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Off the course in Myrtle Beach, S.C.: A string of fine dining along the Grand Strand

By Lisa Allen, Contributor

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.

Greg Norman's Australian Grille - North Myrtle Beach
Greg Norman's Australian Grille at Barefoot Landing boasts great food and a wine list with 259 selections.
Greg Norman's Australian Grille - North Myrtle BeachThe Brentwood restaurant - Little River, S.C.Sea Blue restaurant - North Myrtle BeachThoroughbred's Chophouse - Myrtle Beach

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 www.shark.com/australiangrille.

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 www.thebrentwoodrestaurant.com.

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 www.islandvista.com/dining.

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 www.rossismyrtlebeach.com.

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 www.seablueonline.com.

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 www.thoroughbredsrestaurant.com for more.

Lisa AllenLisa Allen, Contributor

Lisa Allen is a golf, travel and business writer based in Beaufort, S.C. She has edited newspapers, magazines and books in Michigan, Indiana and South Carolina. Follow her on Twitter @LAllenSC.

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