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Best food in Charleston, SC?

Can anyone give recommendations for good dinners in Charleston?

We're here in town for a few days and went to Hank's tonight, our first night. Everybody said it has the best seafood in town, but we were really disappointed, actually. We ordered raw oysters (those were very good), two different soups, three seafood dishes (shrimp and grits, grouper on lobster risotto, bouillabaisse) and a strip steak. I would say the oyster soup and raw oysters were the only things we thought were satisfying.

Can you recommend other restaurants for dinner Friday and Saturday nights? We're not particular about whether it is upscale or down home, fancy or simple, would just like it to be good.

Thanks from a visitor!

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  1. F.I.G. ranks among my top meals of all time-- quite simple, but gorgeously executed. Really a great restaurant. Al di La, in West Ashley was another fave-- duck confit pizza was to die for, and the charcuterie (all house made) was excellent. Go to the Voodoo Lounge before dinner and grab a mango-chili margarita. YUM. We also very much enjoyed Basil for thai, but that was at lunch--not sure how dinner would fare. (get it? fare? haha. i kill me.) I would avoid Charleston Grill-- impeccable service, but so-so food.

    3 Replies
    1. re: tacostacoseverywhere

      Thanks! Will report back. How is Peninsula Grill?

      1. re: pasdejunk

        Second everything tacostacoseverywhere just said.

        Peninsula is great. Bang for the buck has to go to FIG though. One of my absolute favorites is Panne y Vino on Warren St.

        In Charleston there are great restaurants at every price point and under most every category.

        1. re: CharlestonChow

          Yes, one more vote for FIG. You truly can't go wrong there.

    2. Thanks everyone. We went to FIG tonight and it was really fantastic! Inventive, fresh, nicely balanced food. The service was really perfect, too. My picky family loved it.

      Tomorrow night we have reservations at Charleston Grill, but I am kind of worried it's just a tourist trap. Any recommendations for something else? I was thinking of Peninsula. Or SNOB?

      5 Replies
      1. re: pasdejunk

        peninsula is excellent. magnolia is pretty good. but old village post house in historic mt pleasant is my personal fave. though not charleston proper, it's just a short trip over the bridge - make reservation, or the bar has a cozy dining area that is often available for walk-ins.

        1. re: pasdejunk

          snob is excellent as is hominy grill ... dont go to fleet landing unless you want to pay for he view. food is substandard.

          EVO in north charleston for pizza: excellent.

          1. re: pasdejunk

            Stayed at the Charleston Place while in Charleston, and did not get a chance to eat at the Charleston Grill, but a lot of people who stayed at the hotel, did have dinner there, and all of them loved it...

            1. re: pasdejunk

              see my post above, as well as a great honeymoon post from some time ago-- he pans charleston grill pretty hard at the end of it.
              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/322949

              i'd go with cordavi or peninsula over charleston... not a tourist trap, per se--the food's too expensive for that moniker. the food just isn't on par. really great service, though.

              1. re: pasdejunk

                OP, this is probably too late, just got home, but just so you know...
                I was at SNOB Fri. night. Lovely dinner. I had the grilled salmon with dill butter sauce. Underneath was a very delicate, buttery crepe, with a tender mushroom filling. On top was grilled asparagus, perfectly cooked. My husband had their shrimp and grits. He is a self-proclaimed "shrimp and grits lover," and he declared it was one of the best he's ever had. After having a couple bites, I can say it was not heavy on the grits...To our satisfaction, it was filled with layer after layer of shrimp, sausage, ham, herbs... the list could go on and on.
                We both had water, but I ordered a pinot to go along w/ my salmon, which was great.
                They give you a wonderful, filling basket of bread b/f. Their cornbread was soft, sweet, and great.
                We didn't get desert.
                I hope you had a nice time, wherever you and your family ended up...Please let us know your experience, we love that!

              2. I like High Cotton for dinner. It's in the historic district. The night we went, there were some great wine specials that were paired with the food.

                1. don't waste your time at Hyman's Seafood market. Try some of Stick Finger's ribs for lunch one day. Charleston Grill and the one across the street are great dinner spots.