The ocean is truly an amazing thing. You can swim in it, sail on it, scuba dive beneath it and surf on top of it. Then, at the end of a long day at sea, you can even feast on its bounty. But for all the fun you can have playing in the ocean during your Myrtle Beach vacation, fresh seafood is the Grand Strand's tastiest and perhaps best asset.
Situated midway between two of the most productive fishing ports on the East Coast, Myrtle Beach offers a virtual buffet of restaurants that serve fresh seafood from the local docks. Murrells Inlet, the “Seafood Capital of South Carolina,” is located 15 miles south. About 15 miles north is Little River, which is just across the Carolina border from Calabash, NC, the “Seafood Capital of the World.” So you couldn't ask for a better location for seafood, and here are five local restaurants that know how to serve it:
Captain George's: Bring a hearty appetite to this Broadway at the Beach buffet, which serves Chesapeake Bay and Outer Banks-style seafood by the boatload. In fact, the massive restaurant is shaped like a huge fishing vessel and the interior is more upscale than most buffets. Numerous food stations include peel-and-eat shrimp, crab legs, oysters and fresh catch fish dishes, as well as some unique recipes that aren't normally found buffet tables. Land food lovers are also welcome, with prime rib, fried chicken and lots of veggies and side items. Kids' favorites and desserts are also on the menu.
Mr. Fish: You don't get a nickname like Mr. Fish without knowing a thing or two about seafood, and this local eatery delivers delicious dishes made of the freshest local catches. Co-owner Ted Hammerman is a veteran of the fishing and seafood market business, and he and daughter Shanna adds her restaurant expertise to create a great experience. A sushi and raw bar reflect the focus on freshness, as do the creative menu items. But the best way to order at Mr. Fish is off the chalk board, which features the daily specials. That's where the combination of fresh seafood prepared in artistic ways shines through.
Murrells Inlet Marshwalk: OK, so this isn't one restaurant, but rather a dozen or so that line the wooden walkway along the banks of the inlet. Take a delicious stroll along the marina, where the fresh catch of the day is delivered directly from the boats to the kitchens of the Marshwalk eateries. Enjoy award-winning dishes at Bovine's, Captain Dave's Dockside Restaurant, Drunken Jack's, Wahoo's, Wicked Tuna and more. Go on a pub-crawl or grub crawl at Bubba's Love Shack, Creek Rats, Dead Dog Saloon and along the Murrells Inlet waterfront for great food and views. Listen to live music while watching the sun go down and the fishing boats return to port after a long day at sea.
Rockafeller's Raw Bar: This North Myrtle Beach institution might not look like much from the outside, but between the four small walls is some of the tastiest seafood in town. Start with a dozen steamed oysters or the famous blue crab dip, but save room for the main course. Rockafeller's specializes in steam kettles, which allow guests to create their own meals by selecting shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels and more. Your choices are steamed in a selection of sauces, like Old Bay & Beer or Wine & Garlic. Have it served over pasta for a small fee and sop up the sauce to the last drop with the house-made bread. The bar is also a popular locals' late-night hangout.
Sea Captain's House: Guests at The Strand can walk a couple of blocks to this famous oceanfront eatery. Located in a former beach cottage, Sea Captain's House has been serving hungry vacationers and picky locals for more than 65 years. Featured in national publications like Southern Living, Sea Captain's House specializes in South Carolina Lowcountry cuisine like Shrimp & Grits, as well as North Carolina-style seafood platters that are fried, broiled or grilled. Open for three meals a day, the food is as great as the view. Look out over the ocean while enjoying the delicious cuisine it provided.