In continuation of our tour of the Outer Banks, today I take you to the pleasant town of Manteo. I think Manteo might have been my favorite town in the long stretch along the Outer Banks because it was slightly quieter, less commercial, and right on the water. It was less tourist attraction (notice I said LESS) and more quaint. Also, it was absolutely beautiful.

Pretty nice, huh?

Just a quick note: for those of you with children, Manteo offers special events on the first Tuesday of every month. We went on this first Tuesday because we expected more events to be going on (for adults), but they were mainly geared for children. Some of these events are FREE, while others do cost a fee. The traveler’s guide I mentioned in my last blog will give you a good idea of the events and times for this day. Since everything else to do can be SO EXPENSIVE, if you need a break from going to the beach, this might be a nice option.

Streets of Manteo

Manteo offers many attractions, such as the best Christmas store I have ever been toCaptain Johnny’s dolphin tours, and some great places to eat. If you have a couple of hours and some extra cash, taking the dolphin tour was well worth it. I highly recommend that you carve out an extra hour or so from your day to just come to Manteo and walk around, enjoying the relaxing atmosphere and sights.

Dolphin seen on the dolphin cruise. We saw many, many more but my camera battery died.

Among this pleasant walk, you will come across the Full Moon Café. The café offers both indoor and outdoor seating. As you walk into the restaurant, you might feel overwhelmed by the cascade of decorations on the walls and the somewhat tightly packed tables. Luckily, we went at an off time (around 3:30pm), and we were some of the only patrons eating inside. At first glance, it is difficult to decide if the place is charming or confusing. But I think once you embark on your culinary adventure, you might be surprised.

We sat down at a small table and perused the menu. It was so difficult to make a decision with so many delicious sounding options. The menu offered a variety of seafood, soups and salads (including a brie salad which sounded absolutely delicious), some unexpected offerings (such as rice and beans, shrimp and grits, and enchiladas), as well as some vegetarian friendly options. I mean, just a wide variety of options from which to choose. In addition, they had daily specials!

After much deliberation, we ordered the baked crab dip as an appetizer (only one of many that looked great), a bacon cheeseburger (for my husband), and the specials for me, including a cup of chowder and a teriyaki tuna sandwich. I have to admit, I have never had the opportunity to order fish to taste like a steak, so I didn’t know what to ask for. I took the advice of our waitress and went medium rare.

After a short wait, our appetizer came. This dip was better than I could have imagined. It was rich and creamy with such an explosion of flavor. The seasoned toast pieces on which to eat the dip only enhanced the flavor. The one thing we did wrong was to not mix the dip first, so the flavor was unevenly distributed with all the creaminess on top and all the crab on the bottom. So, if you get this dip, be sure to give it a good stir before diving in.

MMMM, mouth watering just looking at it again….

We were not even done indulging in the dip yet when our sandwiches came. They were both large portions. However, be warned that when my husband asked for pickles for his hamburger, he was told they were unavailable. He thought the waitress was joking with us. She wasn’t.

Bacon cheeseburger

Each sandwich is accompanied by chips and homemade salsa (possibly one of my favorite snacks). I thought the salsa was spicy, but my husband found it bland.

My teriyaki tuna sandwich special was amazing. I tried it with the bun, but I ended up taking the tuna off the bun and just enjoying it with a knife and fork instead. Not that there was anything wrong with the bun-there wasn’t. But the flavor was so good that I didn’t want anything standing in the way. The fish was cooked wonderfully. There was not a “fishy” taste to it at all. And the portion was extremely satisfying. After finishing the fish and chips and dip, I was STUFFED (and that was without the bun!).

Tuna sandwich

The waitress ended up forgetting to bring me my soup, but honestly my experience was so good I didn’t even care. And I was so full, I didn’t need it!

I could have easily gone back to eat at the Full Moon Café several more times, and I highly recommend you make this one of the establishments you try while visiting the Outer Banks. The food was absolutely incredible, and very reasonably priced for the amount and quality of food we enjoyed. I left feeling very happy and satisfied with both my meal and my experience.

Stay tuned for more on my Outer Banks mini-series. Until next time, bon appétit!