HOME > Chowhound > General South Archive >


Best in Charleston SC

I am going to be in Charleston next weekend and am looking for the your best recommendation for a local restaurant in the area. Prefer seafood or comfort/home cooking. Also any thoughts for Hilton Head if you have a go too place there as well.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Southern/comfort food:
    -Hominy Grill
    -Jestine's Kitchen
    -Sweetwater Grill (Summerville)


    1. Thanks I appreciate the recomendations

      1. Greetings Bigbob.....

        Charleston has so many places and everyone has their own opinions. I was reading a credit card guide that listed Charleston as one of the Top Ten Food Cities in North America (imagine Charleston listing with the big dogs). I suggest typing in "Charleston" under SEARCH and prepare to spend some time reading the screen. Enjoy.

        1. I second the Jestine's Kitchen and Hominy Grill recs.

          If you don't require fancy digs, The Wreck on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant is a pretty good seafood dive.

          Bowen's Island Seafood restaurant, just off of James Island, also comes to mind, but I understand it burned a few months back and may not be reopened yet. (Maybe somebody else knows.)

          1. The Wreck!!

            Mt. Pleasant is just out from Charleston, and if you want the best seafood and a home cooking/laid back atmosphere you have got to eat at The Wreck.

            I live in VA so I cannot give you directions, but ask a local who knows, and write them down! This place is a hidden gem - on the water, right next to a seafood market where shrimp boats come in with fresh catches everyday. But let me reiterate HIDDEN. I don't recall there even being a sign out front! Here's the info copied from a Charleston Travel website:

            THE WRECK 106 Haddrell St. 8840052. Seafood, fried shrimp, oysters, scallops, flounder, grouper, mahimahi. Shem Creek views. Daily 5-8:45 p.m., Fri.-Sat. till 9:45 p.m. Cash only.

            You will love it!! Also, if you drive there, and have some cooler space, buy seafood from the market next door, freeze it, and take some home with you.

            1. i was in Charleston a few years ago - great city btw! - and i sat in on a culinary lesson and subsequent dinner at Magnolia. Great food and eclectic menu that highlights local produce, seafood, etc. . .

              1. I really enjoyed Hyman's Seafood on Meeting St. www.hymansseafood.com

                1. many thanks to all- I can't wait to try these places out.I am always in search of the best in local dining and avoid chains if at all possible, Thanks again!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bigbob

                    We live in South Carolina and were in Charleston 2 weekends ago and again last night! Fulton Five is great, our favorite! Go to Olde Towne for a gyros and to AW Shucks for great fried seafood. Also, Rue de John on John St is great bistro food. Have fun!

                  2. I would be remiss if I didn't include The Pennsulia Grill on my list. It really is great, although expensive, but worth it. Please order the coconut cake for dessert. It is unforgettable and a local legend. We order it from 100 miles away for special occasions. One cake weighs 17 pounds. Also, Anson's is very good. Where are you staying?

                    1. Were actually staying in Hilton Head and doing a day trip - we have been going to HH for many many years and find ourselves going to the same places every year. This year were going to venture out and seek new places and with al of your help it's going to be a great experience.

                      1. i said this in another thread but poogans porch on queen street is wonderful


                        1. From a HHI resident of 25 years: Spice is a new Indian restaurant at the Village at Wexford. No decor like it this side of Manhattan.

                          1. Chicago couple celebrated our 25th anniversary in Charleston 3 weeks ago. In our opinion, Charleston is one of the top 5 Chow Cities in the country. We had great lunches at Hominy Grill, Jestine's Kitchen, and Cru Cafe. Had fabulous dinners at Slightly North of Broad(SNOB), High Cotton, and FIG. Our overall favorite dining experience for atmosphere, service, and food quality was at SNOB. We enjoyed Red Bean Soup, Carmelized Pear Salad, and Mussels for appetizers. Sauteed Duck Breast and Veal Sausage for main entrees, and Creme Brulee and Banana Cream Pie for desserts. Also had a great bottle of Rioja wine. Can't wait to go back to this beautiful city.

                            1. With this many choices we may have to stay over night and forget teh day trip! I appreciate all your suggestions and I am really loving this site! wish I had used it last summer when we traveled the PCH from LA to SF

                              1. If you visit Poogan's Porch do not miss their biscuits. The very best I've ever tasted.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Ellen of SC

                                  Their biscuits are terrific.

                                  But, they seem to be going downhill in all other areas. My I came away from my last couple of trips there less enthusiastic than I had been about them. Bland dishes, oversalted dishes, and indifferent service have kept us away lately.

                                2. We are going to Charleston in a few weeks and our favorite place is in Mt. Pleasant- Coco's Cafe. Rated highly by Fodors which is how we found it several years ago. Located in a strip mall which is an issue but I am not sure that you can beat the price and quality. We have eaten at The Wreck, etc. but keep returning to Coco's Cafe. Look at their on-line menu (with prices) to see what you think.

                                  1. Last year, we went to Charleston SC but stayed in Mt Pleasant, SC and came across Gullah Cuisine. It's lowcountry cuisine and it's great! Address is 1717 Hwy 17N in Mt Pleasant, SC. I love Charleston and Mt Pleasant! It's beautiful. You're so lucky to be going there!

                                    1. If you like your seafood grilled or with a caribbean flair, "Coast" has always been excellent. The Bartenders are always top notch as well.

                                        1. Many Thanks - we had a great weekend and the recomendations were wonderful !
                                          We had dinner Friday night at the Old Fort Pub in HH and were amazed that for as many years as we had been going to HH that we missed this outstanding restaurant with incredible views to match.
                                          In Charleston we had lunch Jestines and it was good but we were not blown away by it. The Coca Cola cake was outstanding however and made the stop well worth while. For dinner we tried Poogans Porch and were more than pleased with the entire experience. The hit dish was the shrimp & grits! We plan on returning in the fall and spending a long weekend so we wont have to hurry. Again thanks to all who made the recomendations and I will keep the othersrecomendations for when we return.

                                          1. Also any B&B recomendations in the downtown area? were thinking about going back in early November.

                                            1. I saw Ellen's comments about Poogan's Porch... We ate there about 5 years ago and I remember the biscuits......I am in the catering business and I have made biscuits from scratch maybe 250 times and can not even get in the same ballpark as Poogan's ...they are so light and fluffy....they literaly melt in your mouth...nothing else I have tasted is even close....also the alligator is very good

                                              1. glad to know you enjoys poogans! it's my favorite charleston lunch spot by far. I really want to try SNOB next time I'm there.

                                                1. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed Poogan's. I've always thought they didnt' get the respect they deserved just because they aren't quite as pricey as some of the other hot spots. I would say that they are probably the best value Downtown.
                                                  Had a great dinner at SNOB's a couple of weeks ago. The food was great but not outstanding...the atmosphere was fun though. I love a big bustling restaurant.
                                                  I must say that I haven't checked this board in a while and I'm dissapointed that no one had anything to say when someone recommended Hyman's. I'd eat a seafood buffet in Myrtle Beach before I'd wait two hours to eat crappy seafood at Hyman's.

                                                  1. For a return trip to Charleston, consider staying at The Wentworth Mansion. It is gorgeous and you would get a true Charleston experience. Also, The French Quarter Inn is great and right off the Market.

                                                      1. Some tourists will tell you to eat at HYMAN'S but NO locals will ever tell you to go there. We ate at Jestine's Kitchen and it was the WORST meal we have ever had. My husband wouldn't even finish his and for him that is unheard of!! We were more than disappointed. We felt the need to drive down the street along those poor folks standing in line to eat there and warn them how much they were wasting their time. The service was even more terrible than the food and that's saying alot! No southern charm.
                                                        We went to a little place over in Mt. Pleasant called the Blvd. Diner and it was fabulous. We also ate at their sister restaurant called the MUSTARD SEED and it was even better. There are several Mustard Seeds but we at at the one closest to Folly Beach. It's just in a little house and you'd nver believe it to be as great as it is, but definately give it a shot. We tried Cru Cafe. It was pretty good for lunch. We ate at Blossom Cafe for dinner. The two of us dropped $100 but it was great. The grilled mahi mahi over cheddar grits were amazing as well as the creme brulee. A local told of us a place called Joshua's but it was our last day and we didn't get to try it.
                                                        We will next time! Oh, and we ate at Poogan's Porch for lunch and the ONLY good thing about it was the biscuits. The rest was crap.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: jsergent

                                                          check out martha lou's kitchen for some soul food and glass onion for cheap eats..

                                                          when it's time to get fancy head over to McCrady's on east bay street..check out a current review of their tasting menu on www.chuckeats.com

                                                          1. re: jsergent

                                                            My roommate works at Poogan's and informed me that they recently laid off almost half their staff and cut the lunch shift all together. Apparently business hasn't been wonderful and they are going to try to take the restaurant in a more "fine dining" direction, which I'm afraid could be disastrous with all the competition in the immediate area.