Living on an island you would expect to find lots and lots of seafood restaurants, and you will. Some are amazing, some are tourist traps. I delve deeper into seafood options in a coming blog. I was completely surprised however by the quality of the Mexican food. There are some great options if you are looking for a Mexican feast. Before we moved from the Philadelphia area, I anticipated great low country fare, seafood and Smoked BBQ. I was absolutely not expecting good pizza, anything that resembled a real cheesesteak or a hoagie. I once read about a Mexican restaurant somewhere on the island that was back in a corporate park with tables in the parking lot. According to the article I read, it was the best kept secret for good Mexican food on Hilton Head Island, we looked for it when we first moved here and I haven’t looked for it again, but I will.
It is either an awesome secret, or is gone because we couldn’t find it. After searching the corporate parks for this hidden gem, and not being able to find it, we decided to head over to Shelter Cove.
Shelter Cove is a waterfront complex with shops, restaurants, and a marina. I am sucker for a marina, it takes me back to my youth, sadly, the farther I get from my youth the more I like to revisit it with memories. If you are looking for Shelter Cove, don’t use the Mall at Shelter Cove as a land mark. As I type, they are tearing it down.
You can still expect to see the huge statue of Neptune welcoming you to Shelter Cove.
Tucked all the way to the left, past the rocking chairs, ice cream place and boats, you will find a little gem we stumbled upon, San Miguel’s. They have an outside ‘tiki’ bar, live music, tables on a patio with big ceiling fans overhead, air conditioned traditional Mexican decor inside, and a very diverse menu. I always order Mexican when I go to a Mexican Restaurant. It is my belief that when going ethnic, go ethnic. My husband on the other hand loves the grouper sandwich from San Miquel’s. I love their tacos, and fajitas and my kids love their chicken fingers, tacos, coloring pages and crayons. San Miguel’s has very good food, a pleasant experience and a fantastic view.
Another Mexican experience I stumbled upon was when I was in the hospital when I had the baby. I was an emotional hormonal mess, with a 12 hour old baby and no food. Bad Combination. I cried when they came for my tray and it wasn’t there to remove. Finally someone sent up a cheese burger wrapped in plastic that looked like it came from a vending machine, again the tears flowed. The nurses were my great (gotta love a nurse) and the one nurse told me she would come back. When she returned she was holding a generic white bag. What she pulled out of the generic bag was so far from generic. The nurses had ordered lunch from Fiesta Fresh and got an extra bit of deliciousness. OH MY WORD….the contents of this bag were indescribable. It was fresh greens in a crispy tortilla bowl, with spicy (but not too hot) shrimp with a cilantro cream dressing. We had forever talked about having to check out Fiesta Fresh, but hadn’t made it there yet. Fiesta Fresh is a small take out restaurant mid-island in the BiLo shopping center.
Authentic Mexican made fresh, with crisp produce, local shrimp and all the good stuff you always anticipate but don’t always get at other Mexican places. If you are looking for something to take to the beach, bring a Fiesta Fresh Picnic, you won’t be disappointed. There is not a lot of seating though, so I suggest Fiesta Fresh for a take-out night.
Finally there is what appears to be a little place on the northern end of the island. It is a little hole in the wall type restaurant that if you drive by during their off time, you may be slightly hesitant to stop there.
(Something about it reminds me of a similar type spot in Richmond, VA Mama Zu’s) Drive by during dinner and there is not a parking spot to be found. The yellow paint, and spanish inspired archways welcome you to Mi Tierra.
If you don’t care about the view, but are looking for truly authentic Mexican Cuisine and a to die for Margarita, check out Mi Tierr, it is a great spot.