15+ EXCEPTIONAL ST SIMONS ISLAND RESTAURANTS NOTEWORTHY OF A VISIT

We frequent St Simons Island, and after 20+ years of visiting the Georgia coast, we’ve eaten at many St. Simons Island restaurants. So we’ve complied a list of our favorites.

Chicken swiss. Popcorn. BBQ. Unlimited bacon at the breakfast buffet. Fried Shrimp. Grilled fish. These are some of the delicious delicacies we look forward to every time we visit St. Simons Island.

Read on to find out why St Simons Island is one of Georgia’s best-kept secrets for foodies!

15+ EXCEPTIONAL ST SIMONS ISLAND RESTAURANTS NOTEWORTHY OF A VISIT
Photo courtesy of Southern Soul.

Our culinary ‘must dos’ have changed somewhat over the years, but here are several tried and true places we like to visit when we go to the beach, plus a few recommendations from my father-in-law’s crowd of locals. If you visit St. Simons Island, what are your favorites?

CASUAL ST SIMONS ISLAND RESTAURANTS

SOUTHERN SOUL BARBEQUE

This St Simons Island restaurant has been on Garden and Gun’s Barbecue Bucket List, named one of golfer Davis Love III’s Greatest BBQ joints, called one of the secrets of the Georgia Coast by Atlanta Magazine and I could go on, and on, and on.

We call Southern Soul Barbecue our go-to 4th of July meal, and no matter how many days we are in St. Simons, there’s always a stop here for at least one lunch or dinner, and my husband is a certified BBQ judge, so he knows his stuff.

I recommend getting a cup of the Brunswick Stew, and for sides, I’d go with the collard greens and the mac and cheese.

The restaurant itself is located around the traffic circle as you enter the Island. There isn’t much seating inside and outside are a few picnic tables. We usually pick up and take it home. I volunteer to pick up because I like to sit at the bar (if you can get a spot) and have a beer while they get it together. The smell just makes your mouth water from the time you enter, until the time you leave. Call ahead for take out. They are ALWAYS busy. 

BROGENS

Brogens St Simons restaurant and bar is located near the pier in the St. Simon’s Island village. There is also a Brogens North location, but go to the Downtown location, it has an upper deck where we like to sit on a nice summer evening and watch the activity below, and the pier is right there which is fun with the kids before or after dinner.

The must have dish here according to pretty much my entire family is the Grilled Chicken Swiss. I’m partial to the Philly, or if I’m craving fish, the Blackened Mahi. We also love the free popcorn and shuffleboard, although lately they don’t seem to let you play shuffleboard. We did have a good game of corn hole out front though.

MULLET BAY

Mullet Bay is the grown up Brogens. Although you’ll find people of every age in both places, Brogens is usually the college crowd at night, where as Mullet Bay seems to be a bit older.

This restaurant is also located in Downtown Saint Simons and has inside seating, as well as a huge porch. Our family favorite menu item is the grilled fish sandwich. They don’t skimp on fish either, it’s a huge piece. Everyone also raves about the fish tacos!

My son recently discovered the fried shrimp basket, which is also a keeper. Grab a seat in the bar area and nosh on roasted peanuts while watching the big game on the TVs.

CRAB TRAP

Three words – batter dipped fries. They give you a lot and you’ll be hard pressed not to eat them all. Although the Crab Trap menu now includes grilled fish and healthier options, they began as a fried seafood only restaurant and that is still their specialty.

The shrimp is out of this world. Huge Georgia whites with just a light coating. I used to get the crab cakes, served in a blue crab shell. Each plate comes with a mound of the famous fries and the best hush puppies on the island.

The Crab Trap is a great kid-friendly place too. When my son was little we amused him by giving him trash to throw in the hole in the middle of the table. Of course, that got a little out of hand and we had to move everything away from him or it went down the hole.

IGUANAS SEAFOOD

The problem with my family is they get into a rut and go to the same places all the time, plus my youngest has this thing for ‘tradition’. However, more than a few readers have extolled the deliciousness of Iguana’s fried shrimp, so I’m putting Iguanas on my list for my next visit. A quick look on their website and I learned they’ve even won awards for their wild Georgia shrimp!

I’ve been told to try the crab cakes, and there is free soft serve for dessert, so the kids will be happy!

ECHO RESTAURANT AT THE KING AND PRINCE RESORT

Echo is the hotel restaurant for The King and Prince Hotel, and offers the only beachside dining on the island. For the best views, choose the patio seating, or the dining room has floor to ceiling bay windows for viewing the waves.

At breakfast, our fresh fruit included raspberries, blueberries and blackberries in addition to melons and pineapple. We all fought over the bbq chicken flatbread, and the Echo donut that gives Café du Monde in New Orleans a run for the money.

My husband and I have also ditched the kids in the evenings to sit in the comfy couches in front of the huge limestone fireplace. In fact, we set out on a tour of rooftop bars one night and ended up at Echo because as cool as a rooftop bar sounds, Echo had better atmosphere.

They also offer a Sunday Brunch!

BARBARA JEANS

This restaurant in the Village is a little bit of a chick place, but you’ll see lots of men accompanying the women too because the food is so good.

Barbara Jean’s menu is highlighted by home style cooking. The website will say they do seafood really well too. I’m sure they do, and in fact, reader Kimberly said she has shipped Barbara Jeans crab cakes home many, many times. Going to have to try their crab cakes. I’m from Maryland, so I’m a harsh judge.

I’m a good judge of dessert too, and Barbara Jeans is also known for their chocolate stuff, which I have yet to try and I’m not sure why.

I’d like to personally thank Barbara Jean for making most of our annual Thanksgiving dinner side dishes. Cue my favorite scene from The Blindside movie, “kids, thank your mother for picking up Thanksgiving dinner.”

TARA THAI & SUSHI

I don’t eat raw fish, but this Thai and sushi restaurant located off Frederica Road in a strip mall area gets fantastic reviews.

Tara Thai & Sushi is the only place on St. Simons Island to offer both authentic Thai food. Sit at the sushi bar and watch the experts make your food right in front of you.

They also serve Saké, beers, wines, and mixed drinks at the bar.

DEL SUR

This restaurant intrigues me. DelSur is an Argentinian Italian Bistro. I don’t even know what that means, but the menu sounds good and it gets high marks on TripAdvsior. It’s located at the corner of the St. Simons Island Village at Mallery Ln and Ocean Blvd, so the location is prime.

GNAT’S LANDING

This is a good casual place. So… if you aren’t afraid of having a good time, come on and try them. They’re located in the heart of St Simon’s Redfern Village. They claim to have the island’s best food and atmosphere.

There is a menu of daily specials, fresh seafood, salads, sandwiches, and fried pickles, not to mention their margaritas, an island tradition.

CRAB DADDYS

Crab Daddy’s is the slightly upscale version of the Crab Trap. They have wonderful moderately priced grilled fish and a bottomless salad bowl that sounds very Olive Garden, but is actually very good. Children are welcome here and they do have high chairs, but you also see a lot of couples as well.

MOO COW

The Go to place for ice cream according to our readers. They make homemade waffle cones and select flavors of ice cream using only hormone-free milk in their14-16% butterfat premium ice creams.

Or try the new gourmet pops just in from Savannah Square Pops! Need something for a special occasion? Try one of their ice cream pies!

ST SIMONS ISLAND RESTAURANTS FOR DATE NIGHT

HALYARDS

Halyards restaurant is located in the Shops of Sea Island on Saint Simons Island. Send the kids to the movies at the Island Cinema while you sip good wine at Halyards.

Every meal experienced here is the perfect end to the day featuring fish just caught off the Georgia coast, plus flavor-rich local produce and an extensive wine and cocktail list.  

Every item on their seasonal menu at Halyards is made from scratch and served to perfection.

To serve fresh and locally sourced ingredients, Executive Chef Dave’s relationships with local fishermen and farmers make it possible for Halyard to offer the best ingredients to make a tremendous difference in food quality, the sustainability of the environment, and in the financial strength of the local economy. 

TRAMICI

Tramici means “among friends” and is part of the same restaurant group as Halyards.

They offer Italian-inspired cuisine served in an energetic, warm, and inviting dining room beneath the twinkly lights and shaded awnings of their deck and patio or open bar that overlooks the kitchen.

Their dishes are sourced from local and regional fishermen and farmers, created by experienced chefs’ hands, and perfected in a mammoth brick oven.

GEORGIA SEA GRILL

They take their commitment to serving up only the freshest ingredients very seriously. So serious that they even grow their own at Potlikker Farm.

They also use only locally-sourced seafood, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, or their own Satilla Ponds farm-raised catfish. You will see and taste the difference that locally grown brings to the table.

This is truly a farm-to-table experience.

THE ROOFTOP RESTAURANT

Sometimes called the Roof Restaurant, this Tuscan-looking Villa is also home to the Ocean Lodge and is located across the street from the beach on Beachview Dr. It’s the perfect place to have a cocktail on the roof.

This is a great place for a romantic evening under the stars or cocktails with friends.

COASTAL KITCHEN ST SIMONS

This seafood restaurant is located at the marina and has live music. They serve brunch, lunch, and dinner. Going for dinner? Start with the Lobster Nachos, and the Wild Georgia Shrimp & Grits for your entree.

Did I mention this place serves brunch? I haven’t been for brunch, but just looking at the menu has my mouth watering. Lobster Omelette or Crab Cake Benedict, anyone? YUM.

EMBER

Recipient of the 2017 Georgia Trend Silver Spoon Award, Ember is a casual eatery. The menu highlights ingredients sourced from local farmers and fishermen, wood-fired cooking, and influences from Italy, France, and the southeastern united states.

Their bar features unique biodynamic wines, innovative southern brews, and cocktails made with premium spirits and the freshest ingredients.

GOLDEN ISLES OLIVE OIL

Golden Isles Olive Oil offers you Ultra Premium, Extra Virgin Olive Oils, and Balsamic Vinegar from award-winning estates worldwide. It is harvested without heat or chemicals, ensuring the high antioxidant quality, freshness, and natural taste of our oils.

They also have a full menu with apps, sandwiches and salads, and a nice wine selection.

THE BEST PIZZA ON ST SIMONS ISLAND

MELLOW MUSHROOM

The perennial Atlanta favorite pizza parlor is now in St. Simons. We used to go to local pizza joint CJ’s, but Mellow Mushroom is really the better pie.

St Simons Island also has lots of other chain restaurants like Outback Steak House, but you can eat there in any city, stay with the local options, there are so many good ones. I got a lot of flack for saying this, but we did a blind taste test between Mellow Mushroom, Sals and Brogen’s North (the sleeper pizza joint) and Mellow Mushroom won.

SAL’S PIZZA

I received a lot of mail to add local favorite Sal’s Pizza to this list, so here it is. According to follower Anne, Sal’s is a small and quaint Italian restaurant with fire grilled pizzas and other homemade Italian food options. Seating is inside and out, but very limited, so get there early. And if you’re lucky, Sal may be there. The former pro boxer may be singing Italian songs while tossing dough to make pizzas in the open kitchen area behind the bar, just like you’d imagine at an authentic Italian eatery.

BROGEN’S NORTH

As I mentioned, this is the locals secret. You can’t get pizza at Brogen’s South at the Pier Village, but you can get a pretty darn good pie at the Brogen’s North location.

They also have pasta, sandwiches, salads, and a huge menu!

CJ PIZZA

CJ’s is a popular local pizza place in the Village. Their dough is made from scratch.

Some of the local favorite dishes? The Special is topped with pepperoni, sausage, ham, mushrooms, onions, and green peppers with our homemade pizza sauce.

Or this pie made with Southern Soul pulled pork, fresh garlic, sundried tomatoes, applewood smoked bacon, and mozzarella cheese on a Cj’s pizza sauce/Southern Soul BBQ sauce mix.

ST SIMONS ISLAND BREAKFAST SPOTS

SANDCASTLE

Pay your age up until 8-years-old. That’s the deal with the breakfast buffet at the Sand Castle, our favorite morning restaurant. Get to this restaurant located in the historic village downtown early, there is usually a line out the door by 10 am or so. In addition to the breakfast meats, muffins, yogurt, fruit, hash browns, biscuits and gravy and I can’t even remember what else, you also get eggs anyway you like and either French toast, pancake or waffle to order. Wear your stretchy pants to the Sandcastle.

Most restaurants on St. Simons Island are casual, but these are also good places to bring the family, kids included.

PALMER’S VILLAGE CAFE

I see this place all the time and there is usually a line out the door for breakfast, but I’ve never been here. Apparently, I’m totally missing the Banana Pudding Pancakes which are out of this world.

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