Editors' Picks

Chef Mike Lata's Favorite Charleston Eats

Mike Lata is one of the most revered chefs in Charleston with his award-winning eateries FIG and the seafood-centric, The Ordinary. When he's not hard at work behind the stoves (or riding one of his many motorcycles), here's where you can find him around town.

The Obstinate Daughter

EclecticSullivan's Island
"A real Sullivan’s Island treasure”, this "original" New American features an eclectic, wide-ranging menu including raw-bar items, pastas and wood-oven pizzas, plus “creative cocktails”; service is “warm” and “attentive”, and the “gorgeous” “nautical decor” pays homage to the “beachside address.”

Mike's notes: "Pick from any seasonal offerings. It's a treat to have a restaurant destination on the beach where you can have a great food & wine experience with a really put together staff. I recently ordered and loved the frogmore chowder—a great chowder inspired by frogmore stew. It was well executed, simple and delicious."


MexicanThe French Quarter
It’s “crowded for a reason” at this “happening” French Quarter joint serving “absolutely amazing” tacos, burritos and other “creative” Mexican street eats; the “tiny” space is “cute” and features whitewashed exposed-brick walls, pressed tin ceilings and a bar pouring a “great selection” of tequila and mezcal.

Mike's notes: "My go-to order is the stuffed burrito and i happen to be walking there as we speak!"

Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ

BarbecueNorth Morrison Drive
"Finger-lickin' good" BBQ is the pull at these "top-notch" joints where "generous portions" are served by "friendly" folks in a "casual" bar-type setting; for a "fun" time with "awesome live music" and a "noisy atmosphere", fans say, it's "the place to be."

Mike's notes: "Chicken cracklins are my go-to if I am feeling it. It's the equivalent of overindulging from the night before (you might hate yourself after eating them) but they are addictive and delicious. Plus, home town is the most inviting, neighborhood-y spot. It's a beer-drinking, barbecue-eating joint with live music and super nice people."

The Grocery

This Charleston "winner" takes a "seasonal approach" to "excellent" New American fare with "Southern fusion" accents, using "locally sourced" ingredients in dishes that are "innovative" "without being pretentious", and "lots of items intended for sharing"; the "upbeat" "farm atmosphere", "swoon"-worthy cocktails and "knowledgeable" servers who "comfortably make you feel at home" are added draws, justifying borderline-pricey tabs; P.S. there's free parking next door.

Mike's notes: "It's located down the street from the ordinary. My secret go-to move is to cut out of work early, belly up to the bar for a cocktail and order the lowcountry seafood pilau."

EVO Pizzeria

PizzaNorth Charleston
"Neighborhood pizza joint" meets "farm-to-table concept" at this "super-casual" North Charleston "institution" that creates "perfect pies" with "straight-from-the-garden" ingredients like okra and squash blossoms; "you may wait for a table", but it's "top-shelf" noshing that "won't break the bank."

Mike's notes: "They do the simplest thing really well. I order whatever the salad of the day is (the large portion is perfect to share) and pick a veggie-centric pizza and drink cheap wine.  perfection! "

Trattoria Lucca

"Absolutely divine" Italian fare distinguishes this "higher-end" Cannonborough/Elliotborough staple, "a real treat" where chef-owner Ken Vedrinski "makes magic" with his "unusually creative" renderings of "obviously very fresh" ingredients; the staff likewise "performs at the highest level", so despite acoustics that aren't for "the faint of heart" and pricing that'll "lighten your wallet", admirers advise it's "worth it"; P.S. a set-price, family-style dinner is offered on Mondays.

Mike's notes: "I think Ken Vedrinski is the best cook in the city. order any of the crudos or pastas and you can't go wrong."

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