When the sun goes down at Sharkey’s, one of the more popular Myrtle beach restaurants on the water, the music begins to play. Although it’s thousands of miles away from the Hawaiian Islands, here guests enjoy a rousing luau on almost every night of the week. Polynesian dancers bestow leis to each diner before they peruse the offerings on the Hawaiian buffet. And when the show starts, the audience will be dazzled by a dance show, complete with hula and fire stunts.
Since 1937, Peaches Corner has served family-friendly food from its prime location on the Myrtle Beach boardwalk and promenade. Not much has changed on the menu since it first opened—burgers and hot dogs are its specialty—and many a beach goer stops in for a cool treat: hand-scooped ice cream. But the real spectacle arises when someone takes on the Peaches Challenge: to consume a double burger, foot-long hot dog, chili cheese fries, and a milkshake—5 pounds of food—in just 20 minutes.
Since 1988, Dagwood’s Deli has filled beachgoers’ bellies with sandwiches made with bread baked from scratch every day. The expansive menu boasts multiple iterations of classic sandwiches. Take the philly, which comes with standard beef, but also with shrimp, veggies, or stir-fry style, which includes teriyaki chicken and sesame seeds. Reuben sandwiches can be made with traditional corned beef, pastrami, or turkey, while “dipper” sandwiches have a variety of meats topped with melty cheese, bacon bits, and housemade dill mayo.
Frequent visitors know that the place to go is one of the buffet seafood restaurants in Myrtle Beach. Captain George’s is an old standby, seating more than 1,000 guests and serving over 1.5 million pounds of crab legs per year. The buffet boasts more than 70 dishes, primarily seafood, but turf lovers can also satisfy their appetites.
Every day, the buffet gets stocked with Alaskan snow crab legs and steamed shrimp, plus broiled fish and fried shellfish. When in season, diners are delighted to find steamed blue crabs or soft-shell crabs. Some of the land-bound options include pork ribs, mac and cheese, and sirloin steak
One of the best loved North Myrtle Beach restaurants, Rockefellers serves classic seafood fare, from oyster shooters and oysters rockefeller to crab cakes smothered in housemade tartar sauce. What they’re really known for is their steam kettles—shellfish, such as shrimp, scallops, and mussels, simmered in old bay seasoning with beer, or wine and garlic butter, or simple marinara sauce. Or try the steam pot for two that combines several types of shellfish with potatoes and cob corn. Pair your dish with a house-specialty martini, such as the sunset martini, with mandarin vodka and cranberry and orange juices.
Like wine, the flavor of an oyster is determined by their terroir—the area in which they’re grown. For example, the Pacific waters lend deep-shelled kumamotos a sweet flavor; the Great South Bay near the Atlantic gives Naked Cowboys briny notes.
Pro Tip: First timers are often turned off by briny flavors, so beginners should go for kumamotos, which are known as the sweetest of the sweet.
Choosing a reputable oyster purveyor is key, as proper handling is crucial when it comes to the taste (and safety) of raw oysters. Don’t be shy about asking questions; anyone who serves raw oysters should be knowledgeable about the source of the shellfish, when they arrived, and how they were shipped.
Oysters should fill the shell, which should also still hold a decent amount of seawater. Also be sure to smell it before you eat it; if it smells off, do not eat it.
Oyster purists might insist that a good oyster needs no accoutrements, but others say that an oyster’s flavor comes alive with a bit of lemon or a dab of a condiment, such as a cocktail sauce or a mignonette sauce with red-wine vinegar and shallots.
They key is that tiny fork, which you use to loosen the oyster from its shell to tip it back. Beyond that, you can’t go wrong: loosen it, tilt your head back, and slurp it down. To really appreciate its flavors though, don’t swallow it whole, but chew it once or twice to really experience its flavors.
Oysters go well with anything chilled: white wine, a martini, or a cold beer. Take your pick!