You don’t have to go far in Myrtle Beach to satiate your appetite. Restaurants are almost as common as gift shops.
That many choices can be paralyzing, though. Is that hole-in-the-wall dive a hidden gem or a health hazard? Should you gamble on an unknown local hangout or retreat to the safety of one of the many national chains throughout the island? And where in the name of King Neptune should you opt for seafood?
If you’re looking for local spots that not only offer great food, but memorable atmosphere, there are plenty of good options. We’ve assembled a variety of styles and ambiences that should satisfy just about any craving.
Sometimes you want a little privacy when you dine. Collector’s Cafe has a number of private rooms for more intimate meals, each lined with works of art. The café, in fact, doubles as an art gallery, typically displaying the works of 25 artists.
So as you wait for lunch or dinner, be sure to walk around and take a look, though try not to intrude on someone’s meal. Find something you like? They’ll sell it to you off the wall.
The cuisine is Mediterranean. Be sure to try the grilled Australian rack of lamb or the North Carolina mountain trout, but save room for dessert. They’re all handmade in house and deliciously decadent, like the Peanut Butter Mousse Tower.
After dinner slip over to the European-style coffeehouse for an Italian espresso or one of its more than 24 tea selections.
Its strip mall location might make you question its authenticity, but once you walk into Café Old Vienna, you get it. The open ceiling, supported with heavy beams, and light-wood furniture will make you wonder if you’ve wandered through a portal to a German or Austrian Alpine lodge.
It’s homey and authentic — and then the food comes, and you’ll question reality again.
The Austrian owners offer all sorts of mouth-watering schnitzel (from pork to veal), which can’t be missed. Grab a side order of spaetzle and German potato salad, too. Want something a little less traditional? The Chicken Cordon Bleu and Viennese goulash dishes are also superior.
You didn’t really think you were going to leave Myrtle Beach without sampling the seafood, did you? There are seafood restaurants every 100 yards or so in this city (well, it feels that way, at least), but Sea Captain’s House has been bringing in customers for more than 50 years, making it worthy of your attention.
The waterfront views are spectacular, letting you enjoy fresh swordfish and shrimp as you watch the waves lap the shore. (And the sunset views are even more spectacular — South Carolina does incredible sunsets.) The restaurant’s interior is filled with nautical flotsam, much of it with a story attached.
There are turf options for finicky eaters, but surf is the star of the show. The shrimp scampi is a signature dish, and the shrimp and grits are authentically Southern and will warm your soul as you take that first bite.
If you’re in the Southeast, you owe it to yourself to get some soul food. Big Mike’s has traditional Southern cuisine, such as fried chicken, mac and cheese, rice and gravy, and (of course) biscuits. Honestly, you won’t find a bad dish here — though it certainly won’t help your diet.
Big Mike’s is a place that doesn’t put on a lot of airs. You’ll dine on checkered tablecloths and can see the kitchen staff (and owner Mike Chestnut) hard at work from many tables. It’s not fancy, but it’s laid back and welcoming. You may, however, want to set aside some time for a nap after you finish. A Big Mike’s food coma is a very real thing.
Comfort food and comfortable surroundings are the name of the game at this restaurant. Whether you gobble down the cheese fries or savor the baby back ribs, you’re sure to leave happy.
This is a favorite 19th hole for Myrtle Beach’s many golfers, who swing by after they’ve finished the back nine. The exposed wood walls and palm trees in the middle of the restaurant give it a low-key, relaxed air. It’s not the fanciest place in town, certainly, but it’s a solid choice any time of the day.