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Feb 9, 2008 12:05 PM

Advice please -- Columbia, SC and Charleston

My wife is running a bus trip to North and South Carolina (from Pennsylvania) for a local gardening group (Hardy Plant Society). The ladies on the trip (and the odd man or two) enjoy good food at night. They are not particularly price-sensitive and they like to be able to walk from their hotel if possible. Average age north of 70. This will be at the end of March.

In Columbia, they are staying at the Hampton Inn on Gervais St.

In Charleston, at the Best Western King Charles Inn, Meeting St.

Any advice from local experts would be much appreciated.



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  1. I think the Hampton Inn would be a great choice. I have stayed there many times and you are right in the middle of The Vista which is full of restaurants. You could also stay at the new Hilton Hotel which has a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. The Hilton is in the same vicinity as the Hampton Inn. There are some good restaurants in this area and you can walk to them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ttfickling

      Frankly, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse is a disappointment, especially considering the price tag.

    2. I would recommend Ristorante Divino - I'm thinking across the street from you..Northern Italian. High end. Very nice.

      1 Reply
      1. re: SweetPea

        I second SweetPea's recommendation.


        I would add Motor Supply Bistro (don't let the name fool ya). A very easy walk from the hotel as well. On the same side of the street. They do lunch as well as dinner. It's fairly small and popular. I'd make a reservation.


      2. Gervais and Vine is great. I have a office near there and it has everything. Tappas and full meals. Menue can change dailey lots of great wines. Also a full bar.

        I did the "Divino" thing and it is across the street. But they burnt my foi gras. I had a few dishes that never should have come out of the kitchen.

        In Charleston there are many places. Charleston Grill, Pensila Grill (miss spelled) and Fig will all be great. Brunch at almost any place would also be great.

        4 Replies
        1. re: JB BANNISTER

          I like Gervais and Vine. It's pretty amazing the food the cook turns out when you consider he cooks everything behind the bar. Sometimes I just sit and marvel at it. It's somewhat more casual than Divino or Motor Supply.


          Too bad about your negative experiences at Divino. Did you say something to the server? How did they handle it? I've been eating at there since they were in the little spot where Le Petite Chateau was and have always considered it first rate. I've heard people complain the help can have a little bit of a New York attitude but I've never noticed it. I wouldn't let it bother me though, I'd just give it right back to them.

          1. re: Cpt Wafer

            Thanks, all, for your suggestions. Just of what you have listed so far, we have enough to give the ladies a good list of choices.

            Thanks again.


          2. re: JB BANNISTER

            To me, the cheeses and olives always have a "processed" tinned taste at Gervais and Vine. Blue Marlin is usually a people pleaser if they like seafood and big portions.
            But, ditto on Fig, but I would also add Gaulart & Maliclet on King, Hominy Grill, 82 Queen and Poogan's Porch to the Charleston List. Oh... and Bookshop Cafe has an interesting breakfast.

            1. re: rmskipper

              Just to let you know, Bookstore Cafe no longer exists! Another suggestion however, is Jestine's Kitchen is pretty close by for a some pretty good southern food!

          3. If they are dessert/wine fans, they should definitely head to Nonnahs (in Columbia, walking distance) after dinner - yum. I've stayed at the Hampton Inn - great choice, it's very nice.

            1. In Columbia, definitely Motor Supply Company. They've managed to be very good for at least the past 20 years. Wonderful atmosphere and within close walking distance to your hotel. A couple of blocks.

              I love Jestine's Kitchen in Charleston which is two blocks from the Best Western King Charles (wonderful hotel, don't let the name fool you). Almost across the street is FIG. I personally don't care for it but it gets raves on Chowhound.

              My standby for all things wonderful in Charleston is SNOB which is also within walking distance from your hotel.

              One big tip, most of the sidewalks in Charleston are not concrete. They are brick, flagstone, cobblestone and verious other hazardous materials that make walking sometimes tricky.

              1 Reply
              1. re: BlueHerons

                Poor service at Motor Supply, but the food can be phenomenal. Ignore the service, though.