A guide to 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. One of my favorite places to eat in Charleston 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 bee 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.
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 of ice cream prepared in house. @ 298 King St
John Lewis grew up in Texas and began learning how to prepare the perfect barbecue at age 18. He became a rising star, and his bbq was voted as the best in Austin by the local newspaper. Three years later he moved to Charleston to introduce the Holy City to Texas BBQ. Choose from cut-to-order brisket, hot guts (house-made sausage) and ribs, prepared in large custom-built smokers. @ 464 Nassau St
PawPaw uses local and regional ingredients to serve up a Southern-inspired, shareable menu. Enjoy buttermilk biscuits, free-range fried chicken, and wood grilled shrimp and grits, along with their signature house-made fresh plates of pasta. Complement your meal with a lineup of high-end bourbons, craft cocktails, Charleston brews, and boutique wines. @ 209 East Bay 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 main restaurant, with a separate entrance. @ 35 S Market 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 they have worked at some of the top restaurants in Charleston SC. They serve up smoking hot food including sandwiches, wings, brisket, tacos, salads and hash fries. @487 King St
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 is offers stylish casual seating, and has an outdoor patio with a fire pit. @ 479B King Street
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
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 the lush outdoor patio. @ 1081 Morrison Dr
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, and gives you 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 soak in the sights and sounds of Charleston. @ 153 E Bay 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 they 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
Hank’s overlooks the Historic Market and is located in a turn-of-the-century warehouse that has been designated as 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 seafood in a busy and lively environment. Hanks as been voted best seafood restaurant 14 years straight by the Charleston City Paper. @ 10 Hayne St
Hominy Grill is housed in a charming Charleston building from the 1800's that operated as a barbershop for many years before becoming a restaurant. The Charleston restaurant is a must stop for tourists and locals alike with people lining up on the weekends for the acclaimed Southern Brunch. They serve up shrimp & grits, an ever rotating selection of southern veggies and hearty country breakfasts with pancakes, eggs, and house-made sausage. And you can't beat the pitchers of sweet tea poured by waitresses with equal doses of Southern charm. @ 207 Rutledge Ave
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 so you can bring your four-legged friend while enjoying delicious Lowcountry cuisine including shrimp and grits or duck and waffles. @ 129 Meeting St
The Darling Oyster Bar, located in a 115-year-old historic building, is part Oyster bar and part seafood restaurant. 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
The Ordinary is a southern seafood restaurant and oyster bar housed in a historic building in the bustling King St area. The energetic atmosphere, expertly trained staff, and excellent food make the Ordinary an extraordinary place to dine. The menu changes daily and depends on the availability of locally sourced seafood. Menu favorites include whole roasted flounder, East Coast Oysters, and seafood chowder. @ 544 King St
Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar specializes in fresh, local, sustainable seafood. Well informed and engaged wait staff serve up Lowcountry classics like shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, and bowls of pirlau or you can stop by the raw bar for a fresh selection of oysters from the day’s suppliers. 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
High Cotton is one of the long time favorites in downtown Charleston. The meats, game, seafood and produce are the freshest local ingredients, expertly crafted into the most delicious Lowcountry dishes. The servers are knowledgeable, the dining rooms are stylish with heart pine floors and the portions of Southern cuisine are generous. The Charleston restaurant has an extraordinary wine and cocktail selection and you can enjoy live jazz nightly and during Sunday brunch. @ 199 E Bay St
Trattoria Lucca, located in 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 salumi, handmade pasta as well as the freshest produce and fresh seafood from the waters surrounding Charleston. The menu changes nightly depending on what the local ingredients are available or what the fresh catch of the day is such as seasonal triggerfish or black bass. @ 41 Bogard St
Poogan’s Porch is one of the oldest and most highly regarded restaurants in Charleston SC. 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