Kiawah Island is a stunning barrier island that brims with maritime forests, a varied marine habitat, snap-worthy vistas, and, of course, mouthwatering dining. From fresh catches to authentic French cuisine, restaurants on Kiawah Island offer something for all tastes.
Whether you’re into barefoot luxury, romantic sunsets, or afternoons spent on the beach, you’ll find options like private chefs, top-tier grocers and restaurants galore to feed your appetite.
Read on to discover our foodie and family-friendly restaurant faves — and more — on Kiawah Island, or just a stone’s throw from it.
Sometimes dressing up is the last thing you want to do. Fortunately, you can chill over good meals at several well-loved restaurants on Kiawah Island or minutes from it.
In the mood for authentic Mexican fare — think tacos, burritos, enchiladas and flautas? Look no further than El Mercadito & Taqueria, 15 minutes from Kiawah Island on John’s Island. Just be sure to wash it all down with a frosty margarita or large, ice-cold mug of beer.
About 15 miles from Kiawah, you’ll find also find cafe and farmers’ market The Tomato Shed, a welcoming, Paula Dean-like haunt known for southern standbys like tomato pie, collard greens, and squash casserole. Not your cup of tea? They serve a mean hamburger, too.
Have a basketball or baseball enthusiast in your midst? Find common ground at flat-screen-filled King Street Grille in Freshfields Village. Gather with your clan over classic appetizers, fresh salads, perfectly prepared burgers, and classic wings. Visiting during the off-season (Oct-April)? You’ll be privy to half-price burgers on Wednesdays and half-price salads on Tuesdays.
If you’d rather indulge in Italian, La Tela Pizzeria in Freshfields Village offers some of the best Neapolitan-style pies and Italian cuisine around. There’s also a top-tier wine list, making it date-appropriate, too.
Looking to take in the views? Overlooking the Sanctuary pool (hotel guests only) and Atlantic Ocean, Loggerhead Grill is a must for casual dining and tropical cocktails, as well as locally caught seafood, sandwiches and burgers.
Special Occasion Dining
When the mood strikes, dining out can — and should — be an affair. Fortunately, restaurants on Kiawah Island and in the surrounding communities are well suited for nights to remember.
For French-inspired southern fare, head to Fat Hen, 15 minutes away on Johns Island. Whether you settle on seared duck, braised chicken, the quiche of the day, or salmon Bearnaise, expect Instagram-worthy eats for the ages.
Just minutes away from Fat Hen, Wild Olive, also the creation of celebrated Chef Fred Neuville, turns out Italian fare like tagliatelle alla Bolognese in a cozy-yet-streamlined, cucina-like dining room and bar.
For another French fare alternative, try Hege’s Restaurant in Freshfields Village. Known for its simply prepared dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, it’s a pitch-perfect option for celebratory dinners.
If you want to go all out, reserve a table at The Ocean Room at Kiawah in the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Then, tuck in to prime steaks and seafood amid leather chairs, a clubby bar area and posh dining room with sweeping views of the sea.
For another resort option, there’s the Ocean Course Grill. Affording panoramas of the shimmering Atlantic Ocean and Pete Dye’s sea breeze-swept, masterpiece golf course, it provides a jaw-dropping backdrop for a seaside breakfast, casual midday meal, or sunset cocktails.
Perhaps you’d prefer some authentic Lowcountry cuisine? FIG in Charleston is the spot for locally sourced, seasonal fare, like baked snowy grouper plated with spring shallots, asparagus, vin blanc and Champagne sabayon.
In search of something even more unique? Consider R Kitchen (also in Charleston), an ultra-intimate, sans-sign-speakeasy, serving a nightly, five-course dinner to handful of guests.
And our final Charleston favorite, Hall’s Chophouse, serves up prime USDA steaks, vegetarian, and vegan options, as well as the most memorable Sunday brunch you’ll ever attend. Choose from entrees like prime rib eye steak benedict and southern sweet baked potato pancakes while enjoying live entertainment from gospel singers.
A Chef Just for You
Have you ever wished you had a chef all to yourself — one who will cater the whims of picky eaters, exotic tastes and vegetarians at once? Perhaps you’re an entertainer at heart — yet the idea of doing the planning, shopping, preparing and cleanup proves daunting. In that case, there’s no need to visit restaurants on Kiawah Island at all because Kiawah Island private chefs offer a fix.
Our go-to for a night in is Bobby Trigg, who can be reached at 609-659-2469. A cookbook author and former restaurant owner who has cooked for prestigious settings like the James Beard House and presidential dinners, an evening with Chef Bobby guarantees delectable eats and at-home family fun.
But if Bobby’s booked, don’t worry. Here are some other chefs that have come recommended to us:
- Tracy Baker can be contacted at 843-822-3006 or via email at Tracylitlebaker@gmail.com.
- John McKellips is a local favorite, who can be booked by calling 843-303-1423.
- Merritt Brady — former Executive Chef at McCrady’s and a Sous Chef at 225 Grille — can be contacted at 843-412-1258.
Makings of Great DYI Meals
If you enjoy cooking, preparing meals doesn’t feel like a chore. However, grocery shopping just might.
Our advice? Skip wandering the aisles and instead pre-arrange to have groceries delivered to your property post-arrival. GroceriesAhead.com simply requires that you be there to accept your delivery.
Have a hankering for fresh seafood? Consider local go-to The Village Market in Freshfields Village, or mainstay Huff’s Seafood for fresh, seasonal catches. Or swing by Cherry Point Seafood Company on Wadmalaw Island, where fresh-plucked catches are snagged right off the boat.
Refined Accommodations near the Best Restaurants on Kiawah Island
Whatever you decide, return to a fab home near restaurants on Kiawah Island. From luxury penthouses overlooking the ocean to cottages amid marshland and beachfront villas, our Kiawah Island accommodations are yours to discover.