There are some great restaurants on St. Simons Island. Here is a breakdown of ones you will love.
St. Simons Island is a unique and wonderfully satisfying place to visit because it offers a winning combination. On the northern end, nature reigns, with marsh and woodlands all around – part of a nature preserve with forest land that’s been undisturbed.
On the island’s southern end, there’s shopping in the Pier Village, and plenty of amazing restaurants as well.
The vast marshlands in the north and the restaurants in the south come together in a special way. Along Georgia’s barrier islands, there’s an amazing diversity of marine life, with the marsh’s shallow tidal water being home to a lot of young marine species.
In those waters are shrimp and fishing boats that drop nets and haul up the catch. A lot of what gets caught ends up on the plates of the island’s best-known restaurants.
Fresh seafood has been a mainstay of island life since Native Americans first inhabited this island around 2000 B.C.
On St. Simons Island, fishing boats often compete with pelicans swooping down to catch a meal. The fishing nets draw in a truly diverse list of sea critters, including Southern flounder, Southern kingfish, Atlantic stingray, white shrimp, menhaden, croaker, fringed sole, bluefish, oysters and horseshoe crab.
That gives you an idea of what kind of seafood delicacies you can expect by planning a visit to St. Simons Island.
If you are heading to St. Simons Island, the locals have your meals covered. But seafood isn’t the only thing on the menu.
For an island that’s just 18 miles long from one end to the other, there’s something here for all taste buds. If you’re a foodie, keep in mind that the local fare provides American, Italian and Mexican meals.
And this island off the coast of South Georgia also has plenty to offer when it comes to good ol’ Southern cooking.
What’s Unique About Resturants on St. Simons Island?
Restaurants on St. Simons Island is a real treat.
Here, the number of seafood restaurants is pretty staggering, offering everything from fresh crabs to fish that’s been baked, broiled, boiled, smoked, sauteed and steamed.
One very popular meal on the island: Oysters.
Oysters have been a staple of sea islands for centuries. Oysters are popular here with locals and visitors alike, who enjoy having them shucked with an oyster knife, dipped into butter or cocktail sauce, or just consumed.
Seafood on St. Simons Island
Oysters are a real star in St. Simons Island restaurants.
The Half Shell at the Pier
The Fried Oyster plate at The Half Shell at The Pier is a popular item, for example.
Likewise, Coastal Kitchen is known for its featuring surf ‘n’ turf entrees and raw bar. Their menu includes Gulf Oysters that are raw or steamed and served with cocktail sauce, ginger, and house grated horseradish, or “Dirty Oysters” served raw and topped with caviar, shallots, and sour cream.
Tramici Northern Italian Restaurant
At Tramici Northern Italian Restaurant, you can find fresh oysters on the half shell, served family style. Another popular item on the menu is Texas Peel & Eat Wild Georgia Shrimp, and shrimp is another cherished dish here.
The restaurant Crabdaddy’s has a popular shrimp and grits plate that helps merge two of the most popular meals on St. Simons Island: fresh seafood and Southern specialty cooking.
St. Simons residents love gorging on shrimp and grits, and it helps that a lot of the straight-off-the-boat shrimp caught here is large and sweet. Having it perfectly sauteed in butter and then placed on top of a plate of grits is, to many here, the ideal way to serve it.
Grits, which consist of coarsely ground corn, have been a staple of southern cooking, particularly as a breakfast meal, for a very long time. Often served with grated cheese or topped with sausage or country ham red-eye gravy, they started as a breakfast meal for coastal sailors, fishermen and their families.
Southern Comfort Food
In addition to seafood, Southern comfort food is also easy to find on St. Simons Island.
The Sandcastle Cafe has a breakfast buffet with eggs, waffles, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, grits, and peach cobbler – done in the classic style of traditional southern cooking.
Southern Soul Barbecue
Another very popular dish on the island is barbeque. A popular barbeque spot is Southern Soul Barbecue, set in a refurbished gas station, with menu items that include a Southern Soul Sandwich with pulled pork, a Knuckle Sammich, Jive Chicken and Brunswick Stew.
Beachcomber BBQ & Grill
Another popular barbecue joint is Beachcomber BBQ & Grill, with their menu that includes the Hot Diggity Dog, Pulled Pork, Sliced Brisket Plate, and Ribs by the pound.
Bennie’s Red Barn
Also well worth checking out is Bennie’s Red Barn, the island’s oldest privately owned restaurant. Yes, it is located in a red barn, and their menu includes a Sunday Southern Brunch, plenty of fresh seafood dishes, and steaks.
What’s Unique About St. Simons Restaurants?
Sometimes the best-known restaurants on St. Simons Island reflect not just the popular choices in meals, but also the island’s history as well.
ECHO Oceanfront Restaurant
A fine example is ECHO Oceanfront Restaurant, located at The King and Prince Resort, which first opened in 1935 as the King and Prince Club as a seaside dance club. The owners added a hotel in 1941, featuring magnificent ocean views. In 2005, The King and Prince Resort was named to the National Register of Historic Places.
And the ECHO restaurant opened in what had been officers’ quarters and classrooms during World War II, since the former King and Prince bar had been an after-hours gathering spot for soldiers and their wives.
Today ECHO is known for offering island favorites like Shrimp & Grits and Fried Green Tomato Napoleon. They also serve meals that range from Smoked Oysters to Smoked Duck and Local Grouper.
ECHO also provides the recipes to some of their favorite dishes, for anyone who wants to get a sense of how these southern dishes are made, or who want to try making them at home.
That includes the King and Prince Muffins, the King and Prince Shrimp and Grits, and the Surf & Turf Kabob.
The bottom line is that St. Simons Island is blessed to have so many talented cooks who excel at southern old-style cooking, at preparing fresh seafood and transforming them into delectable meals, and finding ways to make barbecued pork sizzle in your mouth.
And that’s one of the many reasons why this beautiful island is such an appealing place to visit. You won’t go home hungry, but you are very likely to keep coming back, over and over again, with your favorite local restaurants high on your list of things to do.
Restaurants on St. Simons Island
All year long, you’re going to find amazing Southern comfort food on St. Simons Island. With a strong local fishing industry here, it’s no surprise to learn how many seafood restaurants are available on the island.
And just as traditional southern cooking is a mainstay here, the island also offers a lot of old-fashioned southern hospitality, courtesy of the friendly, easy going people who live here.
If you’re also considering becoming a permanent resident of St. Simons Island, contact Palmetto Building Group today.
We also have homes close to the Pier Village, or right near the beach.
Whatever it is that draws you to life on St. Simons Island, we have a home to match your concept of the ideal setting.
We look forward to hearing from you, but most of all, we’re thrilled to know you’re looking for a new home on one of the most spectacularly beautiful and historic parts of South Georgia.