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Charleston on the Cheap

Heading down to Charleston/James Island/Isle of Palms, and just found out house needs $2500 electrical repair when we get back. SOOO, need good, cheap eats. No SNOB, no 82 Queen, no Penninsula Grill. Know them, love them, eat there often, but we need good and cheap.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. I moved here a month ago and have been searching for cheap eats. Hominy Grill is good and fairly cheap, though it is a little over-the-top with its Southern theme. I really like The Glass Onion on Savannah Highway. It's cheap, Southern without feeling forced, and very good. Basil has excellent thai with entrees $15-23 (most are $15). It makes a great dinner spot before a night on the town.

    1. Since you mentioned James Island: Taco Boy on Folly is just fun. Daily Dose off Folly Rd. and then there's Bowen's Island.

      1 Reply
      1. re: suse

        Boulevard Diner in Mt. Pleasant is consistently good and prices are very reasonable. If you're in a burger mood, nothing beats Poe's Tavern on Sullivan's Island.

      2. I would call to make sure, but Tristan does a three course prix fixe lunch for $15 during the week. You could easily call this your main meal of the day and hit a tapas place for a late night snack, try Chai or Social. Fast & French on Broad is a good place for a quick lunch or snack. Jestine's is a good place to go for lunch or dinner, arrive early or late to avoid the lines. I have heard good things about Alluette's on Reid St. downtown, and I think their prices are very reasonable. I would also check www.charlestonhappyhour.com because a lot of the better restaurants offer happy hour appetizer and/or wine specials, but I would double check this info before you head out for the day. Lastly, the last time I was there Paolo's gelato offered a mini cone for $1 if you are craving dessert.

          1. I second Andolini's. Also you might try Juanita Greenburg's on King. Great monster burritos, quesadilla's, etc. Last time I was down I noticed that Bubba Sly's had moved from its former location (that happened to be right around the corner from my house when I was in college) to King St. I haven't tried it since the move but they had great sandwiches and cheese fries that would boost your cholesterol by a couple hundred points. Fast and French is a fairly low priced option for lunch. Actually, all of these places that I'm mentioning are really lunch spots...except maybe Juanita Greenburg's. I would also second Boulevard Diner. That was our fine dining when I was in Grad school and couldn't afford the expensive stuff. Oh...one more good lunch option is Saffron's on East Bay. Great fresh bread and desserts too.
            By the way...these days the best way to save money on a trip is also the best way to see Charleston. Park the car and walk or if you must, rent a bike.

            2 Replies
            1. re: GrillMaster

              I'm not a fan of Andolini's or Juanita Greenburg's. I've only tried each once, but the ingredients seemed to be of really low quality (liked canned mushrooms on the pizza). I haven't tried any other pizza places yet, but I like Yo Burrito better than Juanita Greenburg's.

              1. re: tennreb

                I haven't been to Juanita Greenburg's in a long time so they may have slipped a little. Moe's is also a good cheap option although they are all over the place now.

            2. Mustard Seed on Maybank Hwy or in Mt.Pleasant, really good food and its all in the $7-12 range... I go there everytime I visit. Five Loaves for lunch.... Poe's on Sullivans is great for burgers and fries and the beach. I eat well in Charleston all the time and I rarely spend more than $15-20 on a meal.

              4 Replies
              1. re: sivang

                The Mustard Seed on Maybank Hwy has gone way downhill http://www.chowhound.com/topics/519737. The Med Deli (or Bistro or whatever they are calling it now) in South Windermere Shopping Center on Folly Road is a good lunch option in that direction.

                1. re: DavidA

                  Really? I was there in April and it was fine. I generally go to the one in Mt. P... I'm heading back to Charleston in a few days so I'll have to see. I hope it's not true, I love it there

                  1. re: sivang

                    I hope our experience was an aberration. We had always liked The Mustard Seed and it was one of our "comfort" places. Our last meal there was, across the board, a disaster. It was EASILY the worst meal my wife and I have had in recent, and not so recent, memory.

                  2. re: DavidA

                    I haven't been to Med Deli since the ownership change, but after giving it more than enough chances I will never eat there again. This is possibly TMI, but their food has run through me rather quickly every single time I've eaten there. And my husband once saw a line chef LICK HIS HAND while consolidating tub of potato salad into a smaller container in the open kitchen next to the bathrooms (which is scary enough without the hand-licking incident). I understand they recently revamped, but I'm not convinced.

                2. I always love Santi's (mexican) and Miss Kitty's (soul food) for inexpensive and delicious meals. Both are on the upper end of the peninsula. Also, if you are here on a Tuesday the Mt. Pleasant Farmer's Market has a fantastic hot BBQ line.

                  I'm afraid I'm in agreement with DavidA as I have had some very poor meals at Mustard Seed in Mt. Pleasant recently. I really have no desire to return which is a shame because I was always a fan.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: charlestonebayer

                    Definitely, Santi's! Last weekend we ate at El Mercadito on John's Island, which used to be the gold standard for real Mexican food around here. It was disappointing. No where as good as it had been. We are regulars at Santi's now.

                  2. Yo Burrito is probably my favorite place in the world. Meritage is tapas, so it can be done cheaply. Wasabi (in the market) and Poe's (on Sullivans Island) are also good choices.

                    1 Reply
                    1. You can eat very well, relatively cheaply on the wine bar side of Al Di La.

                      1. I like Sermets on King Street - you might have to wait for a table, but the food is terrific.