View by Hudson’s Seafood House on the Dock
There is no shortage of delicious—if not downright mouthwatering—options to choose from when dining out in the Lowcountry. From casual eateries to fine dining establishments, and from fresh seafood to down home southern cooking, there’s something in the Lowcountry to suit everyone’s restaurant tastes…and taste buds! We know how time-consuming it can be for visitors to navigate through the hundreds of restaurant reviews housed on sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, which is why we decided to put together a few locally-vetted recommendations of our own.
Skip the research and make those reservations with confidence—this is the Ussery Group’s guide to the best restaurants in Bluffton and Hilton Head!
Owned and operated by life-long local resident Johnny Cahill and his family, this relaxed Bluffton eatery serves up family-style fixings in a warm and welcoming environment. Though billed as the “Chicken Kitchen,” Cahill’s Market also serves up a variety of delicious comfort foods such as steak and gravy, pot roast, and fried pork chops in addition to their savory staple: the southern fried chicken platter. Plus, with over two dozen delectable side dishes to choose from, there’s an accompaniment (or two) sure to please everyone’s palette. And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the outstanding homemade desserts that include banana pudding and peach cobbler!
In addition, as the name implies, Cahill’s has a small country market in front of the restaurant where the family’s very own farm-grown produce is offered to the public alongside other goods. We feel confident you won’t go home hungry!
1055 May River Road
The Cottage Cafe, Bakery & Tea Room
This charming cafe and bakery is located in a lovingly restored 1868 cottage that once belonged to Mr. J.J. Carson, a local resident and one of the organizers of the First Baptist Church of Bluffton. Presently situated among the many shops and art galleries found in historic Old Downtown Bluffton, The Cottage offers a quaint and cozy venue for lunch, brunch, afternoon tea, or dinner. Each menu offers extensive choices so be prepared to peruse the menu for a minute (or twenty!), but definitely consider the Island Scramble for breakfast. Made with shrimp, basil, avocado, tomato, and mozzarella and served with fruit and toast, this is what we consider the breakfast of champions!
Dining is available indoors or on the delightful covered outdoor porch—either way you’re sure to enjoy a delectable meal as The Cottage is the winner of numerous Bluffton and Hilton Head Reader choice Awards. The Cottage is also known for offering specialty teas, their own house-roasted brand of coffee, and an incredible array of fresh-baked goods that include pies, cakes, tarts, scones, cheesecake, cookies and the list goes on. A sweet tooth is sure to be satisfied here! FYI, Reservations for 5 or more for breakfast are recommended as well as for dinner reservations. Reservations are a must for afternoon tea.
38 Calhoun Street
For reservations: 843-757-0508
New-ish to the Bluffton restaurant scene, and ideally located in the heart of Old Downtown Bluffton, FARM was created and developed by three partners who all reside locally. This innovative establishment offers a seasonally-inspired menu that changes on a regular basis and, as the name implies, you will enjoy a thoughtfully-designed farm to table meal experience when dining at FARM.
According to their website, the team’s aim is to “showcase the bounty of Lowcountry produce and the inspiration of our culinary team”—and do they ever succeed! But take note: Portions are purposely modest to encourage guests to experience a variety of dish options available for that particular season. If you’re famished and looking for a super-sized plate, you won’t find it here. What you will find are fresh and delicious offerings presented with an impeccable eye for detail that will not disappoint! FARM offers indoor and outdoor dining and the ambience is rustic, warm and intimate. Seating is limited so consider reservations.
1301 May River Road
Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks
A Hilton Head Island tradition for decades, Hudson’s Seafood House is a locally owned and operated waterfront restaurant with extraordinary views of Port Royal Sound. Owners Brian Carmine, General Manager Andrew Carmine, and the rest of the family have been extremely successful in making Hudson’s one of the most frequented restaurants around. Featured in multiple media outlets, from Coastal Living to the Food Network, Hudson’s is our go-to place for the very freshest seafood in the Lowcountry. What makes Hudson’s unique is the fact that it has the largest—and one of only two remaining—fishing fleets on Hilton Head Island. As such, they’re able to bring in locally-caught seafood straight from their dock to your table. In fact, watching the crews unload their catch of the day is part of the fun dining experience if timed just right!
In addition to the locally-caught seafood, Shell Ring Oyster Company—an oyster farm created by Andrew Carmine in 2013—provides customers with some of the finest oysters in the area. And it goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that the golden fried-to-perfection hush puppies are crowd pleasers day in, day out! Hudson’s waterside location is a dream and the informal, laid-back atmosphere invites visitors to relax and enjoy all that the beauty of the coastal Lowcountry has to offer. Dining is available inside and outside and on a beautiful day, the sunset view is simply phenomenal!
Hudson’s is open for lunch and dinner. No reservations or call aheads are accepted, so be prepared to wait in line…and know that the wait is worth it.
1 Hudson Road
Hilton Head, SC
The Sage Room
At The Sage Room, the kitchen is cleverly located in the center of the restaurant thus offering guests the enjoyable opportunity to observe the chefs’ creative culinary skills first hand. Owned and operated by chef Matt Jording and his wife Carol since 2002, The Sage Room turns cooking into an experiential art form! Seating is available throughout the restaurant but a seat at the chef’s counter allows guests to be, as Chef Jording says, “a part of the show.” It’s truly a treat to get an up-close-and-personal view of the ingenuity that goes into crafting a delicious entree!
A favorite of locals and visitors alike, The Sage Room is a sophisticated yet understated establishment, offering not only an excellent nightly menu but an eclectic wine list and full bar. A delicious and fun experience!
75 Pope Avenue
Hilton Head Island, SC
For reservations and all other inquiries, call 843-785-5352
Savory Cafe and Provisions
Savory is a charming French cafe with the soul of the South. Under the direction of Chef Pascal Vignau, its uniqueness lies in the melding of the culinary traditions of the chef’s French heritage with the Southern-style comfort foods of the Lowcountry. Food that is international in name yet familiar in taste is a winner in our book! Besides, where else can you get escargot and a BLT for lunch?
Savory has an extensive and varied menu for both lunch and dinner. In addition, they offer a Sunset Supper with course selections Tuesday-Saturday from 5-6 pm (all day on Tuesday) as well as a Sunday brunch menu each week from 10:30 am-2 pm.
1533 Fording Island Road, Suite 203
Hilton Head, SC
Click here for reservations
Contemporary and sophisticated yet with an unpretentious feel, this Hilton Head Island restaurant has an award-winning wine list that offers over 200 bottles. Their seafood creations and aged steak selections are mouthwatering, but if you are in the mood for a smaller meal, keep in mind that their tapas menu—which includes pizzettas, sliders, and imported meats and cheese—has been voted “Best Tapas” by Hilton Head’s Island Packet newspaper.
Wise Guys is wonderful for special occasions such as birthday or anniversary as well as a romantic evening out.
1513 Main Street
HIlton Head, SC
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