The Bistro at Topsail

4.6
1137 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Southern

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About

Award Winning Farm to Plate restaurant on Topsail Island.
Winner James Beard Foundation BBP 2017
Open Table Top 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America
Finalist North Carolina Best Chef 2017
4-Time Wine Spectator Award of Excellence Winner 2015-2018
One of the Best Bourbon Bars in America 2016


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Sorry but due to the limited size of our dining room we are unable to accommodate groups larger than 10 people
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Southern, Seafood, American
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Hours of operation
Dinner
Tue–Sat 5:30 pm–9:00 pm
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Phone number
(910) 328-2000
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Payment options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Resort Casual
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Executive chef
Chef/Owner Bud Taylor
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Surf City Swing Bridge
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Parking details
Parking lots in front of restaurant
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Special events & promotions
We will gladly book your special event on location.
Additional
Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Chef's Table, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 1137 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.6
service
4.6
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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M
Wilmington
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Bistro is my very favorite restaurant. Chef Bud always creates the most amazing meals and we've always been thrilled with our meal.

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KL
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Unexpected wonder in Surf City! Great Vegan options!

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OT
Wilmington
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Somewhat limited menu; however, what we had was excellent. Priced appropriately and very good service.

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SR
Raleigh
7 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a wonderful dinner as always! One of our favorite places to eat to have a special meal and a fantastic glass of bourbon! Highly recommend!

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D
Raleigh
186 reviews
Dined on September 4, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The food here is always good as we make our yearly family trek to the beach including to this restaurant. We did hit some post season issues, it seems, the week after Labor Day, some wines not available and one dish not available. Lovely scenery and fewer diners on a weeknight off-season made for a delightful dinner ambiance. Very interesting locally sourced food and food combinations. We missed the crab dip, however. Not even on the menu this time.

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MF
1 review
Dined on September 4, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Phenomenal food on the intracoastal waterway. Perfect for a dinner date.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 4, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

It was a double birthday. As noted in the reservation. Nothing was recognized about the birthday. There were flies everywhere because the ceiling fan wasn’t working. So get it fixed. Food was good but got lost with everything else. The Bistro is. It the same. I would not go back

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DD
Greensboro
1 review
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

Service was friendly but forgot one item Noise level high. our entree’s where great but we had the baked pimento cheese appetizer which was served with fresh potatoe chips which I didn’t think worked together but I would definitely try it again

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ZS
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The place was amazing and good food!

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OT
Wilmington
1 review
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great little restaurant. Beautiful view and very nice to sit outside. Food is prepared with a great deal of care and skill.

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TM
Wilmington
2 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have been dining at the Bistro three or four times a year for as long as they have been open (including their old location). However, the duck I had the other night was the best ever. The chefs really out did themselves. My wife's meal was also excellent. I recommend the Bistro to everyone who is visiting the Topsail Island area.

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l
Wilmington
8 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always my favorite! The view outside is breathtaking

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C
Greensboro
4 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This a "must-do" restaurant when we are on Topsail Island. This was our third visit to the Bistro, and everything, including the food, service, ambience, and views were magnificent as always. I look forward to our next experience there!

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KL
Wilmington
8 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Eating outside on the deck is always a plus
Not FREEZING like inside. The temps inside are ridiculous. We noticed that the staff all wear sweaters
Pleasant AC is one thing but The Bistep goes overboard with AC

Also, a lot less nosy than inside

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KS
Pittsburgh
1 review
Dined on August 29, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Beautiful scenic dining on Topsail Island. We enjoyed the delicious food and a beautiful sunset.

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S
Birmingham
1 review
Dined on August 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This makes our 4 th visit and we have enjoyed it each and every time. Always trying something different and never disappointed....

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BW
Cincinnati
13 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was exceptional at The Bistro. Our Server, Tamara made our experience most enjoyable. She was knowledgeable, and recommended from the menu. She was always checking up with us to confirm all was fine. The atmosphere was the best in Surf City. The Chicken Egg Rolls were to die for. The Shrimp and Grilled Swordfish were highly recommended and both dishes were outstanding!

Great food and great experience!

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B
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Two nights at The Bistro as part of an annual beach vacation. Delicious both times. Between the two of us we had the mussels and clams(excellent), the duck(excellent), and the catfish(my wife, not me). Lovely to sit outside on the deck overlooking the water. Look forward to eating here every year while on vacation, consistently good and varies and providing a break from the fried local seafood we eat much of the rest of the week(it is also excellent).

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T
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

We were on vacation and just came upon this restaurant and decided to try it. It started off a little upsetting but ended up to be a great experience!! Food was fantastic!!

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FT
Wilmington
7 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My best girlfriends & I had a fantastic meal! We are ALL foodies—we are well traveled, have owned our own establishments and have a picky palates! Every dish was presented beautifully—LUVED the baked pimento cheese dip & butter bean hummus! Oh my! Served with fresh made potato chips...yes pleaze!!! We were also VERY seriously pleased with our gorgeous Davis shrimp & grits and NC catfish—yum! Best grits ever. Flourless chocolate torte—glorious! Thanks for a fantastic meal!

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OT
1 review
Dined on August 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great atmosphere and even better food and service!

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OT
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Bud the meal was excellent as always.
She was a little bummed about no burger but, was totally excited about the pamotto cheese.
Thanks for another GREAT MEAL!!!

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WV
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

This is a great place to eat! Food, service, view, wine pairing suggestions, all wonderful.
The only thing we did not like was that it was a little too dark in the main room. Other customers were using their phone lights to read their menus.
I would definitely recommend Bistro!

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H
1 review
Dined on August 16, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 5

Excellent food as always. My only negative feedback is that it took 20 min for our waitress to acknowledge us and offer water. It seemed like a busy night, so I understand things might take a little longer (even though she was serving the table right next to us), but there really isn’t an excuse for completely ignoring a patron for that long, especially at place that is considered one of the more “fine dining” establishments on the island.

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V
Greensboro
64 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

We had two dishes. mussels and clams based on local ingredients and good spicing were very good. Swordfish was not. Two salty and terribly interesting. An appetizer base on egg pant was terrific. The service was good. Both beer and wine selection was broad enough so you can find what you like and at a reasonable price. Noise way beyond comfortable. While it was due to couple of very noisy table the place could use more sound insulation for a reasonable conversation at your own table.

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SU
1 review
Dined on August 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 3

Cuisine was EXCELLENT!!! Compliments to the Chef!
A little loud in the restaurant but view is great!
Next visit we will try the outside dining.

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MS
1 review
Dined on August 15, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Was there last Sat and had a huge cauliflower steak. It was delicious. Had the same entree last Eve. It was 1/3 the size and pieces put together. Again it was delicious but I left hungry. Very disappointed.

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R
Wilmington
2 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Everything was great. We had the Swordfish and Mahi and both were superb. The peach desert was great and as usual we enjoyed the fresh french pressed coffee. Our restaurant of choice for special occasions. We would recommend it for the scenic view as well for just an hors d'oeuvre and a drink

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NT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 1

The food was satisfactory although limited menu and pricey. The interior is very attractive but the noise level was so bad our table of four could not communicate to each other. We have visited this restaurant before and did not have this experience. It's a really nice restaurant but the noisy atmosphere really ruined the evening for us.

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KH
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I moved to area two years ago and was disappointed in my dining options until I found The Bistro. The food is amazing and offers gluten free for my friend. I will return and as often as possible.

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CV
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

With our last night of vacation, we wanted something special. After reading local reviews, we weren't disappointed. Veggie eggrolls as an appy for for people was perfect (two cut into halves). The duck was great, hard to find it anywhere and was pleased with rich flavor! Shrimp and grits were great! Catfish and grilled cauliflower steak entrees were also wonderful. Too full for dessert. Only (slight) issue was we found the bartender wasn't as friendly as we typically find in the south. However, we then realized she was the ONLY one on duty for the bar area and dining patrons...OK, we get it! Will return next time in town.

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HS
Charleston
11 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

We made a long drive from Wilmington up to the Bistro just to have dinner. The view from our outdoor seats right on the water overlooking the marsh was really nice. Our server was good but she forgot to put my salad order in and we were her first table of the evening. When it came it was very skimpy with a few blackberries, pine nuts & goat cheese. Not much for $7.00. The menu is very limited with only about 8 entrees. My wife had the corn meal crusted catfish which she enjoyed. I had the strip and it was very good and a large one. But at $44.00 way overpriced. If back in Wilmington again in the future we'd probably not make a 60 mile round trip drive to go back.

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DL
1 review
Dined on August 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have visited The Bistro quite a few times now. We have yet to be disappointed. Everything, from the moment you enter until you leave, is far above average. The staff are all friendly and eager to make your experience everything it should be. The view is gorgeous and the cuisine excellent, to say the least.

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g
Wilmington
2 reviews
Dined on August 7, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 4

First time I was able to eat at The Bistro since they moved to their new location on the water. New location a great upgrade as you can now eat outside with the view of the water. We sat inside but was still able to benefit from the beautiful views. The new location also is more spacious so there are more tables and they aren't so close together. There is also a separate room for perhaps a special occasion or larger party. What hadn't changed was the excellent food! We tried the seasonal salad options--all 3 wonderful. We also had the steak, shrimp and grits and vegetarian entrees which were superb. The only suggestion is the fried cauliflower was a little dry and would have benefitted with a sauce to accompany it. Prices are still somewhat high and nothing is complimentary--if you want bread that's an $8 appetizer! Although staff was friendly and warm, our server seemed to lack some both food and beverage knowledge. There were also very long waits before we got our wine (including the first wine served was incorrect) and an extremely long wait for our entrees. Although many tables had guests, they weren't super busy. Although they seemed to have a bad night for service, the food did not disappoint and I would certainly come back in hopes it was just an off night for staff.

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

The food and service were great. We enjoyed the bar before our meal. Definitely order the egg rolls—-they were great along with the steaks.

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JR
New York Area
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

I can't believe a restaurant at the beach that claims to have the best seafood in town did not have an ocean fish on the menu, but is is true. Yes, they had catfish (fresh water) and swordfish (a shark, not a fish) along with shrimp and scallops. Pro: the food was good but not great, wait staff did well, and it has a great view. Con: country music.

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V
Indiana
3 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Food was terrific and views amazing! Love to come for a special evening out!

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CD
Richmond
1 review
Dined on August 3, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

We came for our anniversary and had a beautiful view of the sound from the patio. We had the steak and swordfish plus an appetizer. The food was overpriced for the quality and we both got sick for 48 hours after the meal.

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TH
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on August 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was oustanding. All local ingredients (with the exception of the steak which we did not order). The catfish and grits was so incredibly flavorful. Also loved swordfish with the sweet fresh local tomatoes, and the light sauce accompanied the oyster mushrooms perfectly. The low country egg rolls were also a standout stuffed with the spicy collards! We sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful view being right on the water.

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DA
Columbus
1 review
Dined on August 1, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

The food is good but overpriced. They don't like to make any changes to the menu, which limits your options. To bad they don't offer some type of bread before the meal.

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