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Start Your Weekend off Right with a Great Brunch – and a View to Match

Bob Gillespie Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 350-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.
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So: What's a carefree weekend without a delicious brunch? And taking that a step further: What's brunch without a glorious view - whether of a city, a mountain, a river or the beach?

Fortunately, in South Carolina there are all manner of eateries with great breakfast/lunch offerings and splendid scenery. From the coast to the Upstate and points in between, pick your favorite food, or your favorite backdrop, or find a restaurant that encompasses both.

Here are some great choices for relaxed midday dining with a view:

An American Grill; Harbour Town Clubhouse
Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island; 843.363.8380

Whether during the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing each April, or just while on vacation at Hilton Head Island, it's hard to top Links for both food and view - assuming, of course, you enjoy the sight of Harbour Town Golf Links, one of the PGA Tour's favorite stops each year. The weekend brunch runs 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and features such standards as classic eggs Benedict, the three-egg omelet, buttermilk pancakes, brioche French toast and the Breakfast BLTE (a classic BLT with over-medium egg and cheese).

The Atlantic Room
Kiawah Island Resort (Ocean Course); 800.654.2924

A warning for those who like to sleep in: The Ryder Cup Bar and Atlantic Room serve breakfast daily, but only from 7:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. We include it here because of a) the fabulous view of The Ocean Course's 18th green and the Atlantic Ocean, and b) a terrific menu including steel-cut Irish oatmeal, yogurt-and-fruit parfaits, a variety of breakfast sandwiches, pancakes and egg dishes, and the Ryder Cup Benedict: a crabcake, poached eggs and lemon-Hollandaise sauce served on a buttermilk biscuit.

The Jasmine Porch
The Sanctuary; Kiawah Island Resort; 800.654.2924

Kiawah Island Resort's five-star accommodation, The Sanctuary, has a restaurant to match in the Jasmine Porch, so naturally its Signature brunch on Sundays is something special. With sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and a lineup of seafood specialties, house-made charcuterie and other unique items from chef Jeremy Holst's kitchen. With chilled Champagne mimosas and soft background music, it's a perfect way to cap off a weekend at the island resort.

Stars Restaurant Rooftop and Grill Room
495 King Street, Charleston; 843.577.0100

For an eagle's-eye view of the city's historic district, Stars on Upper King Street is hard to beat, featuring "Carolina cuisine" and its Walnut Bar plus its 360-degree views. .

The weekend brunch, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., is equally stunning, with artisan cheeses, made-to-order omelets, local shrimp and grits and their house-special Fried Chicken Benedict. For lighter appetites, try the chilled Wadmalaw Strawberry Salad. And don't forget the mimosa and Bloody Mary specials.

Marina Variety Store Restaurant
17 Lockwood Drive, Charleston; 843.723.6325

Looking for a great view of the Charleston Marina's boats and a breakfast short on glitz but long on taste? Try the rustic Marina Variety Store Restaurant, where the coffee mugs are old-style kitschy, the menus offer facts about South Carolina and the food lineup hasn't changed much since 1963. Comfortable and low-key "like a pair of boat shoes," with all the tradition breakfast dishes, and the weekend brunch hours are 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (Saturday) and until 3 p.m. Sunday.

The Obstinate Daughter
2063 Middle Street, Sullivans Island; 843.416.5020

Another rustic favorite, and while you might have to walk a short way to really see the beach views, that's a great way to work off the delicious dishes by Italian-influenced chef Jacque Larson. The special is the Sea Island cassoulet (part casserole, part omelet), and then it's off to walk the shoreline. Brunch hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

High Thyme Cuisine
2213 Middle Street, #C, Sullivans Island; 843.883.3536

Two blocks from the Obstinate Daughter is another beach place that Charleston's City Paper once declared "the best-kept brunch secret" in this foodie city. Enjoy the beach views and dig into unique-but-classic dishes like their chicken hash. Sunday brunch hours are 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Passerelle Bistro, overlooking Falls Park on the Reedy in downtown Greenville, offers a French-themed brunch.

Blu Restaurant
1 Center Street, Folly Beach; 843.588.6658

The restaurant has more than 4,000 square feet of space, but the hot tip on nice weekends is the oceanfront deck, where you can dig into a brunch menu featuring parfaits, smoked salmon salad, shrimp and grits, Lump Crab Benedict, steak and eggs, the Breakfast Club Sandwich, French toast and more.

Lost Dog
106 West Huron Street, Folly Beach; 843.588.9669

Another Folly favorite (named after the owners' dog briefly disappeared while the building was being constructed) bills itself as the perfect weekend brunch start for a day at the beach, with "something for everyone" on the menu. Like Mexican food? Try their Huevos Rancheros. Want something lighter? The fresh fruit parfaits are popular. Hours are 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays, 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays.

Magnolia Bakery Cafe
703 Congress Street, Beaufort; 843.524.1961

Beaufort sits atop some beautiful water and marsh views, a plus for Magnolia Bakery Cafe, but besides its generous weekend brunch hours (9 a.m.-3 p.m.), a big plus is its all-day mimosas and sangria for $3. Then there's the food: soups including gazpacho, white bean with ham and Carolina Cream of Crab; a large lineup of crepes, shrimp and grits, omelets du jour, Maggie's Farm Fresh Egg Plates and Max's Breakfast Sandwich. And don't forget the unique Oatmeal Molasses French Toast - like two dishes in one.

Gulfstream Cafe
1536 S. Waccamaw Drive, Murrells Inlet; 843.651.8808

If you've ever dined in Murrells Inlet, you know about the views of the marshes and inlets and the quiet sound of the tides coming in. Gulfstream has those, especially from its rooftop deck, and its voluminous Sunday brunch buffet is a great way to complement those views. Hours are 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., and there's even a kids' brunch menu.

38 Shelter Cove Lane, No. 120, Hilton Head Island; 843.341.3838

Located in Hilton Head's Shelter Cove Resort, Poseidon is mostly known for its seafood, but the Sunday brunch (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) has a lineup of traditional and nontraditional dishes. The Coastal Breakfast has eggs, meat (including andouille sausage) and potatoes or grits, there's the Chef-Cut Brick Steak and Eggs, and house-made biscuits and gravy. Then there are such novelties as the Big Sur Burrito, pastrami hash and eggs, and the New England crepe with lobster, brie cheese, truffle mushrooms and Mornay sauce. For waterway views, dine on the covered Front Porch, conveniently adjacent to the Nauti Bar.

Passerrelle Bistro
601 South Main Street, Greenville; 864.509.0142

Not all the water views in South Carolina are along the coast. This Paris bistro-style eatery is located at the Main Street entrance to Greenville's lovely Falls Park with views of the waterfall rapids and the city's landmark suspension bridge, Liberty Bridge. Brunch choices (weekends 10 a.m.-3 p.m.) include croissants and fruit, French toast, and quiche and croquet monsieur. Afterward, stroll across the bridge or explore Greenville's vibrant downtown.

Top of Carolina Capstone House
900 Barnwell Street, Columbia; 803.777.7919

If you're in Columbia for a football game or to check on your college student, brunch atop the 18-story Capstone House dormitory is a weekend tradition. With the only 360-degree rotating restaurant in the state offering 360-degree views (seating is next to the large windows) of downtown, Five Points and the University of South Carolina campus, it's a unique experience. Weekend brunch hours are 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 350-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.