travel bite: An Overview of Hilton Head, SC

July 11, 2022

I recently returned from Hilton Head Island. We liked it so much last year that we decided to go back, and we liked it so much this year that we are already planning next summer’s visit. Of course the food there is good. It doesn’t matter how nice everything else is if I can’t eat well. So here’s a look at where I have eaten in Hilton Head, and some advice about what not to miss.

Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks
For two year’s this has been my first stop when arriving on the island, after all it’s right there when you cross the bridge. The location gets me in the vacation mood. Sitting out on the dock having a cocktail is the perfect way to kick off vacation. The food is great too, particularly the local peel and eat shrimp. You also want to get their 7 day slaw, it’s fantastic. This is a must visit. For more on Hudson’s, read 3 Things You Must Eat in Hilton Head.

Local Peel and Eat Shrimp & Lowcountry Lemonade

Hilton Head Ice Cream Shop
It’s vacation and you’re going to need some ice cream. Hilton Head Ice Cream is the place to go. Centrally located, you’re sure to wait in line, but don’t worry it moves quickly. Even if it didn’t it would be worth the wait for some excellent ice cream. The Oreo ice cream is outstanding, but even better is the Strawberry Milkshake. Order it extra thick and you won’t regret it.

Hilton Head Ice Cream Shop Flavors

Duck Donuts
So Duck Donuts is a national chain, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make a damn fine donut. They are cooked to order and topped to order. This isn’t Krispy Kreme where you just get a hot glazed donut, not that I have anything against that. The variety here is seemingly endless, think peanut butter chocolate chip, blueberry lemonade, or peach cobbler. It’s located right on William Hilton Parkway and although the store itself isn’t the nicest place you’ll ever go (it’s a bit of a hot mess), the woman behind the counter was as friendly as can be and the donuts were excellent.

A Half Dozen Made to Order Donuts

A Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant
The shrimp and grits have been named the best in South Carolina and if that isn’t enough of a reason to go, the banana puddin’ should be. The pimento cheese or the May River blue crab dip is a great way to start a meal here. Pair it with a Front Porch made of South Carolina Peach Moonshine and sweet iced tea. But the real reason I come back is for the seafood purloo. If you come to Hilton Head don’t leave without trying it. We also had the best service on the island at Lowcountry thanks to our very welcoming waitress Angela. For more details read 3 Things You Must Eat in Hilton Head.

Voted the Best Shrimp and Grits in South Carolina

Nectar Farm Kitchen
Nectar’s menu is enormous. With dishes ranging from Fried Green Tomatoes to a Donut Sandwich, it’s hard to decide what to get. The Tomato Hand Pie is a winner and so is the Duck Dip, a duck pastrami sandwich with cabbage and a duck jus dipping bowl. They serve breakfast until 4:00 so even if you want to sleep in on vacation, you can still get pancakes. Two years ago it was packed, but this year we were able to get it right away. Maybe it’s because the service here is a little uneven.

Duck Dip

Giuseppi’s Pizza & Pasta
A friend who grew up going to Hilton Head recommended, Giuseppi’s to me, and I can see why: good pizza and good drinks, the kind of place that makes both kids and their parents happy. We really enjoyed the Meatball and Ricotta Deluxe, sliced meatballs and dollops of ricotta cheese. A 12″ pie was enough for two, and for my little guy, we got a slice of cheese. If you aren’t into pizza they have burgers, pasta, and salads too. It’s easy to see why vacationing families have been coming here for over 40 years.

Meatball Ricotta Deluxe

Bad Biscuit
Bad Biscuit is the sister restaurant of A Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant, but the feel is totally different and so is the food. Here, as the name implies, the focus is on biscuits and what to put on them. These biscuits are gigantic and unless you are hungrier than I am, you’re going to leave full. I went with the Rooster Biscuits and Gravy, a biscuit topped with sausage gravy (which was excellent) and scrambled eggs. I also tried the Biscuit Bites which are basically donut holes. Whatever you get wash it down with a Poinsettia, champagne and cranberry juice.

Roosters Biscuits and Gravy, Biscuit Bites, & a Poinsettia

Hilton Head Distillery
Sometimes it rains on vacation and when it rains in Hilton Head, I head for the distillery. The main attraction here is rum, as it should be on a vacation island, but they also have a vodka and a couple of whiskeys. They even partner with Bulrush (gin no. 68) , the only gin distilled on Hilton Head. They have a nice tasting room where you can sample both sips and cocktails or buy bottles and merchandise. You probably want to pick up a bottle of their famous Dark Pineapple Rum or their light and delicious Toasted Coconut Rum. Bring it home for a friend or be selfish and keep it for yourself. I was selfish.

Three Tastings and a Cocktail

Lucky Rooster
If you are looking for something nicer than pizza or a beach bar, Lucky Rooster is the place to go for dinner. The food and the atmosphere is upscale, but families and groups still feel welcome. The Stuffed Eggs with smoked seafood and bacon were outstanding and so was the fried pork cutlet. But my advice, order whatever is served with collard greens, they are some of the best I’ve ever had. Add to that great service and a full bar with a wide variety of classic and modern cocktails, and Lucky Rooster is a dinner you don’t want to miss. Read more at 3 Things You Must Eat in Hilton Head.

Stuffed Eggs

For more see our travel bites page.

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