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. Bertha's Kitchen

    $ | American

    One of the Charleston area's great soul food institutions, Bertha's is owned and run by sisters Julie Grant, Linda Pinckney, and Sharon Grant...Read More

  • 2. 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

  • 3. Hiott's Pharmacy

    $ | American

    This spot is one of those delightful throwbacks—a drugstore with a soda fountain where the news of the day is discussed and young people share...Read More

  • 4. The Wreck of the Richard and Charlene

    $$$ | Seafood

    At first glance, the odd name appears to refer to this waterfront restaurant's exterior, topped off with a shabby screened-in porch (in actuality...Read More

  • 5. Briny Swine

    $$ | American

    Begin your meal here with a half-dozen raw oysters, then fill up with a platter of ribs, pulled pork, and brisket. That's the concept behind...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Icehouse

    $$ | American

    Creative Southern fare keeps this place bustling—it feels like the center of the small town action on weekend evenings. Opt for daily specials...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Monza

    $$ | Upper King | Pizza

    An homage to the Italian city of the same name, Monza provides genuine Neapolitan-style pizza and an introduction to one of the world's most...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. 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

  • 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. Taco Boy

    $ | North Morrison | Mexican

    Accommodating locals and out-of-towners alike, Taco Boy delivers tasty Mexican American treats to a bustling patio crowd. The ambience is half...Read More

  • 16. 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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