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. Bowens Island

    $$ | Seafood

    This seafood shack has survived hurricanes, fires, and the onslaught of trendy restaurants hitting downtown. Littered with oyster shells and...Read More

  • 2. 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

  • 3. The Obstinate Daughter

    $$ | Italian

    Known for his fine Italian cuisine at Wild Olive on Johns Island, chef Jaques Larson expands his creative touch with the Obstinate Daughter...Read More

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Carmine's Trattoria

    $$ | Italian

    Although some locals call it the "fancy place," Carmine's is a lively pizza joint more than anything. The only high-end furnishing is a baby...Read More

  • 6. Gaulart and Maliclet Café

    $$ | South of Broad | French

    This local favorite, also known as Fast and French, has been a fixture in the neighborhood for more than 30 years, thanks to the consistent...Read More

  • 7. Hominy Grill

    $$ | Cannonborough | American

    The wooden barber poles from the last century still frame the door of this homespun café and Lowcountry landmark. Chef Robert Stehling is a...Read More

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Whaley's

    $$ | Seafood

    This 1940s-era filling station—the pumps are still outside—has been converted into a fun and eclectic bar and restaurant where you're sure to...Read More

  • 11. Alluette's Cafe

    $$ | American

    Alluette Jones has coined a new genre of cuisine—"holistic soul food"—which she prepares at her eponymously named restaurant. It's simple, fresh...Read More

  • 12. Brasserie Gigi

    $$ | Market | French

    In the Market area, this French restaurant offers a respite from the tourist buzz. Chef Frank McMahon, who spent years honing his craft at Le...Read More

  • 13. Edisto Pavilion Restaurant

    $$ | Seafood

    The water view at this oceanfront restaurant is reason enough to go. For lunch, try the fried oyster or shrimp po'boys. At dinnertime, you can...Read More

  • 14. 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

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