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shopping in hilton head

im going to be in hilton head for a couple of weeks starting presidents week in feb

where is the best place to shop for produce and fish?

what r the dont miss restaurants

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  1. Great question. I'm heading there myself next month.
    I know there is a Publix near where I'm staying, but what are the other shopping options? Any fish markets?

    1. HHI cannot compare to some of the great grocery stores/farmers markets in some of the great cities of posters out there. That being said, we do have a Fresh Market located mid island. There are also 2 Publix markets on either end and off the island. Got some fantastic live lobsters there for New Years. There are some local fish "stands" where they sell fresh shrimp etc depending on the season. Nothing like fresh shrimp right off the boat!! As far as other grocery stores, there are 2 Harris Teeters, 2 Piggly wigglys, 2 Bilos and 1 Food Lion. I would stay with Publix or Harris teeter. Way too many grocery stores for a 12 mile island.

      As far as great restaurants. That is tricky. I have not been able to please my picky friends from out of town but then they don't follow my advice. I always recommend Crane's Steakhouse on New Orleans Road-great food & atmosphere. You can even sit at the bar and order off the bar menu (slightly different, lower $). My other favorite is Michael Anthony's also located on New Orleans Road. Upscale italian. Not your spaghetti and meatballs type of place. www.Michael-anthonys.com

      What type of food do you like? We have some great Greek restaurants as well-It's Greek to Me is family owned by authentic Greek cooks. Awesome greek salads and gyros. Other favorite mid range restaurants are Brick Oven Cafe, Frankie Bones, Truffles. I could go on.

      This island has more restaurants than a small city. Some tourist traps IMHO are Hudson's (although I like to get their freshly caught steamed shrimp in Old Bay) and The Old Oyster Factory.

      For complete "bar food" atmosphere-we like The Big Bamboo. You can get your own freshly popped popcorn and have a few margaritas (2 for 1 5-7 pm). The food is good.

      There you have my 2 cents from upscale to bar food. When you get here, you can pick up a restaurant guide (found near most periodical stands)and get really confused. Have a great time!

      PS- when in Rome....meaning, don't necessarily expect to get a great chicken salad at a pizza place- (like my friend) Order what they are known for. I always ask the server what the most popular entrees are.

      5 Replies
      1. re: chocchipcookie

        i like all types of food, :-) but i don't eat meat

        i do eat fish and basically anything else, and am looking for both more upscale and less so, both places for a fancy dinner, and places i can run into for takeout after a really long day

        1. re: chocchipcookie

          can you tell me more specifically where the farmers market is

          1. re: shoelace

            Do you mean the Fresh Market? That is located midisland in the newly named Fresh Market Shops. It is south on 278 past Palmetto Dunes on the right. We really don't have a farmers market except in season on Squire Pope Road and at the Mall on Thursdays. If anyone else has any other info please enlighten me. Enjoy your time on the island!

            1. re: chocchipcookie

              So if it's not a farmers market, what exactly is the "Fresh Market Shops"

          2. re: chocchipcookie

            Thanks...I went to the Publix and was a little disappointed with the seafood department; also I have come to prefer family owned chains. I did buy wild shrimp $9.99lb that were very tasty with grits this morning.
            Someone recommended Michael Anthony's for cooking classes, so I may check that out as well.
            Where is the best place to get beef (grass fed)?

          3. There are a couple of good places to buy fish to cook on the Island - one is called Barnacle Bills and the other is Hudsons. The first is right on 278 (which is the main drag) and the other is on Squire Pope Road. If you're lucky, the shrimp boat will just be in and you can get shrimp straight off the boat. If you don't mind going further afield, come to Bluffton and go to the Bluffton Oyster Factory. It's the only remaining working oyster factory in South Carolina. They also have fabulous shrimp and the most delicious, huge scallops. If you happen to take a trip up to Beaufort (which is a lovely little town, full of history), you can stop a Low Bottom Sea Food (just next to the Lemon Island boat landing). They have an amazing variety of fresh fish and seafood and their prices are unbeatable. Thier grouper fillets are always $5.50 and pound and exceptional! They also have snapper, flounder, porgy, sea bream, etc, etc and huge shrimp for $6.00 or so a pound. I was there on Saturday and was spoiled for choice.

            If you want to have some wonderful and inexpensive Mexican food, try Mi Tierra - they have something called a Chimi Del Mar that will feed a family of four and it's delicious - fresh local shimp and crab in a cream sauce wrapped up in a tortilla. So good!. I also like the Old Fort Pub - mostly for Sunday brunch, which is quite reasonable and really good - the view is also extraordinary. I would avoid buying fish at the Fresh Market - I bought flounder there once and it was awful - tasted of ammonia and we had to toss it - and it cost $17 a pound! Da Vino has good italian food, although the owner is a little eccentric. IL Carpaccio is just as good and the service is much better. In that same shopping center, try the French Bakery for lunch - people become addicted. Also, for French food, there is Le Bistro, which is also in Pineland Station. I would avoid Tapas. I think that it's overpriced for the quality of the food.

            As for produce, Publix is always fresh, but I think that Harris Teeter has a better variety. The Piggly Wiggly in Shelter Cove also has very nice produce, and the veggies at the Fresh Market are superb, but will cost you your firstborn.

            Enjoy your stay - Hilton Head and the rest of the Lowcountry are wonderful places to be!

            4 Replies
            1. re: divamon

              Ditto Divamon. We love Mi Tierra for authentic Mexican Food-their margaritas are superb. I've been to both Old Fort Pub and Da Vino and would highly recmd both. But I hope you get to try Michael Anthony's-and be sure to make a reservation-they are busy even in the slowest time of the year.

              1. re: divamon

                Thank you...someone else recommended Barnacle Bills...I am going to go there today...when in South Carolina, it doesn't make sense to buy shrimp from Thailand.

                Also, thanks for the info about Bluffton Oyster Co...I think it sounds like a must do. Do you know anything about Sea Shack or Remis?

                1. re: hanifah

                  There's lots on the CH South board about Sea Shack - an island institution. Its a no frills seafood place, locally owned and operated. Lots of fresh seafood, and the sweet potato cornbread is something that is memorable. Chef Dave is a very kind and talented rastafarian-looking chef. He sells his cookbook at the counter and its worth dropping a few dollars for. He'll leave the line to come and sign it for ya.

                  1. re: hanifah

                    The oysters from Bluffton were the best I've ever had! I made a oyster gumbo. that turned out quite good. I kinda just threw it together, if anyone's intrested, I wrote about it on my blog http://lazeezgoodeez.blogspot.com/200...

                2. wheres the best brunch? wheres the best midday quick light lunch?

                  the friend im going with wants to know if theres anywhere we can get a decent fried green tomatoes or am i correct and is it not deep south enough

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: shoelace

                    Best Brunch:

                    Signe's (on the south end)
                    French Bakery
                    Sun Rise Cafe (also on the south end)-our local favorite. The crabcake benedict is great!
                    Stay away from the Hilton Head Diner (IMHO)
                    I know I've seen fried green tomatoes on menus but I can't remember where-I am sure someone will weigh in.

                    I almost forgot Santa Fe-I love to go there for lunch and dinner if you like tex-mex.Other lunch places are :

                    Frankie Bones
                    Plantation Cafe-Also good for breakfast-I believe they have the fried green tomatoes-it was awhile ago that I had them but I remember they were good.

                    Today we are going to Walnuts-a little breakfast lunch bistro off island. It has always been good-my husband swears by the corned beef hash-they make it fresh!

                    That is all I can think of for now-be happy to help with any other ??

                    1. re: chocchipcookie

                      any similar recs for a day trip to savannah?

                      1. re: shoelace

                        Well...first I would search other posts on Savannah-there are many. I am not that up on Savannah-we have small children and don't get off the island much! There are a few main areas that you want to look for.

                        Market Square: cute shops and restos (Paula Dean's Resto is off that if that is worth anything to you but most will probably say don't bother . You can get homestyle southern food at Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House- that is always good.

                        Riverstreet: more touristy cute shops and restos on the river
                        Broughton street: more mainstream shopping and restos.

                        I wish I had more for you but search other threads and they should be more helpful with Savannah. :)

                        1. re: chocchipcookie

                          Restaurants not to miss:

                          Sage Room... Hilton Head

                          Excellent dinner, gourmet from around the world. Always extremely fresh. Food you wont find elsewhere, specials can be from Alaska, Tasmania, South Africa - never frozen.


                          Santa Fe... Hilton Head

                          Upscale Southwestern food, if you are brave go for the big ribeye. All food is excellently seasoned.


                          Walnuts is the place to go for brunch... Bluffton

                          French toast is amazing, and almond crusted. If you are in need of a sandwich go for the turkey, brie, and pear. Homemade potato chips.

                          Fried Green Tomatoes:

                          Go to Peppers Porch... Bluffton

                          You are deep south enough to have incredible chicken livers, fried green tomatoes for an appetizer, Fried Chicken the way grandma made and deep fried strawberries with powdered cinnamon sugar for dessert.

                          Stay away from:

                          Crazy Crab
                          Hilton Head Diner
                          Old Oyster Factory

                          Any more questions, or if you need directions, my email is: lowcountryphotography@gmail.com

                  2. am i right in finding that theres no cstco or bjs anywhere near theisland?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: shoelace

                      no, the closest thing is sams. mid island.

                    2. Old Fort Pub is the best dining experience on the island, according to many. Redfish Grill.

                      As for fish and produce... your question is a good one. I only know of chain grocery stores... occasionally you'll spot a roadside stand. In fact, I remember getting tomatoes and fruit from one... it was on 278 in Blufton.

                      1. I'm bumping this oldish thread - are these recs still timely? I hope so because these places sound terrific!

                        Current comments please?

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: RWCFoodie

                          RWC: What are you looking for, specifically?

                          1. re: DaleJ

                            DaleJ: Well, first off, even though this thread is dated, there's lots of good info. I'm interested in most of what was mentioned throughout but because it's from 2008, I was hoping for some more recent updates. We are adventurous eaters and don't want institutional food....

                            Not necessarily interested in "fancy", more into "local" - this means I'd love some local fresh shrimp (even though I've read that the season ends mid-January), good local fresh fish, etc. Things we don't see much on the West coast... The luxury of fresh shrimp!!!

                            I've already put Bluffton Oyster Co. on my list - hoping for lots of fresh oysters!

                            Is Peppers Porch in Bluffton still there and good? (I know, I can check Google to see if they're still there or not...).

                            Read that there's a Gullah Festival when we're there. Anyone been before?

                            Hope this gives you an idea of what I'm looking for more specifically...

                            Appreciate your time!

                            1. re: RWCFoodie

                              Having lived on HHI for over 30 years, I still hate going over the bridge so I'll leave Bluffton to others. My only recommedation over the bridge would be Mulberry Street Trattoria. Take the first left after the Moss Creek light. Its right there. Chef Joseph does nice things out of a tiny kitchen.

                              I can nominate two Italian restaurants on the island. Michael Anthony's is on New Orleans Road (south end) and has been the premier Italian for years. Bring money.

                              Less expensive, but still good, is Il Carpaccio. Mid island at Pineland Mall. Chef Eddie is outstanding. Also, IMO, the best wood fired thin crust pizza on the island.

                              Parenthetically, there is a new Italian "Ombra" at the Village in Wexford (south end) piloted by the former chef at Michael Anthony. Only open for a few weeks and I hear good reviews.

                              You can get good oysters at Hudson's on Squire Pope Road (north end). A mile or so further down S P Road is Skull Creek Boathouse, a large indoor-outdoor place right on the water. Mayhem at Sunday brunch. (But $3.00 Bloody Marys, so not all bad.)

                              The Boathouse owners also have two restaurants near Main Street (northend). Frankie Bones is a good choice, but weekend reservations are a must. Next door is Wise Guys, a hot bar recently expanded to dining. I haven't been to Wise Guys for a while, but it was the locale for island gliteratti Friday cocktail hour.

                              One of my very favorites is Bistro 17 at Shelter Cove (mid island, across from Palmetto Dunes). Right on the marina, outdoor dining and chef Jim works wonders out of a tiny kitchen.

                              If more comes to mind I'll post.

                              1. re: DaleJ

                                DaleJ: Thanks so much. We're staying at the Marriott Barony Beach Club - looks like it's the North end way the heck out there near the HH airport (oh goodie and they've got construction going on at the ppty too - who planned this trip??? This is what happens when you have a week of timeshare to use or lose and lots of frequent flyer miles).

                                So if I'm right, it sounds like we'd be in the vicinity of Hudson's. I can almost taste those oysters! (By the way, we get pretty good oysters here on the West Coast but I'm always looking for more & different kinds...)

                                Terrific to get comments from a long-time resident. We will definitely try some of your suggestions. Il Carpaccio sounds good, love thin crust pizzas. Lord knows we have a gazillion places here (SF Bay Area) but it's such comfort food... I imagine we'll get by there at some point.

                                Bistro 17 sounds like something we'd like too.

                                Is that bridge really that bad? Specific times to avoid like typical rush hours or is it always a pain?

                                Think we'll score any fresh local shrimp?

                                1. re: RWCFoodie

                                  RWC: Its not the bridge or traffic, neither of which are intolerable. And its not that HHIlanders and Blufftonians are at odds, particularly. IMO, its that Bluffton has grown so haphazardly and fast I prefer not to leave the island. But thats just me and probably some stupidity seeping out.

                                  i hope Hudson's oysters aren't from the gulf (but they could be). Actually there's another "Hudsons" on Squire Pope Road that sells local fish (and, maybe, oysters). You will have to look for it though or maybe ask for the location.

                                  1. re: DaleJ

                                    Thanks DaleJ, appreciate the thoughts on Bluffton/HH. Hudson's, both the resto & the market, are on my short list - hope the oysters are local - will call & check when we get there.

                                    Here's another question: Being at the Marriott Barony Beach at what looks like the North end - what's going to be our best bet for breakfast (other than eating in)?

                                    No thoughts on the Gullah Festival?

                                    1. re: RWCFoodie

                                      No thoughts on the Gullah Festival. Sorry.

                                      Barony Beach is at Port Royal, a little north of mid island. Since I rarely breakfast out, I'm going to be of no help. However, I do think Bistro 17 at Shelter Cove may be open that early. You might call. (785 5517)

                                      BTW, Benny Hudson Seafood is at 175 Squire Pope Road. (682 3474) You'll have to look for it. But its probably your best bet for off the dock stuff.

                                      1. re: DaleJ

                                        Thanks once again, DaleJ. So great to get a locals perspective! I will post where and what we try...

                                        Regards to all who've added to this thread!

                                        1. re: RWCFoodie

                                          Hi - being from Bluffton, I will have to disagree with Dale J. There is plenty to do here and we do have a farmer's market every Thursday on Calhoun street where you can get local and organic produce, meats and fish. There is also cooked food set up there and you will get your oysters pulled straight from the river and fried in front of you. Some alternative suggestions for you - try Roastfish and Cornbread on Marshland Road. It's owned by Chef David, who used to be the Chef at the Sea Shack and has really good food at great value - truly has the best gumbo I've tasted. We also like the Black Marlin, although it can get a little crazed in season since it's a favorite with locals. There is a tiny new italian restaurant that is very good called Pomodori, but be sure to make a reservation or you won't eat there. For a casual lunch, there is a lovely little place called A LowCountry Backyard that is just off Palmetto Bay Road - you'll have to search for it, but it's worth looking for. I have to say that I'm not in love with Hudson' s because once you've lived here a while, fried seafood begins to lose its appeal. That's one of the reasons that I like Roastfish - you can get your fish fried, grilled or blackened. It also has an extensive vegetarian menu if you're not feeling the meat thing. Most of the restaurants that have been written about are still around and for the most part have maintained their quality. Michael Anthony's continues to shine for great Italian food and impeccable service. A big tip here is that if you don't mind dining early, they have incredible value in their early bird specials.

                                          1. re: divamon

                                            Having driven from Savannah to Bluffton strictly for the oysters, it was worth it. Thre is a park next to the Bluffton Oyster Company to consume your puchase as they are retail only.

                                            On the road from HHI to Bluffton, across from the post office, was a Mexican food trailor and a gentleman selling Frogmore Stew. It was awesome stew. This was in October, so I hope he is still there.

                                            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                              Thanks divamon & INDIANRIVERFL for your info on Bluffton, etc. Looking forward to checking all of this out. Will report back...

                                              1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                I've never seen the Mexican food truck but I'm going to look for it. Had really good Mexican at La Huasteca (next to Siglers in Sheridan Park)
                                                Great chile relleno yummy homemade corn tortillas, sopes and al pastor tacos.

                          2. Been going to HHI for 40 years and just got back from a quick 3 night visit. Tried a new Italian place called Trattoria Divina in Park Plaza where the Brick Oven used to be located. It was very good, especially the appetizers and dessert. The fried arborio rice balls are light and lucious. Decor is inviting and romantic. Prices are reasonable and below that of one of our long time favorites, Michael Anthony's.

                            We also had diner at the Old Fort Pub in Hilton Head Plantation on the north end for the first time in several years. It was as good as ever. Red Fish, Sea Grass Grille and Charlie's were terrific as always. Enjoy your trip!!!