Best Restaurants on Hilton Head Island
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, is a premier destination for a variety of reasons, including its spacious beaches, demanding scenic golf courses, incredible sunsets, and, of course, one of the tastiest scenes in the country. On Hilton Head, you can find almost anything to eat. Farmers markets, fine dining, amazing seafood, down-home Lowcountry cooking, ethnic dishes…you name it.
Millions of vacationers visit this island in southern South Carolina each year in search of an escape from the real world, so it’s no surprise that there are a number of excellent restaurants to suit a variety of palates. You can definitely try the local Low-country cuisine, but if you want to branch out, you have plenty of options.
While enjoying the perfect 80’s and sunny weather on HHI we were blessed to stay at the Marriott Grande Ocean Resort thanks to the family timeshare. The resort was quite the pleasant surprise. It had multiple pools, was right on the beach, had a great pool bar, and truly made us feel the perfect mixture of home and vacation. The rooms were spacious and clean and it was wonderful to have a kitchen available to cook from all week.
But we’ll be honest, the cooking was mostly saved for breakfast time. Each night we went out to enjoy some of the island’s best cuisine. From seafood to beach eats to daiquiris, we had quite the week indulging in deliciousness. Therefore, today we want to share with you the top places to eat on HHI.
32 Palmetto Bay Road No. 4A, Hilton Head Island; 843.785.9273
Lowcountry Backyard serves some of the best shrimp and grits in South Carolina. They also specialize in fresh local seafood as well as South Carolina tea and honey. The relaxed outdoor atmosphere screams authentic Lowcountry and harkens back to a simpler time. The menu features Southern seafood and soul food classics that pay homage to the region’s culture.
The place makes you feel as if you’re eating in a friend’s backyard. Grab a sandwich, such as the grilled pimento cheese, fried green tomato BLT, or potato chip meatloaf sandwich (with moonshine barbecue sauce), and dig into the fast-casual low country fare in the backyard. Try the moonshine punch or a moonshine and lemonade for a lunch cocktail. – hhbackyard.com
Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana
37 New Orleans Rd, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928; (843) 785-6272
Michael Anthony’s has been wowing Hilton Head diners for thirteen years and counting, and is nationally recognized for the quality of its Italian food. The owners brought their experience growing up in Philadelphia’s Italian communities here, and it shows. Their food is precisely what you’d expect from an Italian restaurant: fresh, simple, and with just enough ingredients to let each one flourish individually within the dish.
The fact that all of the pasta is made in-house only adds to the deliciousness that they merge in the pasta dishes. The desserts are also made from scratch, so there’s no need to worry as to whether this profiterole you’re eating was once frozen – unless you count the gelato that comes with it. – michael-anthonys.com
14b Executive Park Rd, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928; (843) 842-2469
This restaurant knows what it means to provide a menu filled with unique food items that also feel like good ol’ home cooking. We started with sweet potato fries, nachos, and coconut shrimp, all of which were incredible. As big coconut shrimp lovers, let us just say the shrimp was melt-in-your-mouth good. It had the perfect amount of sweetness that didn’t even require a sauce for dipping. Then for our meals, some of us had seafood, some had pork, and some salad. My husband was all over the fried chicken bowl.
As a fried chicken lover, he claimed Chow Daddy’s was now his #3 favorite fried chicken he ever had. That’s a big statement! Yes the chicken was truly amazing and one of their most popular dishes to get, as recommended by our waitress. Finally, like every good meal, we finished with a dessert and it did not disappoint. We shared an ice cream sandwich which sounds simple but the cookie was perfection: not too hard and not too soft. All-in-all we loved our experience at Chow Daddy’s and the ambiance was charming with what appeared to be old barn wood walls and lovely wicker chandeliers. – chowdaddys.com
One Hot Mama’s American Grill
1 Greenwood Dr Ste 7A, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928; (843) 682-6262
One Hot Mama’s is your yet another South Carolina barbecue shop. Executive chef Orchid Paulmeier is in charge of the grill. She’s brought her grilling expert knowledge to the Food Network, but the best place to try her Carolina barbecue is at One Hot Mama’s Perfect 10 BBQ sauce-smothered baby back ribs, hickory-smoked chicken, and hand-pulled pork. – onehotmamas.com
Hudson’s Seafood House On The Docks
1 Hudson Rd, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926; (843) 681-2772
The place to be and the place to indulge on fresh seafood is Hudson’s. A staple restaurant on the island, this place was just lovely. Be sure to go around sunset time to view the gorgeous pink sunset over the river while listening to live acoustic music outside as you wait for a table. This is a popular restaurant so don’t be surprised if there’s a wait. Once you sit down, you’ll feel right at home.
Between the friendly service and the welcoming hush puppies, you’ll soon understand why this place is so popular. We started with some oysters and clam chowder, all of which we raved about. Then for dinner we tried various seafood, all of which we were thoroughly pleased with from fish and chips to grouper to lobster, yum! Finally, we took a peanut butter pie home for dessert later and we are so glad we didn’t leave without it. Everything here was yummy and the ambiance overlooking the water was very relaxing. – hudsonsonthedocks.com
33 Office Park Road, Hilton Head, SC; (843) 681-8226
Holy Tequila, voted Hilton Head’s best Mexican restaurant, is a cut above your typical Mexican fare. By using local ingredients on a wood-burning grill, the restaurant ups the ante for modern Mexican cuisine.
Their menu includes 13 different tacos, 7 burritos, and their famous charred street corn, among other things. Diners get a true Mexican experience with live music and an affluent cantina atmosphere. In addition, Holy Tequila, as the name suggests, offers over sixty premium Tequilas. –holytequila.com
The Sandbar Beach Eats
101 Pope Ave, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928; (843) 342-7263
The next restaurant is where we spent our final night on HHI. Sitting outside is glorious especially when they have live music, which they did! This restaurant is known for its hush puppies, corn dip, and sweet potato tots for appetizers. The hush puppies are where it’s at! For dinner, the fish tacos are probably their top hit. I loved the steak tacos though because the meat was juicy and the taco shells were unique and didn’t fall apart like most do! The staff here were all extra friendly and simply having live music makes the evening more enjoyable.
PS- If you’re up for a frozen treat afterwards, walk over to the Frosty Frog where they’re open late and known for their daiquiris or slushies! They have alcoholic or nonalcoholic versions which are the perfect consistency and super delicious! Be prepared for a brain freeze! – sandbarhhi.com
The Jazz Corner
1000 William Hilton Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
This upscale restaurant, easily one of the best in Hilton Head, combines gourmet cuisine with glitzy entertainment. Allow the soothing sounds of world-class jazz music to enhance your dining experience in this very intimate and exquisite setting.
The menu features inventive culinary creations clearly influenced by the Lowcountry’s Southern flavors. The 99-seat venue is open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. seven nights a week. Guests will be treated to gourmet cuisine with a Lowcountry twist in addition to sensational entertainment. Here are a few of our favorite menu items that we know you’ll enjoy as much as we do: – thejazzcorner.com
Overall, the food in Hilton Head was phenomenal. The tropical feels of the ambiance, the fresh seafood catches, and the laid back atmospheres made our outings very enjoyable! But the most enjoyable part was spending quality time with family. Especially this lil’ cutie: our nephew!