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Dining in Charleston, South Carolina

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I will be traveling to Charleston soon and would appreciate any input about great places to dine--breakfast, lunch and dinner. Any assistance regarding any cuisine would be very much appreciated.


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  1. There are quite a few great restaurants scattered all over Charleston.

    In what area(s) will you be? Will you be driving or walking? How long will you be staying?

    2 Replies
    1. re: CharlestonChow

      I will be there 5 days in late October. I will be staying in the downtown historic district, but will have a car and am completely amenable, excited even, about going anywhere there is a great restaurant!

      1. re: joc1234

        If you will be staying DT you have to try FIG, Cordavi, or Tristan IMHO. If you want one big $$$ meal Penninsula Grill should fit the bill. Other favorites in DT are La Forchette, Chai's, Basil, Sermet's Corner, and Pita King (Glatt Kosher).

        Mt Pleasant and it's outskirts have a host of wonderful restaurants including; Gullah Cuisine, Langdons, Sette, Your Place, Charlestons Bookstore Cafe, Poe's Tavern (Sullivans Island), Seewee (Awendaw).

        James Island, Johns Island, Kiawah, and West Ashley also have lots of options.


    2. It's up near the medical school but Hominy Grill is excellent. Local seasonal ingredients prepared very well. I've had breakfast and lunch there but not dinner. There are so many great places for dinner, I'm sure you'll get lots of suggestions. The blue crab bisque at Magnolia's is worth a shout out, though.

      3 Replies
      1. re: PeterB

        Glad to hear that Magnolia's is still getting good reviews. It's been far too long, but we were impressed by our meals there. We also found that within several blocks, Charleston had some good dining. I'm sure most have changed chefs, hands, and some are long gone, but dining there should not be a problem.


        1. re: Bill Hunt

          My husband and I have been twice to Peninsula Grill and both times it was absolutely fantastic. Probably ranks right up there with our favorites from much bigger cities. We went to Magnolia's, but didn't really care for it- we found it heavy and not that flavorful - but I do preface that comment that it has been a couple years. We also really enjoyed Charleston Place Restaurant.

          1. re: rgfoodie

            Peninsula Grill is indeed excellent. Pricey but they do deliver the goods. Some decent deals on the wine list were a pleasant surprise. A couple other good ones are FIG (Food Is Good) and SNOB (Slightly North of Broad)

      2. Absolute yes on Hominey Grill (great breakfasts), Peninsula Grill, Charleston Grill, and Bowen's Island for casual creekside dining. Also for a down-home experience try Jestine's and save room for the coca-cola cake. You can check out locations at www.savorsouthcarolina.com

        2 Replies
        1. re: GoldieGirl

          I totally agree with all these suggestions-we especially like SNOB b/c you can request a table near the open kitchen and watch the action-if that is your sort of thing, otherwise they have tables far from the kitchen. For breakfast, I recommend Joseph's on Meeting Street. It is just good wholesome food, nothing fancy and inexpensive too.We always get the usual egg anyway breakfast and the grits are outstanding!

          1. re: GoldieGirl

            GoldieGirl has it exactly right! Add SNOB, Tristan;s (great martini) and FIG. Also the Gullah restaurant north on 17 (forgot the name).

          2. If price is not any object, The Charleston Grill at Charleston Place Hotel was one of the best meals I have ever eaten. I had a Crustation Sampler for an entree which was out of this world.
            The dessert sampler plate was a work of art. A meal ro remember and I have several
            to remember.

            1. My husband and I were extremely disappointed with the Charleston Grill (although the atmosphere and service were outstanding, the food was bland and mediocre at best). This came on the heels of excellent meals at FIG (how can you go wrong with a place whose name is the acronym for Food Is Good ? plus no dish seemed to have more than 5-6 ingredients allowing each to shine) and Al Di La (not sure on the spelling). If you want to splurge splurge on the romantic fanciness, drive out to Kiawah Island and go to the Ocean Room at the Sanctuary Resort (so much better than you would expect given the restaurant in a fancy resort boringness that you sometimes can find).

              1 Reply
              1. re: mapleviewer

                We've been to Kiawah Island, but it was before the Sanctuary Resort and the Ocean Room. Thanks for the tip. Like you (inferring from your comments), we were not fans of resort restaurants, and always looked for a free-standing, chef-driven place "off property." Then we moved to Phoenix, AZ, where many of the resorts have excellent chefs, and food. It took some re-training to get us to think in those terms, but I feel that it is a trend that is growing. I believe that the resorts' clients are now expecting good food, wine and all the perks, when staying at the resort.

                We'll have to check this one out. Looking a bit to the south, we were appaled at the dining at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island, GA, but I also hear that it has changed, much for the better.


              2. Jestine's is fabulous - amazing meatloaf sandwiches, fried chicken, mac & cheese, AMAZING pecan pie, banana pudding and, yes, coca-cola cake. Seriously good comfort food.

                3 Replies
                1. re: pistachiogirl

                  Sorry, but I have to differ with you on Jestine's. It reminds me too much of Mama Dip's in Chapel Hill - what once may have been great is now coasting on prior success, and in the case of Jestine's, location. We've tried it twice and it's been bland food, slow service, and an interminable wait both times.

                  1. re: Suzy Q

                    Agreed. Not bad, but not great. It is like the Disney Land version of Soul Food.

                    1. re: CharlestonChow

                      CharlestonChow, that's an excellent way to describe it. I'll credit you properly if I use the expression. :-)

                2. If you are out toward Kiawah, I highly recommend the she crab soup at Chez Fish. Their other offerings are ok, but this soup , or should I call it a stew since it is full of wonderfull blue crab is the best in all of Charleston! I get it as a carry out order.
                  Other great restaurants that I do not see mentioned are both French, CoCo's in Mt Pleasant and Mia's on Hwy 17 S. Both serve excellent country Fench food at very reasonable prices. Coco' used to be Le Midi downtown in the 1980's and their signature dish is Flounder Alan(with a French accent, mais bien sur) for about $17.00. Both Coco's and Mia's are about a 10 minute drive from Ashley Marina.