Dining near Barrington and around Hilton Head

Pineapple Soft Serve at Tide Me Over
Pineapple Soft Serve at Tide Me Over

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 Barrington 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.


Your best bet for an easy walk is to head to the right (South) when you hit the beach. In about 1,500 feet you will find the entrance to the Sonesta Hotel, which has several very good dining options, both inside and outside. You can also pick up food to go and head back to the beach!

Heading North (to the left as you face the water)

If you don’t mind a walk on the beach, head left and in about 1/2 of a mile you will reach the Omni Hotel.  In addition to casual dining by the pool, they have an excellent (but pricey) restaurant. 1/4 mile further and you will hit the Disney Beach House. It is easy to miss, so look for the Captains Walk buildings at beach marker 79.  They have a casual dining window that is (usually) open for lunch called Tide Me Over.  They also have delicious Pineapple soft-serve ice cream. 1,000 feet further north is the Marriott Hotel, with poolside dining and dining inside the hotel itself.

Dunes House

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, but make sure you check before you make the walk. They occasionally close for special events and in case of poor weather.

Inside Palmetto Dunes

If you drive back out toward the exit, there is a General Store on your right just after the traffic circle.  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

(Looking for places to get local seafood?  Check this article for some suggestions)

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

Skullcreek 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. Good for Children because there is a cool dock to explore and a playground between Boathouse and Dockside.

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.  Only downside?  This is not a good place for dessert. BUT – if you take one of the charters from the dock and catch a fish, they will cook it for you. Seafood doesn’t get any fresher than that! Good for Children because there is a cool dock to explore and a playground between Boathouse and Dockside.

Hilton Head Diner

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. Good for children (because there are a lot of kids there) and even larger parties.

Giuseppi’s Pizza
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. Alternatively, wait until about an hour before closing. The wait drops considerably by then. Good for children – very family friendly.

Franky Bones

Very broad menu, and everything is excellent. You can order sandwiches, steaks, seafood, Italian, salads, etc. They also have a special every day where they offer one of their most popular dishes at a discount. This is another of the SERG group restaurants, and they have done a great job with all of their properties. Inside is almost elegant, but there is no need to dress up. Expect to see locals in this joint! Not the best for children – customers are usually older.

The Crazy Crab
Jarvis Creek Crazy Crab

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. Both locations are good for children, and both are near a play area.

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.

Fishcamp on Broad Creek

Just down from the Old Oyster Factory is another great place for seafood.  They have a large outside dining area with a very good view of Broad Creek.  Another good place for sunset and, like almost all dining in Hilton Head, the outside area is pet friendly.

One Hot Mamas

Not that into seafood?  There are many outstanding alternatives, and this famous BBQ joint is at the top of our list.  All the traditional BBQ you would expect, plus some other very tasty offerings, like the Mama’s BBQ Burger.  A challenge for just one person to eat, this has to tip the scale at close to 2,000 calories.

Il Carpaccio

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. Not recommended for children – customers are usually older.

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 (check hours though) and it is every bit as delicious as ever.

Cahill’s Market and Chicken Kitchen

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. Bring the kids – they will love the farm and the live chickens!

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. Not so much a children-friendly place.


Looking for something elegant? Charlie’s is a wonderful, intimate spot. In nice weather, you can dine on the porch. Lots of seafood choices and everything we have tried has been wonderful. Not so much a ‘kid’ place, but if you want a nice, quite dinner, this is the place to go. Another local favorite.


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.  Again, probably not the best location for children.

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 omelets, 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 three but I limit myself to one. They also have lunch, with sandwiches and (if available) a she-crab soup that is outstanding.   Note – if you decide to box up some pastries to go, be aware that your bill can become pricy very quickly.  It is very easy to quickly reach $100 in a single box. Get there before 9am or expect to wait.

Lulu Kitchen

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 grilled 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.