Seafood, seafood, seafood with some barbecue, burgers, steaks and pizza to round things out—that likely covers all the bases when folks think about Myrtle Beach cuisine. Not to take away from our fabulous fresh seafood tradition (nor the top-notch lineup of other favorites that cater to the American appetite), but there’s something important that needs to be noted here: Myrtle Beach is a melting pot of tasty dining deserving of the spotlight.
While pho, schnitzel and pierogi might not spring to mind when you plan your beach vacation, do yourself a favor and seek out a little something different from one of the city’s many cultural culinary hotspots. After all, one can not live by shrimp alone, right? (OK—bad example considering the superiority of South Carolina shrimp.) But you can certainly get your fill of local shrimp—and barbecue, burgers, steaks and pizza—and still immerse yourself in an international foodie adventure that compares admirably to dining experiences found in larger metropolitan areas.
Myrtle Beach’s diversity is showing and it sure is delicious. Partake in the smorgasbord and discover some of the best global eats around when you dine at these and other restaurants with an ethnic focus:
Athena's Bar & Grill
Lowdown: This family-owned operation, tucked behind Family Kingdom amusement park, is a local favorite for taste bud-popping Filipino dishes like palabok (a spicy rice and noodle concoction) and chicken bihon (another rice noodle dish served with crispy lumpia—the Filipino version of spring rolls). American standbys like cheeseburgers share billing on the menu.
Vibe: Casual, sports bar
Cafe Old Vienna
Lowdown: Run by a husband-and-wife team with an extensive background in the Austrian food industry, Cafe Old Vienna is renowned for serving authentic sauerbraten, schnitzels, Viennese goulash, bratwurst, strudels and more. A kids' menu is available.
Vibe: Alpine lodge with a dog-friendly beer garden
Lowdown: Chicken, veal and fresh local seafood get the expert Italian treatment at Ciao. Marsala, piccata, eggplant and all your favorite pasta dishes are here, along with fresh salads and an exciting appetizer lineup headed by spicy veal-stuffed peppers—a customer favorite.
Vibe: Intimate, cozy, Old World
Habibi’s Cafe and International Lebanese Market
Lowdown: Keep your eyes peeled for this iconic cafe and market located on Waccamaw Boulevard as you enter Myrtle Beach. (Many folks stop on the way in or out to pick up meals.) The bustling family-owned hub for all things Lebanese will not disappoint: baba ganoojh (a roasted eggplant and tahini dish), labneh (spicy kefir cheese spread), kibbee (ground lamb and wheat meatballs), dolmeh (stuffed grape leaves), kebabs and more are yours for the asking at very modest prices. Check out the adjoining market for myriad interesting goods as well as a comprehensive selection of olives and spices.
Vibe: Paper-plate casual
Jerusalem Mediterranean Restaurant & Bar
Lowdown: Mediterranean favorites like kofta (herbed meatballs), chicken shish tawook, (spiced marinated chicken cooked over an open flame), and Moroccan fish (seasoned salmon cooked in a sauce of red chili peppers, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro and lemon) are some of the many authentic dishes you can experience here.
Vibe: Exotic, Moroccan-style dining room with belly dancers and a harpist for live entertainment on designated nights
Masala Indian Bistro
Cuisine: Contemporary Indian
Lowdown: The deeply rooted traditions of India get a modern touch at Masala, where the old ways of food preparation—charcoal tandoori grilling, braising, pickling and pressure cooking—are still honored. Sauces, stocks and chutneys are house-made, the spices, freshly ground, and breads like naan are cooked to order. Mulligatawny soup (spicy lentil), samosas (crisp pastries filled with spicy potatoes and peas), and various chicken, lamb, goat, shrimp and rice dishes abound. Vindaloo, masala and curry are popular among the spice-seeking crowd.
Vibe: Rustic, warm, intimate
Lowdown: Get your gyro on or dig in to savory Greek dishes like mousaka (eggplant and meat casserole), pastichio (noodle casserole), roasted Greek chicken, spanakopita (spinach, feta and eggs wrapped in phyllo dough), tiropita (feta and eggs wrapped in phyllo dough) and avgolemono (lemon and chicken) soup, among other dishes from the islands.
Vibe: Casual cafe
Mojitos Bar & Grill
Lowdown: Killer mojitos are a definite draw, but the food gets high marks from fans of Cuban eats, too. Tostones (fried slices of green plantain), chicharron (pork cracklings), Caribbean curry, black bean soup, mofongo (spicy mashed plantains served with garlic chicken or shrimp) and everybody’s favorite, classic Cuban pork sandwiches, are among the dishes that keep Latin lovers coming back for more.
Vibe: Miami-esque, casual
Lowdown: Dig in to thoughtfully prepared, traditional Vietnamese fare at Pho Claire. The menu features authentic noodle bowls, pho, rice dishes and bánh mi—hearty, baguette-style sandwiches filled with grilled meats, pickled vegetables, herbs, peppers and other additions. Take a booth or table and order up something fresh and tasty. Try a bubble tea while you wait.
Vibe: Bright, inviting, casual
Lowdown: Have a passion for pierogi? (Who doesn’t?) Well, you’ll think you landed in pierogi heaven at Pulaski’s. Cabbage rolls, kielbasa, kraut and potato pancakes are in high demand here, too. The menu also includes a variety of subs and hot sandwiches.
Vibe: Down and deli
Sobaya Japanese Bistro
Lowdown: This is Japanese done right. Agedashi tofu (deep-fried tofu and mushrooms in sauce), gyoza (pan-fried dumplings stuffed with meats or vegetables), rice bowls, tempuras, stir-frys, oodles of noodles and other dishes will satisfy your craving for Asian delights.
Vibe: Bright, casual, quaint
Sol y Luna
Cuisine: South American
Lowdown: Shrimp ceviche, anyone? This restaurant has you covered on ceviche and other flavorful Latin eats like pupusas (stuffed Salvadoran corn tortillas), empanadas (fried dough pockets filled with spicy meats) and heftier dishes like pollo guisado—Latin-style chicken sauteed with fresh tomatoes and vegetables and served with rice. There’s a Peruvian seafood platter, too, with shrimp, calamari and fish topped with pickled onions and mango salsa—tasty!
Vibe: Energetic, casual
Sun City Cafe
Lowdown: A gem in downtown Myrtle Beach, this cafe serves up some of the best tacos around: fresh, generously filled fish, shrimp, beef and chicken tacos and quesadillas. Great guacamole and pico de gallo, too.
Vibe: Colorful, fun, eclectic
Lowdown: No need for a fancy name—one bite, and you’ll know this is the real deal. Hoy-tod (crispy pancake with mussels and sriracha), shrimp volcano (grilled shrimp, spicy-sweet sauce served sizzling on a hot pan), basil frog legs (self-explanatory), lamb choo-chee (red curry lamb) and other exotic Asian dishes are sure to thrill your palate.
Vibe: Friendly, casual, inviting
The Ole' Irish Pub
Lowdown: Satisfying Irish pub grub served hot and fresh from the kitchen. You’ll find all the usual suspects skillfully prepared: Shepherd’s pie, Guinness stew, fish ’n’ chips and bangers and mash (sausages, mashed potatoes and gravy). Irish ex-pats are said to swear by this one.
Vibe: Fun, cozy pub