Myrtle Beach Restaurants Offer Healthy Alternatives to Traditional Beach Fare



There's nothing tastier and healthier than fresh seafood, and Myrtle Beach has more than you can eat. But take a nice portion of fish and shrimp, dredge them through egg wash and corn meal, fry them in hot grease and add on some fries, hushpuppies and slaw with some tartar and cocktail sauce and you've got meal that's high in unnecessary fat and calories.

That traditional style of cooking, known locally and nationally as Calabash after the neighboring town of Calabash, N.C., dominates the seafood scene in Myrtle Beach. But the latest health food trends are gaining a foothold against the seafood buffets and fried-everything factories. New restaurants have sprung up along the Grand Strand offering lighter fare, like the Flying Fish Public Market & Grill, and established eateries have upgraded their menus to serve healthier alternatives to the fried seafood platter, such as Carolina Roadhouse and Collector's Cafe.

And it's not just seafood that's getting a healthier makeover. Even some of the older restaurants are switching to or adding on healthy choices to their menus. The Asian fusion trend has also sparked the opening of several hibachi and sushi restaurants, such as Black Thai and King Kong Sushi. And celebrity themed restaurants opened by famed golfers Greg Norman and Sam Snead and singer Jimmy Buffett have gotten into the game of serving dishes that are both good to eat and good for you.



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Legendary crooner Jimmy Buffett sang about this mythical place back in the 1970s, and now it has become a reality. Margaritaville is everything Buffett sang about and more, featuring shrimp that are beginning to boil and generous servings of frozen concoctions that help you hang on. Located in the Heroes Harbour section of Broadway at the Beach, just below a tall lighthouse and beside a mock shipwreck, walking through the doors is like taking a trip to the Caribbean with Buffett himself. There's always a party going on in the huge bar and outdoor deck, where live music plays nightly during the summer months. The dining area is decorated in typical tropical style and the menu, loaded with fresh seafood, salads, sandwiches, and music are inspired by the life and times of Buffett.


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A huge favorite among the locals, this restaurant features baby-back ribs and grilled steaks, along with a good variety of seafood. An open kitchen and great atmosphere make this a must on your casual dining list. Steaks are front and center on the menu, featuring a wide variety of cuts, seasonings and toppings, like sauteed onions and mushrooms. The prime rib is tender and juicy and served with a spicy au jus. The menu also features a wide selection of chicken, pork and pasta dishes. Due to its popularity, you should probably call ahead or be prepared to endure a long wait during the summer months.


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Sam Snead's Oak Grill & Tavern
Photo courtesy of Sam Snead's Oak Tavern & Grill


 

Legendary golfer Sam Snead lends his name and legacy to this Carolina Forest-area establishment. This new restaurant, not affiliated with the former Sam Snead's Grill that was located on Restaurant Row, pays tribute to golf's first common man for the common fan. The restaurant is filled with memorabilia from Snead's career, and the dining room and lounge have a classic clubhouse feel. The food is what makes Sam Snead's special, with a menu filled with steaks and chops with a unique oak-fired flavor. Pork tenderloin and prime rib are among the many offerings, along with a full line of salads, sandwiches and starters.


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Jimmyz Japanese Hibachi House
Photo courtesy of Jimmyz Japanese Hibachi House


 

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.


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Collectors Cafe


 

Part art museum and part restaurant, Collector's Cafe serves classic American cuisine worthy of a work of art. Fresh seafood and chops are the centerpieces on a diverse menu that includes lobster, yellow fin tuna, and filet medallions topped with lump crab meet and a creamy bernaise sauce. Creative dishes and daily specials allow patrons to try some artistic twists on traditional menus. Making use of fresh seafood and cuts of prime beef, Collector's makes it tough to choose just one dish from an extensive menu. Doubling as an art gallery, Collector's also offers a romantic atmosphere for those looking for a nice night out.


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Greg Norman's Australian Grill


 

The famed golfer shows he also has a flair for food at his namesake restaurant, which brings the flavors from the Land Down Under to the coast of South Carolina. Sample dishes native to his country, like the pan-seared prawns, grilled rack of lamb and the Brisbane-seasoned filet, along with American classics. Norman traveled millions of miles during his golf career and his restaurant is a reflection of some of his favorite dishes and experiences. Located on the Intracoastal Waterway, Norman's provides a romantic, candle-lit atmosphere to go with its world-class food and drink - the ideal place to take a date.


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Sure, sister restaurant, Cagney's, has a longer history with Strand diners, but in its day, Flamingo has established a niche for itself as one of Myrtle Beach's top seafood restaurants. Designed with a touch of Art Deco flair, the attractive space is indeed a local favorite, and the kitchen does its best to keep diners on their toes with appetizing offerings like peppercorn steak, Cajun oysters, Lowcountry crabcakes and even a few hearty pasta numbers. Flamingo is also located just two blocks from the beach, so patrons can enjoy a nice after-dinner walk to the public beach access at the end of 71st Avenue North.


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King Kong is a fitting symbol for the enormous sushi rolls this place twists up for its guests. Located in the popular Broadway at the Beach shopping, dining and entertainment complex, King Kong offers excellent sushi, sashimi and hibachi dishes in a relaxed setting. Hardwood floors and tables with large-leaf ceiling fans create an enjoyable environment for couples, friends and families, and the wide range of Japanese cuisine ensures there's something on the menu for everyone. Try the tasty soups and salads before moving onto the main course of stir-fry favorites, or you can make a full meal out of one of the many specialty rolls.


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The fish really do fly at this West Coast-style fish market/restaurant, where chefs toss around the fresh catch of the day and customers also can try their hand at their fish-tossing skills. It's all part of the experience at Flying Fish, which serves up some of the freshest seafood you can get without going out to sea yourself. This eatery overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway and has a pleasant casual-dining atmosphere perfect for families. The kids will love the chance to throw a whopper to the staff and the adults will enjoy a menu that will make the grownups and little ones happy.


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Black Thai
Photo courtesy of Black Thai


 

Located in the heart of Myrtle Beach's downtown district, Black Thai offers a healthy menu Asian cuisine in a unique setting. Serving both vegetarian and gluten-free versions of everything on the menu, Black Thai has stepped to the forefront in leading the healthy eating trend in Myrtle Beach. Lunch specials start at $5.99 and include Pad Thai, Drunken Noodle and Thai Fried Rice,. Dinner specials start at $9.99 and the long list include Pad Sei Ewe, Asian Curry Noodle and Garlic Basil Thai. Meat-free soups, salads and a wide selection of starters feature fresh ingredients and an array of herbs and spices.


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Meet Terry Massey

It's no surprise that journalist Terry Massey is credited with creating the word 'stay-cation.'  He considers the past 18 years in Myrtle Beach a vacation.

He and his wife Stephanie were...  More About Terry

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