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One dinner in Charleston

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We are going to be in Charleston on the first Friday night in June, on our way to Bluffton. We will try to take in some of the great cultural happenings, and are also looking for a great place to have dinner. If you were taking out of town folks for a great dinner, where would you choose? Thanks so much.

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  1. I recommend High Cotton. It's in the historic district near the Rainbow Row. The food is excellent and the bartender makes some really great dessert martinis.

    1. What type of cuisine/price range are you interested in?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Jeff C.

        Cuisine...generally, we eat anything, but since we are in Charleston, I would think that something that has at least a southern influence would be great...I have had some good dinners over the years at Elizabeths on 37th in Savannah, and enjoyed it, just to give some frame of reference. We like all seafood, steaks, and I am particulary fond of good vegetables and salads. I won't say price is no object, but it probably won't be decisive; we are celebrating our anniversary over this weekend. Thanks!

        1. re: lvnvflyer

          I 2nd High Cotton or Slightly North of Broad (Snob's) just across the street and owned by the same folks. Had lunch there today and it is consistently fab! Mavis

          1. re: lvnvflyer

            If you are going to spend the weekend in town you could go to several nice restaurants and still not break the bank. I like High Cotton over SNOB and they do have a very nice Sunday brunch with live music and a BBQ duck hash not to be missed. It is also quite good for dinner. For a romantic dinner there is Il Cortile del Rae or their sister restaurant Panne y Vino. Neither of these should break the bank but the food is very good and the atmosphere is nice. Fulton Five is another good restaurant for special occasions.

        2. I also remember that the Peninsula Grill inside the Planters Inn is really fine dining. I didn't eat there, but my friend did and said it was superb. It's very pricey according to my friend...$$$$

          5 Replies
          1. re: marchperson

            I second SNOB's, although High Cotton is a good choice too. SNOBs is very flexible -- whether you want to dress up or be casual, eat hearty or light. The food is consistently excellent and they use local, fresh ingredients extremely well.

            Peninsula Grill is stuffy and overrated.

            1. re: DavidA

              I'd say SNOB, overall. Peninsula Grill is worthy but overpriced. If you're willing to go with a somewhat more rustic approach to lowcountry cuisine, Hominy Grill is good (though not as good as SNOB) and has a lovely fenced courtyard for outdoor dining.

              Still haven't been to High Cotton though I very much want to try. (FYI: They've just opened a second location on the river in downtown Greenville, SC.)

              1. re: Jeff C.

                Thanks everyone for all the replies! SNOB sounds great; the only other place I had heard about was FIG....any thoughts as between the two? Peninsula Grill looked a little too formal for us for that night.

                1. re: lvnvflyer

                  Between the two, I think FIG is the better bet. The atmosphere there is wonderfully cohesive and contemporary, while SNOB is a bit too satirical of, well, snobs. I think that's what they were going for anyway, but it comes across as "art deco/italian/buca di beppo" with the faux chandeliers and gaudy parody of high-flying style. It's weird to me. The food was also better at FIG. For goodness sake, PLEASE order the short ribs. If it were possible for heaven to fit in one's mouth, that's how. Best single bite of food I've ever tasted.

            2. re: marchperson

              I second this! I lived in NYC and ate out frequently and the service, food, and ambieance at the Peninsula was up to par with any NYC fine restaurant. You must try the coconut cake if you go...to die for!

            3. Just went to Charleston for the weekend. Ate at Seewee, FIG, Woodlands, McCrady's, and SNOB. Woodlands was a spectacular experience in every respect (food, service, and atmosphere - definitely deserving of all its accolades - it's my new favorite restaurant in the COUNTRY, along with Bonne Soiree in Chapel Hill, NC), but it's out in Summerville. Within the historic district, FIG was a cut above the rest. SNOB was good too, but not as refined or tasty, and the atmosphere is frankly a bit tacky. McCrady's left us cold. I think the hypermodern style, while exacting, makes the food seem too impersonal. No warmth or love.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mikeh

                Haven't been there, but Cordavi has also received raves from press and other hounds.

              2. High Cotton is a great restaurant. I highly recommend it.

                1. If I had to recommend just one restaurant for a visitor who didn't mind splurging, I would recommend Tristan. Why? Tristan strikes a nice balance between the traditional and modern. It has one of the better versions of she crab soup in town, and they do these wild hickory smoked lamb ribs with chocolate bbq sauce. Their menu caputres a whole range of influences from Classical to Asian to Low Country to Dinner Club. Speaking of of which, the decor is fantastic, almost like a Jetson's take on the classic dinner club (and don't miss the bathrooms). Now, I'm not saying Tristan is my favorite place downtown or even serves the best food, but it definitely has something for everyone and the execution of their menu has seldom disappointed me. For some reason, Tristan rarely gets mentioned on this board, but I would place it ahead of Peninsula Grill or Charleston Grill all things considered. Though more pricey than FIG or SNOB, it's also a little more upscale with a larger menu and generally less noise than either, or Peninsual Grill for that matter. I'm a fan of McCrady's and Cordavi's also, but I realize their emphasis on experimentation for experimentation's sake is off-putting to some, so I wouldn't recommend those places to everyone. I also like High Cotton and Circa 1886, and I would recommend those places right behind Tristan, especially Circa if you are looking for a quiet, romantic meal.

                  http://www.tristandining.com/MAINNEW.htm