Where to Eat: Beaufort, SC
I’ve been visiting Fripp Island with my family since I was little. While it’s always fun to be on the island, there is not much as far as dining options go, so we usually have to go into Beaufort if we’re not in the mood to cook for ourselves.
Plums: My family used to stop at Plums on the way into Fripp Island every trip and I am a big fan of the place. The menu is a mix of salads, sandwiches, burgers and Lowcountry classics. The restaurant has great service, a patio overlooking the water and almost always has live music. One of the greatest things about Plums is that it is super affordable, with many menu items under 10 dollars and even their seafood items are between 15-20 dollars. On my most recent visit, I ordered the crab cake entree (one crabcake), and two margaritas and was shocked my bill was 26 dollars. I usually go for some type of shrimp because they’re all locally wild caught. The Lowcountry boil is a favorite, while the dish is simple, it is incredibly flavorful and easy to tell that the shrimp and corn are local. I also really enjoy their Shrimp & Crab dip, gumbo and oyster po-boy.
Saltus River Grill: Saltus is the sister restaurant of Plums and one of the more fine dining restaurants in Beaufort. Because it’s slightly more upscale, I have only been one time, but would definitely recommend it. The menu is quite interesting because there is a sushi section of the menu, but the rest of the menu is not Asian. Despite having had 93746 shrimp and grits, I couldn’t resist theirs and was not disappointed. The dish is made with locally caught shrimp (a lot of them), roasted shiitake mushrooms, bacon lardons, garlic confit and chicken pan jus. This is quite honestly in the top three shrimp and grits I’ve had in my lifetime, the shiitake mushrooms give the dish so much umami and the bacon lardons (matchstick-sized thick cut fatty bacon) adds so much richness. I also like the use of the jus instead of the gravy. I also tried the Blackened Dorado (aka Mahi) dish and was completely impressed by the dish. The fish is cooked perfectly and is paired with fennel and leek confit. I really like the slight sweetness of the melted leeks with the saltiness of the blackening seasoning. I really had my eye on the scallops when they were carried by my table and will definitely go back next time I’m in Beaufort to try them.
The Foolish Frog: Not technically in Beaufort, The Foolish Frog is on Lady’s Island just outside of downtown Beaufort. The couple of times I’ve visited, the place has been packed. The portion sizes are HUGE and the service is always really friendly. True to their name one of their most popular appetizers is their fried frog legs which are some of the largest frog legs I have ever seen, they are served with a creole mustard remoulade. I am also a sucker for fried okra, theirs is really unique because they incorporate Trinidadian spices into the batter giving it a little kick. On my last visit, I had their daily special, blackened Mahi over grits and collards, and it was incredibly flavorful and again such a large portion. I have also had their shrimp and grits and thought it was a really good version, I love the Frogmore gravy it’s topped with. It’s definitely clear they know how to do grits! I also love one of their most popular dishes, the Crawfish and Shrimp Yum Yum Ya Ya (it’s listed as an appetizer, but definitely large enough to eat as an entree) the dish is sort of a cross between shrimp and grits and one of my favorite dishes crawfish etouffee, with a grit cake instead of standard grits or rice. **I was disappointed to hear during this visit, that they do not currently have frog legs on the menu due to supplier issues, but I’m hoping they are able to bring it back soon. Overall, I would say if there is only one restaurant you try in Beaufort, this should be it, because they took standard Lowcountry cuisine and infuse a lot Gullah flavors, making it stand out from what you can get in Charleston.
Common Ground Coffee: If Common Ground had not been a 30ish minute drive from Fripp I would have gone every day. The cafe sells coffee, smoothies, gelato, pastries, breakfast and regular sandwiches. I have no idea if their employees are actually unicorns, but they are the nicest humans I have ever met, seriously. They have a coffee drink called “The Turtle” and it is heaven, essentially a milkshake with coffee in it. Their pastry selection is also excellent and I bought a slice of coconut cake to take home for dessert and was not disappointed. I had already eaten when I went so I didn’t get to try any of their food, but will for sure do so next time. This is definitely a great place to stop in if you’re walking around doing some shopping in Beaufort.