No eggs, no cheese, no butter, no seafood, no meat—no problem? Then you’re probably a vegan. Across the country, the lean toward a plant-based diet is a growing trend. Whether chosen as a matter of health, conscience or both, it’s a lifestyle that requires a modicum of research and inquiry to ensure a truly vegan experience when patronizing South Carolina’s restaurants. After all, you’re in the land of barbecue, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and biscuits, which can pose more than a few dining challenges.
But there’s another reason people sit down to a meal devoid of meat, dairy and such: taste. If you are vegan, you get it. If you aren’t, treat yourself to the amazing variety and fresh flavors embodied in plant-based eating. Many vegan restaurant owners not only use locally sourced ingredients, but report a diverse clientele, with herbivores and omnivores finding common ground over chicken-less chicken sandwiches and kale salads washed down with cold-pressed juices.
When on Hilton Head Island, eat like the vegan islanders do. These five establishments have solid reputations among the local vegan crowd and consider this your invitation to join them.
For more than a decade, DelisheeYo has been the island’s headquarters for plant-based eats. The menu features both vegan and vegetarian offerings for health-conscious locals and vacationers. Soups, salads, bowls, cold-pressed juices, smoothies and house-made proteins make this establishment a stand-out. Ingredients include organic produce grown in the onsite garden. Vegan eats don’t get fresher than that.
Vegan raves: Pozole rojo soup, acai bowl, buddha bowl
Healthy Habit is a destination for Hilton Head vegans who hunger for healthy, fresh eats and want them fast. Come as you are and order up something delicious. If you’re on the run, hit the grab-and-go case. Dishes are crafted with good taste and nutrition in mind, which has helped this hotspot earn a reputation for healthy creations done right. Sandwiches, wraps, bowls, stir-fries, noodles, paninis, salads, cookies and more will make you feel like you’ve hit the vegan jackpot. And you have.
Vegan raves: Italian pesto bowl, bahn mi panini, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, bagel breakfast sandwich
JAVA Burrito Company
Organic and local seasonal foods at JAVA make for tasty burrito bowls with plenty of vegan options: Cilantro and lime rice, grilled veggies, black beans, pinto beans, potatoes, greens, housemade salsas and Beyond Meat options offer diners plenty of ways to enjoy vibrant vegan eats while supporting sustainable farming initiatives.
If you love Jamaican food and eat a vegan diet, you’ll fall for the plant-based offerings at Red Stripes. Stop by and enjoy an authentic meal brimming with all the spicy flavors that make Caribbean cuisine so exciting. Stews, curries and pasta deliver all the flavors and heartiness of their meaty counterparts. The fried plantains complement them all.
Vegan raves: Brown stew tofu, Rasta pasta, curried chickpeas
If exotic flavors are your thing, you will find them served at The Studio in all their vegan glory. Caribbean, Japanese, Mediterranean, Indian and Southwestern cuisine make for an exciting mix of dishes at this eclectic cafe. Tapas and full meals are offered in an artsy environment that showcases local works and hosts guest artists who create their artwork as you watch. But the food is the main artistic draw, with the plant-based offerings beckoning those who appreciate vegan food artistry.
Vegan raves: Lasagna, spinach salad with Mayan craboo vinaigrette, exotic mushroom crepes, German chocolate torte