Rundown Café in Kitty Hawk, best known for their full-flavored Pacific Rim and Caribbean influenced cuisine, also has one of the best ocean views on the beach. The rooftop Tsunami Bar and Hula Deck is a refreshing outdoor space to enjoy lunch, dinner or après surf snacks while checking out the waves. The indoor dining room is spacious and, if weather or crowd demands, the indoor dining room provides an an impressive view of local art.
A well-rounded menu, the selections gear towards the healthy and the flavor packed. It is fun to try several different dishes and share with friends. A local favorite is their Rundown Soup, their namesake, a traditional Jamaican soup of fish, coconut milk, onions, tomatoes and yams, is available as a cup or a bowl. This soup is a soul-stirring starter in the summer and a satisfying main course for soon to come cool nights, when soup is the remedy for everything.
if you are a big salad lover, keep Rundown on your list. Their versions are called Tsunami Salads and feature salads they call massive, and they are. Composed of mixed greens and piles of seasonal vegetables, you can add a topping or two of your choosing. Choose from grilled shrimp, game fish, chicken breast or a vegan mixed grill of portobella mushrooms, artichoke hearts and fried eggplant. You can also add coconut fried chicken or shrimp, or fried fish bites. It is hard to choose and then it is hard to decide on the salad dressing. Their ginger vinaigrette, peanut dressing and Greek island vinaigrette are all completely cravable with any of the combinations.
If a sesame noodle bowl is more to your liking, you can get the same salad topping added to a chilled bowl of sesame and soy infused noodles. Asian aromatics and mixed veggies are tossed with the noodles, then topped crushed peanuts and wonton crisps and your favorite toppings.
Rundown Noodle Bowls are another popular dish. You choose one of the three regional Asian inspired broths, and receive a bowl filled with noodles, vegetables, fresh herbs, and corresponding accompaniments. Try the spicy Thai lemongrass with fish, the Vietnamese pho with Chicken or the Malaysian Curry with Shrimp. All are deeply flavorful and aromatic.
Sandwiches are available at lunch and are hearty and varied. The Hula BBQ Bacon Burger, topped with their spicy BBQ sauce, bacon, and cheddar cheese and the Aloha Veggie Burger, a grilled garden burger with Swiss cheese, grilled pineapple, and honey mustard will compete for your attention.
The dinner menu features colorful meals with vibrant flavors. The Argentinean Gaucho Steak Sirloin, an 8 oz sirloin cooked to order, sliced and topped with a spicy Chimichurri sauce and fried onions is both comforting and fresh. The entrée is served with thyme roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli and is generously sized.
The St. Martin Shrimp, a linguine dish with butter sautéed shrimp, onions, bacon, sun dried tomato, garlic, fresh tomato and white wine is both light and filling. The Vegetarian Thali, described on the menu as a large platter of black beans and rice, hummus, fried eggplant, marinated cabbage, flat bread and condiments is a favorite dish for local vegetarians and for good reason, the variety of flavors in this one meal is like a good-vibe party on a plate.
You might as well go for the big finish and try one of the most popular desserts on the beach, and for a reason, the pineapple upside down cake, a traditional upside down cake topped with a homemade Myers rum caramel sauce. Gooey and decadent, this is one of many reasons to stop by just for a dessert and a view.
Amy Gaw is a food entrepreneur who has eaten, cooked and written about food on the Outer Banks and surrounding areas for more than three decades. A clean food advocate with a focus on local seafood, Gaw is also a salt maker and the founder of Outer Banks SeaSalt.