Best Take Out Food In Hilton Head Island

Best Take Out Food In Hilton Head Island

Looking for the best take out food on Hilton Head Island? Here are our favorite local restaurants that do take out awesome. Different from a normal “best of” list, we looked at not just the food but how well it was packaged and travels.

Ordering takeout is hardly a new thing, it has been a principal verb in the dining lexicon for many, many years. Yet, due to increased demand, many have proclaimed that we have entered a golden age for takeout and delivery. More and more restaurants have calculated how to render their menus into dishes that fit neatly into packages.

But all this increased takeout bounty does not always translate into a better eating experience for the customer. It seems that many restaurants, in their rush to embrace takeout, have not concerned themselves enough about which foods travel well and what they might require after reaching their destination.

The world of takeout and delivery is remarkable in its efficiency and volume, but it can also be perplexing. Thanks to many more restaurants offering takeout, and the proliferation of delivery apps, a customer can taste just about everything from soup to nuts. Yet that growth can have a downside for the consumer. Without a doubt, some menu items need to be eaten immediately and do not travel well.

Despite your deepest craving, there is such a thing as the worst food for takeout and delivery. Of course, if you are really hungering for something, then go for it! Just be aware that some dishes might not meet your expectations. We’re here to give you some guidelines, a bit of criteria and some recommendations for sure-fire dishes.

all takeout is not created equal

Are there bad options for takeout?

For starters, we have learned over the years that all takeout is not created equal. The following is a short list of food categories that are better served by on-premises dining.

Fine Dining

A dish of grilled scallops over polenta with butternut squash fondue, or seared foie gras in a smoky maple brown butter sauce might sound amazing in principle…but after sitting in a driver’s delivery bag for 30-40 minutes or in your car for 15-20 minutes? Did you ever go to an upscale gourmet restaurant, had your food served and then let it sit in styrofoam for 30 minutes before you ate it? This should be a pass for takeout. 

 

Fried Foods

We all get a hankering for some french fries, calamari or some mozzarella sticks…but can you really remember when they tasted as good as when you ate them in a restaurant? From our viewpoint, fried food for takeout is a walk on the wild-side. Most orders when opened tend to be a soggy mess where the temperature nowhere reflects what it was when your order came out of the fryer. No thanks!

 

Steak

Steak as an ingredient in a dish? Yes! Steak to go? No! This is a road best avoided. The cost of a piece of prime beef cooked to order, left to sit in a container (cooking it further) then maybe reheating at home. No good will come from this. If you want a steak, buy some top quality beef and grill it at home. It will taste better. Want to take it a step further? This applies to most grilled meats.

 

Pasta

Who doesn’t like fettuccine alfredo, linguine bolognese, penne and vodka sauce? But not when the pasta is put in a container with the sauce for 20-30 minutes or more. Al dente will be a fond memory of when you had those dishes in your favorite Italian restaurant. Leftovers? Good luck! Usually the next day your pasta dish has turned out to be a version of Chef Boyardee from a can. But don’t despair, our list will satisfy your pasta cravings.

So, what does make for good take out food?

Now that we got that out of the way let’s talk about all the good things that will take your takeout orders to a new level. We will give some general categories of dishes that adapt well to takeout and then our choices of where to find these dishes on Hilton Head.

When it comes to takeout eats, the classics are, well, classics for a reason. Regular readers will know that we love classics at Lowcountry Style & Living.

Pizza and Chinese are far and away the icons of takeout food…and for good reasons. They are not only delicious but, just as important, they travel well. But we, of course, will not limit our “best list” to these reliable standbys.

We have worked hard (stuffing ourselves) to find the best takeout on Hilton Head that is not only mouth watering, but also travels well so that you can have a great meal in the comforts of your own home. 

They are not only delicious but, just as important, they travel well

Our list is not a restaurant review. It is a guide to great takeout dishes on the Island. Feel free to order anything on the menu of these restaurants, but we can assure you that if you add our recommendations to your order you will not be disappointed. These are all dishes that retain their flavor and texture despite the hazards of traveling from the restaurant kitchen to your dining room table.

Pizza

Pizza is a dish that developed over the years with takeout and delivery in mind. It often comes in ideal packaging – a square box to retain heat – as well as all other aspects of the pizza takeout experience. This includes a crust that is crisp in some places and yielding in others. What’s more, pizza is one of the few dishes that can be eaten at every temperature from hot out of the oven to stone cold from the refrigerator after a night of imbibing.

That said, if you want piping hot pizza that might be difficult, as most pizza arrives lukewarm. You can easily rectify that by sliding it on a pizza stone (for best results) in an oven at 300 to 350 degrees and then watch it carefully. It will heat up pretty fast. Microwave at your own taste peril. But we have even a better option to experience piping hot pizza goodness on Hilton Head.

TJ’s allows their dough to slow rise onsite and refrigerating it

TJ’s Take and Bake

Offering an extensive list of designer pizzas that you can purchase either uncooked to bake later or fully baked and ready to go. TJ’s has taken a classic and put their own personal stamp on it. The unbaked pie is a fantastic idea, but of course the concept is only as good as the foundation – the pie. No worries here, this is a sublime creation.

TJ’s allows their dough to slow rise onsite and refrigerating it allows for consistent quality and taste. Add TJ’s preservative free homemade sauce and a variety of high quality toppings and you’re talking takeout classic. Plus, the ingenious, specially-constructed baking tray allows you to complete your pizza in your home oven. Change of plans? Just refrigerate – good for up to 24 hours and takes less than 20 minutes to bake.

We love all the pies, but if pressed, these are our favorites:

  • Margheritaville – fresh spinach, fresh basil, garlic
  • Classic Duo – sliced italian sausage, premium pepperoni
  • TJ’s favorite – sausage, pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms, red onions

All of the above can be done NY style adding extra virgin olive oil and oregano

What pizza? Don’t miss the Quattro Formaggio – mozzarella, provolone, fontina, asiago, fresh basil, tomatoes

TJ’s Take and Bake
35 North Main Street
Hilton Head, SC
(843) 681-2900
https://tjstakeandbakepizza.com/

Chinese

For over a century, neighborhood Chinese carryouts have figured out how to make food fast and send it out quickly with brilliant packaging to keep it hot and fresh. Stir fries are ideal because all ingredients have been chosen to retain their firmness for half an hour or more. Most noodles are a great choice, especially lo mein, chow fun, and Singapore mei fun.

Have hunger will travel

Asian Bistro

Have hunger will travel. (Anyone remember Richard Boone as Paladin?) 

Sweet and Sour Chicken – best of both worlds – crispy and warm protein, rich, yet gooey. And, yes, sweet and sour sauce accompanied by vegetables and rice. Will arrive perfectly. Microwave? Yes of course.

Shrimp or Ground Pork Dumplings – the humble dumpling – pockets of deliciousness – conveniently packaged within a package. Best-travel dumplings are boiled or steamed. Fried can lose texture. You probably won’t have any leftovers. We never heard of leftover dumplings. But if you do, microwave in a container with a lid with a little water or, better yet, steam in a colander over boiling water. They can easily stay in your fridge for a day or two. 

Singapore style noodles – stir fried rice vermicelli, vegetables, scrambled eggs, protein (chicken, beef, pork, or prawns), with ginger, curry powder, onions. Leftovers microwave for 1 minute, stir, then 30 seconds at a time to meet your taste. The meats do better than the prawns on reheating.

Asian Bistro
51 New Orleans Road
Hilton Head, SC
(843) 686-9888
https://asianbistro9888.com/

Mexican

What’s not to like? But be aware, some dishes travel better than others. Nachos can be problematic. Tacos a coin toss. But no worries, we have you covered. You can get anything you want at….

Takeout at Holy Tequila is a work of art

Holy Tequila

Talk about having it your way. Takeout at Holy Tequila is a work of art. Worried about soggy or dripping sauces – no, no, no. Do the smart thing and order your burritos and tacos in a bowl. All the goodness at its best. It was difficult with so many choices, but these are our faves:

Carne Asada Taco (bowl) – Hanger steak, Benton’s beans, cilantro,rice, onions, smoked chili salsa. Ask for a corn flour tortilla on the side.

Chorizo Sausage Raco (bowl) – Spicy sausage, beans, rice, pickled onions, salsa verde, cilantro, queso fresca.

Steak Chimichurri Burrito (bowl) – wood-fired grilled steak, house chimichurri, cilantro lime rice, guacamole, pico de gallo, pumpkin seeds, Oaxaca gouda cheese blend.

Osso Bucco – slow-cooked pork shank with adobe sauce and salsa verde, cilantro lime rice, pickled onions, sesame seeds, cotija cheese. This is a signature dish that can be reheated with no loss of flavor or harmony. 

Make sure you also check out their family style takeout menu. Most feed 6 people and they run the gamut of their well thought out menu – appetizer combos, fajitas, nachos, tacos, enchiladas with all the right sauces, vegetables, meats. These are a bargain, and everyone in your household will be happy!

Holy Tequila serves classic innovative Mexican cuisine that loses nothing when it travels. Close your eyes and you will think you’re dining at their restaurant.

Holy Tequila also has an amazing “family style” takeout package that has all the necessities to make take out easy! Check out the offerings here: Holy Tequila Family Style Takeout

Holy Tequila
33 Office Park Road
Hilton Head, SC
(843) 681-8226
https://holytequila.com/

Casseroles

Casseroles? Yes, definitely! Just keep the concept broad – think lasagna, macaroni and cheese, moussaka, paella, pot pies – the list goes on. When baked to order, casseroles can hold their shape, taste, and texture well past the time they arrive at your doorstep. Even if you don’t finish in one seating, casseroles last a considerable amount of time in the fridge and reheat easily.

homemade layered lasagna sheets

Giuseppe’s Pizza & Pasta

We promised you pasta and now we are delivering. Our favorites:

Lasagna – homemade layered lasagna sheets, marinara sauce, ricotta, provolone, mozzarella, parmesan, ground beef. I know you love your grandmother, but even she might not be able to make pasta this delightful!

Rigatoni Bake – rigatoni, hot italian sausage, roasted red peppers, mozzarella, provolone, parmesan. Always buy an extra to place in the freezer; you never know when the urge will hit! I’m not sure how it retains the flavor, but it does!!

Giuseppi’s Pizza & Pasta
50 Shelter Cove Lane
Hilton Head, SC
(843) 785-4144
https://www.giuseppispizza.com/

Sometimes only Greek food will hit the spot

It’s Greek to Me

Sometimes only Greek food will hit the spot. Some things that will be great at home:

Moussaka – layers of baked eggplant, herbed ground beef, seasoned with a hint of cinnamon, bechamel sauce, nutmeg. Good from the first bite and a day or two later from the fridge.

Pastitsio – ziti noodles, herbed ground beef, cinnamon, bechamel sauce. More pasta, Greek style.

A family-run restaurant with dishes from scratch. Our favorites are terrific dishes that are both delicious and hearty and, need I say, they travel well. These dishes are great a day later and, believe it or not, they are great straight out of the fridge for breakfast. Don’t ask us why – but if you like cold pizza you might like cold moussaka

It’s Greek to Me
11 Lagoon Road
Hilton Head, SC
(843) 842-4033
www.itsgreektomehhi.com

a casserole that will stand up quite well

Tio’s

Paella is a traditional, coastal, Latin dish. Surprisingly, it is also a casserole that will stand up quite well to be ordered for delivery or takeout.

Tio’s Paella – coastal shrimp, mussels, calamari, green peas, roasted red peppers, garlic, saffron rice, white wine broth. Rice is the foundation of this seafood paella with its delicious, coastal flavor. The mark of any paella is the socarrat – dark, crisp underbelly of the rice that lays on the bottom and almost burns as the stock evaporates. Tio’s does it well. Normally seafood does not travel well, but shellfish, especially enclosed in rice with some broth, are an exception. If you don’t finish, place the remainder in an airtight container in the fridge, BUT, make sure it has cooled otherwise condensation will form and your paella will be soggy.

Eat the leftovers within 24 hours. Reheat: take out of the fridge and let sit for 30 minutes, then place in a frying pan with a dash of olive oil, cook under low heat and stir. Guess what, you will never think your paella took a siesta. Can freeze up to 30 days. This is a well crafted dish created by a vibrant, family-friendly, Latin restaurant.

Tio’s Latin American Kitchen
40 Shelter Cove Lane # 181
Hilton Head, SC
(843) 842-8467
https://tioshhi.com/

Frankie Bones is a casual, upscale restaurant serving American classics

Frankie Bones

Macaroni and Cheese has become an American classic but it was actually created in France. Thomas Jefferson was introduced to the dish in France and brought back a recipe. And the rest, as they say, is history. But Frankie Bones takes it to a new level

Frankie Bones Mac and Cheese – a creamy blend of parmesan, fontina, mozzarella and swiss with penne and bread crumb gratin. This rendition is a creamy and dreamy comfort food that is baked to a cheesy, bubbly perfection. The addition of the larger penne is a welcoming presence as this dish has more bite than the usual elbow macaroni and cheese. Four cheeses….an old-friend type of dish kicks up its heels and becomes decadent. Travels well. Put your leftovers in the fridge. 1-3 days is ok. To reheat: remove from the fridge and let stand for 30 minutes, bake in 350 degree oven in a covered baking dish, remove cover and bake 5 additional minutes. This mac and cheese has a breadcrumb topping so no need to add any milk. Next thing you know you will once again have a cheesy perfection.

Frankie Bones is a casual, upscale restaurant serving American classics with an Italian influence. They have a variety of family-style takeout options for 2-6 people. Choices include: Spaghetti and Meatballs, Chicken Piccata, Seafood Spaghettini and more.

Frankie Bones
1301 Main Street
Hilton Head, SC
(843) 682-4455
https://frankiebones.com/

a sophisticated cafe and its kitchen specializes in international dishes

Truffles Cafe

Truffles is a sophisticated cafe and its kitchen specializes in international dishes, but for our money, the chicken pot pie is the exemplary takeout food.

Truffles’ Chicken Pot Pie – white wine cream sauce, chicken breast, carrots, mushrooms, sweet bell peppers, broccoli, peas, puff pastry. The chicken pot pie from Truffles screams comfort. This is a well-made, signature dish. This chicken pot pie is made for traveling – a flaky lid, gravy-heavy interiors with ample chunks of chicken and vegetables for texture.

Deeply satisfying and easy to reheat. Place in the oven at 300 degrees for 10-15 minutes in an aluminum pie pan or the dish it came in. Better yet, buy an unbaked one and the staff will tell you how to prepare it.

Truffles Cafe
71 Lighthouse Road
Hilton Head, SC
(843) 671-6136
www.trufflescafe.com

Sushi and Poke Bowls

Some might be surprised, but sushi is a reliable bet when it comes to takeout. Don’t be nervous about ordering raw fish for takeout or delivery. The key is to order from a respected, high-quality restaurant. In such an establishment, your food will be made to order and served up relatively cold and thus will travel well. Our only caveat is don’t overorder….day old sushi is not the way to go!

Poke bowls are a tasty takeout option. One of the main dishes of Native Hawaii cuisine, it features diced, raw fish, aromatic sauces, fresh vegetables, and rice. A poke bowl travels well – it is served cold and its ingredients are layered and thus do not mush together

a large and varied menu

Okko

Okko is a Japanese Sushi and Hibachi Restaurant with a large and varied menu. They also have the perfect takeout offering: a Bento box. This is a single-portion, take-out meal for home dining. The portions are made as attractive as possible and the food is divided by striking arrangements. An Okko bento box consists of a mixed green salad, one shrimp tempura, California roll, seaweed salad, miso soup and your choice of meat or fish such as chicken, beef, tuna, salmon, or eel.

Okko has an extensive sushi and sashimi menu. We have sampled many offerings and all were impeccable and pristine in quality. We suggest you view the online menu for your choices.

Some tips: the quality of a sushi offering is dependent on the fish, the rice, and the temperature. Okko serves quality sushi; the fish is firm, no smell, with natural color. The rice is properly vinegared. The temperature is always correct. This is a great seafood takeout option.

If you want an all purpose takeout meal that covers all the bases then a Bento box is for you

Okko
95 Mathews Drive
Hilton Head, SC
(843) 341-3377
https://www.okkohiltonheadisland.com/

South Sea vibe specializing in poke bowls

Al’s Aloha Kitchen

Al’s is a Hawaiian restaurant with a South Sea vibe specializing in poke bowls. These bowls can make the journey and, because of the layered ingredients, can be eaten the next day as long as they are refrigerated. Our favorites:

Sunset Bowl – sashimi salmon over brown rice, topped with seaweed salad, carrots, edamame, green onions, lemon miso

Pipeline Bowl – spicy ahi tuna over white rice, avocado, seaweed salad, edamame, jalapeno, green onion

Build Your Own – exactly what it reads

Al’s Aloha Kitchen
70 Pope Ave Suite O
Hilton Head, SC
(843) 384-4444
https://www.alsalohakitchenhhi.com/

Stews and soups

Generally, every stew and soup dish tends to retain some of its temperature from a restaurant to your table….while losing some also. The bonus factor with these dishes is that they all can be reheated – microwave, or in the case of stews, the oven. All can withstand a few days in the fridge. A takeout that travels this well can always become a leftover

This cozy French cafe serves dishes made for takeout

Bistro 17

This cozy French cafe serves dishes made for takeout.  We had a very difficult time narrowing down our favorites!

French Onion Soup – melted cup of Gruyere, county rye crouton, chicken/beef stock, seasoned bay leaf, thyme, onions. A durable delicious soup that can go the distance.

Coq Au Vin – red wine braised chicken, mushrooms, onion, bacon, carrots and peas. A layered rich stew that is earthy and aromatic.

Beef Bourguignon – boneless short ribs, carrots, pearl onions, mushrooms, braised in a red wine reduction. This is one dish that tastes better as takeout than as a dine-in. Why? When all the ingredients sit for a day they actually taste richer and more flavorful. So bring it home and eat it the next day.

Bistro 17
71 Harborside Lane
Hilton Head, SC
843 785 5517
www.bistro17.com

a South Pacific themed restaurant with a casual beach vibe

Big Bamboo Cafe

Big Bamboo Cafe is a South Pacific themed restaurant with a casual beach vibe.

Curries constitute some of the best takeout because they actually improve with age as the complex flavors meld and mellow. Liberal use of cumin, turmeric, coriander, ginger, and chilis pack a lot of flavor, savory and sweet. They are ultra-reheatable even in a microwave. Don’t forget to sop up the juices with the accompanying naan!

The Kish of Death Vindaloo Curry  – intensely spicy chicken curry, ginger chilis, garlic, garam masala

Nirvana Curry – vegetarian curry with chickpeas

Makhamu Curry – potatoes, peppers, spicy yogurt butter sauce, choice of pork or chicken

Big Bamboo Cafe
1 North Forest Drive Suite 210
Hilton Head, SC
(843) 686-3443
http://www.bigbamboocafe.com/

Jamaican restaurant where Bob Marley would feel at home

Red Stripes Caribbean Cuisine and Lounge

You need to travel to Bluffton for this one, but it will be well worth it. Red stripes is a Jamaican restaurant where Bob Marley would feel at home. Stews usually come with plantains, coconut rice, sweet potatoes, mango salsa. Our favorites include:

Curry Goat – goat, curry powder, potatoes. Stewed for hours this is a lovely rich dish

Oxtail Stew – the extra fat and gelatin makes an incredibly rich stock and melt in your mouth texture with the meat.

Jerk Chicken – cumin, nutmeg, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, cayenne. I think you get the picture.

As with curries, these stews could go around the world and still taste delicious. Re-heating is no problem. One or two days in the fridge is safe.

Red Stripes
8 Pin Oak Street
Bluffton, SC
(843) 757-8111
http://www.redstripessc.com/

Noodles 

As long as they are stir fried or come with some sauce or broth, noodles can be a reliable choice for takeout or delivery. Think Chinese lo mein, Japanese udon, pad Thai. When cooked in the right amount of sauce and oil, they seem to have come right out of the kitchen even though it might have been 30 minutes. Great leftover dish. Microwave can be alright, though we prefer stove top reheating.

A serene, contemporary, Japanese Restaurant

Ruan Thai Hut

Ruan Thai Hut is a classic Thai restaurant with an extensive menu of noodles dishes….so extensive that it was hard to choose! You really can’t go wrong, however:

Drunken Noodle – wild size rice noodles, eggs, onions, bell pepper, carrot, tomatoes, broccoli, romaine, basil

Thai Noodle Soup – rice noodles, cilantro, green onions, bean sprouts. Delicious, travels exceptionally well and is reheatable. A takeout winner

RuanThai Hut
1107 Main Street
Hilton Head, SC
(843) 681-3700
www.ruanhut.com

Top notch sushi

Hinoki Japanese Restaurant

A serene, contemporary, Japanese Restaurant. Top notch sushi. Hinoki has an array of cold noodles with a glazing of sauce (and no broth) all of which hold up well while traveling.

Nabeyaki – fish broth, udon wheat noodles, shiitake mushrooms, seaweed, scallions, shrimp, tempura, topped with chicken. Fish cake.

Ramen Noodle Soup – wheat noodles, seaweed, hard boiled egg, roast pork. This is NOT your college days Ramen!

These are super-comforting dishes that reheat without affecting the integrity of the dish. You can request to have broth separated from noodles and put back when you arrive home.

Hinoki Japanese Restaurant
37 New Orleans Road
Hilton Head, SC
(843) 785-9800
http://www.hinokihhi.com/

Sandwiches

Haven’t we all at some time in our lives ordered a sandwich to go? It’s a perfect unit of food. However, there are multiple ways a sandwich can go wrong. Too dry? Too soggy? Not enough toppings? Too many toppings? However, the sandwich is an American icon, so we’re going to give it a little leeway. Even with all the risks, most sandwiches can travel, and they do so effectively.

Some seem to even get better, like a Philly Cheesesteak or a bacon, egg, and cheese. So be it, sandwiches made our list. Just go to our article “Best Sandwiches on Hilton Head” and you will have 16 more takeout options.

Barbecue

Whatever the style, juicy brisket, finger licking ribs, pulled pork, cuts of smoked chicken, and more can all make great takeout choices. While most orders are tender and moist in their own right, many people believe that barbecue is enhanced in its takeout container from steaming on the way to your home. And the sides (slaw, beans, collard greens, mac & cheese, potato salad, fritters) usually travel just as well. Re-heating is never a problem and leftovers are a joy.

Amazing quality. A takeout gem

Bullies

Amazing quality. A takeout gem.

  • Beef Brisket Dinner
  • Pulled Pork Dinner
  • ½ Chicken Dinner

Sides: creamy slaw, carolina slaw, mac and cheese, jalapeno cheddar cornbread, potato salad, kickin’ collards, three bean bake….all are fantastic, the choices are up to you!

Bullies
3 Regency Parkway
Hilton Head, SC
(843) 686-7427
www.bulliesbbq.com

This is a take it home place that makes you feel

One Hot Mama’s

This is a take it home place that makes you feel downhome. Also has a Bluffton location.

  • Texas Beef Brisket – 15 hours of low and slow cooking
  • Pitmasters Platter – Beef Brisket, Pulled Pork, BBQ Chicken

Wide variety of sides: baked beans, lima beans, mac and cheese, dirty rice and gravy, collards, fried okra, cornbread and sausage stuffing, mashers and gravy….all winners

One Hot Mama’s American Grill
1 Greenwood Drive # 7A
Hilton Head, SC
(843) 685-6292
https://www.onehotmamas.com/

Open up any food app and it’s filled with more meal options than you could eat in years. What is the best food for takeout? For delivery? As we said at the beginning, you can order anything you desire, but only certain foods can stand the rigors of travel. The best takeout/delivery food should be able to withstand the travel time to your home (in a suitable container) and taste as well as it would if you were dining in the restaurant. Our guide allows you to become a master of takeout.

Stick to the categories and you will never go wrong. The list of restaurants is our result of searching for the best taste in each category. It’s not a be-all or end-all, but a roadmap to successful takeout and delivery. You can always take a side trip. Happy ordering!