Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
MartyL

Hilton Head, SC

Recommended Posts

Our extended family is gathering in Hilton Head, South Carolina for a few days this week and I was wondering whether e-gulleters know of any good places to eat in the area. Thanks in advance for your help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi folks.

Pardon me---just trying to move this up on to the "Today's Active Topics" list in the hopes of generating some responses.

We leave Wednesday morning so any last-minute suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a couple of years later than the last post, so I am hopeful that somebody has some interesting ideas of where to eat around Hilton Head. Good seafood shop recommendations welcome as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've lived on the island for twenty four years and can recommend:

Italian: Michael Anthony in Orleans Plaza

Mulberry Street Trattoria over the bridge on 278 (first left after the Moss Creek light)

Il Carpaccio in Pineland Station

La Famiglia on 278 near Palmetto Dunes

Mexican: Santa Fe Cafe on 278 (same little center as La Famiglia)

Inexpensive dining and retail seafood: Captain's on 278 mid island

BBQ: DoSiDo's in Moss creek Village (first light over the bridge)

Swinging bar: The Metropolitan Lounge in Park Plaza (near Sea Pines Circle) Rocks well into the wee hours and giltterati will be in attendance

And a project that I have been involved in will be open next week: Iguana John's at Palmetto Bay Marina.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the rundown! What's Iguana John's--a bar or a restaurant or both? Sounds kinda tex-mex-y, right? And what's your involvement with the project?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Malawry: I am the architect of record for Iguana John's. They're having a soft opening Sunday night so I'll have a better understanding of the menu after that. It is not Tex-Mex for sure. The place is a combination custom furniture and accessory store-Tommy Bahama clothing store-bar and restaurant, if that makes any sense to you. My friend who owns it is very savvy about all parts of the ideas behind the combination so I expect it to do well. (I hope it does since I'm a very small investor.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick update:

We did not make it to Iguana John's, but hopefully their opening went well. Hilton Head seems to be filled with similar combination retail-bar-restaurant operations--we checked out the ubiquitous Salty Dog Cafe of course, which is probably the best-known of these. (Salty Dog is a pizza place, a bar, a cafe, an ice cream shop, and a souvenir shop in Sea Pines at South Beach.)

We picked up most of our seafood from Captain's and were pleased with the quality and gentle prices. I grilled shrimp from there almost every night, and we enjoyed some plump scallops, fresh tilapia and small but tasty pieces of cod. I wasn't so enamored of the devilled crabs we picked up from there, but everybody managed to finish them easily anyway.

I only had dinner out twice, and only one meal was somewhat memorable. Red Fish is a restaurant (with a wine shop and a gift shop within, of course) on the Cross-Island Expressway. Fans blow a fine mist of cool air over the outdoor patio (perfect for August nights), while the inside is friendly with substantial wooden chairs and black-and-white photography on the walls. The menu here is Cuban-influenced and heavy on the seafood.

I couldn't resist the Kobe beef burger with foie gras and truffles though (I'd been eating a lot of seafood at that point in the vacation). It comes with a wonderful Vidalia onion relish, a port wine demi-glace, and house-made yellow tomato ketchup. The foie filling tasted a little stale somehow, but the burger itself was absolutely top-notch. And at $25 I felt it was a great deal.

I had a taste of a clam chowder that even my New England husband admitted was pretty good--it was very thick with clams and flavorful. There's a blackened grouper entree with a tasso-shrimp sauce that's terrific. The tuna was a bit strange, graced with nondescript sauteed Asian vegetables and an "edamame hummus" that lacked in flavor despite its vibrant green color.

Considering how tame most of the menus were on Hilton Head, I was pretty impressed with Red Fish and would gladly return there on future visits. It's amazing to me how uninspired most of the menus seem to be on the island--there really isn't much that's special most places.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Malawry: I believe that eighty percent of the island's population comes from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Atlanta which may account for the variety of cuisine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any updates?

Looking for nice restaurant with great food.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ZEB: With a couple of hundred restaurants in a town of less than forty thousand I find it regretable that there is not a real standout. However, when I dine out (probably once or twice a month) it is usually Michael Anthony's in Orleans Plaza. (They do not advertize and turn away customers nightly.)

If you wait until August however, a new Indian restaurant will open. Money is being lavished! The chef is from London and the bar will be the one all others are judged by.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny you should ask. I just returned from another weeklong trip to the island. (My folks have a timeshare there, and this is the second year we've joined them.)

Captain's closed its fish shop, unfortunately. They have opened a new restaurant in Coligny Plaza I think, but they didn't include the fish counter in their new space. When we called to ask where we should buy fish instead, they suggested Piggly Wiggly. :sad: We bought some seafood (not local) from Publix.

My husband and I ate two meals out. One was at the Southern BBQ chain Sticky Fingers, where we enjoyed decent ribs and wonderfully meaty wings. The other was our first time out without our baby in honor of our 5th wedding anniversary, at the Old Fort Pub. My parents said this was the best place on the island. If that's the case, well, my opinion of HHI dining has not improved over last year. I had asparagus en croute with proscuitto as a starter, which was okay but nothing to write home about. Some marginally acceptable crab cakes that did not contain any lumps of crab followed, which came with delicious grits and some sauteed cabbage and black-eyed peas. My husband really liked the BBQ pork empanada starter he ordered, and he didn't seem so interested in sharing the trout with pepper-sauce beurre blanc and jambalaya rice he got as an entree, so perhaps they were better than what I chose. The restaurant is in a beautiful location overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway...if you ask for Table 11 right now you might get a chance to peek at some adorable baby raccoons who live in the trunk of a tree right beside the table (which is at the window and well-situated for sunset-watching). Old Fort Pub is part of the Lowery Group of restaurants (which includes Boathouse 11, CQs, Antonio's and some other local eateries).

I'd regard Old Fort and Red Fish as equally alright--I'd return to either, but not with great enthusiasm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks . . . I guess.

You'd think the area would support one or two exceptional restaurants, even with a high price menu.

I appreciate the reality check though!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks . . . I guess.

You'd think the area would support one or two exceptional restaurants, even with a high price menu.

I appreciate the reality check though!!

I can highly recommend two places for dinner on Hilton Head Island:

Red Fish (as mentioned by others)

http://www.redfishofhiltonhead.com/

Archer Rd, off Palmetto Bay Rd

Charlie's L'Etoile Verte

http://www.charliesofhiltonhead.com/

New Orleans Rd., off 278

Handwritten menu changes daily.

I have had dinner at both of these restaurants numerous times, as recently as the beginning of July.

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We enjoyed Red Fish.

We also dined at Sea Grass Grile which was ok, but nothing special, and CQs, which was again, ok, but significantly overpriced for the quality of the meal.

I would definitely return to Red Fish, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks . . . I guess.

You'd think the area would support one or two exceptional restaurants, even with a high price menu.

I appreciate the reality check though!!

I can highly recommend two places for dinner on Hilton Head Island:

Charlie's L'Etoile Verte

http://www.charliesofhiltonhead.com/

New Orleans Rd., off 278

Handwritten menu changes daily.

Greg

Returning to Hilton Head after 4 years. We always liked Charlie's and Old Fort but we found Faisal's Le Bistro Mediterranean in Pineland Station to have the best food. But that was 4 years ago. Any new recommendations?

Cirilo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks . . . I guess.

You'd think the area would support one or two exceptional restaurants, even with a high price menu.

I appreciate the reality check though!!

I can highly recommend two places for dinner on Hilton Head Island:

Charlie's L'Etoile Verte

http://www.charliesofhiltonhead.com/

New Orleans Rd., off 278

Handwritten menu changes daily.

Greg

Returning to Hilton Head after 4 years. We always liked Charlie's and Old Fort but we found Faisal's Le Bistro Mediterranean in Pineland Station to have the best food. But that was 4 years ago. Any new recommendations?

Cirilo

In addition to Charlie's L'Etoile Verte and Red Fish, we enjoyed a very nice dinner at The Studio on a recent visit. The Studio is a combination restaurant and art gallery. All three are solid choices for a very nice dinner.

Also, Charlie's Crab can be pretty good for lunch or dinner (even though it's a chain of sorts, etc.)

Another good choice for lunch is Main Street Cafe & Pub, near the Harris Teeter entrance to HH Plantation.

The Sea Shack is a very good casual, cheap place but word has gotten out and it's nearly impossible to get in there.

For breakfast, I really like Stacks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was down a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed another wonderful dinner at Red Fish. I think we'll stick to them from now on unless something new opens for our one nicer night out on our annual trip.

We also had dinner at Sticky Fingers BBQ (a Southern chain) one night. It wasn't as good as last year--some of the meats were not as hot as they should have been. But it was still not bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was down a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed another wonderful dinner at Red Fish. I think we'll stick to them from now on unless something new opens for our one nicer night out on our annual trip.

We also had dinner at Sticky Fingers BBQ (a Southern chain) one night. It wasn't as good as last year--some of the meats were not as hot as they should have been. But it was still not bad.

On our return to HHI after 4 years, we planned on eating at the Old Fort Pub, Antonio's, Le Bistro Mediterranean, Red Fish, Alligator Grille, Cafe at Wexford , Charlie's L'Etoile Verte, Hudson's on the Dock or Crazy Crab based on current egullet recs and our previous experience.

We visited Faisal at the Le Bistro on our first night. The place is bigger, with a completely new staff having Charles completely take over the cooking from Faisal. Somehow, we found the old reliables to be not as good as before. We promised to go back but somehow didn't in the two weeks we were there. As I write, I wish we did.

The Cafe at Wexford is now Hugo's formerly of Fitzgerald's.

Charlie's L'Etoile Verte still serves very good South Carolina cooking. The new location (4 years) is where Il Cappucino used to be and is much bigger and comfortable. Charlie's now has the ambiance to go with the food. Two of Faisal's wait staff who joined Charlie's four years ago remembered us and really took good care of us.

Frankie Bones serves great Northern (Jersey) cooking and we enjoyed the Sunday brunch.

Hudson's on the Dock. Our group of 17 on wheelchair and high chair had a great time. We came on the rainy day and were the first ones on the line coming from our day long outlet shopping. I actually enjoyed the food. Maybe my expectation was just lower not having to wait an hour to be seated or just plain famished or the food was just fresh and well prepared all along. Whatever, it was my best experience of the family style sea food restaurants in the Island.

After a disappointing experience at Antonio's, poor service, so-so food, we vowed not to go to another Lowrey Group restaurant again and gave up on the Old Fort Pub which gave us more time to enjoy Red Fish and Alligator Grille. We spent our last two days having lunch and dinner in these two fine restaurants. BTW, the wines at the retail store of Red Fish are of very good quality, variety and are competitively priced. One should buy the Island wine here instead of Bi-Lo, Publix, PW or Harris Teeter.

Top Recs:

Red Fish

Charlie's L'Etoile Verte

Alligator Grille

Frankie Bones

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whew, I'm glad you skipped the Crazy Crab. The only redeeming feature of that place IMO is the golf ball hush puppies they give you. Everything else pretty universally sucked. I'll check out Hudson's next summer since we have our little one in tow, and a decent family-style seafood place is always nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I shared your recs with my mom who is a frequent visitor. She offered this

Sage's is a favorite of the locals;  I took BJ there for her 65th birthday and we loved it - 1st class!. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an update:

Riviera Oaks is a couple of months old now and has found its groove. Its the old Olivier's on New Orleans Road, next to Michael Anthony's.

Completely redone and it is the most amazing restaurant interior on the island and with a kitchen IMO locally unparalleled. (Olivier is still there playing the guitar.)

Reservations are becoming a must since seating is under 50.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone know where to get a good poor boy/po boy on Hilton Head.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kenny B's has New Orleans ambitions. I know people who swear by it, but I've never been. Its in Circle Center off Pope Avenue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does anyone know where to get a good poor boy/po boy on Hilton Head.

I am pretty sure that po boys are on the menu at the Sea Shack

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×