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Need to find nice place not tooo $$$ for anniversary in Charleston, SC

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In a quandry since my husband and I are headed to Charleston next week. We are looking for someplace with a nice atmosphere, not TOO foo foo and not outrageously expensive for dinner to celebrate our anniversary. Looked at McCradys (seems to be limited menu), FIG (foo foo) and based on reading blogs was going to settle in on Penninsula. But in looking at menu again with husband is kind of pricey and a tad foo foo also. Any foodies out there got some suggestions? Has anyone gone to Tristan (menu looked good and reasonable)? Since only one of us working, kind of watching our $$ but DO want a nice dinner out. We have previously been to Magnolia (it is one favorite but was thinking of trying something new?) and also Carolina (that was good too but if going back to someplace I've been then it would be Magnolia). It will be on Wednesday. Any good ideas??? Or should I just bite the bullet and go to Peninsula then eat cheap rest of time? HELP.

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  1. Peninsula Grill is my absolute anniversary favorite, but it's not cheap. What about Slightly North of Broad? Or if you have a car, I personally love the Old Village Post House in Mt.Pleasant. I've had wonderful meals at both places and while they're not cheap, they're not as pricey as Peninsula Grill or Charleston Grill, etc.

    1. If you're willing to leave the historic district there are a lot of nice, more affordable places. In the upper part of downtown, I like Pane e Vino, Lana, or Trattoria Lucca. There are 2 places on John's Island that I've been wanting to try but haven't yet - Fat Hen and Wild Olive. Betsy's suggestion of the Post House is a good one too.

      7 Replies
      1. re: General Knowledge

        Lucca is nice, and the whole idea of the place is to be less expensive that it's sister restaurant Sienna. Cru is romantic and gentile without being stuffy. Fig does not strike me as foo foo, although I can see how it might come off a little pretentious if it hit you wrong. Any place that will bring you a family style veggies can't be too snooty ;-) And Al di La is romantic in that Italian way.

        EVO in ...is that Mt. Pleasant? ...is has great pizza and lots of other fun dishes in a cool building, and not expensive. (I haven't been there lately...hope i'm not giving out old info)

        1. re: danna

          I agree with you about Fig, I don't find it foo foo either. However, I think the OP and I might have different ideas on what is and what is not foo foo.

          EVO is in North Charleston, and it still falls into the not expensive category.

          1. re: lizzy

            Hey Lizzy, finally heading to IOP on Monday. Do you still recommend Huck's ? Do you think it's traditional enough that my parents (if you remember the FIG discussion in an earlier thread) will like it? I'm planning on Huck's (walk from the condo), Wreck (Daddy mentioned Shem Creek when complaining about my food choices, so I hope this will please and pacify) and then if they have been made happy...I'm gonna blindside 'em and drag 'em to FIG the last night before we head home ;-) Sound like a plan?

            1. re: danna

              Hi danna,

              Huck's is wonderful. I just went there and loved it. I don't think Fig is foo either but I think it's subjective.

              1. re: danna

                Danna, yes I do still recommend Huck's. In fact, I took my soon to be brother and sister in laws there last week. I think it is traditional enough, the space and atmosphere are definitely more bistro than FIG. All entrees come with sides, but you can also order vegetables a la carte. They don't take reservations, but you can call ahead to put your name on the list. They have indoor and outdoor seating, just make sure you get there well before the sun sets so you can enjoy the spectacular views. If you haven't already, check out their website, and I'll also link to it at the end of the post.

                I think the Wreck and FIG sound like a good plan to me. I can't think of another restaurant I would actually want to eat at on Shem Creek, plus it seems like they are constantly changing hands over there. FIG is one of my favorites in town so I say make them go, they might actually enjoy it this time around. :-)

                Btw, cute new avatar, is he/she yours?

                Ok, the link didn't work the first time around so I will just post the website, huckslowcountrytable.com.

                1. re: lizzy

                  Thanks , yet again, for your help Lizzy. We liked Huck's alot, and yes, this time my parents were pretty pleased w/ Fig. I'm going to do a separate post w/ details.

                  Yeah, he's mine (I got a little worried about having my face in my avatar...what was I thinking?) but he doesn't look like that anymore...he's 18 months and wild-eyed.

          2. re: General Knowledge

            GK, Get thee to Fat Hen and try the mussels. I'm actually heading there next week and we will be eating there at least once if not twice.

          3. I like Betsy's suggestion of SNOB, I would also suggest Cru Cafe and Fulton Five. All are in the historic district so you don't need a car and they all accept reservations. Cru Cafe is comfort food with a twist and Fulton Five is Italian and is always voted the most romantic restaurant in Charleston.

            I have not tried Tristan since they changed chefs so I am sorry I can't help you there.

            1. You can't go wrong w/ FIG. But along the lines of General Knowledge's suggestions I will throw out a cozier, less high profile suggestion. Lucca is a good choice as is Fulton FIve in Lizzy's post. But my choice would be Il Cortile Del Rey on King Street below Market street just past Fulton FIve.

              1. I agree with Betsy re SNOB and Post House. I would add the other Maverick restaurant to the list: High Cotton. I've been there many times, always a pleasant experience.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Sue in Mt P

                  Thanks to all for ideas!
                  I ruled out SNOB and High Cotton because we have High Cotton in Greenville and its good but not worth the money. SNOB's menu for some reason didn't appeal to us?? I'm gonna check out Post House. We are staying at Marriott on Ashley River (?) Lockwood Ave so not walking distance to downtown anyways.

                  1. re: SusanInSeneca

                    Oooh! I don't know why I didn't think of it last night, but General Knowledge reminded me that Fat Hen and Wild Olive are both wonderful. We ate at Wild Olive twice while we were down there in June and it was fantastic both times. Since you'll be able to drive, you might want to check out their menu, as well.

                    1. re: SusanInSeneca

                      Off topic but They do a good brunch there at the Marina close to your hotel.

                  2. My vote is for Tristan...I work right across the street...was sad when they suspended lunch service, but dinner is great. Also if you can deal with casual, try the Glass Onion on Savannah Hwy. in West Ashley about a mile from where you are staying. Great breakfasts at Variety store at Marina on Lockwood. Catch a trolley into town.

                    1. You might want to consider La Fourchette on King Street. It's a French bistro (not a hint of froufrou) with very good food and reasonable prices. I found it a few years ago when it was mentioned on Chowhound and have been returning regularly whenever I'm in Charleston. It's just like being in Lyon or Paris without the air fare. Don't miss the duck fat fries.
                      http://lafourchettecharleston.com/

                      1. Thanks to all fellow foodies! I knew I could get something good..made reservations for Cru Cafe but will also try Fat Hen for a casual dinner later in week.
                        And also Marina for breakfast!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: SusanInSeneca

                          we were in kiawah this week and based on the recommendations in this thread, decided on the red hen and the peninsula. We were a little disappointed with the red hen, to be fair, we were one of the last tables of the night, but I'd call the food good, not great and perhaps slightly overpriced for whats on the plate. I had short ribs, my wife had the duck confit, my kids had coq au vin, fish fry and the crab cakes. Both the duck and short rib tasted like they thew it under the broiler too long to re-heat the food. My wife and I split the pralene cake and it tasted like it had sat around too long.

                          The Peninsula on the other hand was perfect. I had oyster soup and grouper, my wife the heirloom tomatoes and rib eye, we split the coconut cake for dessert. The total for food, a bottle of wine and service was $250, if you cut out the wine, you can get out for $150, really a bargain given the quality of the food, service and room. We were concerned it was going to be a little too stiff but our server was warm, friendly and made great suggestions.

                          I'd warn anyone going to the peninsula that the pricing on wine seemed a little uneven. We found a great bottle with a 2x markup but it seemed like there were other bottles with a 3x (or more) markup.

                          In terms of price comparison, appetizers were about the same, entrees were about $7 more at the peninusla (more for prime beef and seafood). For a $15 or so difference, I'd strongly suggest the peninsula...and do try the coconut cake!

                        2. I really love Rue de Jean, and you can find menu items that don't break the bank there.
                          http://www.39ruedejean.com/