7 Hilton Head SC Restaurants Tourists Might Not Know Existed

Fancy celebrating Memorial Day weekend at a restaurant on an island that isn’t frequented by tourists?

Here are seven restaurants with a laid-back Hilton Head Island vibe that might be on the tourist’s radar.

Country restaurant in the backyard

The Lowcountry Backyard restaurant is popular with fans of local island cuisine and seafood. This restaurant has been recommended and rated as the best shrimp and grits from the Netherlands in Palmetto State. It has won several awards and accolades such as the Hilton Head Monthly Readers’ Choice Award and has also been featured in Cooking with Paula Dean and Food Paradise on the Travel Channel. The restaurant is located on the south side of the island at 32 Palmetto Bay Road, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928.

Grill Pub Up the Creek

Another restaurant highly acclaimed by locals, Up the Creek Pub and Grill is located next to the Broad Creek Marina at 18 Simmons Road, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926. Southern Living Magazine called it “a seafood shack with stunning water views.” “. Dogs on a leash are welcome and the establishment offers a variety of surf and turf options to choose from.

Captain Woody’s Bar and Grill

Captain Woody’s Bar and Grill is located on both Hilton Head Island and Bluffton. The establishment advertises seafood, salads, steaks, hamburgers, nachos and beer. On the island, the restaurant offers an outdoor terrace and a rooftop terrace in Bluffton, where seasonal live music is played almost every day. Their Hilton Head is located at 6 Target Road, while its Bluffton counterpart can be found at 17 State of Mind Street.

Palmetto Bay Sunrise Cafe

Palmetto Bay Sunrise Café is a breakfast, brunch and lunch spot that offers gluten-free and vegan options and a dog-friendly patio with both indoor and outdoor seating. They serve breakfast all day long with popular items such as biscuits with sauce, quiche, stuffed French toast and eggs Benedict with crab cake. They even have breakfast burritos with homemade salsa. This local favorite brunch is located in the Port of Palmetto Bay, where they’ve been operating for over 18 years, at 86 Helmsman Way, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928.

Harold’s Diner

Harold’s Diner is a popular eatery for decades located just off William Hilton Boulevard. Harold’s Restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch and offers a unique experience that is sure to be remembered by everyone. Many talk widely about burgers, as well as a host of other favorites on the menu. Harold’s Diner is located at 641 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island, SC. Step into this no-frills, cash-only establishment and see what it’s all about.

Sea Hut

Sea Shack is another favorite, perhaps a little different from what you might expect. This eatery is a “made to order” seafood restaurant. It has received numerous awards, including Southern Living’s “Top 10 Seafood Places in South Carolina” and ranked number one on the state’s “try before you die” sandwich list. Located at 6 Executive Park Road, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928, this hidden restaurant serves fresh Southern lowcountry cuisine.

Mexican Grill Fiesta Fresh

Fiesta Fresh is a local favorite. The original Fiesta Fresh Mexican Grill, with several branches on Hilton Head Island and Bluffton, is still located on the southern tip of the island. It can be found near Sea Pines Circle off New Orleans Road at 51 New Orleans Road, Suite #4, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928. If you want to visit this establishment but are not near the south end, other places can be found at 95 Mathews Drive Suite A7, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926 at Port Royal Plaza Shopping Center and 876 Fording Island Road #1, Bluffton SC, 29910.

Sarah Claire McDonald Profile Picture

Sarah Claire McDonald is an inside journalism reporter for The Island Packet and the Beaufort Gazette. She specializes in writing audience-focused, unique, vibrant stories about people, places, and events in the Low Country. Hailing from the Midwest, Sarah Clare studied Media, Communications and English at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, from which she graduated in 2021.

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