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Jan 4, 2009 02:51 PM

Heading to Charleston this week

My wife and I are driving down to Charleston from North Carolina this week and I was looking for some food tips. We are staying at the French Quarter, but we are decidedly not fancy folks. Are there any restaurants that would be recommended in what I guess would be called a "medium" range? FIG, Charleston Grill, etc.. sound very nice, but on vacation my wife and I like to stick to jeans and polo shirts mainly. Any tips where we could find good food without sticking out like sore thumbs?

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  1. SNOBs (despite the name -- which is actually Slightly North of Broad), Cru Cafe, and Blossoms are all in the French Quarter (actually Cru is a block above it) and La Forchette and Pane e Vino (a slightly further walk just north of Calhoun Street) fit the bill. All have excellent food and you can wear anything from jeans to a tuxedo and be comfortable. Sermet's (on King Street) is also a good choice, but they have really uncomfortable chairs.

    3 Replies
    1. re: DavidA

      McCrady's and Charleston Grill are all going to be out of your dress code.

      FIG is really excellent and fits the bill.

      If you don't mind taking a taxi, Granville's (about a mile north of the Crosstown on Rutledge Ave.) has high quality food at really decent prices.

      Virginia's on King is just north of Calhoun and is a nice place to go for traditional down home Southern fare. Prices aren't too bad and casual works fine there too.

      Hope this helps!
      - DH - One Charleston College Student's Guide to Food and Film

      1. re: DavidHeiser

        FYI, Granville's closed its restaurant to focus on the catering side of things. :(

        1. re: General Knowledge

          I'm sad to hear that. Before he opened his restaurant, though, he catered my wedding, and Trey was fantastic.

          At least I got to go there once; I think it was closed Sunday nights, so every other time I tried to go I couldn't. Crosstown is a difficult area to be in.

    2. Mccrady's on east bay street has a 3 course menu for 35 bucks now

      2 Replies
      1. re: bactoferm

        I'd heard good things about McCrady's but figured it was a little dressier than our normal fare. Was I overestimating? Blossoms and La Forchette both looked interesting on their sites. Right in our league. Thanks for the tips. Any others out there, please add some more :)

        1. re: jmikes

          I do not think McCrady's is what you are looking for -- great food, but dressier than you indicate. if you like French food, going to La Fourchette is like sitting in a bistro in Paris.

      2. I agree with the SNOB and Cru Cafe recs, and would highly recommend both restaurants. I would also add Hank's and/or Fish for seafood and Basil for Thai, Hank's is in the French Quarter and both Fish and Basil are on upper King St. I have never been to La Fourchette, but I have heard good things. Since you have a car, there is also Fat Hen on John's Island, French, Bowen's Island Restaurant, seafood dive, on the way out to Folly Beach and Poe's Tavern, really good bar food, on Sullivan's Island.

        1. I personnally wouldn't worry about what to wear in Charleston. it's a resort town, you know? I think my husband put on a jacket for McCrady's, but has been most other places in town in polo shirt, and very likely, shorts. I see FIG as more casual than Charleston Grill. Cru Cafe is a good choice. And La Fourchette. And Hanks. Damn, I like to eat in Charleston...have fun!

          2 Replies
          1. re: danna

            Danna is right: you can wear jeans and a decent shirt to the nicest places in town. Attire isn't an issue in Charleston, within reason. I wouldn't wear flip-flops to Charleston Grill, but you get the point.

            I would avoid FIG. They are incredibly inconsistent from plate to plate. Awful ambience as well.

            1. re: uptown jimmy

              Since the discussion of whether Charleston is a resort town and what the appropriate dress code might be if it is or isn't is getting a little far afield of actual local restaurants, we've split it over to our Not About Food board. We hope you'll continue the conversation there:

          2. I've had very good, ingredient driven food at Fig in a casual atmosphere. McCrady's has been a highlight every time I've eaten there, but less casual. Great wine program, although pricey. If you can score a bar table, Peninsula grill is comfortable in relatively casual attire and the food is great. I usually stick to appetizers, in particular the mushroom grits (which is mislabeled and should be called oyster stew or something close). Still the best dish I've had in Charlston. On a chowhound tip, we stopped at Gullah Cuisine for brunch and loved the soul food/low country buffet.

            1 Reply
            1. re: square

              I second the Penninsula Grill, and their champagne bar is great for bubblies and seafood - perfect for snacking or a light meal.