Sweet, succulent shrimp—it’s no secret that South Carolinians are crazy for them. For breakfast, lunch or dinner, plates of plump shrimp are served up at a frenzied pace by restaurants across the state. We eat them in sandwiches, plop them on our grits and rice, dip them in sauces, pickle them, put them in tacos, add them to soups, and make them stars of cool summer salads. We boil them, fry them, steam them, grill them, broil them and blacken them. Along our northernmost shorelines, they are prepared Calabash style, a favorite among shrimp lovers who like them fried up in a light, crusty batter and served in a satisfying heap.
Our marsh-rich coastal areas mean chances are good you’re getting fresh catch when you place your order, especially if you’re dining by the water. Shrimp season in South Carolina typically begins with a formal blessing of the trawlers in the spring, a ritual in which the public and shrimpers come together to pray for safety and abundance. Yes—we take shrimping seriously.
Our weather allows for a long shrimp season. But even in the off-season, an impressive number of chefs and restauranteurs are dedicated to sourcing the freshest shrimp available. Here is a list of seafood eateries with a reputation for serving fresh shrimp just right. It’s a long list, but only a partial representation—a testament to the remarkable aesthetic of South Carolina’s seafood restaurants.