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Kiawah Island and Charleston

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Planning four days in these neighborhoods and looking for some great places for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All cuisines and price ranges would be fine. Looking for great food and great ambiance and anything on the water would be a plus! Thanks

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  1. Welcome! Hope you enjoy your stay. Hopefully you realize that Kiawah Island is located about 45 minutes from downtown, and you should plan accordingly. Jasmine Porch at the Sanctuary is great. Hit and miss food (except for excellect Tuna Tacos) but very casual and on the water is Red's Ice House close to Seabrook Island which is a great stop for lunch. There a number of casual but good eateries on Maybank highway between River and Bohicket Road, including Fat Hen and JB's smokestack (barbecue).
    My favorites in downtown Charleston include Fulton 5, Fish, Cypress, Cru Cafe and Trattoria Luca for dinner, Fleet Landing (waterfront) and Blossom's for lunch. Of the touristy places on the market, I recently had a decent meal at Charleston Crab house, but for heaven's sake, do not enter the Noisy Oyster!
    Have fun!

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    Fat Hen
    3140 Maybank Hwy, Johns Island, SC 29455

    Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar
    186 Concord Street, Charleston, SC 29401

    Red's Ice House
    98 Church St, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

    1. Fat Hen and Wild Olive are both good on Maybank Highway, about 1/2 way between Kiawah and Charleston.

      I've done a few threads on this same topic, you might search for those, and of course there are tons of threads on downtown Charleston. Enjoy!

      -----
      Fat Hen
      3140 Maybank Hwy, Johns Island, SC 29455

      Wild Olive
      2867 Maybank Highway, Johns Island, SC 29455

      24 Replies
      1. re: danna

        Hey Danna,

        Can you recommend a couple of places (lunch &/or dinner) in Kiawah? I know it is a resort/tourist area and so my expectation are in check. We have 2 kids (9 & 12 yrs old) but they eat well and are well-behaved. Nothing too upscale, just fresh local food and relaxing atmosphere.

        Also, are there any roadside fish drive-ins between Charleston and Kiawah? You know, maybe some fried local fish, hushpuppies, cole slaw, bbq and milkshakes? There's a place we hit in the outer banks that we just love, called John's, and we were hoping to find something similiar.

        TIA!!!

        P.S. We were in Charleston a couple of weeks ago and ate at Husk and FIG. FIG was, by far, my favorite - the suckling pig and gnocchi w/ lamb bolognese was insanely delicious!!! Husk didn't wow us. It was good, but maybe didn't meet the hype. Although, the country ham sampler was SO good. We also had oysters at Pearlz, Amen St., Vendue Rooftop & Shem Creek Bar & Grill - we declared Carolina Cups oysters are favorites.

        Ooh, and finally, we stopped by Burbage's Grocery to try some of their famous pimento cheese and sandwiches. What a great place! the pimento cheese was creamy, mildly spicy and delicious. Our food editor at The Charlotte Observer suggested this place to us a few years ago and we finally made it there. We packed a cooler with food finds from there and headed to the beach. They even had Zapp's potato chips which a BIG DEAL for me. ;-)

        1. re: lynnlato

          wow, sounds like you did Charleston right a few weeks ago. Your thoughts on fig and husk mirror mine exactly.

          I'm afraid I can't be much help on Kiawah. Although I stay there every year, we've never eaten on the island. One of my friends told me the Italian place in the Freshfiedls at the entrance was decent. I've been to the Rosebanks Farm Cafe and did not like it, but lots of people do, so i may have just ordered poorly.

          Tomato Shed looks really good to me , http://www.stonofarmmarket.com/tomato... for lunch, but the one time I ventured out there it was closed...as in "business closed", but apparently it reopened right after I went. I'd call first if I were you. Again, not on Kiawah.

          Both my suggestions above, Wild Olive and Fat Hen are about 18 miles from Kiawah according to google maps. Sorry :-( Please do let me know what you find on the island.

          -----
          Fat Hen
          3140 Maybank Hwy, Johns Island, SC 29455

          Wild Olive
          2867 Maybank Highway, Johns Island, SC 29455

          1. re: danna

            We just finished dinner at The Fat Hen and I have to say it blew my mind! The FOH service (Dixon the host and our server Katherine) was stellar but the food, the food was WOW! We had the steak tartare to start. It's served with a fresh quail egg which you pour out of the cracked shell and stir into the steak. Perfection, and gorgeous presentation. For dinner, I had the Duck confit served over root veg purée with garlic spinach and roasted tomatoes. Again, it was prepared perfectly. Crispy skin and succulent leg and thigh meat. Wow. The purée was the perfect contrast and wa oh so smooth and creamy. My SO had the NC flounder nicoise with lardons, tomatoes, capers, lemon and I detected a very subtle tarragon flavor - wow! The SC blueberry and peach bread pudding with vanilla ice cream was the perfect ending. I need a Fat Hen in Charlotte!

            I should mention that we went to The Sanctuary lounge for a cocktail. Their $17 skinny margarita was unremarkable and the service was bad. We had to ask for someone to take our order and then had to ask for cocktail napkins (our drinks were dripping on us) and we were never brought the trio of bar snacks that is customary. We saw other guests wait to be waited on and then give up and went to the bartender to place their drink order. I'm glad I didn't pay $600 for a room but rather had stayed in a villa rented through the owner directly.

            -----
            Fat Hen
            3140 Maybank Hwy, Johns Island, SC 29455

          2. re: lynnlato

            lynnlato,

            I've been to JB's Smokestack and it was good! I am a big BBQ snob, as you know and I loved it-no goo on the meat. The buffet was great, and it was cheap.
            http://www.jbssmokeshack.com/menu.asp

            I've also been to the Atlantic Room. Lovely food, pleasant service and a grand view.
            http://www.kiawahresort.com/dining/at...

            The Fat Hen and WIld Olive are on my list. It's just hard for me to leave Mt. P!

            -----
            Fat Hen
            3140 Maybank Hwy, Johns Island, SC 29455

            1. re: Sue in Mt P

              Not on Kiawah, but fish and seafood to go -- no milk shakes I don't believe.

              FishNet Seafood
              3832 Savannah Hwy
              Johns Island, SC 29455
              (843) 571-2423

              Next to Dodge's Chicken on Route 17, a fair drive from Kiawah though.

              1. re: birgator

                Is that the place with the Jesus crab?????

                1. re: Sue in Mt P

                  Sure is. Some of us call them "deviled crabs ..."

                  1. re: birgator

                    But not the kid who makes them, lol! That place is on my list.

                    1. re: Sue in Mt P

                      Many thanks Danna, Sue & birgator! You all always come through. Fat Hen looks right up our alley and also JB's Smokeshack. And we'll try and hit FishNet Seafood on our way in... for some flounder and Jesus crabs. I wonder if they'll even let me order the Jesus crabs - being that I'm a glutton and all. Hmm.... :-P

                      I'll report back on what I find. Thanks!

                      P.S. I found this in the Charleston City Paper about Fishnet Seafood. They called them the "holy rollers of fried seafood". Ha!

                      1. re: lynnlato

                        I'm going to Savannah for the day tomorrow (SCAD grad! yay!) and I have to go right by there. I'll report back. I too am a sinner, so...

                        Shrimp season starts on 6/6, so if you come after that get some shrimp too.

                        1. re: Sue in Mt P

                          One word on FishNet: GO. Just do it. A shrimp snack was 15 fried shrimp and a side for $7.99. I ate it on the road and it made my week.

                          1. re: Sue in Mt P

                            You gave me the chills! I'm excited! Thanks girl! :)

                            1. re: lynnlato

                              Hallelujah and Amen.

              2. re: Sue in Mt P

                Oh ma gawd Sue, we got cue and all the fixins at JB's Smoke Shack and can I just tell you - YUMMM!!!! Their chopped pork was insanely good and smoky, but the ribs? The ribs may have been the best I've ever had. Thank you a million times for this rec. Who knew South Cackalackey had some stand up cue to rival the stuff in NC? Oh, and the folks working inside are a hoot! Yhe woman told me that the Charlotte Observer said they were named one of the 10 best restaurants in and around Charleston. And The New York Times did a piece about their bbq too. It's definitely a hidden gem kind of place for sure.

                1. re: lynnlato

                  So glad you liked it! It's so far from me I don't get over there often enough. Let me know what you think about Fat Hen if you go.

                  -----
                  Fat Hen
                  3140 Maybank Hwy, Johns Island, SC 29455

                  1. re: Sue in Mt P

                    Oh we're going to Fat Hen, dammut! I'll definitely report back!

                    -----
                    Fat Hen
                    3140 Maybank Hwy, Johns Island, SC 29455

                    1. re: lynnlato

                      Woohoo. Get the duck fat fries and let me live vicariously through you.

                      1. re: Sue in Mt P

                        The only thing that could make french fries better would be to fry them in duck fat! Definitely on my list of places to eat...a lot!

                        1. re: amsquires

                          Beef fat fries perhaps? Then tossed in egg yolk and salted. Just read about these lovely little treats in David Chang's Lucky Peach mag. Yummm...

                          1. re: lynnlato

                            The fries with bearnaise at Glass Onion are really good too. lynnlato have you been there yet? GO.

                            1. re: Sue in Mt P

                              I have not - but since you said so, I will put it on the list. ;-)

                              Bearnaise on fries, oh hell-to-the-yeah...

                      2. re: lynnlato

                        get the duck fat fries and the creme brulee french toast ! Then ask for the recipe and post it here. thank you. ;-)

                        1. re: danna

                          I'm going tonight!

                          1. re: Sue in Mt P

                            Y'all just made me laugh out loud - for reals. Ha! Duck fat fries some naughty, will do. I am also craving steak tartare and I understand they make it. My fingers are crossed for that too! Danna, I'll ask for the recipe! FYI, I used to make french toast with melted butter pecan ice cream. Try it - it doesn't suck. ;-)

                            Sue, really? We should have coordinated better - we could have gone and introduced ourselves! Enjoy and please, give us the deets!

            2. Spent a wonder hour at O'Hara & Flynn wine and cheese shop. They have wonderful salads, meats and cheeses in addition to a great wine selection and fantastic ambiance

              1. Just got back from Charleston today, and haven't had the nerve to step on the scale yet! Breakfast--tried Toast (excellent biscuits--the best we had), Hominy Grill (banana bread yum) and Queen St Grocery (actually the best tasting egg breakfast of the three, surprising to us, but true). We also tried threelittlebirds on the way to Folly Beach, and it was quite good--very fresh.
                Other places we tried--Jestine's - unbelievable pork chop special with collard greens that I will dream about, plus corn bread and fried chicken that was spectacular, and banana pudding with merengue that was fabulous), 82 Queen which had a Southern menu, but was more upscale than Jestine's but not too snotty. The shrimp and grits were heavenly and the cocktails were excellent. Beautiful courtyard. McCrady's had excellent food, but I wished there was more of it. Very gourmety, but kind of full of themselves. Crucafe was also excellent. I had perfectly done wahoo (my favorite fish) with an imaginative cold cellophane noodle salad and the best brocolli I ever ate. Excellent sorbet and gelato near Waterfront Park at a place called Belgian Gelato.

                -----
                McCrady's Restaurant
                2 Unity Alley, Charleston, SC 29401

                Hominy Grill
                207 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29403

                82 Queen
                82 Queen Street, Charleston, SC 29401

                1. Just got back from Kiawah tonight, on our way out of town we had an awesome breakfast at Sunrise Bistro. I wish we'd been eating there all week! They are at the corner of Mayback and Bohicket, across Mayback from the Pig, in a very unassuming strip mall. Tasty pepper jack grits and homemade biscuits. They also make their own bread and I think bagels.

                  Spent an evening in Charleston earlier in the week, ate a wonderful meal at Husk and enjoyed cocktails at Belmont.

                  We also had dinner at Gilligan's along Bohicket, good fried shrimp, less impressive raw oysters. Fun for the larger family group, though, but stick with the fried shrimp.