ELA'S On the Water

4.5
2238 reviews
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$30 and under
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Seafood
Featured in Bon Appetit and the winner of numerous Open Table awards, ELA'S On the Water is a shining star on the Hilton Head scene. Fresh catch seafood and prime cut steaks of the highest quality, artfully prepared by our culinary team of experts, compliment the extensive boutique wine selection. Located at Shelter Cove Harbour overlooking the marina and Broad Creek, ELA's is known for the best water views on the island. A casual intimate interior, wrap around dining patio exterior, and nightly entertainment provided by local recording artists sets the perfect dining experience or location to host special events, private parties, or rehearsal dinners.
What 2238 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.4
service
4.6
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined 13 hours ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

The short ribs were supposed to have red eye gravy and it did. It. Still good , yet dry . Service was excellent and atmosphere is always special .

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined 19 hours ago
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

All 6 meals were poorly cooked. We sent 2 of them back and they made no accommodation. An Awful Easter Brunch. What a shame a beautiful location but poor food and service.

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MM
Montreal
1 review
Dined a day ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Just a great restaurant. Great location, service, ambiance, and outstanding food!
Lobster, an diver scallops outstanding.

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S
Toronto
24 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was excellent. Salmon and short rib dishes were perfectly prepared. Our server was very knowledgeable. After our meal, we stayed for live music at the bar. A wonderful start to our first vacation in HH.

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w
Atlanta
3 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good but pricey.

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OT
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food & drinks were absolutely delicious! Beautiful view and excellent service. The lobster was everything. Will definitely be back next time we visit for sure!!!

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OT
Raleigh
8 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

Good: great water views and very nice location.

Not so good : food was below average especially given the price. Service was perfunctory at best.

Would not recommend.

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C
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Soft shell crab was the star of dinner

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t
Washington DC
117 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Beautiful day on the covered deck. View of the boats. Far to reach if you park near Shelter Cove entrance. Go way left to park and save yourself the hike. Salmon sandwich is delicious.

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TC
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on April 14, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

A mix of quaintness and modern. Good for a romantic date. Delicious food

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OT
Columbus
5 reviews
Dined on April 14, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 4

We’ve always enjoyed coming here—especially for Sunday brunch. The view is wonderful, with outside seating options, lovely piano bar and good food and service— in the past. I had read some negative reviews before going and had hoped their issues had been addressed. While we were there the place was virtually empty. Should’ve been my first clue. We not only had poor service for the most part, and the food was just awful. Everything I ordered was way over cooked and too salty. Waiter did not return until end of the meal (and we had to get his attention) and by then we just wanted out of there. I’ve since heard they’ve opened a couple of other restaurants in other locations, so maybe they just spread themselves too thin. I’ve seen this happen with other restaurants. Too bad. Great location. Marking it off our list. Too many other wonderful restaurants in Hilton Head to settle for less.

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CM
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on April 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 5

Excellent view and ambience but the service staff was a little gruff which left us cold. Food was good but not as spectacular as it has been in the past. Plantings on outside entrance were dead and dried out. Appears that less attention is being paid to details than on prior occasions we have visited. Perhaps this is why they were less busy than on our prior visits

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OT
New England
4 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 3

Service & experience were terrible... long wait for everything, despite having made reservations. Table, apps, drinks, main course all had very long lulls in between. Staff was very inattentive and apathetic. Few GF options. Food itself was expensive and not great. View was nice, but not worth the price. We went for my husband’s birthday and the celebration was not great. Would not go back again!

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SH
New York Area
18 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great restaurant!

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LL
Cincinnati
30 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Loved our server, Lilly! She was attentive, welcoming & knowledgeable. That made for a lovely evening!

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PL
Charleston
1 review
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 2ambience 4

Grouper was hard, overcooked and needed a knife to eat Staff did nothing but offer a replacement entree. Management did not contact our table. This was our fourth here and we were very pleased previously; now we will likely not return.

Paul Lang

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ED
Philadelphia
112 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were treated to one of the most amazing dinners we have ever had. We started with a very nice Sancerre, that complimented the most delicious calamari. We both had fish dishes ( Grouper and the Flounder special) and both were outstanding. We finished with Key Lime pie.
A wonderful view along with a wonderful meal!!!

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j
Charleston
3 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

We always enjoy the dinner experience

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M
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 2

I don't think that they know what they are doing. Service was terrible, main dishes were under average. It is definitely not a fine dining

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MG
New England
1 review
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Beautiful location with very attentive staff and great food!

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RK
Atlanta
2 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A little expensive but a treat for special occasions due to the excellent food and service

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CS
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 2ambience 4

Would not go back. Wait staff and other personnel were snobbish. Only place in Hilton Head that was not welcoming and certainly not representative of southern hospitality. The food was very good, but not good enough to have us return and be treated by a group looking down their noses at us. Silly.

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LD
Baltimore
10 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food,ambience and service in a beautiful setting

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I
Detroit
3 reviews
Dined on April 8, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 5

This was a very mixed experience. Nice place to be sure. The food was very good. The service left a lot to be desired. We were seated and served and then ignored. The food (appetizer and meal) was very slow in coming. I think they got a lot busier than they were prepared for - which isn't saying much -- we sat outside and did not notice an unusually high influx of people inside. They need practice. Given what we paid for the meal -- in the context of service, this was not a good value.

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W
San Francisco
39 reviews
Dined on April 8, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Very nice and excellent food, however the server was more like a drill sargent- very direct and to the point. It detracted from our overall experience.

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OT
Birmingham
2 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, great service, and great location!! I highly recommend!!

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LC
Charleston
8 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 5ambience 5

This was a very disappointing trip to ELA’S after many great meals. We sat outside and the weather was just perfect. We both ordered the caprese salad or their version of it. It was not good....hardly any mozzarella cheese, hardly any balsamic, and the tomatoes were just ok. Very bland. I ordered the tuna two ways. The tuna was not good grade, very fatty, and the seared tuna was served cold and very overdone. My husband got the blackened red fish and it was very charred, dry, and a very small portion for the price...$36! Our waitress was lovely and kind, so we didn’t tip her according to the meal as it was not her fault. We won’t eat there again because there are far too many fabulous restaurants on Hilton Head.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our “last night out” which we choose at random, following an afternoon of golf. As the $ were only 2, we figured golf clothes wouldn’t be too bad....it was much nice than that, although the prices were reasonable and -thank goodness! -because most everyone else is on vacation as well- we didn’t feel out of place. We loved our food choices, the ambience, the wait staff (who were very prompt, but not pushy). All in all, we place this restaurant on our ‘to return to’ list. Thanks!!

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OT
Detroit
17 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 4ambience 4

Very good once we were seated in the right place. The hostess tried to put my husband and and myself in a dark corner with no view. I said no, then she took us to a table with a beautiful view of the water.
I don't get it. I won't go back

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OT
Richmond
3 reviews
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Ambiance great. Usually food is great. We waited nearly an hour from ordering for entree
To arrive. As did tables around us. May have been an off nite (Thurs)

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M
Atlanta
7 reviews
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 5

If you have money to burn and time to waste you will be happy..

Very disappointed in our dinner.. the service was poor and SO slow. When we complained we were greeted with a defensive and condescending manager. The only reason I gave one star was that the food WAS very good (except for the steak that came out raw and was sent back).
The service is what left a bitter taste in my mouth.

I really wish I had taken the time to read the other reviews that echoed my sentiments,prior to eating here tonight.

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KB
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent menu with a variety of options for every taste. Food well prepared and presented. Service was outstanding. Wine list was quite complete and priced as expected. View of Shelter Cove Marina completed a wonderful visual setting for our dinner.

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NE
New England
8 reviews
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

We were there for our Anniversary and treated to a glass of Prosecco each. Had a wonderful view of Broad Creek where we could watch the kayakers. The food was wonderful. Highly recommend the Pan Seared Diver Scallops and the Seafood Scampi Bucatini. The service was excellent, Lily checked a few times to see if everything was okay, but not too often as to be annoying. Would definitely recommend to anyone for a wonderful evening meal.

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RM
Atlanta
4 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great views, service was perfect and food was great!

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OT
Charleston
1 review
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our last night on Hilton Head until next year. Everything was great from the ease of making reservations on Open Table to the venue, our waiter and the food. See you next spring! I have already put a hurray in TripAdvisor

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c
Philadelphia
9 reviews
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Had a nice meal at Ela’s. Our first time here. Food was excellent. Ambience was nice. A little pricey but not terrible for HHI. We’d definitely come back and look to sit outside, it was a little too chilly the night we were there.

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A
1 review
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious and relaxing atmosphere. Service was excellent

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C
Tampa
15 reviews
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 4

The service was awful - we were not greeted for over 10 minutes upon arrival. We then ordered an appetizer and entrees. Two entrees were delivered but my husband did not receive his food and our appetizer never arrived. It took over 15 minutes for the third entree and at that point everyone’s food was cold. I also asked about the appetizer and there was no explanation or apology. Skip this as we have great restaurants on the Island and you do not gave to tolerate poor service.

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M
Orlando
3 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Sat inside at a window overlooking the marina. Very nice. Food service was slow. Some meals had overcooked veggies others very under cooked. In general food okay but expensive.

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CD
New England
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Beautiful place, gorgeous views, cozy dining and fantastic food. Dress casual.

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