You are here

Home » EAT & DRINK
...

39 Rue De Jean

39 John Street Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)722-8881

A standard for the see-and-be-seen professional set, this brasserie is a hot spot for casual, elegant dining and late-night partying. Faves include the brasserie burger, onion soup gratinée, mussels (in six choices of broth), steak au poivre with a cup of pommes frites, and an unexpected but exciting menu of sushi.

Cuisine: French | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$, $$$

Al di La

25 Magnolia Rd. West Ashley, South Carolina 29407
Phone: (843)571-2321

This Northern Italian trattoria in Avondale delivers exquisite renditions of gnocchi and risotto, sublime small bites, tender cuts of meat, and more in a cozy and romantic setting. In addition to the restaurant's diverse menu, the attached bar serves up delicious piccoli piatti (small plates), crisp wood-fired pizza, and an awesome array of Italian meats and cheeses. If the weather's nice, take your glass of grappa outside to the garden table, survey the stars, and dream of Florence.  

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza | Location: West Ashley | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

Alluette’s Café

80 Reid St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)577-6926

  This “holistic soul food café”—vegetarian- and vegan-friendly—serves up fresh, local organic fare. The lunch menu abounds with wholesome tuna and chicken salads and a dozen or so sandwiches, while the dinner menu (which can be pricey, so pack the plastic) changes daily but always includes seafood and pasta dishes, as well as outstanding fried shrimp. Brunch offered daily.

Cuisine: Lowcountry/Southern, Vegetarian/organic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Saturday Brunch, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$, $$$

Amen Street

205 East Bay St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)853-8600

At this handsome seafood house with an easy spirit and a slightly nostalgic air, the fried oyster po’ boy, shrimp and grits, and Lowcountry seafood pilau are three of a slew of Southern entrées that are sure to have you singing “amen” and coming back for more. 

Cuisine: Seafood, Lowcountry/Southern | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$$

Andolini's

414 Coleman Boulevard Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina 29464
Phone: (843)722-7437

Chucktown’s best pizza pies are served from this spicy dive that’s popular with college students and others looking to save a buck without skimping on flavor. The specials are unbeatable—$7 for a slice, salad, and soda and $7.75 for a PBR pitcher. No reservations.

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $

Andolini’s

1117 Savannah Hwy. West Ashley, South Carolina 29407
Phone: (843)225-4474

Family-friendly is the name of the game at this Holy City mainstay. Slide into one of the retro-cool booths or grab an outdoor table and order up an amazing calzone or their one-of-a-kind pizza pie with everything on it. Also, their solid beer selection makes this West Ashley joint a place you'll want to linger longer. No reservations.  

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza | Location: West Ashley | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$

Anson

12 Anson St Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)577-0551

Watch horse-drawn carriages meander through the Market from the chic dining room, where day-boat seafood, superb steaks, and ­local produce are served with classic Charleston charm. Not to be missed: blackened redfish with a stew of chorizo, clams, Carolina gold rice, and greens. Order a side of grits ground right in Anson’s own kitchen.  

Cuisine: Seafood, Steakhouse | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$, $$$$

Athens

1939 Maybank Hwy. James Island, South Carolina 29412
Phone: (843)795-0957

Time and again, Athens gets voted best Greek restaurant in town, as it should for authentic ­dishes done right. With a space much bigger than its former digs, this is still the best place to get gyros, Greek pizzas, monster salads, and standards like spanakopita. And don’t forget to get your opa! on. No reservations.  

Cuisine: Greek | Location: James Island | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$

Barsa Tapas, Lounge, and Bar

58 Line Street Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)577-5393

Guests enjoy an easy-to-pair selection of small plates inspired by traditional Spanish cuisine at this Upper King Street tapas bar. Perfect for an early dinner or late night graze, it offers dishes such as dates with Serrano ham and Manchego cheese, spicy lamb meatballs, deftly fried calamari or, the pièce de résistance, seafood paella. Bonus: the kitchen stays open past midnight, every night. (PA) 58 Line St., (843) 577-5393.

Cuisine: Tapas | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$

Basil

460 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)724-3490

Clean, crisp Thai dishes set the tone for the ­sizzling scene on Upper King. High-octane red and green curries, crispy fried duck, hot and sour soups, and warm, soothing des­serts with undertones of ginger draw Charleston’s Asian cuisine cogno­scenti. Be prepared to wait, as they don’t take reservations. 

Cuisine: Asian | Location: | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

Bay Street Biergarten

549 East Bay St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)266-2437

This brewskie hotbed calls itself “Bavarian inspired, Southern made,” which adds up to the possibility of enjoying sausage spaetzle and cheese delivered on one of the restaurant’s many tables with self-serve taps. A pint wall offers taste tests of new brews, while an outdoor biergarten lets guests mingle on the bocci court.

Cuisine: Bars/taverns, Lowcountry/Southern | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$

Big Gun Burger Shop

137 Calhoun Street Charleston, South Carolina
Phone: (843)789-3821

If you like your burger full of surprises (say chili, brie, or collards), Big Gun’s your place. At this hole-in-the-wall, favorites include the Duck Burger with duck confit, goat cheese, and apple jam and the Dirty Gardener with a vegetable bean patty, eggplant-tomato jam, and fried kale.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$

Blossom

171 East Bay Street Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)722-9200

Look for a bounty of fish di­shes, plus a handful of homemade pastas and renowned wood-oven pizzas at this cheery, stylized joint. If the weather’s nice, opt for a seat outside to enjoy a gorgeous view of St. Philip’s Church.

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza, Seafood | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$, $$$

Blu

1 Center St. Folly Beach, South Carolina 29439
Phone: (843) 588-6658

At this sleek, beachfront retreat, chef Jonathan Hagins’ menu displays a pleasant number of innovative dishes, many featuring fresh catches as part of his commitment to the South Carolina Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative. Try the pan-seared grouper with fried green tomatoes and lump crab cakes with black-eyed pea succotash and grained mustard.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Folly Beach | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$$

Bohemian Bull Tavern & Beer Garden

1531 Folly Rd. James Island, South Carolina 29412
Phone: (843)225-1817

Replacing Jack’s Cosmic Dogs on Folly Road is this spacious hangout, occupied by sports fans at the bar, families lunching with their little ones, and 20-somethings playing cornhole in the huge “garden” out back. It’s a great place to meet a big group alfresco to sample from the expansive beer menu. The fare’s undeniably bar food, though there are several salad and wrap options for those seeking healthier dishes.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic, Bars/taverns | Location: James Island | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $

Boone's Restaurant & Bar

345 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)577-6665

Head to this family-owned restaurant to catch a game at the upstairs or downstairs bar; enjoy live music and trivia; or simply settle into a window seat to choose from tasty dips, wings (try the teriyaki style), sandwiches, entrées, and a nice array of local vegetables. Tip for nice weather: there’s also a back patio.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$

Brasserie Gigi

102 North Market St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)722-6393

Frank McMahon, who’s been at the helm of Hank’s since it opened in 1999, also heads up the kitchen at Brasserie Gigi. For his newer venture, he worked up a classic French bistro menu that spotlights a broad repertoire of dishes, especially those of his childhood in Europe. A recent night out at the spot found us reveling in the soupe de poisson, lightly charred grilled squid salad, and a serving of swordfish made bright with a citrus vinaigrette. We recommend slipping upstairs to the raw bar, too.

Cuisine: French | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$$$

Brick House Kitchen

1575 Folly Rd. James Island, South Carolina 29453
Phone: (843)406-4655

The Thomas family serves up "coastal comfort food" from this circa-1920 farmhouse, complete with cozy seating inside or on the wraparound porch. Creative appetizers and health-conscious seafood dishes, pastas, salads, and soups headline menus that change daily. Be sure to visit the display case stocked with a dozen or more house-made desserts (if decision becomes impossible, choose the famous chocolate pot). No cards. Lunch (Wed.-Sat.); Dinner (Thurs.-Sat.); Brunch (Sat.)

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: James Island | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Saturday Brunch | Price: $$

Burwell’s Stone Fire Grill

14 N Market St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)737-8700

Located in the Market area, this steakhouse offers the option to cook your own meat right at the table courtesy of 700˚F searing stones. The beautifully designed space offers a nine-item list of specialty martinis and menus in hardcopy and iPad form.  

Cuisine: Steakhouse | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$

Butcher & Bee

654 King Street Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)619-0202

The daily buzz at this unique shop includes a tempting array of sandwiches and sides like none you’ve ever seen before. Stop in for a roast beet, avocado, apple, and horseradish sandwich or sides of tangy hummus and Israeli salad, roasted cauliflower with harissa yogurt, and charred onions.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$

Caviar and Bananas

51 George Street Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)577-7757

This downtown hot spot provides endless possibilities for a casual dinner, takeaway hors d’oeuvres, or breakfast on the run. Chef Todd Mazurek orchestrates the creation of prepared and made-to-order delights from the Boston Bibb salad with applewood-smoked bacon and pimiento ranch dressing to the duck confit sandwich made with aged Gouda and fig preserves. Also stop in for great gourmet ingredients.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic, Delis/cafes/bakeries | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$

Charleston Crab House

145 Wappoo Creek Dr. James Island, South Carolina 29412
Phone: (843)795-1963

Head out to this waterside happy hour haven and relax with a cold one and a plate of shrimp and scallops or a Southern-fried seafood platter. Arrive in style by pulling up in your boat, or keep your sea legs to yourself and just people-watch from the dock.

Cuisine: Seafood | Location: James Island | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

Charleston Grill

Charleston Place Hotel, 224 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)577-4522

Inspired by nature and traditional influences, Charleston Grill chef Michelle Weaver creates an unpretentious yet celebratory bill of fare from clean and light to lavish and exotic with a menu divided into four formats—pure, lush, cosmopolitan, and Southern. For a beautiful balance of food, wine, and service, settle into the intimate setting for butter-poached whole Maine lobster, vichyssoise, and semi-parfait graham cracker pie, along with other new renditions of decadent favorites.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$$

Chez Nous

6 Payne Ct. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)579-3060

Set in a tiny house on a gravel alley in off-the-tourist-path Elliotborough, this restaurant sports no sign and offers patrons a handwritten menu that changes daily. With Bin 152’s owners backing the place and Jill Mathias (formerly of Carolina’s) and Juan Cassalett at the helm, the eatery delivers lunch, dinner, and Saturday and Sunday brunch, all with a Southern French accent. Recent standout offerings include a bitter green salad with light vinaigrette and a soft-boiled egg, as well as pan-seared flounder. No reservations.

Cuisine: French | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$$, $$$$

Circa 1886

149 Wentworth St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)853-7828

Located in the original carriage house behind the Wentworth Mansion, Circa boasts a menu that reflects an intriguing mix of seasonal Lowcountry fare. For example, take chef Marc Collins’ North Carolina trout with pimiento risotto, heart of palm, asparagus, and celery root cream or the coffee-brined antelope loin with grapes, pine nuts, pearl onions, eggplant purée, and an orange saba glaze.  

Cuisine: Lowcountry/Southern | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$, $$$$

Closed for Business

453 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)853-8466

Good spirits abound at Closed for Business, where chic, pub-style décor; an intriguing menu by chef Kevin Johnson; and a long list of craft brews draw a diverse crowd. Settle into the community table or globe-lit booths for rave-worthy sandwiches like the pork slap, or try entrées such as the duck pot pie. Only ages 21 and older are allowed in after 8 p.m. No reservations.

Cuisine: Bars/taverns | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

COAST Bar & Grill

39-D John St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)722-8838

Take an instant beach vacation in this high-style fish camp with a laid-back feel. There’s surf and turf, but COAST is about seafood—served roasted, grilled, fried, steamed, boiled, and on the half-shell—from Baja fish tacos to penne with shrimp and lobster. (MS) 39-D John St., 722-8838. $$$; D.      

Cuisine: Seafood | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$

Coda del Pesce

1130 Ocean Blvd. Isle of Palms, South Carolina 29451
Phone: (843)242-8570

Dig into fried octopus tentacles, squid, and other creatures of the deep at this seaside spot, where owner and executive chef Ken Vedrinski—who also helms Elliotborough’s Trattoria Lucca—turns out great Italian seafood dishes. Menu selections change daily, but we recommend starting with an antipasta like yellowfin tuna arancini spiked with radishes, chilies, and fennel, then diving into secondi such as seared swordfish picatta.  

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza, Seafood | Location: Sullivan's Island/Isle of Palms | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$

Craftsmen Kitchen & Tap House

12 Cumberland St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)577-9699

This tony beer hall offers 48 brews on tap (12 pale, 12 session, 12 local, and 12 “The Mash”) and plenty of churched up pub fare to make a brewski enthusiast happy. The stout-brined pâté with cheese crackers makes a solid start followed by the black grouper or farm house burger. The patio is perfect for an al fresco dinner.   

Cuisine: American/Eclectic, Bars/taverns | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

Cru Café

18 Pinckney St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)534-2434

An eclectically surprising menu—the Chinese chicken salad and ginger-seared salmon with lemon risotto are drool-worthy—and the wonderful setting in a renovated Charleston single house draws fans to this off-the-beaten-path spot north of the Market.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$, $$$

Crust

1956-B Maybank Hwy. James Island, South Carolina 29412
Phone: (843)762-5500

Just steps away from The Terrace movie theater, this small pizzeria offers a great option for pre-film snacking. Chef Dusty Chorvat’s pies range from the traditional to outlandish with options such as the “apple pie” with granny smith apples, bacon, buttermilk blue cheese, mozzarella, local honey and arugula. Surprise hits such as hot wings make it worth a visit.  

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza | Location: James Island | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

Cypress Lowcountry Grill

167 East Bay St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)727-0111

This member of the Hospitality Management Group is high-tech glam with cerise booths, flying saucer lights that morph in color, and a three-story glass wall ­storing 4,000-plus wines. The pickled rock shrimp with cucumbers, tomatoes, Vidalia onions, and fresh herbs is an haute-­cuisine version of the Lowcountry staple, and the wasabi tuna with a ginger-garlic glaze spotlights executive chef Craig Deihl’s Asian spin.   

Cuisine: Seafood, Lowcountry/Southern | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$, $$$$

DeSano Pizza Bakery

94 Stuart St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)637-4225

At this off-the-beaten-path pizzeria, they fly in the mozzarella di buffala, San Marzano tomatoes, and extra-virgin olive oil direct from Italy for authentic Napoletana pizza. All pies—from Vesuvios with sopressata, prosciutto, pepperoni, and garlic to the more tame Biancos with mozzarella, ricotta, garlic, and pecorino romano—are cooked within 90 seconds for yum on the double.  

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

Dunleavy’s Pub

2213-A Middle St. Sullivans Island, South Carolina 29482
Phone: (843)883-9646

No trip to Sullivan’s is complete without a visit to this island institution. Grab a seat at the bar, a table among memorabilia on the walls, or, weather permitting, take in the island lifestyle from the picnic tables out front. Drafts, deli sandwiches, chicken wraps, burgers, and wings to rave about. No reservations.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic, Bars/taverns | Location: Sullivan's Island/Isle of Palms | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$

D’Allesandro’s Pizza

229 St. Philip St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)853-6337

Learning from their father, Nick and Ben D’Allesandro serve what they know best: traditional-style pizza. The parlor in Cannonborough-Elliotborough has staked a claim as a favorite among CofC students and other neighborhood residents with delicious dine-in, carry-out, and delivery options. No reservations.  

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$

Earth Fare

74 Folly Rd. West Ashley, South Carolina 29407
Phone: (843)769-4800

Vegetarians and free-range meat lovers unite at the superb food buffet in this popular health-food store. Tofu stir-fries, sushi, fresh veggies, plus hot-and-heavy chicken and fantastic pizza are tops for take-out or dine-in. No reservations.  

Cuisine: Vegetarian/organic | Location: West Ashley | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $

Edmund’s Oast

1081 Morrison Dr. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)727-1145

Since opening in February, this upper peninsula spot has become a new mecca for the beer-nerd set. Beverage manager and brewer Cameron Read has a rotating selection of house-made brews on tap, such as Golden Child (a sour golden ale) and Lord Proprietor’s Mild (an English mild ale), as well as more than 30 varieties by other brewers. On the menu, which also rotates frequently, we’re loving chef Andy Henderson’s Carolina Gold Rice heritage chicken porridge as well as the guinea hen.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic, Bars/taverns | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$, $$$

El Mercadito

3575 Maybank Hwy Johns Island , South Carolina 29455
Phone: (843)559-7216

El Mercadito may have undergone a renovation to spruce up the former taqueria/market into a more Americanized Mexican restaurant, but thank heavens some of the authentic menu items remain. The faithful army of patrons can still enjoy platos of carnitas, lengua, and chile verde. And with the best tacos al pastor this side of Juarez, it’s easy to become a regular. 

Cuisine: Mexican/Southwestern | Location: Johns Island | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $

Fat Hen

3140 Maybank Hwy. Johns Island, South Carolina 29455
Phone: (843)559-9090

This busy neighborhood restaurant blends the best of local produce, fish, and fowl in signature dishes inspired by French fare yet also featuring Southern cuisine at its finest. Come early for brunch offering luscious pancakes and smooth grits or visit for dinner for plump scallops marinated in pomegranate barbecue sauce and wrapped with bacon.

Cuisine: French | Location: Johns Island | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$, $$$

FIG

232 Meeting St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)805-5900

“Food Is Good” in this hip hot spot. The understated design provides plenty of panache without interfering with FIG’s real purpose: showcasing simple, super-fresh seasonal dishes—such as Keegan-Filion Farm chicken schnitzel leg confit with cauliflower, faro piccolo, herb salad, and natural jus—from executive chef Jason Stanhope.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$

Fish

442 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)722-3474

Chef Nico Romo is at the helm of this chic spot, offering a menu that features fresh seafood with creative Asian touches. A selection of dim sum presents bountiful appetizer choices, and while the large plate menu is laden with ­local seafood, it also includes such choices as a grilled North Carolina pork chop and grilled Colorado New York steak. Don’t miss the half-price bottles of wine from 5:30 to 8 p.m. every Monday evening.     

Cuisine: American/Eclectic, Seafood | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$, $$$

Five Loaves Café

43 Cannon St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)937-4303

A soup that sounds like a sauce bodes well. Some of this neighborhood café’s most tantalizing ­bowlfuls include Mexican chicken chili with avocado and lime; potato, broccoli, and cheddar; and tomato, tarragon, and crabmeat. Try the $7.75 soup, salad, and/or sandwich lunch combo, or come back for full-blown gourmet dinners. On Tuesdays and Fridays, take advantage of half-price wine. No reservations.  

Cuisine: | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$

Fleet Landing

186 Concord St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)722-8100

Located right on Charleston Harbor, this seafood emporium serves up Lowcountry classics with ­fusion flair. Try the delicious crispy steak calamari with apricot glaze and spicy red pepper ­rémoulade dipping sauces or the she-crab soup with blue crab roe and sherry. Fleet’s industrial-chic atmosphere, large bar, deck, and breathtaking harbor views make it a favorite among the cocktail crowd.

Cuisine: Seafood | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$, $$$

Fulton Five

5 Fulton St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)853-5555

This intimate ristorante is off the beaten path but worth seeking out. The small but sophisticated menu features Northern ­Italian fare by chef Josh Cain, including mouth watering choices like the chocolate espresso-rubbed filet served over whipped potatoes, asparagus, and jus or the pan-seared Maple Creek duck breast in a pomegranate jus.  

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$

Gathering Cafe

1124 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. West Ashley, South Carolina 29407
Phone: (843)297-8380

This casual eatery tucked on Sam Rittenberg offers reasonably priced soups, salads, sandwiches, and mains including a classic meatloaf, chopped salad, and tuna melt. Plus, there’s a small but yummy dessert selection (the chocolate cake is delish) and a bar.

Cuisine: Delis/cafes/bakeries | Location: West Ashley | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $

Gaulart & Maliclet

98 Broad St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)577-9797

With its community countertop, staff owners, and straightforward menu featuring croque monsieurs, pâté plates, and Thursday night fondues, G&M (aka Fast & French) provides an ­authentic bistro experience. Suited downtown business folk squeeze in alongside artsy types for one big, happy family.  

Cuisine: French | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Price: $

Gene’s Haufbrau

817 Savannah Hwy. West Ashley, South Carolina 29407
Phone: (843)225-4363

Pub lovers revel in Avondale’s top neighborhood bar with its extensive lineup of beer, burgers, and wraps. More than meets the eye, Gene’s is sports-lovers central with darts, pool, and shuffleboard, and serves burgers topped with feta, fried eggs, portobellos, avocado, and more, as well as great wings and wraps.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: West Ashley | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $

Graze

863 Houston Northcutt Blvd Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina 29464
Phone: (843)606-2493

Settle in at this eclectic eatery for creative, casual fare with a farm-to-table focus. Two of the owners, Michael Karkut and Derek Lathan, serve as executive chefs, producing a fluid menu that changes with the local market and includes a number of seafood and vegetarian dishes as well as an interesting soup and salad selection. There’s also a busy bar area that’s surprisingly compatible with the room’s ambiance.

Cuisine: Vegetarian/organic | Location: Mount Pleasant | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$$

Grill 225

225 East Bay St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)266-4222

The swanky lobby restaurant of the Market Pavilion Hotel serves great steaks in luxurious high-backed booths. Think prime filets, strips, and rib-eyes or the 40-ounce prime porterhouse for two. The food’s terrific, the Market Street view is ­always hopping, and the service is impeccable.

Cuisine: Steakhouse | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$$, $$$$

Groucho’s Deli

364-A King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)534-1436

Ignore the cafeteria décor and enjoy authentic New York deli fare. Go for the house specialty, the International Dip, or nosh on bona fide corned beef, pastrami, or the Reuben that’s been a best-seller since 1969. Low-fat sandwiches and salads are available. No reservations.  

Cuisine: Delis/cafes/bakeries | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $

Hall’s Chophouse

434 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)727-0090

Savor old-school style, service, and flavor at this handsome new addition to Upper King. Grab a stool in the hopping bar or head upstairs for a more intimate dining experience. Either way, indulge in the luscious lump crab cakes, blue-cheese smothered wedge salad, and chef Matthew Niessner’s melt-in-your-mouth prime steaks—sauces available but not needed.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic, Steakhouse | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$$$

High Thyme

2213-C Middle St. Sullivans Island, South Carolina 29482
Phone: (843)883-3536

Simplicity is a specialty of the straightforward New American cuisine at High Thyme. You’ll find their delicious roasted chicken and three-cheese lasagna with tomato sauce and fresh herbs alongside seafood offerings such as pan-seared tilapia over smoked Gouda grits and arugula topped with lemon caper butter.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$, $$$

HoM

563 King Street Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)573-7505

HoM is where the heart is in the downtown burger scene. The King Street haunt has burger lovers and ping-pong players flocking. But those without a beef bent can find specialty patties such as lamb, turkey, tofu, and falafel, too. Top that with a fried green tomato and you’ve got a HoM run. (KG) 563 King St., 573-7505.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$

Hominy Grill

207 Rutledge Ave. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)937-0930

Visit this cozy, restored barbershop where ­locals love the contemporary comfort-food menu of ­au­thentic Southern fare and chef Robert ­Stehling’s take on New American: old-fashioned vegetable plates, pecan-crusted porterhouse pork chops, and sautéed shrimp served over cheese grits. It’s The New York Times’ hands-down pick for breakfast and brunch.  

Cuisine: Lowcountry/Southern | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Saturday Brunch, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$, $$$

Husk

76 Queen Street Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)577-2500

True Southern ingredients and those who produce them star at Husk, where executive chef Sean Brock uses the finest heirloom products gleaned from all points south of the Mason-Dixon. Brock—who won the James Beard Foundation’s 2010 Best Chef: Southeast award for his work at Husk’s sister restaurant, McCrady’s—devises a new menu every day, but you’ll want to accompany any entrée with a side skillet of cornbread made with Tennessee’s famous Benton’s bacon.

Cuisine: Lowcountry/Southern | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$$$

Ike & Alice’s

616 Meeting St. Charleston, South Carolina
Phone: (843)805-5812

Don’t let the location fool you. Housed in a Meeting Street strip mall, this soul food spot exceeds the expectations one might have looking at its simple locale. Stop by for fried-to-order shrimp, scallops, and deviled crabs in addition to the tempting namesake chicken. Sides include mac ’n’ cheese, cabbage, red rice, green beans, squash, and more,  and a lunch plate special—two sides, an entrée, and cornbread—is just $7.99.  

Cuisine: Lowcountry/Southern | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $

Il Cortile del Re

193 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)853-1888

With prime Lower King Street frontage, a hopping bar, and tables aplenty, this romantic hideaway draws casual-chic regulars for great Tuscan soups, ensalata, wine, and Old World specialties. The tiny back dining room with the fireplace warms the heart, as does the bella-cool courtyard.  

Cuisine: Bars/taverns, Italian/Pizza | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$, $$$

Indaco

526 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)727-1228

At this King Street spot, it’s all about the burrata baby. Well, that and the wood-fired pizzas, proscuitto, farro risotto, and remarkable squid ink carmen d’aria. Chef Michael Perez delivers innovative Italian fare in a sleek space with a craft cocktail program as good as the menu—perfect for happy hour on their side patio.  

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$, $$$

JB's Smokestack

3409 Maybank Hwy Johns Island, South Carolina 29455
Phone: (843)557-0426

If you’re on Maybank Highway around mealtime, take your foot off the gas and hit the sand parking lot at JB’s, where “the flavor’s in the meat, sauce is on the side.” Nearly two-dozen buffet items—apple-smoked chicken, black-eyed peas, and stewed cabbage—tempt diners with their handmade quality.

Cuisine: Barbecue | Location: Johns Island | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$

Kickin’ Chicken

1175 Folly Rd. James Island, South Carolina 29412
Phone: (843)

Although a little more family-friendly, the James Island counterpart to the popular downtown original offers the same great hot wings, sandwiches, and salads.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: James Island | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $

La Pizzeria

976 Houston Northcutt Blvd. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina 29464
Phone: (843)375-4607

Tucked off of Houston Northcutt Boulevard is a hidden Italian dining gem complete with authentic accents. Owner Laura Zanotti, who hails from Milan, prepares classic pizzas, specialty dishes such as spaghetti clams, gnocchi sorrentina, and risotto of the day, plus a hearty serving of true hospitaliano. And don’t forget dessert—the tiramisu is a must.

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza | Location: Mount Pleasant | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

Lana Restaurant & Bar

210 Rutledge Ave. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)720-8899

Chef John Ondo’s neighborhood bistro is just far enough off the main drag to ensure an eclectic European menu and reasonable prices. Try the pear and Gorgonzola salad to start, then follow up with seared scallops with preserved lemon risotto. Casually intimate décor and a friendly waitstaff make this a great spot for a romantic date or the perfect place to catch up with friends.   

Cuisine: Mediterranean | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$, $$$

Leaf

15 Beaufain Street Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)793-2230.

Thanks to a beautiful outdoor courtyard and huge French doors, indoor and outdoor dining is offered year-round at this comfortable bar and restaurant. Global influences inform chef Ross Webb’s menu featuring highlights such as frickles (fried pickles), eggplant roulade, and his mother's meatloaf recipe. A hightop bar makes the perfect spot for leisurely brunches as well. (PA) 15 Beaufain St., 793-2230.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$

Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen

218 President St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)822-5337

Authentic Chinese food has arrived in Charleston with this Upper Peninsula restaurant. Pop-art covered walls and wafts of General Tso’s chicken and mu shu pork greet guests. A short but decent list of wines and local craft beers, including Westbrook IPA and Frothy Beard Zingibier, are on hand to wash it all down. No reservations.  

Cuisine: Asian | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch | Price: $$, $$$

Leyla

298 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)501-7500

It’s hard not to fall for exotic, flavorful Leyla. This quirky Lebanese oasis offers a long list of mezza (small plates), including hummus slathered in a spry bit of olive oil and manteh dumplings filled with a spiced beef paste. Don’t shy away from more adventurous menu items, such as frog legs: Leyla’s most interesting dishes tend to be those that are unfamiliar. Round out your meal with a cup of bitter Lebanese coffee and warm rice pudding spiked with nuts, spices, and coconut. (  

Cuisine: | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$, $$$

Library at Vendue Inn

19 Vendue Range Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)577-7970

Slip into this under-the-radar hotel dining room in the heart of downtown for seasonal dishes from chef Jude Wagner. Start with the burrata and artichoke or grilled watermelon and radish salad, then move on to entrées of pan-roasted guinea hen or pan-seared sea scallops. For those craving real-deal Maryland crab cakes made with both lump and claw meat, look no further.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$, $$$$

Lost Dog Cafe

106 W. Huron St. Folly Beach, South Carolina 29439
Phone: (843)588-9669

Breakfast is served all day at this quirky and cute spot, which means burritos with shrimp, sausage, bacon, or ham alongside cheese, onions, and peppers; homemade biscuits and sausage gravy; and a host of baked goods need not be morning addictions only. Come lunchtime, order the black bean burger with mango, black bean salsa, and ranch dressing; the Thai wrap with shrimp or chicken; or a hot-off-the-griddle quesadilla.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Folly Beach | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch | Price: $

Magnolias

185 East Bay St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)577-7771

Hand-forged wrought iron and large paintings carry the magnolia theme throughout the classy dining room. Don Drake’s “Uptown/Down South Cuisine,” like the Parmesan-crusted flounder over Carolina rice and creek shrimp purloo with sweet corn, tomato, and ­asparagus salad, lump crab, and a lemon beurre blanc, is an addictive contemporary take on traditional Southern cooking.    

Cuisine: Lowcountry/Southern | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$$, $$$$

Marina Variety Store

17 Lockwood Dr. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)723-6325

A killer view of the Ashley River, an easygoing setting, hit-the-spot breakfasts, and beach-town lunches and dinners make this joint—founded some 50 years ago—a hit among boaters and business folks alike. Reservations for groups of eight or more only.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

Martha Lou’s

1068 Morrison Dr. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)577-9583

When soul food’s all that will do, get to the pink cinder-block dive on Morrison Drive for fried ­everything and fatback-flavored greens that’ll send you home happy. The service is from the heart, the fare’s tops in its field, and the conversations are priceless. No cards or reservations.

Cuisine: Lowcountry/Southern | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch | Price: $

McCrady's

2 Unity Alley Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843) 577-0025

This 222-year-old former tavern houses the stylish bar and dining room of an eco-friendly business that delivers cutting-edge seasonal cuisine by the 2010 James Beard Best Chef: Southeast, Sean Brock. Look for Caw Caw Creek pork blade steak with Anson Mills farro, escarole, and braised artichokes along with seafood dishes such as Beeliner red snapper with a pistou of local vegetables and herbs, plus a mile-long wine list.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$$

Melvin’s

538 Folly Rd. James Island, South Carolina 29412
Phone: (843)762-0511

Serving up the chopped pork barbecue just like that of its Mount Pleasant branch—as well as the “favorite cheeseburger” of Emeril Lagasse—this James Island icon is the perfect place to stop for lunch on your way to Folly Beach.  

Cuisine: Barbecue | Location: James Island | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

Mex 1 Coastal Cantina

817 St. Andrews Blvd. West Ashley, South Carolina 29407
Phone: (843)751-4001

From a long list of creative margaritas to shrimp tacos, tortas, and Baja bowls, this casual spot on St. Andrews Boulevard offers big South of the Border flavor. A kid’s menu includes Chick-a-dillas, a playful spin on the classic quesadilla with melted jack cheese and chicken, and the whole family should indulge in the tres leches pudding for dessert.  

Cuisine: Mexican/Southwestern | Location: West Ashley | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

Middleton Place Restaurant

4300 Ashley River Rd. West Ashley, South Carolina 29414
Phone: (843)266-7477

Middleton Place's restaurant serves up she-crab soup, which makes for a lovely lunch after touring Middleton's gardens. The dinner menu sports fancier fare such as seared local yellowtail snapper with fingerling potatoes, garden squash, zucchini, eggplant, and green tomato chutney. Also try the Lowcountry crab cakes with tasso ham, red rice, baby spinach, grape tomatoes, and grain mustard buerre blanc.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: West Ashley | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$$, $$$$

Moe’s crosstown Tavern

714 Rutledge Ave. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)722-3287

Barflies need not suffer bad food when they hit the Moe’s Crosstown Tavern at Hampton Park. Pierogies, fried green tomato BLTs, and bombastic burgers washed down with beer make this eatery a favorite among food and sports-lovers alike.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic, Bars/taverns | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $

Mondo’s

915 Folly Rd. James Island, South Carolina 29412
Phone: (843)795-8400

Like the best of James Island’s restaurants, ­Mondo’s gives up the goods without any of the fuss of similar cafés found downtown. That said, join the many regulars at this sweet spot for primo pastas and fresh local bounty cooked up simply but with gourmet flair.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic, Delis/cafes/bakeries | Location: James Island | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

Monza

451 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)720-8787

This Upper King Street establishment raises pizza baking to an art form. Thin crusts made from Italian flour arrive fresh from the wood-fired oven topped with artisanal meats, imported cheeses, fresh vegetables, and delightful sauces. The pizzeria boasts an outdoor courtyard and a great beer and wine list while antipasti, salads, and soups enhance the ­Italian vibe.   

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

Morgan Creek Grill

80 41st Ave. Isle of Palms, South Carolina 29451
Phone: (843)886-8980

On the main level, this double-decker restaurant boasts three dining rooms as well as outdoor seating. Look for straight-from-the-sea specials such as the fresh local clams steamed in white wine and herb broth and paired with leeks and prosciutto tossed with linguini. Feeling a bit saltier? Boaters, vacationers, and locals gather on the upper deck for a laid-back, fried-seafood atmosphere. From the casual menu, enjoy standards like po’ boys and grilled mahi sandwiches.

Cuisine: Seafood | Location: Sullivan's Island/Isle of Palms | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$$

Morgan Creek Grill

80 41st Ave. Isle of Palms, South Carolina 29451
Phone: (843)886-8980

On the main level, this double-decker restaurant boasts three dining rooms as well as outdoor seating. Look for straight-from-the-sea specials such as the fresh local clams steamed in white wine and herb broth and paired with leeks and prosciutto tossed with linguini. Feeling a bit saltier? Boaters, vacationers, and locals gather on the upper deck for a laid-back, fried-seafood atmosphere. From the casual menu, enjoy standards like po’ boys and seared mahi sandwiches. (upper deck: $; L, D.)      

Cuisine: Seafood | Location: Sullivan's Island/Isle of Palms | Meals: Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$$

Muse

82 Society St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)577-1102

Occupying a charming Italianate single house with murals, artwork, dim ­lighting, and intimate spaces, Muse makes a strong case as the city’s most romantic restaurant. There, chef Tom Egerton presents Northern Mediterranean cuisine blending pasta, dates, and Eastern spices with seafood and meats, which—along with more than 100 wines by the glass—creates a happy cacophony of flavors.  

Cuisine: Mediterranean, Wine bar | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$

Mustard Seed

1970 Maybank Hwy. James Island, South Carolina 29412
Phone: (843)762-0072

Like its Mount Pleasant sister, Mustard Seed still offers pasta, seafood, and more, dressed to perfection. Sure-fire winners are pad Thai, fettuccine carbonara, and two risottos. Look for families, couples, and pals on the town, and know vegetarians do well here, too.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: James Island | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

Nick’s Bar-B-Q

288 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)577-0406.

Although a bit churched-up compared to a roadside rib joint, the ’cue is true: the pork is slowly pit-­roasted over hickory, then slathered with an ­honest Alabama-style tomato-and-vinegar sauce. Freshly cooked collards and made-from-scratch mac ’n’ cheese top the list of sides on an extensive down-home Southern menu that also includes a delicious selection of pies. No reservations.  

Cuisine: | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$

O-Ku

463 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29407
Phone: (843)737-0112

This stylish, intentionally high-decibel place is all about the sushi, the sake, and the swish. You’ll need to visit multiple times to try the full range of soups,  salads, nigiri and sahimi, chef’s specialties, entrées, robata grill, and makimono (rolled sushi) on executive chef Sean Park’s menu. A few can’t miss items? Yellowtail carpaccio, Tuna Three Ways, and Tasmanian salmon sashimi.

Cuisine: Asian | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$

Oak Steakhouse

17 Broad St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)722-4220

If you’re craving a tender prime porterhouse or a ­succulent New York strip, head to this three-story love song to steak. The ­super-hungry will salivate over the 36-ounce rib-eye, while those leaving room for dessert might want to try a melt-in-your-mouth filet. Sides are served à la carte, and there’s a delicious appetizer selection.     

Cuisine: Steakhouse | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$$

Old Firehouse Restaurant & Pizza

6350 Hwy 162 Hollywood, South Carolina 29449
Phone: (843)889-9512

No junket to Hollywood is complete without a stop at this former 1950s fire station, where wonderfully fresh seafood and mouth-watering wood-fired pizzas made with local ingredients await. The whole crispy flounder or Lowcountry pizza (fried green tomatoes on a bed of rich sauce) are sure crowd pleasers, as are familiar favorites like shrimp and grits.

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza, Seafood | Location: Hollywood/Meggett | Meals: Dinner | Price: $, $$

Palmetto Café

205 Meeting St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)722-4900

Come lunchtime, Gucci and Godiva shoppers rest their weary selves at this swanky spot on the ground floor of Charleston Place Hotel. But this is no simple lunch. Try the duck confit waffles, perfectly seared scallops, or tile fish to fuel up for more power shopping.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Saturday Brunch, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$$

Pane e Vino

17 Warren St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)853-5955

At this local mainstay, meat lovers swoon for the charcuterie plate; it’s almost impossible to choose among pastas such as spinach ricotta ravioli and gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce; and main course offerings include tempting selections like the grilled pork chop with millefiori honey, spices, and crushed almonds. The romantic patio is lovely during nice weather.  

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$$

Pavilion Bar at the Market Pavilion

225 East Bay St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)723-0500

The view from the top of this high-end hotel in the Market can't be beat, and thankfully the food's just as swellegant. The menu features a host of eclectic fare such as shrimp satay, duck confit nachos, Kobe beef burgers, and several pizza selections.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

Pearlz Oyster Bar

153 East Bay St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)577-5755

With the feel of an old-school raw bar, Pearlz offers peel-and-eat shrimp, tuna tartar, and oyster shooters on the chilled menu that headlines Southern oysters (raw or steamed) backed by classic mignonette or cocktail sauce. The offerings are rounded out by a selection of fresh catch, steaks, burgers, and children's items. No reservations.

Cuisine: Steakhouse | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$

Peninsula Grill

112 North Market St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)723-0700

Thankfully time has not changed the luxurious dining experience at the Planter's Inn, where chef Graham Dailey delivers delicious grilled certified Angus beef, delicate gnocchi, and a remarkable selection of seasonal soups. Be sure not to miss the restauran'ts famous seven-layer coconut cake.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$, $$$$

Poe’s Tavern

2210 Middle St. Sullivans Island, South Carolina 29482
Phone: (843)883-0083

The lively scene at this locals-mostly tavern belies the morose tendencies of its namesake poet. For a south-of-the-border treat, try the mouth-watering mahi-mahi taco or take on Edgar’s Nachos, a multicolored platter of chips, chili, cheeses, guac, salsa, sour cream, scallions, and cilantro, kicked up several notches by jalapeños. For the less adventurous, there are burgers (serious contenders for the best in town) and salads.

Cuisine: Bars/taverns | Location: Sullivan's Island/Isle of Palms | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$, $$$

Red Orchid’s

1401 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. West Ashley, South Carolina 29407
Phone: (843)573-8787

The spare, artful decor will make you forget you’re in a strip mall the moment you walk in the door, and it only gets better. Asian fusion cuisine crafted from fresh ingredients dominates the menu. Defying the stigma often attached to carry-out, food quality is consistently above your run-of-the-mill Chinese place. But to truly appreciate Red Orchid’s, dine in and be impressed with its wonderful wait staff. Sake done right rounds out a full bar, respectable wine list, and wide range of bottled beer.  

Cuisine: Asian | Location: West Ashley | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$, $$$

Republic Garden & Lounge

462 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)724-7400

Don't let the dance music fool you. In addition to a huge cocktail list and bottle service, this King Street disco offers solid food as well. Think foie gras sliders, lettuce wraps, mussels, and fried potato skins that will keep any partier fuled throughout the night.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic, Bars/taverns | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$

Rutledge Cab Co.

1300 Rutledge Ave. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)720-1440

Wagener Terrace got a whole lot tastier with the addition of Robert Carter’s latest iteration. This casual burger joint and bar offers a family-friendly option to the upper peninsula crowd. Grilled wings, flatbreads, and breakfast all day every day make for a perfect menu next to a list of creative cocktails.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$, $$$

Santi’s Restaurante Mexicano

1302 Meeting Street Rd. Charleston, South Carolina 29405
Phone: (843)722-2633

Those who think authentic is bandied about too often should visit this Mexican eatery on the Charleston Neck. Start with a fantastic (read: strong!) margarita and guacamole dip with house-made tortillas before tackling a plate of enchiladas poblanos with mole sauce, tamales with verde sauce, or one-of-a-kind chile rellenos. No reservations.  

Cuisine: Mexican/Southwestern | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

Sea Biscuit Café

21 J.C. Long Blvd. Isle of Palms, South Carolina 29451
Phone: (843)886-4079

Islanders and visitors looking for a down-home breakfast or hearty brunch head to this laid-back diner for homemade hash, omelets with fresh-off-the-boat shrimp, eggs Benedict with sweet lump crabmeat, grits, gravy, and biscuits. And that’s all before lunch. No reservations.  

Cuisine: Delis/cafes/bakeries | Location: Sullivan's Island/Isle of Palms | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch | Price: $

Sea Island Grill & Lounge

Boardwalk Inn, Wild Dunes Isle of Palms, South Carolina 29451
Phone: (843)886-2200

Pick up a pass at the Wild Dunes gate and head to the Boardwalk Inn for a “secret” dining spot. This full-service restaurant strikes a nice balance between upscale Continental and American cuisine served in a casual no-tie-or-jacket-required tropical setting.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Sullivan's Island/Isle of Palms | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$$, $$$$

Slightly North of Broad (SNOB)

192 East Bay St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)723-3424

Eclectic in design and menu with an open kitchen that showcases executive chef Frank Lee and crew whipping up seasonal, fresh-from-the-farm food, the lively SNOB is always happening. Shrimp and grits with house-made sausage and country ham, as well as grilled barbecued tuna topped with fried oysters, share the menu with bruschetta and fresh cheeses.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$$, $$$$

Smith & Bull CafÉ

60 Bull St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)724-3585

This family-owned-and-operated neighborhood café offers Italian-inspired sandwiches such as tuna and a hard-boiled egg on a baguette and a piadina with prosciutto, spinach, and mozzarella. The tiny pantry also offers provisions including beer and wine.  

Cuisine: Delis/cafes/bakeries, Italian/Pizza | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $

Snapper Jack’s

10 Center St. Folly Beach, South Carolina 29439
Phone: (843)588-2362

Whether you want a small snack, great lunch, or a casual dinner, this centrally located Folly joint will satisfy. Evening highlights include Jack’s Signature Snapper, pan-seared with sautéed vegetables and coconut rice and topped with a tropical fruit rum sauce.

Cuisine: Seafood | Location: Folly Beach | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$, $$$

Southend Brewery

161 East Bay St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)853-4677

Folks come here for the pool tables, microbrews, giant burgers, and pizza from the brick oven. The last is made with ale-infused dough topped with your choice of smoked chicken, ­barbecue sauce, Italian sausage, roasted garlic, and more.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic, Italian/Pizza | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$, $$$

Stars Grill Room

495 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)577-0100

Under the guidance of chef Joe DiMaio, this upscale Upper King Street spot serves up Maine lobster, double-cut pork chops, venison medallions, and more cooked on the grill staffers have dubbed “Grates of Hell.” Grab a pre-dinner drink on the rooftop bar with a view of seven of the city’s steeples.

Cuisine: Steakhouse | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$

Sticky Fingers

235 Meeting St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)853-7427

This local chain has done gangbusters in the Southeast and with good reason. The ribs and pulled pork are finger-lickin’ good, especially doused in one of their many sauces—try the whiskey version. Dine with the crowds or get the goods to go. No reservations. (MB) 235 Meeting St., 853-7427. $$-$$$; L, D.     

Cuisine: Barbecue | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$, $$$

T-Bonz Gill & Grill

80 North Market St Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)577-2511

Beer fans will do well to slide into the bustling booth barn that is T-Bonz. Sure it’s on the Market, but after a fried onion block, manly chops, and a couple of ice-cold drafts, it won’t matter where your neighbor is from.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$, $$$

Tabbuli

6 North Market Street Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)628-5959

With a charming outdoor courtyard, this restaurant at the end of Market Street is the perfect stop for a rum cocktail and some Middle Eastern fare. Tabbuli’s tapas can make a delicious pre-dinner appetizer or hearty meal. In addition to falafel, Jerusalem salad, gyros, and baba ghanoush, the menu includes an enticing selection of seafood dishes such as fresh ceviche and ahi tuna poke. Don’t forget to order some baklava before you leave.

Cuisine: Mediterranean | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$

Taco Boy

15 Center St. Folly Beach, South Carolina 29439
Phone: (843)588-9761

Offering coastal Mexican à la carte fare in a laid-back setting, Taco Boy is the quintessential post-beach stop. Located on Center Street, the dark, cozy, Mexican themed décor is the perfect setting for a Folly Beach fiesta. Fish tacos are the speciality, served on corn tortillas with fresh toppings. Wash it all down with a zesty margarita or sample the wide selection of Mexican and American cerveza. It’s the next best thing to a Mexican beach vacation. No reservations.

Cuisine: Mexican/Southwestern | Location: Folly Beach | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$, $$$

Taco Boy

217 Huger St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)789-3333

With the same festive feel as its older Folly Beach brother-and a matching menu of addictive tacos, nachos, and more-the downtown Taco Boy offers expansive indoor and outdoor spaces that leave plenty of room for family dinners and after-work happy hours alike. No reservations.

Cuisine: Mexican/Southwestern | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$, $$$

Taco Mamacita

2213 Middle St. Sullivans Island, South Carolina 29482
Phone: (843)789-4032

Enjoy some Middle Street people-watching from the patio of Sullivan’s Island’s token taco joint. Snack on Oy Vey tacos and homemade guac washed down with a sweet margarita while you enjoy the funky vibe of this muy delicioso restaurante.  

Cuisine: Mexican/Southwestern | Location: Sullivan's Island/Isle of Palms | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$, $$$

The Alley

131 Columbus St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)818-4080

Thanks to a partnership with Home Team BBQ, the peninsula’s only bowling alley boasts more than a good time on the lanes. Baked chicken and gravy, cornmeal fried shrimp, and braised pork belly pair with local brews.

Cuisine: Barbecue | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$

The Crab Shack

26 Center St. Folly Beach, South Carolina 29439
Phone: (843)588-3080

This best branch of the local chain, “Crab Shacktacular” anchors the Center Street scene. Patio diners are a raucous, mixed lot of families and happy-hour types, all scoping passersby and other patrons. Look for a barrel of peanuts, plastic utensils, a raw bar, buckets of steamed oysters, clams, mussels, and more, plus deviled crab, Frogmore stew, shrimp and crab casserole, and the requisite fried fare.

Cuisine: Seafood | Location: Folly Beach | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$, $$$

The Glass Onion

1219 Savannah Hwy. Charleston , South Carolina 29407
Phone: (843)225-1717

This mere slip of a place lives large in terms of authentic Southern fare. Three young chefs ­hailing from different regions of the South converge in the kitchen to turn out some of the best home cooking you’ll find anywhere. Committed to sustainability, the trio changes the menu based on seasonal availability, but standards such as crisp braised pork belly and à la carte sides will have you thinking you’re in heaven until you dig into the banana pudding. Then you’ll realize you’d only reached the pearly gates.

Cuisine: Lowcountry/Southern | Location: West Ashley | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Saturday Brunch | Price: $$

The Grocery

4 Cannon Street Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)302-8825

Chef/owner Kevin Johnson’s agrarian menu celebrates artisanal local producers year-round. Food offerings are arranged in five tiers from “snacks” to “table” and flavors of Bull’s Bay clams, grouper with roasted turnips, bacon, and Marcona almond relish; and scrumptious sides, such as roasted cauliflower, linger pleasantly.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$$

The Macintosh

479-B King Street Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)789-4299

Chef Jeremiah Bacon crafts a daily changing menu offering locally sourced ingredients at his hot spot on King Street. Each entrée is a true star in its own right, from the vegetable dish featuring sunchokes, roasted beets, fingerling potatoes, brussels sprouts, red quinoa, Carolina Gold rice, mushrooms, and beautiful romanesco broccoli to the unbelievably tender grilled Halperns’ beef deckle. Stop by the popular bar for small plates and innovative cocktails. (PA) 479-B King St., 789-4299.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$$

The Obstinate Daughter

2063 Middle St. Sullivans Island, South Carolina 29482
Phone: (843)416-5020

Thanks to a gorgeous renovation led by architect Reggie Gibson, this spot offers subtle nautical touches and an airy feel aided by an open kitchen and plenty of windows. Helmed by the folks behind Wild Olive, its menu slants local and Italian; we recently savored polenta fries with salsa rosa and a heap of cavatappi studded with trigger fish. Pizzas—such as the Old Danger, featuring pancetta, white sauce, and an egg—round out the menu.

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza, Lowcountry/Southern | Location: Sullivan's Island/Isle of Palms | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $, $$

The Ordinary

544 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)414-7060

This swank oyster hall built in an old bank features chef Mike Lata’s ever-evolving seafood menu. Go for the lobster roll and stay for the cascading seafood tower including Capers Blades, Snow Coves, Blue Points, and Otter Island oysters. This rollicking oyster bar is simply excellent.    

Cuisine: Seafood | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$$

The Palace Hotel

35 Hanover St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)501-7994

The lack of a sign on the door seems fitting given the undercover-cool vibe you’ll find inside. Sit at one of the mismatched tables or perch at the bar lit by Edison-style bulbs for a simple menu of brews, wine, and food. Hot dogs piled with ingredients such as kimchi and Thai curry mayo, paninis, seasonal salads, and more headline the menu. No reservations.  

Cuisine: American/Eclectic, Bars/taverns | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $

The Park Café

730 Rutledge Ave. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)410-1070

In this new spot north of the Crosstown, owner Karalee Nielsen Fallert delivers a clean café with cheerful touches, such as a wall of indoor plants. Chef John Amato has kept the menus simple: in the morning, look for classics like avocado on toast and shirred farm eggs. For dinner, we suggest the braised shortrib “steak,” preferably with a side of delicious creamy kale, or the grilled butifara served with pork sausage, white beans, rapini, and salsa verde. The café also boasts conveniences such as an espresso station and a fridge stocked with to-go items.  

Cuisine: Delis/cafes/bakeries | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$

The Rarebit

474 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)974-5483

If you're looking to enjoy an inexpensive meal in style, this throwback Hollywood-esque diner offers patty-melts, huevos rancheros, and grilled cheese with retro cocktails served in vintage glassware to match. Walls adorned with images of Steve McQueen complete the vibe.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $, $$

The Taco Spot

1301 B. Ashley River Rd. West Ashley, South Carolina 29407
Phone: (843)225-7426

For a la carte tacos—including two raved about grouper varieties—plus burritos, quesadillas, and more, head to this neighborhood eatery that's small in size big on colorful local flavor. Grab a seat at the counter to sip a beer and ponder your extensive hot sauce options, or take the goods to go.

Cuisine: Mexican/Southwestern | Location: West Ashley | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Saturday Brunch | Price: $

Trattoria Lucca

41-A Bogard St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)973-3323

Ken Vedrinski’s Bogard Street hideaway pays homage to his Italian Grandma Volpe. Delicious assaggini—a selection of small plates of vegetables, cheeses, and meats—can be shared tapas-style. House-made pastas and piatti (main courses) include such rarities as sheep’s milk ricotta gnudi, Grandma Volpe’s classic tomato ragù, and fresh fish prepared dei Cuiochi—“in the chef’s choice.” Italian coffee and fresh-made sweets form a perfect ending.

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$$

Two Boroughs Larder

186 Coming Street Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)637-3722

In the heart of Cannonborough-Elliotborough, husband and wife team Josh and Heather Keeler share new American cuisine from regional farms and waters. The daily menu features a seasonal collection of locally sourced and house-made ingredients such as kung pao sweetbreads and Masami Ranch pork ribs.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$, $$$$

Virginia’s on King

412 King St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)735-5800

If you’re hankering for traditional Southern fare from a kitchen that doesn’t overly worry about “creative spin,” this may be just the ticket. Pop some fried okra with spicy aïoli while waiting for your country fried steak with mashed potatoes and squash casserole. But if you’re there for ­dinner, tread lightly with appetizers, because the entrées are big as a cotton house.  

Cuisine: Lowcountry/Southern | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Saturday Brunch, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$$

Voodoo Tiki Bar & Lounge

15 Magnolia Dr. West Ashley, South Carolina 29407
Phone: (843)769-0228

Kitschy cool is the name of the game at this hip West Ashley hang-out. Sip their namesake concoction (served on fire) or try a Big Bamboo Love Song while sampling an eclectic assortment of gourmet tacos, such as barbecue duck confit and cashew- and panko-encrusted tuna.

Cuisine: American/Eclectic, Mexican/Southwestern | Location: West Ashley | Meals: Dinner | Price: $, $$

Warehouse

45 1/2 Spring St. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)202-0712

It may be hard to spot this hidden gem within the gentrified streets of Elliotborogh, but it’s worth a stop when you do. Seasonal pub fare such as “grown-up grilled cheese” stands out in addition to dishes such as the farm plate—crispy fried kale with crunchy chickpeas, palm hearts, and yellow squash. A huge bar offers pitcher cocktail choices as well as local beers and an evolving wine list.  

Cuisine: Bars/taverns, English/Irish | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner, Sunday Brunch | Price: $$

Woody's

39 Center St. Folly Beach, South Carolina 29439
Phone: (843)588-0088

A pizza joint bedecked in little white lights and beer-ad umbrellas, this kick-back place is Folly’s best spot for tasty, cheap eats: pies, subs, calzones, and salads. Try the pesto pizza, the white pizza, or create your own. And savor your crusts—the delicious dough is from West Ashley artisan bakery Normandy Farms.

Cuisine: Italian/Pizza | Location: Folly Beach | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$, $$$

Xiao Bao Biscuit

224 Rutledge Ave. Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Phone: (843)

Scents of East Asia waft out of this neighborhood spot. For 12 bucks, get a large bowl of mapo dofou—Sichuan-style tofu in fermented bean broth—or try the pork dumplings; ramen bowl with pork belly, kimchi, and greens; or the rudderfish on rice noodles.          

Cuisine: Asian | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $, $$

Zero Cafe + Bar

0 George St. Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: (843)817-7900

Tucked on the ground floor of the swank Zero George Hotel is this petite restaurant offering small plates perfect for a light bite before heading out on King. Chef Randy Williams updates the menu frequently with items such as duck confit with puréed sweet potato on sage biscuits; a spinach salad with aged cheddar, pumpkin seeds, and a light vinaigrette; and grilled shrimp with a chili dipping sauce.  

Cuisine: Bars/taverns, Delis/cafes/bakeries | Location: Charleston Peninsula | Meals: Dinner | Price: $$

Zia Taqueria

1956A Maybank Hwy. James Island, South Carolina 29412
Phone: (843)406-8877

Conveniently located next to the Terrace movie theater, Zia caters to film mavens and the nearby Riverland Terrace neighborhood alike. Classic tortas, enchiladas, and tacos make up the menu with drinks staples such as five varieties of margaritas. Come early, as seating is limited.  

Cuisine: Mexican/Southwestern | Location: James Island | Meals: Lunch, Dinner | Price: $$

Recent Comments
TWEETS