Restaurant Review – Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar, Carolina Beach

Two brown pelicans rest on wooden posts in the...

Image via Wikipedia

Last Thursday was my husband’s birthday, and he wanted to go out to eat.  We looked in our Attractions book (a discount/coupon book), because, hey, we are on a budget.  We found a coupon good for $13.00 off a second meal when a meal is purchased at Ocean Grill restaurant.  That’s a great deal, and when I discovered the restaurant is ocean-front, even better.  Peter was game, so we headed to Carolina Beach.

A little history about this establishment…  The tiki bar is on what remains of a pier with the restaurant at the ground end of the pier.  You can look out beyond the pier and see two of the original pilings, often serving as perches for brown pelicans.

We had three seating options – outside under an umbrella, on the patio with open air seating or inside.  We could endure the humidity and it wasn’t that hot with the ocean breezes, so we opted for the patio.  The scenery was lovely and relaxing, and the patio provided the perfect casual atmosphere, ideal when dining with children.  Our server came promptly to take our drink orders.  We perused the menu; the Ocean Grill offers a variety of appetizers, salads, soup, calabash-style seafood, sandwiches and grilled options.

I was intrigued by the crab soup, so I ordered a cup of that.  A kitchen runner brought out my soup – in a bowl.  I was perplexed; I KNEW I’d ordered a cup, and this was a lot of soup.  Our server confirmed that yes, that was their “cup” of soup.  Wow!  The generous portion almost compensated for the quality of the soup, which tasted like canned tomato soup made with water (not milk) that had some crab, basil and black pepper added.  The four of us shared the soup; I didn’t want to get filled up on it before my dinner arrived.

Our older daughter ordered the grilled cheese sandwich off the kids menu, and we agreed that her dinner was the best of all of ours.  I got the boiled shrimp seasoned with Old Bay ($20.00), and this came with fries and slaw (no other side options were available).  Peter ordered fried shrimp and scallops ($22.00).  Our meals were tasty, certainly, but not outstanding.  My shrimp tasted much like what we made at home, and Peter got a handful of shrimp and about three scallops.  We left, grateful that we’d had the coupon.  The prices were very steep for the amount and quality of food.

So…  On a scale of 1-10, we give the Ocean Grill an 8 on atmosphere, with 3 bonus points because watching tourists can really be a trip.  We give it a 4 on food, and a 9 on service.

Added bonus to dinner – there are steps going down from the tiki bar area to the beach (with foot rinse-off area), so we were able to slip down to the beach for a little bit after dinner.  That was a nice wrap-up to the evening.


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