When on vacation, everyone who is anyone (related to me) knows eating is the most important part. Can I get an 'amen'?
Here are a few of my personal Hilton Head Island eating recommendations:
DO NOT MISS:
1.Charlies L'etoile Verte. (translation: Charlie's Green Star) No idea why they only gave themselves a green star. Clearly they were being modest because we give them a gold star and four enthusiastic thumbs up! We went for lunch on Wednesday and tried to go for lunch again on Friday, but they were closed. This broke our hearts. No, really, it did. The lunch menu was quite impressive. Even more impressive was the food when it was delivered to our table. Amazing. The freshest of the fresh. They do not ignore a single detail at Charlie's.
Sweet tea was right on the money, they brought fresh lovely bread to the table, the mixed greens with a champagne vinagrette was fresh and lovely, the duck was perfect and the fish was yummy. The sides were prepared with so much love and attention to quality that I cleaned my plate. Garden fresh peas and carrots - this from a girl who understands 'garden fresh'.
Top this off with a price you will not believe. We could have paid at least this much for lunch at any casual dining chain.
2. British Open Pub. I had the fish & chips because, duh! My husband had the shrimp & chips. We were both over the moon in ecstasy. The beer batter they make puffs up in grand style and the eats are delicious. Everything coming out of the kitchen looked great. The pictures on their site do not do them justice.
3. Bluffton Family Seafood. I know you have to go to Bluffton to eat here, but you want to do that anyway. Especially on Thursdays when they have the farmer's market. This place has only been open a few months, but they've been running the seafood factory for, like, ever. They know what they are doing. Let them fry you up a basket of your favorites. It will make you happy, I promise. It's small and nothing fancy, but it's worth the trip. Check out the big table in the bar, it's interesting.
4. Catch 22. This place is pretty much a Hilton Head Island staple. The food was amazing. My husband ordered ribs and I swear they were from a brontosauras! I have never seen ribs like them in my life. I only wish I had thought to take a picture, because really, there is no way to describe how big they were. They really should put a photo of them on their website. They were not only huge, but tender and delicious. We had a memorable meal. I'm sure we will be returning to Catch 22.
Hudson's: Another Hilton Head Island staple. Much more friendly than Old Oyster Factory, with better food. Anyone else I know who has been to both agrees.
Fuddruckers: Because every vacation should include one big honkin' burger just the way you want it.
Do not go:
Old Oyster Factory: Probably the most disappointing meal I've had on the island, ever. The wait was about two hours, even though lots of tables were never used. The food was blah at best, bad if we're being honest, and the cost for the ordeal was ridiculous. If you must go, don' t miss the mascarpone souffle. It could quite possibly save your night. I recommend taking it with you and eating it from the comfort of your hotel bed.
The Smokehouse: Maybe my least favorite place on the island. All around disappointing. The service had no love, it was beyond freezing cold inside, and the food took a long time, even though the place was practically empty. Adding insult to injury, I've had better barbecue pretty much anywhere else I've ever had barbecue besides the McRib. Maybe a place for the 'go get wasted' crowd. Definitely not a place for a good meal.
Michael Anthony's: No, no, no, no, no! Don't say I didn't warn you. If you go, it's your own darn fault! I had a tiny serving of the most bland gnocchis the world has ever seen, a disappointing Caesar salad, and an over-hyped dessert which left much to be desired. Skip it. No, really - you'll be better off at the Carrabba's chain restaurant, not that I'm jazzed about endorsing them. To top off the lousy skimpy meal, we had two separate tables full of local women who were their to drown their sorrows and talk about everybody they didn't like. They were there when we arrived and still at it two hours later. Take my word for it, this is not the experience they want you to think it will be.
Please share your experiences, good and bad, while eating your way around the island.