Myrtle Beach, SC - The Grand Strand - Vacation Travel Guide

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Myrtle Beach Area Features

10 Food Finds in Myrtle Beach

  By: Jacquelyn Eurice

Throughout the Grand Strand, there are countless chances to try food that is special in this region. The area has thousands of restaurants that serve cuisines from all over the world. But since you're here, why not try some of the fresh local foods that residents of the area have perfected? In addition, there is always the possibility of dining on the water or in a themed restaurant. Here are the 10 best dining "opportunities" you should try while on the South Carolina coast…

1. Belly Up to a Seafood Buffet

Myrtle Beach is a seafood lover's paradise. Everywhere you look there are restaurants offering buffets of fried, steamed and raw seafood. Crab legs, fried fish, oysters on the half shell—it's all there. In addition, beef and chicken dishes, pasta and a plethora of side dishes will tempt your appetite and offer flavorful alternatives. The choices are abundant and the plate combinations are just about infinite. Yes, it's food as far as the eye can see and that's what makes these restaurants so very popular. In fact, the buffet restaurants are a large draw to the region, with hungry Grand Strand visitors often lining up for the chance to combine their favorite foods onto one plate (or two or three!) Use a coupon from your trusted Sunny Day Guide at the Preston’s Seafood & Country Buffet, Giant Crab Seafood Restaurant, and others to get an additional bang for your buck while enjoying a mouthwatering smorgasbord.

2. Try Low Country Cookin'

Known regionally as Frogmore stew, a low country boil is a staple food of South Carolina and is rich in local flavors. Many will be relieved to hear that there is no frog in the stew. Instead, it is a medley of sausage, corn, potatoes and shrimp, cooked together in one pot with seafood seasoning. Chicken bog is a dish prepared with rice, sausage, chicken, vegetables and seasonings—similar to a jambalaya. To try some, visit Simply Southern Smokehouse where this dish is presented on the buffet with homemade sides.

3. Visit Calabash, NC for Calabash Style Seafood

Located a short distance north of Myrtle Beach is the small town of Calabash, North Carolina. It's a relatively quiet place, but when it comes to seafood, Calabash makes a lot of noise. Calabash calls itself the "Seafood Capital of the World," and since residents claim to have created a famous style of tenderly fried fish, oysters, shrimp, calamari, etc., Calabash has a right to the title. What makes Calabash-style seafood so appealing is the incorporation of cornmeal into the flour coating to create a crispy, lightly browned crust. The delicate meat inside is flavorful and moist. If you feel like staying in town, don't worry—Calabash seafood has become so popular that it is easily found in Myrtle Beach—try Original Benjamin's Calabash Seafood on Myrtle Beach’s Restaurant Row! Their buffet allows diners to try many different Calabash-fried seafoods.

4. Dine on the Waterfront

Many will agree that there's no better view than when you're sitting by the water. At the Pier House Restaurant, the scenery is stunning—especially from their rooftop, open-air bar, but also in their indoor, full-service restaurant. Above at the bar, feel the sun on your skin and the sea breeze through your hair as you relish the panoramic view and a creamy crab dip. If you’re in North Myrtle Beach or Calabash, NC, visit Oyster Rock Seafood Restaurant, a brand new waterfront restaurant with gorgeous views and decadent dining. Or, overlook the Intracoastal Waterway at Coquina Harbour while indulging on a juicy ribeye or freshly prepared fish at Clark's Seafood & Chop House. This fine-dining establishment serves flavorful surf-and-turf combinations that can placate any appetite. Pair your meal with one of their fine wines for the complete dining experience.

5. Get on Tiki Time

Head to Filet's Waterfront and enjoy the scenery of their tropically themed watering hole—Capt'n Dilligaf's Tiki Bar. Start with a freshly made sushi roll or sip cocktails on the tiki deck that overlooks Harbourgate Marina. On select evenings there is also live, outdoor entertainment and dancing. Plus, if you would like a fine dining ambiance, just venture into Filet's for exceptional cuisine and fine wines—just make sure to save room for dessert!

6. Taste a Southern Staple: Grits

Grits are synonymous with the South, but nowhere are they more beloved than South Carolina and Georgia. Made from a coarse cornmeal, grits are typically cooked in water until soft and creamy. (Charleston grits differ in that they are cooked in milk.) Usually, a lot of butter is added to them and sometimes cheese when served as a side dish or as a full entrée. Shrimp and grits is a Carolina classic that is enjoyed at either breakfast or dinner. Boundry House in Calabash, NC (just a few miles from North Myrtle Beach), rightfully prides itself on its shrimp and grits entrée. After all, it is award-winning!

7.  Indulge in BBQ

In the competitive world of barbeque, states are constantly claiming to have the nation's best… Of course that's relative, but South Carolina does have an advantage—the sauces! Though mustard sauce is most commonly thought of as unique to the region, you'll easily be able to try other flavors at most establishments including tomato- and vinegar-based varieties. Pork is the meat that is used for true barbeque and it is typically smoked low and slow for a juicy, flavorful taste. Venture into Stillhouse BBQ to try their succulent dishes prepared in the Carolina style, with four different sauces placed on every table to accompany your chicken or pork barbeque. The meat just falls off the bone!

8. Dance and Dine

Live music, late-night drinks and succulent seafood can be enjoyed at several oceanfront restaurants. Step off the beach and grab some grouper fingers at Bummz Beach Cafe, located in a retro-style beach house. Oceanfront Bar & Grill has been a boardwalk staple for over 60 years. Featuring a vast selection of seafood including their steam pot and shrimp and crab dip, this restaurant consistently manages to tempt tourists' appetites. Please check online for the restaurants’ event calendars for music lineups.

9. Picnic on the Beach—(or wherever you like)

Flying Fish is both a seafood market and a restaurant that was inspired by Seattle's Pike's Place Public Market. Located at Barefoot Landing, it's aptly named since you may just see fish flying through the air from one employee to another. This unique venue has fresh seafood you can take with you for a picnic on the beach. Pizza is another great option for eating on the go. Hungry Howie's Pizza and Marco Polo’s offer different styles to please your particular taste. They are undeniably delicious and also an easy lunch to take with you to whatever outdoor spot you choose.

10. Don't Forget Dessert!

Walk along the boardwalk or visit Barefoot Landing for a sinful and cool treat at a local ice cream shop. Sweet Molly's Creamery (now also located at Broadway at the Beach) and Crafty Cow Handcrafted Ice Cream have just the thing to put a smile on your kids' faces. Each offers an array of locally made flavors and toppings for a decadent dessert.

More options certainly abound in this town that serves up delicious food. Hopefully, this will help you to uncover some of the must-try items offered in Myrtle Beach. Between the beautiful views and delightful cuisine, you are likely to be ensured a vacation state-of-mind.

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