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Any actual Chow-like places in Myrtle Beach?

We'll be in MB for a few days in early May, our second trip. We understand why its restaurants overwhelmingly cater to the tourist, shovel-it-in, the more the better, grease is good, cheap is good, let's go the place with the garish sign outside, crowd, But we'd like to maybe find one or two true Chow-friendly places. I've looked at the previous threads, but the advice too often seems suspect to me, as in "we were in MB and LOVED the great buffet at the place with the 30 foot pirate sign outside, except for the 200 cars in the parking lot."

Are there any places in MB that:

-actually are patronized to a reasonable degree by locals who appreciate what good food is, and to whom quantity is not a criterion for "good"?

-do not rely on coupons and special offers as a core part of their business model?

-emphasize good food, not decor and gimmicks, to attract clients

Nothing fancy. Holes-in-the-wall, ethnic, honest greasy spoon, very casual, etc etc are fine, even preferred. We also have a couple of dogs along, so being pet-friendly or at least able to get in and out in reasonable time, is helpful.

We'll be staying in a place about 3-4 miles south of the airport, but driving isn't a problem.

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  1. Note that I'm by no means a local but have been down to MB once or twice a year for the past 7 years....That disclaimer out of the way, here's a few places I'd recommend. They generally are upscale & tend toward N. Myrtle Beach but worth a trip:

    Joe's Bar & Grill is my favorite place in MB & the one I make sure to hit when I go. Good steaks & seafood in an almost hunting lodge setting on the marsh. Tucked behind an Olive Garden in N. Myrtle Beach

    Chianti South is actually north in Little River & has some good Italian food (I feel like I need to append a "for the south"). They make their own pasta, which is a nice touch though they are pricey.

    Sea Captain's House is more touristy but they are right on the beach & the food is all right. I included them because they have an excellent she crab soup & are closer to where you'll be.

    I'm also curious to hear what others recommend as it's only a matter of time before I'm back.....

    Joe's Bar & Grill
    810 Conway St, North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582

    Chianti South
    2109 Hwy-17 N, Little River, SC 29566

    Sea Captain's House
    3002 N Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

    1. It has been years since I was there, but still I think Murrell's Inlet is full of chow-like places. A friend brings me she crab soup from Wallace Lee's (or Lee's Inlet Kitchen) and it is as delicious as it always was.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Lewes17266

        I will say the last meal I had at Sea Captains last summer was horrible. Long wait and cold food. I've had many good meals and fond memories over the years there but it seems like they are only interested in herding people in and out.

        1. re: webvanman

          Yeah, it was good about thirty years ago. They've expanded and expanded again and ruined it. Used to be my go to place but that's all in the long ago past.

      2. Based on your criteria I would say Croissants Bistro & Bakery would be a place you would like (http://www.croissants.net/cgi-bin/new...). Don't think they allow pets inside though.

        For an honest greasy spoon experience head to Prosser's in Murrells Inlet. It's a buffet but it's good anyway. (3750 Hwy 17 Business, Murrel's Inlet, SC) I'd guess their clientele is 95% local. If you go be sure to go into Murrells Inlet proper. If you take the bypass around Murrells you'll miss it. It'll be on the right if you're heading south.

        Also in Murrells is the Inlet Crab House ( 3572 Hwy 17 Business). Laid back local favorite.

        1. Here's another local fave. Toffino's Deli & Bakery. They get busy at lunch. Here's their site: http://www.toffinos.com/toffinos_unde...

          Owned and operated by northern transplants of Italian extraction.

          1. I suggest Salt Creekon Hwy 17 bypass of Murrell's Inlet (not in Murrell's Inlet itself) Owned by a couple who have lived in the area for quite a few years. Great deals on happy hour and early bird.

            4 Replies
            1. re: LGD

              Y'all know I agree with Salt Creek. It is my local place to go.The food is outstanding and the service is great.....also they have outdoor seating which has yard right next to it that may be helpful with having the dogs.
              There is a new place down here in the inlet that is pet friendly....shellcrackers? or something like that ... I saw a snippet about it somewhere but I have not been ...well because I dont have a pet.
              I don't know of anywhere else that would let you bring a pet in ...isn't that against code?

              I ate at Lee's last night and it was delish as always! I had soft shell crabs last njght and red clam chowder....so very good!

              1. re: LaLa

                LaLa, I saw The Sun's online coverage of the fires. How is it there? I apologize for being abusive here but I couldn't resist.

                1. re: Lewes17266

                  It was scary up that direction.... I feel so sorry for all those people.

                  1. re: LaLa

                    It is hard to even imagine such horror. They must be in shock. I am so sorry for them.

            2. I have been to Dino's Pancake House in NORTH Myrtle Beach the last 2 years on Mothers Day (May) and couldn't have been more pleased with both our food and the quality of service, even on one of their busiest days of the year. For example, 2 years ago, we had everything we ordered arrive at the table within 6 minutes of when our order was taken--it doesn't get much better than that. And the gregarious, ebullient hostess (wife of the owner) is a real trip--you won't forget her. Scope it out--only open for breakfast.

              1. As a local who eats out, this is my list. I tend to go to places on the south end because that is where I live.

                E Noodles
                Divine Fish House
                Creek Ratz (seafood)
                Prossers BBQ (OMG the buffet, home cooking like you've never had)
                High Hammock
                Mr. Fish

                2 Replies
                1. re: BlueHerons

                  As a local, I could not, in good faith, recommend High Hammock as anything other than tourist class. Boring! Not half as good as its sisters in Charleston. And Frank's is too loud and too much of the charlotte wannabe scene. Food is pretty good but we don't go till very late fall. Bistro 217 is excellent; Chive Blossom; Rocco's is excellent!!!! Emi has excellent japanese fusion and fresh sushi.

                2. I lived in MB on the south end a few years ago and would recommend heading to Murrells Inlet for dinner. The crab house was good (a hole-in-the-wall), as was Divine Fish House and Lee's Kitchen. Also, Fish Camp and Franks in Pawleys Island. Outside of Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island, MB leaves a lot to be desired in the culinary realm.

                  1. I live south of myrtle so most of recommendations are down at that end. Tommy Bahama cafe at market Commons has a great happy hour (a little pricey for dinner though and obviously a chain.) Prosser's in Murrells Inlet is a definite. LaPlaya in Pawley's Island is great for Mexican. Nico's in Garden City is good for Italian, just don't be put off by the appearance. Bangkok House in Myrtle has decent Thai at really cheap prices. The Island Bar and Grill in Surfside has the best burgers around and they're $3 all day Saturday. The Steaks at Angelo's in Myrtle are really good - just stay away from the Italian side of the menu. There's a fantastic breakfast place in Surfside called Jenny's. Is there a particular food group/cuisine that you enjoy? I might be able to point you in the right direction

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: ReggieL.

                      Thanks Reggie for asking and thanks to everyone who has posted--many good recommendations so I have some hope we will find some good things, in contrast to our previous trip.

                      I like just about any version of Asian cuisine, including Indian. Also pizza, burgers, seafood, really just about anything. Unfortunately my sweetie isn't in to spicy as much as I, so we need places where she can get milder things. We are more interested in diners and dives than fancy. Any additional recommendations will be gratefully received, but there are many that seem good already.

                      The dog thing is mainly that we never leave them but always take them along when we go out, so they usually have to stay in the truck which is why we prefer not to take too long anywhere we eat out. Many thanks for the dog-friendly Shell Crackers recommendation above--we will certainly try that.

                      1. re: johnb

                        The only real advice is to leave Myrtle itself and head south and by south I mean as little as a few miles. Once you get into Surfside things get much better dining wise. 17 business in surfside has a couple of pretty good places - The Stadium Club is my current favorite - nothing special, just good sandwiches and cheap beer. Just ate there last night with my girlfriend, had potato skins, a tuna sub, a steak sandwich on an onion roll (which was fantastic) and 3 beers for $20. As previously recommended, Jenny's on Glen's Bay road is fantastic for breakfast. The lunch always looks great too, just not great enough for me to stop ordering breakfast. The Island Bar is definitely a dive, but for bar food, it can't be beat. I take all of my out of town guests to Prosser's and they all love it. Good luck, just avoid the chains and Chinese buffets. Once you're out of Myrtle, the chances of finding a really crappy restaurant really go down. Explore, that's part of the fun of being on vacation, right?

                        1. re: ReggieL.

                          The Crystal Light Cafe across from the waterpark in Surfside is excellent. Really good and fantasic looking baked goods.

                          1. re: BlueHerons

                            I have been wondering about this place, I will have to give it a whirl.

                    2. I agree, Salt Creek Cafe is good. For Asian/Thai, try Black Thai. They'll give you a choice as to how hot you want your dinner. Mr. Fish is outstanding - try the shrimp platter - fresh, good-sized, with just a very light coating. Sun City Cafe is good also. ]
                      On MyrtleBeachCompass.com, you'll find lots of recs and info on what's happening with new and established places. Today they mentioned New York Diner on 17 bypass near Inlet Square Mall - sounds interesting.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: BeachBacchus

                        Salt Creek Cafe has been mentioned on this post many times for good reason ..Thier staks ,seafood are outstanding .@ some point they may need more space to seat the crowd .a must stop

                      2. We went to Sea Captains House last summer and it was horrible. The shrimp salad was nothing more than shrimp tossed with mayonnaise. It was overpriced and we left hungry. I will never go back. We also ate at a place off of the pier in Cherry Grove and it wasn't any good either. I think some of these places need to up their game or my tastes are just different. One of the places that we ate at twice and enjoyed each and every bite at was Greg Norman's Australian Grille. Excellent food, excellent service and wonderful atmosphere. Beef Wellington was some of the best I have every had. The glazed and grilled salmon with risotto was enough to bring us back twice. Prime rib was phenomonal. I highly recommend this restaurant. Not a hole in a wall by any means, and I am sure it is a chain, but everything is great. Do not pass up dessert if you go here either. The chocolate souffle was amazing.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: momofthreems

                          I just got back from 10 days at MB and ate the Sea Captains House twice. I loved it both times. I got the she crab soup the first visit and it was delicious. I got their seafood platter and it was wonderful. Oh and those hushpuppies- they are addicting. I had excellent service both times and did not have to wait for a table.

                        2. There's a Spanish language circular called Enlace that covers Myrtle Beach and parts of NC that typically has ads for lots of taquerias and such in MB. You should be able to find it in most any tienda.