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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Anson

    $$$ | Market | American

    Cuisine at this fine-dining mainstay where nearly a dozen windows afford picturesque views of the passing horse-drawn carriages is traditional...Read More

  • 7. Circa 1886

    $$$$ | Lower King | Modern 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

  • 8. Fulton Five

    $$$$ | Lower King | Italian

    Tucked away in the antiques district of Lower King, this romantic northern Italian restaurant is appropriately decorated with chartreuse walls...Read More

  • 9. High Cotton

    $$$$ | Market | American

    This Charleston classic remains unchanged by time: lazily spinning paddle fans, lush palm trees, and exposed brick walls. The kitchen serves...Read More

  • 10. Langdon's

    $$$$ | American

    Though it's in a nondescript strip mall across the Cooper River Bridge, this restaurant and wine bar belonging to Mount Pleasant native son...Read More

  • 11. Muse Restaurant and Wine Bar

    $$$ | Lower King | Mediterranean

    Set in a pale yellow building on Society Street, Muse lays bare Mediterranean stylings in sophisticated, relaxed quarters. The menu offers standout...Read More

  • 12. Oak Steakhouse

    $$$$ | Market | Steakhouse

    In a 19th-century bank building, this ornate dining room juxtaposes antique crystal chandeliers with contemporary art. Reserve a table on the...Read More

  • 13. Peninsula Grill

    $$$$ | Market | Seafood

    This fine-dining stalwart melds Lowcountry produce and seafood into traditional but inspired dishes, at once eyeing the past and the future...Read More

  • 14. Tempest

    $$$$ | Market | Seafood

    Local artist Honey McCrary spent over a year building the 700-square-foot undersea mosaic on the ceiling of this seafood eatery. The beautiful...Read More

  • 15. Tristan

    $$$$ | Market | American

    Within the French Quarter Inn, this fine dining room has a sleek, contemporary style with lots of metal, glass, contemporary art, and fresh...Read More

  • 16. Blossom

    $$$ | Downtown Historic District | Seafood

    Lowcountry seafood is the specialty at this relaxed eatery where exposed rafters, wood-paneled walls, and unadorned tables counter casual with...Read More

  • 17. Carolina's

    $$$$ | South of Broad | American

    On a quiet side street between East Bay Street and Waterfront Park, this longtime favorite occupies a former wharf building. The recently renovated...Read More

  • 18. Cypress Lowcountry Grille

    $$$$ | Market | Eclectic

    In a renovated 1834 brick building with striking contemporary decor, this eatery has leather booths, a ceiling with light sculptures that change...Read More

  • 19. La Fourchette

    $$$ | Upper King | French

    French owner Perig Goulet moves agilely through the petite dining room of this unpretentious bistro. With back-to-back chairs making things...Read More

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