One of the many great things about Hilton Head Island is that it’s hard to find a bad meal. With so many restaurants on the island, however, how do you know which is the best? We’ve put together a list of the best places to eat lunch on Hilton Head. With food ranging from American to Greek and seafood to vegetarian, there is big flavor on the Island.
The Crazy Crab
Jarvis Creek Location: 104 William Hilton Parkway
Sea Pines Location: 149 Lighthouse Road (Harbour Town)
Hilton Head is known for its seafood throughout the South and Lowcountry, especially its oysters. Open from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for lunch and 3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner, the Crazy Crab offers a wide array of options, even some vegetarian. Their specialty is the Alaskan Snow Crab, which happens to be the best on the island for over 30 years.
There are two Crazy Crab restaurants on the island, one at Harbour Town, and the other overlooking Jarvis Creek. The Jarvis Creek location, boasts a large saltwater aquarium, a playground for children and live music! At Harbour Town, all the shops, water sports, and cruises, are at your fingertips. Private parties are welcome. Since there are two locations, the Crazy Crab is one of the most easily accessible and recognizable restaurants on the island. Perfect for a lunch date, break from work or a family meal!
It’s Greek to Me
11 Lagoon Road (Coligny)
It’s Greek to Me started in 1979 when owners Barbara and Vassili Maniotis married, and spent their month-long vacation in Greece. Barbara learned traditional Grecian family recipes from her new in-laws and soon mastered them, dreaming one day they would open up their own restaurant. With most of the restaurants focusing on American pub, or Mexican food, It’s Greek to Me offers a refreshing respite from that while simultaneously providing amazingly delicious food.
Opening their restaurant in 1997, It’s Greek to Me has now become a Hilton Head Island foreign cuisine staple, with its amazingly delicious, and most recognizable, Greek dishes of spanakopita and tzatziki, lamb, gyros and of course, baklava. You can either dine inside with beautifully painted scenic views from Greece right behind you, or you can eat outside among the beautiful views that Hilton Head has to offer. Either way, It’s Greek to Me is the perfect stop for lunch when you are craving something savory and made with loving care.
Land’s End Tavern – The Salty Dog Cafe
232 South Sea Pines Drive #307 (South Beach)
The Salty Dog Cafe is one of, if not, the most famous Hilton Head restaurant. They are known for great food, service, and of course, their t-shirts. They own several restaurants in South Beach, including The Wreck of the Salty Dog and Land’s End Tavern. Land’s End happens to be Hilton Head’s longest continually running restaurant. It dates back to 1974 when it was a boat storage facility. On the outside, the tavern may just look like another Cape Cod Bungalow-style building. But inside it is filled with pirate-themed decorations and even life sized mannequins.
Great for families because of the fun themes and food, Land’s End Tavern serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and they are open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The constantly updated menu provides great options, with a few seasonal favorites that stick around. Land’s End Tavern also offers some great vegetarian options beyond just a basic garden salad, and the black bean burger is definitely something to write home about. The best part about Land’s End Tavern, however, is the fact that lunch items can be served all day! So whether you are in for breakfast, lunch or dinner you can still pick your favorite dish!
Casey’s Sports Bar and Grille
37 New Orleans Road
Casey’s Sports Bar and Grill is raising the bar when it comes to great bar food, drinks and all around fun times! Recently, Casey’s has come under new management to help let the fun times roll, starting off with a brand new menu. Casey’s is the perfect sports bar, filled with beer, great American pub food and fun locals. They are open from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. and schedules fun events during that time, like karaoke, or even a visit from the famed Chippendales.
There are 30 TVs in the restaurant to watch all your favorite sports teams. Casey’s is open for both lunch and dinner. They serve American bar fare like burgers, brats and fries. Friendly and attentive bartenders sling cold brews and mixed drinks. Casey’s is a family-friendly sports bar. A large front dining room fits large families in comfortable seating.
Santa Fe Cafe
807 William Hilton Parkway (Across the street from Shelter Cove Harbour)
Santa Fe Cafe has provided the best authentic New Mexican cuisine on the island for over 20 years. Santa Fe Cafe has a fantastic open Rooftop Cantina complete with firepit. You and yours can dine under the summer stars while being serenaded with live music. Or enjoy an afternoon breeze, while having a margarita or a specialty tequila. You can also enjoy the open Chef’s Counter and watch your food prepared right before your eyes. Watch as your painted Mexican soup comes to life with scenic pictures of cacti with creme-fraiche garnish and chopped tomatoes.
While a little more expensive than your average lunch place, the Santa Fe Cafe is worth the price. It has even been named one of Hilton Head’s best in food service and overall experience which has earned them rave reviews across the board. For lunch specifically, the Santa Fe Cafe offers wonderfully filling, healthy, freshly made entrees ranging from Mexican classics to American favorites. Make sure to call ahead to make reservations if you plan on sitting on the Rooftop Cantina since it fills up fast.
Up the Creek Pub and Grill
18 Simmons Road
Overlooking Broad Creek, Up the Creek Pub and Grill is one of the more popular casual waterfront dining options on Hilton Head, especially for lunch. Up the Creek offers a variety of options from seafood, to american cuisine, and an expansive kids’ menu. The name of the game here is fun. Every evening Up the Creek Pub and Grill holds some kind of entertainment. Whether it be a fire juggler, live music, or fireworks, they have you covered.
Up the Creek’s entire concert series schedule is on their website, so you can pick the date and local band. Being next to Zipline Hilton Head and Aerial Adventure, you can fly above the island and then enjoy lunch. They also provide bike parking, as well as regular parking. Of course, being a waterfront restaurant Up the Creek has a wide deck with gorgeous views of Broad Creek. They have attached fans and misters to help keep you cool during the hot summer afternoons.
9 Shelter Cove Lane (Shelter Cove Harbour)
Named one of the “Top 10 Reasons to Visit Hilton Head” by the Huffington Post, San Miguel’s is an Island favorite. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Shelter Cove Marina. With numerous shops, water sports, San Miguel’s is in the thick of it all.
They serve classic Mexican fare tailored to fit all pallets. Vegetarian, kids and gluten free options are available. Every day introduces a new special at San Miguel’s. Come relax on the outdoor patio with a frozen margarita while you take a break from an afternoon of shopping.
Photos by Nicolette Kay and Andrea Six.