Since Charleston is a foodie’s dream, it can be overwhelming to narrow down your next meal. With so many places to get your fix of she-crab soup, shrimp and grits, or fried chicken, you could literally spend your entire afternoon deciding between restaurants located in downtown, Mount Pleasant, Folly Beach, or some hidden little corner of town. Allow us to save you some time. Here are the top restaurants you must try while in Charleston:
Located downtown, this decadent dining room serves American cuisine highlighting the Lowcountry’s best seafood. Adam Close, executive chef and local Charleston food celebutante, establishes the menu much like Charleston itself: clean, simple, fresh, and with a touch of elegance. All ingredients are purchased locally from fisherman and farmers, keeping the charm right in the South where it belongs.
“The best of Lowcountry living with a mix of fresh, local ingredients.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I won’t even try. This upscale spot offers some of the best dishes in the area, a “high-steppin’” happy hour, and even dinner and a show options.
Magnolia’s is a Charleston staple and should rank as high on the to-do list as visiting the Battery or Fort Sumter. A renovation in 2014 gave it’s 1980’s interior design a modern makeover, but after 25 years, diners are still faced with the dilemma of choosing between all the mouthwatering options on the menu (you don’t fix what ain’t broke). Magnolia’s upscale Southern cuisine offers a twist to traditional Southern fare (think bourbon fried catfish with local butter bean succotash and crab cakes with Hoppin’ John risotto) and combines it with beautiful presentations.
Take the Ravenel bridge over to Mount Pleasant, into Old Village, and you will find this hidden gem amongst some of Charleston’s most beautiful homes. The restaurant’s modern take on fresh seafood and Lowcountry favorites, such as shrimp and grits with tomato gravy and beer-braised collards, will blow your mind, and the interior is something out of a movie (the building itself is the original post house.
Slightly North of Broad is a Lowcountry bistro that brings together an abundance of local ingredients and thoughtful, expert presentation with a friendly, contagious energy. The dining room is warm and welcoming, and the kitchen lives at the center of it all. Here patrons are encouraged to have a sneak peak at their meal being prepared, giving this upscale restaurant a homey feel.
Looking for something a little off the beaten path? These are lesser known, but no less divine:
• The Obstinate Daughter (2063 Middle St, Sullivan’s Island)
• 167 Raw (289 E. Bay St, Charleston)
• Minero (155 East Bay St, Charleston)
• The Drawing Room (19 Vendue Range, Charleston)
• Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit (476 King St, Charleston)
Ready to explore Charleston’s fabulous food scene? Find more dining information here.
After dinner, journey over to some of the best Charleston Hole In The Wall dive bars and music venues in the country!
Slightly North of Broad and Old Village Post House photos courtesy of Hall Management Group; Blossom tuna and Magnolia’s Parmesan-crusted flounder (by John Smoak) photos courtesy of Hospitality Management Group, Inc.