Reservations Required: Myrtle Beach Finest Fine Dining

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The Grand Strand has more than 1,700 restaurants, seemingly 99 percent of which are beach casual. The “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” rule may apply, but flip-flops and a tank top will do at most eateries. Reservations? Forget about it.

So if you’re planning a romantic evening or celebrating a special occasion in a formal environment, it’s key to find the right restaurant that takes reservations. With a limited number of upscale dining options and lots of couples in town for wedding, honeymoons and anniversaries, it’s always best to book your table in advance and avoid a long wait when you should be celebrating. Here are you top five choices:

* Bistro 90: This cozy little bistro is well off the beaten path on Highway 90 in Longs and once was one of the Strand's best-kept secrets. But the secret is out as a growing number of locals and visitors are leaving the beach for the outstanding food and service. Walking in for a nice dinner is no longer a guarantee, so call ahead before you make the trip.

* The Brentwood Restaurant & Wine Bistro: Authentic French cuisine and an incredible win list have created a loyal following for this upscale establishment. A table at The Brentwood is a coveted spot for those celebrating special occasions so be sure to make reservations in advance. Located on the North Strand in Little River, the food and ambiance are well worth the drive.

* Frank's Restaurant/Frank's Outback: This Pawleys Island tandem is a winner no matter which one you choose. The more formal Frank's Restaurant specializes in prime beef and seafood, while Frank's Outback focuses on Lowcountry cuisine, but both are a tough table. Reserve a corner table inside or a spot near the outdoor fireplace on the patio for a romantic dinner.

* The Library: Located in downtown Myrtle Beach, this long-standing establishment offers tableside service and excellent European and Continental cuisine. Hardwood shelves filled with books and candlelit tables draped in white linen set the tone for a formal dinner, but don't risk getting turned away at the door on a busy night.

* SeaBlue Tapas & Wine Bar: This hip, modern hot spot serves tasting-size samples of exotic cuisine and the ambiance of a place you might expect to find in a larger city. And just like the urbanites are accustomed, reservations are ideal. However, if you do have to wait, the lounge is one of the nicest on the Grand Strand.

(posted 7/22/14)
(Photo courtesy: Restaurants.com)