Aqua Restaurant and Spa - Duck, NC

4.5
919 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary American
Top Tags:
  • Waterfront
  • Scenic View
  • Local Ingredients
One of the most beautiful waterfront restaurants in Duck on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, AQUA Restaurant offers fresh regional cuisine in a casual and elegant setting. Our mission is to create delicious culinary masterpieces with locally farmed ingredients, fresh locally caught fish and all natural meats for our guests to enjoy. Our innovative wine list, craft beers and creative cocktails are second to none, carefully chosen to complement our Chef’s savory creations. Whether you are looking for a tasty lunch or dinner, live music, a beautiful sunset or good times with friends and family, AQUA is the place to be!
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Contemporary American, Seafood
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Hours of operation
Open 7 days a week
Lunch 11:30 - 3:00
Dinner 5- til
3-5 bar menu
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Phone number
(252) 261-9700
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Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Chef Cory Bryant
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Private party facilities
Overlooking the Currituck Sound, with an amazing view from every seat. Sunsets light up the sky every evening. Waterfront decks and bar provide an unforgettable and elegant event on the water,in the quaint village of Duck on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
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Private party contact
Event Coordinator: (252) 261-9700
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Route 12 North
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Parking details
Parking in front of restaurant and across the street. Overflow allowed at Scarborough Faire Shops.
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Entertainment
Live music on our waterfront deck in season performed by local artists in a variety of styles.Select weekends during the off season we bring live music into the bar.
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Special events & promotions
AQUA Restaurant is the perfect venue for your special occasion. The diverse waterfront location and design offers a magnificent view and amenities that appeal to a party of 15 to 100.

The Southern end of the restaurant can be semi-private. A tasteful bamboo screen offers an intimate feel and private restrooms keep conveniences at hand. Available for 30 and fewer guests.

The Main dining area, with vistas of sunsets on the Currituck Sound and wildfowl a flutter, translates the delightful energy of AQUA; while offering waterfront tables where everyone truly does get “a view” of the water. Available for 40-60 guests.

Craving the divine intimacy of AQUA, all to yourself? Be our guest, our only guest…AQUA is available for 65-100 clients, to enjoy, dance, toast and create memories all evening. Wrap around decks, green space, beanbag toss, music inside or out…the flow of the evening is bliss.
Additional
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 919 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.5
service
4.4
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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J
Philadelphia
11 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Nice window table, excellent service good quality meals very nice

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DN
Las Vegas
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

Anniversary. Aqua cocktail was very good! Recommend! Lobster Mac had great flavor but the middle was cold. ($18 appetizer) Shrimp and Grits were okay, nice flavor w the Gouda. Filet was okay... very average. Bread was amazing... 5 stars. Desserts- Peanut Butter unassembled pie was okay. Strawberry Bread Pudding - okay. Neither I would order again. Very nice and attentive waiter. Reservations on opentable appeared they were booked solid, yet many tables were empty inside and out. Great views and music. Cheeseburger at the table next to us looked amazing and a fraction of the cost of dinner menu items. Go with cheeseburger and sit outside.

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c
Richmond
11 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Probably visited Aqua 10+ times over the last 4 years. Food as good as ever. Farm to table works here. Great sunset views.

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OT
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Bring a jacket or sweater. Food and service were great but room was so cold

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LB
Atlantic City
2 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

Went here for our last night dinner of our wedding week, this was noted, not that I expected anything special from others. The service was unbelievably slow, from the get go, drinks were forgotten, finally requested bill when we realized the drinks weren’t coming, bill took forever. Just overall a bust for the price. We got drinks and a charcuterie board at the bar, which we ate there and saved ourselves the frustration. They missed out on a lot of money we were willing to sit and spend.

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BD
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

One meal of salmon came uncooked. Was sent back. Several people felt menu was limited And very noisy. Have eaten here many times so don’t judge on this one review.

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BS
New York Area
18 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Our second time at Aqua and it has quickly become one of our favorite dining spots in the Outer Banks! The food was delicious and contained some very fresh local ingredients. The fresh catch was Tuna caught that day, served over local vegetables and it was absolutely perfect. Seared but pink on the inside and the local vegetables were fantastic. The appetizers, shrimp cerviche and seared sesame scallops over seaweed salad, were equally well prepared and delicious. Can't wait to go back when we return in the off-season.

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 2

Food was good. Took a long time for the server to get to the table. It was extremely loud due to large groups all around us and they should have asked us if we wanted something more quiet or asked the groups to lower the volume. Way to expensive for the food.

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F
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Some dishes were very well prepared and a few were very underwhelming .

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Service was good. Food was decent but had higher expectations - but the rock shrimp was great. Corn crab soup needed to be thicker and have something in it for texture, shrimp and grits - grits were too gritty for my taste. Kids meals come in frisbees that were awesome. Fresh bread and butter was nice and hot. Ceviche was ok.

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t
Richmond
5 reviews
Dined on July 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Aqua is consistently exceptional.

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A
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on July 8, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

We tried for a later time but none were available on Open Table yet the restaurant was not near empty during the time we were there. The steaks were just okay. Massive amounts of mashed potatoes overwhelmed the plate. The Duck was very poorly done and crowded by too many vegetables. Wait staff was outstanding

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LY
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on July 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Celebrated our wedding anniversary with a dinner at Aqua, as we do every year. As always, the food and service were exceptional! Our waitress was wonderfully attentive and helped to make the evening special. All the food at Aqua is excellent, but I cannot recommend the Salted Caramel Parfait enough--without a doubt, the best dessert I've ever had.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Birthday celebration

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M
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

Aqua is typically always great. The service was phenomenal as per usual, but this time we were not impressed with the food. Our favorite part of the entire meal was the complimentary bread and butter- fresh and delicious! The fries were great (can’t go wrong with shoe string fries), but not as “truffled”/ flavorful as one would expect. The avocado hummus and the pita bread were refreshing and one of our favorites. The lobster Mac and cheese was alright: tiny in size and lacking in flavor. We do not recommend the cheese/ charcuterie platter- it was comparable to (or maybe it was actually) a ready-made party cheese plate from the store. The two types of cubed cheese were dried out and the prosciutto was unrecognizable. Save the money and get a better selection from the harris teeter cheese aisle. We weren’t incredibly hungry following these dishes so we decided to get the check. Again, the service was great, but the food just didn’t hit the spot this time, especially for the prices.

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MS
Birmingham
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Went for lunch as couldn’t get dinner reservation. Were in Outerbanks for family vacation. Everything at Aqua - food, service, ambiance - was first rate and above expectation. Location of the restaurant, on the sound side, is superb. Will definitely return if go back to Outerbanks which is quite likely.

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A
Atlantic City
10 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We vacation on the Outer Banks every year and our favorite dinner spot closed 2 years ago so we have been looking for something to replace it. Aqua exceeded our expectations. The service was friendly and helpful. We arrived earlier than expected and had drinks from the bar which we enjoyed on the outdoor deck while listening to some local musicians who were very good. The location was beautiful and we were lucky to have a window-side table on a very hot night so we could enjoy the sunset in the air conditioned dining room. Our food was fabulous and we enjoyed a lovely reasonably price bottle of wine. Local seafood was prepared perfectly. Desserts were outstanding - a jar of homemade caramel parfait and a peanut butter mousse pie that was perfection. We would definitely come here again and highly recommend it.

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RK
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic view with very fresh and flavorful menu. Staff is friendly and helpful.

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DM
1 review
Dined on July 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were seated promptly at a water view table which we requested. Service was great and food was excellent. We went back next day for lunch 👍

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LS
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on July 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best shrimp & grits I’ve ever had, and the cheesecake was great too! The staff was friendly and the sunset views, amazing. We stayed in Corolla, but it was well worth the 30 minute drive. We will be back!

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OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous start to finish. Returned next day. Don’t miss the pistachio ice and flourless tort.

Fantastic service. Spectacular food.

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AH
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 1

Reserved a table for 5 on Thursday evening, June 28, at 7:30 pm. Confirmed it was indoor seating as it was quite hot outside. The inside of the restaurant was also very very hot, mentioned it to the staff and they said they would 'turn the air up.' The service was very slow, server not attentive, I had to ask for water (remember very hot inside) more than once, and the food slow coming out of the kitchen. Food was just OK, entree prices 28 - 32 and expected more at that price.

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food here was amazing! The service was absolutely impeccable! My husband and I celebrated our three year wedding anniversary here and all I put in the notes when reserving our dinner was that it was our wedding anniversary, and I was absolutely blown away at the extra measures the staff took to to make it so special! I recommend fully, and will be coming back!

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OT
Baltimore
5 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always the best! Everyone is so nice and the food is great.

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TM
1 review
Dined on June 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have been coming to Duck for six years now and have always wanted to go to Aqua. However, with 18 people, we just don't eat out very much. I took the opportunity this year to have a "girls' lunch" with just my daughters and granddaughters, and am so glad I did. The food was amazing. We sat outside on the water for lunch, which was lovely. Our service could not have been any better. We were very impressed with the great menu, which gave great options for the seafood lovers amongst us, as well as a great burger for those that are not lovers of the seafood. Thank you!

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OT
Raleigh
2 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Fish special was fantastic. Drinks and appetizers were good. Setting was beautiful as always.

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d
Washington DC
69 reviews
Dined on June 24, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Back in September 2017, I had eaten here and thought the duck breast was "to die for," as they say. So when I returned this week, I simply had to order it again. This time, it was very good, but not quite as good as it was a few months ago. Primarily, there was too much fat around each medallion and one of the medallions was even a bit chewy, which was odd. It was still very tasty, but I might try something else next time I visit. The flourless chocolate torte offered for dessert, on the other hand, was indeed "to die for," and I recommend that wholeheartedly. Finally, a word must be said about our server. Alice is her name and you should ask for her. She has a great personality and intimately knows about the dishes and drinks on the menu, which is extremely helpful. She is great and made our dinner way more enjoyable than it otherwise might have been.

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NM
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on June 23, 2018
Overall 3food 1service 5ambience 5

Beautiful location on the sound, nice building, attentive young waiter and good drinks. Unfortunately, the most important thing about a restaurant is the food, and I found it very disappointing, regardless of the prices they charge.
First we had ceviche. My wife and I have it fairly often, and I can objectively say this was the worst I’ve had. It was more like salsa due to the barely detectable bits of shrimp, but even worse was the overwhelming paprika seasoning. Don’t try it!
I also had the tuna steak special. It was an excellent piece of fish and cooked properly but barely seasoned. The tuna was served over a mix of grains and veggies that I would call bland mush. It had no texture or flavor. I also tried my wife’s crab cakes and they were also disappointing.
Finally, there were a lot of families with very young children. I thought it would be a little better for a grown-up meal.
So, pretty setting, good service, but the food is not at all impressive.

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TP
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on June 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Aqua has been our favorite restaurant in the Outer Banks since they first opened. The ingredients are fresh and the fish is perfectly cooked. The menu has plenty of options, but it's not overwhelming. We eat at Aqua every chance we get, which is at least once a month. The live music on weekend evenings is always enjoyed. Alice waited on our table and the service was absolutely perfect. We can't wait to go back.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were in the Outer Banks on vacation and always plan on dining at Aqua. The food and service is always great and the location on the sound side is also great.

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DW
Wilmington
1 review
Dined on June 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Popular place so I would suggest reservations. Service was excellent. Attention to detail in food presentation. Our meals were delicious and done to perfection. We have never been disappointed. They have introduced a new menu, somewhat limited, but even the picky person should find something to their liking. Highly recommend!

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OT
Philadelphia
7 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Overall a nice restaurant with wonderful views of the Soundside of the island. A bit pricey to take kids. They only have 2 options for kids and both are 11 dollars. They brought out our kid's stuff right away but then it took 20 minutes for our food to come out. With little kids, that was not fun, once they were done eating, we had to keep them in line and try to eat our meal. My wife's Sangria was watered down and not that great. Overall not great for young kids, but nice adult seafood restaurant.

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N
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server Paige was very attentive and had knowledge of the menu. The food was well prepared, had good presentation and was flavorful. We went with our 3 year old and 3 month old. They were very accommodating to our children. This was one of our favorite meals and places we ate at during our week long vacation. I had the 8 oz fillet medium rare cooked perfectly and my wife had the Shrimp and Grits. For dessert we had the cheese cake which was very light and fluffy. While eating a huge storm was rolling in and my wife happened to catch a picture of a bolt of lightening.

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S
Richmond
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Food was well prepared and service was wonderful. However, fresh catch of the day was so salty it detracted from an otherwise delicious combination of ingredients.

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m
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on June 19, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Our experience at Aqua was excellent. The service was friendly and prompt and the food and signature cocktails were delicious. Our group had the shrimp and grits, the grouper special and the seafood pasta with pesto were all amazing.

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AH
1 review
Dined on June 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The most delicious food I have ever had in my entire stay in the Outer Banks. Absolutely amazing!! I will be coming back here every time I visit. Everyone in my family (of seven people) found their dishes to be perfection. The Shrimp and Grits were the best I have ever had (ties with that of the Cape Fear Seafood Company in Wilmington), and the Margarita Salad was scrumptious--I added blue cheese to mine and it was heaven. All the side dishes were equally delicious. Some of the other standouts were the Frenched Chicken (without a doubt my favourite Chicken dish I've ever eaten at a restaurant), and my dad's Grouper (catch of the day) which was flaky and fresh. My only complaint is that they don't serve Sweet Tea (they only have unsweet which you can add sugar to, and that is not my cup of tea, it doesn't mix well). Anyways. Definitely stop here and I cannot stress it enough to make reservations ahead of time, especially if you have a large party!

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EA
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service the best on the East Coast and the food is always outstanding

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SV
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We eat here each family beach trip we take. Our children are still young so we bring them earlier in the evening (5ish). The food is wonderful and the staff is attentive and friendly.

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OT
Philadelphia
12 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best outdoor dining in Duck

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EH
New York Area
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food in a lovely setting, especially when you can also enjoy the sunset. Our favorite restaurant on the Outer Banks.

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