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Jan 8, 2005 12:47 PM


  • s

driving to Charleston from Tampa this March...any suggestions along the way and while in Charleston?...thanks...SSS

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  1. Hi Sandra. I'm a native South Carolinian and have lived in Charleston for several years. Do NOT miss Jestine's Kitchen for great "lowcountry" food. It's at 215 Meeting Street, just blocks from the Market. For once, inexpensive translates to filling, delicious, and better than you'd expect from "regular" Southern food. You'll wish your Mamma was a Charlestonian! Be sure to have the corn cakes. Very surprising and delicious.

    Enjoy Charleston and feel free to email me with any questions. I love playing tour guide.


    6 Replies
    1. re: Tricia Pate

      my vote is Hominy Grill for any of the 3 meals in a day! Best combination of low-country, Southern food with a modern update for great prices!

      I personally did not like Jestine's Kitchen. Maybe it's because I did not grow up on overcooked veggies. I thought I could cook better tasting food than them.

      For high end dining, Charleston Place is one our favorites!

      For a great local coffee shop, go to Port City Java. They have the most divine honey and (blanking on the 2nd ingredient) shakes. I haven't been able to find anyone else in CA who makes it!

      1. re: daantaat

        Jestines has never been that good. They have a good dish or two, but for the most part it is dry, flavorless and bland.

        It is pretender on how LowCountry Food should be pre-pared.

        1. re: daantaat

          Port City Java is not local coffee shop. It is a chain based in Wilmington, NC.

          1. re: joshuahmel

            I went to a Port City Java while in Wilmington, NC. (while I was having my tires rotated). It was okay, but nothing special. I think I went to THE main one, as they had their training "university" in the same strip mall.


            1. re: TexasToast

              Yeah, that location was hit by car last year and it burst into flames. They quickly rebuilt it. I prefer the three downtown Wilmington locations.

        2. re: Tricia Pate

          Tricia, one of my favorite places for just hanging out is Red's Ice House. I had a spicy shrimp dish there once and cannot remember its name. Do you know it?

        3. So many restaurants to choose from - So little time.
          A short list:
          Hominy Grill
          82 Queen
          The Bookstore Cafe (breakfast)
          Peninsula Grill
          As for along the way. It's just 7 1/2 hrs. Take a sandwich to leave more time in Charleston

          1. Jestine's is a tourist trap. Good Lowcountry cooking in downtown is near impossible. Drive seven miles up Spruill to Aunt Bea's. I've always thought of Magnolia's and 82 Queen as tourist traps as well. Cru Cafe, Carolina's, Peninsula Grill and Charleston Grill are good choices downtown - the rest are all overrated.

            1 Reply
            1. re: coryphaena

              Welcome to the board, Coryphaena. It's always good to get another perspective.

            2. True, true. Wasn't trying to step on your toes, but I think a lot of places downtown have been surviving on reputation for a long time. Forgot to mention SNOB - wife and I had a great - surprisingly great - meal there a couple of weeks ago...


              1. I've always thought Jestine's was overated as well. As someone who was raised in South Carolina I know a good meat and 3 and Jestine's would not make the cut in my top 25. I feel the same way about Hominy Grill. For breakfast they do ok but their biscuits aren't that good and that is an unforgivable sin for any restaurant in the south that serves breakfast.
                I wonder if those two have some folks on this board on the payroll. That or these folks didn't grow up eating the real thing. If you think about it, for the uninitiated transplant those places are pretty good but for those of us who know the difference they don't make the cut. For all of you who just don't know any better, keep your eyes open for a diner or meat and 3 with a bunch of old pickups in the parking lot like Aunt Bea's. If you see more Pennsylvania tags than pickups you're better off going somewhere else.

                6 Replies
                1. re: GrillMaster

                  Heh. If this board has people "on the payroll", so does the New York Times. I agree. Hominy serves a nice breakfast, ex the biscuits, but it doesn't knock me over. Maybe I'm missing something because I haven't been for dinner...but I'm not willing to risk a dinner at this point.

                  I had dessert from Jestines, and that made me not bother to go back for a meal. Seriously, though, can you get good Southern home cooking ANYWHERE? maybe those of us who can cook the stuff at home are just too hard on the restaurants.

                  Someone asked me on another thread who does make a good biscuit in Chas, and I had no answer. What do you think?

                  1. re: danna

                    >Hominy...I'm not willing to risk a dinner at this point.

                    A wise decision. I had dinner there last summer. It was the worst meal I can recall ever being served, school cafeterias included. Crunchy, half done fried eggplant. The grouper special was cold and tough and had the texture of pressed sawdust. It was served with a tomato and smoked bacon sauce. I'm _certain_ the tomatoes were served straight from the can without even being heated much less actually cooked. Also on the plate was some cold, dry and tough macaroni and cheese, sans cheese. I also sampled their fried green tomatoes, and although they were fried, they were not green. To top it off the service was indifferent at best.

                    1. re: Cpt Wafer

                      They must have put crack in William Grimes' grits.

                      1. re: danna

                        If they hadn't, perhaps they should've. And speaking of their grits, I tasted some that evening; extraodinarily ordinary.

                    2. re: danna

                      Best biscuit ever. Ever. Poogan's Porch.

                      Oops. I see I had already answered. Sorry, must be the wine. *hic*

                      1. re: Ellen of SC

                        Perhaps, but everything else is horrid