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. Butcher and Bee

    $ | North Morrison | 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Blind Tiger

    $ | South of Broad | American

    One of Charleston's oldest speakeasies, the Blind Tiger can go toe-to-toe with any newcomer. Name the beer, name the backdrop, and the Tiger...Read More

  • 8. Cupcake DownSouth

    $ | Upper King | Bakery

    This cute shop features more than 50 flavors of cupcakes. A daily flavor chart reveals the collection of pocket-sized pleasures on offer. Favorites...Read More

  • 9. Glazed

    $ | Upper King | Bakery

    Three words: maple bacon doughnuts. If that's not enough to get you in the door, any number of other creative options—think raspberry nutella...Read More

  • 10. Hiott's Pharmacy

    $ | American

    Hiott's Pharmacy is one of those delightful throwbacks—a drugstore with a soda fountain where the news of the day is discussed and young people...Read More

  • 11. Home Team BBQ

    $ | West Ashley | American

    This bar and restaurant has swiftly earned the endorsement of even the old-school barbecue set (the restaurant's newfangled pork tacos...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. Main Street Grille

    $ | American

    Grab a window seat at this casual spot for a pleasant view of East Washington Street while you dig into shrimp and stone-ground grits, a Philly...Read More

  • 14. Martha Lou's Kitchen

    $ | American

    Martha Lou Gadsden has made her pink cinder-block building into a palace of soul food. Although the building is quirky, with a huge mural of...Read More

  • 15. Moe's Crosstown Tavern

    $ | Hampton Park | American

    The decidedly old-school Moe's Tavern earns a perennial place on the area's best-burger list. The big, half-pound, Angus beef chuck patties...Read More

  • 16. 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

  • 17. Queen Street Grocery

    $ | Broad Street | French

    For crepes, breakfast sandwiches, and cold brew, locals turn to this venerable Charleston institution. Built in 1922, the corner building has...Read More

  • 18. See Wee Restaurant

    $ | American

    This former general store is about 25 minutes from downtown Charleston, but it's worth the trip for the Southern-style flashback. The veteran...Read More

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Southern General

    $ | American

    This no-frills strip mall spot's 18 options include meaty masterpieces like the Super Butt, house-braised pork with smoked sweet onions and...Read More

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