This post is all about the best places to eat in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Two words: FRESH SEAFOOD. In my opinion, there’s nothing better than being oceanside, with a salty breeze blowing, and some crab legs with a glass of sav blanc….I mean, c’mon! If you’ve read Top 12 Things to Do in Hilton Head Island, you know I teased this post- Best Places to Eat in HHI (and includes bonus places to grab a cocktail and ice cream). And trust me, they won’t let you down! Next time you’re at the beach paradise known as Hilton Head, give these restaurants a try.
Harbourside in Harbour Town
Harbour Town itself is a lovely place to visit and there are several restaurants there to try (Links, Crazy Crab, CQ’s). My fav is the casual dining of Harbourside, located in the center of Harbour Town, with views overlooking the marina. You can grab a bite and then work it all off climbing the several hundred steps up the iconic HHI lighthouse. Harbourside is also charming for a night at the bar there with the lights bouncing off the ocean. One thing to note is that the menu is not very extensive, with limited items like snow crab legs, burgers and fish sandwiches, and my personal favorite- the peel & eat shrimp!
Marleys Shrimp and Burger Shack
Welcome to one of the OG HHI restaurants- Marleys. The Shrimp and Burger Shack is an extension of Marleys Island Grill (next recommendation) and is pretty recently opened. This is a great choice for fast, quality beach-y food for lunch. The Shrimp and Burger Shack has a pretty large menu, like crab cakes, cuban sandwiches, scallops, po boys, and fish tacos. I finished off the blackened fish tacos (shack style) with the chocolate and vanilla swirl soft serve…which YUM, obvi.
Marleys Island Grill
Ok. Ok. So just now realizing I got fish tacos at both Marleys options- but like, can you blame me? I’ve been going to Marleys Island Grill since I could barely walk and the restaurants has only gotten better and better. Fun drinks (check out the Tropical Itch- it comes with an actual back scratcher) and amazing food, this place is my go-to spot for dinner. They have a wide offering with steaks, seafood, and more. Obviously I love the Mahi Mahi Tacos, but the Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Filet Medallions, and the Spicy Tuna Sashimi is to die for.
Who doesn’t love a great breakfast/brunch spot? While Hilton Head does lack in this genre a bit, Skillets does not. Located in Coligny Plaza is delicious and extremely dog friendly, with even a dog menu! Ziggy loved the Tailwagging Turkey, while we gorged out on the French Toast, Denver Skillet (pictured above), and the Bananas Foster. The only thing I will say is that the coffee game could step it up, but luckily the adorable french bakery is right next door with bomb coffee (& Starbucks is about 5 mins away if you’re a Starbs fanatic).
The Black Marlin
Sat on the coast, the Black Marlin provides scenic views with a lovely atmosphere. I’ve only been here for lunch, but it looks fun in the nighttime as well with the Hurricane Bar right next door. We started off with the Pimento Cheese Dip that comes with amazing fried pita chips and then I had one of the best salads of my life- the Sushi Bowl Salad (subbed wasabi for ginger, FYI). Like most places in HHI, the menu is a mix of seafood and traditional American, with items like Lobster Tacos, Burgers of all sorts, and Buffalo Shrimp.
COAST is part of the newly built Sea Pines Beach Club, which is a great spot for dinner & drinks (specifically wine, with the extensive wine list). One mistake I made here was ignoring my waiters advice and not ordering seafood- I got the filet, which was definitely good, but nothing to rave about. HOWEVER, I tried the scallops and my jaw dropped! The appetizers are also amazing as well, I recommend the Firecracker Shrimp, Tuna Poke Wanton, Guacamole, and Avocado Toast.
Salty Dog Cafe
Last but not least, the other iconic staple of Hilton Head Island- the Salty Dog Cafe. While the menu has currently changed to Kiwi’s Cookout for to-go orders (I’m not sure if this is temporary due to the pandemic or permanent), the ice cream is still the same, thank goodness! The homemade ice cream was on my must-do list in HHI, and that’s for a reason- it is without a doubt the best ice cream ever! Maybe it’s the nostalgia, or maybe it’s atmosphere, but don’t miss grabbing a scoop or two (or three) while you visit.