Close your eyes. It’s time to embark on another journey. This time, we are travelling to the Outer Banks, N.C. Imagine it is your first time visiting this amazing spread (it was my first time). The Outer Banks stretches across several towns, from Duck to Manteo-meaning you might decide to go to dinner and drive half an hour to your restaurant of choice! As you drive down the main stretch connecting this series of towns, you will find a dizzying number of restaurants, shops, and at least two dozen Wings stores (for those unfamiliar, these are huge, cheap beach shops offering everything from sunscreen, batteries, sunglasses, swimsuits, hoodies, coffee mugs, beach chairs, oversized sun hats, boogie boards, and everything in between). Along this trek you may also come across people flying kites on the enormous sand dunes in Kitty Hawk. Keep driving (take a right turn) and you will discover the charming (less corporate overwhelming) town of Manteo, boasting the most impressive Christmas shop I have ever encountered (this shop also offers candy, jewelry, candles, house wares, a whole floor of Halloween items, and if you can’t find an ornament for the most hard-to-shop for person in your life, you just aren’t looking hard enough). Turn left, and you may come across Jennette’s Pier or some smaller, more private beaches. Across this stretched out smattering, you will encounter many tourists and a moderate amount of traffic, but not an unmanageable number of people like what one might find at other beaches in peak season. I fell in love.

The first thing I would recommend upon your arrival is to procure any one of the travel guides, restaurant guides, or coupon books available for free a number of places. I happened to grab the travel guide and restaurant guide. I say this because not only can these be a tool to help you narrow down where you might want to stop, but these guides offer a plethora of money-saving coupons-anywhere from a percentage or dollar amount off to free items!

The first place we decided to eat was Mako Mikes (which is also where I got my guides). Mako Mikes offers a coupon for a free shark tooth for kids. The restaurant has an extremely loud and overwhelming ocean themed décor. In a brilliant business move, you must go through the gift shop in order to reach your table. Mako Mikes also claims to have a “shark tank,” which is much less exciting than it sounds-it is nothing more than a large fish tank. The walls are brightly painted with aquatic-themed scenes and large ocean themed memorabilia hangs from the wall (unfortunately, I have few pictures to share with you-I was not feeling well the day we went and was not expressly thinking about this blog-my apologies!).

Open the menu and you will find an impressive array of choices for food. My biggest complaint about the place after seeing the menu was the prices-I though the food was WAY overpriced for the type of eatery. However, after spending the week at the Outer Banks, I came to understand these prices were pretty much on par with what to expect-meaning if you order a meal. Be prepared to spend upwards of $20-$25 per person.

Being at the beach, my aim was to eat as much seafood as possible, but other choices were available to those who might want something else-such as pasta and burgers and chicken. Even though I was not feeling well, I still went for the ahi tuna (appetizer) and clam chowder.

Ahi Tuna and Ginger Ale

The ahi tuna was impressive-the presentation was flawless and was served with wasabi (I don’t eat wasabi as it is too spicy for me!), pickled ginger, and soy sauce. The tuna was so fresh, light, and flavorful. It was not “fishy” at all. The outside of the tuna was covered in pepper, a taste a very much enjoyed! As a meal (even though this was listed under the appetizer section), it was filling. I was very satisfied with this choice! I enjoyed the pickled ginger also-a good choice to soothe my stomach (that is also why you see my ginger ale in the picture!). The chowder was also good-not spectacular, but the flavors were full and the portion was adequate. The people that I was with were also satisfied with their crab legs and coconut shrimp.

Chowder

Overall, I was happy with my meal. As I mentioned before, I was unhappy with the pricing for such a loud, eclectic choice of décor, but to be fair this price was on target with anywhere else you will likely go in the area. The décor, for me, detracted from my experience. However, I think this would be a fun choice for a family as Mako Mikes seemed geared toward kids with the decorations, free sharks tooth, etc. Just be warned that they will be tempted by the gift shop as you walk to your table!

Tune in next time for more on what gastronomic delights the Outer Banks has to offer. Until next time, bon appétit!

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