Hilton Head’s 9 Best Restaurants, Top Local Eats

Photo of Lani Seelinger
9 February 2017

Millions of beachgoers come to this island in southern South Carolina every year seeking an escape from the real world, so it should come as no surprise that they’ve got a number of fantastic restaurants to suit a variety of palates. You can certainly try the local Low-country food, but you’ve got great choices even when you want a change. Enjoy our list of the 10 best restaurants in Hilton Head.

Michael Anthony's Cucina Italiana

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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Homemade Pasta | © stevepb/pixabay
Nationally recognized for the quality of its Italian food, Michael Anthony’s has been wowing Hilton Head diners for thirteen years and counting. The owners brought their experience of growing up in the Italian neighborhoods of Philadelphia here, and it shows. Their food is exactly as you want Italian food to be: fresh, simple, and only with enough ingredients to let each one shine individually within the dish. All of their pasta is made in-house, which only accentuates the delicious flavors that they combine in the pasta dishes. The desserts are also homemade, so there’s no need to worry about whether that profiterole you’re eating was once frozen – besides by the gelato that joins it on the place.

The Jazz Corner

Restaurant, Seafood, Contemporary, $$$
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The Jazz Corner has your whole night out in one place. With its delicious food and world-class jazz, it’s perfect for a special occasion, or just a night when you need a boost in life. They try to keep the music at the restaurant as close to the original form of jazz as possible, a throwback to the roaring twenties with live music every night of the week. The food comes out elegantly plated, with unexpected flavors coming together to create harmonies that almost rival the music in the background. The Jazz Corner also definitely takes advantage of the beach location with some very enticing seafood options, like prosciutto-wrapped sea scallops.

The Studio

Restaurant, Vegan, Seafood, American, Vegetarian, $$$
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Tapas at The Studio | Courtesy of The Studio
In addition to being a restaurant, The Studio is also exactly what its name purports it to be: an art studio. You’ll find the walls adored by the works of several artists, and sometimes you’ll even find a painter hard at work behind an easel. Besides visual entertainment, they also have live music for your ears, and that’s before you’ve even gotten to your taste buds. The chef has put together a menu combining influences from all over the world, with a sizable vegetarian menu including numerous vegan options. Very rarely can one menu list both lamb rogan josh and and seafood paella so close to each other and still maintain a sense of connectedness, but The Studio manages it, and we’re all better off for it.

Java Burrito Co.

Restaurant, American, Mexican
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Did you ever go to a coffee place and wish that they had the option of a burrito with your cappuccino, or go to a burrito place and wish that they only served a decent cup of joe? With Java Burrito Co., all of those problems are solved. Not only can you get these two things together, but they place a huge emphasis on the quality of their ingredients and the importance of sustainable farming. To that end, all of their meat is raised humanely, without any antibiotics or hormones. The coffee is all locally roasted, and they only buy fair trade coffee. So have the biggest burrito with a refreshing iced coffee to wash it down, and don’t feel guilty at all.


Bar, Bistro, Restaurant, Italian
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Vine doesn’t have a website, but all the energy they would have spent on one went instead, into the impeccable quality of their food. Their menu has specials that change every day, and they revamp the whole linwup each season to keep the ingredients as fresh as possible. The food is largely Italian, but includes influences from across the globe as well. You’re also sure to get a beautiful presentation at Vine, with the colors blending together in an edible collage and a swirl of balsamic vinegar (or perhaps chocolate, depending on the dish) to complete the piece of art.


Restaurant, American
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Vegan carrot soup | Courtesy of DelisheeeYo
You won’t find an ounce of meat in DelisheeeYo, but they have a menu that will thrill even the most carnivorous among you. Everything possible is sourced locally and grown sustainably, but beyond that, DelisheeeYo endeavors to make as much of their offerings as possible. Think those chocolate truffles are store-bought, or perhaps the almond milk? Think again. Many of the dishes that they make are vegan, and fill you up magnificently with their exciting flavors and the knowledge that you’re treating your body right. It’s the perfect place to be onthose really hot summer days, so don’t leave without trying one of their refreshing smoothies.

Skull Creek Boathouse

Restaurant, Seafood, South American, Sushi, $$$
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The name may sound intimidating, but don’t be fooled. It’s just the name of the water that the restaurant sits next to. Since it’s an open air restaurant, the pleasant saltiness of the sea air wafting in will just be a nice addition to your dinner out. Unsurprisingly, the seafood is the main draw for Skull Creek Boathouse, but besides your normal friend catfish and oysters on the half shell, they also have more difficult to find items like high quality sushi, ceviche, and po’ boy sandwiches that taste just like a little piece of New Orleans. The wine and cocktail menus are also extensive, which are only part of what makes this place so perfect for those long summer evenings.

A Lowcountry Backyard

Restaurant, Seafood, American, Dessert, $$$
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The owners of A Lowcountry Backyard knew Hilton Head before it was a hip destination for people from across America. They’ve watched the island grow into itself around them, but A Lowcountry Backyard reminds visitors of what it once was: a small, quiet, southern town by the seashore. You can find all the southern favorites here – barbecue, shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy, and to top it off, banana pudding for dessert. If you plan it right, you might get to come on one of the delightful nights when they’re welcoming everyone and everyone in for an oyster roast or cookout in their spacious backyard.

Ombra Cucina Rustica

Restaurant, Italian, Seafood, $$$
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If the Hilton Head restaurant scene has one thing in plenty, it’s good Italian restaurants. Ombra has carved out a place for itself with its sheer elegance. Their menu isn’t long, so you know that each dish has required plenty of thought and effort to put together so smoothly. For a real treat that will really let you explore, come for the early dining menu, where you’ll pay a set price to enjoy a three course meal that you put together yourself off their options. Try a salad with goat cheese and beets, fresh sea bass, and vanilla panna cotta. Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong.

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