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Charleston Bound - Seeking Excellent Cuisine

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tiffany Feb 16, 2003 11:26 AM

My friend & I are taking our husbands to Charleston next weekend for their birthdays. We are all huge foodies- love great food - dives, gourmet cousine, everything! $$ no object. I've seen the postings for some of the better places - Peninsula Grill, McCradys, Charleston Grill, etc, but would also love to hear about the dives and little known places where the locals go, bars/pubs, and fun places not to miss! Anxiously waiting....

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    Holly Moore RE: tiffany Feb 16, 2003 02:16 PM

    Bowen's Island, on James Island just south of Charleston for shovel fulls of roast oysters.

    Holly Moore
    HollyEats.Com

    Link: http://www.hollyeats.com/Bowens.htm

    1 Reply
    1. re: Holly Moore
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      YourPalWill RE: Holly Moore Feb 16, 2003 10:28 PM

      Many locals favor a fried seafood place over in Mt. Pleasant called the Wreck.

      It's well hidden, so you'll need directions from your hotel. The building itself is an old Shrimp cooler on the docks in Mount Pleasant. It's not much to look at. They serve excellent traditional broiled and fried seafood. The Wreck is truly a Chowhound Place...one you won't find in a tour book.

      The Wreck
      106 Hadrell Place
      Mt. Pleasant SC
      843-884-0052 or 5005

      If you're up for a little drive the Old Post Office on Edisto Island is a great local eatery serving mid-upscale regional cuisine. It is literally located in the building that was the Island's Post Office for many years. It is moderately priced with most entrees in the $15-25 range. Don't miss the grits, slow simmered in a double boiler with veal stock and cream.

      The Old Post Office
      14423 Hwy 174
      Edisto Island, SC
      843-869-2339

      Over in Mount Pleasant again, you'll find Mama Browns Barbeque, an all you can eat buffet affair of pulled sauced pork, fried chicken, vegetables, and desserts for $6. It's the best of the buffet barbeque places in the Charleston area in my opinion

      Mama Brown's Barbeque
      1471 Ben Sawyer Blvd.
      Mt. Pleasant
      849-8802

      A good cheap soul food place is Jestine's Kitchen. Good chicken, fried seafood, ect

      251 Meeting Street
      Charleston
      722-7224

      I second the Bowen's Island recommendation for pan oyster roasts given by another poster.

      You'll need a car if you plan to get away from the touristy part of Charleston (as pleasant as it is)and see how real folks eat down there. The peninsula has some fine restaurants if you're looking for upscale dining. You'll need to go West of the Ashley and East of the Cooper to get to the kinds of places that you're looking for.

      Good Eating!

    2. f
      F Young RE: tiffany Feb 17, 2003 01:38 PM

      Charleston is full of "Joints" to find great food. The best hamburger you'll ever eat is at "The Goodie House", right across from the college on Calhoun, too bad it sold out to Starbucks in '96. But the second best is a place at the very end of Market St. called "Your Place". They serve a huge burger cooked to order with a large plastic cup of sweet tea. Try to order a double just to see their reaction. You'll never eat a better burger. If you want pizza try "Andolini's" on Wentworth and St. Phillips one block down from King and also right off of C of C campus. They make pizza by the slice with whatever toppings you choose. I can't pinpoint what exactly is so great about it but believe me it's phenomenal. For a late night snack try "Sharky's" on King and order a "Fin", like a calzone, try the "May Fin" with creamy parmesan dressing on the side. If you're interested in a little happy hour and snack try "Cumberlands", on Cumberland St. near the market off of Church behind Bocci's, and order the fried mushrooms with ranch dip. Sounds simple but the explosion of warm jucies and flavor will knock your socks off. Order the $1 mystery beer. They also have live bands nightly. Greek food try steves special at "Olde Towne" near Saks 5th Ave. on King. "Bakers Cafe" on King for the best Eggs Benedict. I could go on, what a great place!! Have a good trip.

      1. g
        Gator RE: tiffany Feb 17, 2003 05:14 PM

        Poogan's Porch in the old part of Charleston used to be quite good, not sure if it's still going strong or not. It was an upscale casual place serving Low Country and Creole dishes, especially seafood, and I once read it was Paul Newman's & Joanne Woodward's favorite place to eat in the city. Not really unknown, but not mentioned as frequently as others either. Perhaps someone else can give an update.

        On my last trip through Charleston two years ago I had dinner at Hank's, a fairly new place also specializing in local seafood, and thought it was quite good. The name is a play on Henry's, a longtime Charleston favorite now closed for many years. Again, this is an upscale casual restaurant withprices to match but I thought it offered good value.

        Anson's is another restaurant which does not seem to get mentioned as frequently as it deserves to be in my opinion. The menu focuses on updated "New Southern" dishes for lack of a better description and I thought it was excellent the one time I visited. I'm sure you can find reviews for more information on the internet.

        I would certainly second the recommendation of Jestine's, especially for lunch. There is a review currently on DixieDining.com which you may find helpful.

        John Martin Taylor a/k/a "Hoppin' John" wrote a good article recently on Charleston restaurants which I think appeared in Bon Appetit magazine but I could not locate it on the web. You may be able to locate it yourself or perhaps someone can provide a link.

        There was also an interesting article by Matt & Ted Lee (of Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts catalog fame) in a national magazine within the last year in which they reviewed their favorite Charleston restaurants but once again I unfortunately can't locate it right now. It may have been in Coastal Living magazine but I'm not finding it on the internet; perhaps someone else can provide a link to that, too.

        Good luck and good eating.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Gator
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          danna RE: Gator Feb 18, 2003 08:08 AM

          There was an article on Charleston in Gourmet within the last few months, but I can't recall the author. Perhaps that's what you are looking for.

          1. re: danna
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            Gator RE: danna Feb 18, 2003 05:57 PM

            Bingo! That's the Taylor article and it's in the January 2003 issue.

        2. z
          Zorra RE: tiffany Feb 17, 2003 05:44 PM

          I second the mention of Antolini's, but if you want a whole pizza you had all better be hungry--I recall that the smallest we could get was 20 inches! I remember some little burrito place across the street from there that was pretty good. We love Jestine's, especially the buttermilk mashed potatoes. Our favorite "fancier" place was Fulton Five.
          AVOID HYMAN'S. You can get plenty of recs from this board about better places to go for seafood.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Zorra
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            YourPalWill RE: Zorra Feb 17, 2003 07:32 PM

            I agree that you should avoid Hymans-for both seafood and deli. It is an overated tourist trap.

            1. re: Zorra
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              deibu RE: Zorra Feb 19, 2003 09:40 AM

              Are you talking about Juanita Greenberg's Nacho Royale on King St.? That's a good little dive.

              1. re: deibu
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                Zorra RE: deibu Feb 19, 2003 03:11 PM

                No, this place was on Wentworth. There was a used record store nearby, and the pizza place was on the other side of the street, maybe down a little ways. This was more than two years ago, though.

              2. re: Zorra
                JoeBagadonuts RE: Zorra Apr 1, 2007 05:16 PM

                the burrito joint is Yo Burrito on Wentworth

                1. re: JoeBagadonuts
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                  GrillMaster RE: JoeBagadonuts Apr 2, 2007 06:21 AM

                  Let a CofC alum set you straight on burrito joints around the college. I think I could be considered an expert on this particular topic. Juanita Greenberg's used to be on King and Wentworth but I believe the Wentworth spot is gone. The King spot remains a great place to get a burrito and have a beer or 10.
                  Yo Burrito used to be on Wentworth as well but when I last passed by it was gone...I believe the college commandeered the building.
                  Another place that used to be a dive but moved up the ladder is Bubba Sly's. It used to be near the corner of Pitt and Beaufain (right across from the projects for those of you keeping track) and I seriously doubt that anyone but an extremely hungry and broke college student would have ventured inside. It still remains, however, one of my favorite lunch spots. They had some of the best sandwiches that I have ever eaten. Last I saw of them they had moved to the revolving door of a spot at the corner of Warren and King. There have been a ton of businesses in there over the years but hopefully Bubba Sly's still retains their "dive cuisine" in this upscale spot and remains there for years.

                2. re: Zorra
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                  jsergent RE: Zorra Aug 3, 2008 11:42 AM

                  I just can't imagine anyone would say they love Jestine's. I found it terrible. Bland, soggy, the poorest excuse for southern down home cooking I've ever seen. what a disappointment!

                3. c
                  Chuck RE: tiffany Feb 17, 2003 06:26 PM

                  We, too, are going to Charleston next month - can't wait. Sure seems like this is a town with some really good eats. I have a big list of places that I had to whittle down to 4 or 5 meals - tough job.

                  Going to make sure we have lunch at The Wreck since we're staying in Mt. Pleasant anyway. Also going to try Justine's for dinner based on reasonable price and good Hounds' reviews. Breakfast will be either at Joseph's or Baker's Cafe. A final meal, if we have the time, might be at 82 Queen.

                  We heard that McCrady's, Charleston Grill, and Peninsula Grill were all great, but a bit pricy.

                  Incidently, we also heard the Farmer's Market is terrific. Also going to check out King Street and, in particular, Anson's for a bag of freshly ground corn meal.

                  Comments more than welcome, if we have a wrong plan....

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                    Chuck RE: tiffany Feb 17, 2003 06:27 PM

                    We, too, are going to Charleston next month - can't wait. Sure seems like this is a town with some really good eats. I have a big list of places that I had to whittle down to 4 or 5 meals - tough job.

                    Going to make sure we have lunch at The Wreck since we're staying in Mt. Pleasant anyway. Also going to try Justine's for dinner based on reasonable price and good Hounds' reviews. Breakfast will be either at Joseph's or Baker's Cafe. A final meal, if we have the time, might be at 82 Queen.

                    We heard that McCrady's, Charleston Grill, and Peninsula Grill were all great, but a bit pricy.

                    Incidently, we also heard the Farmer's Market is terrific. Also going to check out King Street and, in particular, Anson's for a bag of freshly ground corn meal.

                    Comments more than welcome, if we have a wrong plan....

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Chuck
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                      KarenC RE: Chuck Feb 18, 2003 01:04 PM

                      I had brunch at 82 Queen and was rather disappointed. My crabs benedict was a crab cake on a fried green tomatoe with poached egg on top. The holandaise was a tiny drizzle under the tomato and the poached egg had a solid yolk. :( I used to adore eating there. Don't fall for the famous $6.50 bloody mary made with a mix.

                      1. re: KarenC
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                        Chuck RE: KarenC Feb 18, 2003 06:59 PM

                        Ok - "86" 82 Queen. Any comments on Justines or The Homney Grill for dinner. Or, any other suggestions for great food at a fair price for dinner? - Need two places.

                        Thinking of going to The Wreck for one dinner - Supposedly not open for lunch on Saturday or Sunday -
                        Is the place really a "Must" - that's what some Gamecock Hounds are saying soooo....

                        1. re: Chuck
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                          spicee RE: Chuck Feb 19, 2003 08:13 AM

                          Jestine's is more of a lunch place to me. We ate at Hominey Grill for one dinner--found it good but not special. (More of an upscale lunch spot) SNOB is fantastic, as is McGradys. (Yes, both are pricey-but worth it.) Than Anchor Line out towards Folly Beach is a great spot for a quick seafood fix.

                      2. re: Chuck
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                        YourPalWill RE: Chuck Feb 18, 2003 09:40 PM

                        Chuck, if you're going to have a pricey meal in Charleston, I recommend SNOB (Slightly North of Broad) I lived in Chareston for a number of years before work took me to the northeast and midwest. Whenever I land in the Holy City, one of my first stops is SNOB for dinner with friends. Here are what I think makes it special;

                        Great Preparation
                        Regional Ingredients
                        A Sophisticated But Comforable Room
                        A Knowledgeable Staff That Dares You to Stretch Your Culinary Limitations with Success
                        Solid Winelist

                        1. re: YourPalWill
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                          Tiffany RE: YourPalWill Feb 19, 2003 09:10 PM

                          Thanks for all the great suggestions. Will report back as to the best eats. So far the Wreck and Peninsula Grill are definites. Hoping to get to Snob's and Jestines & possibly Anchor Line if we can fit it in!

                          1. re: Tiffany
                            jinet12 RE: Tiffany Apr 2, 2007 06:48 AM

                            Be sure to get the coconut cake at the Peninsula Grill...SNOB is very good...Justines is okay for lunch...We love 82 Queen, but that is obviously not a popular opinion on this board...we ate there twice, and we had great meals...Poogan's Porch had too many "critters" running around the restaurant...Hanks is good...Magnolia's...We stayed at The Charleston Place hotel, and did not eat at their restaurant, but heard raves about it numerous times, and yes it is expensive, but then so is the Penisula Grill..

                            1. re: jinet12
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                              CMACDC RE: jinet12 Apr 2, 2007 08:44 PM

                              Just returned from a long weekend and had some fine meals. I took the advice of everyone on this board and ate at SNOB, and it was very good but not the amazing experience I had been led to believe. The shrimp and grits were good, but I've had better. Great wine list, though.

                              My favorite meal was at Hank's. I can't recommend it enough. The service, the food, the surroundings -- everything was superb, from the seafood remoulade cocktail to the Key lime pie. A close second was Magnolia's. The fried chicken breast with collard greens and mashed potatoes was massive and extremely tasty. My wife had the flounder, which she said was the best fish she had had in Charleston. We also had brunch at Blossom which was just okay. Very nice atmosphere, though.

                      3. c
                        charlottecooks RE: tiffany Oct 17, 2007 12:12 PM

                        The wreck is really fantastic. Nice big plates of fried shrimp, oysters, fish, etc. Dark and quiet, nice big screened in patio right on the water, friendly staff. The perfect place for a relaxing evening. I will be going back next time I'm in town.

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