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Downtown Charleston - all by foot

I know there are a lot of good threads about Charleston fare. But my caveat is - I don't want to get in my car once I've arrived in town. So, that means no Mt. Pleasant, etc.

I'm staying at the Vendue for two nights. I need two breakfasts/lunch/dinners in walking distance or short cab ride away. I haven't been to the area in ten years. My wife and I are celebrating our ten-year wedding/honeymoon anniversary, but doesn't mean we're looking for upscale. Mostly prefer unpretentious local joints with damn good food. Perhaps one evening of fine(r) dining, but are the type to go bar-hopping afterwards. I think I went to Jestine's and SNOB ten years ago; willing to re-try. Want to steer clear of ethnic food - or even Italian - as a native NYer who frequently visits big cities and gets the best of it. Seafood option?

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  1. "Walkable" means different things to different people and anything in/near the historic area is within a short cab ride, as it's a relatively small area. My suggestion would be to read through the many existing posts, see what sounds interesting, and plot them out on Google maps. Places I recommend include Cru Cafe, Hominy Grill, Two Boroughs Larder, Goat Sheep Cow and the Ordinary.

    2 Replies
    1. re: carolinadawg

      I was about to caution the OP that Goat Sheep Cow is a cheese shop, not a restaurant like the rest of your (excellent) list....but then I thought I better ask...have they opened a restuarant?

      1. re: danna

        Yes, you are correct, not a restaurant per se, but they do have sandwiches, and is a great place to get the goods for an alfresco picnic.

    2. You have many, many, choices as the entire Historic District is walkable. A few of the "hot" places are The Ordinary, Husk, FIG. All are very good. I do also like the aforementioned Cru Café. For breakfast I like Virginia's on King. I would do one lunch at Fleet Landing. Food is pretty good, but he main draw is that it is on the water.

      1. McCrady's is across the street.

        1. Thanks for all the replies and help. Shocked at how quickly reservations were booked up. I have one dinner reservation for The Ordinary and the other at Cru Café. Wanted to get to FIG, but no tables.

          So, the unconfirmed meals are breakfast and lunch. Any particular thoughts about Hominy, Two Boroughs, Toast, and Virginia's on King? Hominy seems like a great place for brunch, no? Virginia's on King isn't well thought of on tripadvisor. Help, please.

          3 Replies
          1. re: toscanos

            Tatooed Moose, Two Boroughs, and Hominy, in that order. Virginia's seems to be the kind of place that a group of retired school teachers would meet once a month for a "special" lunch.I say this honestly.My wife is a retired school teacher and her group meets once a month and I hear about the places they suggest, think "tea room".

            1. re: mollybelle

              Hominy and Two Boroughs are a pretty long walk, but worth the cab.
              Very different by the way. 2B has kind of a Brooklyn vibe, Hominy is very southern. Both good.

              I am told if you show up around 5:15 you could sit on the Veranda at Husk at 5:30.

              1. re: newsysuzy12

                Your hotel to hominy grill is right at two miles. It just depends what is long to you.

          2. We saw some movement on reservations at FIG a few days beforehand as folks updated their plans, and picked up a better time and day that way. Unlike Husk which seemed packaged / contrived, I would certainly return to FIG which was excellent, but I didn't think it was any better than a number of other really good places around the country.

            1 Reply
            1. re: D R C

              Thanks for that tip. I'll check in at FIG a couple of days prior.

            2. Something to keep in mind, a lot of things are described as downtown that may not be what you think of as downtown, if that makes sense.

              2 Replies
              1. re: newsysuzy12

                Can you elaborate on that? As an NYer planning a short trip in June, I'm curious what you mean.

                1. re: kathryn

                  Downtown defines a pretty large area when it comes to hotels and restaurants and attractions. Several times I asked a cab driver what neighborhood is this? and it was still downtown. Mind you I had a hurt foot, so maybe my perception was off.

              2. I love Fleet Landing! Their Shrimp and Grits is really good. Everything I've eaten there is very good.

                1. Goat Sheep Cow is great for lunch or picnic-style eating (depending on if they have sandwiches that day).
                  Hominy Grill for brunch or dinner.
                  The Ordinary for fancy schmancy seafood.
                  If you don't mind a bit further of a walk or taking a pedicab, Trattoria Lucca is my favorite Charleston restaurant.
                  Two Boroughs is great for an inexpensive brunch, or a fancier dinner.

                  1. Here's my report:

                    First night - dinner at The Ordinary. Excellent experiece. Highly recommended. Great cocktails. Seafood tower for raw seafood lovers. Ceviche. An amazing Carribean Fish Stew for Thursday special. $250 for two.

                    Afterwards - rooftop bar at Stars (down the block) then The Rooftop at Vendue (awesome spot)

                    Next morning - Hominy Grill. Great choice, highly recommended. Love the window service in the waiting area - Mexican coffees. Went between breakfast and lunch crowd and had NO wait. There was quite a crowd we passed as we were leaving. I had the special which included a pork and rice hash that was amazing.

                    No room for lunch.

                    Dinner - Cru Cafe. Great quaint place. Sat on the porch. Highly recommend. Only downside was no cocktails or tap beers. Food was great. Really loved the tuna appetizer with General Tso fried brussel sprouts. Classic southern dinner too.

                    Next morning - Two Buroughs Larder. What a gem! Hip vibe. Unconventional menu. My wife ordered Carbonara for breakfast and it hit the spot! I had poached eggs and pork and it was great. Carafe of mimosas.

                    Every server we had was excellent and friendly.

                    Thank you all for making my Charleston experience such a special one.

                    Oh, and while we did a lot of walking, we also took a few cabs. But didn't use our car once. Thanks.