Lowcountry Food Scene

Islanders don’t have to travel far to immerse themselves in Italian culture, delectable food and wine, Old World accents, personable service and a warm ambiance with creative homey touches throughout.

Gusto Ristorante creates a memorable dining experience nightly at the Fresh Market Plaza on U.S. 278. Gusto also offers a special Sunday brunch and nightly specials that also can be enjoyed al fresco on the patio.

MidiCi Italian Kitchen has opened to fanfare in the former Hilton Head Brewing Company location in Reilley’s Plaza. The restaurant features wood-fired Neapolitan pizza made with Italian flour, calzones, salads, appetizers and desserts. The food is made with fresh, natural and mostly non-GMO ingredients in the restaurant’s open kitchen. The eatery brings friends and families together in a warm, upbeat atmosphere.

FINE DINING MEETS LOWCOUNTRY STYLE

Watermelon Gazpacho made with watermelon, yellow peppers, cucumber, and garnished with a sprig of fresh thyme.

Great chefs spend years learning their craft — but some of them get an earlier start than others.

Chef Chad Newman of Sea Grass Grille found his calling very early. He got his first taste of life in the kitchen on the farm in Michigan where he was raised, cooking with his grandmother on a wood-burning stove.

“We had an apple orchard, cherries, pears and peaches. My mother’s mother was a good cook and my father was a good cook,” he said.

Staying power in the restaurant business on Hilton Head Island requires a smorgasbord of ingredients. Tenacity and consistency probably top the list, along with great customer service, high quality food, a loyal staff, a friendly vibe, a refreshing and inviting environment, and amenities for enjoying two hours or three with friends and family on game day or any day. Add a daily happy hour with a bar menu, live music, Sunday brunch and catering… and, fresh from the smoker, you have The Smokehouse at 34 Palmetto Bay Road.

SOUTH CAROLINA IS PASSIONATE ABOUT ITS BARBECUE — FOR GOOD REASON

The Lowcountry is home to many barbecue joints, and locals and visitors often engage in heated discussion about which is the best. Most of the restaurants offer a choice of pulled pork, ribs, chicken, or brisket with sauce.

There many different ways to make pulled pork: with a smoker, in a conventional oven, on the stove or in a slow cooker. The term “pulled” refers to the meat being tender enough, after a long cooking time, to be pulled apart or shredded using a fork. Sauce is typically added to the warm meat just before serving, but some barbecue restaurants serve a choice of sauces on the table and let the diner add their own to “naked” meat.

OMBRA Cucina Italiana is a pioneer of the Italian wine movement

Since opening in 2013, OMBRA Cucina Italia has been recognized as a top restaurant for fine Italian cuisine. Chef Michael Cirafesi and his wife, Lauren, who co-own the restaurant, continue to garner awards, serve their loyal base and attract new customers.

“Ron, our manager, does the front of the house. Lauren runs the business side,” the chef said. “We’ve been extremely busy — summer’s been here since the end of March.”

Gourmet on Wheels/ Grab and Go’s mission is to make eating fresh, healthy, delicious meals more available and convenient for those with busy lifestyles. It’s perfect for the “On the go” professionals, elderly singles or couples; or people who love great taste but don’t have time to eat out or shop and cook.

Choose from their weekly specials or one of their other healthy grab and go options, including specialty salads, smoothies, low carb, keto friendly. The menu changes weekly and offers items such as Thai coconut curry, Chicken Parmigiana, Lowcountry Boil, Chicken Salad, Spinach and Feta Quiche and more.

Nunzio Restaurant + Bar is opening on New Orleans Road on Hilton Head Island this month, according to manager Maribel Patruno.

The restaurant’s owner, Nunzio Patruno, has seen success with New Jersey restaurant Nunzio Ristorante Rustico, which opened in 2003 and has been reviewed by The New York Times and other media outlets.

“Adulation of fresh vegetables and seasonal ingredients may seem cutting-edge, but Nunzio Patruno grew up cooking this new old-fashioned way years ago, and he has the loyal hordes to prove it,” the New York Times article says.