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Dec 24, 2002 03:43 PM

Charleston, SC

  • t

Hello. My husband and I are going to Charleston for my birthday in January and would like suggestions for lunches and dinners. We're from Chicago and anxious for southern cuisine. We'll do anything from total casual to price-is-no-object. Thanks!

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  1. Well, were going in March and here's the list I got from Chowhounds and other "reliable" sources such as Frommers, Fodors, etc. Please let us know your opinion, if you try any of these. Perhaps as soon as you return?

    McCrady's - Some say best dinner in Charleston for the money?
    Justines - good Low Country food - reasonable prices
    Homney Grill - best for lunch rather than dinner
    The Wreck - A must? Looks like a dump but gets rave recommendations. Who knows...
    The Anchor Line - supposed to be a great place
    82 Queen
    Joseph's - For breakfast
    Baker's Cafe - For breakfast
    Peninsula Grill and Charleston Grill - These are the top two places and most expensive places according to lots of posts and articles.
    Boathouse on East Bay

    Unless I hear differently, I'm going to try McCrady's, Justines, The Wreck, Joseph's and Homney Grill. The supposedly top two places, Charleston Grill and Peninsula Grill don't fit our retiree budget. But, you said price was no object so I'd say check them out first and tell us all about them please. Have a great time.

    Incidently, our neighbors lived in Charleston and recommended we stay in Mt. Pleasant so that's what we are doing for whatever that's worth.

    10 Replies
    1. re: chuck

      McCrady's is my favorite, but I remember it as rather expensive. Just to let you know. Staying in Mt. Pleasant is a good idea, it's a very short drive into downtown. (the Cooper River Bridge Run starts in Mt. Pleasant and goes over the bridge to the's *only* 6 miles)

      1. re: danna

        Oh, and there's a place called Sermet that's reasonable and my one meal there was very good. King St.

        1. re: danna


          Can you tell us what do you feel is "expensive" in Charleston for dinner? Two people - two glasses of wine, a shared appetizer, entrees and desserts.

          Sounds like you know the town pretty good - Just wondering.. Thanks again for your help. We'd like to keep it under $60 - $65 for the two of us, if possible.

          1. re: Chuck

            Chuck, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad tiddings, but McCrady's is going to significantly exceed $65. Looks more like $90 + tax + tip.

            Their website is You can see the menu there and decide if you want to break the bank!

            It's very annoying to me that so many restaurants think their desserts have to cost $8 these days, and wine by the glass prices are sky-rocketing too. I think a lot of restaurantuers think if they want to be the best in town they have to be those most expensive as well.

            Happy Holidays

            1. re: danna

              Then there's always the Publix deli....

              1. re: danna

                Thanks Danna - at least we know know what to expect. I have time to check out the other places I listed and look for a more reasonable priced eatery that still has good food. If that's the going rate, then sometimes, we just have to bite the bullet and go for it.

                But, I won't do that until I know that's the going rate for really good food with or without atmosphere - a factor we can do without, if need be.

                Thanks again for the info.

        2. re: chuck

          While in Mt. Pleasant, try "A Dough Re Mi Pizzeria", they have great New York style pizza as well as other dishes - all reasonably priced.

          1. re: aj1965

            Beg to differ with this one - Andolini's, in my opinion, is way better.

            1. re: NativeCharlestonian

              Um, this thread is six years old. Things may well have changed in that timeframe.

          2. re: chuck

            I think you will be very happy with your choice of The Wreck and Hominy Grill, especially since you are on a retiree's budget. They are both very good and very reasonable.

            Have fun finding The Wreck, and when you do, on mustering up the courage to go inside. However, you won't regret the decision once you do.

          3. I love Jestine's. The buttermilk mashed potatoes are awesome.
            Avoid Hyman's; the wait is not worth it.
            Fulton Five is a bit pricy, but very good, especially the seafood.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Zorra

              Couldn't disagree more with the recommendation to skip Hyman's. IT IS WORTH THE WAIT (IMHO)!
              Agree 100% with Fulton Five. It is one of our favorites.

              1. re: Dick Cain

                Do not, DO NOT, waste your time with Hyman's. Is mediocre and there are many, MANY better restaurants in Charleston. A total tourist creation fed by excellent marketing and PR.

                1. re: David A

                  I'm always amazed at the loathing Charleston locals have for Hymans. Sure, there are a lot of better places to eat, but I've had plenty of seafood that wasn't as fresh at places that were SO MUCH more pretentious.

                  1. re: danna

                    And there are lots of non-pretentious places that blow Hymans away. Hymans is not horrible, it is just a waste of time and effort when there are so many better, less touristy places here.

                    1. re: David A

                      Amen! Why wait around two hours or more for pedestrian fried seafood and indifferent service? Just so you can sit at a table with a plaque on it that says that Mel Gibson sat there? Sorry, that wasn't enough for me. If and when I am blessed to return to Charleston, I'll go back to Jestine's, Fulton Five, and lots of other places, but I've "done" Hyman's.

                      1. re: Zorra

                        Boy is it pricey, but I loved the food I had at Charleston Place Grill (formerly Louis's). I've been at xmas the past two years and all year long i salivate remembering those wonderful scallops.

                    2. re: danna

                      the reason why "belongers" loath Hymans is simple. During hurricane hugo, they charged 25 bucks for a measly sandwich when the menu said 4 bucks.
                      that's why. price gouging during a disaster.

                      1. re: wb

                        You're kidding! Good reason to loathe. Compare that to what some of the world's greatest chefs did for their city after 9/11.

                      2. re: danna

                        Another reason we "loathe" Hyman's - NOT the best seafood in Charleston. A terrible example of the wonderful seafood you can get in Charleston. If you know good seafood, you'll be sorely disappointed by Hyman's - if you don't, then you probably won't notice the difference. Like David A said, they're all clever marketing and PR - total tourist trap. The Wreck is FANTASTIC, as are Hank's and Fleet Landing.

                2. I would also suggest you consider Hank's for dinner. Very good seafood, nice setting, reasonably priced, good value for an upscale dinner.

                    1. re: JBinStl

                      Could someone comment on FIG? I'm intrigued by their online menu. Thanks!

                      1. re: bordeauxfan

                        I went to FIG for my birthday dinner last year, and it was one of the very best meals of my life.

                        Mike Lata is an awesome chef (he was nominated along with Robert Stehling of Hominy Grill for the James Beard award for Best Chef in the Southeast), and he has a very intense commitment to using local, ultra fresh ingredients.

                        Their braised short rib was one of the best entrees i've ever had and their grouper changed my entire opinion of fish. I've never liked cauliflower before and I even loved that when someone at my table ordered it. If you're looking for a great meal downtown but want to spend a little less than you would at Peninsula, Charleston Grill, or McCradys, it's pretty difficult to beat FIG. Highly recommended!

                        Hope that helps!
                        - DH
               - One Charleston College Student's Guide to Food and Film