Your Guide to Hilton Head Island and Bluffton Restaurants

Opa! Greek restaurant celebrates 20 years

Few Hilton Head Island restaurants can claim the history that Barbara and Vassili Maniotis can. They’ve been running It’s Greek To Me on the island since 1997. But their story really begins back in 1979, when the couple fell in love and got married. During their month-long honeymoon in Greece, Vassili’s home country, Barbara learned to cook traditional Greek dishes and mastered Vassili’s family recipes. Many years later, when the couple moved to Hilton Head, they opened It’s Greek To Me, which quickly became one of the most popular in the area.

The restaurant features an authentic Greek menu that makes diners feel as though they are dining in the shadows of the Acropolis or Parthenon. The hand-painted murals and photos of Greek isles surrounded by shimmering blue water that line the walls of the narrow dining room contribute to the Old World feel. A glass case highlights the day’s desserts, and guests are welcomed like old friends by the Maniotis family. The original location, off New Orleans Road, was tucked away amid some trees at the end of a small strip mall, but once visitors discovered it, they kept coming back, often bringing with them their friends and neighbors. A lagoon outside the back patio also was home to a frequent visitor — a large alligator named George.

In 2008, the family moved the restaurant to its current location on Lagoon Road near Coligny Plaza. Murals depicting Mediterranean scenes cover the walls, and Greek statues stand guard outdoors. The outdoor seating area — with its burnt-red umbrellas and white stucco — exudes the feel of a sunny Greek island. It’s the perfect setting to enjoy homemade souvlaki with tzatziki, mousaka, pastitsio, roast lamb, spanakopita and dolmathes. The restaurant’s salads are especially popular with diners who chose to eat outside.

“Our Greek salad is a generous portion with a vinaigrette that enhances all the fresh ingredients,” Barbara said.

Several traditional favorites are served just as they are in Greece. Diners are delighted by the saganaki, which is dramatically flambéed by a server tableside with a cry of “Opa!” and melting the Greek cheese. Served with a side of toasted pita bread, it’s the restaurant’s most popular appetizer. Avgolemono, a traditional chicken, egg, lemon and rice soup, is a true taste of Greece.

And the seafood, as in Greece, is abundant — tilapia, salmon, squid, and shrimp can be prepared as requested, and the kitchen staff is ready to accommodate any dietary needs.

“More than half of the menu items are gluten-free,” Barbara said.

Regulars know it’s important to save room for dessert: It’s Greek To Me is known for its sweet treats.

“I always aim to do my best and make everything with love, especially the desserts,” Barbara said. “Our traditional Greek desserts are rich and delicious — the consistency of the filo dough is the base for many savory dishes and sweets, and must be made with finesse to accommodate walnuts, almonds, honey syrup and cinnamon, which are core ingredients for mouthwatering baklavas, flogeras and kataifis.”

The dessert menu also includes Greek-inspired American desserts like peanut butter cream pie in a chocolate crust and rice pudding.

“I know it has taken a lot of hard work and dedication from all of us — Vassili, our sons Niko and Alexander, our daughter, Maria, myself and our staff,” Barbara said of the restaurant’s 20-year run. “We want to thank all our guests for our success. We couldn't have done it without their years of loyalty to us. I am always so happy when our food is thoroughly enjoyed.”

Hilton Head Restaurants

Welcome to the online version of Fork & Fun, Best Hilton Head Restaurants Guide; the most comprehensive source of restaurant and dining information for Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and the surrounding area.

With owners and chefs from all over the world, area’s vibrant restaurant scene goes well beyond its Southern roots. You can expect extraordinary here, whether it’s organic beef, seafood just off the boat or desserts made before your eyes. Fork & Fun Restaurants are grouped by specialty (Seafood, American, Continental, Italian, Asian, Mexican Pizza, etc.).


 

 

Hilton Head Restaurant News

MidiCi's Neapolitan Pizza to open in Jan.

Another restaurant is joining the Reilley's Plaza lineup this month. MidiCi's Neapolitan Pizza at 7 Greenwood Drive will open in January at the former Hilton Head Brewing Company location outside the main gates to Sea Pines, according to a news release from Coastal Restaurants and Bars. At its restaurants across the country — including one in Mount Pleasant — MidiCi serves traditional Neapolitan cuisine; guests can order from the menu or create personalized Neapolitan pizzas. The Hilton Head location will employ about 30 people.

Local chef featured in New York Times

Clayton Rollinson, owner of Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar, was recently featured in a New York Times Cooking article about the magic of amari, liqueurs that add structure and backbone to his craft cocktails. His featured cocktail includes bourbon, amaro, maraschino liqueur, dry vermouth, blood orange liqueur and bitters.

Local fitness trainer launches Tiger Butter Co.

Kristen Waters, a trainer at Peak Performance Fitness Center, has announced the creation of Tiger Butter Co. Tiger Butter is made from tiger nuts, a root vegetable from Africa that is high in fiber and healthy for people with allergies and autoimmune disease. Waters discovered the superfood after experiencing digestion issues and stomach pain. For more information, go to tigerbutterco.com.

Hilton Head Brewing Company debuts outdoor beer garden

Hilton Head Brewing Company celebrated the grand opening of its new outdoor beer garden in December. The building’s roof has been expanded to overhang the patio, which can seat up to 35 people. The expanded beer garden is dog-friendly and has heat lamps for year-round seating. The brewery is located at 1 Cardinal Road, Suite 13 on Hilton Head Island.

New distillery proposed for Old Town Bluffton

A proposed distillery is up for consideration by the town of Bluffton. Burnt Church Distillery would include a 20,000-square-foot tasting room across 2.8 acres. However, the land for the proposed distillery needs to be annexed into the town of Bluffton before the project could become a reality. Billy Watterson, the CEO of Patterson Brands, is the owner of Burnt Church Distillery; if approved, his new facility would feature craft whiskey, gin, vodka and moonshine made on-site.

Delicious Recipes from Lowcountry

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