OBJECTIVE To evaluate the dietary pattern and nutritional status of urban residents in southeast coastal area. METHODS A dietary survey concerning 1332 persons aged 18 and over was carried out with dietary inquiry and 24-hour recall methods from August to December in 2009. RESULTS The intakes of cereal, meat, eggs, seafood were enough. The consumption of milk and dairy products, vegetables, fruits was insufficient while the amount of oil was too high. Among them, the intake of milk and dairy products was only 1/3 of suggested values in Dietary Guideline and Balanced Diet Pagoda for Chinese Residents. The intakes of protein, retinol, iron and selenium were sufficient, while those of calcium, thiamine, riboflavin, ascorbic acid were too less than the dietary reference intakes (DRIs). CONCLUSION The dietary pattern of urban residents in Ningbo was not reasonable. Nutrition education should be strengthened to guide residents for planning reasonable and balanced diets.