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. Charleston Grill

    $$$$ | Market | American

    This perennial favorite inside Belmond's Charleston Place hotel provides what many regard as the city's highest gastronomic experience, with...Read More

  • 4. Chez Nous

    $$$ | Upper King | French

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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. FIG

    $$$$ | Market | Contemporary

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

  • 9. Grill 225

    $$$$ | Market | Steakhouse

    The cuisine at this atmospheric establishment—combined with a staggering array of excellent wines and professional, caring service—makes Grill...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Leon's Oyster Shop

    $$ | Upper King | American

    Casual, quirky, and a tad Wes Anderson-y, this oysters-and-fried-chicken joint sports a kitschy ambience and blues-heavy soundtrack. Fried catfish...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Melfi's

    $$$$ | North Central | Italian

    The third entry in Brooks Reitz's geographically constrained restaurant empire (you can stand on Upper King Street and see all three venues...Read More

  • 15. 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

  • 16. Slightly North of Broad

    $$$ | Downtown Historic District | American

    Affectionately known as S.N.O.B., this former warehouse with atmospheric brick-and-stucco walls has a chef's table that looks directly into...Read More

  • 17. 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

  • 18. Ted's Butcherblock

    $ | Ansonborough | Café

    Operating as a one-stop butcher shop and deli counter, Ted's sells beef, game, seafood, and homemade sausages to complement its selection of...Read More

  • 19. The Grocery

    $$$ | Market | Modern American

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

  • 20. The Macintosh

    $$$$ | Upper King | Modern American

    Once the local darling among the Indigo Road properties, which also includes Oak Steakhouse and O-Ku, the Macintosh lost some of its luster...Read More

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