draws many customers because of its delectable breakfast meals.

You can also sample their French toast with their famous Butter Syrup to understand why it's one of the most well-known restaurants in New Bern.

Baker’s Kitchen - New Bern, NC
Specialties: At Baker’s Kitchen, our goal is to provide you with the freshest homemade food, kind and friendly service, and an unforgettable dining experience here in historic New Bern. We serve breakfast all day and serve our famous butter syrup with just about everything. All of our bread, bakery…

Bay Leaf

If you're in the mood for something a little different, you can savor a new and unique spin on comfort food at the Bay Leaf Indian Restaurant, in the heart of New Bern.

Bay Leaf serves traditional Indian cuisine from chicken tandoori to mango custard in a vibrant, contemporary environment.

Along with the usual Indian fare of chicken, lamb, beef, and seafood specialties like shrimp tandoori, they also serve plenty of vegetarian options.

You can also swing by around lunchtime, as the Bay Leaf Indian Restaurant features a regular lunch buffet with a fine selection of local and regional favorites.

Discover the taste of India in the chic downtown atmosphere and wash it all down with a dessert like mango kulfi (rich Indian ice cream made of thickened milk and mango.)

Bay Leaf - New Bern, NC
Delivery & Pickup Options - 315 reviews of Bay Leaf “Bay Leaf is recently opened in downtown New Bern. They serve excellent Indian food with traditional and unique tastes. Naan of course, as well as Tandoori Grill. I have tried the Lamb Chop and Salmon Tandoori’s, and they were great. It is real…

Morgan's Tavern and Grill

With structural beams and a historic site, Morgan's Tavern and Grill is the best place in New Bern to eat succulent steaks and excellent seafood.

Morgan's Tavern and Grill offers a diverse menu of dishes made with high-quality ingredients.

The lobster bisque (a rich, flavorful soup featuring a lot of crab meat that's smooth, creamy, and strongly seasoned) is everyone's favorite.

You can also try one of their seven gourmet hamburgers, all produced with 100 percent Angus meat.

Located on 235 Craven Street, the building was once the home of the New Bern Garage Company, which previously housed numerous Buick and Hudson automobiles and Henderson motorcycles.

The restaurant boasts an open floor plan, old brick walls, exposed wooden beams, and a cozy ambiance featuring some tools and artifacts from the building's previous life.

Morgan’s Tavern & Grill - New Bern, NC
Delivery & Pickup Options - 571 reviews of Morgan’s Tavern & Grill “This is one of the best dining places in the area. Great staff, amazing food, and a good beer selection. The complementary croissants they give you are drizzled in honey and are delicious!”

Persimmons Restaurant

With breathtaking views along the Neuse River, the Persimmons Restaurant is famous for its top-notch food you can savor in a relaxed outdoor setting.

Founded in 2010, this sophisticated waterfront restaurant will amaze you with its seafood and New American cuisine.

Persimmons Restaurant features Southern comfort food like blackened salmon etouffee, tomato pie made with local hoop cheese, and pimento hushpuppies.

The restaurant's prime rib (a delicious piece of steak packed with juices and flavorful beef) entices guests who come for brunch at the waterfront.

Located on 100 Pollock Street, the restaurant lifted its name from a persimmon tree sitting on its compound, most likely dating back to the nineteenth century.

Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant - New Bern, NC
Specialties: Persimmons focuses on modern cuisine made from locally-sourced ingredients by our award-winning chef and hosting a variety of special events with waterfront dining, fresh food, and the friendliest service around. Established in 2010. Opened in August of 2010, Persimmons is a locally-ow…

El Taco Loco

El Taco Loco fits the bill if you like venturing out of your comfort zone.

This beloved Mexican eatery has existed since 2002 and offers mouthwatering birria tacos, tortes, and tres leches that will make you crave dessert!

Located on 2408 Dr. M.L.K Blvd, the modest eatery is just a short drive from the city center and is the kind of establishment that is easy to miss.

However, you'll find some of the biggest and most excellent burritos you'll ever eat at El Taco Loco—one of New Bern's best-kept secrets.

After moving to New Bern from Morelia, Mexico, founder Carmen Corona noticed the lack of authentic Mexican food and decided to share her cooking skills with New Bern.

El Taco Loco - New Bern, NC
Delivery & Pickup Options - 214 reviews of El Taco Loco “Tucked away next to a tattoo shop is this little Mexican gem. At first when a friend told me about how great this place was I thought a little bit of exaggeration may have been involved. I yelped the place and saw there were no reviews. Reluct…

MJ's Raw Bar and Grille

Go to MJ's Raw Bar and Grill if you crave oysters in any style.

Since 2005, this eatery has continued enticing patrons with its fresh shrimps, clams, crab legs, and oysters seasoned perfectly with Old Bay.

However, the signature crab cakes with the tasty Jamaican tartar sauce are to die for!

If you add a crab pretzel, you might need to go around Union Point Park and run a few laps to burn off your meal!

Situated one block from the gorgeous waterfront, MJ's Raw Bar and Grille can fit ten people around the bar and up to 100 in the cozy interior.

Mj’s Raw Bar and Grille - New Bern, NC
Specialties: Seafood done Maryland Style, our Maryland crabcakes are our signature item. We have great burgers, salads and sandwiches too.Great fresh oysters, clams, crawfish, dungenus crab legs and steamed peel and eat shrimp, seasoned with Old Bay. Established in 2005. The owner moved from Maryl…

Poppy's Bites and Barrels

Poppy's Bites and Barrels, formerly known as Beer Army Gastropub, changed its name in recognition of Corporal Ben DeFonce (also known as Poppy), a prominent Marine and two-time recipient of the Purple Heart.

The restaurant is a living tribute to veterans who gave their lives in service to their country.

If you are curious about the people who protect this country's freedom, check out this restaurant in New Bern.

Poppy's Bites and Barrels serves inventive cocktails, bourbon, wine, and beer with contemporary twists on traditional southern fare.

The eatery sits across from the beautiful Christ Episcopal Church, meaning you can take a scenic stroll after your meal.

Moreover, Poppy's offers the best burgers in New Bern, and you can pair them with various beers and liquor.

Poppy’s Bites & Barrels - New Bern, NC
Specialties: All of our burgers feature fresh ground meat that are hand made and never frozen. They are cooked to order on a flame broil grill. We also feature unique appetizers like candied bacon and beer battered fries as well as have our own house beers on tap along with 16 rotating taps. Establi…

Cow Café

Located on 319 Middle Street, this downtown bistro is a haven for those who are into sweet treats.

Cow Cafe prepares superior ice cream, distinctive popcorn flavors, and more than 500 types of cow-themed presents.

While the café's menu also features some divine desserts, a wide array of hot plates, soups, wraps, and substantial sandwiches are available.

There is a large barnyard play court with rocking cows, tractors, and many other toys to keep your little ones busy and happy.

Likewise, murals surround the "The Farm" dining area.

The front dining space offers a lively vibe with a "moo choo train" that circles the area and a "Bovine Boutique" decor that makes Cow Cafe fun for all ages.

Cow Cafe - New Bern, NC
Specialties: We manufacture super premium ice cream on site. We operate a “gourmoo” popcorn center popping a wide variety of premium popcorn flavors. We are a full fledged café with unique and hearty sandwiches, wraps, plates, soups and salads. We cater to customers small and large in New Bern and…

Savage's Pizza

Launched in 2012, Savages Woodburning Pizzeria offers New York-style pizza baked in an authentic brick oven fueled by oak and hickory wood.

The pizzeria's menu is enticing and starts with its specialty pizzas, which include vegetarian-friendly and meat-based pies.

You can choose a meal from an incredible selection of freshly cooked Italian dishes available at Savage's Wood Burning Pizzeria, including antipasto salad, mozzarella, tomato salad, calzones, wraps, sandwiches, appetizers, and much more.

Nestled on 303 Metcalf Street, Savage's is undoubtedly kid-friendly, with indoor and outdoor seating available for guests who prefer to unwind with the downtown area in the background.

Savages Woodburning Pizzeria - New Bern, NC
Delivery & Pickup Options - 105 reviews of Savages Woodburning Pizzeria “Went to Savage’s for our first time this afternoon. We had a margarita pizza and a bbq chicken pizza. We also had garlic bread with cheese and a 99 cent side salad. EVERYTHING was DELISH!!! the margarita pizza was so light and…

Cypress Hall

Located on 219 Middle Street, Cypress Hall offers a taste of Southern food prepared with the finest ingredients sourced from Eastern North Carolina.

The menus at Cypress Hall are ever-changing.

However, chefs recommend that you start with soul-warming comfort food like pimento cheese made of pork rinds and onion to inspire you to reconsider what it means to prepare and eat food in the South.

Save room for dessert, of course.

You might even start with dessert, especially if you order the restaurant's strawberry cake.

Cypress Hall has an ample interior, with a modest balcony offering access to a private dining area and views into the Kitchen and its distinctive pizza oven.

Since several people gush about Cypress Hall, book a reservation in advance to secure a table.

Cypress Hall - New Bern, NC
Delivery & Pickup Options - 114 reviews of Cypress Hall “Very pleasantly surprised at the new restaurant. Beautiful open space, and well laid out. Food was excellent as was the wine selections. Just opened and it was full so that is a good sign. Highly recommended.”

Captain Ratty's Seafood

After long hours of sightseeing in New Bern, Captain Ratty's Seafood is a great spot to unwind.

With numerous large dining areas, a contemporary wine bar, the recently refurbished Stubbs Pub, and a rooftop with views of the river and the city, this place gives you diverse meal options.

Tucked away on 202 Middle Street, the award-winning restaurant combines a culinary scene that supports a broad menu with an elegant, chic atmosphere.

You can try their New England clam chowder, a thick and creamy made of salt pork, milk, potatoes, onions, and clams.

Indulge in the delectable salads and seafood specialties at Captain Ratty's Seafood.

Captain Ratty’s Seafood Restaurant - New Bern, NC
Delivery & Pickup Options - 299 reviews of Captain Ratty’s Seafood Restaurant “I went there for lunch, earlier this week, and had a bowl of their clam chowder. To paraphrase the family member who introduced me to this restaurant, I now know what clam chowder tastes like. Everything I’ve had up unti…

The Country Biscuit

In the South, locals start their day with homemade buttermilk biscuits, and so should you.

Since it opened in 1978, the Country Biscuit has served Southern dishes on large platters for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

This delightful place not only offers breakfast platters and specialties but also serves soups, salads, and sandwiches for lunch.

While the biscuits catapulted this restaurant to fame, they also serve Southern staples like pork chops,  country ham, and fried flounder, which will keep you coming back for more.

Mellow lighting, quiet music, and pleasant interior hues combine for an intimate dining seating at the Country Biscuit.

The Country Biscuit - New Bern, NC
Specialties: Join us at the Country Biscuit for a great friendly atmosphere and some good ole’ down south cooking! Real food for Real folks! Established in 1978. Family owned business originally opened by Carl Ipock. Passed down to current owner and son Jeff Ipock. The County Biscuit has become a l…

Moore's Old Tyme Barbeque

Hush puppies, collard greens, and scratch biscuits come to mind when you think of the traditional meals found in Eastern North Carolina.

There are a few locations that fit the bill.

Long established and steeped in history, Moore's Old Tyme Barbeque serves barbecue cooked in the Down East style with a vinegar base, slaw, hush puppies, and various other country culinary staples.

Moore's Old Tyme Barbeque is a family business that has operated for over a hundred years.

After making the largest BBQ sandwich, the restaurant earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010.

Nestled at 3621 Doctor MLK Jr Blvd, the restaurant's rustic decor reflects the current craze for using natural building materials like metal and wood.

The inside walls serve as a virtual history tour of the Moore families, the workers, and Craven County.

Moore’s Olde Tyme Barbeque - New Bern, NC
Specialties: Eastern NC pulled pork barbeque cooked daily until its so tender it falls off the bone, fresh fried chicken, cooked to order fresh seafood, bbq chicken, baked chicken, side items that are made daily cole slaw, potato salad, string beans, baked beans, mashed potato, brunswick stew, hushp…

Spunky McDoogle's

Since 1921, Spunky McDoogle's has offered delectable pub fare with a distinctive Irish flair, becoming an icon in New Bern.

As New Bern's only Irish Pub, Spunky McDoogle's is a terrific place to unwind, have a drink or a meal, and spend a fun night.

Located at 1908 S Glenburnie Rd, Ste H, Spunky McDoogle pairs good meals with good drinks to make one deliciously unique experience.

You can savor regional specialties like country fried steak & chicken pot pie alongside their signature corned beef & cabbage daily in the restaurant.

Spunky McDoogle’s - New Bern, NC
Specialties: Locally owned and operated since 1921. Spunky’s offers a mix of American and Pub style foods. We are a favorite among locals and you can rest assured that you will find something on the menu to satisfy every member of your family! Established in 1921.

Half Time Pub & Grub

If you're a sports enthusiast on the hunt for a friendly hangout to catch the big game, Half Time Pub & Grub has a lot to offer.

This well-liked hangout, drawing locals and tourists alike, sits in the western part of New Bern, just outside the city center.

The eatery's menu is surprisingly extensive, with a little bit of everything, including starters, soups & salads, sandwiches, burgers, wings, and specialized kids' dishes.

Half Time Pub & Grub is a terrific spot to celebrate no matter the occasion since it has plenty of space at the bar, tables, and several big-screen TVs displaying the major games.

Half Time Pub & Grub - New Bern, NC
Specialties: Serving over 50 different Bourbons, Whiskeys & Scotches! Established in 2007. When I moved back home after going to college at ECU I realized there were no sports bars in New Bern so I set out to build the best one possible. I took all the things I loved from all the bars and restaura…

Lawson's On The Creek

With so much to do in the city, sometimes all you need is a quick meal.

Luckily, many New Bern restaurants can give you what you need.

Located at NC History Center, Lawson's On The Creek offers a deli-style cafe's house-made salads, signature sandwiches, deli salads and dressings, panini tots, and kid's meals served with a bag of chips.

Conveniently located at 529 South Front St, Lawson's On The Creek presents a large waterfront setting with an unusual mix of all things natural and cultural from the Inner Banks.

Families of all ages, nature enthusiasts, and those who enjoy the water, will feel at home here and have no trouble finding a few things to keep them occupied.

Lawson’s On The Creek - New Bern, NC
21 reviews of Lawson’s On The Creek “New biz right on the water and it’s great!! It’s not fancy, it’s an sandwich restaurant with local beers. We got the loaded panini tots- an absolute must. Reuben (corn beef), blt and kids hotdog were all very good. Service was super attentive and the view of the…

Carolina Grill

Carolina Grill is a well-known seafood and southern restaurant located south of downtown New Bern.

It has something to whet any appetite, with a menu featuring a beautiful selection of seafood specialties and a variety of southern favorites that blend in beautifully with the seaside setting.

If you love seafood, treat yourself to large platters of fried oysters, scallops, shrimp, and flounder at Carolina Grill.

Located at 998 US HWY 70 EAST, the restaurant offers a wide selection of sandwiches ranging from the classics like the club and ham melt to the more unusual, like the Caribbean chicken wrap and Carolina shrimp po'boy.

Carolina Grill - New Bern, NC
COVID update: Carolina Grill has updated their hours, takeout & delivery options. 72 reviews of Carolina Grill “Y’all might remember this restaurant as “Ham’s” of New Bern. We haven’t been here since it switched over to “Carolina Grill” but the inside is identical....menu looks the same.Not sure wha…

Final Thoughts

Whether you prefer fine dining, simple home cooking, or traditional southern food, you will find practically everything to suit your tastes in New Bern.

Most restaurants in the city widely feature fresh seafood dishes, but local chefs are ready to tantalize your taste if you're in the mood for international cuisines.

Broaden your food horizons with these best restaurants in New Bern, North Carolina!