Best Hilton Head Eats

///Best Hilton Head Eats

Best Hilton Head Eats

Curious about the BEST restaurants in Hilton Head?  Hilton Head is filled with amazing places to eat and I’ve handpicked my favorites… here are the best Hilton Head Eats!

Best Hilton Head Restaurants pinterest pin. Plates on a table with breakfast.

Y’all know how much I love Hilton Head.  The Hubs and I can get there from Asheville in a little over an hour in the plane and we simply can’t get enough of the relaxing charm of the South Carolina island.

I love the gorgeous shade trees, southern charm, and huge expansive beaches.  This is my happy place.

Plus the sunsets are kind of epic… which is a must for any good beach vacation in my book.

I’ve vacationed on the Island my entire life and this year I was lucky enough to spend my birthday, Thanksgiving AND spring break on the island… plus a few day trips in the mix.

So what are the best restaurants in Hilton Head?

We’ve gone dozens of times just in the past few years.  I’m always in search of the best restaurants in Hilton Head.

Hilton Head Island Beach Path

Another big reason I love Hilton Head is terrific food.  Typical beach eats are great, but the Hubs and I want to eat WELL on vacation.  We are foodies at heart and live for delicious food.  Hilton Head is filled with some of the best restaurants you’ve ever eaten at.  They are absolutely known for their food and it’s filled to the brim with the best restaurants in Hilton Head.  Often our favorite days are spent at the beach and capped off with a fabulous meal including casual seafood, restaurants with gorgeous views, hidden fine dining gems, and even family friendly restaurants.

If you are looking for the best SUNSET restaurant in Hilton Head… I took this shot from Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks.

Sunset view from Hudson's - the best sunset restaurant in Hilton Head.

Now I can’t claim to have eaten at every single restaurant on the island, BUT I’ve eaten at A LOT of them and found my favorites over the years.  I’ve even been gathering photos for this post quite a while because I wanted to share all these fabulous places with you.  I know many of you vacation at Hilton Head too so I thought I’d share my favorites covering everything from my favorite local restaurants, favorite restaurants with a water view, and even my favorite breakfast restaurant.

After years of eating out on the island, I’m going to share with my top 10 picks for favorite restaurants on the island.

If you vacation there and have a favorite that I didn’t list… please add them in the comments below!  Readers… be sure to check those out too.

Need takeout or carry away food? Here are the BEST Hilton Head Takeout Restaurant Options!


(Updated in 2020)


Best Restaurants in Hilton Head – Top 10

Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte – Best Local Restaurant in Hilton Head

Charlie’s is a hidden gem out of the great Hilton Head restaurants.  It’s not on the water and is tucked away near a few shopping centers.  Despite the lack of a view, it is one of my all-time favorite restaurants anywhere.  It’s a French-inspired restaurant that cooks locally caught seafood.  This might not be a traditional crab shack but is one of the best seafood restaurants in Hilton Head. The food is such high quality and impeccably prepared.

Don’t miss the Crab Soup.

Hilton Head Island Charlie's She Crab Soup

They switch their menu nightly according to the fresh catch with the fresh grouper with mushroom sauce is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

Best Restaurants in Hilton Head? Charlies featuring plate with Grouper with mushroom sauce.

You also can’t miss their caramel cake.  It’s so good the Hubs and I order two pieces because sharing this would just be offensive.

Best Dessert on Hilton Head Island - Charlies' Caramel Cake

It’s a local favorite and reservations book fast and early so call ahead of time to go.  You will not be sorry.

What to Order: She Crab Soup, Grouper with Mushroom Sauce, Blackend Fish (their menu changes daily but they usually offer one blackened choice a day,) Caramel Cake.



Red Fish

Red Fish is another place with the best Hilton Head eats.  It’s also tucked away near a shopping center and not on the water but is so good.  You must try the Cajun Lobster and Shrimp Burger.  It’s epic.  I love it so much I made my own recipe with just shrimp here.

Hilton Head Island South Carolina Red Fish Shrimp and Lobster Burger

I also love their Lobster Mac & Cheese and scallops.

Red Fish Lobster Mac & Cheese

Go early and pick out a bottle of wine from their fun wine store upfront.  They will open it for you at the table and it’s just about the perfect night out!

What to Order: Shrimp & Lobster Burger



If you are looking for a lovely outdoor meal with beach views, Coast is a great bet!  It is in Sea Pines and has a wonderful atmosphere.  This is one of the best restaurants in Sea Pines Hilton Head SC.

Best Restaurants on Hilton Head Island - Coast with waterview.

The Hubs and I love their seafood tower with crab legs, shrimp and fresh oysters.

Best Seafood Restaurants in Hilton Head - crab, oysters and shrimp.

What to Order: Raw Bar Full Platter, Blackened Shrimp Nachos

Salty Dog Cafe- Best Family Restaurants in Hilton Head

You can’t go to Hilton Head Island without visiting the Salty Dog Cafe!  It’s at the end of the island in Sea Pines and is an iconic, casual place with great food and drinks.

Best Restaurants in Sea Pines on Hilton Head - Salty Dog cocktail

This is their Shrimp & Lobster Roll…

Salty Dog Shrimp and Lobster Roll

… and here’s a delish Shrimp Po-Boy.  I’d go for the homemade chips- they are addictive.

Best Restaurants in Hilton Head? Salty Dog Shrimp Po Boy

For this place to be a cult favorite, the food is surprisingly tasty and the atmosphere will not disappoint.  Don’t forget to get your t-shirt before you go.

What to Order: Mango Mojito, South Beach Roll, Grouper Dog, or Fresh Catch Sandwich.  We like the lunch menu more than the dinner menu at Salty Dog.


Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks- Best Seafood Restaurant in Hilton Head & Best Sunset View

Hudson’s is another Hilton Head institution loved by both tourists and locals.  If the weather is nice you can sit on their gorgeous docks.  Go at sunset for some incredible views.

Family eating at Hudson's Seafood on the Docks

If you go when local oysters are in season, get a BUCKET with all the fixings.

Best Seafood Restaurants in Hilton Head -Hudson's on the Docks local oyster tray.

They also fish for their own shrimp and have THE BEST shrimp you’ve ever had.  They are fresh, never frozen, and will ruin all other shrimp for you.

What to Order: FRESH shrimp, Oyster Tray (when in season,) Crab Cakes


Skull Creek Boathouse – Best Restaurant in Hilton Head on Water

I adore the Skull Creek Boathouse.  It’s not fancy and it’s not the best food you’ve ever had… but it’s really good and the views and atmosphere can’t be beaten.   I like it for lunch.  On a busy summer day, you can watch giant machines move boats from storage to the water.  It’s fascinating.

Skull Creek Boathouse waterview - best restaurants in Hilton Head on the water

The best Hilton Head eats at Skull Creek Boathouse are from their raw bar.  I love their ceviche and tuna dishes.  They do lovely things with tuna including poke!  Get the Tuna 3 Ways.  I also like their clams and shrimp.

Skull Creek Boathouse shrimp

Grab a table outside, a drink, and enjoy the afternoon with a cocktail!

What to Order: Ceviche and Raw Bar Tuna


OMBRA Cucina Italiana – Best Italian

If you’ve had enough traditional seafood, OMBRA Cucina Italiana is a good place to mix it up.  They make delicious, authentic Italian food.  Try their homemade ravioli of the day.  This doesn’t look like much, but it tastes like pillows of pasta heaven.

Best Italian Restaurants in Hilton Head- Ombra - homemade ravioli

They also have a fresh catch entree and seafood dishes with an Italian flare.  Their mussels and scallops are also dreamy.  If you are in the mood for seafood they still have enough seafood and fish entrees on the menu to satisfy that craving.

Also don’t leave without one of their cannolis!

Homemade Cannoli - OMBRA Cucina Italiana

OMBRA is a hidden gem on Hilton Head and a restaurant I totally adore.  You can’t go wrong here.

What to Order: Mussels, Homemade Ravioli, Gnocchi, Seafood Pasta and Cannoli


Island Bagel and Deli – Best Breakfast Takeout

Bagels at the beach?  YASSSSS!  These bagels at Island Bagel are the real deal.  They taste just like New York bagels and are worth the trip.  They are super soft inside and just hard enough on the outside with great flavors.  Just don’t blame me if you end up taking a dozen home.

Best Breakfast restaurants in Hilton Head- Island Bagel and Deli - bagel sandwich held in hand.

What to Order: Bagel Sandwich on Everything Bagel, Dozen Bagels and cream cheese to go!


Palmetto Bay Island Cafe – Best Breakfast Restaurant

Another great breakfast/ brunch spot is Palmetto Bay Island Cafe.  They run a wait, but it’s worth it!  Look at this stuffed french toast.

Palmetto Bay Island Cafe - Best Breakfast restaurants in Hilton Head- french toast on white plate.

I’m also a huge fan of their breakfast burrito… but you can’t go wrong with any of the picks!

Breakfast burrito from Palmetto Bay Island Cafe

What to Order: Stuffed French Toast, Breakfast Burrito


Al’s Aloha Kitchen – Best Cheap Restaurants in Hilton Head

Another best restaurant in Hilton Head is Al’s Aloha Kitchen.  It’s super casual and the simple menu features acai and poke bowls.  They are both dreamy and perfect to eat on their cute patio or at the beach.

If you are looking for some cheap eats, this is a wonderful option.

Al's Aloha Kitchen acai bowls - best restaurants in Hilton Head

What to Order: Acai AND Poke Bowls


Best Restaurants in Hilton Head SC?

Happy eating!  I hope you enjoyed these best restaurants in Hilton Head SC.  The island is filled with so much good food from seafood, Italian, beach eats to even breakfast.

If there are any great Hilton Head Restaurants you love that I left out, please share in the comments below!  These are my favorites from my many trips to the island BUT I’m sure there are other favorites too.


Love Hilton Head?

If you are going to Hilton Head but planning on doing takeout or carry away, here are my favorite Hilton Head Takeout Restaurant Options including the top things to order.


Like this post about Best Restaurants in Hilton Head?  Pin this to your favorite Pinterest board!


Thanks for coming by today!  Come back tomorrow for my favorite grilled shrimp.

Your turn!

What’s your favorite vacation restaurant?

By | 2020-09-17T13:51:14-04:00 May 16th, 2018|Southeast Travel, Travel|25 Comments


  1. […] something new this around.  Kiawah has lots of great things about it but honestly, the food in Hilton Head wins me over any day.  I love GOOD seafood on a beach trip and there really weren’t many […]

  2. Latonya August 22, 2020 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    HHI is our favorite place on Earth. We also love the Old Oyster Factory with stunning marsh water views and during certain times of the year you can catch the fireworks show from shelter cove while dining there.

    • JulieWunder August 23, 2020 at 3:03 pm - Reply

      Those are such wonderful things to do too! I love how there are so many things on the island and each time I go the trip is a little different.

  3. Natalie July 5, 2020 at 11:39 am - Reply

    Reilly’s by right outside of Sea Pines. It’s a family run business with the nicest and friendliest staff ever. Monday’s is their whole lobster special. My favorite item though is their mussels bb

    • JulieWunder July 5, 2020 at 3:01 pm - Reply

      Sounds so good! I will have to give it try!! Love the sound of the lobster special. 🙂

  4. […] if you are comfortable with dining in be sure to check out my posts on Best Hilton Head Eats which features lots of dine-in options with gorgeous […]

  5. Brittney G March 10, 2020 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    Great recommendations! If you haven’t been to Lucky Rooster – it’s a must for dinner one night! Also, Poseidon is a great lunch/dinner spot With good people watching and a great area to walk around 🙂

  6. Kristin Gwaltney January 5, 2020 at 7:46 am - Reply

    We also love HHI. My hubby and I found this gem of an island 18 years ago. We also have a great list of restaurants. Truffles in Sea Pines is a wonderful 4 star restaurant tucked into a little shopping center. I had their group and it was to die for. I however can not recommend Coast. The food is okay, menu is pretty blah and they lost our credit card and the manager lied about it. Skip Coast and just have a stroll on their beach.

  7. […] Best Hilton Head Eats […]

  8. Shannon Cronin April 21, 2019 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    Hello! It sounds like you and your husband know of all the best places to eat! Next time you are in Hilton head come to Shelter Cove Marina. We run a business called Bluewater adventure. We have these fascinating little two-seater boats that are super easy to drive. You get to see Hilton head from a whole new angle and drive your boat over 35 miles throughout Hilton head and the surrounding marshlands. Check out our website!

  9. […] meals out in a row, we decided to get takeout from dinner.  This is one of my favorite dishes from Red Fish.  It doesn’t look as pretty in a box, but it still tasted […]

  10. […] Best Hilton Head Eats […]

  11. Erica Janes May 26, 2018 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    We love HHI and wish we could go more than once a year! We love several of those that you listed, but we also love Fishcamp on Broad Creek, Trattoria Divina, and Kenny B’s for Sunday brunch.

  12. Maria May 17, 2018 at 8:35 am - Reply

    Oh How fun, I live in Bluffton right outside of hilton head, I also love those places you mention! Its a special place. I love Ashville too. Heading there this fall. My husband plays in tennis tournament there

  13. Kalee May 16, 2018 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    Oh man! We went last year, and we had a blast! We loved the Coast too!

  14. Don Whitmire May 16, 2018 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    My favorite is the Sea Shack. Nothing fancy but great seafood.

    • Merritt Tongen May 27, 2019 at 5:53 pm - Reply

      Agreed Don!! It’s great. I also don’t see Sage Room on here. It’s by far my favorite restaurant on the island!

  15. Lisa Ballantyne May 16, 2018 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    That food looks amazing, especially the shrimp!

  16. Erinn May 16, 2018 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    All that seafood is making my mouth water! I’m pretty sure I could eat lobster mac and cheese everyday of my life!

  17. Annmarie May 16, 2018 at 8:49 am - Reply

    I’ve never been to Hilton Head but everything looks so lovely there…and yummy! I’m hungry just looking at all your beautiful food pics!

  18. Wendy May 16, 2018 at 8:02 am - Reply

    Ok, now I want to go to Hilton Head!!!

  19. Emily @ Pizza & Pull-Ups May 16, 2018 at 7:28 am - Reply

    I totally want all the seafood now. This all looks amazing!

  20. Maureen @ Maureen Gets Real May 16, 2018 at 7:23 am - Reply

    I love the Salty Dog! There’s something very beachy about eating there on a vacation. The stuffed French toast looks to die for.

  21. Lori Kirkpatrick Murphy May 16, 2018 at 6:46 am - Reply

    My absolute Favorites are Marley’s Island Grill and Kenny B’s. I highly recommend both spots. Enjoy!!

  22. Beth Ann Chiles May 16, 2018 at 6:18 am - Reply

    Those all look so delicious. And no worries—I can never get enough beach!

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