Myrtle Beach restaurants celebrate the best of authentic coastal southern cooking that is heavy on barbecue and the plentiful seafood that includes both salt water and fresh water fish and shellfish. There are close to 20,000 choices for dining in Myrtle Beach and the surrounding Grand Strand area that include everything from elegant gourmet cuisine and steakhouses to fast food joints and fish fry snack places on the beaches.
The North Myrtle Beach restaurants and Myrtle Beach restaurants are the most numerous and varied, and access to all of them is convenient no matter where you are staying in this part of the Grand Strand. The two towns are only about ten miles apart, and their boundaries sprawl right into each other. If you have car rentals, the drive only takes about fifteen minutes on Highway 17, the main thoroughfare that parallels the coast. Additionally, the Intracoastal Coastal waterway acts as another main "highway," so travel between the two of them by boat is just as convenient. In fact, some dining in Myrtle Beach is actually done on party cruises.
If you are staying in Surfside Beach or Garden City, accessing North Myrtle Beach restaurants by boat is a much less convenient method of travel because the Intracoastal Waterway begins turning inland south of Myrtle Beach and the Broadway at the Beach entertainment and shopping complex. Still, these two communities have the easy road access of Highway 17, and the North Myrtle Beach restaurants are only about twenty miles from Garden City and the camping areas of Huntington Beach State Park. There is excellent seafood available along all 60 miles of the Grand Strand, but there are a couple of very popular seafood places that specialize in the authentic southern fish fry and sumptuous seafood buffets here, and they draw diners from all over the region. Here you can get shrimp prepared in all the myriad ways described by Bubba in the film Forrest Gump. Also look for deviled crab, crab bisque, and crab cakes, or give old fashioned shrimp 'n grits a try.
Sure, Myrtle Beach restaurants offer Thai food and Mexican cuisine, Italian restaurants, and Chinese restaurants, but take time to find real southern barbecue and other traditional southern specialties. A real barbecue will have some or all of these fixings: hush puppies, baked beans, rice, hash, candied yams and sweet potatoes, and (always) slaw. Coleslaw on a barbecue sandwich is some people's idea of heaven. Nothing can beat a home-cooked chicken stew, usually including rice and possibly sausage (chicken bog). Catfish stew (white made with milk or red made with tomatoes) is a local favorite, as is Beaufort stew—shrimp, sausage, corn on the cob, and potatoes often stewed in beer. Also look for okra, black-eye peas, collards, chitlins, and everything you can imagine made with peaches.
Pawley's Island (about five miles south of Brookgreen Gardens is one of the oldest and southernmost of the resorts along the Grand Strand. Some people will travel from many miles away for restaurants here that specialize in the old fashioned, home-cooked southern feast.
You have choices for elegant dining in Myrtle Beach at a number of places. The best luxury hotels and golf resorts often have a gourmet dining option. Another, perhaps surprising, place to find fine dining options is at some of the shopping complexes, especially the Market Common, Broadway at the Beach, and Barefoot Landing. Many of these places will offer more subdued nightlife like jazz and blues, and some turn into lively night clubs after the dinner hour.
Image: Myrtle Beach Area CVB