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Oct 1, 2009 08:08 AM

Best Restaurants for a Serious Foodie in Charleston, SC

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.

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  1. 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. Try the oysters.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sue in Mt P

      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.

    2. 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

        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: Sue in Mt P

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

              1. re: ktb615

                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

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


            1. re: uptown jimmy

              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.

              1. re: tbonef

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

                1. re: danna

                  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.

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

              1. 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

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