The Best Italian Food On Hilton Head Island

We couldn’t agree more with the statement of the late prominent American food writer M.F.K. Fisher, who said, “First we eat, then we do everything else.” Food is an integral part of our lives and when asked which is the most delectable cuisine in the world? Italian cuisine would flash in the minds of many instantaneously.

While some critics might say Italian cuisine is overhyped, others (the vast majority) go head over heels at the smell of scrumptious Italian dishes. Whether you are a food critic or a food lover or just an average eater, the chances of not liking the aromatic smell and luscious taste of Italian dishes is highly unlikely. Think about this: Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t like Italian food? We bet you haven’t.

At Frankie Bones we serve Italian American dishes. We do it extremely well. In fact, we are so confident in our Italian offerings (and American classics) that we can say with certainty that we serve the best Italian fare on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton. How so? Let us show you from A to Z.

A is for Antipasto

If you take the word antipasto apart you can figure out that it is a traditional first course In Latin “ante” means before and “pastus” means pasture or meal. In Italy, antipasti (the plural of antipasto) is typically colorful and diverse but not too filling. At Frankie Bones, our antipasto engages all the taste buds from salty and sweet to sour, bitter, and umami. A cornucopia of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and more.

B is for Bellini

A traditional Bellini is a cocktail with Italian sparkling wine and peach puree or nectar. Giuseppe Cipriani (the founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy) created the cocktail. The pinkish-colored drink was named the Bellini because it reminded him of the colors in a painting of a saint. This painting was done by the 15th century Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini.

At Frankie’s we serve both the traditional Bellini with peach nectar and our own creation using strawberry nectar.

C is for Cannelloni

The Italian tube-shaped pasta called cannelloni (which is also known as manicotti in the U.S.) is essentially a sheet of pasta, or crespella (the Italian equivalent of a crepe), rolled in a tube. It is typically stuffed with meat, topped with sauce, and baked.

It was invented around 1907 by a Neopolitan chef, Nicola Frederico, who was working at a popular restaurant in Sorrento, Italy, called La Favorita. Chicken, beef, and veal fill our crepes that are brought to perfection with the addition of bolognese and bechamel sauce.D is for Dirty Dean

At Frankie Bones we love the Rat Pack, especially Dean Martin. What better way to pay tribute than to name a martini after the man born Dino Paul Crocetti?

E is for Eggplant

Parmigiana (parmigiana di melanzane in Italy) is one of the classic preparations of southern Italy. Numerous regions in Italy claim the invention, and all of them could be true: Sicily, Naples, Puglia, and Calabria. Its history is as complex as are the layers of eggplant slices and olive oil, covered with tomatoes and mozzarella that create a depth of flavor. At Frankie Bones, we honor tradition and sometimes create our own variation, like using provolone cheese in our Eggplant Parmigiana.

F is for Fettuccine Alfredo

Did you know the fettuccine alfredo was invented because of an upset stomach?

Alfredo Di Leilo was the owner of a restaurant in Rome. His wife Signora Di Leilo wasn’t hungry which was worrisome because she had just given birth to his son Armando and he needed mama’s milk. Her husband fretted and fretted, then tried to coax her with a dish of pasta. Alfredo made some egg noodles and tossed them with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and butter. His wife took a bite, smiled, and her appetite came roaring back. Alfredo knew he was on to something, added the dish to his menu (1914), and the rest is history.

At Frankie’s, we add cream which makes for a decadent dish. Shrimp, chicken, or salmon can also be added.

G is for Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is the first cousin to the classic Italian preparation called bruschetta. It became popular in the 1940s in Italian American restaurants. It was originally made with French or Italian bread slices and spread with garlic butter on each side. There are many variations today.

What better than piping hot bread, garlic butter, parmesan, and a Frankie mozzarella addition? You know this dish is made for dipping in our home made tomato sauce. So good!

H is for Heirloom Tomato Caprese

Caprese salad is a famous Italian dish traditionally made with just 4 ingredients: tomato, mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil, and basil.

It’s perfect as an appetizer, but can be a single whole dish. The three main ingredients are the colors of the Italian flag: the red of the tomato, the green of the basil, and the white of the cheese. In the 1920s, after the close of WWI, a patriotic Italian stone worker wanted to create a dish as a tribute to his country.

Our creative chefs have turned this dish on its head with the addition of housemade ricotta cheese, arugula, red onion, and a balsamic reduction. The contrasting tastes explode in your mouth and we think that long ago stone worker would agree.

I is for Ice Cream

Not just any old ice cream, but spumoni. This traditional Italian dessert is actually a milk sherbert. Typically consists of 3 layers: chocolate, pistachio, and almond. In Italy, it is often made in terrine, hardened in the freezer, and cut into slices about an inch thick. It was introduced into the U.S. in the 1870s.

A perfect ending to a Frankie Bones meal….spumoni and you – perfect together. Stop by on August 21 and help us celebrate National Spumoni Day.

J is for Jackpot Mixed Grill

A little detour into a favorite American classic. Many cuisines feature a mixed grill: a meal consisting traditionally of an assortment of grilled meats. At Frankie Bones, we do a little of this and a little of that. We stay in our lane with some pork tenderloin and filet mignon but then venture out with some crab stuffed shrimp. We think you will agree that a new classic dish is born.

K is for King of Clubs

Maybe the first “it” sandwich. The classic club is a perfect amalgamation of turkey/chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and don’t forget the mayo.

Unlike the crisp layers of this iconic sandwich, the origins aren’t easy to see. The most popular story has the club sandwich being invented around 1894 at the Saratoga Club House, an exclusive gambling joint in Saratoga Springs, NY. The name probably comes from its popularity at resorts and country clubs.

At Frankie’s, our club sandwich is King. Why is that, you might ask? Because we’ve added ham and the secret sauce, American cheese. Those additions surely make it a King.

L is for Liver and Onions

Maybe you have had a bad experience with this dish. Liver and onions tend to get a bad wrap, as it is either very good or very bad based on the skills of the kitchen. There is no in between. Our liver and onions is an impeccable rendition. Take a walk on the wild side; order liver and onions a la Frankie’s way. You will not be disappointed.

M is for “Made” Meatballs

Did you know that traditional Italian meatballs are a separate main course that are not served with pasta? In fact, pasta is considered a first course and the pairing of pasta with meatballs is actually an American invention.

In Italian, meatballs are called polpettes and are typically made from beef or veal and contain ingredients such as garlic, eggs, parsley, and in some cases a cheese such as parmigiano reggiano. Although most Americans associate meatballs with meat, they can be made with other ingredients such as fish and potatoes, and in Italy these are called croquettes instead of polpettes. Traditionally, they are fried or cooked in the oven.

If you’re “made,” it’s supposed to be a secret, and so this old family recipe remains with the family. But one thing is not a secret: our meatballs will be the best you have ever tasted.

N is for Negroni

Invented in 1919 by Count Camillo Negroni in Florence, Italy, this cocktail is actually a variation on another classic cocktail, the Americano. A mixture of Compari, sweet vermouth, and soda water served with a lemon slice, the Americano was known as the Milano-Torino because of the origin of its two main ingredients: Campari from Milan and Vermouth di Torino from, well you know. The name changed to Americano during Prohibition when it became a favorite of Americans visiting Italy.

It was over 100 years ago when count Negroni asked his bartender at the Cassini Cafe to stiffen his Americano by replacing the soda with gin. History records that the bartender, one Fosco Scarselli, also replaced the lemon with orange. Did he add bitters too? The legend does not tell, though it is an ingredient today.

James Bond drank a Negroni when he wasn’t in the mood for a martini
Let our expert mixologists prepare a classic Negroni that will take you back to Florence, Italy.

O is for Olive Oil

One of the foundations of Italian cooking, you can be assured that we use the highest quality extra virgin olive oil in all our preparations.

P is for Piccata

While the origins of piccata remain cloudy, one bite of our chicken or veal piccata and you will forget about history and just indulge yourself in incredible flavor and taste. It’s a classic for a reason.

Q is for Quality

Quality ingredients. Quality preparation Quality food and drink. Quality service. Quality experience. Quality digs. That’s Frankie Bones.

R is for Ravioli

The word ravioli comes from the Italian riavvolgere which means “to wrap.” While ravioli’s origins are obscure, the earliest mentions come from 14th century manuscripts. Datini, a merchant of Prato, has a recipe for ravioli that consists of chopped blanched green herbs, fresh cheese, and beaten egg simmered in broth. This is very similar to the contemporary preparation of ravioli. Ravioli was not served with tomato sauce until the 16th century when tomatoes were introduced from the New World. Prior to this, ravioli was served al brodo, in broth. Nothing wrong with cheese ravioli, but if you want to climb a culinary ladder then sample our seasoned veal and imported parmesan ravioli in a sweet marsala and mushroom cream sauce. Rich, yet light, you’ll be floating on air.

S is for Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi is one of those creations in which immigrant cooks adapted Italian techniques to American ingredients. Scampi are, in fact, lobster-like crustaceans with pale pink shells. One traditional way of preparing them in Italy is to saute them in olive oil, garlic, onion, and white wine. Italian cooks in America swapped shrimp for scampi (not native in America) but kept both names. Garlic, olive oil, white wine, shrimp – what could be better? Well, how about stuffing the shrimp with crab? (That’s what Frankie does.) Yep, that’s better!

T is for Toasted Ravioli

What spicy chicken wings are to Buffalo, toasted ravioli is to St. Louis. Strictly speaking, the ravioli is deep fried, not toasted, and like many culinary discoveries, the first batch was the result of an accident. The first toasted ravioli seems to have been made in the 1950s at a restaurant called Angelo Oldani’s on the Hill, the Italian neighborhood in St. Louis where both Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola grew up. Allegedly, the owner, Angelo, was busy and told a new assistant, a German cook, to prepare the ravioli. He had a pan of boiling hot oil on the stove and the cook thought it was supposed to be for the ravioli so he dropped them in the oil. When Angelo saw what happened he tried to salvage the ravioli by brushing on some grated cheese and the result was local history. Everybody loved these “toasted” ravioli and it became a mainstay to this day on restaurant menus in St Louis.

Sadly, Yogi Berra has passed, but at Frankie Bones we like to think that if he tasted one of our flash-fried beef ravioli that he would have enjoyed it so much that a new “Yogism” might have been born. Something like this about a St. Louis restaurant: “No one goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

U is for Umami

Umami is our fifth basic taste alongside sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Japanese scientists discovered this fifth taste in the 20th century and it translates to savory. At Frankie Bones, we are all about taste sensations, especially umami.

V is for Vietta Barbara d’ Alba Trevigne

All of our delicious Italian food needs a great, medium-bodied, Italian wine that is food-friendly. This Barbara is spot on to pair with so many of our dishes.

W is for White Clam Sauce

This is the quintessential Italian pasta dish (spaghetti alla vongole), or spaghetti with clams, especially in Naples and Rome.
This time we decided to play it close to the vest. Even Frankie realizes that some things should not be tinkered with. Fresh, local little neck clams, sauteed in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, white wine, and red pepper chile flakes. That’s it, nothing more. Simplicity,” said Leonardo da Vinci, “is the ultimate sophistication.” Even we can’t argue with Leonardo.

X is for X Marks the Spot

Our two locations:

1301 Main Street
Hilton Head Island, SC

26 Discovery Drive
Bluffton, SC

Y is for Yankee…as in Southern Barrel Damn Yankee IPA

A nice, solid, local (Bluffton) beer to accompany your meal.

Z is for Zesty Zing Zang

Nothing could be finer than being in Carolina in the morning. Well, we can think of something a little finer: Sunday brunch at Frankie Bones. Sip on a brunch Bloody Mary with zesty zing zang and vodka served tall on the rocks with a beer back.There you have it. A to Z. Twenty-six reasons that Frankie Bones serves the best Italian-American food on Hilton Head and in Bluffton.

Tutta a Tavola a Mangiare – everyone to the table to eat!

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