Looking for the Best Waterfront Restaurants on Lake Norman?
Lake Norman is the largest manmade lake in North Carolina. One of the best ways to enjoy the views is to spend time at the best waterfront restaurants on Lake Norman! There are many options to choose from.
Maybe you’re out on the lake enjoying a boat day; some waterfront restaurants in Lake Norman have water access where you can pull your boat up and dock. Others, you will have to drive to.
But you will find options all around Lake Norman. Now let’s get to the list of Lake Norman restaurants on the water.
Waterfront Restaurants on Lake Norman
1. Hello, Sailor
Address: 20210 Henderson Road, Cornelius, NC
The first thing you will find when you arrive at Hello, Sailor is the retro design of both the exterior and interior of this unique waterfront restaurant. It is owned and operated by Joe and Katy Kindred.
Their original restaurant “Kindred” is located in nearby Davidson, NC, and is one of our favorite restaurants in the entire area. Joe Kindred is a multiple-time James Beard Award Semifinalist recognized as one of the best chefs in America.
As such, the menu at Hello Sailor is not your typical Dock and Dine fare. Their eclectic menu is filled with fish and seafood options that currently include wahoo crudo, oysters, peel-n-eat shrimp, mussels, crab claws, catfish, and halibut.
Some options are fried, others are served raw, and everything is packed with flavor.
The menu also features plenty of non-seafood options from salads to sandwiches, burgers, ribs, and steak. Their smoked chicken wings are one of our personal favorites. They use a dry rub and serve them with an Alabama white sauce. Delish! And of course, you can’t go wrong with beef fat fries on the side.
Take note, the menu at Hello Sailor is apt to change more often than many restaurants out there so you never know what happy surprises may be in store for your next visit. If you are a serious foodie this is one waterfront restaurant you won’t want to miss. Hello Sailor has an ample amount of boat slips to accommodate plenty of boaters coming off the lake for some great food and drinks.
Speaking of drinks, Hello Sailor has one of the most unique drink menus you will find on the lake. Their craft cocktail list features a ton of blended drinks and slushies for those extra hot summer lake days, not to mention a sizeable wine/bubbly list.
They have several local draft beers on rotation and plenty of other bottles and can options as well including domestic and microbrew/craft beers. It’s definitely worth noting the 40oz Miller High Life’s (Champagne of Beers, anyone?) and the 32oz Barracuda Bill’s Boat Beer from nearby Free Range Brewing in Charlotte that each appears on the menu.
Needless to say, this retro-themed locale is a waterfront hotspot for both boaters and those just looking to sit outside and enjoy great food and drinks on the water.
Be sure to scoop up a stylish Hello Sailor t-shirt or Trucker hat before you leave to remind you of the great time you had at this fun waterfront restaurant on Lake Norman! Want to taste more amazing food from them, check out another sister restaurant in Davidson, NC, called Milkbread.
2. North Harbor Club
Address: 100 N Harbor Place, Davidson, NC
The North Harbor Club is a beautiful nautical-themed restaurant on the north side of Davidson, with one of the best outdoor seating areas you’ll find on Lake Norman. Make sure to add this to your list of waterfront restaurants on Lake Norman to try.
Their menu is also more upscale than the majority of the other LKN waterfront restaurant options. You’ll find filet mignon, beef & reef (surf & turf), chops, wonderful fish and seafood options, as well as plenty of salads, sandwiches, and burgers too.
Their appetizer menu features such tasty options as mango bango shrimp, warm pistachio-crusted brie, lobster egg rolls, and Korean street tacos.
Open for lunch and dinner, North Harbor Club also features a nice Sunday Brunch menu, including favorites such as eggs benedict, croissant French toast, and cajun shrimp and grits.
Their large drink menu includes plenty of hand-crafted cocktails, martinis, draft, and bottled beers as well as a good-sized wine list. The gorgeous bar area includes lots of wood and provides some great ambiance as you look out all of the windows facing the water.
There is no dress code per se, as they serve patrons from casual/smart casual to their Sunday best. North Harbor Club has nine boat slips available for patrons coming off the lake for a nice meal. This is a favorite for Lake Norman restaurants on the water.
Private parties and events can be accommodated as well. North Harbor Club also has plenty of parking available.
3. Eddie’s on Lake Norman
Address: 643 Williamson Road, Mooresville, NC
One of the signs on the side of the building calls it Eddie’s Raw Bar, an obvious indicator of what type of food you will find at this popular Mooresville waterfront locale.
Located at the northeast corner of the Williamson Road bridge, Eddie’s on Lake Norman does indeed have a Raw Bar menu which is just a small portion of what might just be the restaurant with the largest menu on the Lake.
Like most of the others, they offer salads, sandwiches, burgers, steak, and of course, lots of seafood options, including oysters, clams, mussels, calamari, shrimp, crab legs, lobster, and so much more.
There is also a sizable Italian specialties section of the menu, including pasta and many Italian favorites. Eddie’s also has a Sunday brunch from 11 am – 2 pm, so come out and enjoy a bloody mary on the patio.
Technically this fits the criteria for being a dock and dine however, Eddie’s doesn’t actually have a pier; rather, boaters will beach their vessels on shore. Obviously, not all boats are able to do this, so you typically see pontoons and jet skis tied up on their small beach.
Another consideration is that the Williamson Road bridge has approx 6’ of clearance when the lake is at full pond so larger boats will be unable to access this area anyway when the lake is high.
That being said there is ample parking available even if it does get quite busy. Eddie’s has a great outdoor seating area overlooking the lake. The patio is spacious and has a full bar outside as well as one inside.
Another outstanding feature at Eddie’s on Lake Norman is a space within the restaurant called the Reserve Room which is a gorgeous space available to book for private parties and events.
The Reserve has its own fine dining menu separate from the standard restaurant menu. It holds a maximum capacity of 28 and requires a $150 event fee plus a $250 food and beverage minimum at lunch or a $750 food and beverage minimum at dinner.
And with an extensive wine list at Eddie’s, many people wouldn’t have too much trouble meeting those minimums.
4. Havana 33
Address: 637 Williamson Road, Mooresville, NC
The only Cuban restaurant on Lake Norman, Havana 33, is a wonderful spot for some authentic Latin cuisine.
Their menu includes empanadas, a variety of Cuban-style sandwiches, as well as many other authentic Cuban dishes such as Ropa Vieja, Arroz con Pollo, and Churrasco ala Cubana to name but a few.
Like the majority of Lake Norman waterfront dining options, they have plenty of fish and seafood options to choose from as well.
Havana 33 is located just a few doors down from Eddie’s on Lake Norman, located on the northeast corner of the Williamson Road bridge in Mooresville; these restaurants share a parking lot (no piers) and a very similar view from their respective waterfront patio seating areas.
Havana 33 has great decor, friendly staff, and a very spacious waterfront patio.
5. Blue Parrot Grill
Address: 169 Pinnacle Lane, Mooresville, NC
The Blue Parrot Grill is located on the far western end of Mooresville, just north of the Hwy 150 bridge along the main channel. This is an extremely popular place for boaters to take a break from their day on the water.
The Blue Parrot is open for both lunch and dinner and has a large menu with plenty of seafood options as well as burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and salads. Their huge appetizer list has quite a few fried options, including gator bites, jalapeno poppers, coconut shrimp, and calamari.
Other starter options include nachos, wings, blackened shrimp, clams, or mussels. Entrees include everything from seafood platters to ribs and from pasta dishes to surf and turf. Be sure to try the fried plantain as one of your sides!
Their drink menu is expansive, featuring a large cocktail list, lots of frozen drinks, and a ton of bottled and draft beers. They draw a decent bar crowd and feature live music on various nights in the summer months.
The unique thing about the Blue Parrot is they do not have any indoor seating and are an exclusively outdoor dining experience. While most portions of their seating area are covered the weather can certainly come into play.
That being said, they do an excellent job of mitigating the extremes, including making great use of fans and misters in the summer heat as well as portable patio heaters in early spring and fall.
Since opening a new sister restaurant (Toucan’s) immediately next door they tend to close for a portion of the late fall and winter as this area of NC sees average high temps in the high 40s to low 50s from December through February.
The Blue Parrot is extremely pet friendly, with leashed dogs a nearly constant sight providing a great restaurant option for pet owners to bring their four-legged friends as they enjoy a meal on the water.
Along with 8 boat slips, the Blue Parrot also has fuel available at their pier which increases its popularity amongst boaters.
6. Toucan’s Lakefront Restaurant
Address: 167 Pinnacle Lane, Mooresville, NC
As mentioned above, Toucan’s is the newer sister restaurant to long-time waterfront favorite The Blue Parrot Grill. Open for lunch and dinner; the menu shares many similarities in that it is both huge and offers great variety.
There are some identical options at both locations, but they have tried to differentiate their menus to provide a somewhat different experience. Like the menu next door, it features seafood, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and another large list of starters.
Some of the different items they offer that you won’t find next door include oysters, crab legs, lobster tails, fajitas, tacos, as well as a larger selection of steaks.
Toucan’s has a large indoor seating area in addition to their large deck/patio area. They also make great use of portable patio heaters to extend the use of their patio well into the colder months for comfortable lakeside dining. With their large indoor space, they are able to host live music throughout the entire year.
Toucan’s has upwards of ten boat slips available to tie up at if you are coming off the lake. They do not have fuel pumps on their pier however, just a couple of properties to the south is River City Marina if you need to fill up your boat.
Side note, we used to do a good deal of boating on Lake Norman, and this became our preferred spot to fill up our boat as the fuel quality seemed to be the best here of any of the pumps we ever used around the lake.
Some complain about the price of their fuel, but for us, the quality made it worth every penny. Toucan’s also is available to book holiday parties and to accommodate larger groups. This is a very popular spot for Lake Norman restaurants on the water.
7. Apps & Taps
Address: 155 Pinnacle Lane, Mooresville, NC
Like the majority of Lake Norman’s waterfront restaurants, the App’s & Taps menu features a ton of fish and seafood options. In addition, they also pride themselves on their ever-popular smoked wings, ribs, bbq, and flatbread pizzas.
Their appetizer list ranges from some different concoctions of nachos, a plethora of fried apps, and a delicious Caprese salad.
The Pontoon Stage at App’s & Taps frequently features live music on Friday and Saturday nights and is pretty much, without question, the premiere live music spot on Lake Norman. They also host karaoke nights as well.
Adjacent to the River City Marina, App’s & Taps has 8 plus boat slips of their own for patrons coming off the water. Fuel is available at the easily accessible pier next door at River City.
8. Queens Landing
Address: 1459 River Highway, Mooresville, NC
Queens Landing is unlike any other entry on this list. Although they do have a seasonal restaurant on site called the Pier 150 Grill that I will touch on later, the major focus here is on their boat tours.
The Queens Landing sightseeing tours on Lake Norman are an extremely popular activity, especially their dinner cruises. Queens Landing has two boats that you can book reservations on for what is not only a great way to see the lake but to learn a lot about the history as well.
The Catawba Queen is a Mississippi River boat, while the Lady of the Lake is a 93-foot luxury yacht. Both feature a full bar and snacks as well.
During the peak seasons, they have both afternoon and evening cruises. The dinner cruises offer a three-course chef-crafted meal.
Although you will certainly be able to find a better meal at some of the other options listed here, a dinner cruise on Lake Norman will offer you the best variety of views that the sit-down waterfront restaurants and patios simply can’t provide.
In addition to the sightseeing tours, Queens Landing also features boat rentals, a mini golf course, and an amphitheater that will showcase some shows and musical events.
Queens Landing also operates the Pier 150 Grill on a seasonal basis. It’s counter service with a menu featuring salads, hot dogs, burgers, fries, and baskets w/ fried chicken, fish, or shrimp, along with other options.
They have a really nice patio spot along the water as well to enjoy your meal lakeside near where their cruises come in and out. And for those hot days be sure to grab some dessert at Scoops Ice Cream on-site!
This is not a dock and dine, and you really won’t be coming just for the food, but if you can fit it into your Lake Norman plans, I can’t recommend their boat cruises high enough!
9. Landing Restaurant & Tiki Bar
The Landing Restaurant & Tiki Bar is the westernmost of all the Lake Norman waterfront restaurants. It would be a disservice to call it a dive bar, but it has a ton of charm as a no-frills establishment with a Key West vibe when you are ready to stop off the water for some eats and drinks. It’s a great place to come to when you’ve been out in the water and hot sun all day.
The menu has predominantly bar food with a bunch of fried appetizer options along with burgers, sandwiches, seafood, wings, pizzas, and a variety of salads. Some of their specialties are their fall-off-the-bone ribs, Italian sausage, and meatballs.
They have a small sandy beach area with picnic tables for additional outdoor seating that really helps create a great atmosphere. There is also a game room for the kids to go play.
The pier at the Landing can accommodate more boats and watercraft as compared to almost any other of the Dock and Dine’s on Lake Norman. Depending on the size and types of watercraft that are tied up they can accommodate up to approximately 20 boats at a time.
If all of those slips are full you can anchor your boat nearby, and the Landing will send out their tiki water taxi pontoon boat to bring your group to and from shore.
The Landing Restaurant is located under the Landing Motel which is billed as Lake Norman’s only waterfront motel. It’s a small old motel that is even more no-frills than the restaurant but offers small clean rooms right along the water.
One very nice perk for their guests is their boat ramp, where you can launch your boat onto Lake Norman during your stay. If you are just looking for a place to lay your head and have easy access to Lake Norman the Landing Motel could be a great option.
Check out their website for their policies and to book a reservation.
The Landing also has kayak rentals that are available year-round. This makes for a wonderful way to get out and enjoy the water. If you are staying at the motel make sure to take advantage of the 50% discount they offer to guests on the kayak rentals!
10. WaterSide Bar & Grill
Address: 7774 Hudson Chapel Road, Catawba, NC
WaterSide Bar & Grill is located on the northwestern corner of the Buffalo Shoals Bridge which is the northernmost bridge that crosses Lake Norman connecting Catawba County to Iredell County.
As part of the WaterSide Marina, which is under new ownership as of 2020, there are ambitious plans already underway to improve this longtime staple of the area, including the recently replaced deck that now offers 205 feet of waterfront viewing.
The menu at WaterSide Bar & Grill at first blush looks like a lot of bar food, including fried appetizers, wings, burgers, and sandwiches but the dinner menu includes soup and salads, steaks, fish, and pasta options as well.
The kid’s menu is sizable, and coupled with that appetizer list, the little ones should be well satisfied. From Sunday through Thursday, they also have daily specials in addition to the usual menu.
I was especially impressed with the beer list featuring around a dozen high-quality draft beers from some well-known craft and microbrew companies. As of this writing (in fall/winter) those options included multiple IPAs, stouts, porters, ciders, and a pumpkin beer.
Any beer connoisseurs in your party should leave quite satisfied! Their full bar also includes a really fun craft cocktail list, wine, and ample canned and bottled beer or hard seltzer choices.
As stated previously, the WaterSide Marina has ambitious plans underway to improve the facility as they intend to add 70 boat slips to be available for rent.
In addition, a part of the business is Nic’s Gas & Go, which includes 4 existing boat slips with fuel pumps available. Nic’s Gas & Go is a small convenience store that sells snacks, wine, and cold beer to go.
With all the offerings and improved facility and offerings the WaterSide Marina is really upping their game to provide great services for the upper part of Lake Norman.
11. Port City Club
The southernmost waterfront restaurant on Lake Norman, Port City Club, is located in Cornelius, immediately north of Huntersville. Port City Club features a large outdoor patio as well as a beach area with couches.
They also have a pier with boat slips available for use if you are coming off the lake for a meal or drinks.
An upscale casual restaurant, Port City Club’s menu includes various seafood options, salads, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, and steaks.
That being said, their biggest strengths are their great waterfront view and those outdoor seating areas along the shore, which are some of the best you will find on this list.
Bars on Lake Norman
Address: 400 N Harbor Place, Davidson, NC
This is a sister location to The Cottage above, about 500 ft away. If you are looking for a fun casual place to enjoy beer, this is your place.
They mostly offer just beer and wine with a minimal liquor selection. You have options for both indoor and outdoor seating overlooking Lake Norman.
Most of the seating is on the front side of their building, not looking over the water, but they do have a small covered deck that overlooks the water. They are one of the great breweries you’ll find in Mooresville.
You have many options to choose from now; take your pick and enjoy! This is a beautiful area, and we are so grateful to have many options for the best waterfront restaurants in Lake Norman.
Not sure we can narrow down our choice for the best restaurants on Lake Norman; you’ll need just to get out there and try them! We love most of them, and it will just depend on what you are in the mood for or the occasion.