Exploring and Having Dinner in Downtown Beaufort

Shrimp and GritsOften called sophisticated, with an old-world grace that charms locals and travelers alike, Downtown Beaufort is a historic destination that sits at the heart of South Carolina’s rich history. The second city to be founded in South Carolina, after Charleston, the Downtown Beaufort area coalesces fascinating Southern history, hospitality, and architecture, with a dash of contemporary glamour. The waterside of Downtown Beaufort are situated alongside several shops and places to explore, but most travelers and locals stroll the sidewalks to find somewhere new and delicious to dine.

You could grab a scrumptious, fresh-baked croissant and a cup of fresh-brewed coffee from a local café. Or, soothe your sweet tooth with fresh-baked goodies from one of the dessert bakeries. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there are dozens of options, from casual and lounge, to fresh seafood with a spiced Southern flair, to fine cuisine options that’s a bit fancier than your average restaurant.

While there are dozens of restaurant, café, and bakery options to peruse and choose in Downtown Beaufort, Panini’s on the Waterfront remains a popular go-to favorite every season.

What’s So Great About Panini’s on the Waterfront?

Open for lunch or dinner, Panini’s on the Waterfront—or simply Paninis to locals, offers a friendly, relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. The interior is well-furnished and spacious, while the exterior is a waterside patio of comfortable chairs, tables, and a small outdoor performance pavilion.

Panini’s features gorgeous views overlooking Beaufort’s Waterfront Park, making late-afternoon dining moreso spectacular when the sun sets over the water. Additionally, the restaurant staff is well-known for being some of the friendliest anywhere, with a full service of bartenders, hosts, waitstaff, and managers to accommodate your dining needs.

shrimp and grits

The Dinner Menu—Yum!

Panini’s on the Waterfront offers an abundance in terms of views, comfortable furnishings, and a warm, friendly atmosphere, but few things can compare to the deliciousness of their cuisine. Dinner is a bustling and busy time for Panini’s, as the dinner menu combines old-world Italian recipes with inventive Mediterranean flavors.

Of course, Panini’s offers their name sake, with favorites like the Crab and Shrimp BLT Panini, the Chicken Salad Panini, and the Tuscan Steak Panini. Or, for vegetarians, the Fresh Tomato Panini is a big hit. But when you want an entrée that feels like a complete dinner, there are bigger, flavorful options like:


  • The Seafood Ravioli with lobster and crab stuffed inside fresh-made raviolis, then topped with Parma Rosa sauce and preserved lemon.

  • Homemade Manicotti with in-house, fresh-made crepe shells, stuffed with an overflow of three-cheese fillings.

  • Steak and Frites is a classic served the Panini’s way, with a grilled sirloin, hand-cut fries, and horseradish aioli alongside a petit Caprese salad.


Seeking after-dinner delights, ask to check out their dessert menu. You are sure to find something sweet, homemade, and scrumptious to round out and perfect your dining experience.

Other Bonuses to Dining with Paninis

Warm nights at Panini’s on the Waterfront are beautiful on the inside and outside, but the outdoors is where the entertainment is. The River Deck and Bar live musical performances scheduled almost every weekend in the warmer months. Check out Facebook for updates.

Downtown Beaufort is a hotspot for festivals and a thriving local arts scene, and Panini’s gives you the proverbial front-row, waterfront seat for all of it. Check out the Downtown Beaufort website for annual festivals and upcoming waterfront events.

What Past Customers Have to Say About Paninis

Jay P. from Clover, South Carolina shared his Panini’s experience:

★★★★★ “We had a question about touristy stuff, so the owner came by our table and pulled up a chair and shared a ton of local insights. What a nice touch. My son had a cheese brick oven pizza which he liked. My daughter enjoyed the grilled chicken kid’s meal with fruit. My wife the Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo and thought it was very good. I had the fried shrimp hoagie and I enjoyed it. Overall, glad we stopped here for lunch. And btw, a local recommended it too.”

★★★★★ Nancy Jane from St. Augustine, Florida, had this to say:

“This was the culinary high point of our Beaufort vacation. It is in the historic downtown, surrounded by lots of fun shops. Indoor seating was nice, but outdoor seating was fantastic. The menu is large and varied. Brick oven pizzas were wonderful. Salads were fresh and very large. House wine was a bit pricey but well worth it. Our server was amazing! She was knowledgeable, efficient, and delightfully friendly. Our visit was unforgettable.”

order online

Don’t Have Time to Dine In?

There’s no doubt that Downtown Beaufort has an abundance of shopping and dining experiences to suit anyone’s fancies, but sometimes you might be on time constraints. If you are unable to grab a seat at Panini’s, you can order online or call (843) 379-0300 for fast pick-up of exactly what you crave. Our restaurant is located on 926 Bay Street, and no reservations needed.

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