ELA'S On the Water

4.5
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2633 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 2633 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
4.5
service
4.7
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Quiet
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Jacksonville
3 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What an incredible meal we enjoyed this evening! The service from Antonio was perfect and the food was next level. My husband said that his flounder was the best fish he’s ever had. My salmon special was delicious. My only regret is that I had delicious fried green tomatoes and caprese salad beforehand—I was too full to eat all of my entre. Even the white wine that Antonio suggested was the best I’ve had! Our first time to Hilton Head Island—will definitely return to ELA’s if we return. Outstanding in every way and not to be missed. For two of us with drinks, starters, main entrees, dessert and coffee was $140. Well worth it and better than many more expensive restaurants we’ve been to.

N
London
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Has a business trip to the area. And met associates there for dinner. Located in pretty Shelter Cove Marina. Service was professional and personable. We all ordered seafood dishes and everyone in our party raced about their meal. The grouper entree was popular and delish. Liked it so much we stopped for lunch again before we left town. Same excellent service and food.

RG
Denver
30 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing place

WT
Atlanta
32 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Lily was a delightful waitress, never too far away, always polite and helpful. Piano was not too loud and our table was by a window overlooking the marina. Partner’s crab cakes were a tad breast but my traditional Thanksgiving dinner was delicious, warm, and filled the gaps in my partner’s appetite.

SM
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience5

Best part of Ela’s is the view. Food was average. For the money, I will choose another location next time. Would return for a cocktail and appetizer only at sunset.

OT
Cincinnati
109 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

We dined outside on Thanksgiving day - how great is that? The turkey lovers in our group enjoyed their feast and the rest of us enjoyed the diversity of the menu. Everyone enjoyed both an appetizer and a dessert.

JW
Pittsburgh
1 review
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Dined here twice over the past week. Awesome food and exceptional service. Special Thanks to our Thanksgiving server David for fabulous and friendly service!

w
Charleston
21 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great drinks at the bar followed by a wonderful dinner. Crab cakes, oysters, lobster and fine wine choices.

TG
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on November 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Attentive and professional service, and our server was very helpful with recommendations. The food was outstanding - all 4 in our party were in hearty agreement. Beautiful ambiance with a great view of the water and the boats.

C
New York Area
18 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful meal as usual in a beautiful setting. We sat on the deck with a heater behind us and it was perfect!

t
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2019
Overall5food4service4ambience5

Beautiful restaurant and a great waterside view. Even though it was dark, the lights on the harbor and restaurant still made it nice. Our food was delicious.. calamari, Oysters Rockefeller, Braised Short Rib and Hummingbird cake.
Our waiter was well versed on the wine list and made a good recommendation.

All in all, the perfect white tablecloth last dinner out on our perfect girls trip!

SA
Indiana
1 review
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Ela’s is our favorite restaurant on the island! Great food, music, ambience and friendly people! We visit Ela’s often!

C
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

What a great spot! Great ambiance but restaurant was getting slammed at the time of our reservation (7pm). Our waiter was working so hard but our service was slower than normal...not because of his effort but they seemed under-staffed. Our party of 5 was crammed into a table for four while a party of four seated after us had a spacious booth which was a little disappointing.

I would definitely go back because the food was tremendous. Hope to sit outside next time.

OT
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food4service1ambience5

I hesitated writing this, but decided that if you aren't aware, you can't repair. We have used Ela's as one of our favorite date night destinations, it has never failed. The food has always been very good and the ambiance is perfect for that evening sunset, overlook of the marina. This last visit was a shocker. The mussels, which is our favorite was superb again, but I went light this night and just ordered the seafood gumbo. When I received it, I asked the waiter...well where is the seafood? His statement, "well I see pieces of clam", and then there was an obvious avoidance to me the rest of our meal. Maybe it was just a bad night, but our service and food are normally the best. Not sure if Ela's is my go to place in the future.

M
Chicago
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Just excellent. Highly recommend it
Service was outstanding as well as the food. Sat at bar and enjoyed conversation with others there

D
Charleston
30 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding food and service along with a beautiful view of the sound at sunset.

S
Pittsburgh
10 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience5

we are visiting and it. has been 2 years since we visited Ela's Our last visit we absolutly loved this restaurant and this trip the quality of food was below standards and the price was moderate to high. Very dissapointing

OT
1 review
Dined on October 30, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience2

We unfortunately did not enjoy our dinner at Ela's. Our server Scott was rushed and rude from the start. I ordered salmon rockerfeller and what I recieved was a pile of mashed potatoes with salmon on top with a white sauce. Since our server never came to check on our meal I was able to get another servers attention. I originally thought they gave me the wrong dish. Guess I was wrong the stuffed salmon with bacon,spinach & crab was hidden under the potatoes?
My husband's grouper was over cooked and the rice was chewy. Entree's at almost $40 each you expect a level of skill and flavor. We were hoping to have a nice evening out and left disappointed with the food and service.

m
1 review
Dined on October 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food. Great location. Great prices. All around fantastic experience!

KR
New Orleans
5 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2019
Overall3food5service5ambience4

The noise level from another adjacent large table of 12 made it difficult for our group of 6 to communicate. Food and service were great!

RA
Charleston
23 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always excellent, great location, caring wait staff and great food.

A
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Lovely outdoor seating.

MF
St. Louis
17 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Was one of most memorable meals of the trip and we have dined in a lot of places.

AF
Atlanta
16 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Food was excellent Atmosphere awesome. Server was curt, short on patience & rude at first. But she recovered midway through the service. Highly recommend this restaurant if you want a great meal in HHI.

NM
1 review
Dined on October 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

EVERYTHING WAS VERY GOOD.
DESERT WAS THE BEST (Hummingbird Cake)
CANT WAIT TO GO BACK.

JD
Charlotte
16 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We eat at Ela’s four or five times a year. Alway great food.

P
Charleston
24 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great bartender David is always a pleasure. Lilly was a very attentive and pleasant server,

OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was outstanding. Service wonderful. Bartender was so attentive. Loved it!

MB
Nashville
2 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We have a list of restaurant must-dos for every HHI trip, and ELA’s has had a top place for two years now. We love the food, and we love the view. I am just disappointed that we didn’t think to try it years ago!!

OT
Charleston
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience5

Celebrating family visit great food and atmosphere
Service was okay but could of been better if more attention was given to the table. Place was NOT full at all only a few tables inside and some outside.
Better service training would be wonderful!

VC
Chicago
8 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

At our last night in HHI, ELA’S was a great place to hold fond memories. The harbor Marina on the sound is spectacular, the service was super and the food was great! The server was very knowledgeable about the wines and the menu, and her attention was impeccable. Well done!

GA
Cincinnati
27 reviews
Dined on October 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great seafood, Super Service, Marvelous views, Great evening with family, David the waiter was professional, informative, and efficient!

JE
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on October 15, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience4

We have been to Ela's may times for lunch and dinner but this last time for dinner was disappointing. The calamari was great but I also had the crab cakes and it was not good. The crab cakes were very small, only two of them and could be mistaken for an appetizer. For $32 is was greatly over priced.

OT
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent on vacation in Hilton Head SC perfect dinner in every way service outstanding

T
Charleston
2 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall3food4service4ambience5

The only problem we had was the menu the restaurant gave us the night before has the wedge salad for $7, and the table menu when we sat down had $8 but we were charged $10 for whatever reason. When we told our server (we had already paid the bill, so were not looking for a refund) she simply said "I will tell my boss". She was a good server, but this left a bad opinion of the place.

BS
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall2food1service3ambience3

Very disappointed! Had an 11 am brunch reservation and when we showed up it seemed like the restaurant wasn’t ready for guests. Ordered Bagel and Lox plate and it arrived without the pickled onions or avocado. When we asked about it they were “out”. Returned it and ordered the crab cake Benedict. English muffin and crab cake were both burned. Will not go back or recommend.

l
Charlotte
52 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Dinner was great! Grant is a great waiter and took great of us! I recommend Ela’s to folks whenever they are heading to HHI!

P
Charleston
8 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall3food5service1ambience4

Our food was excellent. Unfortunately hard to enjoy when you are waiting for your waiter to do his job and when he does show up is annoyed he has to do it. Perhaps he was having a bad night but it should never take 2 hours to have one course—never. We actually took dessert to go because we didn’t want to be there another hour. Taking time for a nice meal is great but this was painful.

M
Charleston
10 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience3

We ate here for my birthday because it was recommended by our hotel concierge as a “special occasion” restaurant. I disagree. This is your average weekend dinner place. A giant step up from Applebee’s but definitely not close to what I was looking for. More of a wine bar with food. The music and noise inside was overwhelming so we asked to be seated outside which was preferably more beautiful and quiet. Service was excellent. My veal osso bucco ravioli was very salty and super small. My husband’s stuffed salmon was good. Appetizer of tuna was average and the goat cheese balls were really great. The chocolate mouse pie with Oreo crust was the best dessert I’ve had in a long time. The pastry chef is talented.

JF
Savannah
17 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Food and service were above average but not exceptional. Cheesecake was still partially frozen. Strip steak was seasoned very nicely and the scallops were very good

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