It’s no secret that my favorite city in the USA is Charleston, South Carolina. Spend enough time with me chatting about places to visit, and you can bet your bottom dollar this city will be at the top of my list. No shame in my Charleston love game! I was lucky enough to fall in love, get engaged, and married in this quaint, southern city so it is extremely special to me.
If there is one thing you need to bring with you on a visit to the Low Country, it’s an appetite. The culinary scene in Charleston is a force to be reckoned with. From Southern comfort food to the catch of the day seafood, your palate and belly will be thanking you at every meal!
On a recent trip to Charleston, we tried out a number of new restaurants and some of our tried and true favorites. If you’re headed to the south, I recommend you pack your stretchy clothes and ALWAYS leave room for more!
Disclaimer: I was terrible about getting food pictures mostly because I was entirely too busy stuffing my face so, I guess that’s one thing I’ll work on! 🙂
People who love to eat are always the best people–Julia Child
Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit: Not sure what is better than a hand-made butter infused biscuit, but if you find it let me know. A small counter shop with a grab and go concept and limited seating, it’s a great quick breakfast option for those headed to the beach! These tasty biscuits are a hot commodity, and if you don’t get there right when they open you’ll have to wait in line with the rest of the late risers! Alas, there is good news, night owls! On Friday and Saturday they open their doors for ‘Late Night’ servings (10pm-2am). Nothing like a biscuit to satisfy those late night cravings! Also, they ship nationwide. Just a quick FYI in case you were wondering what to get me for Christmas!
Recommendations: Cheese and Chive biscuit, Black Pepper Bacon biscuit, and Pimento cheese sandwich
- Hominy Grill: One of our tried and true favorites is Hominy Grill. You’ll find so many of Charleston’s restaurants situated in old renovated homes which elevates the dining experience. It’s like going to a family breakfast after church on Sunday. Simple, white linens, friendly staff, and classic dishes are just some of the reasons we always find ourselves coming back.
Recommendation: The Charleston Nasty Biscuit. Guys, it’s fried chicken on a butter biscuit smothered in gravy. Basically, I’m telling you to blow all of your daily caloric intake on this one meal. It’s called balance.
- Poogan’s Porch: The perfect example of Low Country cuisine is this Charleston staple. They named their restaurant after the dog that stayed behind after his owners moved out of the house! Another beautiful Victorian home turned well-renowned restaurant in the books, y’all.
Recommendations: Sunrise Shrimp & Grits, Pimento BLT, and Mac & Cheese
- Additional Options (equally as good!):
- Virginia on King: Great salmon sandwich and, I’m not one to brag, but I fancy myself a fried okra connoisseur and these folks nail it.
- Butcher & Bee: Chocolate croissant and avocado toast
- Early Bird Diner: The restaurant was featured on the show Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives which is one of my dad’s favorite shows so we had to take him! A diner serving up delicious home cooked breakfasts!
- Toast: French Toast topped with fresh peaches (does it get more southern? Okay, add a mimosa, too!)
- Wild Flour Pastry: They have a “Sticky Bun Sunday.” Need I say more?
- Five Loaves Cafe: Need to get away from the hustle and bustle of King Street? Or let’s be honest, do you need a break from the butter and fried food? If so, Five Loaves is a perfect option. A local watering hole, this cafe is bustling with locals getting away from the touristy crowds. Using local resources, they bring healthy options to the table.
Recommendations: Peppercorn & Corriander Hormone Free Roast Beef sandwich and All Natural Chicken Salad Club Sandwich. Note: The size of these sandwiches are quite large; consider the half soup and half sandwich option! Also, they serve fresh juices right next door!
- Taco Boy: Another great lunch spot with a large patio space and great happy hour is Taco Boy. With fresh made guac and a margarita, you really can’t go wrong.
Recommendations: Guacamole, Tempura Shrimp Taco, and Spiced Market Tuna Taco
- Leon’s Oyster Shop: I fell in love with this gem of a restaurant the moment we walked in. What once was an old body shop is now an industrial, comfortable eatery serving fantastic southern food and great cocktails. The colorful mismatched lawn chairs in their patio area was the perfect spot to devour one of the best fried chicken sandwiches we’ve had to date.
Recommendations: Chicken sandwich (fried, obviously), Char-Grilled Oysters, Whole fish with chimichurri and one of their tasty beers or frosés
- Additional Options (equally as good!):
- 167 Raw: We are obsessed with Oysters, raw or crispy, so you just can’t go wrong here.
- Tattooed Moose: Mike’s Famous Duck Club sandwich and share the Duck Fat Fries & Gravy. Also, try and find our names carved into the table! Great local dig to watch grab a cold beer and eat a greasy sandwich–all while devouring fries smothered in gravy. And all the men said AMEN!
- D’Allesandro’s Pizza: The Chauncinator & Spicy Benny pizza. Take it a step further and pick up the pizza to go and enjoy it on the beach like we did!
- Poe’s Tavern: Great spot on Sullivan’s Island for a quick bite on beach day.
- Hanks Seafood Restaurant: We do not come to Charleston without coming to Hanks. For over sixteen years this restaurant has been voted best seafood and we 100% agree. Located near the Charleston City Market, this charming restaurant is serving up fantastic seafood dishes. Be sure to grab a reservation in advance!
Recommendations: Grilled Swordfish (try NOT to lick the plate–but I bet you’ll want to!), Rare Seared Tuna, Steamed Mussels, Broiled Main Lobster, and my hubby’s favorite Calamari!
- Husk Restaurant: Another must is Husk. The charming ambiance, classic dining, and rotating menu allow for a unique dining experience every time. We enjoyed drinks and appetizers at the Husk bar prior to our dinner reservations. Great cocktails, hush puppies and fried chicken for an appetizer; and outdoor seating sets the mood for a fabulous dinner next door.
Recommendations: The menu is changed twice daily, but everything we tried on our menu was fantastic. You cannot go wrong!
- Magnolias: A pretty pink, upscale restaurant located on East Bay Street. We had our rehearsal dinner for our wedding here so it is a special spot for us! The same owner also owns Blossom, another great restaurant to try!
Recommendations: Housemade pimento cheese, Fried Mac & Cheese, Blackened Salmon, and Carolina BBQ Pulled Pork
- Additional Options (equally as good!):
- Halls Chophouse: Pricey, but worth the mouth-watering steak or lamb dinner!
- Hymans Seafood Restaurant: A no reservation, casual eatery
- Eli’s Table: One we haven’t gone to but hear great reviews on this Southern fare
- McCrady’s Tavern: Farm to table restaurant
- Bowen’s Island: Covered in graffiti, a local spot serving steamed oysters by the shovel!
- Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar: Tourist spot, but dining on the water is hard to beat
- Coast Bar & Grill: Tucked away from the busyness of downtown I love this hidden gem
- Obstinate Daughter: Another spot on Sullivan’s Island that is a must-try!
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams: Charleston get’s hot and humid in the summertime, so there is no better to cool off than with an ice cream scoop! While Jeni’s is not specific to Charleston it’s some seriously delicious ice cream with unusual flavors that are delicious!
Recommendations: Lavender, Cookies & Cream, and we had their seasonal flavor Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk (AH-MAZING)
- Sugar Bakeshop: Don’t you love when a place is a sweet as it looks? That’s Sugar Bakeshop. From cupcakes and cookies to cakes and pies you’re sure to leave on a sugar high. Totally meant to rhyme, btw.
Recommendation: Almond Chocolate Coconut Cupcake
- Charleston’s Candy Kitchen: As you roam through Charleston Historic District, keep an ear out for the call for a free praline sample. Hot, fresh, and oh so delicious, you’ll be begging for more!
As Virginia Woolf once said, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
If your waistband gets a little tighter, your belly a bit fuller, and your heart yearning for Charleston like mine..I count that as a win for us all, friends! Stay tuned, because next week we focus on Charleston drinks! Who doesn’t love a nice pour of wine?