Charleston Restaurants

Charleston is blessed with a bevy of Southern-inflected selections, from barbecue parlors to fish shacks to casual places serving Lowcountry fare like shrimp and grits. If you'd like to try something new, there are plenty of places serving updated, inspired versions of classic dishes. Before you leave, you'll definitely see why Charleston is considered one of the greatest food cities in the world.

The city's dining scene status continues to rise, boosted by a group of James Beard Foundation repeat award winners. Robert Stehling of Hominy Grill, Mike Lata of FIG and The Ordinary, Jason Stanhope of FIG, and Sean Brock of McCrady's and Husk each earned the designation of Best Chef: Southeast, in successive years. The city boasts other prodigious talents, too: Alex Lira of Bar Normandy, Jeremiah Bacon of the Macintosh, Michelle Weaver of Charleston Grill, Ken Vedrinski of Trattoria Lucca, Jacques Larson of Wild Olive and The Obstinate Daughter, and Josh Walker of Xiao Bao Biscuit. It's the establishment of the New South, circa now.

As for attire, Charleston invites a crisp yet casual atmosphere. Don't forget, it was recognized as the Most Mannerly City in the country by Marjabelle Young Stewart, which means that residents are slow to judge (or, at the least, that they're doing so very quietly). On the whole, the city encourages comfort and unhurried, easy pacing. The result is an idyllic setting in which to enjoy oysters on the half shell and other homegrown delicacies from the land and sea that jointly grant the city its impressive culinary standing.

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  • 1. Bowens Island

    $$ | Seafood

    This family-owned seafood shack has survived hurricanes, fires, and the onslaught of trendy restaurants hitting downtown. The menu at this funky...Read More

  • 2. Butcher & Bee

    $ | North Morrison | Modern American

    Healthy and light but always satisfying, this local favorite has grown into new digs and expanded its lunch and dinner menus. The seasonal menu...Read More

  • 3. Edmund's Oast

    $$$ | North Morrison | American

    It's not just what's in the pint glasses at this upscale brewpub that has locals raving. The kitchen's mac-and-peas and pickled shrimp toast...Read More

  • 4. Extra Virgin Oven

    $$ | Pizza

    Known to locals as EVO, this Park Circle pizzeria is considered by many to be the area's best, doling out Neapolitan-style pies with super-thin...Read More

  • 5. Lewis Barbecue

    $ | North Morrison | American

    Austin pitmaster John Lewis transformed Charleston's smoked meat scene when he opened this Texas-style joint that serves prime rib, pulled pork...Read More

  • 6. Stono Market and Tomato Shed Cafe

    $$ | American

    This Johns Island roadside joint presents a banquet of locally raised delicacies. Owners and farmers Pete and Babs Ambrose maintain a 135-acre...Read More

  • 7. The Obstinate Daughter

    $$ | Italian

    Known for his fine Italian cuisine at Wild Olive on Johns Island, chef Jacques Larson expands his creative touch with this elegant seafood,...Read More

  • 8. Bar George

    $ | Contemporary

    Buzzy local chef Alex Lira and his industry buddies opened this hot-dogs-and-raw-oysters joint as a neighborhood hangout. And while locals do...Read More

  • 9. Caroline's Aloha Bar

    $ | West Ashley | Eclectic

    Step into the South Pacific at this Hawaiian-theme Avondale hangout for creative bites like pork belly, kimchi, wasabi cheese balls, loaded...Read More

  • 10. Coda del Pesce

    $$$ | Seafood

    Ken Vedrinski's oceanfront homage to the sea on the Isle of Palms is worth the hike from downtown. The crudo (raw fish) with tangerines, wine...Read More

  • 11. Home Team BBQ

    $ | West Ashley | American

    This bar and restaurant swiftly earned the endorsement of even the old-school barbecue set (the restaurant's newfangled pork tacos notwithstanding...Read More

  • 12. Jack's Cosmic Dogs

    $ | American

    The Galactic, Krypto, Orbit City, and Blue Galactic hot dog varieties at Jack's Cosmic are otherworldly excellent, with blue-cheese slaw, spicy...Read More

  • 13. Poe's Tavern

    $$ | Burger

    The bar and restaurant is beloved among visitors and locals for its fish tacos and gourmet burgers, all named after stories by Edgar Allen Poe...Read More

  • 14. Sesame Burgers & Beer

    $ | Burger

    This burger-and-beer joint makes just about everything on the premises—from its house-ground burgers right down to the mustard, ketchup, and...Read More

  • 15. Southern General

    $ | American

    This no-frills strip mall spot serves meaty masterpieces like the Super Butt, house-braised pork with smoked sweet onions and potato cream cheese...Read More

  • 16. The Glass Onion

    $$ | West Ashley | American

    The Alabama roots of this eatery's chef-owner show in the classic Southern eats like deviled eggs, meat loaf, fried catfish po'boys, and overstuffed...Read More

  • 17. Perfectly Frank's

    $ | Hot Dog

    Former Summerville High quarterback Perry Cuda and ex-Atlanticville chef Billy Condon make a dynamic duo at Perfectly Frank's. As owner/operators...Read More

  • 18. Heart Woodfire Kitchen

    $$ | American

    On James Island, Heart Woodfire Kitchen turns out perfect skewered meats, roasted vegetables, and flatbreads aboard its open-flame rotisserie...Read More

  • 19. JB's Smokeshack

    $ | American

    If you're hankering for a country barbecue joint, JB's will do ya. Most patrons choose the reasonably priced buffet, which consists of barbecue...Read More

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