ELA'S On the Water

4.5
2254 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 2254 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
4.4
food
4.4
service
4.6
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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MR
Charleston
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very enjoyable dinner and evening. Food was great and service was excellent.

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d
New York Area
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Beautiful view and fantastic food! All of us were really happy with our meals, including our 7 year old (who had the kids' mac & cheese). The crab cakes were wonderful, and the desserts were fantastic...the carrot cake was amazing. While it's not a "kids' restaurant," kids were definitely welcome, and there was a very nice children's menu.

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LB
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

We booked for a high-top table but when we were seated the noise level was so loud that we asked to be moved to the dining area which was done with no problem. The dining room was much quieter and we had a wonderful server and the food was outstanding. Next time, we'll try and get outside seating. Great dining experience.

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M
Charlotte
7 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Was a little buggy outside so we needed to move inside which was disappointing as the view was gorgeous, but they moved us inside right away, right near a window so they definitely made it right! Great evening!

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MR
Kansas City
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 5

This review is difficult to write, as we have mixed emotions about our experience here. First, our table was in the perfect location of the restaurant and the view was very pleasant. The ambiance is wonderful. We chose this location based on the advertisement of “gorgeous sunsets”, which was not the case. The “sunset views” were just the sunlight glowing off the buildings in the distance, rather than an actual sunset. That was disappointing. Next, our waitress was less than impressive. She was very reserved and cold and did the bare minimum. Finally, the food was fine. Not great, not terrible. Nothing memorable, especially for the prices. We wished we had chosen a different restaurant for our final and special night in town. All that to say, it’d be fine for lunch or a regular dinner night out.

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JR
Charleston
10 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was excellent, our server, David, could not have done a better job. We will be back.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined 4 days 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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C
Charleston
6 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 5

Our Easter dining was ruined by a very rude manager. Two of the ladies received their meals and while one was well cooked, the other was mushy and fatty. Our waiter asked the manager to come over and he was extremely rude to our guest.....while he finally got her another fish, it made all of us uncomfortable with his attitude. When we were leaving, he apologized to me for the problem, not to the guest who had the problem....showing that he had no idea who was the customer who he had dealt with. While the view is lovely, we have many other great views on Hilton Head to choose from.....we will not recommend Ela's or return!

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BG
Cincinnati
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 5

If you just want to eat at a restaurant with a nice view on a lovely day, then I would suggest Ela’s.

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M
Detroit
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved it. Everything was great. A beautiful day on the water.

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PK
Charleston
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

We went for Sunday Brunch. When our order first came out one dish was wrong so they took them back thinking it was the wrong table. Realizing only one was wrong, they brought 3 back. The one that finally came was an omelette that specifically requested no tomatoes. By the time they cooked t again, we would have been done. I would have expected this to come off the bill. It did not

2 other orders were for eggs Benedict. One order has over cooked hard yolks while the other had under cooking egg whites which were runny.

Not what I expected from Ela’s

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JB
Western NC
14 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

So far, best gumbo on HHI. Very good brunch and beautiful setting.

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JM
New York Area
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went to Ela’s the night before for dinner and it was so good we scheduled Easter brunch the next morning for our last meal on Hilton Head. So many wonderful choices. Service was outstanding, all the meals were prepared to perfection and the views of the harbor were magnificent. Will definitely be back on our next trip to HHI.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined 4 days 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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DM
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 4

When I made the reservation I was not told that there would be a special menu.
I had looked at the brunch menu on line and determined that everyone in my party would be able to find something that they would like.
The menu we received was very limited and overpriced.
I ordered a eggs Benedict and had to send back because the eggs were hardboiled.
The replacement was not much better.
The portions were small and the food was not very hot.
Would definitely not go back or recommend.

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OT
Charleston
16 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I live in Myrtle Beach and come here often. My favorite restaurant in Hilton Head . Was very disappointed when I couldn't get a table on the first floor. My fault for booking late. Food was excellent 👌 as always but had a table without a good view!

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MM
Montreal
1 review
Dined 5 days 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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C
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Sat at bar and Dave was excellent. Met manager and owner, nice people. Great place

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C
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I had the braised short ribs. Delicious. They were so tender and on top of the grits, it was a perfect combination. Service was perfect.

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S
Toronto
24 reviews
Dined 6 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 on April 18, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good but pricey.

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OT
1 review
Dined on April 18, 2019
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 on April 18, 2019
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
21 reviews
Dined on April 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Soft shell crab was the star of dinner

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t
Washington DC
117 reviews
Dined on April 15, 2019
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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