Rue d'Odessa

Memories and Inspiration for Food, Travel and Life

Wilmington, NC

So, I am getting married in Wilmington, NC next month and had started this list for my guests…but I should share it with everyone I know in case you visit.  I’m sure I’ll have more to add after this next trip!


Manna – great local and seasonal food, chef did stages at Paris restaurants so you’ll notice French techniques with American influences. Great cocktails at cute bar. Well priced, a couple can eat three courses with a bottle of wine for under $100. Located downtown Wilmington.

Dockside – Soft shelled crab is a regional specialty in this area of the country, and the dockside is a classic waterfront bar / restaurant that faces the Wrightsville Beach marina. Great spot for sundowners and to enjoy a soft shelled crab sandwich. A fifteen minute drive towards Wrightsville Beach, NC. 

Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn (don’t mistake for Flaming Amys Bowl) – This is one of those places we went to in college to eat too much for cheap. Gigantic burritos with a salsa bar that has some delicious mixes with pineapple, peach etc. eat a lot for under $10. Under ten minute drive from downtown Wilmington. 

Deluxe – Best place for brunch, Sunday morning. Make reservations! They usually have musician playing…like classical guitarist etc. Also good dinners and wines. Downtown Wilmington.

Circa 1922 – This restaurant and bar used to be a bank, the vault is still visible.  Very charming, affordable wine bar with yummy $5 tapas from 5pm-7pm. Good for pre dinner drinks, or dinner. 

Dockstreet Oyster Bar – Have a bucket of crabs legs, oysters, any thing seafood.  From what I remember, very reasonably priced.  Downtown Wilmington. 

Indochine – used to be great, not as good as it used to be but you’ll still need a reservation for dinner.  Still worth a visit in the summer if you can sit with your party in one of the small huts.  There is a light mist to keep you cool and the atmosphere is really great. 

Caprice Bistro – I worked here as a waitress in college.  Belgian owned and operated…they might say French but don’t let that fool you!  I enjoyed their food, loved sitting upstairs to have a martini and their fries (Belgian frites with mayonnaise). 


The Blue Post – Fun bar with cheap drinks, pool tables, games. Casual. Downtown Wilmington. 

Level 5 – Great bar if you wanna dance with college kids, grind and do shots. DJ. One of the few bars with outdoor space to smoke and drink. Rooftop bar in downtown Wilmington.

Odessa – upscale lounge and bar to go to if you want to get dressed up and dance. In house DJ. I used to love this place in college, older crowd. Downtown Wilmington. 

The Palm Room Bar – Right by the beach and good local beach atmosphere. Live music and billards. Cheap beer. Wrightsville Beach by Jonnie Mercer Pier. 


The Soapbox – Small downtown Wilmington venue for live music which went to in college. Some smaller local but also visiting artists. Check schedule. Good beer list and for meeting people. 

The Juggling Gypsy – live music, art shows and independent films. Check schedule. Hippies and hipsters! Walking distance from downtown Wilmington.

Satellite – bar and live music. They have a great bluegrass jam on Sunday evenings, good beer list as well. Hipster and family friendly. Five minute drive from downtown Wilmington.

Local music events, live 


Downtown Wilmington – There are plenty of smaller / boutique stores on the street downtown, and in the Cotton Exchange on Front Street. Surf Shop, Bead shop, local crafts and ‘earthy’ shops.  The coffee shop I worked at in college is called Java Dogs and located here and dog friendly.

The stereotypical American mall Independence Mall, about ten minutes drive from downtown. Ann Taylor Loft, Nine West, Victoria’s Secret and other stores.

More upscale shopping in a modern setting (my favorite) – Mayfaire Towncenter. About 15 minutes drive from downtown towards Wrightsville Beach. Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, JCrew, Talbots, Aveda Salon, Williams Sanoma, Barnes and Noble.

The prices of electronics – like cameras, computers – are super cheap compared to France and Europe.  If you need anything, go to Best Buy or Walmart.  Julien will join you to Walmart!

If you want a facial, massage or other beauty treatments you can find locations anywhere.  I can’t recommend any in particular, Aveda is generally a good place to get spa treatments and haircuts and there are multiple locations in Wilmington.

To Do

There is the beautiful intercostal waterway where you can take a boat ride starting in downtown Wilmington or Wrightsville Beach, the wild NC beaches, charming Airlie Gardens, the historicCivil War site at Fort Fisher and beautiful NC Aquarium by Kure Beach.

Across the river from Wilmington is the WWII Battleship ‘North Carolina’ to visit.
A short drive away (45min) is Southport, NC which is picturesque little fishing town from where you can ride the ferry to Bald Head Island.

Generally, the mode of transportation is a car.  I really have never used buses or any public transportation.  It’s not really something people do outside of large cities in the USA.  Here is a link to the public transportation in Wilmington

3 comments on “Wilmington, NC

  1. Pingback: Wedding – Wilmington, NC | Rue d'Odessa

  2. janecoxwell

    Awesome information. I can’t wait!

    • ruedodessa

      Me either! It’s such a pretty place for a wedding and people from out of town! We just can’t party like we did the first time 😉

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