Hello all! I get asked fairly frequently about the best spots for food and fun in Charleston and I’ve been meaning to get it into a blog post for quite a while. To be honest, this was so hard and took me forever to write! How does one sum up 30 years of dining in Charleston in one blog post? I know I have left off so many amazing places…but this should be a good starting point for you!
I’ve lived in Charleston for most of my life but have discovered most of these amazing spots in recent years and highly recommend each of them. This list is going to have some I have gone to often, and a couple that come highly recommended by friends and family. For instance, I do not love oysters, but many family members do. I trusted their judgement on where to get the best.
***Be sure to check the menu/prices for some of these places.
Menus often change and some are way more expensive than others.
Without further ado, I am going to list my favorite restaurants, broken down into categories.
Hank’s: this is a very classic Charleston staple, located right in the heart of the market area. It was recently sold in the last few years but we have been since the sale and still thoroughly enjoyed it. Think crab cakes, she crab soup, raw oysters, and plenty of seafood dishes. If we have friends come to town wanting a Charleston meal, this is often where we take them.
Fig: I have not been to this one nearly as often because it’s hard to get a reservation, but my sister swears by it. It is super hard to get a reservation and is known for amazing food. It has been around since I was a kid!
Halls Chophouse: This is a classic steak house experience. And when I say experience, I mean it! They go over the top. The sides are family style and you gotta get the creamed corn.
Peninsula Grill: This has been one of the best steak houses since I was a kid and we have been so many times over the years. This steak house is delicious! I always get a fillet with the herbed butter and start with the wedge salad.
Marina Variety Store: This is a Charleston hidden gem. It’s been around since I was born and still has the best fried shrimp in town. It’s super casual and has one of the few water views in Charleston. (It is crazy how few water views there are!). Their breakfast is one of our favorites as well and we love taking friends here when they come to visit.
Leon’s, The Ordinary: Both of these places are recommended by my brother, who loves raw seafood.
Melfi’s: This is a great new Italian restaurant downtown Nate and I really enjoy! Fun atmosphere and great pizza, pasta. But really, the caesar salad is a MUST!
The Royal Tern: This one is located on John’s Island and the building alone is gorgeous! Nate and I have had two amazing meals here. The oysters and really all the seafood is top notch. KILLER FRENCH FRIES!
Wild Olive: This is another John’s Island treasure that has been around for ages. I haven’t been in a while but still remember the truffle fries. They were life changing.
Fuji Sushi is great sushi located downtown or on Kiawah Island. Zen Asian Fusion is incredible and located in West Ashley. At Zen, The Rock n’ Roll and West Ashley are my two favorite rolls.
Basil Thai: This has a location downtown and one in Mount Pleasant and is absolutely delicious! The downtown location is right on King Street.
Fast and French: This is a gem located on Broad Street downtown. It’s super tiny and you can get a croque monsieur and glass of wine for next to nothing.
The Mustard Seed: I have loved this place since high school. It is located in Mount Pleasant; always has the best specials board! KILLER FRENCH FRIES.
Little Jack’s Tavern: This place is known to have an incredible burger. Nate has been and can attest that it’s amazing.
Post House: This is located in Mount Pleasant and I can attest it has an amazing cheeseburger.
167 Raw: known for amazing lobster roll and other seafood. The only negative is they don’t take a reservation and you might find yourself waiting a while.
Wood and Grain: Located in Mount Pleasant. I would go for the Caesar salad alone. Wow it’s amazing!
Pizza: Crust on Maybank Highway (James Island) is divine! My favorite. Also, Coastal Crust (Mount Pleasant) and D’Allesandros (downtown)
A few I haven’t been to but really want to try: Chez Nous, The Grocery, The Obstinate Daughter (located on Sullivan’s Island)
Husk Bar: This has a classic dim bar feel, great for a cold day; I love the Old Fashioned.
Hotel Bennet Rooftop: Located right on Marion Square downtown.
Dewberry Hotel Rooftop: This is my favorite rooftop bar; the views are incredible and has a killer FRIES APPETIZER.
Vendue Inn Rooftop: Great views and if you need a mocktail the strawberry basil lemonade is amazing!
Meeting and Market: Nate likes the sports bar feel; tons of TVs.
Triangle Char Bar: in West Ashley; we love to sit outside and order the Avondale Nachos
Millers All Day: The BEC sammie is killer (it’s the herbed mayo) and great coffee/drink selection!
Henrietta’s: This is located in the Dewberry Hotel and I love how fancy and french it feels. This is where I love to go to get away with Nate.
Marina Variety Store: talked about this above and the breakfast is equally delicious.
Halls Brunch: I have never been to this but the line is out the door every Sunday.
Community Table: This is located in Mount Pleasant and has an amazing brunch.
This section isn’t about the food so much as it is about the fun. These are our favorite spots to take the kids.
Fun with Kids
Palmetto County Park (great playground, splash pad, etc)
The park at the bottom of the Ravenel Bridge: there’s a playground and you can walk out under the bridge and be right near the water. Gorgeous views!
Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry: this museum is amazing! Located right in the center of downtown.
South Carolina Aquarium: This is such an easy, manageable aquarium with kids. Lot’s of space and a lawn in front you could picnic on.
Jenni’s Ice Cream: Located right on King Street!
Walking down The Battery: There’s a large park with plenty of space to run around and cannons for the kids to climb on
Kaminsky’s for desserts