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For the Ultimate in SC Dining, Take It Outdoors

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 30 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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Ambiance is an essential ingredient in creating a great dining experience. When Mother Nature and a human touch join forces to create that ambiance, dining out is elevated to a special occasion.

There’s something magical about sharing good food in the open air with water views, a canopy of light-strung trees or sweeping views of a city skyline as a backdrop. And when it comes to wooing, nothing compares. When the main competition to the stars in your eyes are the stars in the skies, you know you’ve hit the romantic dinner jackpot.

Al fresco dining in South Carolina has a reputation for embodying it all: great eats, relaxed surroundings and mood-enhancing scenery. Whether you are looking to enjoy a little sunshine with a sandwich, a seafood dinner with the family or an intimate meal with somebody dear, there are ample opportunities awaiting you across the Palmetto State.

Here is a sampling of some of our most popular establishments for outdoor dining, many of which offer seating year-round thanks to portable heating sources and firepits. (Note: Call ahead for hours of operation and seating availability.)

 

Greenville
Passerelle Bistro
French-influenced bistro in downtown Greenville delivering tantalizing views and cuisine.
Feast for the eyes: Fall in love with gorgeous views of the Reedy River and Falls Park.
Feast for the palate: Croque Monsieur, bouillabaisse, creme brulee

UP on the Roof
Head to the top of Embassy Suites for a peak Greenville experience and sensational sunsets.
Feast for the eyes: Savor impressive vistas of downtown, the Reedy River and Blue Ridge Mountains.
Feast for the palate: Korean tacos, deviled eggs, pimento cheeseburger

Gather GVL
This multi-vendor outdoor space and live entertainment venue is kid-friendly and dog-friendly (Tuesday through Friday).
Feast for the eyes: Enjoy sports on big-screen TVs, bands on stage and people watching.
Feast for the palate: Lobster rolls from The Lobfather, fried chicken and doughnuts from Hendough, hand-crafted ice cream sandwiches from Rocky Moo.

Columbia
Market on Main
Outdoor venue with gourmet kitchen, retail market, bar and entertainment.
Feast for your eyes: Take in movies and sports events aired on a 23-foot Jumbotron, live entertainment, vibrant green space.
Feast for your palate: Two-fisted burgers, avocado naan with candied bacon, gourmet grilled cheese

Publico
Hip eats with Latin-Asian flavor served on the patio at your table or in an igloo, clear-covered outdoor pods great for sequestering with your friends.
Feast for your eyes: Revel in the festively lit igloos, bustling crowds and energetic cityscape.
Feast for your palate: Tuna poke bowl, Peruvian chicken, Cuban nachos, chicken tinga quesadilla

Saluda’s
Classic French and Italian cuisine—with a Southern vibe—headquartered in a century-old building with an inviting second-floor balcony for outdoor dining.
Feast for your eyes: Relish the green foliage and romantic fountain view.
Feast for your palate: Fried deviled eggs, apple cider-brined pork chop, bacon gouda mac and cheese

 

Charleston
Peninsula Grill
Charleston landmark restaurant with enchanting hidden courtyard reminiscent of old Charleston.
Feast for your eyes: Get cozy amidst the gaslight lanterns, wrought iron gates, brick walkway and lush foliage.
Feast for your palate: Burgundy escargot, Kansas City strip steak with signature steak sauce, Ultimate Coconut Cake

Fleet Landing 
Waterfront seafood establishment with maritime vibe and plenty of outdoor seating on the marsh.
Feast for the eyes: Delight in generous views of Charleston Harbor and the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.
Feast for the palate: Stuffed hush puppies, she crab soup, crispy flounder with apricot glaze, Charleston red rice

Rooftop at Vendue 
Award-winning rooftop restaurant and bar serving lunch and dinner in historic downtown.
Feast for the eyes: Take in the Charleston skyline, views of Charleston Harbor, Riley Waterfront Park and the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.
Feast for the palate: Crack fries (bacon, cheese, onion, jalapeño), Mediterranean grilled chicken salad, cheddar bacon burger

 

Hilton Head Island
Old Oyster Factory 
Longtime HHI staple operating on the site of a former oyster cannery with waterfront deck dining.
Feast for the eyes: Dine overlooking Broad Creek and the marsh.
Feast for the palate: Fresh local oysters, Lowcountry seafood gumbo, blackened Carolina catfish

Hudson’s on the Docks 
Historic former oyster house famous for locally sourced seafood and dock dining with fabulous sunsets.
Feast for your eyes: Drink in views of Skull Creek (Intracoastal Waterway) and Port Royal Sound.
Feast for your palate: Lowcountry boil, fried green tomatoes, stuffed flounder, steamed oysters

CQ’s 
Oldest Harbour Town restaurant serving fine cuisine with locally sourced ingredients and intimate patio dining.
Feast for the eyes: Dine beneath graceful live oaks strung with romantic lights. 
Feast for the palate: Grand Marnier short ribs, seared ahi tuna, Butcher Block prime pork chop

 

Grand Strand
Frank’s Outback, Pawleys Island 
An outdoor arm of Frank’s restaurant featuring a garden setting, impressive service and award-winning cuisine.
Feast for the eyes: Dine under a canopy of trees warmed by an outdoor fireplace and intimate lighting.
Feast for the palate: Goat cheese fritters, hoisin-marinated shrimp, oven-roasted rack of lamb, wood-fired pizza

RipTydz, Myrtle Beach 
Contemporary boardwalk establishment with sweeping beach views, nautical theme and ample outdoor seating.
Feast for your eyes: Enjoy unobstructed shoreline views as well as activity on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Ocean Boulevard. 
Feast for your palate: Fish tacos, shrimp scampi sandwich, crab and lobster steamer, garlic teriyaki pork chop

Drunken Jack’s, Murrells Inlet 
MarshWalk staple serving fresh seafood dishes, creative cocktails and scenic dining on the deck.
Feast for your eyes: Soak in views of the serene marshlands, festive boat traffic, MarshWalk activity and the beloved antics happening on adjacent Goat Island, home to frolicking goats during the warm-weather months. 
Feast for your palate: Inlet Po’ Boys, fried creek shrimp, prime rib, shrimp and grits

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 30 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.