Dining near Captain’s Walk and around Hilton Head
Arguably, one of the best parts of any Vacation is trying new or beloved cuisines with a fresh take someplace new. One of our very favorite parts of visiting Hilton Head is the spectacular dining. There are actually four very good options for eating near Captain’s Walk within easy walking distance. All are beach attire friendly, so if you get hungry during the middle of the day, we encourage you to try one of them out.
Heading North (to the left as you face the water)
Next door to the left as you face the ocean (north of the unit) is the Disney Beach House. They have a casual dining window that is open for lunch called Tide Me Over. They also have delicious (and comparable to the infamous Disney Dole Whip) Pineapple soft-serve ice cream.
1,000 feet further north is the Marriott Hotel, with poolside dining and dining inside the hotel itself.
Just a little further still is the Dunes House, a great choice for patio dining while still being able to see the ocean. They are open for lunch and usually stay open until around sunset in the summer. It’s one of our favorites and a staple for every visit.
Heading South (to the right as you face the water)
On the other side of Captains Walk (heading South) the first building you come to after the Captains Walk units is the Omni Hotel. In addition to casual dining by the pool, they have an excellent (but pricey) restaurant.
Inside Palmetto Dunes
If you head back out toward the exit, there is a General Store on your right just after the traffic circle. You can drive or bike but it is also a very easy walk. They frequently have a lunch buffet in the back (fried chicken, etc.) and also have everything you might expect in a convenience store. The candy selection is wonderful and dangerous to sweet-tooths. It’s very good and we always want one of everything.
The General Store is an excellent place for a full traditional southern breakfast. The menu varies slightly from day to day but count on biscuits, eggs, bacon/sausage, grits, and pancakes.
Other Dining Around Hilton Head
If you want to drive somewhere, there are literally hundreds of places within about 20 minutes. Here are some of our favorites.
Skull Creek Boathouse
Good seafood and a pretty good selection for non-seafood eaters also. Very good desserts, especially the key lime pie (which is made elsewhere on the island). VERY crowded in the summer unless you go at off times. One of the few good places to watch the sunset over the marsh. Pro tip – the high top tables back on the patio are first come, first served. Put your name on the list and then go and hang around the area. If you find a family getting ready to leave stake your claim! Usually, the one that gets the table is someone who starts a conversation with the current occupant.
Skull Creek Dockside
Right next door to the Boathouse (and owned by the same people) this much larger restaurant opened in 2017. Very clean, beautiful views (great place to watch the sunset) and pretty good food. Many options on the menu, with lots of variety (seafood, BBQ, Pizza, fried chicken), and everything we have tried there has been tasty. Quickly becoming another staple. NOTE – This is one popular restaurant that actually takes reservations. So while people are waiting an hour an a half to get a table you can plan ahead and walk in with just a few minutes wait. Only downside? This is not a good place for dessert.
Hilton Head Diner
Something for everyone. Open 24 hours, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner food. Just minutes away from the condo. If you want to go there for breakfast, beat the crowds by getting there before 9 am.
Another staple of a Hilton Head visit. Almost right across the street from Palmetto Dunes, this is a very popular Italian eatery. They added additional outside seating in 2017, and almost everything here is pretty good. If you just want to try their pizza during the summer months, the easiest way is to call it in and then go pick it up as you will probably wait quite a while for a table.
The Crazy Crab
One of the more famous places on the island, they have two locations. The food is good, but not as good as you can find at a place like the Boathouse or the Old Oyster Factory (below). But the Jarvis Creek location (right before you leave the island heading back to the mainland) has a spectacular view of the marsh. This restaurant has been badly damaged by fire twice, most recently in 2018 but is back in business for 2019.
The Old Oyster Factory
Obviously oysters, and lots of different varieties. Very good seafood, upscale restaurant (with slightly upscale prices). Their Key Lime Atlantic salmon is my favorite! It sits on a beautiful location on the marsh and is only about a 15-minute drive from Captains Walk 413. Great place for sunset.
Traditional Italian food and the thinnest crust pizza you can find. Pizza is cooked in a wood-fired oven. Check out their menu before going as some of the more common American/Italian dishes may not be available. Definitely an experience.
Gruby’s NY Deli
If you are just looking for a good sandwich, this is an excellent choice. Reasonable prices, quick service. Happily, their Breakfast service has returned and it is every bit as delicious as ever.
Cahill’s Market and Chicken Kitchen
Fortunately, this place doesn’t show up on searches that often. It is in Bluffton, but less than 40 minutes from Captains Walk 413 – and well worth the drive. VERY fresh vegetables and outstanding fried chicken, Cahill’s is a true southern restaurant with all the dishes we southerners grew up with. If you come at a busy time you may have to wait, but this will give you an opportunity to tour the actual farm. If you have kids they will love to visit the chickens. Come hungry because the portions are large. I have never been able to eat an entire serving of their meatloaf! Visit the website for directions, times, and more info.
Ruan Thai Cuisine
One of the best Thai restaurants anywhere is just at the entrance to Palmetto Dunes, right next to Lava Fitness. As you exit the Palmetto Dunes area onto 278, take a left and then an immediate left. Not that well known by visitors so it should be easy to get in. And next to Ruan Thai is a Mexican restaurant that we really like…
Santa Fe Cafe
Great Mexican Restaurant that takes reservations. It is next to the Fidelity building, immediately to your left as you exit Palmetto Dunes onto 278. They will deliver you a sliced chicken breast or sliced steak for your fajitas (none of those meat scraps that you get in many places) and make their salsa fresh. Another local spot, fairly easy to get in for lunch but more difficult for dinner. They also have tables on the roof if the weather is good.
Very good, locally owned (not a chain) Italian. This is a small place even though they expanded a few years ago. Fortunately, they take reservations – and they are really needed at night. Next to a mattress store and a small fitness center, don’t let the location keep you from trying this wonderful place. Almost exclusively locals, you will probably meet the owner and head chef Amanda Cifaldi.
The French Bakery & European Cuisine
This is one of our favorite breakfast places on Hilton Head. I can get a traditional breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausage, toast) and my family can get some omlets, Croque Monsieur or french toast. But I can never resist the pastries! My favorite (at the moment) is the cinnamon croissant. I could easily eat 3 but I limit myself to one. They also have lunch, with sandwiches and (if available) a she-crab soup that is outstanding.
Brand new on the island in 2021, this local restaurant has a small but excellent menu. The owners came from the Hamptons and took what they were doing there and adapted it perfectly for Hilton Head. Try the grill cheese sandwich for something different! It takes a new place a while to grow in popularity because most guests are only here for a week and already have their favorite spots to visit. This will make it easier to get a table most nights. In the same shopping center with another of our favorites, Gruby’s Deli, it is certainly worth a visit.