Colington Cafe The - Outer Banks Restaurants
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1 Mile- W Colington Rd
Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

Step back in time at this cozy Victorian cafe, nestled among live oaks on Colington Road. This popular restaurant is only a mile off the Bypass but once you've arrived, you'll feel worlds away from the busy beach. This restored old home set high on a hill is tranquil and absolutely lovely. This is one of our favorite places to come for an intimate dinner, and the chefs prepare some of the most marvelous meals around for extremely reasonable prices. Three small dining rooms are adorned in tasteful decor. Hot crab dip slathered on buttery crackers and bowls of homemade she-crab bisque make outstanding appetizers. Nightly specials may include wonderful pasta dishes, a mixed grill with hollandaise, game fish, and tender filet mignon. Seafood entrees depend upon what's just been caught. Only fresh herbs and vegetables are used in cooking and as side dishes. Salads are served a la carte.

Owner Carlen Pearl's French heritage permeates her restaurant's delicious cream sauces, and she makes most of the irresistible desserts herself -- from blackberry cobbler to chocolate tortes and creme brulee. Restaurants in Colington may serve only beer or wine by law, but you'll have plenty of choices at Colington Cafe. Check out the reserve wines and be sure to save room for a glass of port with dessert. Colington Cafe is open for dinner seven days a week, April through November. Call for off-season hours. Reservations are highly recommended.

Colington Cafe The Reviews - Add A New Review
Rating: Anniversary Dinner 9/9/2018

My brother and his wife took us here for our 45th Anniversary last night. The She Crab Bisque was excellent. I had the Shrimp and Crabcake Combo - delicious. My wife had the Filet which she really enjoyed. My brother gave thumbs up to his Shrimp and Scallop Tropicale as did my sister-in-law for her Chicken. We all enjoyed the Berry Cobbler with Ice Cream.

Rating: A Grand Dame 6/25/2018
Reviewer: CoolBreezeKDH

This used to be one of our favorite places to eat. One thing we liked about it was that it was open out of season, and the food was always thoughtfully prepared and creatively prepared. When we went in April, it was busy, as usual. We were seated upstairs, which was new for us. I got crab cakes and was so disappointed in its preparation. The crab cakes looked like they were large hush puppies....breaded on the outside and deep fried. They were terrible. To me, this way of preparing crab cakes absolutely kills them. I will go back, because I have such fond memories and believe any restaurant can have a bad night. But the menu feels tired and needs updating. I will be back in the fall with fingers crossed.

Rating: One of my top 5 places to eat here 11/12/2015
Reviewer: Tim-OBX

The food here is fantastic and has been since I first went there many years ago. They take reservations and in the summer those are the main places I go because I know I can get in. The filet can be cut with a fork - really. Everything here is always good and fresh. Top quality and a reasonable price.

Rating: Best at the beach 4/3/2014
Reviewer: david meaux

Best food I have had at the OBX in 20 years. Food is special. Pastry chef is an artist. Can't wait until my next visit. Atmosphere is very nice and unique for the beach. The Colington Cafe will not disappoint.

Rating: Still Excellent 9/18/2013
Reviewer: Jstangl

We ate here twice during our recent two weeks stay with a different couple each time. The food and service were as excellent as we've come to expect over the years. I had two different wahoo specials and found both of them to be delicious. The desserts are sinfully good as well!

Rating: Great food, Bad service 9/12/2013
Reviewer: chicnhed

My husband and I are in our late 20s and rarely go out to eat. When we do, we like to go to nice places with great food. We made a reservation that day, and arrived 10 minutes early knowing that we would still have to wait. When we got there, literally everyone was 50 years of age and up. When we got to the host, they had a very condescending response "Well, you're early and its great to be early, but you will have to wait." We then ordered some wine while we waited, which we never got and they completely forgot about. We also waited 30 minutes past our reservation, so we suspect that we were completely forgotten. They apologized and explained that they were understaffed. When we were seated, our server had no idea about the forgotten wine as it was never communicated to her so we re-ordered it. The decor is very out-dated, and not in a "adds character" way, and we were all piled on top of each other with limited personal space and large sheets of paper on the tablenot what I would expect for the price. Our server was good, but I noticed that she spent time getting to know other tables while she was fairly short with us. My suspicions were that we were younger and she expected not to get much out of us even though we ordered wine, and appetizer, two entrees, and dessert. There was also no effort made to correct the fact that we were forgotten in the beginning. The food was amazing, but I would not pay this much to put up with this service again. Overall, I think that if you are 40+, this place is great for you, but if you are younger, don't expect to be taken seriously and don't waste your time. Very disappointed and I strongly feel like we were a victim of age discrimination by the staff we came in contact with.

Rating: Great fine dining 1/24/2013
Reviewer: DPardue

Great service, great food, great atmosphere, and a great menu. This is a notch or two above most other restaurants on the Outer Banks. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Rating: place... 1/20/2013
Reviewer: vanative have a nice, close, intimate dinner...take your lady there...she will love it....

Rating: Another Great Meal 9/13/2012
Reviewer: Jstangl

We ate here last night - my wife had the Pasta Primvera with Grilled Shrimp and I had the Wahoo Special - both dishes were excellent as well as the Blueberry Cobbler and Toll House Pie desserts!

Rating: Great meal! 9/12/2011
Reviewer: Patricia

This was our favorite meal on this trip! This place is so quaint and cute; loved looking around! The staff was very attentive and friendly. We started out with brie for an appetizer. Then I had filet & crabcake and my boyfriend had shrimp & scallop newberg. Topped off with blueberry bread pudding with amaretto sauce. Everything was cooked perfectly!

Rating: 22 years of consistency 9/29/2010
Reviewer: Robert

Our tradition is to do one of our couple of "special" dinners on the Friday before we leave. It usually ends up being the Colington Cafe unless we had already done it earlier in our two week stay.

We made it down to the CC in about 35 minutes from Sanderling via the Big Road. Going south you turn right at the traffic signal at Colington Road after you pass the tribute to the Wright Boys place, around MP 8.5. Drive west on Colington Road for about 3 minutes and you will see it on your left......a pretty white house on a hill under some very large live oaks. Great setting.

We arrived about five minutes early for our 6:30 reservation and our table was ready. In addition, our request for our favorite room was honored. We prefer the more quiet and small room to the right. The front room to the left is nice as well. We do not and will not be seated upstairs as there is almost always a large group being loud. Anyway we not only got our room but also the best table at the front corner.

The decor is understated and simple but is wonderful. Paintings, flowers, baskets, bottles on the walls and ledges. The tables had white tablecloths with a small vase holding a red rose and eucalyptus.

I forgot my reading glasses in the car so I got up and started for the I passed the host/owner he said, "going out for reading glasses". I said yes and he responded by saying he had numerous pairs that I could use to save a trip outside. Interesting....took him up on his offer and tried on a couple of pairs to get the right power...I settled on some 2.0 power Clark Kent style glasses.

Within a few minutes our waiter took our drink orders and soon thereafter a basket with 3 rolls and butter. Our drinks arrived and we ordered. My wife ordered the appetizer special, Salmon Napoleon and the Carolina Cakecakes. I being a creature of habit here, ordered the She Crab Bisque and the Filet Mignon (the 8 oz. one).

OK here is the skinny: The Salmon Napoleon was layered with salmon, wasabi slaw, and fried wontons.......excellent! My she crab bisque still remains my very favorite she crab on the Outer Banks.....alot of crab and not overkilled with sherry. When my entree came, Chris, our waiter announced that I did not need anything but the butter knife to cut the filet. I told him that if it is the same as always he would be correct. Well it was cooked to a perfect medium. It actually could have been cut with a fork. The Bearnaise sauce on it was heavenly. My wife's carolina crab cakes were excellent.....hard to choose between the Kill Devil Grill and here. My wife though the KDG grilled their crab cakes while the CC fried theirs. Both of our entrees were served with wonderful smashed garlic potatoes and chilled green beans.

We have been to the Colington Cafe every year since it opened in 1989 except maybe one and we have never had a less than a great dining experience. The CC has to be one of, it not the most consistently excellent restaurant on the Outer Banks. Our check including tax for 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, 2 wine and 1 beer was $87.71.

Recommended with reservation for your special dinner, or for that matter any dinner. Great food, reasonable prices, classy and probably the most professional wait staff around.

Rating: Always good 10/23/2009
Reviewer: Darren M

Great food and atmosphere

Rating: Still Outstanding 9/29/2009
Reviewer: Jstangl

We visited with my brother and two sisters in early September - the service was excellent, all five entrees were outstanding as were the desserts. Was voted "Our Favorite Restaurant" of the two weeks we were on the OBX.

Rating: Beautiful Victorian Setting * Excellent Service and Food 9/28/2009
Reviewer: Seahawk

After hearing so many rave reviews of this restaurant we had to see for ourselves. The food and service was excellent and we will be back again soon.
Note: They do not serve liquor but the wine and Champagne selection was very good.

Rating: In mt top 10 places on the beach 9/28/2009
Reviewer: timobx

Always great! I often get the surf & turf (tuna and filet) and it is always great. The prices are not going to wreck the bank either.

They take reservations so you know you will get a table.

Rating: Fantastic 9/16/2008
Reviewer: Jstangl

This place is definitely worth a must visit at leasst once every trip. The ambiance is very nice, the service is very good, and the food was excellent.

I had the Wahoo and Scallops special on 9/12 and the berry cobbler - both were fantastic. My wife had the fried shrimp and she really enjoyed them - not too heavy on the batter - very tasty.

Rating: awesome food 5/12/2008
Reviewer: The Jones'

We've ate here a couple of times since we started vacationing at obx four years ago, and dare I say it was some of the best food we've joke. I also love the setting, it's in a beautiful location. On the pricey side, but well worth it!

Rating: Excellent 12/30/2007
Reviewer: Sal

Need I say more???

Rating: Always a great dinner 10/1/2007
Reviewer: Th e Sea Hag

Always go to Colington Cafe- it's the family tradition since it opened some 19 yrs ago. This year we took our 4 yr old son- they accomdated him and us nicely however they placed us in a large room upstairs with 2 very large parties who spoke so loudly I felt like I was in a bar. I think they assumed our son would be loud- it was rude of them however the meal was great- the server- a young lady was so- so- not the way I waitressed when I was doing it and my husband was prev. a chef so we are tough- but she was not worth 20% tip but I did leave it for her anyway. Food is always great- and the prices are by far the most reasonable on the beach. Go off season- well worth it.

Rating: Always a great dinner 10/1/2007
Reviewer: Teh Sea Hag

Always go to Colington Cafe- it's the family tradition since it opened some 19 yrs ago. This year we took our 4 yr old son- they accomdated him and us nicely however they placed us in a large room upstairs with 2 very large parties who spoke so loudly I felt like I was in a bar. I think they assumed our son would be loud- it was rude of them however the meal was great- the server- a young lady was so- so- not the way I waitressed when I was doing it and my husband was prev. a chef so we are tough- but she was not worth 20% tip but I did leave it for her anyway. Food is always great- and the prices are by far the most reasonable on the beach. Go off season- well worth it.

Rating: Excellent! 6/6/2007
Reviewer: Lisa

A fabulous little place. The service is excellent. The food is some of the best on the beach. And the prices are very reasonable. They just started advertising on a billboard in Currituck. You'll see it on the way down. Jot down the number because you should make reservations.

Rating: We Miss Jennifer 4/30/2007
Reviewer: Suppa

Last Year.We met Jennifer. She was an awesome server and sweet.We came again recently The food was good as always. Although,We missed Jennifer She is a jem, and hope she is well.

Rating: still great 4/25/2007
Reviewer: cheryl

We love Colington! We first went there right after they opened and go there every time we go to the OBX since we bought our house. We recommend it to our renters. The food never fails to be delightful, from salads(salade composee, yum!) to desserts. Service is ususally awesome. I took a group of 6 women there a couple of weeks ago and the waitress ( I won't name her b/c I don't won't her to be fired) wrongly assumed that b/c we were women that we wouldn't tip well. She acted "short" with us. You could tell she just didn't want to waste her time on a group that she thought wouldn't leave her a good tip. 4 of us having been waitresses in our younger days, we still left her 20% tip, but she could have ruined our last evening at the OBX had we allowed her too. Still everyone agreed it was one of the best meals we'd had.

Rating: Continuing their Excellence 12/1/2006
Reviewer: Robert

This year (October 2006) we went to our annual dinner at The Colington Cafe with a local couple we have become friends with from this board. The drive down from Sanderling took us 35 minutes including a brief gas stop. This was our first (and hopefully last) time on the Bypass this year.....yikes! A huge KMart/theatre complex with a sea of blacktop around MP 7.5-8.0, more tacky fast food places and numerous, new, big cottages that fronted directly on the Bypass. Nothing like sitting on your deck overlooking 5 lanes of traffic.

Anyway, we arrived at TCC a few minutes early and as we pulled in we spotted a little yellow car with the license reading "Mini". In a few minutes UJ appeared and we said our hellos.

Soon thereafter our friends arrived and we were seated. It was very busy this particular evening. We were happy that we had requested our favorite room (the one to the right on the main floor) because it has only five tables and the din from the crowd was somewhat subdued. This was the most crowded I have ever experienced the Cafe.

As tradition dictates I had the she-crab bisque and as always it was wonderful. It is still my favorite bisque however the Blue Point Grille she-crab was almost as good this year. For my entree I had the shrimp scampi.....the shrimp (and there were many)were cooked to perfection. The garlic and butter levels was just right.

Jane had the special appetizer which was excellent however cannot remember exactly what was in it other than saugage. Her entree was Carolina Crabcakes..... Country style crabcakes served over mixed greens with a creamy horseradish caper sauce.

Our friends split a she-crab bisque. She had the Shrimp and Scallop Tropicale.....a combination of shrimp and scallops grilled and topped with tropical fruit salsa. He had the Filet & Crabcake....grilled filet mignon with Béarnise (I have had the filet many times and it has always been terrific) and a crabcake with horseradish caper sauce.

I had one beer, Jane two wines, and our friends split a bottle of wine. We didn't have dessert (we were stuffed anyway).

Everyone was very pleased with their respective dinners. The service was attentive, however our entrees came to the table quicker than expected. The server apologized and told us “don’t feel as if we are rushing you” (and they didn’t even though it was still crowded when we finished our food and we chatted for quite some time while finishing our drinks).

Food, drinks, tax and tip.....$160 for four. I think that is a very, very good deal.

Rating: A Real Gem 10/12/2006
Reviewer: ohplease

After many reccomenations, we finally tried Colington Cafe for our 9th anniversary dinner. All the great reviews were right on target. The food, the atmosphere and the service were awesome. Thanks to all who steered us to this place, we will be back.

Rating: Genteel Atmosphere 5/31/2006
Reviewer: Jim C

A great, cozy destination to enjoy with your "one and only" or with a couple or two. Great service, good wine list. Menu is diverse and food is well-prepared. The enlosed porch area to the left is a favorite spot to view the lovely, sedate outdoor surroundings. Reservation need to be in advance normally. With luck you may run into Andy Griffith.

Rating: Attention to detail 5/17/2006
Reviewer: csbrewfisher

One of the few places that serves local seafood and produce. The staff is excellent as is the cuisine. If you're into pizza and fried-food buffets, this is NOT your place. If you're into family-friendly DINING, this is your place.

Rating: Excellent 5/16/2006
Reviewer: JimmyZ

Helene and I went to the Colington Cafe for our 35th anniversary dinner. Not only was it charming and romantic, the food and choices were excellent. The She-crab bisque was to die for. The prices were reasonable and worth the trip. We will return on our next visit to the OBX.

Rating: Traditional Colington Dinner 2005 11/24/2005
Reviewer: Robert

Jane and I did our traditional "near the end of vacation" dinner at The Colington Cafe last night. We have always felt that the mark of a truly great restaurant is one that continues to produce high quality food, day in and day out, year in and year out. This year (October 2005), as in numerous past years, TCC lived up to that standard. We are glad to report that we had another EXCELLENT dining experience.

The room we were shown to was one that we had not dined in before. It was the room directly to the right as you enter. It had four/five tables and was decorated nicely.

As we waited for our appetizer, our waitress bought us a basket of breads. The bread was warm and appealing. Our only comment was that we felt that such a fine restaurant should not serve butter in those little packets. Also, some extra virgin olive oil for dipping would have been a nice touch with the bread.

For my appetizer I had a bowl of She Crab is still my favorite she crab bisque on the Outer Banks and believe me I have sampled alot. Jane had the Crabcake Sampler which was served over mixed greens and horseradish caper sauce. She said it was one of the finest crab cakes she has had to date.

For my entree I had the Filet Mignon grilled over open flame and served with bearnaise sauce. It was cooked to perfection and could have been cut with a butter knife. Jane had the Fish du Jour, which was Fresh Tuna, again grilled to perfection (Jane is extremely particular about her tuna). Both entrees came with "the chef's choice of accompaniments" which were for this evening was fresh vegetables and wonderful mashed garlic potatoes.

Jane had one wine and I had a beer. The total bill for this wonderful dining experience was $57 excluding tax and tip. To dine at the finest restaurant on the Outer Banks (in our opinion) for this price is a steal. As an added bonus the atmosphere is refreshing, romantic and unique.....and quiet.

Rating: Colington Cafe- Fabulous 10/10/2005
Reviewer: Dave & Jan

We had an absolute fabulous dinner here. The atmosphere was fantastic and charming, and the food was superb. Off the beaten path but well worth finding.

Rating: Always wonderful.... 7/4/2005
Reviewer: DeeNC

My all-time favorite restaurant!

Rating: Still Great 6/17/2005
Reviewer: Tim-OBX

Six of us went here last night for dinner after a 5 year hiatus. I had the mixed grill of seared tuna and filet mignon and it was wonderful.

Rating: Wonderful 4/23/2005
Reviewer: Jenice

We've eaten at the Colington Cafe several times after my brother-in-law recommended it. Off the beaten path, but great ambiance. Food is great--many choices and nicely prepared. Great service. No hard liquor--wine and beer only. I would highly recommend the Colington.

Rating: VERY NICE! 2/3/2005
Reviewer: Sarah

My fiance and I made a reservation here for our anniversary dinner after many people suggested it. I have never heard of this place after 20 years of visiting the Outer Banks. It was a "hidden treasure". Very quaint and romantic. Unique menu selections. Perfect for our day. :)

Rating: What a NICE place! 11/2/2004
Reviewer: KT Mae

What an Excellent choice for a special night out! Ditto to what everyone else has said. The setting is enchanting, the service outstanding, and the food delicious! Not at all overly expensive for this type of dining experience! We had wonderfully fresh and tasty salads (I truly enjoyed the Caesar salad), a bottle of nice wine, the Filet Mignon was exquisite and butter-knife tender; my husband raved over the shrimp dish that he ordered; and then warm pecan pie (filled mostly with pecans not corn syrup) alamode to top it all off! I’ve spent more money at an average restaurant. No complaints at all. We will definitely go back again! Reservations are needed.

Rating: One of the best on the beach 10/26/2004
Reviewer: Tim

It may be a little hard to find, but you will be glad you did. Call for reservations. One of the most romantic get away places to eat around here. The food is always good and the place is rustic and quiet. Fine dining on the OBX.

Rating: Best on the OBX 3/30/2004
Reviewer: Dave

If there is a better restaurant on the OBX, I haven't found it. Tasty, fresh and well garnished food with excellent flavor and presentation. Very good service. This is as close as it gets to fine dining on the OBX, so leave the impatient kids and sloppy T-shirts at home, but casual dress is the norm. The tables are close together, but not too crowded. Reservations are a must in the summer, but not usually available until three days before you wish to dine, which is the best time to call for first choice of seating times. As testimony to how good the Cafe is, reflect on how tough it is to get a table in the summer, and the fact that they do zero advertising! Try the Café as an affordable treat.!

Rating: A Real Winner 11/18/2003
Reviewer: roc-obx

Colington Cafe is terrific for a change of pace for dinner on the OBX. It's a more formal atmosphere, and the food is nothing short of spectacular. Try their country pate as an appetizer. Yum. Reservations are a must; without them you will probably be turned away as we were the first time we tried to have dinner there. Reasonable prices, too....especially for the quality of the food, service and atmosphere.

Rating: Still Our All-Time Favorite 11/10/2003
Reviewer: Robert

When we decide to go out for fine dining, we head for the Colington Cafe on Colington Island. It is located a short distance west of the Bypass just south of the Wright Memorial.

First of all, the setting and architecture is a little different than most OBX places. The Cafe is housed in a Victorian style home, set on a hill and nestled under live oaks. Once inside, the place is broken up in three separate dining rooms, which make it somewhat intimate and very quiet. Definately suitable for a romantic evening. Although probably not banned, I would live the children home. We like to do our one "dress up night on OBX" time when we go, but any attire seems to be welcome.

For lovers of She-Crab bisque, this is the best I have ever had and believe me I have tried alot of it. Do the bisque with the warm brie with french bread as appys. For entrees I get the big filet mignon with the bearnise sauce...excellent! My wife usually goes for the fish dujour, which is always great.

If you have room try the desserts. They are heavenly.

We usually spend $65-70 not including drinks, tax and tip. To me this is an extremely reasonable bill for the quality of food. We have spent as much, and in some cases much more on the OBX and haven't had a meal that comes close to the excellence of the Colington Cafe.

I highly recommend The Colington Cafe for that special night out.....and leave the old shorts and teeshirt home for one night and get a little dressed up.