193 King St.
Sip some bubbly while you wait in line for seats at this immensely popular seafood bar dedicated to local sourcing. Oysters are available on po’boys or at the raw bar by the dozen. Bonus: their ceviches really shine.
ACME LOWCOUNTRY KITCHEN
31 J.C. Long Blvd., Isle of Palms
Don’t let the lengthy menu over¬whelm at this sprawling island favorite. For breakfast, order the Rockefeller, which marries fried oys¬ters with eggs Benedict. For brunch or dinner, the fried oyster basket with hush puppies will do just fine.
AMEN STREET FISH & RAW BAR
205 East Bay St.
This historic space bustles with energy, its brick walls illuminated by grand oyster-shell chandeliers. Happy hour brings lemon-pepper Bloody Mary oyster shooters plus oyster platters on the half shell.
ART’S BAR & GRILL
413 Coleman Blvd., Mt. Pleasant
Every October through April, Art’s offers all-you-can-eat oyster roasts for $17.99 per person from 1 to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The Bulls Bay clusters are sourced from the Mag¬wood family, who have been harvest¬ing oysters for many generations.
1956 Maybank Hwy., James Island
Chef Alex Lira opened this boite serving up oysters, hot dogs, and masterful cocktails.
BOATHOUSE AT BREACH INLET
101 Palm Blvd., Isle of Palms
Enjoy a cocktail on the upper deck overlooking the expansive Intracoast¬al Waterway, then head downstairs to feast in the weathered, nautical-themed dining room or back porch. Splurge on the seafood tower to add snow crab and cocktail shrimp to your oyster experience.
BOWEN’S ISLAND RESTAURANT
1870 Bowen’s Island Rd., James Island
A fourth-generation local secret until it won a James Beard Award in 2006 as an “American Classic.” The rustic restaurant burned to the ground five months later, but the family rebuilt, and now you can enjoy classic oyster roasts, seafood galore, and stunning sunsets on the waterway.
CHARLESTON HARBOR FISH HOUSE
32 Patriots Point Rd., Mt. Pleasant
Oysters make a regular appearance on the menus of this marsh-side retreat with views of the Yorktown battleship, the Ravenel Bridge, and the harbor. Get them fried with malt vinegar fries and charred lemon, or splurge on the seafood tower.
COAST BAR & GRILL
39-D John St., Hutson Alley
Follow the neon fish down a brick alley off John Street into this vaulted, transformed warehouse and marvel at the blowfish pendants as you peruse Coast’s vast menu of fresh seafood offerings, including ceviche samplers, hot oysters Rockefeller, and chilled raw half-shells served with a zesty herbal mignonette.
THE DARLING OYSTER BAR
513 King St.
Local oysters frequently make the chalkboard lineup at this packed King Street eatery that tempts pass¬ersby through the large window of its 19th-century storefront. The raw bar is a popular gathering spot, but if you demand your bivalves cooked, try The Darling’s baked oysters with butter and bread crumbs, Alabama white sauce and bacon, or pimiento and sourdough soppers.
186 Concord St.
Historic nautical images line the walls of this retired naval building, one of downtown’s only harbor-front eater¬ies, with an indoor-outdoor bar and ample deck. Get your oysters chilled on the half shell, fried and served over grits with applewood-smoked bacon and Southern Comfort barbecue sauce, fried on a fresh salad, or—for the espe¬cially hungry—fried on a platter.
GRACE & GRIT
320 Wingo Way, Mt. Pleasant
This family-run restaurant serves up Southern staples with an empha¬sis on fresh seafood. Oyster shells dangle artfully above booths, and the bivalves come on the half shell or fried. Bonus: pickled collard slaw and individually tailored “gourmet grits.”
10 Hayne St.
A classic and timeless fish house in a beautifully restored turn-of-the-century warehouse, Hank’s is a go-to for oyster lovers. Half-shell trays and seafood towers showcase local beauties, but you can also choose oysters fried with pickled okra and Lowcountry relish, broiled with Asiago and smoked bacon, grilled with crispy Andouille and red wine mignonette, or folded into a chowder-style stew.
778 S. Shelmore Blvd., Mt. Pleasant
Chef Patrick Owens converted an unassuming strip-mall space into a sleek and polished venue that locals swear by. Choose from the excellent wine list as you decide whether to eat your oysters Rockefeller-style, on the half shell with various sauces, or bet¬ter yet, the daily “chef ’s inspiration.”
LEON’S OYSTER SHOP
698 King St.
A brilliantly reconceived auto-body shop lined with an expansive bar counter, Leon’s serves oysters raw, char-grilled with Parmesan and pars¬ley, casino-style with piquillo peppers and bacon, or fried either as a platter or in a sandwich with comeback sauce. Bonus: soft-serve for dessert.
201 Coleman Blvd., Mt. Pleasant
Oyster fans will salivate over the vertical raw bar display with a built-in misting system that keeps the im¬pressive lineup of shellfish perfectly cool. The menu includes half-shell towers, baked oysters au Camembert, and a dignified twist on oyster shooters using mildly smoky 12-year-old Scotch whisky
17 Broad St.
Three elegant floors make up this steak house that also serves up large selects on the half shell and deli¬cious oysters Rockefeller a la carte. Round it out with some lobster mac-and-cheese and your cocktail of choice.
544 King St.
This fancy seafood hall set in a lofty 1920s bank building serves up local oysters (including exclusive Phat Ladies and Clammer Dave’s Caper’s Blades) with creative mignonettes and a lemongrass cocktail sauce. Also in the running: Oysters Moscow dolloped with sour cream, lightly smoked oysters on saltines, a steak tartare and crispy oyster combo, broiled oysters with watercress and bacon, and crispy oyster sliders.
PEARLZ OYSTER BAR
153 East Bay St.
A laid-back and convivial oyster bar in an 18th-century building, Pearlz packs in crowds hungry for platters of fried oysters served with corn frit¬ters, plus rotating raw bar varietals. Pearlz’s tongue-in-cheek take on wings subs in fried oysters, served with blue cheese, celery, and buffalo sauce. Baked Oyster Rockefeller supplements the classic preparation by adding crawfish and lump crab. Bonus: a second location in West Ashley offers ample outdoor seating.
112 North Market St.
Polished, elegant, and arguably one of Charleston’s most romantic fine dining venues, even the velvet-lined walls of Peninsula Grill’s formal din¬ing room glow with an oyster’s hue. It’s the adjacent dimly lit Champagne bar where you’ll want to tuck in for oysters offered three ways: classic Casino- or Rockefeller-style, or on the half-shell with a champagne mignonette (but of course).
RAPPAHANNOCK OYSTER BAR
701 East Bay St. #110, Cigar Factory
In 2001, cousins Travis and Ryan Croxton launched an oyster-farming business in Virginia and later opened an on-site restaurant with fresh, elevated cuisine. The response was so great, they have since expanded to D.C., Richmond, and Charleston; (there’s even one planned for L.A.). Hit up the copper-lined bar to sample an array of oysters, either grilled, folded into hot chowder, or served raw with sauces so popular the restaurant is planning on bottling them for sale.
RED’S ICE HOUSE
98 Church St., Mt. Pleasant
Watch shrimp boats dock and dolphins surface as you devour a bucket of local steamed oysters or lightly battered fried “oysters & chips” washed down with ice-cold beer at this no frills, rustic creekside favorite. Bonus: an open upper deck for cocktails and stunning sunsets.
357 N. Shelmore Blvd., Mt. Pleasant
Two or three oysters rotate daily at the raw bar of this intimate com¬munity wine bar. Chef-owner Eric Milley’s ever-evolving menu is small but mighty, and his happy-hour deals lure the locals.
SHEM CREEK CRAB HOUSE
508 Mill St., Mt. Pleasant
In the former Shem Creek Bar & Grill, this sprawling fish house with a large deck and social dock along the creek serves up oysters on the half shell; grilled McClellanville-style with garlic butter, bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese; and fried on a platter with waffle fries and coleslaw.
TAVERN & TABLE
100 Church St., Mt. Pleasant
Come for the views and stay for the food. Try the Eagle Points on the half shell har¬vested by Jeff Spahr near Bulls Bay (he sees bald eagles a lot up there, thus the name). Spahr loves the fire-roasted twist on his oysters, topped with Chinese sausage, braised spinach, and ginger aioli.
WOOD & GRAIN
778 South Shelmore Blvd., Suite 102, Mt. Pleasant
The newest offering by Langdon’s esteemed chef, Patrick Owens, this comfortable but stylish eatery marries open hearth cooking with fresh seafood. Wood-roasted oysters appear in seasonal preparations, or you can hit up the raw bar for a cool dozen and wash them down with a dirty martini.
THE WRECK OF THE RICHARD & CHARLENE
106 Haddrell St., Mt. Pleasant
Meander through the back roads of the Old Village to find this quintessential seafood shack, a local favorite. The Wreck serves its oysters strictly fried, but sometimes the old-school, no-frills experience is what we crave—a filling platter with red rice, coleslaw, hush puppies, and fried grits.