1 Norris Drive, Pawleys Island, (843) 235-8700. austinsoceanone.com
Part of The Litchfield Inn, Austin’s Ocean One offers breathtaking panoramic ocean views from every seat. What better way to set the tone of a first date than with a dolphin sighting, a beautiful sunset or a full moon over the ocean? The menu offers eclectic contemporary American cuisine, which changes frequently based on seasonal availability of locally sourced products, produce and fresh catches. All sauces, desserts and dressings are prepared on the premises and all dishes are made to order. Opt for sharing a couple small plates like the fried green tomato tower or the angry mac and cheese, a jalapeno mac and cheese with blackened shrimp. Main plates include the wildly popular pistachio and ginger crusted grouper in a Thai basil and blue crab sauce served with risotto and baby beans. Impress your date by utilizing the on staff sommelier, who will help you make a great selection from the extensive wine list. Austin’s is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday.
5101 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, (843) 449-9191. aspen-grille.com
This warm, comfortable environment is the perfect spot to get to know someone new over a fantastic meal and a glass of wine. The menu is sophisticated, yet simple and fresh. When opening Aspen Grille, owner Chef Curry Martin knew he wanted to offer something different from the typical dining scene in Myrtle Beach, and this is a great place for a quiet night out for two. Dishes are based on traditional Southern cuisine with Martin’s own personal twist. The menu changes seasonally and is sourced from the best local suppliers, but some favorites include the seared New Bedford sea scallops served in a white wine butter sauce with mushroom risotto and fried spinach and the blueberry bread pudding dessert served with caramel sauce, whipped cream and salted caramel ice cream. Don’t skip the chance to order from the hand-selected wine list. This is a spot to enjoy true Southern hospitality (and hopefully a great date). Aspen Grille is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday.
3042 Howard Ave. (The Market Common), Myrtle Beach, (843) 315-3780. tupelohoneycafe.com
The first Tupelo Honey Cafe opened in Asheville, North Carolina, in 2000. Considered one of the pioneers of the city’s farm-to-table movement, they continue to serve fresh made-from-scratch fare with new twists on old Southern dishes and drinks. Growing from their humble beginnings of that single restaurant, the eatery now has several locations across the Southeast, serving up eclectic and imaginative food while still maintaining a hometown feel. The Myrtle Beach location opened in 2015 at The Market Common, and the delicious food and upscale casual atmosphere make it an ideal date spot. Whether sidling up to the bar for an inspired cocktail or a beer from the impressive draft list or enjoying Sunday brunch, this is a trendy but comfortable place to get to know someone new. Meals start out with fresh baked biscuits and honey. Appetizers include the fried green tomatoes, and the dinner menu offers an array of inspired entrees, like the Tupelo Gulf Shrimp & Grits and the Sweet Tea Roasted Chicken. The mini-mason jar desserts are great for sharing and come in flavors like banana pudding, hummingbird cake and lemon custard. Tupelo Honey Cafe is open for lunch and dinner every day.
1536 S. Waccamaw Drive, Garden City, (843) 651-8808. gulfstreamcafe.com
For more than 30 years, Gulfstream Cafe has been a sought-after spot for occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, so why not try it as a first date locale? The picturesque waterfront views and authentic coastal cuisine have made it a locals’ favorite. The laid-back and cozy atmosphere highlights the Garden City lifestyle, and while the vibe is casual, the attention to detail in the food is not. Favorite menu items include a variety of seafood and Southern favorites. Try the she crab soup, the jumbo lump crab cakes, the broiled lobster tail, the roasted half chicken or the filet mignon. Sides include creamed spinach and a salt-crusted baked potato. Enjoy the sunset from the rooftop deck. Looking for a unique date idea? Consider the Sunday brunch. A delicious buffet and a bloody Mary will definitely win points. There are also weekly oyster roasts in season. The restaurant is open daily for dinner and for brunch on Sundays.
2004 U.S. 17 S. #3, North Myrtle Beach, (843) 427-4720. midtownbistro.com
Midtown Bistro brings a one-of-a-kind uniqueness to the north Strand. With its softly padded tile flooring, black decor accents and cherry colored woods, this calm and quaint restaurant is a great spot to enjoy a great meal with a new special someone. The Italian-inspired cuisine creates a menu that is affordable and wide-ranging. Choose from appetizers like the stuffed banana peppers, which are filled with Italian sausage and topped with mozzarella cheese and a fresh tomato sauce. Entrees include Italian classics like sausage and peppers over angel hair and lasagna, as well as a “Chophouse” section, pizzas, salads and more. The comfy L-shaped full-service bar is also a great option for enjoying a dessert martini. True love could start to blossom over the Chata Bing Chata Boom, made with Rumchata, Fireball, cream and a cinnamon sprinkle. Midtown Bistro is open daily for lunch and dinner.