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Story by Chris King
Trip Advisor is one of the most trusted names in travel, ranking everything from hotels and restaurants to attractions based on consumer evaluations. It has proven to be an invaluable resource, if not an exact guide to the best-of-the-best, for travelers. But Trip Advisor isn’t infallible. If you are in search of a great meal in Myrtle Beach, I’m here to challenge the opinion of the masses when it comes to the area’s best restaurants. (Before anyone loses their mind, this is a ranking of Myrtle Beach’s best restaurants, so the list won’t include eateries from Pawleys Island, North Myrtle et al).
We will begin with Trip Advisor’s ranking of Myrtle Beach’s top 5 fine dining restaurants:
Good restaurants, all of them, but if I’m throwing price to the wind in search of a great meal, here are the five places I want to eat in Myrtle Beach (Trip Advisor rankings in parenthesis):
1. New York Prime (7) - I’m not sure exactly how Trip Advisor compiles its rankings, but there aren’t six restaurants better than New York Prime. If your group is in search of a great steak (you name the cut), this is the place to go. How good is NYP? Former Golf Magazine travel editor Joe Passov called New York Prime the best steakhouse in the Southeast. I’m not going to argue and neither will your stomach. Cost could approach $100 per man with drinks, but you won’t regret it.
2. Aspen Grille (3) - Trip Advisor reviewers called this one. The seared sea scallops over wild mushroom risotto with fried spinach is the best non-steak entree in Myrtle Beach. It’s that good, and everything else on the menu is outstanding as well. If you want to cap your meal with dessert, the blueberry bread pudding with homemade ice cream will push the experience over the top. Bonus recommendation: if you are there in the summer, order the Myrtle Peach Martini, a seasonal cocktail that features vodka infused with fresh local peaches.
3. Collector’s Cafe (8) - The masses whiffed badly here. The scallop cake is outstanding (if you are noticing a trend, yes, I’m a sucker for good scallops) but it’s hardly the only star on one of the area’s most varied menus. Throw in the fact the restaurant doubles as a working art gallery and this is one of Myrtle Beach’s coolest dining experiences.
4. The Library Restaurant (4) - The menu here is one you will enjoy reading. The signature dish is the Steak Diane, which is prepared table-side with a creamy mushroom demi by a tuxedoed staff. This is a Library everyone enjoys spending time in.
5. Ruth’s Chris (9) - The reputation speaks for itself and the Myrtle Beach franchise is outstanding. You won’t go wrong with anything on the menu, and the setting, located yards from the Intracoastal Waterway as part of the Marina Inn property, certainly contributes to a memorable experience.
A quick word about the three Trip Advisor top 5 restaurants that didn’t make my list.
Melting Pot is great, but, for me, it’s more a romantic/family spot as opposed to a place to take your golf group after playing the Grande Dunes-Pine Lakes double. While it’s enjoyable, how fine could the dining be if I’m responsible for cooking it?
There is a good chance you think I’m an idiot for leaving Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse off the list, and you may have a point. The food is good, it’s abundant and it comes at you quickly (as I type those words, I’m beginning to think I’m an idiot, too), but for a fine dining experience, I don’t prefer the all-you-can-eat model.
I struggled leaving Thoroughbred’s out of my top 5. For me, it’s not the area’s second best restaurant but if it’s in your top 5, I won’t argue.
Let us know which is your favorite Myrtle Beach restaurant, if price is no object.