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Charleston Travel Guide

The 15 Best Restaurants in Charleston

Your guide to the best of Charleston's dining scene.

Charleston is perennially ranked among the best food cities in the country and for good reason. While there’s no shortage of excellent eateries serving up traditional southern fare, the culinary scene has diversified to include a mix of African, Asian, Italian, and Pakistani influences recently, making it more exciting than ever to book a table. Here are 15 of the best restaurants to consider on your next visit.

1 OF 15

Chez Nous

WHERE: Cannonborough Elliotborough

Seasonally driven dishes drawn up on a handwritten menu that changes daily, Chez Nous is easily the most charming lunch or dinner spot in town. This petite restaurant with a big heart and blends a bit of French, Italian, and Spanish influence and each meal includes two appetizers, two entrees, and two desserts. The bar features a robust collection of wine bottles to pair with your meal, making this perfect date night out or small group special occasion.

2 OF 15

Basic Kitchen

WHERE: Downtown

Two blocks shy of King Street in Downtown Charleston, Basic Kitchen is beloved by locals for its convivial atmosphere and consistently clean eats. The veggie-forward menu features dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, all of which can accommodate gluten-free and celiac diners. Don’t miss the buffalo cauliflower wings, pistachio beet dip, and corn ribs, along with a beet margarita to wash it all down.

3 OF 15


WHERE: Downtown

Occupying a gorgeous three-story Greek revival-style building, Lowland opened last year and their creative take on the traditional Southern dishes makes it one of the most exciting spots in town these days. Lowland consists of two dining experiences under one roof: downstairs is Lowland Tavern, which serves a southern a la carte menu, while upstairs is The Dining Room offers a more refined tasting menu experience.

4 OF 15


WHERE: Cannonborough Elliotborough

An intimate neighborhood bistro serving up modern American fare, Vern’s menu emphasizes of-the-moment seasonal ingredients and shareable plates. Brought to you by husband-and-wife duo Bethany and Dano Heinze, Vern’s is located in Charleston’s Elliotborough neighborhood and is housed in a quaint corner building that dates back to 1881.

5 OF 15


WHERE: Downtown

Housed inside two 18th-century townhouses, Sorelle is a Southern Italian-inspired restaurant, bar, and market in the heart of Historic Downtown Charleston. From the chef’s signature spuntini to start the meal, other standout dishes include their long list of homemade pasta, including chef’s favorite “Pillows of Gold” Ricotta Tortellini, Caviar Zeppole, and Crudo di Tonno.

6 OF 15

The Restaurant at Zero George

WHERE: Downtown

The Restaurant at Zero George is not only one of the most romantic restaurants in town, but it’s also serving up some of Charleston’s most inventive and elevated dishes to boot. Helmed by Executive Chef Vinson Petrillo, Zero offers a multi-course tasting menu guided by a team of expert staff. For something on the light side, The Caviar Bar is an intimate, eight seats experience that includes Regiis Ova caviar served with classic accouterments like brioche, jammy eggs, and kettle chips, along with decadent dishes including wagyu katsu sandwich with edible gold.

7 OF 15

Ma’am Saab

WHERE: Downtown

Helmed by Chef Maryam Ghaznavi, Ma’am Saab is the Holy City’s preeminent new Pakistani spot. Serving up everything from creamy butter chicken, saag paneer, and smoked ground beef, Ma’am has quickly become a Charleston staple. Don’t miss the multi-course tasting menu that changes seasonally for something extra special.

8 OF 15

Leon's Oyster Shop

WHERE: Westside

Fried chicken and world-famous char-grilled oysters may be the stars of the show at Leon’s Oyster Shop, but don’t miss the bevy of delicious side dishes, from hush puppies to old-school scalloped potatoes. Wash it all down with some Miller High Life “Ponies” or a magnum of blanc de blanc or Scribe rosé.

9 OF 15

Honeysuckle Rose

WHERE: Westside

The latest concept from husband and wife team Ryan and Kelleanne Jones, Honeysuckle Rose prides itself on being one of the most unique dinner experiences in town. The experience doesn’t disappoint. This pint-sized restaurant seats about 30 guests per seating for a three-hour, eight-course tasting menu with optional wine and/or mocktail pairing. It’s a culinary adventure that’s perfect for groups or a special occasion with your nearest and dearest.

10 OF 15

Chubby Fish

WHERE: Cannonborough Elliotborough

Ask any Charleston local what their favorite seafood spot is and chances are they’ll direct you straight to Chubby Fish. Beloved for its laid-back vibes and simply delicious sustainably sourced seafood, from grilled oysters to triggerfish tempura, no matter what you order you really can’t go wrong. Word to the wise, there are no reservations, and seats at this pint-sized spot fill up fast so get here early or be prepared for a bit of a wait. It’s worth it.

11 OF 15

Xiao Bao Biscuit

WHERE: Cannonborough Elliotborough

Set in a converted gas station, for some of the best Asian fusion fare in town head directly to Xiao Bao Biscuit. A longtime favorite of Charlestonians, with plenty of indoor and patio seating, don’t miss the okonomiyaki which is undoubtedly the mouth-wateringly delicious star of the show here, along with an order of Fancy Boy house fried rice and Som Tom salad for a bit of a spicy kick.

12 OF 15


WHERE: Downtown

A longtime neighborhood bistro focused on seasonally-inspired cuisine, FIG recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and remains one of Charleston’s most celebrated restaurants. Standout dishes include their iconic Tomato Tart Tatin, Chicken Liver Pate, and Ricotta Gnocchi.

13 OF 15

Frannie & The Fox

WHERE: Downtown

Set inside Hotel Emeline, Frannie & The Fox is the place for fresh out of the wood-fired oven Italian pizza and wine. Don’t miss the Taleggio Pizza which comes dripping in honey and black pepper. It’s a buzzy spot and you’ll want to sit and stay a while. If the weather allows, grab a spot and sit al fresco in the charming courtyard, which also comes outfitted with a free-standing fireplace for cooler nights. Just off the restaurant, The Den is the new go-to spot to sip a hand-shaken martini or specialty craft cocktails.

14 OF 15

Bintü Atelier

WHERE: Eastside

Set on the east side of town, Bintü Atelier is a newcomer to the Charleston culinary scene, and serving up West-African-inspired dishes, from the spicy crab rice to black-eyed pea stew and everything in between, is already making a name for itself. Grab a spot on the patio and soak up all of the richness found in each of owner Binta N’Daw Young’s delightfully rich homemade recipes.

15 OF 15

The Charleston Grill

WHERE: Downtown

Regarded as one of the Holy City’s preeminent southern fine dining establishments, The Charleston Grill is helmed by Chef de Cuisine Suzy Castelloe and is an indulgent culinary journey from start to finish. Come hungry. Highlights include the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, Vegan Truffle Caviar, and Miso-Maple Sweet Potato Porcelet Rib Rack. Make sure to save room for apple tatin and the chocolate ganache cigar for dessert.