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Best Restaurants for a Serious Foodie in Charleston, SC

filleparfaite1 Oct 1, 2009 08:08 AM

I'm visiting Charleston with my family for the holidays in December and am looking for serious food recommendations. Below are some of my parameters. I would be so grateful for your advice!

1. I love French food.

2. I love upscale gourmet or casual elegance.

3. The smaller portions the better.

4. I adore a good tasting menu.

5. Not a big fan of heavy foods: fried, large portions of meat, etc.

I don't mind local haunts that don't look like much; I just want serious food made with the best ingredients.

  1. d
    Dr.Ron Jan 19, 2010 05:35 PM

    Cru Cafe
    Fulton Five
    and I'll probably get razzed for saying it, but I have had some great food at Anson's
    and the burger at the Blind Tiger is pretty smoking.

    1. c
      Coronel301 Oct 21, 2009 06:13 PM

      I just returned from my first trip to Charleston.

      Ate at SNOB on Monday, which was very good. Had the pear salad, shrimp and grits. Decent service. Accommodating. I would go back, but will try other places first.

      Last night was McCrady's. Excellent meal and excellent very attentive service. Had the Market menu, which was Grouper (a favorite of mine) perfectly prepared. Wonderful squash soup and an apple desert. Highly recommended. Will be on my list when I return.

      1. w
        Wineman Oct 20, 2009 09:23 AM

        I would add Mercato on Market Street to your list. Also The Fat Hen out on John's Island.

        1. r
          rmthuring Oct 17, 2009 01:59 PM

          Tristan in the French Quarter Hotel on Church St., 1/2 block from the Market. Upscale with smaller portions. They have had a 3 course lunch special for $20.00 that is outstanding.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rmthuring
            lizzy Oct 20, 2009 08:51 AM

            I don't believe Tristan is open for lunch anymore. However I think they have extended their tasting menu to dinner, but at a higher price point.

          2. f
            FoodLoverInChs Oct 6, 2009 10:14 AM

            Another thumbs up for McCrady's, FIG and La Fourchette. All top notch. McCrady's is the "fanciest" of the three.

            1. danna Oct 1, 2009 08:33 AM

              french: La Fourchette on King
              casual elegance: Cru
              upscale gournet: Fig, Sienna
              you can order very small portions (like a bite of cheese, taste of charcuterie) at Sienna or Trattoria Lucca.

              11 Replies
              1. re: danna
                uptown jimmy Oct 1, 2009 11:42 AM

                Serious 2nd on La Fourchette. Awesome food, great staff, lovely cozy ambience. One of the best meals we ever had. And the spinach salad is to die for, I think he must put duck fat in the dressing.

                1. re: uptown jimmy
                  Sue in Mt P Oct 1, 2009 12:29 PM

                  OH yeah

                  1. re: Sue in Mt P
                    BetsyinKY Oct 1, 2009 05:38 PM

                    To me, "serious foodie" + Charleston=McCrady's.

                    1. re: BetsyinKY
                      ktb615 Oct 1, 2009 07:42 PM


                      And here is the blog http://seanbrock.wordpress.com/

                      1. re: ktb615
                        DaleJ Oct 2, 2009 08:30 AM

                        I drive up from Hilton Head and stay overnight just to eat at McCrady's. Google "Chuckeats" to read his generous review.

                        1. re: DaleJ
                          9lives Oct 2, 2009 02:18 PM

                          I've done an overnight trip to McCrady's from HH too; thoroughly enjoyed it..


                      2. re: BetsyinKY
                        anne7134 Oct 20, 2009 09:27 AM

                        I absolutely agree.

                    2. re: uptown jimmy
                      uptown jimmy Oct 1, 2009 08:48 PM

                      That salad was the "salade de canarde". Very duckish dish. Lovely.

                      We also loved the cauliflower soup. And, oh! The moules frites! With the fries they fry in duck fat. Wow. And the duck breast with lentils and brussel sprouts. And the two bottles of great French wine.

                      Lord that food was good.

                    3. re: danna
                      tbonef Mar 2, 2010 09:59 AM

                      Sadly sienna has closed.

                      1. re: tbonef
                        danna Mar 2, 2010 11:08 AM

                        that's too bad. Is trattoria lucca still going..and still run by the same chef?

                        1. re: danna
                          BetsyinKY Mar 2, 2010 02:56 PM

                          According to the Charleston City Paper, Ken Vedrinski left Sienna as chef when he opened Trattoria Lucca, but maintained his monetary partnership in the restaurant. Trattoria Lucca is still open and seems to be going strong, and I read something not too long ago about Vedrinski having plans to open yet another restaurant, this one with an emphasis on seafood.

                    4. Sue in Mt P Oct 1, 2009 08:26 AM

                      Fig on East Bay concentrates on local, fresh ingredients and never disappoints.

                      Cypress is upscale with lovely fusion Southern food.

                      Also try Mustard Seed, either on James Island or Mt Pleasant. Great local food and pleasant service.

                      My favorite is Atlanticville on Sullivan's.
                      http://www.atlanticville.net/ Try the oysters.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Sue in Mt P
                        lizzy Oct 2, 2009 08:10 AM

                        I agree with all of the recommendations posted, my favorites are FIG and Cru Cafe. I also wanted to say that FIG is on the corners of Meeting and Hasell, it is not on East Bay.

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