This relaxed Italian eatery offers folks on the north end of the Grand Strand a welcome respite from a busy day at the beach. Known for its friendly and impeccable service as much as its delicious dishes from family recipes, Villa Tuscana brings a lot to the table, in more ways than one. An extensive win list offers a broad selection of whites and reds. True to the Tuscan theme, fresh seafood and game dishes are highlighted on the menu. House specialties include killer renditions of rabbit cacciatore, mahi mahi Mediterranean, grouper Florentine and veal Calabrese. Be sure to save room for dessert.
Recommended for Italian because: For those staying on the north end of town, Villa Tuscana is your best and closest option for great Italian.
Terry's expert tip: The kitchen staff does its best to accommodate any request, whether it's for a special pasta dish not listed on the menu or fish prepared a certain way.
Featuring an amazing wine collection to go with a superb menu, Chianti South is one the most authentic Italian restaurants you'll find on the Grand Strand. As a winner of the Wine Spectator's "Award of Excellence" as well as other accolades, Chianti South combines ambiance, excellent cuisine and an extensive wine list to create a romantic venue for those staying or willing to make the short drive to Little River. The menu features homemade pastas, fresh seafood, quail and steaks, as well as all the traditional Italian favorites. Wash it down with one of the many fine wines or with a drink from the full bar.
Recommended for Italian because: Despite its fringe location, Chianti South is well worth the drive from any part of the Strand.
Terry's expert tip: Ask for a private tour of the spacious wine cellar and prepare to be blown away.
Luigi's Trattoria 61st specialize in delicious and reasonably priced cuisine, including house specialties and other traditional favorites. The lasagna is among the best on the Strand. Situated off Kings Highway just far enough for a cozy screened-in porch on a quiet corner, Luigi's draws a mix of locals and tourists who have discovered the affordable family restaurant with a relaxed and welcoming environment. Whether you're in the mood to indulge in something new or just want to enjoy some old favorites, Luigi's will leave you satisfied. A table on the small screened porch is the perfect place for a romantic meal.
Recommended for Italian because: Luigi's might go overlooked because of its off-the-beaten-path location but Italian aficionados know to follow their noses.
Terry's expert tip: Feel like dining in? Luigi's has an adjoining market for take-out, including whole lasagnas you can bake at home.
This elegant Italian restaurant introduced the area to authentic Roman cuisine. In fact, the kitchen staff is comprised of native Romans), and each dish certainly catches the flavor and tradition of the Old Country. For something unique, try the veal Absolute, which is served with fresh mushrooms and cream sauce. There are also a number of superbly done baked and seafood specialties � eggplant parmigiana and stuffed flounder alla primavera, respectively. All dinners include homemade stracciatella soup, tomato bruschetta, dipping sauce, fresh garden salad and homemade rolls, and each beef, poultry, seafood or veal main is served with a side of spaghetti.
Recommended for Italian because: Villa Romano's menu is about as authentic as you will find without a trip to Rome.
Terry's expert tip: Occasional live accordion music sets a romantic mood for dinner.
Be prepared to be spoiled by excellent service and great food at the contemporary Italian-American restaurant, a regional chain in the Carolinas and Virginia that puts an emphasis on hospitality and local flavors. Featuring modern twists on traditional Italian favorites, Travinia Italian Kitchen combines the flavors of Italy with locally caught seafood and regionally grown ingredients to prepare a feast of freshness. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and the adjoining wine bar adds a touch of class to the casual atmosphere. The aroma of fresh-baked bread, wood-fired pizzas and unique blends of spices flood the sense for an enjoyable dining experience. An extensive menu and wine list ensure a party for your taste buds.
Recommended for Italian because: The combination of quality and quantity alone make this a place worth a visit.
Terry's expert tip: Come hungry. Just like a eating at an Italian family's house, no one leaves the table until they're completely full.
Overlooking the lake at the Barefoot Landing shopping complex, this "Pittsburgh-Italian Trattoria" has a good number of folks who deem themselves "regulars." After one visit, it's easy to understand why. Comfortably decorated and imminently friendly, Umberto's is the kind of place that puts folks right at ease and lets them focus on the important things ... Namely good wine, conversation and traditional dishes like osso buco Milanese and veal chops. Umberto's also offers all the traditional Italian favorites, such as pizza, spaghetti and lasagna, so it's a great place for picky kids and adults with a taste for something special.
Recommended for Italian because: Umberto's boasts that classic, old-school Italian atmosphere with a menu to match.
Terry's expert tip: Want to create your own dish? Just tell Umberto what you want and he will hook you up.
When you're in the mood for good times and great cuisine, check out Ciao Italian Restaurant. This small family restaurant is one of the best-kept secrets in Myrtle Beach and is located in one of the area's oldest neighborhoods and features a most pleasant setting. Ciao is known for its delightful staff and superb cuisine. The menu at Ciao features a wide array of classic Italian dishes and daily special selections. Ciao has established itself as one of the area's favorite culinary destinations, especially among Northern transplants who rave over its authenticity. If you have a taste for great Italian in a laid-back environment, pay Ciao a visit.
Recommended for Italian because: It's hard to go wrong with anything on the menu, but the daily specials are original and outstanding.
Terry's expert tip: Ciao has such a loyal local following that it's often hard to get a seat at dinner. On busier days, go for a late lunch.
The best Italian food in town comes in an unlikely location - a strip mall just off the beaten path of Restaurant Row. But once you enter the door it's like entering your Italian grandmother's home, with great food and friendly service that keeps locals and vacationers coming back time and again. Offering all the traditional Italian favorites, such as lasagna, linguini and clam sauce and ossobucco, Rossi's also specializes in nice cuts of beef and other meats that are seasoned and grilled to perfection. Rossi's also is a great place to make a full night out on the town by visiting the 88s Piano and Cigar Bar before or after dinner.
Recommended for Italian because: Longtime visitors don't leave Myrtle Beach without eating at Rossi's. A lot of locals are regulars too.
Terry's expert tip: After 31 years on Restaurant Row, Rossi's has relocated a couple of miles south to Northwoods Plaza.
The name may say Italian, but the sign out front says "Greatest Steaks in the Universe," and there are many repeat customers who will testify to that statement. Hand-cut Grade A steaks are cooked and served on a cast-iron skillet, sizzling their way all the way to your table and drawing the envy of those around you who wish they hadn't ordered the linguini. The Italian menu is vast and tasty, so this is a good place to come if you have folks with differing tastes in your party. But the steaks are what make this such a popular place among locals and tourists alike.
Recommended for Italian because: Angelo's is one place where steak-lovers, seafood fans and Italian aficionados can agree upon.
Terry's expert tip: A great spot for people with children in their party. Kids eat free from the Italian buffet with a paid adult.
Crave Italian Oven & Bar sets itself apart from the typical Italian restaurant and pizzeria with predictable menus. While many claim to serve authentic Italian cuisine, only Crave went the extra mile (make that thousands of miles) to import a rare European marble-slab oven. Named after one of the co-owner's mothers, Eleanor gets the credit for the crispy crust and unique flavor of Crave's pies. The hot marble slab provides the crunch pizza-lovers prefer, but without the dark charring of the crust that's common at brick-oven pizza parlors. But Eleanor makes more than pizza, and Crave's diverse menu offers a wide selection of Italian favorites in an elegant atmosphere, such as soups, salads and small plates that make great starters for sharing.
Recommended for Italian because: Crave isn't your stereotypical Italian restaurant - a must try for folks with adventurous taste buds.
Terry's expert tip: Crave's bar area features an extensive wine list and one of the best happy hours in town.