The best Hilton Head Island restaurants

Bruce Tuttle Ultimate Guide to Eating Out On Hilton Head


Where do you like to eat on Hilton Head Island?

With more than 2.6 million visitors a year (in addition to 40,000 full time island residents), there better be some good places to eat.

And as a matter of fact, there are!

Our Lowcountry is home to more than 250 great eating establishments — ranging from secret hideaways to high traffic trendy spots and from delightful high-end choices to dance-the-night-away joints. You can enjoy regional fare, such as local seafood, farm-to-table, Southern, and international cuisine from all corners of the world — including American, French, German, Italian, Caribbean, Brazilian, Greek, Japanese, Mexican, and Southwestern.

All right here in our little island paradise.

With so many options, where should you go? More often than not, those visiting Hilton Head will look to a local for recommendations. Lucky for you, not only am I a local but I also spent a great deal of my life in the food and beverage industry (I helped open the first Morton’s Steakhouse in Chicago, IL in 1979).

Here are my “Top 15+” list of favorites Hilton Head eateries. It’s up to you from there!


  • Old Oyster Factory – Dinner only, no reservations. Sit in the bar area for dinner and get some of the best water views on the island.
  • Skull Creek Boathouse – Catch your sunsets here, large selection of seafood favorites, but arrive early as it fills up fast.
  • Fish Camp on Broad Creek – Earthy atmosphere, best seats outside or at the bar, great local following.


  • Reilley’s Grill & Bar – An island favorite since 1983, when you sit at the bar, you’ll probably be sitting next to a local. Great Sunday brunch serving free mimosas.
  • Sunset Grill – Don’t be fooled by the location in a marina/RV park. You can catch the best sunset views on the island and enjoy the eclectic atmosphere with great food and service.
  • Wiseguys – Tapas menu in the cocktail lounge and the best steaks on the island in this restaurant. Great food and great service from another SERG favorite.
  • CharBar – Can you say “the best hamburgers on the island … and more”? After your meal, you can “sneak” next door to the Whiskey Room — with the only entrance located behind the bookshelves.


  • Santa Fe Café – Wonderful upscale Southwest cuisine and a long-time island favorite, be sure to ask for the roof top seating for dinner.
  • Holy Tequila – Here’s where you go for great Mexican fare. Comfortable atmosphere in a south island location.


  • One Hot Mama’s – For me, it all begins and ends here for ‘que on the island. Award-winning owner/chef Orchid Paulmeier serves up traditional Carolina BBQ with a selection of her homemade sauces.


  • Ombra Cucina Italiana – You can’t go wrong here. Multiple time winner of the “The Island Packet Reader’s Choice Award” for “Best Italian restaurant.” Located in the Village at Wexford.
  • Giuseppi’s at Shelter Cove – Casual saloon atmosphere, great pizza “and then some” menu with sandwiches, pasta dishes, and more. Bring your appetite!


  • Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte – Long-time island favorite, they serve French cuisine in a provencal style. Wonderful comfy lounge and bar, great for appetizers and a bottle of wine.



  • Marley’s Island Grille – One of the more diverse menus on the island with tastes from the Caribbean, the South Pacific, and Latin America. A great change of pace with indoor and outdoor dining.


There you have it. That’s at least two weeks worth of restaurants.

When you’re finished with this list, let me know. I’ll give you a few more choices. One thing you will notice on the island, is the lack of “chain” restaurants. Some have come, most have gone.

Bottom line: When you go on vacation you want to eat where the locals eat. You can always go to Golden Corral back home.

Bon Appetit!