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Best Restaurants for Outdoor Dining in Pawleys Island

By Emerson Dyer • June 10, 2015

Most people (myself included prior to researching it) think that the term al fresco is the way Italians refer to outdoor seating. And while that’s not entirely off-base (it is an Italian phrase meaning “in the cool [air]”), al fresco is most often used in Italy when talking about someone who’s in jail. The expressions they actually employ for eating in the cool air are fuori and all’aperto.

Semantics aside, it is nice to have a meal outside during those spring, summer, and fall days when the sun isn’t under or over-working. And there aren’t many places with scenery as beautiful as Pawleys Island the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

So if you enjoy the taste of food and the day is too nice to spend inside, check out this list, call in a reservation, and go enjoy a meal outdoors.    

Frank's Outback

10434 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island • (843) 237-3030

Nope, this Pawleys Island favorite has nothing to do with Australia or that chain of steak and fried onion restaurants. It’s just what the owners decided to call the outdoor seating area because it’s “out back.” While the menu mirrors the one indoors, the addition of Wood-Fired Pizzas makes the space a great place to grab a small dish or some flatbread while you wait for a table, or a perfect spot to have a whole meal when the weather is cooperating.

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Pawleys Island Tavern

10635 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island • (843) 237-8465

A locals’ favorite for as far back as any can remember, “PIT” has an seating area in front of the restaurant that makes for a nice place to enjoy a Seafood Basket, Crawfish Tails, or their famous Crab Cake Sandwich. Also, go on the right night and you can also catch some of the area’s best bands while you eat.

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Buzz's Roost

911 Front St, Georgetown • (843) 545-1595

Legend has it that Buzz was a drinker who enjoyed cooking up some good dishes for merchants and men of the sea, until one day he was a little too ale-drunk in the morning and fell off the dock and became alligator food. So while this Georgetown eatery is a nice and relaxing place to grab a bite or two, you’ll want to go easy on the booze and stay a safe distance away from the rails.

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Chive Blossom Cafe

85 North Causeway, Pawleys Island • (843) 237-1438

In addition to having a big courtyard shaded by oaks, Chive Blossom also has a menu with several dishes that are perfect for a meal out in the fresh air. Check out items like the Hawaiian-style Ahi Tuna Poke, the Watermelon Salad with bleu cheese, candied pecans, cucumbers, and baby arugula, and the Mango Gazpacho with avocado, lobster, shrimp, and crab.

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Bistro 217

10707 Ocean Hwy, Pawleys Island • (843) 235-8217

A nice ocean breeze in the courtyard pairs nicely with almost anything at this upscale eatery. Grab a seat at one of the wrought iron tables and do your best to choose between dishes like Quick-Fried Calamari, Seared George’s Bank Scallops with corn risotto, a Warm Pistachio-Encrusted Goat Cheese Salad, or Herb-Crusted Grouper.

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Gio's Italian Kitchen

10008 Ocean Hwy, Pawleys Island • (843) 237-8245

The patio behind Gio’s is not as fancy as the dining room, but it’s a patio and it’s not supposed to be fancy. More like the back deck at your friend’s house than the typical restaurant al fresco area, guests who opt for an outdoor table at this Italian eatery can enjoy dishes like Mussels Posillipo (spicy red sauce), Manila Clams (white clam sauce), Caprese Salad, Chicken Piccata, or a hand-tossed White Pizza.

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Habanero's

11151 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island • 1-866-679-2514

Unless it’s rainy or cold, it would be silly to sit anywhere but the outdoor tiki deck at this Pawleys Island Mexican restaurant, where the Tacos are available with Chicken, Fish, and Beef Tongue, and the House Margarita is one of the best drink deals you’ll find in town.

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Quigley's Pint & Plate

257 Willbrook Blvd. Pawleys Island, Litchfield/Pawleys Island • (843) 237-7010

The lakeside outdoor seating at this Litchfield restaurant is perfect for enjoying a fresh microbrew and one of the standouts from their menu, like Ale Poached Clams, Blackened Mahi Tacos, or the Mingo Salad with grilled pear, gorgonzola, spicy pecans, red onion, and roasted red peppers. Also, everything is made in-house, including the beer!

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