20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (2023)

Nestled in the foothills of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, Hickory is such a charming city to visit. A popular pick for anyone exploring the wonders of Western North Carolina, this city near the NC mountains has so much to offer, with plenty of delicious restaurants in Hickory to enjoy.

It’s a well-known North Carolina fact that Hickory is famous for having some of the best furniture in the state and being NASCAR’s birthplace. The recently revitalized downtown now offers an abundance of delicious dining destinations to try.

From contemporary cuisine to classic culinary creations, Hickory is a haven for the hungry masses and one of the best things to do in Hickory is enjoy a delicious meal. Eat your way through this delightful city with the best restaurants in Hickory, NC.

The Best Restaurants in Hickory, NC


20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (1)
  • Price: $$$
  • Cuisine: American restaurant
  • Address: 1410 4th St Dr NW, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

A modern neighborhood favorite, FOURK’s claim to fame is food with a twist easily making it one of the best restaurants in Hickory, NC! Traditional American fares are prepared with unique and creative seasoning and sauces for plates packed with fun flavor. Every ingredient is fresh and high quality here.

The atmosphere is upbeat and hip, and you can also pull up a seat at the curved bar for a bite and specialty crafted cocktail (or mocktail). The seafood fares are especially fantastic here, like the Seared Scallops, the Ahi Tuna, or Honey Chipotle Salmon.

Vintage House

20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (2)
  • Price: $$$
  • Cuisine: Fine dining restaurant
  • Address: 271 3rd Ave NW, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

In downtown Hickory’s heart, Vintage House is a premier location for fine dining. It’s located inside of the historic Abernathy House of 1915, since restored to create an elevated bistro-style atmosphere.

It’s the best spot around for fancy New American fares, especially when paired with a drink from their award-winning world-class wine list. The small plates for sharing are just as impressive to any discerning palates as the entrees. Try the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes to start and the Rack of Lamb as the main course.


20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (3)
  • Price:b $$
  • Cuisine:Spanish, Mediterranean and Moroccan style tapas.
  • Address: 74 8th St SE Suite 108, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

Boca boasts an industrial-chic space and an eclectic menu that always keeps us coming back for more. They specialize in Spanish, Mediterranean, and Moroccan tapas, making it such a fun place to go for sharing some scrumptious food with loved ones.

Sometimes the simplest plates are the tastiest, and as such the Sauteed Chicken Breast is to die for here. The Paella and the Pork Belly plates stand out as well. It’s one of the highest-rated restaurants in town, and it’s easy to see why.

Olde Hickory Station

20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (4)
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  • Price: $$
  • Cuisine: American, bar and grill
  • Address: 232 Government Ave SW, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

Olde Hickory Station is actually set in a restored historic downtown train station! They focus on seasonal, regional, and imported specialties here. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week, and has a beautiful brunch menu on the weekends as well.

They really have it all with a full bar, an in-house bakery, a dog-friendly patio, and a market that offers local gourmet goodies. Their burger and beer selections come highly recommended, though the menus are all so extensive everyone is sure to find something they will fully enjoy.

Standard Oyster Company

  • Price: $$
  • Cuisine: Oyster bar restaurant
  • Address: 2147 N Center St, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

Standard Oyster Company is a little hole-in-the-wall haven for fresh seafood lovers. The decor feels fun and modern with brightly painted walls and dark woods. The seating is all bar which gives it an industrial and authentic feel.

The oyster selection rotates daily based on season and availability. Half shell options can feature savory or sweet, small or large, and east coast or west coast styles. Craft cocktails, wine, and local beers are always on deck to pair with plates of steamed shellfish, ceviches, low country boils and catches of the day cooked in the chef’s choice way.

Hatch Sandwich Bar

20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (6)
  • Price: $$
  • Cuisine: Sandwich shop, vegetarian
  • Address: 268 1st Ave NW, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

This colorful, counter-serve joint has a cult following in Hickory for its craveable cuisine and cool atmosphere. It’s locally owned and has been open for over a decade. They serve up a variety of inventive sandwiches, including plenty of vegetarian selections.

The menu is simple but outstanding. The daily special is generally a safe bet, but we also love to pick up the Pork Belly Cuban and Pork Bahn Mi to make a cute picnic among the natural wonders of the city’s surroundings.


20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (7)
  • Price: $$
  • Cuisine: Japanese restaurant
  • Address: 40 Cloninger Mill Rd NE, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

For authentic and affordable Japanese eats in the city, Umi is always mouthwatering and one of the best restaurants in Hickory! It’s locally owned and the fares are consistently fresh here. The facade feels unassuming and the decor is minimal yet inviting. You can indulge in a curry, tempura, or sashimi dinner here, and the bento box is a great deal as well.

They offer both standard and specialty sushi rolls, though the Rainbow and Dragon rolls really take the cake. The saki and wine lists make for excellent pairings.


20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (8)
  • Price: $$
  • Cuisine: American bar and grill
  • Address: 246 14th Ave NE, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

This brick-laden bar and grill is a classic and convenient choice for chowing down in Hickory. It originally opened in 1996 and has been a local hit ever since. Ample American fare is available, and the patio is super pleasant for al fresco dining.

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There are plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options on the menu here. They’ve got homemade pizzas, wraps, sandwiches, and burgers. It’s one of those spots where the apps are almost too tempting, so we often share some wings or nachos to start.

Cafe Rule

20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (9)
  • Price: $$$
  • Cuisine: Wine bar
  • Address: 242 11th Ave NE, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

Cafe Rule is one of the cutest spots to go for a bite and a beverage in Hickory. The elevated cuisine is all cooked with locally sourced and seasonal ingredients for the freshest fares possible.

The atmosphere is upscale yet casual and the global wine list is super extensive. It’s a lovely little spot to go for an adorable evening out or even a boozy brunch.

The outdoor space is serene and even includes a few firepits. Fried Green Tomatoes, House Cured Bacon, and Cast Iron Mac and Cheese are just a few of the scrumptious Southern-inspired dishes, plus the wood-fired pizzas and burgers are enjoyable to indulge in as well.

La Tienda Mexicana

  • Price: $
  • Cuisine: Mexican restaurant
  • Address: 305 1st Ave SW, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

La Tienda is a local family-owned establishment making the best traditional Mexican food in downtown Hickory. Each plate is packed with south-of-the-border flavor that will transport you straight from this no-frills space to tropical sunny shores. You’ll find all the favorites, including burritos, tortas, tacos, quesadillas, and fajitas.

There’s even a Vegan Sope option. Pair your pick with a refreshing agua fresca or margarita. There is also a store and fresh meat market on-site so you can buy all the fixings you need to make your own Mexican feast at home. Ask about the weekend specials which tend to include pozole, barbacoa, or tamales.


20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (11)
  • Price: $
  • Cuisine: Asian inspired
  • Address: 2101 Catawba Valley Blvd SE, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

Bubbly’s is the place to be for Asian fusion in Hickory. The menu is a carefully curated selection of eclectic eats that includes a variety of wings, gourmet fries, rice bowls, burgers, sandwiches, and ramen.

The drinks are just as much of a draw, with an array of boba teas and milk teas. They often create seasonal specials that are super fun. The space is laid back with counter service and cute, kitschy decor like neon signs on leaf-covered walls. The more creative cuisines are our favorite here, like the Pho Burger or Kimchi Fries.


20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (12)
  • Price: $
  • Cuisine: Farm fresh comfort food, electric restaurant
  • Address: 206 Union Square NW, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

Union Square is a hotspot in Hickory for trendy restaurants, and Notions is no exception. They specialize in craft cocktails and shareable plates and the environment feels high-end and fun. The Charcuterie Board is a festive order and if you’re a bit hungrier, mains like the Shrimp and Grits and Blackened Chicken are sure to cure your cravings.

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The brunch on the weekend is very popular as it features bottomless mimosas and a bloody Mary bar. Be sure to save some room for the dessert of the day!

Olde Hickory Tap Room

20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (13)
  • Price: $$
  • Cuisine: American restaurant
  • Address: 222 Union Square NW, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

This local independent eatery is a legend in the area for great food at a good price. Better than your average pub, they offer cold craft beer and classic American bites. They cook up signature pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, seafood, steaks, and an assortment of mouthwatering munchies.

They even have a moonlight menu with insomniac bites like fried chicken and fish and chips. The warm wooden interior often hosts live music and other fun community events.

Taste Full Beans

20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (14)
  • Price: $
  • Cuisine: Coffee shop
  • Address: 29 2nd St NW, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

Taste Full Beans is a community cafe and art gallery all in one. They’ve been offering specialty coffee and teas alongside seasonal healthy fares for over two decades. The ambiance is cute and cozy with a very homey feel. Everything is organic and sourced from local farms.

There are significant vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free selections here as well. Enjoy a light snack like Avocado Toast or Pimento Cheese Dip or grab some heartier grub such as the Green Goddess Bowl or Breakfast Burrito. The build our own smoothie option is super enticing here as well.


20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (15)
  • Price: $$
  • Cuisine: Wine bar, restaurant
  • Address: 335 Main Ave SW Suite B, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

Duke’s is a delightful family-run spot for elegant savory fares in town. Regional and local purveyors source all the products provided here. The plates are always excitingly inventive. Start off with some special shareables like the Escargot Empanada or Crab Artichoke Skillet before diving into delicious entrees such as the Southern Fried Duck.

The ambiance feels fancy and elaborate and they will often host live jazz music to accompany your evening meal.

Cranky Crab Seafood

20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (16)
  • Price: $$
  • Cuisine: Seafood restaurant
  • Website: See menu

Cranky Crab Seafood serves up fish-camp style seafood on wheels! It’s a celebration of East Coast seafood and fried Southern comfort food combined.

You can keep your eyes open while exploring the town in hopes of spotting the roaming restaurant or check their schedule online to see exactly where they plan to be on any given day. It’s home to the famous Bang Bang Shrimp and a few other legendary fares like the Flounder Sandwich Basket or the Deviled Crab Platter.

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The menu is simple but exceptional, and a couple of the extras like the hushpuppies and key lime whoopie pie are also highly recommended.

Cafe Gouda

20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (17)
  • Price: $$
  • Cuisine: Sandwich shop, classic breakfast, pizza and salads
  • Address: 2960 N Center St, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

This bright and cheerful space has a classic mountain vibe and cooks up all the traditional cuisines to match. Cafe Gouda is a popular spot for any and all meals. Breakfast is served all day long, the Rapp being their most famous way to start the day, made with granola, yogurt, honey, peanut butter, and bananas.

When we head over for a midday feast, we love to partake in the make-your-own sandwich option. For dinner, chow down on the Santa Fe Rotello. When the weather allows there’s even lovely live music outside on the picturesque patio.

Crescent Moon Cafe

20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (18)
  • Price: $$
  • Cuisine: Draft microbrews, vegetarian sandwiches & flatbread.
  • Address: 256 1st Ave NW, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

Crescent Moon Cafe is a modern pub offering a wide variety of rotating microbrews to pair with gourmet flatbreads, sandwiches, hot dogs, and tacos. You can make most of the meals vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free. The ambiance is kitschy and cool here with dimly lit decor that’s based on a vague space theme.

The Lunar Sub seems to be the most frequent choice. The recipes are all original and made from scratch to order up until midnight. There are over 25 taps at all times, including many delicious drafts from the area.

Da Vinci’s

20 BEST Restaurants in Hickory, NC - Lost In The Carolinas (19)
  • Price: $$
  • Cuisine: Italian restaurant
  • Address: 2968 N Center St, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

For authentic Italian eats in a formal setting Da Vinci’s is ideal. It feels like a hidden gem in Hickory, the flavors are fantastic, the prices are reasonable, and there are even gluten-free options.

They offer a couple of gourmet pizza pies, steaks, seafood, chicken, and veal, though the real highlight is the handmade pasta here. The Ravioli Trifolato, the Gnocchi Florentina, and the Tortellacci alla Rosa are all sure to shock and awe.

The ambiance is warm and refined, complete with stone walls and white tablecloths. There’s an extensive selection of wines available as well. It’s best to make a reservation in advance for Da Vinci’s if possible.

Fresh Chef Hickory

  • Price: $$
  • Cuisine: American restaurant
  • Address: 1825 N Center St, Hickory (GPS)
  • Website: See menu

New to the foodie scene in Hickory, Fresh Chef features fresh American food all made from scratch. They offer half-price wine nights during the week which is always a great deal. The menu has a wide variety of classic plates including Meatloaf, Grilled Salmon, or Chicken Marsala.

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The space is modern and bright and the open kitchen plan, which adds a communal element that’s super fun. The dining room is ideal for a nice quiet meal and for a more bustling vibe you can sit over in the patio and bar section.


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