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Authentic Cuisine in Elizabeth City, NC

Authentic Cuisine in Elizabeth City, NC

Find out where some of the best places are to sample a variety of flavors

By Jessica Walker Boehm on Mon, 03/20/2017 - 16:37

Elizabeth City may be small, but its cuisine scene is mighty. The community lays claim to several can’t-miss restaurants that feature authentic flavors from around the world that perfectly complement the area’s diverse population.

Not sure where to begin? No problem. Here’s a sampling of Elizabeth City’s most delicious (and diverse) dining spots:

Japanese Food

Locally owned Toyama Japanese Restaurant is a favorite destination for those seeking traditional Japanese dishes and fresh sushi. Popular menu items include chicken yakisoba – a Japanese noodle stir-fry dish – and the seaweed salad, as well as the super spider roll, which includes fried soft-shell crab.

In addition, many reviewers rave about the family-friendly restaurant’s top-notch customer service, and several say the food selection, presentation and quality is similar to what is typically only found in much larger cities. Located in downtown Elizabeth City, Toyama Japanese Restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner.

Mexican Restaurants

Serving up authentic Mexican cuisine for lunch and dinner daily, Plaza Azteca offers an extensive menu with such favorite dishes as the quesadilla ranchera, enchiladas chipotle and the plaza del mar that includes grilled tilapia, scallops and shrimp. Locals recommend ordering guacamole – it’s made fresh tableside – and many say Friday night is the best time to visit the restaurant as there’s live acoustic music followed by karaoke.

Caribbean Cuisine

Craving quality Caribbean food? Check out Island Breeze Grill, a downtown Elizabeth City restaurant serving lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and Sundays. The menu features such selections as jerk chicken, red snapper, curried goat and “rasta pasta,” a dish that includes jerk chicken breast strips, angel hair pasta, green onions and sweet fried plantains. Diners can pair their entrees with one of the many available side dishes – all of which are meat-free and made from all-natural ingredients – such as sweet potato fries, candied yams and sweet corn.

Island Breeze Grill also offers a buffet each Sunday, ideal for those looking to taste a little of everything, and regularly hosts theme nights, such as open mic night and trivia night.

Splendid Seafood

Ship for seafood or dine in at Quality Seafood, which features both a restaurant and a full-service market stocked with plenty of fresh fish, shrimp, crab meat, oysters, clams and more, as well as all the other ingredients needed to make a delicious seafood meal at home. The restaurant offers prepared seafood and fixings via walk up, take out or drive through.


Jessica Walker Boehm is a journalism graduate of Belmont University and has been a regular contributor to since 2010. From shopping and dining to parks, schools and health care, sh...

2015 99 Best Beers in 99 Best Beer Cities

It’s no coincidence that the rise of the craft beer movement has coincided with the revitalization of many of our nation’s downtowns. Breweries have proven to be great draws capable of anchoring a nighttime economy that can help a Main Street development grow and thrive. This, then, is Livability’s inaugural list of Best Beers in the Best Cities, or as we like to call it: 99 Beers in 99 Cities. How did we create our ranking of best beer cities?

We wanted places that fit three criteria: They are good places to live, they are consumers of craft beer and they are producers of the best beer around. As always, data guided our selections. The “good places to live” criteria was met by our own LivScore methodology. The consumer data came from Esri, which helped us find cities that spend well on quality beer, spend less on domestic macro beers and overall support dining and drinking both in the home and out on the town. And for the “best beer,” we turned to the experts: beer drinkers, reviewers and the editors at Using their “overall” and “style” scores, we found a highly-rated beer to represent the town. As with brewing, there is some craft that goes into our list-making process alongside the science. We had a couple of additional requirements: A town had to have at least two breweries, and we chose no more than three cities per state to give us the best nationwide coverage for hop-heads. We also tried to have as many beers as possible be available (at least in-season) in a well-stocked liquor store near you, but some require an in-person visit. Trust us (and RateBeer) – it’ll be worth the trip.

TAKE THE QUIZ: Which Beer Are You?

Don’t just love beer, #LIVbeer!



The Top Craft Beers in the Top Beer Towns


Waterbury , VT

Population: 1,815

Courtesy of Jeff Myers under a CC 4.0 license.

Beer is helping make ski country in Vermont a year-round destination. Waterbury, in the shadow of the Stowe Mountain Resort, has plenty to do out-of-doors with skiing, hiking, kayaking and more. But visitors and residents alike now enjoy farm-to-table restaurants and local craft beers. Stop in for barbecue and beer at Prohibition Pig, and while you’re in town, pick up a case of Alchemist’s Focal Banger. While Alchemist is moving to new digs nearby, you can still find this amazing IPA, which earns a perfect 100 from One reviewer on the site says, “Overall, hot damn, everything is in place to be the best AIPA on the market."


Freeport , ME

Population: 1,507
Courtesy of Main Beer Company

Located just up Maine’s coast from Portland, Freeport is best known as the home of the flagship L.L. Bean store. It’s a mecca for shoppers and a great place to live if you’re into the outdoors. You can drink a variety of Maine beers at the historic Jameson Tavern, founded in 1779, or stop in for fresh brews from the Maine Beer Co. The Red Wheelbarrow scores the highest marks on, but as one visitor to its tasting room said, “I’m very impressed with every Maine beer I have had so far."


Cooperstown, NY

Population: 2,185

Courtesy of Mitch Wojnarowicz.

Baseball and beer make a nice pair, so it’s only fitting that in Cooperstown, N.Y., considered the birthplace of baseball, you’ll also find great brews. Not too far from the Baseball Hall of Fame is Brewery Ommegang, which produces an Abbey Ale that might just throw you a curve. This ale contains a rich, fruity flavor with a Burgundian finish. Between visits to Doubleday Field and the Fenimore Art Museum, brew lovers may want to try samples at Fly Creek Cider Mill or sip the concoctions at Cooperstown Distillery.


Ardmore , PA

Population: 12,698
Courtesy of

The oddly thought-provoking beer names at Tired Hands Brewing Co. may help you get a sense of what Ardmore, Pa., is like. This small, quirky town retains much of its historic charm while embracing aspects of the 21st century. Among the most praised beers coming out of Ardmore is a clementine IPA that Tired Hands named The Light That Spills Out of the Hole in Your Head. They’ve also got the FunnieDuddie and the Senseless and Scentless.


New Glarus , WI

Population: 2,128
Courtesy of New Glarus Chamber of Commerce

Considered America’s “Little Switzerland,” the village of New Glarus, Wisc., is the perfect setting for a unique and daring little brewery. Originally a Swiss colony, New Glarus has preserved its Alpine-style architecture, and residents embrace their heritage by throwing Swiss-themed festivals and events. New Glarus Brewing Co., a true mom-and-pop shop, churns out an impressive amount of beer in a wide variety of flavors and styles, from fruity brews like the Raspberry Tart and Serendipity, a concoction based on fermented apples, cranberries and cherries, to the Moon Man, a hoppy pale ale. The only hitch is you'll have to go to Wisconsin to get it because New Glarus doesn't distribute out of state.


Boulder, CO

Population: 103,919
Courtesy of Avery Brewing Company

The Rocky Mountain town of Boulder, Colo., ranks high when it comes to outdoor activities, restaurants and beer. Loaded with hiking and biking trails, rock climbing destinations, parks and farm-to-table restaurants, Boulder offers one of the nation’s largest collections of craft breweries. One of the anchors of the city's craft beer culture, Avery Brewing, recently opened an expanded brewing facility, taproom and restaurant that will dramatically increase capacity. Hopefully that means that the Maharaja, an imperial India pale ale with a dark amber hue and hoppy flavor, might be available in slightly-less-limited batches. Currently this 102 IBU bottle of bitterness disappears quickly, but at 10.2 percent alcohol by volume, it packs quite a punch.


Redmond , WA

Population: 57,959

Courtesy of Henry Alva under a CC 2.0 license.

Located east of Seattle, just above Lake Sammamish, the city of Redmond, Wash., is home to some of the biggest players in the tech industry including Microsoft, Nintendo of America and AT&T Mobility. Parks like the 560-acre Marymoor Park, hiking trails and bike paths give residents plenty of chances to get outdoors, while eight local breweries give them opportunities to enjoy craft beer. Mac & Jack’s African Amber leads the pack of Redmond beers. This unfiltered, dry hopped amber ale is made with Yakima Valley hops and locally sourced row grains.


Ipswich , MA

Population: 4,235
Courtesy of Clown Shoes Beer

The coastal town of Ipswich, Mass., located northeast of Boston, is best known for its clams, celebrated each year at the Ipswich Chowderfest. Thousands of tourists flock to Crane Beach each year, which provides mesmerizing views and miles of shoreline. A handful of craft breweries in Ipswich have made it a destination for beer lovers. An IPA called Space Cake from Clown Shoes Brewery is nothing to laugh about, it and gets high marks from beer raters.


Bend , OR

Population: 81,780
Photo courtesy of Jeff Kennedy/VisitBend

Beer has become synonymous with Bend, Ore., home to one of the longest beer trails in the country. The Bend Ale Trail leads to 10 breweries, all of which produce high quality beer. This mountain town draws active types who take full advantage of opportunities to hike, bike and paddle. The city’s art scene has much to offer, from museums to music venues, but beer often steals the show. The Ale Apothecary’s Sahati, which is brewed in a hollowed out spruce tree, was among the city’s most celebrated beers, but you won’t be able to find it until they hollow out another tree.


Healdsburg , CA

Population: 11,539
Barbara Bourne © All Rights Reserved

The small town of Healdsburg, Calif., may be located in wine country, but a trio of breweries make this city a great stop for beer lovers. Healdsburg offers many of the finer things in life, from five-star cuisine to jazz concerts and vineyards. The beer made here matches the high-end feel of the city, from artisan cask ales to rich black stouts. Among the most asked for beers in Healdsburg is the multiple award winning Red Rocket Ale from Bear Republic Brewing Co., which lifts off with a hoppy punch but finishes with sweet, caramel malt flavors.


Decatur, GA

Population: 20,605
Courtesy of Wild Heaven Craft Beers

The Atlanta area suburb Decatur, Ga., provides a small-town atmosphere and the energy of a college town while offering easy access to a major city. Decatur maintains its own identity with tree-lined streets, great schools, libraries and a park system. A small collection of breweries helps to further separate Decatur from Atlanta, as well as an assortment of great restaurants and pubs. An imperial brown ale named Ode to Mercy made by Wild Heaven Craft Beers has gotten good reviews.


Hampton , NH

Population: 9,338
Courtesy of Smuttynose Brewing Co.

Sandy beaches overlooking the Atlantic Ocean draw summer tourists to Hampton, N.H., a small town with an artistic flare. Much creative energy is poured into beer making at Smuttynose Brewery, which is named after the third largest of nine islands that make up the Isles of Shoals, found 7 miles off the New Hampshire coast. The brewery honors New England's rich history of beer making while playing an active role in the community. Among the highest-rated beers that Smuttynose produces is the Baltic Porter, a bold black beer with a smooth finish that earns a rare 100/100 score on


Williamsburg, VA

Population: 14,754
Alexander Kravets

Thousands of tourists come to Williamsburg, Va., each year to walk through homes and taverns that date back to the country’s founding and listen to reenactors describe what life was like during the Revolutionary War. Williamsburg is also the home of the prestigious college William & Mary. Learning about all that history can work up a thirst, and luckily Williamsburg has a pair of breweries that will help you quench it. Alewerks Brewing Co., established in 2006, produces reserve batches, and one of the best is the Bitter Valentine, a double IPA with a light malt backbone.


Astoria , OR

Population: 9,537

The port city of Astoria, Ore., overlooks the Columbia River as it empties into the Pacific Ocean. It’s the site of the annual Fisher Poets Gathering, an event that draws poets, storytellers and artists who come to share tales that honor the fishing industry. Lush forests surround the city, which is considered one of the most humid places in the country. Small brewing operations in Astoria are creating bold beers with massive flavors like the 3-Way IPA, a seasonal favorite from Fort George Brewery.


Jackson, WY

Population: 10,152
Courtesy of Snake River Brewing

A big claim to fame for Jackson, Wyo., is that it serves as a major gateway for tourists visiting Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, and the city is also a winter skiing destination for vacationers – many of whom enjoy a beer or two after hitting the slopes. A popular microbrew hangout is Snake River Brewery & Restaurant, and one of their best-sellers is a Snake River Pako's IPA.


Athens , OH

Population: 24,220
Devil's Kettle Brewing

Home to Ohio University, the college town of Athens, Ohio, is located along the Hocking River and is recognized as a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation. Athens is home to a number of breweries, and one of the most popular is Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery. There are 16 selections for patrons to enjoy, including a Mystic Mama ale that is available in carryout cans and bottles.


Stillwater , MN

Population: 18,677
Lift Bridge Brewery

Directly across the St. Croix River from the state of Wisconsin is Stillwater, Minn., a picturesque community that is part of the Twin Cities Metro Area. Stillwater is a tourism destination thanks to antique stores, its riverfront, independent restaurants and historic sites, and the local brewery industry continues to grow. Often-visited establishments are Maple Island Brewing and Lift Bridge Brewing Co., which offers a highly-rated Lift Bridge Irish Coffee Stout.

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