Wilmington has lots of good seafood restaurants from casual-like Something Fishy-to more upscale-The Oceanic(great view of the water). Anywhere near the waterfront is a good bet.If you like lots of fried seafood, Big Daddy’s in Carolina Beach is good but the mecca is in Calabash-35 miles south on US 17. Any restaurant is good and there is a lot of them all in one spot.
Raleigh does have the Mayflower, which is good calabash style seafood. If you like Barbecue, the Barbecue logdge in Raleigh is acceptable, even though they use gas. If you really like barbecue, ideally you should go to Goldsboro on your way from Wilmington. Wilber’s or McCall’s on US 70 (across the street from each other), are both outstanding. Stephenson’s is the best real barbecue near Raleigh(Highway 50 N in Willow Spring, south of Raleigh). In Durham, Bob’s or Bullock’s Barbecue is a good choice.
If you’re looking for other types of food, Big Ed’s City Market in downtown Raleigh has real southern cooking, Char-Grill (Raleigh) has great flame broiled burgers, Greenshield’s (Raleigh) has real pub food and brews its own beer.