Nunzio Restaurant + Bar burst onto the dining scene last year on Hilton Head Island and is the talk of the town. The beautifully renovated space on New Orleans Road is owned by Nunzio Patruno, who currently owns New Jersey restaurant Nunzio Ristorante Rustico, which was reviewed by The New York Times and other media outlets. 

“Adulation of fresh vegetables and seasonal ingredients may seem cutting-edge, but Nunzio Patruno grew up cooking this new old-fashioned way years ago, and he has the loyal hordes to prove it,” the New York Times article says. 

The same could be said of his new restaurant on Hilton Head Island, which embraces the culinary traditions of the Puglia region in Southern Italy, where the Patruno family is from. 

The menu features both traditional and innovative seafood dishes and homemade pasta, as well as lighter fare. Popular main course elections include veal chops, branzino and halibut, exquisitely prepared and beautifully presented. Starter standouts include lobster bisque and diver scallops. The dessert menu features tiramisu, cannolis, cheesecake and other crowd pleasers. The staff answer patrons’ questions knowledgeably, and the wine list represents Italian and Californian selections curated to compliment the menu, at various price points. On pleasant evenings, the outdoor tables are filled with local and visiting diners of every age and nationality, enjoying each other’s company and a delicious meal. 

Reservations suggested. Happy Hour is from 4-6 p.m. with 20 percent off selected appetizers, cocktails, wines and beer. 18 New Orleans Road, Hilton Head Island. 843-715-2172 or