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Dishes Diners Love: Hilton Head Island

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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Hilton Head is famous for its seafood restaurants and rightly so. Visitors should most definitely make it a point to get their fill of shrimp and other offerings straight from South Carolina waters. But eating like a local can be a culinary revelation, too. From global cuisine to satisfying snacks, Hilton Head offers an ocean of options for food adventurers. Here is a sampling of area restaurants with dishes that entice and delight.


Skull Creek Dockside

fried oysters with lemon on a white plate
A classic oyster dish gets Southern treatment at Skull Creek Dockside.

2 Hudson Road
(843) 785-3625

Fan Favorite: Dockside Rockefeller

Fans of Oysters Rockefeller will adore this Hilton Head twist on the classic dish. Envision plump, baked oysters topped with smokey bacon, creamed collard greens and a Hollandaise sauce. Even better, imagine digging into a plate of them. Of course, you can’t go wrong with any of the dishes at Skull Creek Dockside, whether you lean toward their fresh seafood, juicy steaks or tangy barbecue. Bonus: Each meal is served with panoramic water views.


Alfred’s Restaurant

bone-in veal smothered in gravy
Grilled to perfection and smothered in rich gravy, the bone-in veal chop at Alfred's is in high demand.

807 William Hilton Parkway, Suite 1200
(843) 920-3026

Fan Favorite: Bone-in Grilled Veal Chop

Alfred’s is where locals go when they get a hankering for German and European cuisine. Escargot, bratwurst, sauerbraten, scallopini—it’s all here and admirably executed by Chef Heath Prosser, who has more than three decades of experience in the kitchen. His bone-in veal chop served on spätzle and spinach with a mushroom cream sauce has won accolades as well as the hearts of Hilton Head gourmands.


Southern Coney & Breakfast

stack of pancakes topped with maple syrup, sliced strawberries and whipped cream
Southern Coney & Breakfast is pancake central on the island.

70 Pope Avenue
(843) 689-2447

Fan Favorite: Pancakes

Famous for their scratch-made breakfasts, Southern Coney & Breakfast is a friendly little cafe serving breakfast and lunch. Folks flock here for the pancakes and one bite will tell you why. Golden, light and fluffy, these hot stacks are melt-in-your-mouth glorious, especially when topped with fruit and whipped cream. Mama couldn’t make them any better.


San Miguel’s

Cabo Wabo salad from San Miguel's
Light, healthy, and delicious, the Cabo Wabo salad became an surprise superstar at San Miguel's.

9 Harbourside Lane, Shelter Cove Marina
(843) 842-4555

Fan Favorite: Cabo Wabo Salad

While lovers of the Cabo Wabo salad are drawn to the fresh flavors, the healthy aspects of the dish make it even better. Since 1977, San Miguel’s has been dishing up Mexican dishes to appreciative islanders. Some come for the tacos and enchiladas, and others come to satisfy their craving for the Cabo Wabo: Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, black bean and corn salsa drizzled with a homemade cilantro lime vinaigrette. Topped with grilled chicken, shrimp or steak, it’s all the meal you need. Of course, chips and salsa and one of San Miguel’s Cadillac Margaritas are worthy accompaniments.


Hilton Head Ice Cream

selection of ice cream and sherbet
Watermelon sherbet is a standout among the many delicious flavors at Hilton Head Ice Cream.

55 New Orleans Road, #114
(843) 842-6333

Fan Favorite: Watermelon Sherbet

When you think of ice cream, watermelon is probably not your first thought. But at Hilton Head Ice Cream, they have successfully culled the best qualities of fresh watermelon to create a refreshing and frosty treat. But it’s the unlikely addition of chocolate chips that has turned this flavor into a superstar. Then again, Hilton Head Ice Cream knows its business. After all, they’ve been at it since 1982. Availability of flavors may fluctuate, so call ahead.



Hot, house-made, juicy soup dumplings are a fan favorite at E-Tang.

811 William Hilton Parkway #A 
(843) 715-3133

Fan Favorite: Soup Dumplings

Lots of locals consider this the best Chinese food in the area. Specializing in Szechuan dishes, E-Tang is a stand-out among Asian eateries and can aptly satisfy even the most discriminating big-city palates. Hands down, the pork soup dumplings are the hottest menu item. Made fresh daily, these meaty, juicy purses are bursting with deliciousness and waiting for you to tuck into them.

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.