Great Places to Eat

Terry Rocca's photo.Hilton Head has an amazing variety of really great restaurants.  Everyone has their favorites.  These are some of ours.  We’ve divided them in to three groups: regular Lunch/Dinner places, places to celebrate Special Occasions, and great breakfast/brunch locations. If you don’t see your favorite listed and you think it is worth a mention, send us an e-mail and we will investigate.  We are always looking for new favorites to add to this page.

Our all time favorite is Il Carpaccio. The owner is from Venice and the food is authentic Northern Italian.  We love the Spagetti Carbonara, the Smoked Salmon and Leek Pasta, and any of their wood-fired pizzas, but all of their food and the house wines are excellent.  The shopping center they used to be in is being renovated so they have moved to Museum St. opposite the Wal-mart on the north end of the island.  Ignore the internet listings that still say it is at Pineland Station. It is not local to Shipyard Plantation but the food is REALLY worth the drive.

Kenny B’s is a close second.  It is off Pope Avenue just before Coligny Plaza in same shopping center as Bi-Lo, on the opposite side of street from Aunt Chilada’s.  The decor alone will keep the kids amused.  Stick to the New Orleans side of the menu.  The regular fish fry stuff is good but the New Orlean’s inspired food is a must-have.  Be sure to try the Voodoo Pasta (massive amount of good seafood, pasta and sides). Gumbo Ya-Ya, Shrimp and Grits, Beignets and Bananas Foster Bread pudding are also winners.  Kids get their meals in dog bowls.  Actual dogs are welcome at tables outside.

Captain Woody’s on Arrow Rd.  Best Fish tacos and shrimp and grits on the island. The rest of the menu isn’t bad either and there is an outdoor area where the kids can play if there is a wait time. Dogs are welcome if you are dining on the outside deck.

Aunt Chiladas: If you’ve been to the island you’ve probably been there.  Their happy hour appetizers are a great bargain and every day they have a different special.  My favorite is the low country boil with two really big clusters of snow crab legs.  It’s regularly around $23 but only around $13 when it is the Tuesday special.

Hudson’s on Hudson Rd. off Squire Pope Rd. The food is good traditional style fried sea food but the fish is fresh from the boats and the sunset view over the marshes to Pinckney Island makes the drive worthwhile.

Other dinner notables that are close to Shipyard Plantation are:

  • A Low Country Back Yard – really good southern food
  • Chow Daddy’s – Good fresh food, smaller servings
  • Way Back Burgers – amazingly fresh and cooked in front of you. I always make a point of going there when we are on the island and I don’t even like burgers usually
  • Bullies Barbeque – barbeque is another food I don’t usually eat, but I will never turn down an opportunity to eat at Bullies. It’s not fancy, you order at the counter and the food comes in plastic baskets, but who cares when it tastes this good.
  • The Frosty Frog at Coligny Plaza.  Kids love it, the food is good and the live music reminds you that you are at the beach.  Dogs are welcome if you eat outside.  And, ice cream from the Frozen Moo a few doors down finishes the day nicely.
  • The Big Bamboo at Coligny Plaza has really good food to but I’m a bit put off by the World War II /Korean/Vietnam War decor.  Not my idea of a great beach theme. If you can get past that, then do try some of their wonderful Asian/Beach fusion food.

For Special Occasions

If you are celebrating a special occasion such as a birthday or wedding anniversary, there are several places to eat but our favorite is the Sunset Grille   It’s a little pricier than some other places but the food is well worth the price and the wine and beer selection is really good too.  Our favorite is the smoked salmon over creamy grits, topped with spinach.  Apparently, it is almost everyone else’s favorite too.  They smoke their own salmon and even in the slow winter season they smoke at least 60 pounds a week.  As for their desserts, they are just wonderful and since you will be there for a special celebration, why not indulge.

P.S. don’t be put off by the less than glamorous drive down Jenkins Rd. past the RV park or the location above the RV park management office.  The restaurant is located at the edge of the water with great views across Skull Creek to Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge and the bridge near the Harbor River inlet to Skull Creek. The views of the sunset on the water are amazing so make reservations and ask for a table near the window in this small restaurant with big taste.

Red Fish – Another upscale restaurant in a less than glamorous area (on Pope Rd. near the big Grayco store.  The food and wine selections here are great too.  And if you are not in the mood for dressing up for a fancy dinner, you can still get a great casual lunch on the deck.  If you like Lobster rolls, this is the place for you.

Brunches and Breakfasts

Reilly’s on Greenwood Drive. Sunday Brunch is from 11:00 until 2:00.  All the egg dishes come with all-you-can-drink Mimosas or champagne, so pick a designated driver.  I always have the crab cakes eggs Benedict.

Kenny B’s serves a Sunday breakfast buffet from 9:00 a.m. onwards. It’s pretty good, especially the beignets and the bananas foster bread pudding, so it’s hard to choose between that and Reilly’s on a Sunday.

Stacks on Wm. Hilton Parkway serves an early morning buffet every day but skip it and order off the menu.  Their fresh omelets and pancakes are SO much better than the ones that sit on the buffet.

Harold’s is our favorite weekday breakfast place but hours of operation can be erratic and the bumper stickers and posters are too risque for youngsters, though the owner’s “insult the customers” shtick will definitely keep you amused while you eat.

Island Bagel – Our daughter-in-law and her parents love this place both for eat-in and take-out breakfasts.  We are going to try it when we are next on the Island and will report back here.

Snacks and Sweets 

If you are not near Coligny Plaza to get your ice cream at the Frozen Moo then the new shopping center near Shelter Cove is the place to be.

  • Kilwins has creamy and delicious hand-paddled fudge and rich chocolates as well as great ice cream.
  • The French Bakery specializes in home-made pastries, breads and cakes made with local ingredients.