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Jun 15, 2013 01:11 PM

A Day and evening in Charleston SC

I'd love some recommendations for a day or so in Charleston. The 'Don't miss' places where the locals eat. Thanks ahead of time!!



Local bar for people watching (Cocktails and GOOD import beer list. German and Belgium beer in particular)



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    1. Welcome to Chowhound! There are literally dozens, if not hundreds of existing threads on Charleston, many of which I'm sure will be helpful to you. I did a search (which can be accessed by using the "search" box in the upper right hand corner of the screen) and found these two existing posts which I think you may find interesting:

      In order to get more and better recs, you might also want to provide more information such as where you are staying, will you have a car, are you willing to drive, what cusine and price point you're looking for, etc.

      Personally, I like Cru Cafe, Hominy Grill and Jestine's.

      1 Reply
      1. re: carolinadawg

        I second Cru Cafe, for lunch or dinner. I just had lunch there a couple of days ago and I'm still thinking about it, it was so good. House-cured ham over green tomato & jalapeño cornbread and topped with an arugula, balsamic peach & pancetta salad and served with a lemon verbena & basil pesto. There was another sauce on there too but I couldn't remember all the details. Oh yea, they finished it all with a fried quail egg on top!

        The restaurant is on a side street, tucked back in the trees & shrubbery and is an old home with a lovely porch for al fresco dining. If its not too hot sit outside. The staff is always so accommodating and hospitable too.

      2. I am a local and here is what I would do...

        Brunch/Lunch - Agree that you cannot go wrong with Cru Cafe. I like to sit on the porch, so I would get reservations.

        Dinner - Macintosh or Grocery on Upper King

        Bars - Upper King is full of them. Don't know about the import beer list, but you can look at menus online - most of the places I go to are focusing on local brews rights now (as they should IMHO). Favorites - Cocktail Club (upstairs from Macintosh), Stars (rooftop bar), Closed for Business (beer focus), there is a new one called Republic that I haven't been to yet, but the head bartender used to work at Fish and makes amazing cocktails.

        Breakfast: If you have a car, I would go to Fat Hen on Johns Island - I LOVE their brunch. Or, depending on the day you are in town, I would hit the Saturday morning farmers market at Marion Square. We go every Saturday for breakfast - tons of options.

        7 Replies
        1. re: EmBrooks

          Just had dinner at Fat Hen last night. I always eat there every time I am in the vicinity. I haven't had their brunch but I have heard good things from SueinMtP and others and I love everything at FH so no doubt it's delicious.

          My dinner last night, by the way, was 2 lamb chops with a mint gremolata, sautéed garlicky spinach and Carmelized onion mashed potatoes. Not the most inspired meal, but delicious and the lamb was perfectly medium rare. SO had the flounder nicoise over anson mills grits. Oh and our app was a gluttonous dish of buttery, creamy curried mussels. My pre-dinner cocktail was the Main Squeeze - a cucumber-infused gin with muddled fresh basil and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice - very good.

          1. re: lynnlato

            Yowzah! That sounds great.

            The brunch there is excellent. The last 3 times I went I got the duck and apple sausage gratin. It may me very happy. The shrimp cobb is good as well, but that duck thing is special.

            1. re: Sue in Mt P

              That duck gratin sounds amazing. I usually end up ordering whatever the omelet of the day is because I can't quit their french fries. So good. They also do a great bloody mary which I have not had for 8 long more to go!

              lynnlato - I had the flounder nicoise last time I was there - it is delish. My favorite fish dish is their grouper over butterbeans. Really can't go wrong at Fat Hen!

              1. re: Sue in Mt P

                Yesss, I remember you telling me about both of those brunch dishes. Yummm... I need me some of that duck thing. ;)

                EmBrooks, he was torn between the grouper and the flounder. You are so right, you just cannot go wrong. And the service is always so friendly and on their game.

                BTW, both of my kids had the fried local shrimp and they were mind-blowingly delicious. Plump, and lightly battered and cooked perfectly. I could eat those things every day.

            2. re: EmBrooks


              Thank you for posting about Macintosh. It hadn't been on my radar but after you posted about it I looked into it and had a few other folks from Charleston area tell me good things. We went there for dinner last night and I was blown away! It was one of the best meals I've had in a long, long while. We had the seared scallops with peaches, toasted fregola, corn... ohmagawd was it good. Perfectly seasoned and the slightest hint of vinegar added a lovely brightness - wow. For dinner I had the roasted, sliced duck breast with garbanzo beans, duck andouille, apricots, kale and again it was perfectly seasoned and well-balanced and delicious. My husband had the deckle and loved it as well. Oh, and we tried the bone marrow bread pudding. It was completely decadent. Like a light and fluffy bread pudding. Our sever (he was from Boston and did an amazing job - attentive and well-informed) said for brunch they serve their eggs benedict over the bread pudding - yesss! The bar service and table service were on their game and it was just the perfect evening in every way.

              We also hit up Bon Banh Mi for lunch and again, it was SO good. I had the country pate & ham banh mi. I loved it. The bread was light and had a nice crust and the sandwich had carrots, cilantro, mayo and thinly sliced pickle. I finished it with house-made nuoc cham siriracha. So friggin' good, y'all. And at $9 bucks, it was a bargain.

              Thanks EmBrooks!

              1. re: lynnlato

                I am so glad you enjoyed it! We have been really happy each time we have visited. Probably the best thing I have had there was a tomato and burrata salad they had on the menu last summer - it was to die for! I believe they made the burrata in house. I also usually get sucked in by their duck dish - the version you had sounds delish!

                We love Bon Bahn Mi as well - I have only been to their Spring Street restaurant once but they are at the Farmers Market every Saturday so I can get my fix there. I usually get the lemongrass chicken sandwich - so good with all the crunchy veggies!

                1. re: EmBrooks

                  Ooooh burrata... you're speaking my language, sister.

                  I said to my SO that I'd like to try the lemongrass chicken next time. I was suprised that they didn't make their own country pate though. He said they get it from a local meat house and it was good, but it's easy enough to make your own. He must get a really good price. I'd like to know who makes their bread - that bread was really nice - not too dense.

                  For my next trip down, I've got on my "must try" list: The Grocery, The Ordinary, Xiao Bao Biscuit, Cocktail Club... the list goes on and on and on... it's like new places are popping up all over the place! I love it. ;)

            3. I would go to The Ordinary or Fig if I have only one night.
              Fig is consistantly good, been there few times with no disappointment. Went to Ordinary once, few weeks ago. Very unique building. Everything we tried were very tasty. I strongly recommend their oyster sliders to everyone. Different fish rotates for schnitzel as an entre. I tried groupr schnitzel and was very tasty. For lunch, Monza is always my favorite lunch spot. Share one of their fresh salad and indulge the thin crust pizza from their 700F wood burning oven...