|In response to a diminishing number of requests, the HHI food critic has decided not to stop critiquing HHI restaurants, but to publish reviews less often. Thus, reviews from Athens, Georgia are now stagnant but HHI ponies on.|
|E A T|
|Villages of Wexford, South side.||(843)785-4850|
|American. Moderate. Easy parking.|
This is "Dinner Impossible" Robert Irvine's island restaurant. The atmosphere is subdued Asian modern, the menu American with some Asian touches. You may begin with at least fifteen choices of small plates (tapas) in addition to the usual salads and starters. The deserts are clever. The wine list has good variety, although the prices are high.
The food here is excellent - we loved everything we tried. It could be the island's finest dining, certainly in the top three.
Dinner from 5:00 pm, Monday through Saturday. Reservations recommended.
|M I C H A E L A N T H O N Y ' S|
|37 New Orleans Road.||(843)785-6272|
|Italian. Expensive. Easy parking.|
Let me state first that this restaurant is regularly praised by those who enjoy good food. The meals are creative and well prepared, and arrive at the table very nicely presented. And the taste is wonderful. My problem is that there is so much butter and cream used in most menu items that one begins to imagine the coronaries closing down. This is like Italian food from the Southern border of Switzerland: influenced by old school French chefs. Others will no doubt disagree, and some say this is the best food on the island.
The wine selection is very broad, by bottle or glass. Wines in fact are a feature of wall decoration, lying punt-to-cork on shallow racks behind many tables. There is a nice list of up-scale wines which I suspect are kept in an area with good temperature control. Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. The wait-staff is knowledgeable and attentive.
The menu listed in the island menu guide will not show fish entrees, as they are announced by the waiter when he comes to your table. I presume that means they select from the best of what is running.
If you like the finest taste, regardless of cost to your wallet or your health, this place rates 5 gems. If you are mainly concerned about your heart, this place rates 2. Thus I settled at 3 and a half.
Dinner from 5:30, Monday through Saturday. Reservations recommended.
|T H E S T U D I O|
|South island; off Pope, in back of Fed First Building.||(843)785-6000|
|Continental. Moderate. Easy parking.|
Here you may dine with live entertainment, and an artist creating an original painting. The menu contains some imaginative selections, such as the starter Wild Boar Andouille with Brie and Shrimp Quesadilla followed by a Grouper with spinach and Asiago. Or vension with Vidalia onions. Nice wine list. Good happy hour from 5:30pm.
Dinner 5:30 - 10pm, Tuesday through Sunday. Reservations recommended.
|A Q U A|
|10 North Forest Beach Drive, just off Coligny Circle.||(843)341-3331|
|Seafood, mainly. Moderate. Valet parking is free.|
Advertised as "oceanfront", though you must stand on a chair to see any water. But that's minor - the ambience is comfortable and the decor attractive. Space is sufficient to keep the tables from clumping. The wait staff is cordial and knowledgeable.
You can obtain non-seafood entries here but you shouldn't - the seafood is served up in a variety of ways and the presentations are very pleasing. (The chef - I presume he is English - is partial to Asian.) The wine list is also very good; you can order several varieties by the half bottle, and there were 33 wines by the glass.
Dinner nightly from 5:00 pm till "late", plus Sunday brunch. Reservations recommended.
|S E A G R A S S G R I L L E|
|Mid island, Plantation Center, near Santa Fe Cafe.||(843)785-9990|
|American & Low Country Continental; casual; moderate.|
When Charlie's L'Etoile moved to New Orleans Road, the head chef (CIA) and two others remained to start this new and interesting restaurant at the old location. The luncheon choices are more interesting than those of evening.
Lunch from 11:30am & Dinner from 6:00pm, Tuesday - Saturday.
|O L D F O R T P U B|
|North island, within Hilton Head Plantation.||(843)681-2386|
|Seafood/American; casual; moderate to expensive.
A new staff has improved this always good restaurant considerably. A beautiful view of the Intracoastal Waterway, it's boat traffic, and sunsets. Wide menu choices, seafood and land fare, nicely prepared and presented. I had a poached salmon that was the best I ever had. Most extensive wine list on the island.
Dinner from 5:00pm, 7 nights. Sunday Brunch.
|O C E A N G R I L L|
|Mid island, harborside at Shelter Cove.||(843)785-3030|
|Seafood/American; casual; moderate to expensive.|
This restaurant, formerly known as Harbormaster's, sits on Broad Creek (not the ocean) with views of the Disney Island and the Shelter Cove harbor. Wide menu choices. Adequate wine list.
Dinner 6 nights, Mon - Sat from 5:00pm.
|I T ' S G R E E K T O M E|
|11 Lagoon Road, adjacent to Coligny Plaza.||(843)842-4033|
|Greek - the real thing; casual; moderate to inexpensive. Easy parking.|
What is priced moderately will be a large portion. (I had the Greek Combo dinner and took half of it home.) Mousaka, spanakopita, pastitsio, lamb on a skewer - the things you expect to see, all prepared the way we remember them when we did our two week tour of Greece and the Greek Islands. The wines are Greek and Californian, and compliment the food flavors.
Lunch and dinner, 7 days a week, from 11:00am.
The original location at Mid-island next to Blockbuster has closed. So did Blockbuster.
|F R A N K I E B O N E S|
|Main Street village, off Hilton Parkway.||(843)682-4455|
|American - Italian; casual; moderate.|
A New York City type grill: dim lighting, wide booths, lots of bar space. Sinatra plays in the background. They do several varieties of pasta, chicken, fish, steaks and chops. A nice area - "Main Street", of various shops - to walk around in, after the meal.
Open 7 days a week starting at 4:00pm.
|F L O R A ' S I T A L I A N C A F E|
|South Island Square, just South of Palmetto Dunes.||(843)842-8200|
|Italian; casual; moderate.|
The island has a number of white tablecloth Italian restaurants, and I would place this one in about the middle of the range for that upper group. (The daily specials suggest that the chef here may be capable of interesting things.) Traditional Italian fare is presented attractively, and the portions are generous. The wine list is adequate; the wait staff is competent. Dean Martin does not play in the background; classical and Italian opera do. There was a good crowd for the Early Bird.
Open Monday - Saturday, 5 - 10.
|T H E S A G E R O O M||(not rated)|
|81 Pope Avenue - in Heritage Plaza||(843)785-5352|
|American; casual; moderate.|
This restaurant, which many people like, was not reviewed because they have two unpleasant policies as mentioned on their website: A charge of $10 to split plates; a 20% added gratuity to separate checks. They would do better to just announce "no split plates" and "one check for all".
If you are OK with both, visit the website to see if the menu looks appealing.
Open Monday - Saturday, 6 - 10.