30 Best Restaurants in Charleston


Charleston, South Carolina, a city known for its rich history, picturesque cobblestone streets, and, most importantly, its vibrant culinary scene, provides a diverse and exciting range of dining options. From rustic Southern comfort food to innovative and modern cuisine, this charming city is a gastronome’s dream. The following list of Charleston’s 30 best restaurants showcases the city’s culinary highlights.

1. Husk

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Chef Sean Brock is leading a revolution in Southern cuisine at Husk. Husk, located in a beautifully restored historic building, serves a seasonal menu featuring locally sourced ingredients. Signature dishes such as shrimp and grits have earned them national recognition. The restaurant’s ambiance, which blends rustic charm with elegance, makes it a must-see for gourmets.

Husk’s interior exudes a warm and inviting atmosphere, with decor that honors the building’s historical roots while incorporating modern elements. The restaurant’s commitment to locally sourced ingredients not only benefits regional farmers and producers, but it also ensures that each dish captures the true flavors of the South. Husk’s innovative approach to Southern cooking, combined with exceptional service and a vibrant setting, make it an iconic destination in Charleston’s culinary landscape.

2. FIG (Food Is Good)

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Chef Mike Lata of FIG serves a menu that is a love letter to Lowcountry bounty. FIG, which emphasizes fresh, local ingredients, has long been a top contender in Charleston’s culinary scene. The fish stew and tomato tarte tatin are standout dishes, demonstrating the kitchen’s ability to elevate simple ingredients to fine dining levels.

FIG’s ambiance is both sophisticated and welcoming, with a modern take on Southern hospitality. Their wine list is thoughtfully curated, with both local and international selections that complement the menu. Regulars frequently praise the attentive service and ever-changing menu, which keeps them returning for new culinary discoveries.

3. The Ordinary

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The Ordinary is a seafood lover’s dream, housed in a renovated historic bank. Chef Mike Lata’s menu focuses on sustainably sourced seafood. Their oyster sliders and snapper ceviche are especially impressive. The restaurant’s vibrant atmosphere, complete with the original bank vault, contributes to its distinct appeal.

The Ordinary’s mix of classic and innovative seafood preparations often delights guests, with local favorites including smoky oysters and lobster roll. The restaurant’s commitment to sustainability extends to its extensive wine and cocktail menu, which includes organic and biodynamic options.

4. Magnolias

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Magnolias serves a refined take on traditional Southern cuisine. It is famous for dishes such as creamy shrimp and grits and the down south egg roll, which is filled with collard greens, chicken, and tasso ham. The elegant dining room complements the upscale Southern cuisine, making it a popular venue for special occasions.

Magnolias offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience by combining old-world charm and contemporary culinary techniques. Their dessert menu, which includes Southern classics such as pecan pie, is the ideal way to conclude a memorable meal. The restaurant’s central location makes it an easy and appealing option for both locals and tourists looking for authentic Southern cuisine.

5. Leon’s Oyster Shop

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Leon’s Oyster Shop specializes in oysters, fried chicken, and champagne. Leon’s, a casual yet trendy restaurant, is ideal for a relaxing meal with friends. The char-grilled oysters and Siam salad are not to be missed, and the soft-serve ice cream is the perfect way to end the meal.

Leon’s ambiance blends rustic elements with modern touches, resulting in a lively yet relaxed atmosphere. Their extensive champagne and wine list complements the seafood perfectly, making it an ideal venue for celebrations or casual gatherings. Leon’s has become a beloved Charleston institution thanks to its friendly staff and consistently good food.

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6. Xiao Bao Biscuit

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Xiao Bao Biscuit serves Asian-inspired cuisine in a converted gas station. This restaurant is well-known for its Okonomiyaki, a Japanese cabbage pancake, as well as a diverse menu of innovative Asian fusion dishes. The vibrant, hip atmosphere attracts both locals and tourists.

The interior, with its eclectic decor, reflects the creative and global influences of their cuisine. Seasonal specials and inventive cocktails enhance the dynamic dining experience. Xiao Bao Biscuit’s fusion of Southern and Asian cuisines distinguishes it from other restaurants in Charleston.

7. Rodney Scott’s BBQ

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Rodney Scott’s BBQ is best known for its whole hog barbecue. Rodney Scott, a James Beard Award-winning chef, brings his family’s long-standing tradition to the masses. The smoked meats, particularly the pulled pork, are a must-try, and the sides, such as collard greens and mac and cheese, are equally memorable.

The casual, no-frills atmosphere is all about focusing on the food, with each bite speaking to tradition and mastery. The lively atmosphere, with the scent of smoked meats permeating the air, provides an authentic Southern barbecue experience that is difficult to replicate elsewhere.

8. The Darling Oyster Bar

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The Darling Oyster Bar captures Charleston’s coastal charm. This seafood-centric restaurant is well-known for its raw bar and inventive seafood dishes. The lobster roll and hush puppies are particular favorites, and the classic, nautical-themed decor enhances the dining experience.

The restaurant’s dedication to fresh, local seafood is evident in every dish, with oysters shucked to order and fish sourced daily from local waters. The Darling’s friendly, knowledgeable staff and cozy yet elegant atmosphere make it an ideal spot for both casual lunches and romantic dinners.

9. Peninsula Grill

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Peninsula Grill provides a luxury dining experience. Its lush garden dining area and exquisite steaks make it a haven for those seeking classic elegance. The coconut cake here is legendary, and it must be tried by any visitor. Peninsula Grill exudes sophistication and fine dining with its plush interior and impeccable service.

Each dish is carefully prepared, combining Lowcountry flavors with upscale culinary techniques. Their extensive wine list and expertly crafted cocktails are the ideal complements to an unforgettable meal. The Grill’s reputation as a special occasion venue is well-deserved, with customers returning for the consistent quality and enchanting atmosphere.

10. Poogan’s Porch

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Poogan’s Porch is one of Charleston’s oldest and most reputable restaurants, serving classic Southern comfort food in a lovely Victorian townhouse. Their buttermilk fried chicken and biscuits are local favorites, making it ideal for a hearty breakfast or dinner.

The restaurant’s charm is enhanced by its warm, inviting ambiance, as well as the building’s rich history. Poogan’s Porch has become a popular dining destination in Charleston thanks to their dedication to traditional recipes and home-style cooking. The restaurant also serves a variety of Southern sweets, including banana pudding, which perfectly captures the essence of a Southern comfort dessert.

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11. Slightly North of Broad (SNOB)

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Slightly North of Broad, or SNOB, is a bistro that represents Charleston’s culinary renaissance. The restaurant specializes in Lowcountry fare, serving dishes such as shrimp and grits and local grouper. The lively atmosphere and open kitchen enhance the dining experience.

SNOB is known for its approachable yet upscale ambiance, making it ideal for both casual lunches and formal dinners. The restaurant’s’sustainable Southern’ philosophy is reflected in their use of locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, ensuring that each dish is fresh and flavorful. Their unique take on traditional Southern cuisine has made SNOB a favorite among both locals and visitors, contributing significantly to Charleston’s vibrant food culture.

12. The Grocery

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The Grocery is a farm-to-table restaurant whose menu changes with the seasons. Chef Kevin Johnson’s dedication to local farmers and artisans shines through in every dish, from wood oven-roasted vegetables to house-cured meats. The restaurant’s warm and inviting atmosphere has made it a local favorite. The open kitchen design adds a theatrical element to the dining experience, allowing guests to witness the cooking process firsthand.

Their cocktail program, which includes house-made syrups and infusions, pairs perfectly with the seasonal menu. The Grocery’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond its cuisine, with active participation in community and environmental initiatives. The Grocery is a quintessential Charleston dining experience, combining a cozy ambiance with a menu that celebrates the region’s bounty.

13. Chez Nous

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Chez Nous takes a unique approach, serving a daily changing menu of simple yet sophisticated Mediterranean and Southern European dishes. Housed in a charming, historic home, the intimate setting is ideal for a romantic dinner. The restaurant’s focus on a small, curated menu ensures that each dish is meticulously prepared. The wine list is carefully curated to complement the various flavors of Mediterranean and Southern European cuisine.

Chez Nous’ ambiance transports diners to a quaint European bistro, creating an oasis of culinary delight in the heart of Charleston. The simplicity and elegance of their dishes, combined with the warm, rustic décor, result in an unforgettable dining experience that captures the essence of European dining culture.

14. Hall’s Chophouse

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Hall’s Chophouse is the place to go if you want an exceptional steakhouse experience. It’s a Charleston dining institution known for its excellent service and high-quality steak. The Sunday Gospel Brunch combines delicious food with live gospel music. The atmosphere at Hall’s Chophouse is both upscale and welcoming, with a hint of Southern elegance that complements the delectable menu.

Their extensive wine list and classic cocktails are expertly curated to complement the flavors of their premium cuts of meat. The chophouse also takes pride in its selection of fresh seafood, offering a diverse menu to suit all tastes. Hall’s Chophouse is a memorable and quintessential Charleston experience, thanks to its impeccable service, fine dining, and vibrant atmosphere enhanced by live music.

15. Edmund’s Oast

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Edmund’s Oast is a brewery, restaurant, and bar that provides a unique experience. Their craft beers go perfectly with a menu of elevated pub fare. The outdoor seating area contributes to the relaxed and convivial atmosphere. This establishment is a beer lover’s dream, with an impressive selection of house-brewed beers as well as rare and one-of-a-kind offerings.

The menu, which includes items like charcuterie and artisanal cheeses, is intended to complement the beer selection. The modern, industrial decor exudes a lively and trendy atmosphere, ideal for social gatherings. Edmund’s Oast is more than just a restaurant; it’s also a place to immerse yourself in Charleston’s thriving craft beer scene.

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16. High Cotton

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High Cotton is known for its elegant Lowcountry dining. The restaurant is renowned for its classic Southern charm and live jazz brunches. Signature dishes such as Lowcountry bouillabaisse and pecan pie highlight the best of local flavors in a refined setting. The restaurant’s interior is luxurious and comfortable, with rich wood finishes and plush seating.

Their bar, which is known for its expertly crafted cocktails and extensive wine list, is ideal for a pre-dinner aperitif or post-dinner digestif. High Cotton is a popular choice among both locals and visitors, thanks to its attentive staff and warm, inviting atmosphere. It’s a place where Southern hospitality and fine dining intersect, resulting in an unforgettable culinary experience.

17. Cru Café

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Cru Café is housed in a historic Charleston single home and provides a cozy, intimate dining atmosphere. Chef John Zucker has created a menu that creatively reinterprets comfort food classics, with dishes like four-cheese macaroni and Thai Seafood Risotto standing out for their unique flavors. The café’s quaint and charming ambiance, combined with its innovative culinary approach, distinguishes it as a hidden gem in the Charleston dining scene.

The porch seating area offers a delightful outdoor dining experience, ideal for enjoying Charleston’s lovely weather. Cru Café’s commitment to using fresh, local ingredients produces a menu that is both flavorful and comforting. The café’s attentive and friendly service adds to its appeal, making it a popular choice for both special occasions and casual dining.

18. 167 Raw

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167 Raw is a must-see for seafood lovers, offering an exceptional raw bar and seafood dishes with a modern twist. The lobster roll and tuna burger are particularly popular, and the lively, casual atmosphere adds to the appeal. This establishment has a vibrant and lively ambiance, making it ideal for a fun and casual dining experience.

The menu at 167 Raw features the freshest seafood available, with oysters, ceviches, and tartares being especially popular. Their commitment to sustainability is reflected in the quality and origin of their seafood. The small, intimate setting, combined with high demand, frequently results in a bustling and energetic atmosphere that captures the vibrant spirit of Charleston’s culinary scene.

19. Home Team BBQ

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Home Team BBQ is the place to go if you want to relax and enjoy some seriously good barbecue. Their smoked wings and creative barbecue tacos are popular, and be sure to try their famous frozen painkillers for a refreshing cocktail. Home Team BBQ’s ambiance is quintessentially Southern, combining a casual, friendly atmosphere with a passion for quality barbecue.

Live music and outdoor seating enhance the appeal, making it a popular destination for both locals and visitors. The restaurant takes pride in its selection of barbecue sauces and rubs, each of which adds a distinct flavor profile to their smoked meat. Home Team BBQ has become a Charleston food scene institution thanks to their dedication to making authentic Southern barbecue and providing a welcoming environment.

20. The Glass Onion

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The Glass Onion, one of Charleston’s original farm-to-table restaurants, serves Southern classics made with fresh, local ingredients. The fried green tomatoes and shrimp po’boy are standouts on the menu, and every dish reflects their commitment to sustainability. This cozy eatery exudes a warm, inviting atmosphere, ideal for enjoying comfort food with a contemporary twist.

The menu showcases the best of what the local markets have to offer, ensuring that every dish is fresh and flavorful. The Glass Onion’s support for local farms and purveyors is more than just a business strategy; it reflects the company’s commitment to the community and the environment. The relaxed, unpretentious setting, combined with exceptional food, makes it a beloved destination for those who value the true essence of Southern cooking.

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21. Bowens Island Restaurant

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Bowens Island Restaurant is a must-see for those seeking a truly authentic Charleston experience. This rustic spot, known for its fried seafood and oyster roasts, provides stunning waterfront views as well as a casual, friendly atmosphere. The restaurant, known as a hidden gem, offers a dining experience that is both simple and deeply rooted in the Lowcountry’s coastal culture.

The outdoor seating, with panoramic views of the water, provides an ideal setting for indulging in fresh, locally sourced seafood. Bowens Island is known for its laid-back atmosphere and no-frills approach to dining, with a focus on the quality and freshness of its seafood offerings. This iconic restaurant, with its distinct charm and character, captures the essence of coastal South Carolina dining.

22. The Obstinate Daughter

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Nestled in the heart of historic Charleston, The Obstinate Daughter stands as a beacon of culinary innovation and Southern charm. With its roots firmly planted in the rich soil of Lowcountry tradition, this esteemed restaurant offers a dining experience that tantalizes the taste buds and delights the senses.

From the moment guests step through the door, they are greeted by an ambiance that seamlessly blends rustic elegance with coastal relaxation. The restaurant’s warm, inviting atmosphere sets the stage for a memorable culinary journey.

23. Zero Restaurant + Bar

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Zero Restaurant + Bar, located in the Zero George Hotel, focuses on modern, inventive cuisine. Chef Vinson Petrillo uses locally sourced ingredients to create a tasting menu that is both adventurous and deeply rooted in Charleston’ culinary traditions.

The restaurant’s intimate and elegant setting is ideal for a gastronomic journey. Each dish is meticulously crafted, and the innovative approach to presentation and flavor creates a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Zero Restaurant + Bar’s wine pairing and cocktail program are as carefully crafted as their menu, resulting in a seamless dining experience from beginning to end.

24. Chubby Fish

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Chubby Fish is a recent addition to Charleston’s culinary scene that has quickly gained popularity for its hyper-local, seasonal approach to seafood. The menu changes daily, but expect innovative dishes featuring the freshest catch from local waters. The ambiance is modern and casual, making it an ideal spot for seafood aficionados.

Chubby Fish’s chefs showcase their creativity and respect for ingredients through dishes such as ceviche and whole fish preparations. Their commitment to local fishermen and sustainable practices benefits the community while also ensuring the highest quality seafood on your plate.

25. Malagon

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Malagon in Charleston serves authentic tapas and Spanish wines in a cozy, intimate setting. Their Jamon Iberico and Patatas Bravas are especially noteworthy. Diners are transported to a traditional Spanish tapas bar with its warm, rustic decor and lively atmosphere.

Malagon’s menu, which includes a variety of meats, cheeses, and small plates, is ideal for sharing and discovering the flavors of Spain. The attentive service and extensive selection of Spanish wines and sherries enhance the dining experience, making Malagon a must-see for those looking for authentic Spanish cuisine in the heart of Charleston.

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26. Indaco

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On Upper King Street, Indaco specializes in rustic Italian cuisine, particularly house-made pastas and wood-fired pizzas. The relaxed but stylish atmosphere makes it ideal for a casual dinner or special occasion. The warm, inviting atmosphere is enhanced by an open kitchen where guests can observe the chefs at work.

Indaco’s menu also includes an impressive selection of Italian wines and artisanal cocktails, which are ideal for pairing with their exquisite dishes. The restaurant’s dedication to authentic Italian flavors, combined with a modern twist, has earned it a following among those who value genuine, high-quality Italian cuisine.

27. Little Jack’s Tavern

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Little Jack’s Tavern is known for its classic American cuisine, particularly its burgers and steak tartare. The retro decor and classic cocktails enhance the nostalgic charm of this neighborhood tavern.

This cozy spot has a timeless feel, reminiscent of a classic American diner but with a touch of sophistication. The friendly, welcoming atmosphere makes it an excellent choice for both locals and visitors seeking a relaxing meal. Little Jack’s also takes pride in its dessert and milkshake menu, which complements any meal.

28. R Kitchen

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R Kitchen’s open kitchen and limited seating provide a unique dining experience. The menu changes daily and includes five courses of inventive, seasonal dishes served in a cozy, intimate setting. This approach ensures a more personalized dining experience, with each dish featuring the freshest ingredients available.

The chefs engage with diners, adding a personal touch and improving the overall experience. R Kitchen’s concept of an ever-changing menu not only demonstrates the chef’s creativity, but also keeps diners returning for new culinary adventures.

29. The Watch Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits

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The Watch provides stunning views of Charleston as well as a menu focused on local ingredients. The rooftop setting is ideal for sipping a cocktail and sampling small plates while taking in the cityscape.

The Watch has a relaxed atmosphere with a touch of elegance, making it an excellent choice for both daytime and evening events. Their cocktail menu, which includes both classic and innovative drinks, is the ideal complement to the picturesque views of Charleston.

30. O-Ku

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O-Ku celebrates Asian cuisine with a Southern twist. Sushi and Asian-inspired dishes are made with locally sourced ingredients, providing a one-of-a-kind and sophisticated dining experience. The modern, chic interior creates a stylish but comfortable atmosphere.

O-Ku’s commitment to quality is evident in their sushi, which is expertly prepared using a combination of traditional techniques and Southern flavors. The restaurant also serves a variety of sake and Asian-inspired cocktails, ensuring a full and authentic dining experience.

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Are there any iconic restaurants I shouldn’t miss during my visit to Charleston?

Absolutely! Charleston is home to several iconic dining destinations that have earned national acclaim. Some must-visit restaurants include Husk, known for its innovative Southern cuisine featuring locally sourced ingredients, and FIG (Food Is Good), celebrated for its seasonal menu highlighting the region’s flavors. Additionally, experiencing the historic charm and impeccable seafood offerings at Hank’s Seafood Restaurant is a culinary adventure not to be missed.

Which restaurants in Charleston are known for their seafood dishes?

Being a coastal city, Charleston is renowned for its fresh seafood offerings. Restaurants like Hank’s Seafood Restaurant, The Ordinary, and 167 Raw are celebrated for their delectable seafood dishes.

Can I find vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants in Charleston?

Of course! Charleston caters to vegetarians and vegans with several restaurants offering plant-based options. Restaurants like Gnome Cafe, Dellz Uptown, and The Harbinger are popular choices for vegetarian and vegan-friendly dining experiences.