Six meals in Charleston ... recommendations?
I'll be in Charleston for a few days. I'm looking for good places to have six meals -- three breakfasts, two lunches, and one dinner (all other meals will be provided at social events).
Looking for casual places with good food -- regional specialties in particular. I'm especially looking forward to trying shrimp and grits. I can't eat spicy food, but am hoping that non-spicy shrimp and grits can be had. I also love barbecue, provided it's not too spicy or peppery. I love good seafood (not just shrimp). And I adore desserts. Wouldn't mind knowing if there's a good bakery or two in case I don't get my dessert fix in restaurants.
It won't kill me to dress up a little for dinner if I have to, but I'd prefer that the breakfast and lunch places be bluejeans-and-sneakers appropriate. (I expect to be walking off all those grits!)
I would welcome any suggestions regarding good restaurants and what regional foods to try. We'll have a car so we can travel, although we don't want to spend too much time driving.
Hyman's is a joke! Walk down Meeting Street almost any day of the week from now until the end of Summer and crowds of tourists are waiting in the street for a table...for incredibly average to mediocre seafood. Effectively it's the Joe's Stone Crab of Charleston.
As mentioned above The Wreck is good. Hanks Fish House near the Market is superb, as is Carolina's.
The non-descript Seashell Cafe' out on Folly Beach is inexpensive, charming and great for fried seafood. Mustard Seed or Long Point Grill near the ports in Mt. Pleasant are both rock solid.
I'm surprised you mention Vickery's! I like the atmosphere at the one downtown but the food is heavyhanded and just plain bad most of the time. Only a few decent items on the menu.
For more upscale FIG is impeccable. And Basil is great Thai downtown.
Boulevard Diner in Mt. Pleasant off of Coleman Blvd is a very good breakfast spot, featuring local southern style cuisine. This would also be a good lunch option if you're in Mt. Pleasant.
Five Loaves is the best reasonably-priced lunch spot in town - they have a few locations, but i'm partial to the location on Cannon St. I recommend a half sandwich and soup lunch there. Their salads are also delicious.
I can not speak to this myself, but I hear very good things about Slightly North of Broad (SNOB), particularly their shrimp and grits, and I am happy to report that they use local shrimp. They apparently also focus on local and organic ingredients as well. I think you can survive in business casual attire here, so you won't have to get too dressed up.
Another dinner suggestion I have is FIG. Again, I have not eaten here, but a friend whose food opinions I place in high regard loved it. And again, I love that they focus on using local ingredients. From their web site: FIG is an intimate neighborhood bistro serving a “seasonally inspired menu”. FIG focuses on the resources of the area to create a daily changing menu featuring Dayboat Seafood, an abundance of Local produce, and farm raised meats and poultry.
Be on the lookout for boiled peanuts if you're looking for a regional food to try. You can find these at the saturday morning farmers market at marion square downtown. Boiled peanuts aren't for everyone, but everyone must try them. They are one of my favorite things.
Oh, if you're looking for BBQ, charleston doesn't really have a lot of great BBQ. Sticky Fingers is a chain, and it is okay, but if I only had 6 meals in charleston, I wouldn't waste one there. There are two places I can recommend: Momma Brown's on Mt. Pleasant on Coleman Blvd on your way to Sullivan's Island and The Hickory Hawg on John's Island. The Hickory Hawg actually smokes their pork with hickory wood and serves it Western NC style.
Also check out this lengthy Charleston chowhound post:
Good Luck. Make sure you report back!
Thanks to everyone for your responses. I will check out the other thread. I have done a little research and either SNOB or FIG do sound like a good bets for our one dinner.
We can skip BBQ (I'd rather have fresh seafood anyway), unless we find a good place to stop as we drive through Virginia and the Carolinas. Many years ago, on a road trip from Northern Virginia to Florida, we stopped at a legendary BBQ place that was very good (except for the yellowjackets swarming around the picnic tables!), but I can't remember what or where it was.