Caffe Piccolo in Pawleys Island is a hidden gem on the South Strand

Caffe Piccolo Pan Seared Scallops on Risotto

Barely visible from the road there sits a restaurant, ready to greet the people of Pawleys Island and whisk them away into a charming world of simplistic elegance. Caffe Piccolo can be considered a hidden gem in the southern stretch of the Grand Strand and no doubt regular patrons would prefer to keep it that way.

Caffe Piccolo is small but not necessarily cramped, with a darkly lit interior that invites a classy atmosphere without feeling haughty. One wall is written on with the day’s specials while the wall behind the bar is filled with wine bottles. The selection of wines to go with their delectable Italian meals is one of the restaurant’s many perks.

Another aspect that keeps everyone talking is the lovely outdoor patio that is shaded by trees covered in ivy and has a flagstone fireplace as a type of cornerstone. Lights twinkle from the bushes and the overhang, altogether creating a rather enchanted feeling.

Whether you decide to dine inside or al fresco, the servers are attentive and ready to help. The menu does have brief descriptions of each meal but any question or concern will be promptly addressed. This includes gluten-free and vegetarian options.

Everything on the menu is made from fresh ingredients that are as locally sourced as possible, and this includes the side salad or cup of soup that comes with each meal. Caffe Piccolo is quite fervent on this point, so the quality of each item is superb. Sauces and dressings are also house made, plus the servers are on standby to add extra cheese or freshly grated pepper to any meal.

Caffe Piccolo has become known for their scallop dishes, such as their pan seared scallops on top of risotto. The rice dish specialty can be cooked several different ways, with one night being mushroom risotto, another night having bacon and corn mixed in.

Italian favorites such as Marsala, scampi, and piccata have their place and guests can choose to change certain dishes to the daily fish instead of shrimp or chicken. Patrons can then end their meal in an Italian way with espresso or enjoy a generous slice of tiramisu.

Because of the restaurant’s size and the time it takes to deliver a perfect meal, Caffe Piccolo does encourage reservations. This is especially important for big groups, but even a regular couple may find it worth their time to call ahead. Caffe Piccolo also offers catering services perfect for intimate events.

Just as the entire atmosphere of the restaurant indicates, this is not a place to get a quick bite. Here you can slow down, appreciate the company of those you are eating with, and especially enjoy the food. Expect to spend quite a bit of time and money here, but also keep in mind that Caffe Piccolo is going to make every penny and minute worth it.


If You Eat

What | Caffe Piccolo
Where | 9428 Ocean Hwy, Pawleys Island
Hours | 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. daily
Information |, 843-314-3424



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