A guide to moderately priced restaurants in Charleston SC. Enjoy fine Lebanese food at Leyla's, grab a bowl of shrimp and grits at Anson or savor some Tuscan inspired Italian cuisine at Trattoria Lucca.
Charleston, once known for its historic buildings, live oaks with Spanish moss, and saltwater marshes, is now associated with mouthwatering, locally sourced cuisine. Restaurants in Charleston SC are regularly ranked among the best in the country.
Dining in Charleston can be a unique experience because many of the restaurants are located in buildings that are more than a century old. A favorite with residents and tourists is Poogan’s Porch. This Charleston restaurant is considered to be one of the most haunted places in the city and has even been featured on the Discovery Channel. The ghost of Zoe St. Amand, who once lived in the house, has been seen well over 200 times. Diners will frequently report feeling like someone has brushed up against them even though nobody's there. On the extreme side of things, there have been reports of place settings rotating on tables and customers feeling a sensation that someone uninvited has joined them for dinner. Some have even seen Zoe herself. Throughout the years, diners have sent in photos of apparitions, and because the restaurant is so old, many of those came in the days before Photoshop. Employees aren't immune either reportedly hearing pots and pans banging and faucets turning on. The history of this Charleston restaurant is really cool and the food is awesome.
Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar specializes in fresh, local, sustainable seafood. Stop by the raw bar for a fresh selection of oysters from the day’s suppliers or enjoy Lowcountry classics like shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, or a bowl of pirlau. The Charleston restaurant is within walking distance of the Market and Charleston Harbor and offers both indoor and outdoor seating in a comfortable and contemporary atmosphere. @ 205 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 to find in a southern restaurant. This is one of the busier restaurants in Charleston, so unless you want to wait for an hour just for a seat at the bar, you are encouraged to make reservations. @ 232 Meeting St.
Hank’s, overlooking the historic city Market, is located in a turn-of-the-century warehouse that has been designated a national historic landmark. The restaurant is modeled after the great Charleston fish houses of the 1940’s and serves up fresh local seafood from fried platters to signature dishes. Knowledgeable waiters in white jackets and black ties serve up stellar food in a busy and lively environment. Hanks has been voted best seafood restaurant 14 years straight by the Charleston City Paper. @ 10 Hayne St.
Leyla Fine Lebanese Cuisine serves authentic Middle Eastern favorites in an upscale, yet friendly environment. Enjoy popular mezzas, tasty salads, and mouthwatering grilled meat, fish, and chicken. Leyla's has vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options along with an extensive wine list. Top off your meal with a delicious dessert prepared in house. @ 298 King St.
Trattoria Lucca, located on a quiet corner of downtown Charleston, serves up Italian cuisine inspired by the ancient Tuscan city of Lucca. The menu features Italian imported cheese and salami, handmade pasta, and the freshest seafood from the waters surrounding Charleston. The menu changes nightly depending on what local seafood and ingredients are available. @ 41 Bogard St.
High Cotton is one of the long time favorites in downtown Charleston. The meats, seafood and produce are always fresh and local, expertly crafted into the most delicious Lowcountry dishes. The servers are knowledgeable, the dining rooms are stylish with heart pine floors and the portions are generous. The Charleston restaurant has an extraordinary wine and cocktail selection and guests can enjoy live jazz nightly and during Sunday brunch. @ 199 E Bay St.
Eli's Table serves up Southern classics using fresh and local ingredients. By day, Eli's serves a hearty breakfast and a great lunch, and by night it transforms into an upscale bistro. Relax and dine on the shaded patio which is dog-friendly. Enjoy delicious Lowcountry cuisine including shrimp and grits or duck and waffles. @ 129 Meeting St.
Pearlz serves an assorted mix of raw shellfish, local seafood, Lowcountry recipes, and regional favorites. The often rowdy, fun, eclectic restaurant is only minutes from the Market and Waterfront Park. Guests will have a front row seat to experience all the best that Charleston has to offer. Have a seat on the patio, grab a cocktail and and take in the sights and sounds of Charleston. @ 153 E Bay St.
Stella's specializes in Greek classic dishes like grilled halloumi, moussaka, keftedes, and much more. They also serve Sunday brunch and an extensive menu of shareable meze plates. Make sure to save room for house-made desserts, including baklava studded with chocolate, creamy rice pudding, and semolina custard wrapped in phyllo and anointed with cinnamon and lemon syrup. @ 114 St Philip St.
The Grocery, located on Upper King Street, is an elegant but casual eatery featuring farm-to-table ingredients. The ever changing menu features Southern and Mediterranean dishes using seasonal produce and meats that are locally sourced. The restaurant features house-made charcuterie and has an in-house canning program to preserve fresh produce. The Grocery also boasts and extensive cocktail and wine list. @ 4 Cannon St.
Edmund's Oast Restaurant, located in the North Morrison area of Charleston, provides an impressive dining experience. The constantly changing menu includes bar snacks, house made charcuterie, small plates, heartier entrees, and classic desserts with a modern spin. Eat in the rustic dining room or on the lush outdoor patio. @ 1081 Morrison Dr.
The Macintosh serves Lowcountry cuisine using fresh seasonal ingredients provided by local farmers and fishermen. The Charleston restaurant is located downstairs from the Cocktail Club, and bears the one-time name of the alley that ran alongside the building. The restaurant offers stylish casual seating, and has an outdoor patio with a fire pit. @ 479B King St.
The Ordinary is a southern seafood restaurant and oyster bar housed 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.
As you enter Poogan’s Smokehouse on East Bay St., you will be hit with the smell of smoldering cherrywood, hickory, and hard oak. This casual barbecue joint serves up the finest pulled pork, the smokiest ribs, along with mouth-watering sides. The restaurant sources local products and only uses consciously-raised meats. Some of the local's favorites include the brisket, smoked wings, and the banana pudding made by layering house-made pudding with cinnamon cookie crumbles, spiced rum whipped cream, and a finish of popcorn. @ 188 E. Bay St.
This hip restaurant in a brick-sided ice warehouse features New Orleans-style iron balconies and nearly a dozen windows with views of passing horse-drawn carriages. The restaurant boasts elegant interior décor and features an extensive wine list. A well–trained staff describes dishes that are inspired by traditions of the coastal Southeast. Anson’s has a fabulous menu featuring shrimp and grits, Lowcountry seafood, and Chops, using ingredients available daily from Charleston's fishing fleet and local farms.@ 12 Anson St.
Oyster House on Market is a casual, fine dining restaurant serving fresh seafood and Lowcountry favorites including shrimp and grits, Charleston Crab Cakes, and bouillabaisse. Eat inside or dine outside on the patio and then enjoy an after dinner cocktail at O-Bar, a lively bar connected to the restaurant. @ 35 S Market St.
Indaco, located on bustling King Street, serves up Italian dishes with a creative twist. This charming, rustic restaurant boasts lime-washed walls, an open kitchen and community tables. They also have an extensive wine list and a cocktail menu inspired from Italy’s classics. The small restaurant has 100 seats which includes those at the bar and patio, so reservations are highly recommended. @ 526 King St.
Smoke BBQ began as a food truck and then moved into a building in the bustling King Street area. Brothers, Roland and Michael, were born and raised in South Carolina and have worked at some of the top restaurants in Charleston. They serve up smoking hot food including sandwiches, wings, brisket, tacos, salads and hash fries. @ 487 King St.
Butcher and Bee, located in a barn-like building on Morrison Drive, has a diverse menu featuring locally sourced mezze, vegetables, and proteins with a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influence. In addition to the full menu, the restaurant also offers wholesome nutritious breads, pastries, and sweets handmade on-site daily. The menu changes often depending on the availability of local ingredients, so check Facebook and Twitter for updates. Visit the restaurant's website to make a reservation. @ 1085 Morrison Dr.
O-Ku, located on bustling King Street, offers an upscale dining experience that celebrates authentic, Japanese cuisine with a modern twist. Using the freshest fish from the world’s finest markets, O’Ku’s menu is comprised of signature starters, soups and salads, Japanese entrées and sushi specialties of the season. They also serve specialty cocktails, premium sake, red and white wines, and unique beers. @ 463 King St.
Poogan’s Porch is one of the oldest and most highly regarded restaurants in Charleston. They have been serving up Lowcountry cuisine to celebrities, politicians, tourists and locals since 1976. The yellow Victorian house that dates back to 1888, is named after an abandoned dog and considered to be one of the most haunted structures in Charleston. Diners frequently report sightings of the restaurant’s resident ghost Zoe, a spinster schoolteacher who lived in the house until her death in 1954. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating along with a 1500 bottle wine cellar. @ 72 Queen St
Burwell's Stone Fire Grill, located at the end of historic Market Street, is a modern steakhouse with a diverse menu. In addition to perfectly cooked premium Angus, Prime, and Wagyu beef purveyed from local farms and humane ranches, the menu also consists of delicious fresh seafood. The restaurant also has an extensive wine, beer, and cocktail menu. @ 14 N Market St.
Fleet Landing, housed in a 1940’s retired naval building, features classic and contemporary southern seafood. Enjoy an incredible outdoor dining experience with stunning views of Charleston Harbor. The menu features fried seafood platters, fresh catch items pan-fried or seared in your choice of house-made marinades, and southern favorites including shrimp and grits and lump crab cakes. The restaurant has a fully stocked bar and serves lunch and dinner and weekend brunch. The restaurant gets very busy during the summer months and on weekends, so reservations are highly recommended. @ 186 Concord St.
Basil Thai restaurant, located on Upper King, is extremely popular with both locals and tourists. Basil is the dream of Henry and Chai Eang, brothers who immigrated to the US from Cambodia in the 1970’s. The two didn’t speak a word of English when they first arrived but hard work and passion led to the opening of Basil in 2002. This hip Thai restaurant offers an impressive variety of appetizers, soups, entrées, curries, noodles and rice. Choose stir-fried meat (beef, chicken, pork, shrimp) and the method of cooking (with basil, ginger garlic, and so on) or opt for a classic green or red curry, pad thai, or shrimp-fried rice. The restaurant has a long-standing no-reservations policy that keeps customers lined up on the sidewalk. @ 460 King St.
The Darling Oyster Bar, located in a 115-year-old historic building, is part oyster bar and part seafood joint. The restaurant sources local ingredients and pays careful attention to sustainability. Grab a stool at the 14 seat raw bar or settle into a table and enjoy delicious menu items including lobster pot pie, shrimp and grits and oyster spaghetti. @ 513 King St.
Queology, located in a former church on Market Street, has a team with over 25 years experience of cooking up the best barbeque in the Lowcountry. Russ and Matt use a secret blend of herbs and spices to season their pork and chicken and have won numerous awards for their pulled pork, chicken wings, and sides. Queology has a fully stocked bar and a comfortable dining room in addition to outside tables. @ 32-C N. Market St
Blossom, located on historic East Bay Street, serves Lowcountry-inspired cuisine with a focus on fresh, local seafood. The menu features raw bar selections like Oysters on the half shell, tuna poke and more, plus favorites including fried green tomatoes, she crab soup, wood oven pizzas, blue crab ravioli with sweet corn, and pan roasted mahi mahi, among others. After dinner, enjoy creative desserts with a Southern spin including the famous Red Velvet Bread Pudding. Blossom is open for lunch on Monday through Saturday, dinner nightly, and Sunday brunch. Indoor and patio seating is available. The restaurant is very busy during the summer and on weekends, so I highly recommend making reservations through the restaurant’s website. @ 171 E Bay St.