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Hilton Head Island, SC good eats?

Spending a few days @ the beach in Hilton Head Island, looking for some recommendations for all meals. Not looking for fine dining, just good local places. We have been to Skillets for dinner & Stacks for breakfast, enjoyed both of them thoroughly. Any other places worth recommending? Thanks!

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  1. Definitely check out Sea Shack, it's on "Pope Avenue Executive Park Drive", fresh seafood, sides made daily. The owner has a reputation as a seafood nazi, but we highly recommend it, we go 2 or 3 times whenever we're down that way. Giuseppi's pizza is pretty good too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gte945v

      I liked the Sea Shack too!!!

    2. There are a TON of Hilton Head threads if you do a search. Many are very recent.

      4 Replies
      1. re: lynnlato

        Lots of threads from 2007 and before. And most are full of opinions about Bluffton and Savannah places too, that wasn't really what I was looking for. But thanks anyway, I'll do some sleuthing.

          1. re: lynnlato

            OK. Not sure what you're trying to accomplish here. The reason I posted this is because I did a search for "Hilton Head" and here are the dates of the last post in the 1st 15 search results:
            Dec 7 2007, May 3 2002, June 13 2002, Sep 30 2007, May 31 2007,
            July 13, 2003, Feb 9, 2008, etc.

            Only 1 out of the 1st 15 results contained a response from June 2008. Which was your response to a thread started in October 2007.

            1. re: bigtuck

              I'm just trying to point you towards info. that is already posted. Forgive me. Your post isn't drawing a lot of responses b/c the info is already in CH.

              Safe travels and enjoy your vacation.


      2. Just got back from a week in Hilton Head. My wif, daughter, and I ate lunch and dinner out every night(plus a couple of breakfastson days we woke up early enough), I have forgotten some of the places we went. Other than Hugo's the food was good, you cant go wrong with fresh steamed shrimp, and crab legs, or fresh fish, and a prime steak in my world. This was my 4th trip to HH, and each one gets better.

        Favorite meals:

        HH Prime - prime beef, king crab legs, and top shelf tequila - all good
        Charlies Crab - good seafood, and the best she crab soup I had on my visit
        Crazy Crab @ Harbourtown - surprisingly good, had the lobster/crab/oyster steamer
        Kenny B's - very good cajun/creole had breakfast there 2 x(crawfish eggs bennedict)
        Black Marlin - lunch one day, and happy hour for crab legs another night.
        Steamers - was a good lunch as well, more shrimp, crawfish crab, beer, and tequila
        Smokehouse - was pretty good bbq as well

        The bad:

        Hugos's at Wexford - terrible she crab soup, terrible food all around

        A day trip to Tybee Islan, Ga.(a little over an hour south of HH) on our last day was also a highlight, The Crab Shack steamed platter was awesome, snow crab legs, jonah crab claws, mussles, steamed shrimp, crawfish, corn and potatoes for 2 was $40.

        1. We ate at Alligator Grille last night. I haven't been here in a long, long time. It's been an island resto for many years, previously housed over in Coligny Plaza until a fire destroyed that bldg. We decided to eat out at 7pm, probably the worst time of night. We didn't feel like waiting forever either. Yeah right. Well, we had only a 20 min wait at AG. The host and bartender were very helpful. In fact, I was looking over the wine list and asked about a malbec and the bartender recommended another wine. He gave me a taste and I liked it and so he poured it and it wasn't quite a full pour so he said it was on the house. Wow, that's a nice welcome.

          The dining room is tight but cozy with an incredible view of the open kitchen. We started out with the duck spring rolls served w/ a rice wine vinaigrette. Very good. We then ordered several sushi rolls, all quite good. The sushi chef got backed up so their was some lag time, which we didn't mind. Now, the sushi wasn't traditional which we knew off the bat but it was still fresh and tasty. We had the yummy yummy roll (tempura shrimp, spicy mayo and cucs I think) and the spider roll - tempura fried soft shell crab w/ daikon and cuc. We had also ordered the krunch roll (tuna, cuc & cream cheese) we were almost through w/ both rolls when I server came over and said he forgot to tell us they were out of the Krunch roll and would we like something else. We ordered tuna & salmon sashimi.

          We ordered our duck spring rolls w/ our kids' dinners and the rolls and my daughter's pasta came out but not my son's filet. We waited and then our sushi arrived and still no filet. We finally flagged down our server and inquired. He scurried to his computer and then to the line and ordered the steak. He had forgotten to order it. When it came up he brought it out and apologized and, to his credit, admitted it was his error. He was weeded as our drinks went empty for quite a long time. All the other servers, s. assistants, bartender, etc. were all on their game.

          I would definitely recommend AG. It's a refreshing change from the standard HHI touristy places. I love that it is a local establishment w/ an eccletic vibe. Oh, I almost forgot to mention. They had a guy setting up sound equipment in the bar area. Half way through our meal we were pleasantly surprised to have live music (dude w/ guitar). He played classic rock - stevie ray, steve miller band, etc.


          1. Helpful thread.... now I'm going to piggyback off of this thread to insert my own question.....

            a group of us (20somethings) are going to HHI in a few weeks and while we plan on eating most meals in the condo we got, we would like to eat out a few times, specifically seafood and bbq. I was disappointed to read in other threads that there isn't much fresh local seafood on the island. Sea Shack looks cute, but where else can we go to get some good chow? I will go to all ends of the earth for quirky, non-touristy, local places. Dives are fine, in fact preferred.

            Also I'm a huge dessert fan, so are there any ice creameries (no chains), bakeries, or other sweet confection places that we need to try?

            Finally, are there any farmers' markets on the island that we can catch?

            4 Replies
            1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

              Good, non-touristy seafood restos are hard to come by in HH, unfortunately. In fact, I wanted to buy some fresh seafood and heard about Captains Seafood in Coligny. We headed over and sadly it is now just another touristy resto w/ fried fish, etc. They did, however, point us to the Piggly Wiggly as the best place on the island to get fresh, local seafood. Sure enought the white shrimp we picked up there were amazing! I had heard that PW had good local seafood but I just found it hard to believe.

              Signe's Bakery & Cafe is a great breakfast/lunch spot and has amazing baked goods. http://www.signesbakery.com/

              Flamingo House of Doughnuts (next to the movie theater & near the Harris Teeter at the Sea Pines gate) is supposed to be a neat place that makes custom ordered doughnuts. You order them, they make 'em. It's owned by a greek family and although I haven't yet tried it, they have amazing mediterranean lunch & dinner fare. Tabbouleh, hummus, moussaka, etc.

              A fun place for a group for local low country fare would be Pepper's Porch in Blufton. It is a ramshackled bldg w/ several screened in porches. We enjoyed eating on the porch where they have picnic tables & no frills dining. All the oysters, crabs, shrimp and fried pickles you can handle. Not to mention deviled eggs, corn on the cob, and general crab boil kind of stuff. Live music under the trees was an added bonus.

              Just about everywhere you go their is ice cream. Marley's outside Sea Pines gate, Salty Dog Cafe, Pino's Gelato on Wil. Hilton Pkwy, and an Italian pizzeria (is it Momma's?) next to Captain's Seafood in the Beach Market on Coligny Circle - they have gelato too.

              This is another good thread and has some info on farmer's markets and seafood: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/526508

              Have Fun!

              1. re: lynnlato

                Thank you so much for this incredibly helpful response! I read about the Piggly Wiggly within the reviews for the condo we are staying at-- it's very close by, and people raved about the seafood, which I (like you!) found hard to believe. We will definitely check it out. Pepper's and Flamingo sound right up our alley... and thank you for the ice cream recs!

                I appreciate any other tips you and others think of!

                Oh, and I am also curious about the gullah culture and cuisine. We will be driving down from NY so if there are any noteworthy stops along 95 or near HH, those would also be detour-worthy for me!

                1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                  Glad to help! As I mentioned above, Alligator Grille is a locally owned place and if you get good service could be a great spot, particularly for folks w/o kids. The live music was awesome and the sushi was fresh. The duck spring rolls were soooo good.

                  Please go check out Pepper's Porch. From what you described above, it does sound right up your alley. It was a good time and good food.

                  If you opt for high end, Old Fort Pub is the place to go . Our local food critic raved about it. Sadly, we've not had the opportunity to try it - since we have kids. Maybe in August when we go down again - this time w/ another family.

                  I am so curious about the Gullah culture and food too. There are many small islands surrounding HHI and apparently they are rich w/ well-preserved gullah culture & language. I know very little but apparently St. Helena Island is the hub and where The Penn Center is located. This was, I think, one of the first schools for freed slaves. It is also a historical landmark w/ many bldgs, grave yards, etc. http://www.penncenter.com/index.html. It looks like there is a place called The Gullah Cafe there among other food options. You can get yourself some frogmore stew!

                  Have a great time and eat well! Oh, and let us know how you made out, please! ;-)

              2. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                The Ice Cream Cone (Coligny Plaza) is THE place to eat ice cream on HHI. I first went there about 30 years ago and it is still going strong. There is also a bakery almost next to it. Have not tried the bakery but others must like it since it has been there forever.

              3. Make sure you try Street Meet. It's a small restaurant that's hidden in an otherwise uneventful shopping plaza. I love it for its fun street food (great hot pretzels and "fusion" hot dogs ). It's a neat little place and it has an unusual menu (http://www.streetmeethhi.com/).

                Also, be sure to try the Smokehouse on the south end of the island. They have a lovely pulled-pork sandwich, and their barbecue sauce is fantastic.

                If you don't mind a ridiculous wait (and looking at scores of tourists all wearing Crocs), Marley's is always good for interesting island food. My husband and I were major fans when we first moved here. The best meal I've had there is Sugarcane Sea Scallops with Pina Colada Butter. Marley's also has very good mojitos (and awesome happy hour prices).

                1. A great site for restaurant info is tripadvisor.com. Restaurants are raked according to popularity in whatever city you are looking for. Unfortunely, since R.R. mentioned the Sea Shack on her show, it is very crowded but still is a unique place to try. Do not expect fancy. The menu is always a surprise because it changes everyday. Do try the sweet potato cornbread if they have it. I had tilapia the last time - very good. Everyone in party enjoyed the food. If you don't want to wait too long, go on a week night at least 30 minutes before they open.

                  1. We just returned from our trip south to HH-- it was my first time there. We absolutely loved the island! This board was helpful in selecting food destinations, so just thought I'd post a bit about what we loved (and what was ok).

                    We stayed at Seacrest, right across from the Piggly Wiggly, so we tried the local seafood that has been raved about on this board and others. They steamed the shrimp in your choice of seasoning so all we had to do was peel and eat when we took it back. Fabulous! We also had the cobia, which we grilled on Seacrest's grill.. we really enjoyed that too.

                    We mostly ate in for lunch and dinner, but we did get out to...
                    *Kenny B's... for dinner. We ordered 2 platters that included gumbo, jambalaya, rice and beans, and shrimp etouffe (my favorite)... this was a mistake, since this platter can easily feed 2. It was very starchy with all that rice, but a nice sampling of various specialties on their menu. The po boys were also good. I think I would have preferred to try their weekend breakfast buffet.
                    *Sea Shack... for dinner. We got there at about 4:45 for dinner and there was a line already. Doors opened at 5, and we were put off by a teenage girl barking at everyone to stay back. They let in a few people at a time because ordering is done at the counter and they want to limit the backup. I know this place is an island institution, and the formula obviously works for them, but I think placing a board menu or paper menus outside for people waiting on line to look at who've never been before would really speed up this process. We knew exactly what we wanted because we had a paper copy from the island restaurant pamphlet, but not knowing could really slow it down. Anyway, that said, it is definitely an affordable place, but we honestly were not all that impressed. My crabcake was ok, the shrimp were ok (compared to the delicious ones we got at PW!), actually, the best things were the blackened chicken (!) and the garlic mashed potatoes. I'm glad we tried it, though.

                    *Pino Gelato in Wexford... I was excited to try Pino because on their website they listed a cannoli flavor, which I've been trying (unsuccessfully) to find ever since tasting it in Italy. Unfortunately, the woman behind the counter had no idea what I was talking about so I went with chocolate hazelnut and I think a walnut flavor... we also sampled hazelnut, tiramisu, and a few others... good, not great. The hazelnut based flavors had kind of a weird taste to them.
                    *Signe's... LOVED it! We went to Signe's for breakfast, which actually wasn't when it won our hearts, because the waffles were only ok (although the deep dish french toast in plain, blueberry, and blackberry flavors was awesome)... but we tried stuff from their bakery a few times during the week and were impressed by EVERYTHING. The scones, muffins, cookies (especially the milkdud), and other treats were superb.
                    *Flamingo... LOVED it! I wish we had tried their food too, but we only tried the donuts. Once, it was after 12, and on that occasion, we learned that they are only hot from 7-12 so we made it our business to go for a mid-morning snack one day to get one hot out of the fryer. It was good after 12, but AMAZING before 12, so don't even bother going unless you're going to get it hot. The sticky bun flavor was fabulous, but I also liked the chocolate glaze on the warm one too. This was a great CH rec!

                    *South Carolina Seafood and Produce... hopefully someone can help me with an address, this is headed out of HHI, near Mi Tierra Mexican restaurant. You have to make a U-turn if you are headed off the island to get to it; it would be on your right if you are going further onto the island. It's a tiny little building that caught our eye with watermelons, peaches, and tomatoes outside. We stopped by and my jaw dropped open at the huge, gorgeous peaches-- the lovely gentleman working there said they're the best he's seen in his 20+ years of selling peaches. We got a few peaches plus a tomato and ate them throughout the week... those peaches were just incredible. Got more on the way out. Yum!! He also has seafood for sale, but we didn't try it.

                    I'm going to x-post this to a few other threads where I received good tips. Thanks for all the help, everyone! I can't wait to come back to HH!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                      Oh, unfortunately, we didn't make it to Daufuskie because of the crazy weather... next time!

                      1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                        We just returned from our last trip to HHI for the year. We tried Sea Shack, Frankie Bones and Flamingo doughnuts.

                        We loved The Sea Shack. I like the local vibe and the quirky operating system. The food is fresh, no frills and tasty with a low country flair. Chef DV Young is the rasta dude sportin' the dreads behind the line. I had the shrimp and fish platter. It was fried carolina shrimp, fried flounder, hushpuppies and ranch au gratin potatoes. Everything was good. Our favorite, though, was Chef Young's sweet potato corn bread. This was sweet, chewy and had a nice bite to it. Mmmmm. I bought Chef Young's cookbook, "Burnin' Down South, and the cashier asked if I wanted the chef to sign it. I said, yes, of course, if he isn't too busy (it was dinner rush). She yelled to him, he left the line and came over and greeted me. He asked my name and wrote a lovely note in the book for me. I love it!

                        Flamingo House of Donuts was another wacky place. Damn good donuts! We went at about 9:30 am and the guy taking orders and running the register was totally in the weeds b/c he had no change! His co-worker had to leave him to go to the bank and their was one other employee in the kitchen frying up the donuts. Although it was a long wait, it was well worth it. The donuts of the day pile on a lot of toppings and are a blood sugar nightmare. If you don't have a massive sweet tooth, try a hot donut w/ peanut butter and toasted coconut... mmmmmn. Or even plain. They are really good. My SO got the bacon, egg & cheese bagel and him and my son inhaled it. My 6 yr old proclaimed it "the best".

                        Frankie Bones was good but not fabulous. It was a steak and pasta resto. Nothing creative or quirky or interesting. I'd go back if I had a hankering for a good steak but I wouldn't seek it out when we return. I had a coffee-rubbed rib-eye w/ mashed potatoes and it was cooked to temp (med-rare) and tasty. SO had the special leg of lamb w/ an orange gremolata. Again, it was good but no "wow" factor. For dessert you can order smores and they will bring out a hot pot of melted chocolate w/ marshmallows and graham crackers and long fondue forks. A nice treat for kids, but ours were too full to try it.

                        Again, the fresh carolina shrimp at the Piggly Wiggly ROCKED! They are just damned good shrimp. Yum!

                        Sadly, we didn't make it to Daufuskie Island either. The weather for us was bad much of the week. I had hoped to get to Dye's Gullah Fixins and Signe's too, but not enough time.