I have visited New Bern a few times now, and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit, each time I leave with some extra baggage. As in a couple of extra pounds! I refuse to take the blame. The restaurant options are too enticing to ignore.

The Chelsea is located on Middle Street in New Bern’s historic downtown.

On my first visit, I met some friends, including Weyerhaeuser’s Kellie Hawkins, at The Chelsea. One word to describe the meal—indescribable! I ordered the filet mignon, prepared medium rare (the only way I think a filet should be prepared), and I promised myself to only take one bite of the garlic smashed potatoes. Who was I fooling? By the time I put down my fork and knife, one may have not known there was ever food on there.

During my second visit, my travel companion encouraged me to try something new—Indian food. Yes, I am in my 50s, and up to that point, I’d never tasted “real” Indian cuisine. My hesitancy to order was greeted by a Bay Leaf courteous (and patient) server, who recommended I try the Chicken Tandoori. I’ll be honest—I had no clue what I was ordering. Wow, it does pay to be open-minded! My meal was delicious, and I was officially a convert.

Persimmons has an incredible deck overlooking the Neuse River.

So what amazing restaurant to try on my next visit? I kept hearing about Persimmons on the Neuse River. The menu was impressive, incorporating local and North Carolina ingredients into almost every dish. I indulged in quite a few appetizers, but if you are going to try only one thing, make sure it is the Brussels sprouts!

I look forward to my next visit to New Bern. With all the restaurant choices here, I will make sure to pack my stretchy pants.