A guide to the best restaurants in Charleston SC. Discover the tastiest BBQ, the best she-crab soup or the freshest lobster roll.
People from all over are flocking to Charleston and raving about the mouth-watering Lowcountry cuisine. An influx of young chefs from all over the world, access to local fresh seafood, and superior local produce have all helped Charleston become one of the top food destinations in the world. Whether you desire shrimp and grits, freshly caught seafood, or a succulent steak, you won't have trouble finding a place to eat, but you may have trouble deciding where to eat.
Husk, one of Charleston’s most critically acclaimed restaurants, is housed in a beautiful Victorian mansion on Queen Street, just a few blocks from the waterfront. The restaurant has a strict farm-to-table philosophy, and the menu changes frequently with what the region’s producers provide daily. Wood-fire cooking is a hallmark of the restaurant, with two smokers, a pit-and-spit barbecue and a wood burning stove. Guests can enjoy classic cocktails in the adjacent two-story bar, which overlooks the building's street-front verandas. The restaurant serves lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Walk-ins often get a table at lunch, but dinner reservations are highly recommended. @ 76 Queen St.
Magnolias started a culinary renaissance when it opened in 1990, and remains a forerunner in upscale Southern cuisine. The Charleston restaurant, located at the site of the city's original Customs House (circa 1739), blends traditional ingredients and cooking techniques with modern flair and artful presentation. For a more wallet-friendly option, stop by for lunch when they offer plenty of Southern-style soups, salads, and sandwiches. @ 185 E Bay St.
Slightly North of Broad is an eclectic low country Bistro located in an 18th century warehouse. The chef uses ingredients from local farmers and fishermen to create irresistible Southern food. This highly awarded restaurant has an exposed kitchen and a casual atmosphere. The staff is expertly trained, and the restaurant offers an extensive selection of wine. SNOB also offers a very inexpensive lunch menu. @ 192 E. Bay St.
FIG, which stands for Food Is Good, serves seasonally-inspired cuisine with a commitment to using local and sustainable foods. The restaurant has been consistently voted “Best Restaurant in Charleston” by Charleston City Paper and is a favorite for locals and tourists. The elegant yet laid back atmosphere encourages guests to settle in, get comfortable, and have a great time. FIG has an extensive wine program that features producers you wouldn’t necessarily expect in a southern restaurant. This is one of the busier restaurants in Charleston, so unless you want to wait an hour just for a seat at the bar, you are encouraged to make reservations. @ 232 Meeting St.
The Ordinary is a southern seafood restaurant and oyster bar in a historic building in the bustling King Street area. The energetic atmosphere, expertly trained staff, and excellent food make the Ordinary an extraordinary place to dine. The menu changes daily depending on the availability of locally sourced seafood. Menu favorites include whole roasted flounder, East Coast oysters, and seafood chowder. @ 544 King St.
167 Raw is part seafood market and part restaurant. They offer an assortment of fresh oysters, clams, fish and shrimp for purchase to go, or you can stick around and try the legendary lobster roll or scallop Po Boy. The restaurant's chalkboard menu, which changes daily, lists the seafood specials and the daily selection of oysters and where they are from. Seating is limited, so arrive early or plan on waiting for a table. @ 289 East Bay St.
Halls is a family owned upscale steakhouse located in the heart of Upper King Street. All the steaks come from Allen Brothers of Chicago, which offers the highest quality beef you can buy. The cuts of meat are aged in a climate controlled room with an ultraviolet light. They are then rotated daily until the aging process is complete. This process creates a “bark” around the cut of meat that seals in the juices. The steaks are then cooked on a 1600 degree broiler, charring the meat and locking in the flavor. @ 434 King St.
Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oyster Shop is a comfortable Southern joint serving fried chicken, oysters, lots of salads, cheap beer, soft serve, Rosé on tap, tons of grower Champagne, and good cocktails. The restaurant is housed in an old body shop owned by Leon Ravenel—a businessman who served Charleston residents for many years. The space preserves much of that industrial history, complete with functioning garage doors, concrete floors, and some remaining memorabilia from Leon himself. @ 698 King St.
In March 2015, John packed up his smokers and moved from Austin to the Holy City to introduce the Lowcountry to the great world of Texas barbecue. He and his barbecue crew opened Lewis Barbecue in June 2016 and since then, his eponymous spot has been hailed one of the best in the country by the likes of Southern Living, Conde Nast Traveler, Garden & Gun, and more for its legendary brisket, honky tonk music, and laid-back vibes. @ 464 N Nassau St.
Chez Nous, a quaint and cozy restaurant in the historic residential neighborhood of Cannonborough-Elliotborough, serves dishes from southern France, northern Spain, and northern Italy. The restaurant is tucked away down a side alley in a restored antebellum house with cathedral ceilings. The “ever-changing” daily menu features a handful of delectable dishes made with seasonal produce and only the highest quality cuts of meat. The restaurant does not accept reservations, and the menu is the same for lunch and dinner. @ 6 Payne Ct.