30 Best Restaurants in Hilton Head and the Low Country, South Carolina

Captain Woody's

$$ | South End Fodor's choice

If you're looking for a fun, casual, kid-friendly seafood restaurant, this vibrant joint offers creamy crab bisque, oysters on the half shell, and a sampler platter that includes crab legs, shrimp, and oysters. Open daily for lunch and dinner, plus a Sunday brunch, Captain Woody's has indoor and outdoor seating. A second location in Bluffton features a rooftop deck.


$$$ | South End Fodor's choice
An oceanfront restaurant can often count on its real estate to bring in diners, but this casual yet upscale seafood spot at the Sea Pines Beach Club doesn't cut corners in the kitchen. There is plenty of Southern-inspired fare for landlubbers, but the real gems are the raw bar platter and the day's featured fish entrée.

Hilton Head Social Bakery

$ | Mid-Island Fodor's choice
It's impossible to stop in just for a baguette or sourdough loaf at this unassuming French-owned bakery and bistro—you'll inevitably be tempted by the lush pain au chocolat and cinnamon buns. The owner/chef, a Normandy native, was the executive chef at New York's Tavern On the Green and Windows on the World before relocating to Hilton Head.

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Hudson's Seafood House

$$$ | North End Fodor's choice
Built over the water on Port Royal Sound, this classic seafood joint buys its fish and shrimp directly from the boats that dock there, and the staff raises their own oysters and soft-shell crabs with an in-house mariculture program. Dining here feels like stepping back 50 years into an authentic waterfront dive, including the locally sourced, same-day-fresh seafood that's now often hard to find.

Lowcountry Produce

$ | Downtown Historic District Fodor's choice
If you don't impulsively order the tomato pie atop the glass display case—and you won't go wrong if you do—try the fried oysters, a lobster po'boy, or what may be the best shrimp and grits in town. There's table service and counter-order options, and plenty of jams, relishes, and pickled okra in their on-site market to stock your pantry at home.

Lucky Rooster

$$$ | Mid-Island Fodor's choice
From its unassuming perch at the corner of a strip mall, the ever-changing daily menus at this chef-owned farm-to-table establishment sit quietly on par with the very best dining in neighboring Charleston. Whether it's braised short rib, Korean-style fried chicken, or roasted octopus, the Rooster's kitchen serves plates brimming with pride and inspiration.

Michael Anthony's Cucina Italiana

$$$$ | South End Fodor's choice

This restaurant has a convivial spirit, and its innovative pairings and plate presentations are au courant. Expect fresh, top-quality ingredients, simple yet elegant sauces, and waiters who know and care about the food and wine they serve.

37 New Orleans Rd., Hilton Head Island, SC, 29928, USA
Known For
  • Cooking demonstrations
  • On-site market with fresh pasta
  • Wine tastings
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon. No lunch, Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential

Old Bull Tavern

$$ | Downtown Historic District Fodor's choice
This neighborhood gathering spot has a daily-changing menu heavy on pasta, wood-fired pizza, and hearty entrées. The cocktail menu is equally appealing, as are the wines and local beers on tap.


$ | Downtown Historic District Fodor's choice

This popular local eatery still uses family recipes for its soups, crab-cake sandwiches, and curried chicken salad. Open daily for breakfast and lunch, Plums is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal outside and to take in the beautiful views of downtown Beaufort.

Red Fish

$$$$ | South End Fodor's choice

Appealing to locals and tourists alike, the menu at upscale Red Fish features classic seafood dishes, mouthwatering apps, and delicious desserts. The contemporary restaurant's wine cellar is filled with some 1,000 bottles, and there's also a retail wineshop as well as indoor and outdoor seating.

Signe's Heaven Bound Bakery & Café

$ | South End Fodor's choice

Since 1972, Signe's has been serving freshly made baked goods as well as delicious breakfast and lunch options on Hilton Head. Signature dishes range from deep-dish French toast and crispy polenta to curried chicken salad and specialty quiches. The intimate eatery features indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a to-go counter. It's the perfect place to grab sandwiches or salads for a picnic lunch. Don't forget the hand-crafted cakes, pies, and pastries for dessert.

The Sea Shack

$ | South End Fodor's choice
Heaping plates of fried seafood and hearty po'boys are worth the long line at this local staple counter-serve. The humble dining room and open kitchen suit the mouthwatering platters perfectly. Local tip: During the busy summer months, call in your order for pickup and skip the line.

A Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant

$$ | South End
This unassuming little restaurant located off Palmetto Bay Road serves excellent seafood dishes with Southern flavor in a laid-back setting with indoor and outdoor seating. Don't ignore the full bar that serves South Carolina moonshine. The outdoor area also has games for kids as well as a water feature and quirky decor.

Black Marlin Bayside Grill

$$$ | South End

This busy restaurant specializing in seafood dishes such as chowder and fish tacos is open for lunch and dinner every day, and brunch on the weekend. Located in Palmetto Bay Marina, the Black Marlin has indoor and outdoor seating, as well as family-style meals available for takeout.

Breakwater Restaurant & Bar

$$$ | Downtown Historic District

This classy downtown restaurant offers small tasting plates such as tuna crudo and fried shrimp, as well as main dishes like lamb meat loaf and filet mignon with a truffle demi-glace. The presentation is as contemporary as the decor. There's an attractive bar area and an impressive and affordable wine list.

203 Carteret St., Beaufort, SC, 29902, USA
Known For
  • Contemporary approach to Lowcountry cuisine
  • Elegant atmosphere
  • Local loyalty
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun., Credit cards accepted

Charlie's L'Etoile Verte

$$$ | Mid-Island

This family-owned culinary landmark has been serving French cuisine with a Lowcountry flair since 1982. While the handwritten menu changes daily, classic dishes like escargot, pate, and rack of lamb remain the same. From lunch, dinner, desserts, and curbside pickup, the "green star" shines.

8 New Orleans Rd., Hilton Head Island, SC, 29928, USA
Known For
  • Extensive wine list (more than 500 bottles)
  • 14 varying seafood entrées offered nightly
  • Fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. No lunch Sat., Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential

Frankie Bones

$$$ | North End

The early '60s theme here appeals to an older crowd that likes the traditional Italian dishes on the early dining menu, but younger patrons who order flatbread pizzas and small plates can be found at the bar area. Some dishes have innovative twists, including the 16-ounce rib eye with a sweetened coffee rub. Reservations are accepted at both the Hilton Head and Bluffton locations.

1301 Main St., Hilton Head Island, SC, 29926, USA
Known For
  • Cool twists on traditional dishes
  • Drinks for dessert, like a key lime colada martini and house-made limoncello
  • The 24-ounce "Godfather Cut" prime rib
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential

Harold's Country Club Bar & Grill


Not the "country club" you might expect, Harold's is a remodeled gas station in the little town of Yemassee, just east of Interstate 95 in northern Beaufort County. There's a buffet every Thursday and steak night on Saturday that requires ordering in advance. Seating is family-style in one of the large, kitschy dining rooms. With a large bar area, pool tables, and karaoke after dark, Harold's is a one-of-a-kind experience.

97 U.S. 17A, Yemassee, SC, 29945, USA
Known For
  • Great live entertainment
  • Kitschy dining rooms
  • A worthy stop on your way in or out of town
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.–Wed.


$$ | South End

Slip into a peaceful oasis through a tunnel of bamboo at Hinoki, which has arguably the best sushi on the island. Try the Hilton Head roll, which is whitefish tempura and avocado; the Hinoki roll with asparagus, spicy fish roe, tuna and avocado; or the amazing tuna sashimi salad with spicy mayo, cucumbers, onions, salmon roe, and crabmeat.

37 New Orleans Rd., Hilton Head Island, SC, 29928, USA
Known For
  • Super-fresh sushi with more than 50 menu items
  • Extensive sake menu
  • Udon noodle dishes and bento boxes
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. No lunch Mon. and Sat., Credit cards accepted

Johnson Creek Tavern


There are times when you just want a cold one accompanied by some raw oysters. If that's the case, head out to Harbor Island to this relaxed hangout with outside seating and lovely marsh views. The stellar location and friendly atmosphere make Johnson Creek Tavern a worthy Lowcountry destination.

Kenny B's French Quarter Cafe

$ | South End

Surrounded by Mardi Gras memorabilia, owner Kenny himself cooks up jambalaya, gumbo, and muffaletta sandwiches at this family-run, Cajun-inspired restaurant that has been serving locals and tourists since 1999. The extensive menu also features Southern staples such as crab cakes and shrimp and grits.

70 Pope Ave., Hilton Head Island, SC, 29928, USA
Known For
  • Colorful mural and decor
  • No reservations, so be prepared to wait
  • Beignets like they're made in New Orleans
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues., Credit cards accepted

Mi Tierra

$$ | South End

This traditional Mexican restaurant has tile floors, colorful sombreros, and paintings of chili peppers hanging on the walls. Don't forget to order the guacamole and bean dip with your margarita and try the enchiladas suizas, tortillas filled with chicken and topped with green tomatillo sauce, sour cream, and avocado.

130 Arrow Rd., Hilton Head Island, SC, 29928, USA
Known For
  • Authentic Mexican comfort food
  • Signature dish arroz con camarones—butterfly shrimp sautéed with garlic butter and vegetables
  • Daily specials and affordable kids' menu
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

Old Daufuskie Crab Company Restaurant


This outpost, with its rough-hewn tables facing the water, serves up Gullah-inspired fare with specialties such as Daufuskie deviled crab and chicken salad on buttery grilled rolls. Entrées include shrimp and local seafood, while the Lowcountry buffet features pulled pork, fried chicken, and sides like butter beans and potato salad.

One Hot Mama's

$$ | South End

This barbecue joint has an upbeat atmosphere, colorful walls, multiple flat-screen TVs, and an outdoor patio with a big brick fireplace. With baby back ribs, award-winning pulled pork sandwiches, great burgers, and a fun kids' menu, you should expect to bring your appetite to One Hot Mama's. There is a location on the south end of the island, and also one in Bluffton.

7A Greenwood Dr., Hilton Head Island, SC, 29928, USA
Known For
  • Lots of fun in the “Barmuda Triangle” (other bars are just steps away)
  • Award-winning wings with sauces like strawberry-jalapeño
  • A delectable rib sampler that includes "Hot Asian" and chocolate barbecue

Saltus River Grill

$$$$ | Downtown Historic District

This upscale restaurant wins over diners with its sailing motifs, great cocktails, and modern Southern menu. Take in the sunset and a plate of seared sea scallops from the gorgeous outdoor seating area overlooking the waterfront park. From Lowcountry flavors to innovative dishes, Saltus sets the standard for a memorable dining experience.

802 Bay St., Beaufort, SC, 29902, USA
Known For
  • Signature crab bisque
  • Raw bar with a tempting array of oysters and sushi
  • Thoughtful wine list
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No lunch, Reservations essential

Santa Fe Cafe

$$$ | Mid-Island

The sights, sounds, and aromas of New Mexico greet you here: Native American rugs, Mexican ballads, steer skulls and horns, and the smell of chilies and mesquite on the grill. Listen to guitarra music in the rooftop cantina, enjoy the adobe fireplaces on chilly nights, or dine under the stars.

807 William Hilton Pkwy., Hilton Head Island, SC, 29928, USA
Known For
  • Rooftop cantina with a cozy fireplace and live music
  • Signature grouper served with chipotle Parmesan au gratin
  • One of the island's best margaritas
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon., Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential

Skull Creek Boathouse

$$ | North End

Soak up the salty atmosphere in this complex of dining areas where almost every table has a view of the water. Outside is a third dining area and a bar called the Marker 13 Buoy Bar, where Adirondack chairs invite you to sit back, listen to live music, and catch the sunset.

397 Squire Pope Rd., Hilton Head Island, SC, 29926, USA
Known For
  • An adjacent outdoor Sunset Landing beer garden
  • Tasty sandwiches and po'boys with a Southern twist
  • Sushi, ceviche, and carpaccio from the Dive Bar
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted

The Crazy Crab

$$ | North End
With two distinct locations on Hilton Head, the Crazy Crab has been a long-time institution thanks to its quality seafood and friendly environment. Don't miss the she-crab soup and crab cakes. The location on the north end has a giant outdoor seating area and bar, with beautiful waterfront views overlooking Jarvis Creek. It also has a large saltwater fish tank and a playground. The other restaurant is located in the heart of Harbour Town on the south end and is a very popular spot in the summer months.

Truffles Cafe

$$$ | South End

When a restaurant keeps its customers happy for decades, there's a reason, and in the case of Truffles, it's the consistently good service and excellent food. Popular entrées include grilled salmon with a mango-barbecue glaze and the chicken pot pie. Order meals to-go or enjoy the indoor and outdoor seating available. A second spot is located in Belfair Towne Village in Bluffton.

71 Lighthouse Rd., Hilton Head Island, SC, 29928, USA
Known For
  • Wide-ranging, crowd-pleasing menu with plenty of seafood
  • Very popular with locals
  • On-site market with thoughtful gifts
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted, Reservations essential


$$$$ | North End

The red-and-black decor is modern and sophisticated at this lively restaurant on the north end of the island. The food is a spin on the classics, from seafood to steak, and the shared plate menu is on point. A great selection of cocktails and wine makes WiseGuys a popular spot to grab a drink.

1513 Main St., Hilton Head Island, SC, 29926, USA
Known For
  • A delightful crème brûlée flight and deep-fried bread pudding
  • Extensive wine list and cocktail menu
  • Charred rib-eye steak entrée
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No lunch