Calabash Seafood Hut

Seafood
Memorable
One of the best
Save

It would be possible to spend weeks, months, years eating one’s way through Myrtle beach and north along the Grand Strand to find which of the several dozen (or is it several hundred?) restaurants purporting to serve Calabash-style seafood are the best. But it likely would not be fun. Too many are tourist traps where enforced seaside ambience trumps good-tasting food.

So forget an endless, bilious, ridiculously expensive pilgrimage. Eat at the Calabash Seafood Hut in the village of Calabash, which has declared itself The Seafood Capital of the World. It’s a small place, family owned, with a lot of take-out business and, usually, a wait for one of the precious tables inside.

The menu is basic, with only a handful of items for “land lovers.” But it lists all the seafood that made this town famous, including buff little shrimp, sweet scallops, creamy flounder, and substantial oysters. What makes them Calabash as opposed to ordinary fried seafood? In some ways, it’s hard to define… but you know it when you taste it.

First,  the fish is fresh. Not icy,  not old, but seriously ocean-fresh; second — and this is the tricky part — its coat is especially thin, lightly crunchy, gently seasoned. There is a buttery luxe to the crisp crust that shatters and melds so well with the sweet seafood within. Shrimp are the #1 headliner. They’re little, but unlike so many other shrimpy shrimp, they are radiant with sweet shellfish flavor. Scallops are resilient and clean-flavored; oysters are luxurious heavyweights, their gnarly shape meaning maximum amounts of breading; flounder is pure white and as rich as cream. Hushpuppies and French fries are OK, serving their purpose as palate-refreshers before digging into more seafood.

Calabash seafood first was served to the public back in the 1940s, when a couple of sisters in town decided to open a restaurant that took advantage of the bounteous catch and the town tradition of community fish fries. The name has spread far beyond the village of Calabash, but locals frown on all those places in Myrtle Beach that claim to serve Calabash seafood when, in fact, it’s just regular fried fish.

What to Eat
Calabash Seafood Hut, Flounder
Flounder
Must-Try
The meat of flounder is cream-sweet, so well abetted by spicy crust.
Calabash Seafood Hut, Shrimp
Shrimp
Must-Try
Calabash shrimp are small-sized, but big-flavored.
Calabash Seafood Hut, Scallops
Scallops
Must-Try
Sweet, springy scallops love their thin veil of crust.
Calabash Seafood Hut, Oysters
Oysters
Must-Try
Oysters fairly explode when you crunch through their golden coat.
Calabash Seafood Hut, Deviled Crab
Deviled Crab
Must-Try
Crabby, yes, but deviled crab also sparkles with vegetable freshness.
Calabash Seafood Hut, Hushpuppies
Hushpuppies
Hush puppies are fine, but an afterthought.
Directions and Hours
Information
Price
$$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
No

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • The Basics

    Wilmington, North Carolina

    Creative versions of southern classics make The Basics a cozy, casual downtown destination for great meals prepared with flair but no pretensions.

  • Cast Iron Kitchen

    Wilmington, North Carolina

    In a strip-mall location, the Cast Iron Kitchen offers rustic decor and downhome food. Grits, corned beef, and pimento cheese sandwiches are notable.

  • Sweet N Savory Cafe

    Wilmington, North Carolina

    Three meals a day and a vast menu make Sweet N Savory Cafe a good choice for groups of diners with different tastes. From-scratch bakery is an asset.

  • Jersey Bagels

    Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

    A true taste of New Jersey in Myrtle Beach, Jersey Bagels’ bagels are dense, chewy, and full flavored. Overflowing sub sandwiches are also a specialty.

  • Blueberry’s Grill

    Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

    Myrtle Beach’s best breakfast is a full coffee shop repertoire, including inventive variations of southern favorites. Don’t miss the corned beef hash!

  • Pulaski Deli

    Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

    Pulaski Deli is a Myrtle Beach anomaly: homelike, old-world food in a quiet, personable market. The Polish Sampler plate gets you some of everything.