Charleston is one of the top “Foodie” destinations in the US. You will find many casual spots as well as many fine dining options with great southern cuisine. Our top picks include:
Poogan’s Porch, 72 Queen St.: This highly recommended restaurant is in an attractive old house. The pulled pork sliders with the sweet potato slaw were great as was the she crab soup.
FIG, 232 Meeting St.: This is a contemporary restaurant featuring fresh seasonal dishes. The chef Mike Lata won the James Beard 2009 Award for Best Chef Southeast. It is hard to get in during Spoleto so eating at the bar is a great option. The service was really good. I had an issue with my entrée being somewhat undercooked, but it was handled extremely well when I called it to their attention.
Virginia’s on King, 412 King St. at Hutson: I enjoyed Saturday brunch here, just north of the Charleston Farmers Market. The omelette with crabmeat, hollandaise sauce and asparagus was really good, but the collard greens were really excellent! I would definitely go back!
Husk, 76 Queen St.: I had lunch there on my last day in town. Its focus is on local ingredients. The atmosphere was great in the downstairs dining room which had great art and a nice contemporary design. I had the shrimp and grits which was outstanding. I could have licked the bowl it was so good. The peach upside-down cake was also great.
I had to go on a major diet due to all of the great food I had tried in the three days that I was in Charleston!
I heard that 82 Queen for local cuisine since 1982, Magnolias, Cru Cafe and SNOB (Slightly North of Broad) are also quite good. Recent articles recommend Bertha’s Kitchen for its soul food, fried chicken, fish and sides. Sugar Bakeshop, The Ordinary for seafood and oysters, Butcher & Bee for sandwiches, Halls Chophouse, The Macintosh, Xiao Bao Biscuit and Martha Lou’s Kitchen for soul food all come highly recommended.
Still more include The Grocery, Edmund’s Oast brew pub, Circa 1886 at the historic Wentworth Mansion for fine dining, Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oysters and Rutledge Cab Co. and Home Team BBQ both in old gas stations.
Chef Kevin Johnson of The Grocery was named a 2019 James Beard Semifinalist for Best Chef Southeast.
Eater Charleston recommends several spots. For barbecue check out Lewis Barbecue for Texas-style house-smoked meats and Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ for Lowcountry-style slow-smoked pulled pork BBQ, chicken and ribs. Rodney Scott was the 1018 James Beard winner for Best Chef Southeast. Little Jack’s Tavern is good for cocktails and cheeseburgers in a classic atmosphere. Hannibal’s Kitchen is recommended for Lowcountry cuisine, including shrimp and grits, since 1985.
Chez Nous is a tiny neighborhood spot featuring the cuisine and wines of Southern France, Northern Italy and Northern Spain. The Darling Oyster Bar is a good spot for seafood favorites. Zero Restaurant + Bar is the new fine dining restaurant at the Zero George Hotel. Another hotel restaurant that gets high marks is the Charleston Grill at the Charleston Place.
Renzo gets good reviews for its wood-fired pizzas and its chef Evan Gaudreau was named a James Beard 2019 Rising Star Chef semifinalist.