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Four Fine-Dining Restaurants Highlight Hammock Coast’s Thriving Culinary Scene

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South Carolina enjoys a national reputation for the quality of its food and some of the Palmetto State’s finest restaurants and chefs call the Hammock Coast home.

The epicenter of the area’s thriving culinary scene is Pawleys Island, where an eclectic mix of restaurants provide a mouth-watering array of choices for foodies. For vacationers looking for a fine dining experience, Pawleys Island is a great place to start.

The area’s casual charm provides a relaxed environment to enjoy a meal capable rivaling the best “big city” dining experiences, and here are four of Pawleys Island’s best restaurants.

— The experience at a fine dining restaurant extends beyond the food and that’s certainly case at Austin’s Ocean One, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Inside a dining room that features nearly floor to ceiling windows to highlight those stunning views, executive chef Bill Austin offers a seasonal menu that is long on fresh seafood and hand-cut steaks. The pistachio and ginger crusted grouper, which is complemented by a Thai basil and blue crab sauce, risotto and baby beans, comes highly recommended.

Austin’s One earned a Travelers’ Choice award from TripAdvisor in 2020 and reviewers continue to rave.

“I had the lobster bisque, red snapper and Godiva chocolate mousse. They have an in-house sommelier. Wonderfully good food, good views and good service,” reads a 5-star TripAdvisor.com review.

Bistro 217, whose owner and executive chef, Adam Kirby was named one of South Carolina’s “Chef Ambassadors” in 2017, draws its inspiration from Southern and Pacific Rim foods, a combination that has delighted diners for years. On a menu full of memorable entrees, the 217 Eggplant Treasure Chest is a favorite. Local shrimp, scallops and grouper are served in a basil parmesan cream sauce over fried eggplant.

In a recent 5-star TripAdvisor evaluation, Karenstravel61 raved, “Loved the menu selection. Creative variations on classics. Everything was amazingly delicious. All 4 of us ordered different entrees and loved them. Soups great. Homemade ice cream was awesome. Great service.”

— For more than 30 years, Frank’s has been at the center of the Hammock Coast dining scene, and it’s as good now as it has ever been. The homemade jalapeno pimento cheese, served with wonton chips, will start your meal with a little spice, and the 8-ounce USDA prime filet mignon is the perfect entree for a memorable night out.

“It always feels like a special evening when we have dinner at Franks Outback,” FrequentFlier183545 said in one of the 943 5-star reviews Frank’s has received on TripAdvisor.com. “The ambiance is dressy/causal but dignified.”

Perrone’s touts itself as providing “world cuisine with a Mediterranean focus.” While the menu may draw inspiration from around the globe, Perrone’s specializes in local, organically sourced food and proteins that are hormone and antibiotic free. The seafood risotto, which features butter poached new Bedford scallops and local shrimp, is a favorite, as are the steaks, but if you want something a little different, don’t pass up the elk rib chops. The elk chops are certified cervena, double-cut, bone-in and pasture raised. They are cooked sous-vide and topped with a lingonberry-port sauce. Yes, it’s as good as it sounds.

“One of the best restaurants in the country! Beautiful decor, food that will compare to any of the best restaurants in the country! The bar is incredible with expert mixologist and vast wine list. I love this place,” garymW4202AS gushed in a 5-star evaluation of Perrone’s.

The quality of the fine dining in Pawleys Island matches the beauty of its stunning beach, which is saying something.

For a comprehensive look at the Hammock Coast dining scene, which also includes Murrells Inlet, the “Seafood Capital of South Carolina,” and the waterfront beauty of historic Georgetown, go to https://hammockcoastsc.com/dine/

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