North to South (travelling NYCer tourist notes):
Tiki Grill -- The first time we blew past the Tiki Grill in the car last year I scoffed at the phony Polynesian sign out on the road: Look! A Tiki Grill! Then we stopped in by our park ranger friends who live down the road. They said, Lets go to the Tiki Grill for lunch. Huh? Since then weve been going back whenever we get a chance, me for the sweet, succulent scallops in a cornmeal crust ($7) and my husband for the tuna burger which is simply a generous slab of grilled tuna on a roll ($6). Their hushpuppies are not great, but for the price Im not complaining. Good beer list.
The Pilot House -- lovely view, lousy food. Fish fillets covered with paprika and put under a not-hot-enough broiler until they are...I guess you could call it cooked, but a long way from delicious, served with mushy vegetables.
The Orange Blossom Cafe -- Go for the Uglies. Apple Uglies are kind of a cross between a raised doughnut and a fritter. The batter is dropped in large random blobs (I think from a pastry bag, actually) into the fryer, then glazed. There's a bit of apple filling here and there but it's more about the Ugly than the Apple. A tray of warm Uglies is always sitting on the counter in the morning until about 10 or 11 when they sell out.
Bubbas -- Theres always dissent about barbecue but I like their ribs, tender and smokey with a vinegary sauce. Corn bread has the wonderful gritty bite of Southern cornmeal, but is a bit sweet in the Northern style.
Sno-Cones -- Another place I drove past without stopping for a couple of years until a friend alerted me to the Hatteras Sno-Ball. Its a scoop of icecream with a scoop of shaved ice over the top. My favorite is cherry vanilla icecream with black cherry or pink lemonade ice, but I heard votes for vanilla icecream with rootbeer ice or watermelon ice.
Channel Bass -- A little short on atmosphere but good, fresh seafood preparation (if you have fish you have caught they will prepare a dinner from it for you with sides for about $8). I found the coconut custard pie a bit gummy and the crust tasted of the refrigerator. Chocolate silk pie that one of my dining companions had looked good, wish I had snagged a bite for future reference.
Risky Business Seafood -- Wonderful fresh fish store. Even if you dont have cooking facilities, its still worth stopping in for the addictively delicious nuggets of smoked tuna in little ziplock bags by the register for $2, and also to watch the owner outside on the wharf filleting the days catch in the late afternoon.