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. 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

  • 2. Blossom

    $$$ | Market | Seafood

    Exposed rafters, wood-paneled walls, and unadorned tables make this place casual and yet upscale. The terrace has a view of St. Philip's majestic...Read More

  • 3. Coast Bar & Grill

    $$$ | Upper King | Seafood

    Off a little alley in a restored indigo warehouse, Coast Bar & Grill has a stripped-down look with exposed brick walls and wood columns...Read More

  • 4. Cru Café

    $$$ | Market | American

    The sunny wraparound porch in this 18th-century house lures people to this eatery, but it's the inventive menu that keeps them coming back....Read More

  • 5. Indaco

    $$$ | Upper King | Italian

    For sophisticated Italian fare in a vibrant (and sometimes boisterous) setting, this hip spot on Upper King is the place. A modern aesthetic...Read More

  • 6. Leyla

    $$$ | College of Charleston Campus | Lebanese

    This Lebanese restaurant brings the authentic flavors of the Middle East to Charleston. The fragrance of beef, lamb, and chicken shawarma wafts...Read More

  • 7. Old Post Office Restaurant

    $$$ | American

    The old metal cages remain at this converted post office, but instead of mail you'll find Southern-inspired fare from Chef Cherry Smalls. Try...Read More

  • 8. Pressley's at the Marina

    $$$ | Seafood

    Enjoy a meal with a view at this relaxed waterfront spot. The dinner menu (also available for a weekend lunch if you want more than tacos, sandwiches...Read More

  • 9. Purlieu

    $$$ | Hampton Park Terrace | European

    John Zucker's Cru Catering has fed hundreds of high-end Charleston weddings, but he's taken more creative license at this Euro-leaning neighborhood...Read More

  • 10. The Glass Onion

    $$$ | West Ashley | American

    The Alabama roots of this eatery's chef-owner show in the beaucoup Southern eats. Take a peek at the ever-changing, seasonal menu: deviled...Read More

  • 11. Two Boroughs Larder

    $$$ | Cannonborough | American

    Husband and wife Josh and Heather Keeler ventured down from Philadelphia to open up their restaurant and market in the Cannonborough-Elliotborough...Read More

  • 12. Il Cortile del Re

    $$$ | Lower King | Italian

    The translation is "House of the King" in Italian, and when walking to the antique district of Lower King Street, you will know you have arrived...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Mercato

    $$$ | Market | Italian

    Mercato is the newest darling of those in Charleston who like to see and be seen. Placed throughout the two floors are 18th-century antiques...Read More

  • 15. Wentworth Grill

    $$$ | Market | Eclectic

    A Continental flair prevails in this dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows, a handsome fireplace, and a mesmerizing pattern in the mosaic...Read More

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