We all enjoy a casual meal with the family, telling jokes and reliving old memories but Valentine’s Day isn’t the time for a good burger or a chicken tender platter. You and the better half want to enjoy a nice meal, a little ambiance, and some quiet time together.
Fortunately, South Carolina’s Hammock Coast is the ideal place for a romantic dinner. Comprised of the beach communities of Murrells Inlet, Litchfield, Pawleys Island, and southern Garden City, as well as historic Georgetown, the Hammock Coast is home to some of the Palmetto State’s finest cuisine.
If you are looking for a dining experience this Valentine’s Day, here are 10 restaurants on the Hammock Coast where delicious cuisine pairs nicely with a romantic evening:
● The view from Gulfstream Café overlooking Murrells Inlet is arguably the area’s most stunning. The sun setting over the marsh is unforgettable, and we haven’t even started talking about the food. The menu is loaded with fresh seafood specials, including seasonal oysters. Gulfstream, located on the southern tip of Garden City, is a bucket-list meal.
● With its Mediterranean inspired menu and local art adorning the walls, Perrone’s is a Valentine’s Day favorite. Located in the Litchfield Beach community of Pawleys Island, Perrone’s always evolving menu features locally sourced ingredients and proteins that are hormone and antibiotic free. The eclectic offerings are the perfect complement to the setting, and the elk tenderloin, cooked sous vide to medium rare, comes highly recommended, as do the craft cocktails.
● White-linen tablecloths and candlelight set the mood for a meal at Frank’s, a Pawleys Island institution since 1988. Everything is outstanding, including the duck two ways: pan-roasted breast and house-made confit in red wine demi over a grit cake.
● Bistro 217 is another Pawleys Island favorite. Owner Adam Kirby has been selected as one of South Carolina’s “Chef Ambassadors,” an acknowledgement of the quality of his work at Bistro. The whole fried snapper appetizer is a house favorite and the local, cornmeal-encrusted flounder, served with pepper jack cheese grits, crawfish creole and fried okra, is a personal favorite.
● Overlooking the Sampit River along Georgetown’s historic waterfront, the River Room has long been a coastal tradition. River Room opened in 1984 and once you have the McClellanville Crab Cakes or the local grouper, you will immediately understand why it has been open for nearly 40 years.
● If you want outstanding Italian food, Costa in Murrells Inlet has to be near the top of the list. The dimly lit dining room accentuates beautiful woodwork, setting the stage for an evening that’s one part dinner, one part experience. Seafood, steaks, pasta, it’s all good at Costa.
● There are few more romantic ways to spend an evening than enjoying a great meal overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, which is what brings so many couples to Austin’s Ocean One, located on South Litchfield Beach. On a menu with seemingly endless options, the “Ring of Fire” pan-seared scallops and shrimp, served with shiitake fried rice, coconut, basil, spinach and sriracha, is a standout.
● The Claw House, a New England-style lobster house located along the famed Murrells Inlet MarshWalk, also offers stunning views and a raw bar. The focal point of many meals is the whole live lobster, but the seasonal oysters on the ½ shell are a close second.
● Serving Lowcountry specialties is a family tradition at Hanser House, located in Litchfield. Fresh local seafood and hand-cut steaks are a winning combination for nearly every couple. The Hanser House She Crab Soup is the perfect way to start an evening that includes the shrimp and grit entree and Brownie a la Mode dessert (no, you shouldn’t be counting calories on Valentine’s Day!).
● Another member restaurant on Murrells Inlet’s MarshWalk, Bovine’s delights locals and visitors alike with wood-fired specialties that include steak and fresh, local seafood. The waterfront views set the tone for a memorable evening that is highlighted by the 8-ounce filet.
The options for a romantic meal along the Hammock Coast, one of South Carolina’s culinary hotspots, doesn’t end with these 10 restaurants, but they are a great place to start.
For more information on South Carolina’s Hammock Coast®, visit www.HammockCoastSC.com.
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