FireRev and James, thanks for your comments---will try them out next time. We stayed in a house in Nags Head at about MP 13. We had some great meals out, and even better ones in (helps when you have a professional chef staying in the house, too).
My husband has been going to the middle Outer Banks for over ten years with friends. This year, we shared a house with four other couples. Friends from Nashville brought a propane-fueled deep fat fryer (wings on the beach for lunch; BYOFish for dinner), and Dana the chef and I catered a cocktail party for the night of the 4th.
Best meal out: Goombay's (MP 7 on the beach road). Every year, this place is fantastic. Specials included bacon-wrapped monkfish, flounder, and a mixed grill of filet mignon, pork shops and wahoo. It is beach casual (they pull the tables back after dinner for live music and dancing), but the service is friendly and accurate, and the food is much better than the island-theme sign and decor would imply. I recommend it to anyone, in-season or out.
Best take-out: Bacu Grill (MP 14 on the highway; Outer Banks Mall). Excellent Cuban-style roast pork that finds it way into quesadillas, burritos and a platter, great pressed sandwiches, and good seafood.
Best seafood market: Austin's Seafood, MP 11. Japanese tourists inside were impressed with their selection and quality. And their prices are excellent compared to the local grocery stores. Make sure to pick up a package of their excellent breading mix---life's too short to not fry!
Best night: 4th of July. We fixed seviche, crab dip, cajun meat pies, insalata caprese, a cheddar-bacon fondue, chilled steamed shrimp and more for a grazing table. Dana's husband appeared with two magnums of Mumm (in case I sound a little too-too: I have never had a magnum of anything---even Andre---before in my life), and we sipped and ate before taking our glasses out to the beach, where the shoreline was crowded with families launching the most impressive display of illegal fireworks I have ever seen. We launched our own contraband and came back in for Dana's creme brulee. Hooray!
Best place to wait for your rental to be ready: Quagmires, MP 8 on the beach road. Generous drinks and oceanfront deck make this a great stop.
Best lunch: Outer Banks Brewing Station, MP 9 or 10 on the highway. Really innovative menu, great wine list for the area, and good beer. But when you order the bitter, take the name into account!
2nd best lunch: Pigman's Barbecue (MP 10?). Great takeout for folks spending the day on the beach. Pork, beef, turkey and tuna barbecue.
Most disappointing meal: Fratelli's, MP 4. Great menu, but perhaps a little too far removed from red-sauce expectations of local and tourist diners. My pasta with duck ragu was quite good; my husband's sea bass was undercooked. Nothing quite clicked; to be fair, we were told Fratelli's has only been open for four months.
Other favorites: Tortuga's Lie, Dare Devil Pizza, and the Good Life Gourmet (for deli and bread and wine). I'd skip Seamark Foods for grocery shopping and rely on good old Food Lion instead. FL has bigger inventory and much better prices.