As far as oyster shacks go, this is about as good as it gets. Located in a strip mall just off Restaurant Row, Bimini's doesn't look like much from the outside - or the inside, for that matter. Picnic tables fill the small space and the patio deck and the decor is far from fine dining. But the proof is in the food, and Bimini's does not disappoint. Famous for its fresh shrimp and oysters, Bimini's doesn't do fancy - just good portions of fresh seafood served the way you like it. Grab a beer from the bar and soak up the beach atmosphere of good times and great food.
Recommended for Best Value because: Bimini's is the best deal in town amid a sea of overpriced seafood establishments.
Terry's expert tip: Sunday afternoons during the season sees the best oyster roast in town - all-you-can-eat for $15 and cheap draft beer specials.
Named after the famous cartoon character with an affinity for sandwiches stacked to the ceiling, Dagwood's Deli follows the same recipe for a longtime, lunch-time favorite that has patrons lined up out the door. Beat the rush by calling ahead and picking up a picnic package that won't leave you hungry. Offering deli meats that are sliced on site, fresh deli bread big enough to hold a skyscraper and all the veggies and fixings, Dagwood's keeps them coming back for more by being more than generous with the ingredients. Grab some chips, fries or pasta salad to go with it and enjoy the feast. Wash it all down with a cold drink or beer.
Recommended for Best Value because: Many visitors can make two meals out of one sandwich at Dagwood's.
Terry's expert tip: If you have time to dine in, be sure to check out the adjoining Bumstead's Pub.
One of Murrells Inlet's tastiest cafe's isn't located on the inlet. Instead, Salt Creek cafe focuses more on cuisine from the creeks and swamplands of the South Carolina Lowcountry than the ships that sail out to sea. Featuring shrimp, crab and oyster dishes, all harvested from local waters, Salt Creek Cafe creates some outstanding Southern dishes using fresh seafood, produce and meats. For those who prefer land food, Salt Creek does it all. The extensive menu ranges from meat loaf and mashed potatoes to shrimp and grits. The lounge is also a popular gathering spot, offering scenic views of a neighboring creek.
Recommended for Best Value because: This Murrells Inlet establishment offers affordability and quality under one roof.
Terry's expert tip: Check out the popular happy hour specials on both food and drinks.
Break the burgers-and-fries routine for some excellent Japanese cuisine that's good to go in more ways than one. Chef and owner Jimmy is a bit of a local legend, operating several other Japanese restaurants and catering services over the years, but now he has his own place and a loyal local following. Patrons can dine in, but the carry-out window makes for a quick and convenient way to enjoy a hot meal at home or your hotel room. Choose from a wide range of meats and vegetables, including steak, shrimp, grouper, chicken and pork with mixed veggies over fried rice or garlic soy noodles.
Recommended for Best Value because: No one gets more creative with the egg than Eggs Up.
Terry's expert tip: To feed the whole family for less, the triple combination dinner allows you to pick three meats with veggies and rice for less than $15.
For more than 40 years, The Chesapeake House has been bringing a taste of Maryland to Myrtle Beach masses. Serving fresh local seafood served in the tradition of the Chesapeake Bay area, this family-owned and operated establishment also offers the flavors of the South Carolina Lowcountry for a unique dining experience. Enjoy the crab legs, deviled crab, crab cakes and the house special Lobster Pie for a taste of Maryland, or the fresh catch cooked any way you want it and the Calabash-style shrimp for great Carolina cuisine. The seafood chowder and hot hushpuppies are also house favorites.
Recommended for Best Value because: It's hard to find an authentic Italian meal that's also affordable, but Villa Romana makes it happen.
Terry's expert tip: Be sure to check out the huge aquarium and the alligators in the lake outside the dining room windows.
Located on the ground floor of a hotel convention center, this restaurant draws lots of locals who only venture downtown in the summer months if there's something really good waiting for them. This buffet-style eatery serves three hots a day, but breakfast may be its best offering. Hot grits, gravy and biscuits along with eggs, bacon, sausage give guests a true taste of the South to start their days. Fresh fruit and French toast are available for those with a morning sweet tooth. The friendly service and atmosphere make this place well worth waking up to on your vacation.
Recommended for Best Value because: Locals have adopted this place as their own so you know the food is good at Magnolia's.
Terry's expert tip: Magnolia's leaves the breakfast bar open later on the weekends so an early afternoon brunch yields the bonus of both breakfast and lunch served simultaneously.
Soul food doesn't get much more soulful than a Big Mike's, which features classic Southern cooking mixed with Southern hospitality to create a special place for locals and tourists alike. Named for owner and Myrtle Beach City Councilman Mike Chestnut, this place is packed with movers and shakers from the city rubbing elbows with everyday lunch lovers. For only $8.95, diners get their choice of one meat (fried pork chops or chicken, meat loaf, etc.) , three veggies (mashed potatoes, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, etc.) and a drink. Belly up to the lunch counter or bring a big party and grab a table for an enjoyable experience and some of the best food this side of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Recommended for Best Value because: It's hard to find good comfort food at an affordable price in Myrtle Beach, but Big Mike's does it up right.
Terry's expert tip: Don't even bother with the regular menu unless you just like to read. The daily specials board is the best option for ordering.
Calabash is not only the name of the North Carolina fishing village located just north of the Carolina border; it's also a style of preparing fresh seafood that has become famous around the world. Ella's, which has been around as long as most folks can remember, was one of the places that put Calabash-style seafood - featuring large portions of fresh fish, shrimp and shellfish lightly battered and deep-fried - on the map. Accompanied by its world-famous hushpuppies, Ella's serves great seafood in a relaxed, family-friendly setting. Toss in the reasonable prices and it's easy to see why Ella's still draws big crowds year-round.
Recommended for Best Value because: Many Myrtle Beach locals drive past dozens of seafood restaurants to go to Ella's.
Terry's expert tip: If you don't mind making the 30-minute drive from Myrtle Beach, it's worth it to see Calabash's historic waterfront and downtown.
This downtown Myrtle Beach institution has been serving locals and tourists hot, home-style meals for more than a half-century, which is about how long you'll want to stay and eat off the country buffet. From freshly prepared pancakes, eggs, fried potatoes, sausage, bacon, French toast and fresh fruit for breakfast to a wide selection of meats and vegetables for lunch and dinner, Mammy's has it all. Don't be fooled by a new restaurant by the same name a few blocks away on Ocean Boulevard. The real Mammy's has been at the same location, on the corner of Kings Highway and Mr. Joe White Avenue, for decades.
Recommended for Best Value because: Mammy's has been in continuous operation for more than 60 years, so their obviously doing something right.
Terry's expert tip: Located two blocks from the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, Mammy's also serves as a parking lot for downtown visitors. Diners get a discount.
A perennial favorite, Hamburger Joe's provides more bang for your buck than most other Grand Strand eateries, so it's perfect if you're on a budget. In fact, you can probably afford to splurge and get some wings and a beer along with your cheeseburger, which comes heaped with slaw, chili, onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles, or whatever combination you'd prefer. Kids enjoy the fried bologna sandwich, hot dog, or grilled cheese; grown-ups appreciate the onion rings - and the fact that they can get a rum and coke or a Long Island Iced Tea with their burger or BLT. The screen-in back porch also offers spectacular views of the salt marsh.
Recommended for Best Value because: Even something as simple as a burger and fries make a great meal and deal at Hamburger Joe's
Terry's expert tip: Hamburger Joe's offers $1 domestic drafts ALL THE TIME! Big parties can save money buying discounted pitchers.