Gluten free in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina!
How do you travel with celiac disease? I found it’s not very easy, so I obviously was leery on our first trip to Hilton Head for a week. Fortunately, our hotel had a kitchen in our suite as we own a timeshare with Marriott Vacation Club but even so I didn’t want to be stuck eating in the hotel the entire trip. Eating gluten free in Hilton Head was much easier than I thought it would be!
I decided to chronicle our trip to help you if you ever decide to head over to Hilton Head! This will be a great guide for those of you looking for safe places to eat, or wondering if a place you wanted to go is a good pick. 7 days worth of dinners and lunches there is bound to be something for everyone on this list.
51 South Forest Beach Drive · Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 29928
Dolphin Grille – located outside of the pool in the middle of the resort – this little place to eat is full of fried foods. If you want French fries and fried anything, this is the place to go. They also offered smoothies and salads but from the look around me – no one was enjoying the healthier items. Since fried foods have been off my list for sometime now, just the smell of the grease makes my stomach uneasy. I stuck with a grilled Mahi Mahi salad. It didn’t make me sick but it didn’t make me feel good either. It made me worried about cross contamination and I didn’t feel safe eating here. This was the first and last time we ate at this grille. It’s a shame because it was the only restaurant on the property.
Marketplace – For being a huge billion dollar corporate company, you would think that the Marriott Company would be more sensitive to allergies and food needs. But nope, they failed at this yet again. The Marketplace is a little grocery type store to find essentials and they have some snacks at their pizza place. Again, nothing gluten free or lactose free, well unless you wanted candy or chips. There was no air conditioning in this little space so I’m sure any fresh fruit would rot quickly. If you want soda, macaroni and cheese, brownie mix, chips or pizza – this it the place for you. I left very disappointed that I couldn’t even grab a snack at the hotel. My suggestion for Marriott is to consult with some allergy awareness groups to come up with some perfect allergen free picks for their store. I’m sure something gluten free would be atrociously expensive, since a drink was $3 but people will pay a premium if they can’t find anything else nearby.
Wise Guys Steaks and Wine Bar– 1513 Main Street Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
First place we went to after gluten free Hilton Head Internet search. They have “gluten” spelled wrong on their website, which might contribute to not being able to find them on the Internet? It’s a shame because this was the absolute best gluten free meal I’ve ever had. The Caesar salad with grits croutons knocked my socks off and the steak was so tender and delicious. I salivated all week for another meal there. The skillet potatoes were delicious as well. Because I now have the lactose allergy, I couldn’t indulge in desert but my husband had a molten lava cake that he said was fabulous. Lots of wine selections. Very modern décor and feel inside. My husband didn’t like the mirrors all over the walls but I thought they were cool. This dinner hot spot is not a place for kids. Pretty good wine menu also for all us legal drinking age adults!
The Crazy Crab – 149 Lighthouse Road, Hilton Head, South Carolina
The waitress had no idea what I was talking about when I told her I had a gluten allergy. I should have known better from the menu with entire entire thing filled with fried foods. I didn’t feel comfortable eating anything there due to possible cross contamination in the kitchen and lack of knowledge from our waitress. I ended up ordering the crab legs and corn on the cob. Well the corn on the cob was completely watered down; I think I had 2 bites. The crab legs were lack luster and didn’t fit the name of the restaurant. They left little to be desired and I was not impressed. This place is in the Harbor area and it is one of the touristy places on the island. I couldn’t recommend this place for gluten free folks. and for that matter, I wouldn’t even recommend it for people without food allergies.
Truffles Café – 71 Lighthouse Rd, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
After finding this place on the Gluten Free Find me app, I had high hopes since people posted about their gluten free items being so good. They did offer gluten free pasta and breads but I just wasn’t in the mood. I’m finding that the gluten free pastas/breads leave me hungry and wanting more food. I decided to try a filet again. I was a bit disappointed in this one. The steak was fine but very bland, along with the garlic mashed potatoes. The spinach with it was really good not soggy and had good flavor. It almost seemed like they were afraid to flavor my food for fear it would have gluten. My husband had the mango salmon and said it was the best meal he had on the island. I guess it might just depend on what you order. They were the only place that offered a gluten free desert and it was delicious. Hot, gooey and delicious. A little mini lava cake without the lava and ice cream on the side. I felt this meal was more expensive than the others and for no real reason. Oh and I did have a “peartini that hit he spot! There were pros and cons about the meal. Have you eating here? Please let me know!
One Hot Mama’s – 7A Greenwood Drive Hilton Head Isle, SC 29928
Monday night football – we had to go somewhere that had the game on! Typically sports bars are the last place you want to go if you have celiac. Tons of fried foods! I will say this place had several good options. I ended up with the beef brisket salad. Ahhmazing. The beef brisket was so tender and the meat was flavored nicely. No fatty pieces on the meet and the salad lettuce was fresh. They also said their wings were gluten free, which means they must cook them in a separate fryer than the regular fried foods. Highly recommended for a cheap bite to eat in Hilton Head! Aaron had tacos and really enjoyed them as well.
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Black Marlin – Located dockside at Palmetto Bay Marina 86 Helmsman Way, Suite 103
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
Best crab legs I’ve ever had by far. They were big, juicy and had lots of meat. I could tell they weren’t soaked in water or over boiled. Cooked perfectly. I was starving and inhaled them. I just wanted more and more of them. Aaron said I had a ravenous look in my eyes and at one point was double fisting crab legs and green beans. It was a sight to be seen. The green beans were crispy and tasted great. Nothing special about the baked potato, it’s really hard to screw them up. Aaron had some fried shrimp tacos and raved about them. For desert, he had a molten chocolate lava cake and I watched him eat it.
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Skull Creek Boathouse – 397 Squire Pope Road,
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
The last stop on our trip. We stopped here on the way home for lunch. I couldn’t decide what I wanted and we had a $50 voucher from taking the timeshare tour so we ordered a bunch of different things. We started with chips, guacamole and salsa. In hindsight, I didn’t ask if they cook the chips themselves or if the guacamole was gluten free. I ended up sick before we left the restaurant. Not their fault, mine… Seriously not a smart move before a 12 hour car ride back to Ohio. I didn’t ask. The sushi roll was very good – smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber. Then Aaron and I shared crab legs again. He ordered the snickers cake for desert, and once again… I watched him eat it.
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