Hilton Head Island, SC restaurant on list of country’s best

Waitress Michelle Soulia of Hilton Head Island restaurant Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte fills two glasses of wine in this file photo from WineFest Public Tasting & Auction at Honey Horn on Hilton Head Island.

File/The Island Packet

Customers are raving about a South Carolina restaurant — and those fans helped it earn national recognition.

Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte restaurant on Hilton Head Island was named one of the 100 best places to eat in the country, according to OpenTable.

To come up with the list, the restaurant reservation website said it studied more than 10.5 million reviews that verified users left at U.S. eateries in 2021.

“The result is a selection of spots across the country that constantly serve up creative dishes, unparalleled hospitality, and one-of-a-kind dining experiences for all occasions,” OpenTable said in its report, which was published last month and updated on Jan. 17.

Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte — boasting a name that means “green star” in French — was the only place in South Carolina to receive a top honor on the nationwide list. That’s understandable for a restaurant that has earned 4.9 stars of 5 on OpenTable.

Last year, some customers went to the website to rave about the customer service and dishes ranging from flounder to oysters.

Charlie’s focuses on serving “fresh local seafood with a French, Lowcountry flare,” according to the restaurant. The business was founded in 1982 after Charlie Golson, a Savannah native, took a trip to Paris.

“After a long stint in the fast paced hotel kitchens of Washington DC, he was ready to move back closer to home and start a family,” the restaurant said on its website. “It was at that time he was able to open up a one room French bistro that would showcase the food and culture that he was so fond of.”

The restaurant has since expanded and ownership has moved on to the next generation, The Island Packet reported. These days, the restaurant says it has a “hand-written menu” offering escargot, duck breast and other French-inspired dishes.

“Palmer, Charlie’s son spends much of his time in the kitchen researching local purveyors and meticulously butchering fresh fish and meats on a daily basis,” the restaurant said on its website. “Charlie’s daughter, Margaret, is a certified sommelier under the Court of Master Sommeliers and is responsible for curating the award-winning wine list.”

Though the business received recognition from OpenTable this time around, no Hilton Head Island restaurant made it onto other recent lists.

Earlier in January, the restaurant review website Yelp said Jackrabbit Filly and Lola — both in North Charleston — were the only eateries in the state to be named among its top 100 places in the nation to enjoy a meal. The list weighed reviews and rankings, among other factors, McClatchy News reported.

And in October, The New York Times said Hannibal’s Soul Kitchen in the tourist spot of Charleston was one of the U.S. restaurants it was “excited about right now.”

This story was originally published January 24, 2022 1:07 PM.

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Simone Jasper is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer and real-time news in the Carolinas.

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