Pound for pound, plate for plate, or person for person, Myrtle Beach has one of the most diverse food scenes in the state of South Carolina. Yes, there are deep-fried Oreos and piles of crab legs, but when the melted butter stains are blotted away and the layer of powder sugar is scraped off, it reveals a place where there’s no culinary traditions to cling to or uphold, the food scene mirrors the city’s “anything goes” mantra. Not only are there dripping cones of tutti frutti soft serve, jumbo lump crab cakes, and salt water taffy galore, there’s also spinning hunks of shawarma, fresh baked conchas, and bowls of sancocho — it’s a kitschy mix of undeniable Southern Americana and a domestic wanderlust, and it’s time everybody takes notice and brings their appetites.Read More
18 Essential Restaurants in Myrtle Beach
From king crab legs to jerk chicken
Habibi's Cafe & Pizzeria
The “pizzeria” part might fool some, but that’s just the bait, because what decent person doesn’t like pizza? But the hook that’ll make anybody a halal loyalist is the hand-rolled dolmeh, tabouli, and other Lebanese menu items at Habibi’s Cafe & Pizzeria.
La Poblanita Restaurant
In True Myrtle Beach fashion, the spot with the spiciest menudo and tacos that taste like they were made for a quinceañera in Guadalajara share the same strip mall as a karate dojo and a Honduran restaurant cooking up chop suey (yes, chop suey). There’s also venerable favorites like styrofoam cups of horchata, sizzling skillets of fajitas, and tortas almost too big to finish.
Captain Benjamin's Calabash Seafood Buffet
A trip to Myrtle Beach without taking a trip to the Calabash buffet is like a trip to Las Vegas and avoiding the slot machines and roulette tables at the casino. The inevitability of standing in line for hush puppies, clam strips, stuffed flounder, shrimp alfredo, and clusters of crab legs is almost a cultural certainty.
Curry goat, lip-numbing jerk chicken, escovitch red snapper, and beef patties basking under the glorious glow of a heat lamp are all delicious byproducts of Myrtle Beaches booming Jamaican community that owner Marvein Gilbert, a Jamaican immigrant herself, continues to feed.
Maryland Fried Chicken
An absolute landmark that seems off most tourist’s radar, Maryland Fried Chicken is where the locals go to get boxes of the best fried yard bird in at least a 100 mile radius. It may not look like much from the outside, but trust the big yellow bird on the sign.
Yamato claims to be South Carolina’s original Japanese steakhouse. The dining room is dim and communal, punctuated by teppanyaki theatrics. The most show-stopping trick at Yamato is a mound of rice molded into the shape of a heart, made to look like it’s beating with the deft maneuvering of a spatula, if that doesn’t satisfy diners, the steak and shrimp drenched in housemade yum yum sauce will.
Back in 1937 when Eunice Burroughs opened this greasy spoon, shoe-box sized diner, officials were still trying to figure out a name for Myrtle Beach. Almost a century later, the burgers are still sloppy, the hotdogs are still a foot long, and the Budweiser is still on tap.
Big Mike's Soul Food
Yes, the potato salad has eggs in it, oddly enough that’s the litmus test of a legit soul food joint, so are the linoleum floors, the blistered upholstery, and turkey wings on Tuesdays, even though the meatloaf and candied yams are never to be ignored either.
Cafe Old Vienna
One’s German diet should consist of more than just Jagerbombs and burnt bratwursts at the cookout. Werner Horvath and his wife Martina have watered this Bavarian themed beer garden into a menu full of classics like wienerschnitzel and Viennese gulasch.
Johnny D’s Waffles
Chef Jamie Daskalis snubbed tradition and converted a former Pizza Hut into a breakfast institution where funfetti waffles and a lox and onion Benedict is the reason there’s always a line snaking around the building on any given Saturday morning.
Sea Captain's House
It seems awkward to some, valet parking a car just to eat fried oysters and slices of hummingbird cake, food this humble doesn’t seem luxurious enough to warrant valet, but just go with the flow and this little cottage with the ocean view will make it all make sense after the first forkful.
Playing into the boutique biscuit shop trend that has the South in a headlock, the buttermilk biscuits at 10/Fold are the size of frisbees. The slab bacon cut from the bellies of heritage pork and eggs laid by cage-free chickens are the initial components to breakfast biscuits on steroids.
There’s no rhubarb foam or foie gras dusted with 24k gold but Aspen Grille flawlessly executes classics like shrimp cocktail, racks of lamb, and perfectly seared scallops. It’s one of the top old-school, fine dining establishments found in Myrtle Beach.
Little Pigs Bar-B-Q
The PeeDee region’s mustard-based style of barbecue takes a backseat to Eastern North Carolina’s vinegary whole hog and the briskets and burnt ends of Central Texas, but that doesn’t mean that the hickory smoked butts at Little Pig’s aren’t just as delicious, so is the coleslaw — the most ideal sidekick.
Foster's Cafe & Bar
This quintessential watering hole where the beer is cheap, and everybody knows your name or at least acts like they do. There are Jell-O shots and chicken wings for under a dollar a piece, which are as tempting as the club sandwiches and French dips.
This isn’t granny’s breakfast house of yesteryear, the one with the ugly carpet, horrible coffee, and synthetic syrup. Blueberry’s Grill is easy, breezy, borderline swank and filled with cool people noshing on omelets made with a wide range of fillings and the best Monte Cristos ever.
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Croissants Bakery & Bistro
Croissants Bistro is the undisputed Myrtle Beach spot for when people want to get brunchy in an atmosphere that looks like it was borrowed from the French Riviera, with wicker seating and striped awnings. The main attractions are always a toss up between bananas foster French toast or the croque madame, but the mango mimosa is never in question.
Bimini's Oyster Bar & Seafood Market
Fried scallops, mahi mahi fingers, and the “world famous” oyster shooters demolish any pompous vibes that customer might usually associate with oyster bars. There’s no yuzu mignonette or caviar sandwiches in this dive.