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Jul 16, 2007 08:10 PM

Choose only one for 34th anniversary dinner in Charleston

Looking for a special night out with great food. Which restaurant would you choose?
Circa 1886

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  1. I would go to the Penisula Grill. It is fantastic.

    1. I would go for Woodlands Inn out in Summerville (20 mi. from Charleston). In the city proper, I would recommend Peninsula Grill for the best combination of food/atmosphere. If the food itself is the only criterion, then FIG.

        1. Been to all listed in the original and three answered posts. Agree with mikeh....Wodlands surpasses anything downtown. Also agree with comment on FIG (have dined with owner/chef Mike Lata in other restaurants not in Charleston.)

          Have you thought about Redrum in Mt. Pleasant? Ben Berryhill used to be the exec chef at Cafe Annie in Houston. This is his place. Don't think you could go wrong there either.

          Having lived in Charleston for quite a while, I must admit that although we have dined pretty much everywhere many times, have not had a perfect dining experience at any one restaurant every time.

          1. I've been to all the restaurants mentioned in this thread, and my vote would be for Sienna if the only criteria is the food. I was there last Friday (probably my sixth visit in the last six months), and their use of local ingredients that night put even FIG to shame. I had their heirloom tomato tasting menu featuring tomatoes from Owl's Nest plantation out near Monck's Corner. The tasting menu also featured local blue crab and local red snapper. Elsewhere on the menu, local shrimp and local swordfish were also to be found. Quite often they also feature quail from Palmetto Farms. All of this would be a moot point if the preparations were not also divine, but luckily they usually are. Their fish prepared with a warm white balsamic and tangerine dressing is one of my favorite fish dishes of all time, and their warm toffee cake is my favorite dessert of the moment.

            All this being said, if you are looking for a romantic dinner downtown with cuisine that is more typically "modern Lowcountry/Southern," then Circa 1886 is a great bet. I would choose McCrady's over Cordavi because it's version of molecular gastronomy is more experimental (if less consistent) and the historic setting can't be beat. The service at Woodlands is extraordianary but the food doesn't justify the long drive from Charleston proper in my opinion, though it is very good. Charleston Grill also has great service, though I haven't tried their new menu yet. Skip Peninsula Grill except for dessert possibly. The space is rather loud, and I didn't find the food to be exceptional.