(BPT) - Do you make vacation plans around well-known restaurants and tasty regional favorites? If so, you’ll want to explore the amazing array of culinary delights in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. With an eclectic mix of options from iconic Carolina Coastal Cuisine to bold international flavors including Jamaican, Thai, Latin American, Italian and German/Austrian, The Beach provides everything your foodie heart desires — along with surprises you may not expect. Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand boast over 2,000 restaurants, making The Beach a truly memorable culinary destination with tastes to please every palate.
Home of Carolina Coastal Cuisine
Whether you seek recipes with rich local history handed down from the Gullah community or crave fresh seafood, you can find it in Myrtle Beach. A revolution in cooking over the last decade in Myrtle Beach inspired many professional chefs to create “Carolina Coastal Cuisine,” putting their modern spin on traditional Lowcountry dishes.
Carolina Coastal derives from the wide array of regionally fished and grown foods. Chefs use local ingredients like Carolina rice, stone-ground grits, shrimp, blue crab, grouper, country ham, peaches and more in traditional recipes from the Gullah community. The Gullah people are African Americans descended from slaves brought to the southern colonies in the early 18th century for their ability to cultivate rice. Most traditional Gullah foods are stewed, grilled or roasted, with very little fried. So if the idea of fresh, locally grown (and caught) food gets your mouth watering, look for restaurants designated “fresh on the menu” by the South Carolina Hospitality Alliance. To qualify for this designation, at least 25% of their ingredients have to be locally grown.
Here are some highlights of Carolina Coastal restaurants along the Grand Strand or in Murrells Inlet — the seafood capital of South Carolina — to put on your culinary itinerary:
Drunken Jack's — If you crave fresh local seafood or hushpuppies with honey butter, this is the perfect spot for you. Enjoy crab cakes or clam chowder, followed by steak, shrimp or sea scallops created by chef Casey Blake as you dine on the waterfront overlooking the beautiful MarshWalk and Marina.
Cypress Room — Chef Michael McKinnon offers French-inspired New American cuisine with a devotion to using the finest fresh ingredients. You can also enjoy Lowcountry favorites like she-crab soup and jumbo lump crab cakes — with a floor-to-ceiling view of the ocean.
Aspen Grille — Enjoy the creations of Chef Curry Martin, (he’s no longer the owner/chef) including golden fried calamari or fried gulf oysters, followed by entrees like prime beef or filet mignon with lobster tail, in an elegant fine dining atmosphere.
Hook & Barrel – Chef and owner Heidi Vukov created this sustainable restaurant with excellence in mind. Specialty cocktails and a great wine list enhance the offerings from their famous seafood tower to steaks and more.
Wicked Tuna — Two locations, in Myrtle Beach and Murrells Inlet, offer “hook to plate” dining. Maryland native chef Dylan Foster Dylan offers fresh seafood dishes from mussels and Lowcountry shrimp and grits to grilled salmon and more.
Explore the world at The Beach
If international flavors are what you crave, you won’t be disappointed with the variety of global cuisine in Myrtle Beach. This is a small sampling of locations to discover:
Ciao! is one of the Grand Strand’s best restaurants, with Chef Eugen (Geni) Hysa cooking up authentic Italian cuisine using the freshest ingredients, made in-house. Popular favorites include lasagna, lobster ravioli and linguine with clam sauce.
Sol Cocina Mexicana is a high-end authentic Mexican restaurant consistently mentioned by local chefs as a favorite place to go when they eat out. Chef Armando Cobian recreates traditional Mexican cuisine and family recipes his mother taught him, from pulled chicken enchiladas with fire-roasted green tomatillo salsa and Oaxaca cheese to carne asada made with prime ribeye steak and traditional Chiles Rellenos.
Blue Elephant Thai offers authentic Thai food using fresh ingredients and seafood sourced from locals in Murrells Inlet. You can find Thai favorites like Pad Thai and Drunken Noodles plus a Thai Elephant Seafood platter with fresh shrimp, scallops, calamari, salmon and mussels.
Café Old Vienna gives you a taste of old Germany and Austria at its popular restaurant and beer garden, with cuisine prepared by chef Werner Horvath including schnitzel, bratwurst, sauerkraut, pierogis and more.
Sound tasty? For your next vacation, put your appetite and culinary cravings front and center with a trip to The Beach. Check out all the delicious possibilities at VisitMyrtleBeach.com/restaurants.