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 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
Charleston is blessed with a bevy of Southern-inflected selections, from barbecue parlors to fish shacks to casual place

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. Charleston Grill

    $$$$ | Market | American

    Quite simply, this restaurant provides what many regard as the city's highest gastronomic experience. Chef Michelle Weaver creates the groundbreaking...Read More

  • 2. Chez Nous

    $$$$ | Upper King | French

    The menu may be nearly illegible, the space minuscule, and the tucked-away location like finding Waldo, but the food is almost always sublime...Read More

  • 3. Chubby Fish

    $$$ | Cannonborough | Seafood

    Bold flavors and local seafood are the hallmarks of this neighborhood café that gets creative with dishes like smoked fish curry and tempura...Read More

  • 4. FIG

    $$$$ | Market | American

    Spend an evening at this trendsetter for fresh-off-the-farm ingredients cooked with unfussy, flavorful finesse—the kitchen has produced two...Read More

  • 5. Husk

    $$$$ | Market | American

    With an abundance of accolades, Husk serves an ambitious menu steeped in the South, and the South alone—everything is sourced regionally, barring...Read More

  • 6. McCrady's

    $$$$ | Market | Eclectic

    The old McCrady's is now McCrady's Tavern (serving the most elevated pub fare in town), and the new McCrady's—tucked into a nook around the...Read More

  • 7. Renzo

    $$ | Hampton Park Terrace | Pizza

    Although it's billed as a pizza parlor, this neighborhood trattoria stuns taste buds with its entire menu, including anchovies in pepper and...Read More

  • 8. Ted's Butcherblock

    $ | Ansonborough | Café

    Land at Ted's on some lucky afternoon for a memorable greeting: the scent of smoked meat wafting from a grill perched near the entrance. Ted...Read More

  • 9. The Grocery

    $$$$ | Market | American

    Executive chef and owner Kevin Johnson's restaurant sits in impressive quarters near the corner of Cannon and King Streets. The menu suggests...Read More

  • 10. The Macintosh

    $$$$ | Upper King | American

    Here's another name to tuck into your sweetgrass basket filled with great Charleston chefs: Jeremiah Bacon. In his lauded kitchen, he shows...Read More

  • 11. The Ordinary

    $$$$ | Upper King | Seafood

    Award-winning chef Mike Lata delivers every possible type of underwater delight here, from local littleneck clams to wahoo carpaccio. The two...Read More

  • 12. Trattoria Lucca

    $$$$ | Cannonborough | Italian

    Chef Ken Vedrinski's downtown wonder, Trattoria Lucca, is a welcoming invitation to the world of Italian food in Charleston. Come in for the...Read More

  • 13. 39 Rue de Jean

    $$$$ | Upper King | French

    With a backdrop of classic French-bistro style—gleaming wood, cozy booths, and white-papered tables—Charleston's trendy set wines and dines...Read More

  • 14. 82 Queen

    $$$$ | Lower King | American

    This landmark mainstay continues to thrive, even amid the restaurant boom around it. Wildly popular as a social meeting ground in the 1980s...Read More

  • 15. Anson

    $$$$ | Market | American

    Nearly a dozen windows here afford picturesque views of the passing horse-drawn carriages. The softly lighted, gilt-trimmed dining room is ideal...Read More

  • 16. Bakehouse

    $ | Market | Bakery

    Delicious seasonal desserts—heavenly sweet 'n' salty brownies, cheesecake bars, and whoopie pies—are baked at this popular spot. Soft as a pillow...Read More

  • 17. Basil

    $ | Upper King | Thai

    There's a reason that this corner restaurant in the heart of downtown has been lauded again and again for its Asian fare. Dinner hours generate...Read More

  • 18. Blossom

    $$$ | Market | Seafood

    Exposed rafters, wood-paneled walls, and unadorned tables make this place casual and yet upscale. The terrace has a view of St. Philip's majestic...Read More

  • 19. Circa 1886

    $$$$ | Lower King | American

    Located on-site at the Wentworth Mansion, this former residential home is full of hand-carved marble fireplaces and stained-glass windows. The...Read More

  • 20. Coast Bar & Grill

    $$$ | Upper King | Seafood

    Off a little alley in a restored indigo warehouse, Coast Bar & Grill has a stripped-down look with exposed brick walls and wood columns...Read More

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