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Aug 12, 2009 03:38 PM

Charleston & Kiawah... Am I on the right track?


I will be staying on Kiawah Island in September for 4 days, 3 nights, and through research I've come up with a tentative schedule that needs your approval/editing/filling the blanks. Here are the definites:

Bowen's Island Restaurant


Hominy Grill

Debating for the second dinner between Red Sky, McCraddy's and Figs... HELP! Also, any general information on the Kiawah dining scene would be helpful.


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  1. Sounds like you're on the right track to me. McCrady's and FIG are both great. Sorry I can't help you with Kiawah-it's gated and I never go there. There are some nice places on Seabrook I think.

    You may want to try Boulevard Diner on James I. for breakfast on your way into town. SNOB has great lunch. Are you planning on spending most of your time in town or at the beach?

    11 Replies
    1. re: Sue in Mt P

      Probably about 50/50... We'll probably do one morning and afternoon in Charleston, then go back on a different night for dinner. Also going right from the airport to the Bluegrass and BBQ Festival in Mt. Pleasant on Sunday. Judging from your username, ySue, ou live in Mt. Pleasant? Would you recommend the festival?

      1. re: AdamErace

        Yes,I do live in Mt Pleasant and I recommend the Festival. It's at Boone Hall, which has one of the most beautiful rose gardens n the area. Make sure you look around the grounds. Just know it will still be hot. I haven't been in several years, but it's always fun. If it involves Que how bad can it be right!

      2. re: Sue in Mt P

        You have it backward, Seabrook is gated, Kiawah is not. Yes, there 2 or 3 places at the marina on the road that leads to both islands. I can't remember their names, but I do remember the bistro that was behind the sports bar was very good. The bistro faces the beach.

        1. re: jacquelyncoffey

          Not to be rude, Miss Jacquelyn, but Kiawah is, and always has been, gated. I just spoke to my friend who lives down there to make sure they hadn't un-gated it while I wasn't looking lol!

          Maybe you are thinking about Rosebank Cafe on the marina at Seabrook. It's been years since I was there but it was nice then.

          Rosebank also has a nice stand on Main Road. You might want to stop for "maters on your way in. You'll be glad you did!

          1. re: Sue in Mt P

            I have been to Seabrook Island, and you need a pass to get through the gate. Maybe parts of Kiawah are gated, but the shopping center with Fresh Market, and the Straw Market and its adjoining beach, and also the really elegant hotel whose name escapes me are all open to the public. Perhaps those areas are actually John's Island. I have been to all of them and am not a resident. I think you are right about the Rosebank Cafe, it was very nice.

            1. re: jacquelyncoffey

              You are right. Fresh Fields, etc. is outside the Kiawah gate. Nice shopping there too. But Kiawah itself? They'll turn a person around quick, lol! But I'm sure AdamErace knows that since he's staying there.

              1. re: jacquelyncoffey

                Yeah, there's a gate on Kiawah. And you went through it if you went to the Sanctuary hotel. I've never been through there without lodging reservations (the guard will have your name) but now I'm wondering what they do if you just want to go to dinner or the spa. I bet that's one restaurant where reservations are mandatory.

                I'd like to dissent on Rosebank, we were quite disappointed w/ the food there. Fat Hen on the way into toward Chas is pretty good...get some of those fries! Vegetarians beware, there is unannounced bacon in the grits. (and I'd be willing to bet the fries might not be veg, but I didn't ask 'cause I figured my veg friends didn't want to know.)

                1. re: danna

                  Hey danna,

                  The spa or restaurant calls the guard.

                  My friends on that end like Fat Hen. Too bad Rosebank wasn't good. They have that big farm! It should be great.

                  1. re: danna

                    Ummm danna, the fries at FH are so good b/c they are cooked in duck fat. You will be hard pressed to find any true vegetarian vegetables in Charleston.

                    1. re: penny35

                      ah ha! I thought it was duck fat! or possibly goose fat. I really wanted to ask, but I did not want to freak out my friends. Although....there would have been more fries for me....

          2. mccrady's without a doubt...try the foie gras and the sweetbreads!

            1. Hi Y'all! Here's the story of the gates--Seabrook Island has a gate that you can't get through unless you're a property owner or a guest of p.o. (or a delivery truck;-})

              Kiawah Island has at least two gates--The first gate is a "loose" gate--You tell them you're going to the Straw Market or the Sanctuary or one of the restaurants and they let you through. The second gate at Vanderhorst, you have to actually be going somewhere--Ocean Course for golf or its grill for lunch.

              All the restaurants located on Kiawah are owned by the Resort. Early this year they changed the theme and price points of each restaurants. Now one is very casual-Shrimpers; and on up to the exclusive Jasmine Porch. You can find a listing of the KI restaurants on the resort's website:

              On to other restaurants...Freshfields Village is the shopping area located at the crossroads of KI and Seabrook Island. There you will find several restaurants--mostly casual but one more fine dining (Hege's).

              At Bohicket Marina, located in the Town of Seabrook Island, are the following restaurants: Rosebank Cafe (I like lunch here--good southern lowcountry staple foods--Do not miss the oatmeal brownie pie!), Fischer's Sports Bar, Up Da Creek, and Bohicket Bistro (casual italian eatery owned and operated by a german man--there's always german food- just not on the menu).

              Located outside the gate of Seabrook Island is Red Sky. I confess I have not been there for dinner since the new owner, Matt Bolus, took over. The Sunday Brunch is great. My mother reported lunch was good too. Unfortunately, lunch is no longer offered. Which reminds me, ***It is a good idea to always call the restaurants ahead. I've found the restaurants located away from downtown Charleston change their operating hours frequently.

              Seabrook Island-- the restaurants inside the gate of SBI are owned by the club. These are only accessible with an amenity card (you have to be a club member or guest of club member).

              James Island, which you'll go through on the way to downtown Charleston, has a selection of restaurants--Fat Hen and Wild Olive (owned by the same guy), The Mustard Seed and Boulevard Diner.

              Here's a listing of restaurants in and around KI and Seabrook Island:


              One last comment--the drive from Kiawah into Charleston takes about 45 minutes. Most of it is two lane country roads.

              1 Reply
              1. re: OurGreatEscape

                This is a very thorough description of your options while at Kiawah.

                We go 3 or 4 times a year and last month visited one of the newly redone restaurants run by the resort, an italian place at the Turtle Point course. I didn't have super high expectations but we ended up enjoying the meal very much.


                We also tried the "new" Red Sky and it was quite decent although not a good as before.

              2. FIG is excellent. Jestine's is a solid meat and three choice. If you drive all the way to Bowen's Island from Kiawah, you might as well go the rest of the way to Folly Beach and check it out. And Hominy Grill...I've already said all I can say about that place so I will leave it at that.

                1. we go to kiawah every year or two. We ate at all the places below two years ago:

                  since OP like bbq, I can recommend JB's smokehouse, 10-15 minutes from the kiawah gate. They have a nice ayce buffet.

                  Also, kiawah runs an ayce pig and oyster roast. It used to be a bargain but now its gotten expensive. Having said that, last time we went it was very , very good.

                  bessingers bbq on the way to chas. is pretty good and its where I had my first mustard based sauce. They also have decent burgers.

                  The rosebank used to be great but now its become expensive and a little tired. Last we were there the lunch specials were still very good and reasonably priced.

                  We had a pretty good meal at the mustard seed. It seems to me that they try a little too hard and could do with simpler preparations.

                  If you're coming from the north, a stop at sweatman's bbq in holly hill is mandatory. Check to make sure they're open, I think its just fri and sat. On many people's 10 best bbq in the country.

                  About halfway on the road off the island as you drive out to chas, on the right is a shopping center with a big supermarket. There is a little mexican restaurant that was very , very good last time we were there.