Myrtle Beach's Best Restaurants, 3/13, 4/10, 4/10

Food for thought: Where to dine along South Carolina's Grand Strand
By Ian Guerin, Contributor,, 3/4/13

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- Everyone knows about the golf on South Carolina's Grand Strand.

With approximately 90 golf courses to choose from, there's never a shortage of availability. But there are also an abundance of top-notch restaurants in the Myrtle Beach area to keep the good vibes going.

If you're headed to Myrtle Beach, here are some restaurants that should be atop your list.

Myrtle Beach restaurants: North end
Greg Norman's Australian Grille
has just enough of the golfer's touch for diners to consider any affiliation between the two. Visitors won't be smacked over the head with the Shark's accomplishments on the links.

Located in North Myrtle Beach at the popular Barefoot Landing , Greg Norman's Australian Grille is patterned after restaurants in the Sydney harbor. Locally, it's positioned on the Intracoastal Waterway, so you can enjoy your meal while watching the boats go by as a leisurely pace.

Greg Norman's Australian Grille has salads that will fill you up, but if that's not your thing, it has options galore.

On the fish front, you can choose from items like lobster ravioli or seared ahi; a premium strip and pork chop with a BBQ rub also comes highly recommended.

And did we mention Norman has his own brand of wine?

Myrtle Beach restaurants: Central
Maybe that 18 holes you had planned turned into 36. And maybe you forgot to eat throughout the day.

It just so happens one of Myrtle Beach's favorite restaurants also has sizes capable of accommodating the biggest appetites. Across the street from the area's biggest attraction ( Broadway at the Beach ), the Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse is a gut-busting, high-end venue that tricks you into thinking you're having a healthy meal before seeing your salad bar and raising you 10-fold. Meat after meat comes at you -- from filet to chicken breast to pork ribs. Rioz has customized several flavors of steak; some include items like bacon and sea salt. The best part is you can try everything. The portion sizes allow visitors to go with as little or as much as you like. Most go with the latter.

If Rioz isn't up your alley, there's another great option just down the street.
Sea Captain's House is almost universally understood to be one of the Grand Strand's best. The high-end restaurant recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, and the quality of food combined with excellent service explains why.

From the front, Sea Captain's House doesn't look like much; it's sandwiched between the strip of hotels on Ocean Boulevard and some residential/rental housing.

Once inside, however, staff members dressed to the nines greet you. That type of dinner atmosphere won't end until after you leave. In between, no matter which meal you go with, get an order or the sauteed crab cakes to go with it.

Myrtle Beach restaurants: South
There are a number of quality steak restaurants on the Grand Strand, including the chain-famous Ruth's Chris . But there's only one Bovine's Wood Fired Specialties.

Bovine's ribeye, filet mignon and New York strip are all priced at less than $30. And while it may sound silly with those steak options, the wood-fired pizzas (all less than $10) are an underrated option, especially if you have kids with you.
Bovine's is located in Murrells Inlet on one of the main stretches. If you're not looking for an over-the-top dining experience, try the back deck that overlooks the area's marshlands.

As a back-up plan, give Bistro 217 in Pawleys Island a try. Head Chef Adam Kirby has refined his craft across the U.S., and there are influences from as far away as Hawaii reflected on the menu.

Hungry after a round of golf in Myrtle Beach? Top 5 Grand Strand restaurants where you can eat for less than $10
By Chris King,
Contributor,, 4/10

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- It's early evening after a round on your favorite Myrtle Beach golf course and your stomach is rumbling louder than a stock car on a speedway. This isn't the time for a high-end, sit-down dinner. Good food, fast service and a check with one digit on the left side of the decimal are the priorities.

So what are the options for a group looking for a quality dinner that costs less than $10 per entree? In Myrtle Beach, the choices are many, but we've made things easy by compiling a ranking of the area's five best cost-efficient dinner options.

1. El Cerro Grande
El Cerro Grande has built a Mexican restaurant empire along the Grand Strand. The make-your-own-meal costs $8.75 and provides choices between burritos, taco, enchiladas, chili rellenos and two sides. The complimentary chips and salsa are Myrtle Beach's best and El Cerro has locations in Myrtle Beach, Conway and Murrells Inlet. If you like Mexican food, this is a guaranteed winner.

2. River City Cafe
With free peanuts on every table and license plates lining the walls, River City Cafe is as long on charm as it is hamburgers. River City has six Myrtle Beach-area locations and it makes its burgers fresh every day. There isn't a burger on the menu that costs more than $6.99 and drinks come with a complimentary plastic cup.

3. Bumstead's Pub
The sister restaurant to Myrtle Beach's best sandwich shop, Dagwoods , Bumstead's Pub ( ) offers much of same fare in a nicer setting. If you are looking for a great dinner sandwich at a lunch-time price, Bumstead's is unbeatable.

4. Little Pigs BBQ
No trip to the Carolinas is complete without some barbecue and Little Pigs BBQ (6102 Frontage Rd., Myrtle Beach) is among the best. The pulled pork is outstanding, as is the collection of sauces. Don't take our word for it, read the reviews Little Pigs receives.

5. Burky's Grill
Burky's Grill ( ) is a standalone restaurant that offers good, cheap food. The menu isn't fancy -- burgers and fries are the specialties (along with the fried bologna sandwich) -- but Burkey's is a stop worth making.

Off the course in Myrtle Beach, S.C.: A string of fine dining along the Grand Strand
By Lisa Allen, Contributor,, 5/10

The one risk of picking a restaurant in Myrtle Beach, S.C., is being paralyzed by the number of them. There are more than 1,700 sit-down restaurants in a 60-mile stretch along the Grand Strand.

Not to worry, there are many places in which you can't go wrong. If, after a round at one of the 100-plus golf courses in Myrtle Beach, you're looking for an excuse to shower, clean up and enjoy a leisurely dinner with great service, superb food and a deep wine list, here are some suggestions:

Greg Norman's Australian Grille at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach dubs itself "the upper crust of down under dining."

Since it opened in 1999, the grille has often won Wine Spectator's Excellence in Dining award. It earns it with great food and a wine list with 259 selections. The food possibilities seem equally extensive, from pasta to steak to veal. Items of note: lobster-crusted swordfish, cumin-spiced porkloin and prime rib. Much of the meal is ala carte. For more, see .

The Brentwood in Little River offers "Lowcountry-style French cuisine." Adding to its appeal, the restaurant is ensconced in a Victorian house built in 1910.

Chef and owner Eric Masson is a French native and holds three degrees from the prestigious Ferrandi Culinary School in Paris. The Brentwood has a traditional menu but also a four-course prix fixe menu featuring soup or appetizer, a salad, an entree of fillet, chicken or salmon, and dessert.

The traditional menu starts with soups, including leek and potato truffle and a variety of salads. Entrees run the gamut, from seafood to steak and liver and onions, duck and lamb, all with a provincial flare. Each entree comes with a chef's wine suggestion. For more, see .

The Cypress Room at Island Vista resort allows one to opt for a chef specialty, ranging from founder and crab to rack of lamb, or go for the build-your-own in which you choose the meat or fish, the sauce and a couple of sides, like spinach shallots and bacon or a citrus rice pilaf. The restaurant also has an ocean view. For more, see .

Rossi's has a hefty menu that starts with a vast selection of antipasti and doesn't let up through its menu or wine list.

Try blackened beef tips, fried lobster or mussels marinara to begin your meal. From there, the lists go through soups, salads, chicken, beef, veal and, of course, fish and seafood pasta and dishes. For the more indecisive, there are combination platters for veal, parmigiana and pasta.

There are more chef specialties, some with more than one main course. Rossi's also has a piano bar, Eighty-Eight's, so you can linger afterwards. I like the note on the menu: "For the enjoyment of all, please take unhappy children and cell phone calls outside." For more, see .

Sea Blue in North Myrtle Beach describes itself as "South Beach meets Myrtle Beach." It starts with small plates but not a limited imagination, with macadamia-fried brie with a tropical fruit salsa served with plantain chips, Kobe sliders with smoked gouda, lobster mac and cheese, or veal ravioli.

From there, there is a half dozen different salads, and entrees from vanilla lobster to a slate of steaks with a slew of toppings including gorgonzola crust, foie gras butter, red wine gastique and balsamic. For more, see .

Thoroughbred's Chophouse and Seafood Grille is one of the older restaurants in town, going back 22 years.

Its menu is truly creative, from the food to the categories: The Starting Gate (appetizers including escargot, lollipop lamb chops and bacon-wrapped scallops), Clubhouse Turn (soup), Belmont Steaks (get it?), Kentucky Derby (what a selection: duck, liver, veal, lamb), Preakness (fresh fish and seafood), Pasta, and the Homestretch. See for more.

May 20, 2010

Fine dining in Myrtle Beach? It's a surprise, but no joke
By Chris Baldwin, Contributor,

Vacation mecca Myrtle Beach may have a reputation for great golf courses and uber-casual dining. But aficionados of fine dining will find a number of stellar restaurants, including Aspen Grill, Kelly Graham's Sea Blue, and Capt. Dave's Dockside Restaurant.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The lights are low, the piano player's doing his best Billy Joel and the lobster bisque doesn't just taste like any regular bowl.

In fact, this is the best bisque you've ever had. And you've fine dined in Manhattan, Las Vegas and Paris.

You're golfing in Myrtle Beach. No, really. Stop the laughter. I'm not joking.

Sure, Myrtle Beach takes a lot of flak for being more fast food wrapper than white tablecloth (from this writer included). Golf Digest once sent two golfers in tuxes here, only to have them eat in spots like the Olive Garden and poke fun at the whole scene.

No doubt there are plenty of hot dog shacks and cheap breakfast spots with peeling wallpaper. Souvenir kitsch definitely rules over glitz. But the truth is Myrtle Beach dining can be what you make of it.

Do a little research, ask the right people (hint: the guy in a tank top chugging his third six pack in front of you at Wicked Stick isn't a go-to source) and you can experience some very satisfying culinary experiences in the land of $3.99 T-shirts, too.

Start with the Aspen Grill . This is the place with the piano player and sophisticated low country food — including that thin, flavor-packed bisque and a crab cake main course to relish. Not that you'd deduce any of this from its exterior.

Aspen Grill is found in a little strip mall on Kings Highway, one of about 100 strip mall centers on Kings Highway. It has a simple sign and a dark window that give no hint of what's inside. I'd like to say that great reporting brought me to this high-end find. Truth is, I just happened to walk in and stumble upon a restaurant worthy of many bigger cities.

Sea Blue in North Myrtle Beach carries a lot more buzz. Yes, it's next door to a Starbucks and across the street from a TGIF (it's Myrtle Beach, you learn to deal). But the inside brings the kind of sleek setting and mood lighting you'd get in a South Beach club (OK maybe, a South Beach club 15 years ago — think Miami Vice with a huge fish tank — but it's still cutting edge for the Grand Strand).

More importantly, the food from chef/owner Kelly Graham shows you how good Myrtle Beach's fresh seafood can be when put in the hands of a real pro.

If you and your golf buddies, or you and the wife you dragged along, are looking for a restaurant that fits a black and white movie's version of fine dining, a place where people feel like they should dress up, hit The Library . Right in the heart of downtown Myrtle Beach, The Library has tuxedo-clad waiters and an atmosphere the older crowd loves.

Of course, you are on the ocean. Chances are you might want to see something more than a Chili's outside the window when you're dining. For high-end food on the water, go to Capt. Dave's Dockside Restaurant in Murrells Inlet. It sounds frighteningly like a place that would have a mascot dressed in a captain's suit and laminated menus with tarter sauce stains from last month's diners.

Instead, it's a spot right on the water where those with a boat can pull right up to the dock, drop anchor and eat. The food's a little more sophisticated, too, with whole snapper, oysters and low country shrimp and grits (don't knock it, till you've tasted it).

The Grand Strand packs plenty of surprises like this. It may not be Chicago. But it's no Gary, Ind., either. No culinary wasteland here. You might not be able to find a foodie palace to match every top-notch, top-dollar golf course. But dinner need not be wasted.

While checking out Myrtle Beach's high-end restaurants, don't forget to pop in Sam's Corner — a 24-hour hot dog and beer diner that's an institution. Good dining doesn't always mean top prices. Or even shiny clean silverware.

Try it. You're in Myrtle Beach. You don't want everyone to think you're a snob. At least, not a complete snob.

June 11, 2007

Best of Myrtle Restaurants

Myrtle Beach's best buffalo wings

1. The Original Fat Jack's Wings & Things (353A Highway 17N in Surfside Beach): Fat Jack's has been around Myrtle Beach since the 1970s. Now just south in Surfside, Fat Jack's offers 15 different sauces. You can try the party tray, which offers up to five different sauces and 50 wings. Lunch goers take note, Fat Jack's doesn't open until 3 p.m. and is closed Sundays.
2. Murphy's Law : Murphy's has three locations (though each especially caters to Pittsburgh "Steeler Nation" on Sundays). Though its wings have a variety of sauces, its specialty is the hot wing.
3. Wing Kings (4480 Socastee Blvd. in Myrtle Beach): Off Myrtle Beach's beaten Kings Highway, you'll have to head down Socastee Boulevard for Wing King's fresh, never-frozen wings - along with 20 different flavors.
4. Bully's Pub (4868 Highway 17S in North Myrtle Beach): Located at Barefoot Landing, Bully's doesn't have the sauce variety of Wing Kings or Original Fat Jack's, but what it does serve suffices, especially its eccentric (for wings at least) spicy ranch sauce.
5. Hooter's : We all know Hooters, the "delightfully tacky yet unrefined" institution for the ideal mix of babes and wings. Good news for Hooter's fans, with three area locations, you're never too far from the perfect combo.

Myrtle Beach's best steakhouses
1. New York Prime (405 28th Ave. North in Myrtle Beach): A New York-style steakhouse off 28th Avenue in Myrtle Beach with an upscale ambiance is the Strand's favorite high-end steakhouse. Its menu serves up a whopping 40-ounce porterhouse for two.
2. Angelo's Steak and Pasta (2011 S. Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach): Angelo's is known for its all-you-can-eat Italian buffet, but Angelo's steak is a cut above. Big bellies can try the "Big Daddy" - a 24-ounce cut of Ribeye or New York Strip.
3. Martini's (98 Highway 17S in North Myrtle Beach): A diverse menu in this upscale, elegant atmosphere with a piano bar, the food upholds its look, with top dishes such as the steak au poivre, a filet rolled in cracked peppercorn and sauteed with assorted mushrooms in a Dijon and brandy cream sauce.
4. Greg Norman's Australian Grille (4930 Highway 17S in North Myrtle Beach): The Shark's brand is on everything, but this is his only steakhouse, located right around the corner from his Barefoot Resort course design, where you can enjoy wood-grilled steaks overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.
5. Thoroughbreds (9706 N. Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach): Open since 1988, Thoroughbreds has made a name for itself by serving nothing but the freshest steaks and seafood, including one of its signatures, the 20-ounce, bone-in ribeye.

Myrtle Beach's best seafood buffets
You'll find almost as many all-you-can-eat seafood buffets along King's Highway as miniature golf courses. Vacationers love indulging on the endless bowls of buttery crab legs and shrimp, but not all are created equal. Here are Golf Holiday's five favorites:
1. Original Benjamin's (9593 N. Kings Hwy. in North Myrtle Beach): The first standout seafood buffet in the Myrtle Beach area remains the Grand Strand's largest, with more than 170 excellent items. Calabash-style seafood, crab legs and shrimp highlight this extensive buffet lineup.
2. Captain George's (1401 29th Ave. North in Myrtle Beach): Right by the PGA Tour Superstore, Broadway at the Beach and Myrtlewood in the heart of Myrtle Beach on Highway 17 Bypass, you won't pass Captain George's too many times before stopping in eventually. With the area's largest dining room and a buffet to match, waits are seldom.
3. Crabby Mike's (290 Highway 17N in Surfside Beach): Everyone notices Crabby Mike's, thanks to the lighthouse and the "crabmobile" with a giant crab on top. Inside, the atmosphere is good fun, though there's no joking around in the kitchen, which serves up a first-class array of choices on the buffet line.
Seafare Seafood Buffet (2000 Highway 17N in Surfside Beach): This pirate-themed buffet features live mermaids, but the food will still steal the show, featured in Southern Living twice thanks to its top broiled, baked and steamed seafood.
5. Preston's Seafood & Country Buffet (4530 Highway 17S in North Myrtle Beach): An under-the-radar favorite located at the entrance to Barefoot Resort, Preston's features a mountain of crab legs, as well as baby back ribs and prime rib.

Local's Corner: Top 5 Italian Restaurants
By Chris King on May 10, 2010,

The Grand Strand is chocked full of restaurants and some of the best are Italian. If you are looking for a good meal from the Old Country, we surveyed a group of hard-eating locals and have produced a list of the area’s five best Italian restaurants.

If pasta, homemade marinara and scampi are atop your wish list, here are five restaurants that will send you home happy:

1. Rossi’s – Quite simply the best. Superior food, service and atmosphere. The meal starts with homemade garlic bread and whether your entrée selection is traditional Italian, beef, veal or seafood you are in good hands. A couple suggestions: the Italian Sampler – lasagna, chicken parm, a (large) meatball and sausage and peppers – is a great choice if you are indecisive and the fried lobster is to die for. For post-meal entertainment, Eighty-Eights is an in-house piano bar that stays open until 2 a.m.

2. Umberto’s - A Pittsburgh-style Italian restaurant, the Umberto’s at Barefoot Landing delivers a meal that is as good as it is big. Every entrée includes bean soup, salad and garlic bread. The fried provolone is delectable, and there is no way you will leave Umberto’s hungry. No way. The center cut pork chops are hard to beat.

3. Luigi’s – Located on 61st Avenue, Luigi’s, in the word’s of one of our pollsters, is “small, locally owned and authentic Italian food.” It’s less expensive than Rossi’s and worth a try.

4. Angelo’s – This is a regular on our top 5 lists. Angelo’s is almost unanimously regarded as one of the area’s best steak houses, and the traditional Italian fare is equally enticing. We aren’t generally advocates of buffets, but the one at Angelo’s is the exception. The lasagna is outstanding, and the steak is a guaranteed winner.

5. Villa Romano – Opened in 1985, Villa Romano’s has one of the area’s most interesting Italian menus. You dine among statues, chandeliers, columns, a centerpiece fountain, live plants and red roses. The food is authentic Italian and the Veal Absolute, a family creation, is atop the menu choices.

Myrtle's Best Oyster Bars

Like it raw? Myrtle Beach's top oyster bars keep golfers coming back for more
By Chris King, Contributor

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- As we head into the winter months, the Grand Strand still enjoys good golf weather. And oysters, a perennial favorite, remain in season.

Myrtle Beach and the surrounding area is home to an abundance of local oyster beds, but where should you go for everyone's favorite mollusk?

We have recommendations for those of you in search of the top raw bars in Myrtle Beach.

Rockefellers in North Myrtle Beach
A local favorite in North Myrtle Beach, Rockefellers isn't much to see from the outside, but the food is excellent. If you wants oysters for 45 cents during Happy Hour, try Rockefellers. For more information, visit .

Shucker's Raw Bar
With two Myrtle Beach locations -- one at Broadway at the Beach, the other downtown -- Shucker's is the area's most visible raw bar. The atmosphere is outstanding, and so is the food. For more information, visit .

Bimini's Oyster Bar and Seafood Cafe
Open since 1985, Bimini's Oyster Bar and Seafood Cafe brings a taste of the islands to the local raw bar scene. With the sounds of Jimmy Buffett, reggae and live beach music pumping through the bar, there are few more enjoyable places to eat oysters. For more information, visit .

Flying Fish Public Market and Grill
At Barefoot Landing, the raw bar at Flying Fish Public Market and Grill ranks among the area's best. Flying Fish overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway, and the food tastes as good as the view looks. For more information, visit .

Divine Fish House
The raw bar at Divine's is an integral part of one of the best restaurants on the Marsh Walk in Murrells Inlet. It doesn't have the gritty feel of a traditional raw bar, but for quality, it's hard to beat. For more information, visit .

November 10, 2010

Myrtle Beach's Top 5 Japanese Steakhouses

Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday,, 1/13

Japanese restaurants that feature chefs that are equal parts entertainer and cook have exploded in popularity, and a Myrtle Beach golf trip offers plenty of options. (Admit it, everyone enjoys catching shrimp in their mouth and watching onion volcanoes erupt!)

The Grand Strand has more than 20 Japanese restaurants – some are the traditional steakhouses, others more of the fast food variety - but we are here to help you find the best. If you want to eat good Japanese food on your Myrtle Beach golf trip, here are five restaurants that will deliver.

1. Miyabi’s Kyoto Japanese Steakhouse – There are two locations, including one on Restaurant Row, but the Murrells Inlet Miyabi’s is the area’s best. Generous portion sizes, entertaining chefs and great food is a difficult combination to beat. Make sure your room has a kitchen because the brave will likely have enough leftovers for pre-golf breakfast.

2. Nakato Japanese Steakhouse – Located on Restaurant Row, Nakato has a full service bar and the food is wonderful. The noodles are the best in the area, and you can’t go wrong with the filet.

3. Yamato Japanese Restaurant – Located at Broadway at the Beach, Yamato is the area’s most popular Japanese steakhouse. The location is great but it’s always best to call ahead for reservations.

4. Kono Japanese Steakhouse – One of the newest additions to the area’s Japanese restaurant scene, Kono has a prime location – 19th Avenue North in the heart of Myrtle Beach – and an equally appealing menu. The sushi at Kono is outstanding, but here is a vote for the shrimp and scallops.

5. Jimmyz Japanese Hibachi – If you are looking for a Japanese meal without the show or the price tag, Jimmyz gets the nod. The owner, Jimmy Miller, was a chef at a Japanese restaurant before striking out on his own. The food is comparable to what you receive at a steakhouse at a fraction of the price. Located on 62nd Avenue in Myrtle Beach, Jimmyz also has the area’s most creative Asian menu, including wraps and his Mama’s Korean Beef.

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