Do you enjoy the challenge of dining out while on vacation…finding the hidden gems that source from local farms or master the authentic fare? This can be a fun adventure for some, but a stressful process for others.
Hilton Head Island is home to over 200 restaurants, most being local establishments. From Italian restaurants serving up handmade pastas and ragus, seafood restaurants serving up catches right off the boat to southwestern restaurants plating the most perfectly cooked cowboy cuts, this island shines when it comes to its culinary scene. But this number is quickly whittled down for those with dietary restrictions or limitations.
Have you adopted a plant-based or vegetarian lifestyle? Or maybe you have chosen to follow a keto or paleo nutrition plan. I have true respect for all who have chosen a lifestyle focused on supporting an ethical cause or striving for optimum health through nutrition. I admire the dedication this takes each day and know the hurdles that come with it.
Vacation should be a time to rest and recharge. You should not stress over preparing meals or sorting through Yelp restaurant reviews. Having been to almost every restaurant on this island (at least the notable ones) and more recently enjoying plant-based eating habits, I’d like to highlight some of my mouth-watering favorites:
It’s a tough call, but this may be my favorite of the list below. It’s hard to get fresher, more nutritious ingredients than the ones served at Delisheyoo. Plots of home grown vegetables, herb gardens, and citrus trees greet patrons as they enter this quaint cottage, tucked away in a shopping center off Palmetto Bay Road. Using the hand-written menu on the chalkboard above the kitchen, you will place your order before taking a seat at one of the few tables inside or on the front patio. Choose from salads (Fatoosh, kale, tofu egg salad…), wraps, bowls (Acai, golden quinoa & lentil…) or smoothies. My personal favorite is the Happy Wrap on rice paper (avocado, carrots, beets, salad greens, sprouts and the oh-so-yummy “Fred’s Apple Cider Vinegar”). My husband typically orders the Chill Island Wrap on rice paper (hummus, cucumber, sweet peppers, onions, Greek olives, feta, salad greens and fig vinaigrette). Then we share a Lil Guy as our dessert (rice paper wrap with honey, almond butter, banana and choice of 1 fruit…our pick- blackberries). We wash it down with a glass of alkalized water and our bellies could not be happier or more satisfied.
Pure Natural Market –
This small, yet vibrant Jamaican inspired establishment will knock your flip-flops off! They offer an assortment of vegan and gluten free dishes as well as nutrient packed smoothies. My favorite dish is the MoBay Curry Vegetable Bowl (stir-fry veggies service with Jamaican rice and peas and jerk sauce) and my husband always devours the All Vegan Burger. When splurging, we’ll also share a Brazilian Bombshell smoothie (brazil nuts, medjool dates, hemp seeds, banana, coconut nectar, cinnamon and almond milk). Pure Natural Market also offers a few fish selections for your meat-eating friend/spouse/family members so make sure to bring them along as well.
Healthy Habits –
Made to order chopped salad bowls…yes please! I eat A LOT. Thankfully Healthy Habits does not skimp on their chopped salad bowls…AND they have a very large selection of healthy ingredients. You can choose from one of their signature salads or build your own. You can even pitch the fork and make it a wrap. All salads are served in a large to-go bowl with a lid which makes it perfect for beach picnics.
No, I did not sneeze…I said Watusi. Over the past few years, Watusi Café has made big changes since first opening. They changed from ordering at the counter to full service tables, they improved their menu (even added a dog menu) and replaced their wall of frozen yogurts & toppings bar and replaced it with a small market (this one brought a tear to my eye…goodbye salted caramel pretzel frozen yogurt), but Watusi still remains a top pick of mine. They offer many hearty sandwiches with GF bread options, such as the Farmers Market (grilled eggplant, tomato, marinated, portabella, fresh spinach, avocado spread and a drizzle of EVOO) or the vegan Spicy, Kale & Quinoa Salad. There’s not as many plant-based/vegan options on the menu at Watusi, BUT they are always accommodating to changes or substitutions.
Al’s Aloha Kitchen –
A new and unique addition to the island’s culinary scene. Build your own salad, rice or fruit bowl with super fresh ingredients. My favorite is the half & half rice and salad bowl with seaweed, avocado, ginger and Ahi Tuna (I enjoy plant based 95% of the time with the other 5% being fresh, wild caught seafood). I then top it off with the homemade ginger dressing. You must check out their FaceBook page to see the beautiful bowls…the pictures are mouthwatering.
Well, now that I have sufficiently worked up an appetite, I’m off to find some greens & veggies to make my gut happy, because a happy gut makes a happy, healthy body. #WeSavedYouAChair