ELA'S On the Water

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4.4
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2366 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 2366 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.3
service
4.6
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Charlotte
3 reviews
Dined 14 hours ago
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 5

Great location with a great view of the water. The food is just ok. This was our second time here and I doubt we will return. For the price it is not worth it. Be prepared to be underwhelmed on a meal that will cost a minimum of $100 for two. Staff is very friendly and the service was good.

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CI
Nashville
3 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very friendly, service excellent, food very good.

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JI
Atlanta
14 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent experience

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HH
Charleston
6 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Beautiful view, excellent food and service. We were greeted with “Happy Anniversary “ and glasses of champagne.

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F
Baltimore
98 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 4

Nice restaurant with great view. My husband and I just went for drinks and appetizers. The oysters Rockefeller were good; the raw oysters were small though. We also had the caprese salad and beef carpaccio. The same balsamic sauce that was used on the caprese salad was also used a little too liberally on beef carpaccio and the beef was cut thicker than most carpaccios we’ve had. There was a bit of a snafu on our order which caused one of the dishes to come out late and then we ended up charged for an item we didn’t order. The view made any issues we had bearable.

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

Music was depressing but otherwise amazing

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Horrible piano player...singing kids songs (baby shark) that was blasting out onto the patio! We had to ask manager to turn off speaker

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OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 2food 4service 5ambience 1

Food and server were excellent. Waitress very efficient. Ambience was horrible. Who goes to an upscale restaurant to be bombarded by a loud below average karaoke piano bar? Insanely loud and only got worse after a request to the manager to please tone it down. Would never recommend or return.

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T
Charleston
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

Nice views, very good service. Food avg for this price range. Steak overcooked (med rare-no pink). Lobster wasn't great (i am from New England so bias). Overall it is a very nice place, but I have had much better food at other places.

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JW
Indiana
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great service
Will return again
Service was excellent
Had reservations and no waiting
View breathtaking

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MS
Birmingham
9 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food for everyone in our party. Helpful recommendations from our server. A great start to our week at Hilton Head.

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LK
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

We enjoyed our food very much. Parking is very limited and I would have appreciated a heads up on during the reservation process. It took some time for our initial drink order to be taken, but our waitress was quite enjoyable. I admire their wait staff, who negotiate quite a made of stairs and steps. I wish our candle had been lit on our table to add to the ambience.

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NS
Toronto
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 2

Pre book.date night NOTE 4 dinners in HH worst one of all ( hotels room service was better) Arrived greeted with not a smile or welcome or hello but “ do you have a reservation.” Void of welcoming face and not a hint of. A smile. Seated at a table beside the service door where wait staff would zip passed us barely missing us open door to blaring music shut it loudly repeat many times each minute all the while staff spoke at one another and a miserable manager/owner complained about a table wasting water and did not even need a refill!, waitress was pleasant enough and we made the mistake of ordering and being reseated next to our table in the runway. The caprese salad. Two small yellowed leaves of romaine with 4 halved cherry tomatoes and a few chips of hard mozzarella ( not soft ripe mozzarella or buffalo certainly not burrata Horrible. 5 avg/ not large sized ravioli Dish was avg at most but not enough to eat even with 2 shared apps. We had to eat afterwards a local Uber driver recommended, terrible place

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l
Charlotte
44 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a great table and great waiter!! Grant was awesome. Have a reservation June 29th and hope to have Grant again!! Thanks for a great evening!!

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TJ
Charleston
6 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wow - so good! The atmosphere is great. We loved being able to see out over the water. We didn’t sit outside because it was raining, but the patio area looks very nice. The service was excellent, the food was delicious. My only complaint is that we ate too much!

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SB
Dallas
6 reviews
Dined on June 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Asked for outside seating hoping to enjoy the sunset but as beach life is we had late afternoon and evening showers. It was still a very nice atmosphere looking into the marina and out into the marsh. They played a great selection and variety of music overhead but not too loud. We only had to wait a few minutes on our table. David gave us great service and was a delight to talk with. I started with a Westbrook White Thai and a Westbrook IPA with my ELA’S crab cakes. I like to try the local brews when traveling. Tina had a Dark & Stormy with pan roasted grouper. All was delicious, many places the crab cakes have a lot of breading, these were small but 90% meat. I finished the last bit of Tina’s grouper. The lobster butter poured over the fish, rice, and green beans really set it apart! We will return! Going for our 5th OpenTable dinner tonight with number six already set for Friday. Great app!

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LP
Charleston
2 reviews
Dined on June 4, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 2

Third visit and this one was very average I am sorry to say. Lobster and steak both very boring and nothing special about the taste or presentation. I expect way more for the expensive price.

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LB
1 review
Dined on June 3, 2019
Overall 5food 3service 4ambience 5

Bread-excellent
Friends thought grits were heavy and shrimp small.
My husband loved his dinner-oyster appetizer and seafood dinner.
I enjoyed by pasta primavera...veggies were delicious.
Good drinks.
Ambiance-great!

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EC
1 review
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

We returned to ELA’S after 3 years with high expectations. Our original experience there, 3 years ago was outstanding. From the food to the service it was excellent.
Our most recent visit was the total opposite. The Grouper was greasy and burnt. The vegetables ( and I use these term “vegetables” loosely) were a pile of shriveled mush. Our waitress was almost yelling at us when she spoke. And when we gave her our feedback she yelled at us again that we have to tell her about it. She totally put us on the defensive. We rarely complain but ‘‘tis was a horrible experience.

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LS
1 review
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We made reservations and had wonderful meal! The view is great, service is amazing, and the food is absolutely delicious. I live in Savannah, Ga and will most definitely be back! Everything we ordered from the steak, flounder, salmon, down to the oysters and shrimp was cooked perfectly and tasted devine.

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OT
Charleston
9 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food, service, and view were outstanding! We were seated at an outside shaded table and the view was wonderful! We'll be back!

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M
Richmond
11 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

Eggs Benedict was fine but underwhelming; hollandaise was thin and nearly nonexistent, so had to ask for additional which they happily did honor without an extra charge. However, when I asked if there was a substitute for the fried potatoes, she hesitated then offered fruit for an extra charge. That to me is nothing but a “money grab” - a restaurant of this caliber should make basic substitutions readily available without an up charge. On the other hand, the tasty bloodies and the Outdoor seating made up for the aggravation.

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CD
Phoenix
1 review
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding in every respect. This will be one of the special, memorable dinners that will be remembered.

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OT
Columbus
15 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic. Best food on the Island. A must try.

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t
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We had a great leisurely dinner sitting outside. The setting was wonderful and the service was excellent. My filet was done to perfection, however, my wife's scampi lacked the garlic flavor she was looking for and one of the mussel shells was empty. However, we would go there again.

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S
Charleston
55 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We have always enjoyed meals at Ela's. Tonight's choices were Lobster Nachos for my wife and Citrus Lobster Risotto for myself. Both dishes were very good especially the Lobster Nachos. For entrees my wife loved the slow roasted Short Ribs. I really enjoyed the Pan Seared Diver Scallops they were maybe the best that I have ever had. The Risotto served underneath it was delicious and it was a really generous portion. Antonio was an excellent server and really hustled to make us happy. It was our 28th anniversary and Ela's poured us two glasses of Prosecco on the house to celebrate. Unfortunately this would have been a 5 star review from top to bottom if it wasn't for the Carmel Blueberry Cheese Cake which was sub par for a restaurant of this quality.

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VN
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 5

Food okay. Waiter was invisible. Expensive but the view if fantastic if you love boats

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JL
Milwaukee
9 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

We ate outside - the setting was fabulous. It was quite loud, as two large parties were on either side of us, but in a way, it added to the ambience. Our waitress was very, very busy but was pleasant and attentive; she also got “assists” from others in bringing out our food. All the staff was polite and professional. I had the special that evening, following the recommendation of our waitress. It was fabulous. We also enjoyed dessert - I’d recommend the key lime pie - and never felt rushed as we lingered. We will return again when we have the opportunity. A truly enjoyable evening!

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OT
Orlando
1 review
Dined on May 29, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

The ambiance was incredible. Book in advance to sit on the patio. Service was good and friendly. Got the pear salad and dressing was delicious. Got the salmon and the ribeye. Ribeye was very tasty and onion rings on top were maybe the best onion rings I have ever had in my life. Salmon was just ok. Will try something else next time instead.

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DK
New Orleans
10 reviews
Dined on May 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and views!

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OT
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on May 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dinner was outside, with a view of the harbor. Extremely beautiful night, great food and service. The only nuianse was the ac units outside that provided unwanted background noise to a wonderful experience. The inside dining area was also beautiful as we walked through it on our way outside.

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 28, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 5

We were celebrating my 50th Birthday. My scallops were not cooked properly but by the time the waiter came to check on us, my husband was almost finished eating. He offered to have them recook my scallops (the ones on my plate, not fresh one) he stated to me that he didn’t know how they would recook them?? I asked the waiter just to take it off my bill because they were not cooked properly and my husband was done eating. When we got the bill it was not taken off. My husband talked to the manager who argued with him and then brought our bill back and told us he took 2/3 of the amount off the bill?? Very poor business practice! Unfortunately we won’t be back! Too many other good restaurants to eat at on the island.

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CV
Philadelphia
7 reviews
Dined on May 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

family visiting

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t
Miami
43 reviews
Dined on May 27, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

In the past this restaurant was on my favorite list, it is definitely now removed to the “do not go” list. While you can see from the pictures the food looks good, that is where it stops.

First, our service was poor. Once seated, we waited for some time before a waitress came by the table. We had to ask for bread and ask for plates to be removed.

Next, the food just was not good. We started with a dozen oysters which were extremely small; then my Traditional Caesar” salad was far from Traditional with some type of creamy dressing. For our main courses, I ordered the Low Country Shrimp & Grits which had little taste and definitely needed the red pepper that I added. My goddaughter ordered the Steamed Lobster with Risotto which came out cold. By the time our waitress came by to check on our meal, my goddaughter had already eaten half so when she said she would get it heated we said “no”. All they were going to do was stick in back in the steamer. When I called a manager over to our table to tell him, he didn’t suggest anything more.

I was extremely surprised and disappointed when our check came and nothing was done to make up for our meal.

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L
New England
3 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

ELA’s location and ambiance were great, bartender was a friendly guy - made good wine recommendations from a pretty nice wine list.
The food however was just OK. While there was nothing wrong, the food was not as fresh as it should have been - speaking specifically about the crab appetizer. Bit Underwhelmed.

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M
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

It was a birthday celebration and there was no mention from any of staff.

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NY
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 4

Our outdoor table was very private with a great view, located on a small landing between the main restaurant and the street level. It would be a great locale for a marriage proposal.

However, the food was disappointing. The seafood gumbo was incredibly salty, and the porcini encrusted red snapper was burnt on top.

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n
Philadelphia
7 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great good and service.

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DL
Cincinnati
1 review
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

All of our entrees were amazing. I had the scallops and would definitely recommend them. Our waiter was fantastic. We chose to sit outside and it was very enjoyable.

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E
1 review
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great place on the water! Live music that was light and the perfect background noise level. Truly an enjoyable experience!

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