From Georgetown to North Myrtle Beach, the best places to eat along South Carolina's beautiful Grand Strand aren't always beachfront. In between sunbathing and swimming, make time to venture off the beaten path and discover some of the Palmetto State's culinary hidden gems.
In the seaside gem of Georgetown, you'll find Alfresco Georgetown Bistro across the street from Fogel Wharf, offering classic Italian favorites, fresh seafood dishes and a large wine selection. From Mussels Allimone to Cappasanta Saltimbocca (zucchini spaghetti and sautéed spinach topped with prosciutto-wrapped scallops), Alfresco is an Italian-lover's paradise.
Just a couple blocks down sits Sweeties Sweets, a local institution and home of the area's most famous pralines, toffees and chocolates. No matter what you're craving, the smiling faces of Sweeties are sure to have something to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Eat where the locals eat in Georgetown and enjoy fresh local clams, oysters and shrimp, the famous whole fried flounder, handpicked blue crab or a wide variety of seasonal beer selections at the Big Tuna Restaurant & Bar. Sit on the waterfront and watch as the boats dock in the Sampit River, sip a cold one and enjoy some of the area's freshest seafood.
If you're looking for fine dining in Pawleys Island with a casual atmosphere, Bistro 217 offers a menu that's both eclectic and full of upscale Southern dishes, including She-crab soup, fried green tomatoes with bleu cheese, local flounder with pepper jack cheese grits and a tasting of oyster varieties accompanied by cucumber wasabi mignonette.
Farther north in Murrell's Inlet, the Seafood Capital of South Carolina, you'll find Captain Dave's Dockside - featuring a waterfront dining experience right on the inlet and a fresh local seafood and shellfish menu that's received acclaim from Discover Boating and Southern Living magazine.
Myrtle Beach's first authentic gastropub, Fire & Smoke features unique, sophisticated cuisine that emphasizes fresh, local ingredients, as well as "comfort food revisited": lobster cobbler, smoked chicken mac and cheese and buffalo meatloaf.
A little ways inland, you'll find Rivertown Bistro in historic downtown Conway, South Carolina, serving up upscale American cuisine, specialty cocktails, fresh seafood, steaks, pastas and, of course, homemade desserts like Two Chocolate Whiskey Pie and sour cream pound cake.
North Myrtle Beach is home to one of South Carolina's most award-winning restaurants, SeaBlue Tapas Restaurant. In addition to receiving Wine Spectator's Best of Award of Excellence in both 2012 and 2013, this sophisticated tapas-style restaurant was named one of the Top 100 Best Restaurants in America by Open Table Reviewers in 2013. Whether you fancy the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, Chocolate Chili Dusted Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast or the chef's six-course tasting menu with wine pairings, SeaBlue is sure to be a dining experience you won't soon forget.