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Dishes Diners Love: Grand Strand

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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Shrimp and grits, Lowcountry boil, roasted oysters, she crab soup— these are among the best-known dishes you’ll find along the Grand Strand.

While visitors should make a point of experiencing these local classics, there are other offerings just as deserving of your attention. All along the coast, various restaurants feature menu items that have garnered hordes of loyal fans.

Here is a sampling of “must-try” dishes with a proven track record for turning first-time diners into repeat customers.


California Dreaming, Surfside Beach

This salad loaded with bacon, ham, egg, tomato and cheese put California Dreaming on the map.

Fan favorite: California Dreaming Salad

For years, the signature salad at California Dreaming in Surfside Beach has enjoyed a cult following. From the moment you dig into this glistening mound of cool mixed greens, ham, turkey,tomato egg, almond and cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, topped with warm ham, bacon and a tangy house dressing, you’ll be hooked, too. The warm, honey-drizzled croissant on the side seals the deal.


The Library, Myrtle Beach

Fan favorite: Steak Diane

Another tableside presentation, the steak Diane at the French-influenced restaurant, The Library, is downright legendary. If you are looking for the perfect “special occasion” experience, this is your place. In addition to the tender, saucy Diane, you can enjoy other feats of tableside showmanship, including Caesar salad and flambéed desserts. Expect to be impressed.


Carolina Roadhouse, Myrtle Beach

Smothered with fries, chili and cheese, the Killer Dog from Carolina Roadhouse can satisfy the biggest appetites.

Fan favorite: Killer Dog

Starving after a fun beach day or hours on the golf course? Then belly on up to a table at Carolina Roadhouse. You might feel like you could eat a horse but trust us on this one: a dog will do the trick. The Killer Dog is an eye-popping, tummy-taming platter designed for serious feasting: a grilled, foot-long kosher frank on a bun, slathered with deli mustard then mounded with fries, house-made chili, cheese and onions. You’ll need a knife and fork for this one.


Bistro 217, Pawleys Island

Fan favorite: Tomato, Crab & Jalapeño Soup

This soup is a superstar at Bistro 217 in Pawleys Island. While the name implies a flavorful concoction, the proof is in the first bite (which, incidentally, will blow your mind). It is not uncommon for people to show up just for soup, though all the dishes here are expertly executed. Diners often cite this as the best soup they’ve ever tasted. Bets are on that you will think so, too.


Sea Captain’s House, Myrtle Beach

Seafood Muddle is a longtime menu favorite at Sea Captain's House.

Fan favorite: Seafood Muddle

One of the area’s most beloved restaurants serves up a muddle—a stew chock-full of seafood—featuring all your favorites: jumbo shrimp, sea scallops, fresh fish, clams and mussels with pancetta, potatoes and celery in a tasty tomato broth. It is served with toasty bread for sopping up all that fabulous juiciness.


Socastee Station, Socastee

Fan favorite: Chicken Bog Balls

Deeply rooted in this region of South Carolina, chicken bog is a local, one-pot tradition featuring chicken, rice, sausage and spices. The folks at Socastee Station have added a modern-day spin on an old favorite by forming the bog into balls, dunking them in beer batter, and frying them up golden brown. A spicy dipping sauce is the perfect accompaniment. Now, go to Socastee and have yourself a ball!


Thoroughbreds Chophouse, Myrtle Beach

Tableside Bananas Foster is a delicious spectacle at Thoroughbreds Chophouse.

Fan favorite: Bananas Foster

While the steaks at Thoroughbreds are second-to-none, it is sometimes all about the finish at this fine dining establishment. Bananas Foster prepared tableside is a fiery, decadent spectacle and a delicious way to end your meal. Just be sure to leave some room for one of the best desserts along the Grand Strand.


Solé Italian Restaurant, Myrtle Beach

Fan favorite: Fiocchi

Imagine tender little pasta purses filled with a mix of Italian cheeses and pears. Now, imagine those little purses floating in a savory cream sauce with peas and prosciutto. This is fiocchi, and while you may have never heard the word before, one taste and you will never forget it. Head to Solé and treat yourself, Italian-style, to an unforgettable dish with a funny name.


Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.