From big-name chefs to down-home favorites, these are Charleston's can't-miss restaurants.
Known for its “imaginative”, “distinctly Southern take” on oysters and “must-try” fried chicken, this “hip” Westside eatery in a converted mechanics’ garage offers a “New Orleans vibe” thanks to “clever, creative” decor, “old-timey flair” and outdoor seating; although it stays “very busy”, the “awesome" staff keeps the drinks and salty bivalves flowing.
This buzzy Westside cafe focuses on vegetables grown on its rooftop garden, as well as regional game and seafood for an American menu of breakfast biscuits, omelets, lunchtime sandwiches and entrees. The renovated historic building features reclaimed wood and eclectic, lodgelike decor, with multiple dining rooms, a small market and coffee bar up front.
New AmericanNorth Morrison Drive
A “gastropub of the highest order”, this North Morrison Drive hangout pairs craft beers brewed on-site, small-batch cocktails, ciders and meads (“you won’t be thirsty”) with an “imaginative” New American menu featuring upscale bar bites, small plates and housemade charcuterie; “knowledgeable” staffers work the “elegant but rustic” dining room, as well as a lush outdoor patio with communal tables.
Locals rave about the “exquisite” oysters, ceviche, lobster rolls and more at this “convivial” Ansonborough seafooder, which doubles as a carry-out fish market; “gleaming white tiles” lend a “New England vibe” (the original's in Nantucket) and the staff is “super-personable”, but “be prepared to wait” for the “limited” seating since rezzies aren’t accepted.
The “wonderfully prepared” seafood (including “life-changing” oysters) “could not be fresher” at this Cannonborough/Elliotborough “hot spot” from chef Mike Lata that’s become a “must-visit” for its “creative dishes, packed with flavor”; the “bright, airy locale” — a converted bank building with “lots of character” — can get “noisy” when full, but the “knowledgeable” staff and “head-turning” shellfish tower, “make up for it.”
“Charleston’s original farm-to-table superstar”, this Ansonborough American helmed by chef Jason Stanhope offers a seasonal menu of “stunning” dishes, as well as an “exceptional” wine list and “excellent” cocktails; “delightful” staffers preside over a “lovely" and "lively" dining room, and while some say “be prepared to book ahead”, others suggest just “grabbing a seat at the bar."
King St. Historic District
“The farm-to-table theme prevails” at this King St. Historic District “must for any foodie”, where “amazeballs” “spins on classic” Southern dishes feature “local ingredients with interesting twists” (and plenty of pork) on a “frequently changing” menu; the setting’s a “beautifully restored historic house” overseen by “knowledgeable and efficient” staffers, and although walk-ins often get a table at lunch, for dinner, “make reservations early.”
This elevated North Central diner with a throwback ambiance serves up an American menu of steaks, sandwiches, salads and snacks, plus classic cocktails and martinis. The vintage vibe is enhanced with checkered tablecloths, bold wood floors and walls lined with photos of race horses and boxing matches.
This understated but celebrated North Charleston outpost makes up for its small digs with inexpensive, gigantic portions of battered cod and chips, served with optional peas and gravy by an affable English chef-owner. The simple locale is brightened by corrugated metal walls and an assortment of funky British decor.