Myrtle Beach Seafood: Try The Original Benjamin's Calabash Seafood Restaurant

March 12, 2014

When I was planning my vacation in Coastal Carolina, one of the top things I was looking forward to was dining on some delicious seafood. 

I noticed many of the seafood restaurants in Myrtle Beach referred to themselves as Calabash-style seafood restaurants.  Being a newbie to the Carolina scene, I wasn’t sure exactly what Calabash seafood was but I knew I had to find out. 

By asking a few locals I found out Myrtle Beach Calabash seafood restaurants are buffet-style eateries that offer a large selection of items, some of which have close to 200 food options.  The Calabash name is inspired by a small town in North Carolina known so widely for its bountiful seafood harvest it has been dubbed “The Seafood Capital of the World.”  Further, the name Calabash refers to a type of cooking in which seafood is lightly breaded and fried and typically served buffet style. The seafood is always accompanied with the ever popular side dish – hushpuppies – made with cornmeal, not flour. This is the South you know!

The Original Benjamin's Calabash Seafood Restaurant

I decided I would dive into the Calabash scene at The Original Benjamin’s Calabash Seafood Restaurant.  It came widely recommended, and has also been featured in USA Today, Southern Living and Gourmet Magazine.  Plus, if the line out the door was any indication I knew it had to be good!  The restaurant has a nautical design complete with buoys, anchors and boats lining the exterior of the building, which is known by its signature lighthouse.  The nautical experience continues with a greeting by a pirate at the door.  Once inside the expansive restaurant, which has 11 distinct dining rooms and enough seating for 1,000, I was impressed by the large scale ship models and dry aquarium décor.  And, I hadn’t even got to the food yet!

The main attraction at The Original Benjamin’s is a 170 item seafood buffet featuring crab legs, Calabash seafood, a full variety of fish and fresh seafood, pasta station, in-house bakery carving station, plenty of delicious side items, salad bar, soup selection and of course an endless dessert selection.  For the price of about $30 per person, you can eat as much as your heart desires.  Being a crab leg lover, I headed straight for that station and piled my plate high.  I also had to try the Calabash seafood, spicy Cajun-style seafood pasta, crab-stuffed mushrooms, stuffed flounder, fresh shrimp and salmon.  My palate was tempted by all of the tasty selection as oysters, scallops, clams, mahi-mahi, tuna, crab cakes and even steaks, chicken, barbecue were available.  I have to say the crab legs were superb; the freshness was a delight, the meat was tender and easy to pull from the legs, and had a sweet yet savory flavor.  Everything else was delicious too, including the Calabash seafood.  The breading was just right; it didn’t feel greasy or overpower the light taste of the fish. 
Crab legs and a delicious plate of seafood.
With the wide variety and assortment of fresh seafood, The Original Benjamin’s lives up to its award-winning hype.  This Grand Strand landmark is a popular place to eat, so be sure to make time for a wait if you visit during the summer season.   And be sure to go hungry!

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