Cape Fear Foodie: A Fish Bite

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - With Easter weekend behind us, the return of the busy tourist season is already underway. While naturally that means warmer temperatures, traffic and longer lines are sure to follow as thousands of people flock to Southeastern North Carolina for all the area has to offer. One thing that our slice of heaven has to offer in abundance from Calabash to Surf City is seafood.

From famous fried platters to new age creations and thoughtful twists on classic dishes, there is no shortage of options available. Of course, it’s not everyone’s favorite, but I am an unabashed seafood fanatic. Growing up I demanded that we eat at a seafood restaurant upon every visit to the beach. Living here now for several years, the urge for a seafood splurge isn’t quite there anymore, but I will never say no when the offer is on the table.

Every town has its go-to spot, that favorite seafood shack or fine dining restaurant that showcases the best of underwater cuisine. One spot I have seen busy nearly every time I’ve gone to Pleasure Island is a little restaurant and fresh seafood market along Carolina Beach Road called Fish Bites.

Even though it was busy on a Friday night, the waitress confirmed in another month or so there would be a heavy wait time, so going there now is a great call. Even though I wasn’t on vacation, it’s fun to play the role every once and a while and I snagged an ice cold painkiller cocktail. Spot on delicious, fruity and creamy all at once.

Fish Bites boasts a laundry list of tasty appetizers, from steamed clams to calamari. We went with a classic Crab & Shrimp Dip. Whoa. This thing is loaded with tender crab meat and pieces of shrimp, the freshly made fried pita chips were perfect for this heavy dip.

Next were the Shrimp Bombs. Shrimp and pepper jack cheese, wrapped in bacon, beer battered and deep fried. They reminded me of a creation at a county fair. With the sweet and spice from the Thai chili dipping sauce, the overall flavor resembled that of a Monte Cristo sandwich. Depending on your party size, an order of these is totally enough for a whole meal.

Then again when writing a food blog, a cocktail and a couple appetizers wouldn’t make for much of an article. So we each ordered an entrée. Again, the options are honestly endless. They have crab cake sandwiches, po’ boys, lobster rolls, seafood platters, steamer platters, a variety of pastas featuring seafood mac & cheese... and that’s just skimming the water.

My friends went with the Stuffed Flounder and the Stuffed Shrimp. The flounder is stuffed with shrimp, scallops, and crab meat, then baked with parmesan cheese on top and drizzled with Imperial sauce. It is a very rich plate and loaded with flavor. That Imperial sauce is the star.

As for me, I preferred something a little more seafood forward with a twist, hence the Ponzu Tuna. It’s a fresh tuna steak, wrapped in bacon and seared to medium rare. The homemade tangy Ponzu sauce gives the fish a different element, but the tuna was cooked very well and shined on its own.

Unlike some restaurants, Fish Bites doesn’t short on you the portions. It’s a lot of food and perfect if you’re in town on vacation and need your seafood fix (and some leftovers). It’s also great to swing by for a cold drink, grab some hearty apps or go with one of the dozens of menu options. You can even get fresh seafood options to take home and prepare your own way.

Whatever you go with, I doubt you will regret it. The menu has something for everyone with all tastes, and you will quickly see why loads of hungry crowds choose Fish tourist season or not.


Fish Bites Seafood Restaurant is located at 6132 Carolina Beach Rd, Wilmington, NC 28412.

Do you recommend a restaurant? Or know of a best kept secret that you want the rest of the Cape Fear to know about? Shoot me an email at and I would love to feature your selection. Cheers!

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