Where Locals Eat in Hilton Head

family out to dinner at a beachside restaurant

Hilton Head Island has long been synonymous with things like great golf, gorgeous beaches, and Southern hospitality, but in addition to these obvious draws, the culinary scene is also thriving with innovative chefs, delicious fresh ingredients, and unique dining experiences that will be the cherry on top of your Lowcountry getaway. If you’ve ever wondered where locals eat in Hilton Head, we’ve got the answers for you in this month’s blog. From delicious breakfasts and convenient lunches to romantic dinners and even kid-friendly casual spots, we’re giving you the inside scoop on places you have to try on your next Hilton Head vacation. Let’s dig in!

Best Breakfast Spot in Hilton Head

crab cake benedict breakfast

The Palmetto Bay Sunrise Café has been a staple in Hilton Head for over two decades, ever since owners Leslie and Paul Stewart first noticed the need for a classic breakfast spot on the island. In those early days, they’d serve anywhere from 35-40 people a day; now, they see an average of 500 people on a Sunday and have created a place that feels like you’re dining with friends every time you visit.

The café is open Wednesday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and serves up delicious breakfast, brunch, and lunch where you can taste the love in every bite. That’s because Leslie and Stew, as she calls him, are still hard at work cracking every egg and tasting every element of their signature dishes. If you’re looking for one of the top-rated places where locals eat in Hilton Head, Sunrise Café is a definite must-visit. When you do, be sure to try their Stuffed French Toast or the Breakfast Burrito with homemade salsa. For a taste of fresh seafood, their Crab Cakes Benedict can’t be beaten. The house-made hollandaise sauce is lovingly prepared every day, along with other staples like strata, quiches, soups, salad dressings, and sausage gravy. They also cut their own steaks and process their own seafood. The result is attention to detail that sets their food above the rest. Visit them at the Palmetto Bay Marina and enjoy breakfast with a view of the beautiful Broad Creek.

Best Places for Lunch in Hilton Head

chicken salad

If you’re looking for light bites with a casual coastal ambiance, Jane’s Bistro & Bar is the place to go. Opened in 2016, they’ve been serving up delicious specialties that have the residents of Hilton Head coming back again and again. With a menu featuring hand-me-down recipes, this family-owned establishment has created dishes that wow both visually and on the palate. From their famous chicken salad plate featuring fresh fruit, toasty bread, and scrumptious house-made pecan and cranberry chicken salad to their savory butcher’s sandwich, which marries tender braised beef with fresh arugula, tomato, provolone, crispy onions, and southern classic comeback sauce every bite is better than the last. With gluten-free and vegan options available as well as a robust kid’s menu, there’s something for everyone at this local’s favorite lunch spot. They’re open seven days a week, Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., so be sure to visit them for lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch!

For another guaranteed crowd-pleaser, be sure to check out Guiseppi’s Pizza & Pasta House. With 40 years under their belt, this is the place locals eat in Hilton Head when they’re craving a slice. With hand-cut meats and veggies, they pride themselves on cutting zero corners. The dedication is apparent in every pie they make, from the melty cheese to the perfectly spiced homemade sauce. Whether you’re in the mood for a signature pizza or one of their handcrafted sandwiches or pasta dishes, Guiseppi’s is a winner every time. With delivery service available, they’re also a great option if you want something to come directly to your Host + Home vacation rental!  

Where Do Locals Eat Dinner In Hilton Head?

open kitchen in a restaurant

Your Host + Home vacation rental has an immaculate kitchen and plenty of room for family meals, but if you want to venture out for a nice dinner after a full day of fun in Hilton Head, these spots should definitely be at the top of your list to try.

Nick’s Steak & Seafood – Nick’s is an institution in Hilton Head among locals, and it’s the perfect place for a nice, casual dinner during your vacation. Proudly supporting local farmers, fisheries, wineries, and distilleries, every bite you take is a taste of the Lowcountry’s finest offerings. Be sure to sample their Local Lemon Butter Clams straight from Beaufort. Sauteed in bright garlic lemon butter, they’re an excellent start to your meal. For entrees, you can’t go wrong with a selection from their fresh fish market. Whether it’s the Flounder Casino with its deviled crab stuffing or the Captain’s Platter, where you get a smorgasbord of scallops, shrimp, and fish, you’re in for a delectable experience. Wash it all down with a handcrafted cocktail or local beer for a fantastic finish.

The Sage Room – If elevated elegance is on the menu, you have to visit The Sage Room. This fine-dining restaurant is the perfect place for celebrating an anniversary or a romantic night out while on your Hilton Head vacation. With more than 20 years under their belt, the chefs and owners have mastered the art of imaginative renditions of classic American fare. The indulgent Champagne Poached Scallops resting on a parmesan risotto cake are complimented by sauteed spinach for a melt-in-your-mouth bite that’s second to none, and if you’re craving something sweet, their dessert menu features a Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart that’s every bit as decadent as it is whimsical and fun. If it’s your first time visiting, be sure to sit at the Chef’s counter. The open kitchen concept gives guests an up-close look at what goes into creating the stunning dishes, and with nightly specials and excellent wine and cocktails, you’re guaranteed to have one of the best food experiences of your life.

Book Your Culinary Adventure in Hilton Head

dining room table in a Hilton Head vacation rental

Now that we’ve covered where locals eat in Hilton Head, from breakfast to the last bite of dessert, the only thing left to do is book your vacation rental! At Host + Home, we have the perfect place for you and your family. Whether you’re looking for a cozy cottage for a few guests or a large villa to accommodate multi-family trips, our team can help you find your ideal home away from home. Browse our available vacation rentals and book your Hilton Head getaway directly with Host + Home today.