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Casual Seafood in Charleston, SC???

Going to be traveling to Charleston in a month or so...have a great list of gourmet restaurants but am also looking for local seafood dives...possibly seafood on the docks? Somewhere casual to get great seafood and drink beer. Any suggestions?

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  1. Sounds like "The Wreck" in Mt. Pleasant may fit the bill. Unpretentious, on the docks, fresh seafood, beer.

    1. Not necessarily a dive, but Fleet Landing downtown on the water is fantastic. And of course, there's always the Crab Shack on East Bay (with buckets in the center of the table for crab leg remains!).

      1. The Anchor Line on Folly Road (about a mile on the right before you hit the actual beach) is ultra casual, with a dock on a tidal creek in the middle of the marsh. Fantastic fried shrimp and fried okra. All else is excellent, as well. Best of its kind in Charleston.

        2 Replies
        1. re: DavidA

          I agree with you about Anchor Line, and I would also add Bowen's Island. BI is a few miles away from the beach off Folly Road, just follow the sign.

          The only thing is I am not sure either of them serve beer. I think BI might, and I am pretty sure AL doesn't. I would definitely call first if that is important to you.

          ETA: I know The Wreck does serve beer.

          1. re: lizzy

            You can bet you Bud BI sells beer nothing crafty or imported though. Their idea of imported is Rolling Rock.

        2. The wreck also has the best banana pudding ever.

          1. Bowen's Island is definitely a worthwhile experience, although I do think the food at The Anchor Line is better. I am not sure if the AI does serve beer or not.

            1. Thanks a lot. I think we are gonna try Anchor Line.

              1. I would second a recommendation of The Wreck. It's a little expensive for what it is. I like the Anchor line, which is definitely a better deal, but i'm not sure they use local shrimp. Basically, I've been there once during shrimp season and once in the offseason, and both times the shrimp were the same size: smaller than most local shrimp i've seen, and fried without tails. they are definitely good though, and it could simply be that they were local and happened to be small, and that the off season shrimp are frozen local shrimp.

                1. Just came back last night...had she crab soup at Poogans=so so,Fleet landing=so so,,East Bay crab shack =very good...The fleet landing was a big disappointment food was blah...a lot of hipe..if it wasnt for the surroundings it would have been a bust..East bay had promise with the soup but a sampling of the shrimp burger left some desire..

                    1. Here are some other options.
                      Waters Edge.
                      1407 Shrimpboat Lane.
                      It is in Mt. Pleasant on Shemp's Creek. Not a dive but a nice menu with a extensive wine list and good view.
                      In Folly Beach is the River Cafe. More of a casual dive but pretty with a view good. River Café 86 Sandbar Lane.

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: Cpt Wafer

                          Or maybe is was Mo Creek or Curley Creek. LOL

                      1. Yes, it is Shem Creek. I think Shemp was a Stooge.

                        Also on Shem Creek is Shem Creek Bar and Grill. Casual, good family atmosphere. At lunch yesterday I had grilled seafood; it was certainly good but nothing to fawn over. However, you can sit outside on the creek - I watched a wood stork circling the water. Kingfishers everywhere, and the top of the new bridge was looming above the treetops. Can't beat that. (Beer = yes) On the west side of the creek bridge.

                        If you want to avoid crowds of tourists then avoid JB's and the Trawler on the east side of the creek bridge.

                        Been to both the Wreck and Bowen's Island and they're both fantastic. Can't really go wrong with either. If you have the oysters at BI please remember to tip the fellow tending the fire.

                        1. Thanks for all the suggestions. This is where we are planning on so far:

                          Peninsula Grill
                          The Wreck

                          Making any mistakes?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ScottAR

                            Skip the Wreck and go to Boulevard Diner. I find the Wreck is so focused on being a dump that the food is just average and overpriced. You'll get better food and service, though not waterfront, at the Diner.
                            It's always on my list when I go, if only for lunch. FWIW, I scratched the wreck off several years ago. Bowen's Island is on my list to try; I have heard raves.
                            Skip Shem Creek completely, tourist trap.
                            Hominy Grill is a good option too.

                          2. that's a pretty good survey of the restaurants in charleston. One that you might want to throw in that has always been one of my favorites is the Boulevard Diner in Mount Pleasant. They have very good food in a casual atmosphere. It's on Coleman Blvd between The Bridge and Shem Creek. I'd be interested to know what everyone else thinks about Blvd. Diner. I've never heard it mentioned on here.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: GrillMaster

                              For the been'ya locals who work and live on the SC economy the Blvd Diner is a wonderful option. I would like to stress the "causal" atomsphere. As I remember the building started its life as a DQ. The currnet owners have tried to remove the frozen custard look and it is cetianly not as "casual" as the Wreck or Bowen's Island. BD has great food at moderate prices.

                            2. Just want to put in a vote for Hominy Grill - their buttermilk pie is outrageoulsy good. Also, I would choose Charelston Grill over Magnolias - price is similar but I think the food is more inventive at the Grill

                              1. Hominy is always good, even for breakfast and lunch. But Lana just across the street is more exciting for dinner. And I agree about Magnolia. It's getting a bit tired. If you're going to Mt Pleasant, try the Old Village Post House on Pitt St. Same family as SNOB, but different menu.

                                I'd go to Peninsula Grill anytime just for the Coconut Cake. SNOB is great and McCrady's has a new chef, I believe, who's getting good reviews. Also Charleston Grill is a sure bet.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: nachomama

                                  We had drinks at Lana last spring while waiting for our reservation across the street at Hominy (multitasking LOL) and the menu looked intriguing. The place was packed and the aromas from the kitchen were mouth-watering. I'd like to try it for more than just drinks. What do you recommend?

                                  1. re: nachomama

                                    I'd definately do Charleston Grill over Hank's and definately go to the Peninsula for the Coconut Cake. It now comes as a drink as well!


                                  2. May I add a suggestion....don't miss Fast and French...add that to your list too.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Nuttygirl

                                      Yes, Fast and French is a great lunch spot - or pick up some items to go and have a picnic in the nice weather. I have never had anything there that I did not like. I wish it was in Columbia!

                                    2. Anybody know anything about FIG or Chive?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ScottAR

                                        My crew thinks FIG is the best thing Chucktown has going right now, so I would add that to your list. As far as responding to your request for mistake identification, SNOB is a tourist trap. Stay away.

                                        Others are right...Fast & French (Gaulart et Maliclet Cafe), Hominy Grill - a must for brunch, and Cafe Lana - best paninis and salad dressing you ever knew.

                                        Try not to leave the peninsula.

                                      2. We've gone down to Folly every summer for the past ten years or so. We usually do most of our own cooking and only go out a few times. People kept recommending the Anchor Line, so we finally went. I have to say, none of us thought it was that great. You couldn't even get a beer there, if I recall correctly. It certainly wasn't worth sacrificing a cold one for. Last year we tried Bowen's Island and thought it was great. It definitely wins the dive prize. The service is surley and not necessarily super speedy, but we had a great time and the atmosphere is not of this century.

                                        1. Speaking of folly - and I know this is tangental - the lost dog is wonderful for breakfast - ate there last just before they moved to their new digs. Also, truthfully, there is a kind of commercial place across the street from the old digs of the lost dog that I have truly enjoyed their oysters both raw and boiled - althought I do not remember anything else as all that enticing. Am looking forward to exploring Bowen Island.

                                          1. I'll definately back up the rec. for Fast and French. One of my favorite afternoons during college was to go get a haircut at The Broad St. Barber Shop and grab lunch and a glass of red wine from F&F. It is the absolute best place to grab lunch if you're eating by yourself because you end up sitting with others and there's almost always good conversation.
                                            I hear a lot on hear about Hominy Grill but I was never that impressed. It seems like they were trying too hard and ended up being a caricature of themselves.
                                            By the way, this post has pretty much nothing to do with casual Charleston seafood anymore.

                                            1. This post has stryed from casual seafood but oh well I think there are a few favorites for that and at least we have an active post for Charleston restaurants. The others I found on Charleston were outdated. Can't wait to eat.

                                              1. Just got back and everything was great. What a great restaurant city. THe coconut cake is even better than anybody described it. I think it is the best desert I have ever had and I can say that without exageration!

                                                1. Unfortunately, the ultra-casual Bowens Island Rest. (excellent local steamed oysters) burned down a couple of weeks ago. Robert Barber who runs it is possible new Lt. Gov. of S. C.

                                                  1. We were in Charleston this weekend. Locals at nearby Crosby Seafood Co. told us that the Anchor Line Cafe closed down just after Labor Day Weekend...the looks of it suggest that it has gone out of business.