If you’re visiting Hilton Head Island, these are the restaurants you must try
My mother is a true Carolina girl. And what the song says is true: Carolina girls are the best in the world — they also have the best taste.
We like to say Momma Lynne is the original Pretty Southern. Since she moved to Hilton Head in 2022, we’ve enjoyed checking out her favorite local restaurants on the island. While there are literally hundreds of restaurants to choose from, we’ve narrowed down this list based on our favorite food options plus “vibing” with awesome ambiance.
Here’s a roundup of our top 5 best restaurants in Hilton Head.
Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks is your classic Hilton Head waterfront hot spot. On a personal note, these are some of the best friend shrimp I’ve ever sampled, washed down with a pretty perfect Bloody Mary.
Hudson’s also has that vibe you’re looking for when you go to Hilton Head with a beautiful setting nestled on the marshland. The menu offers a wide selection with fantastic fresh catch, plus Hudson’s even has their own soft shell crabbing operation. Here’s the soft shell crab salad that I noshed on during my last visit.
Note — the hush puppies that accompanied this freshness of avocado and strawberries made it a perfect Southern supper.
The trick to Hudson’s is to go during non-peak hours when they open at 11, or take a break from the beach after the lunch rush, since they don’t offer reservations. But it’s worth the wait when you have a cocktail in-hand gazing out at the water from the docks.
2. Fishcamp on Broad Creek
Now as much as I love Hudson’s, Fishcamp is also at the top of this list for some of the best seafood on Hilton Head Island. The vibe at Fishcamp is also top-notch with its expansive covered patio with plenty of places to relax by the waterside.
Since my momma lives close by, she’ll even walk our dog up to Fishcamp for happy hour. We stopped by on a Saturday afternoon and enjoyed some to the tastiest mussels I’ve ever put in my mouth. Look at these delicious morsels swimming in a cream sauce.
Yes, I definitely asked for more bread to sop up this goodness. And Momma Lynne swears these are the best mussels on Hilton Head. I’m not gonna argue with her. Another one of her favorites at Fishcamp is the shrimp burger.
Momma has raved about this shrimp burger since she first discovered Fishcamp back in 2021, and I could see why. This is better than a crab cake, perfectly seasoned and fried to perfection.
Located in Palmetto Dunes, Alexander’s is a renowned establishment on Hilton Head (really all these places are). Alexander’s has been a personal favorite of my family’s over the years. When Momma Lynne saw Rombauer was hosting a wine dinner, she said I had to come for the event — and so I did.
Our meal started with an oyster appetizer. Now y’all, I’ve had a lot of oysters in my life, but I had never tasted raw oysters in a curried coconut milk and now I’m officially obsessed. Hat tip to Alexander’s chef, Kevin Yeung, who came up with this delicious concoction paired with Rombauer’s Sauvignon Blanc. Chef also did a fantastic job with the next course: scallops and caviar paired with Rombauer’s Chardonnay.
Now when I tell y’all that I love scallops, I love me some scallops. Just ask my husband, if scallops are on the menu, Imma gonna have ’em. These were some of the best scallops I’ve ever had in all our years traveling to Hilton Head.
We love Italian food, especially fresh seafood with our pasta, and Ombra has just what we’re craving. Ombra is my mom’s favorite Italian restaurant on Hilton Head Island. My sister, Mandy, visited Ombra before I did and she said I had to get Ombra’s take on a zuppa di pesce.
This seafood pasta came with nearly a dozen mussels (y’all notice a theme here?) and it paired perfectly with a Chianti Classico. I’m also a big fan of the lobster pasta at Ombra which came with giant lobster claws.
Note – I’ve heard from our pal Mike Martin that the orecchiette at Pomodori is also a must-try and while I haven’t been there yet, I do trust Mike’s good opinion.
Now last but certainly not least is one of the best-kept secret restaurants on Hilton Head…
5. Coco’s on the Beach
My husband and I discovered Coco’s about a decade ago when we were looking for a chill spot for happy hour. Coco’s is a hidden oasis right on the beach. The park & walk situation is a bit tricky, but once you’re there, you’ll never want to leave. It’s like being in a Jimmy Buffet song but without all the Parrot Heads.
And if you can’t be on vacation in Hilton Head to enjoy the fun, Coco’s has a live deck cam, so grab a drink and pretend you can feel the ocean breezes.
Our Pretty Southern adventures will keep continuing on Hilton Head Island
Be sure to follow our journey on Instagram as we venture across the South. Thank you, Momma Lynne, for sharing your favorite Hilton Head restaurants with us.