Food & Drink

Sabella’s restaurant in Pawleys Island: ‘Like being whisked away to Italy’

Sabella’s Italian Restaurant
Sabella’s Italian Restaurant

Retreating down to the southern part of the Grand Strand is almost like a vacation away from vacationing. In Pawleys Island, the atmosphere is decidedly more relaxed, like the sprawling trees covered in sleepy Spanish moss. Settled in this quieter part of the coast is Sabella’s Italian Restaurant and Bar to remind guests just what the Grand Strand is capable of.

Behind a few buildings near Litchfield, Sabella’s welcomes customers with their charming porch and small pond, offering all the familiarity of southern hospitality. But once you step inside, it’s like being whisked away to Italy.

Some nights, Sabella’s may be hosting an event which closes up part of the restaurant behind curtains. Despite the distractions, the servers are more than happy to serve their regular influx of walk-ins and reservations. Guests can eat at the bar, or one of the tables, or even a booth for added intimacy.

The wine menu might take some perusing, so to make things easier, you can choose what you want to eat first, then select a wine to compliment that dish. Most of the wines are from Italy, but you will find a few from California. Should you decide to order a bottle, you can take the bottle home with you, empty or not.

Deciding on what to eat might not take as long as choosing a wine, but be sure to ask about the daily specials, including the soups (which comes in a bowl only). The salmon special flaked easily and was delectable as salmon should be, though the dish was disappointingly on the cooler side.

The appetizers were delicious as well, easily appetizing enough to not want to share. A favorite among the table was the Eggplant Napoleon, which caused more than a few happy moans. The Italian Rolls, with broccoli rabe, sausage, and fontina were excellent as well, especially with the roasted red pepper cream to add another complimentary flavor and texture.

The Chicken Sorrentina was perfectly tender and it blended together with the prosciutto and eggplant so masterfully that no one taste overpowered another. The potato croquette that comes on the side with fresh vegetables had good flavor as well, though some people may find it lackluster in comparison to the plethora of other great tastes.

Technically, Sabella’s is a family friendly restaurant, although without a kid’s menu or booster seats. Ultimately it makes for a great date, or an elegant meeting spot for friends or groups of the older generation. Additionally, Sabella’s offers catering services, which means having that delicious Eggplant Napoleon on a big dish.

This relatively fresh restaurant has been making waves since its arrival, and with hints at opening for lunch time, Sabella’s will no doubt continue to so. They have already made some changes since their inception, always with the intent on improving the Italian experience in Pawleys Island.

If you eat

What | Sabella’s Italian Restaurant and Bar

Where | 13089 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island

Hours | 4-10 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 5 p.m.-until on Saturday

Information |, 843-235-4020