Often described as the most beautiful town in the South, Beaufort, S.C., is surrounded by water. This Lowcountry island village perches halfway between Charleston and Savannah, Ga., where marshes glow golden at sunrise and sunset. While folks come for the history — Beaufort dates to before the American Revolution — the restaurants keep them satisfied.
You’ll find shrimp and grits for breakfast, and a bounty of seafood at lunch and dinner. Noteworthy spots include Wren, Breakwater and Saltus River Grill restaurants, all serving sea flavors with farm produce. On a drive out to tour St. Helena Island’s Penn Center, one of the first schools for freed slaves, stop by the Shrimp Shack for a shrimp burger.
New Orleans glimmers to the south across Lake Pontchartrain, but Covington, La., has also transformed its charming streets into a food paradise. First courses begin at the Oxlot 9 dining room inside the Southern Hotel, where chef Jeffrey Hansell dishes up crispy frog legs.
He discovered his cooking chops at NOLA’s famed Commander’s Palace, and has brought fine Southern dining to the Northshore. Nearby Del Porto is one of those Italian swoon-inducing gems that blends house- made pastas with local flavors such as fried rabbit bathed in fennel-sausage gravy.
Take a drive into the countryside to visit La Provence, a French-inspired farm and eatery. A small farm next to the extensive garden includes rare Mangalitsa pigs, happy chickens and honey-producing bees. It doesn’t get more farm-to-table than this drool-worthy place.
- Wren Bistro & Bar, 210 Carteret St; 843-524-9463;
- Breakwater Restaurant & Bar, 203 Carteret St; 843-379-0052;
- Saltus River Grill, 802 Bay St; 843-379-3474;
- Penn Center, 16 Penn Center Circle West# St. Helena Island; 843-838-2474;
- Shrimp Shack, 1925 Sea Island Pkwy., St. Helena Island; 843-838-2962;
- Oxlot 9, 428 E. Boston St.; 985-400-5663;
- Del Porto Ristorante, 501 E. Boston St; 985-875-1006;
- La Provence, 25020 U.S. 190, Lacombe; 985- 626-7662