Charleston Food Guide: 10 Must-Eat Restaurants & Street Food Stalls in Charleston

April 14, 2018 Sachiko Swiger

Historic Charleston is bursting with Southern charm and hospitality. The city feels a bit like it’s suspended in time, thanks to its antebellum architecture and surrounding plantation landscapes. Take in incredible views of the Battery and the French Quarter as you stroll the Waterfront Park, then become inspired by the cultivated beauty of the gardens at Middleton Place. At night, try a ghost tour for an introduction to the spooky side of the city.
Things to do in Charleston

1. Halls Chophouse

434 King St, Charleston, SC 29403-6230 Seating, Waitstaff, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Reservations, Private Dining American, Steakhouse, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night +1 843-727-0090
Excellent
88%
Good
8%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 4 reviews

Halls Chophouse

Halls Chophouse is American-Fine Dining, serving prime steaks, Lowcountry and fresh seafood specialties in an energetic, visually striking environment. Complemented by signature desserts, an extensive wine list, a vibrant bar and innovative, rich decor true to old-world steakhouses, Halls Chophouse is the latest restaurant offering in the heart of Charleston's Upper King Street design and dining district. A traditional American steakhouse with superior service and a knowledgeable staff, Halls Chophouse offers a classic and comfortable dining experience that will entice our guests to visit and enjoy time after time. We offer 2 private dining rooms for groups of up to 32 guests each with audio visual capabilities.

Reviewed By Larry A - Charleston, South Carolina

Frank Sinatra had around 15 restaurants within the United States that he frequently went to for dinner. I have been to 3 of them including Gibsons Steakhouse. It has a lot of similarity to Halls Chophouse in Charleston, S.C. At Halls Chophouse, you are greeted by very friendly staff members. They have 2 floors of dining which gives you options. I started with their Caesar salad, and my wife had their chopped salad. We each had their prime filet mignon which was broiled to perfection. I had their loaded mashed potatoes which were the best I have ever had, and my wife had their parmesian truffle french fries, which she told me she had never had before, and they were excellent. They have a variety of sauces for your steak to choose from. We shared a dish of sautéed mushrooms, again the best. Their service does not get better. I also had a glass of Jack Daniels with some ice cubes and a splash of water. (Sinatras favorite drink). I can see why it is one of the 10 best steak houses in the United States as seen in Trip Advisor

2. Charleston Grill

224 King St, Charleston, SC 29401-3102 Reservations, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Valet Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar American, Contemporary, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Dinner, Late Night SGD 41 - SGD 59 +1 843-577-4522
Excellent
85%
Good
10%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Charleston Grill

The Charleston Grill offers Contemporary Lowcountry cuisine featuring fresh local produce, seafood & game, prepared with a French accent. Emphasis is placed on the quality of the ingredients, unique presentations & sophisticated textures. Local ingredients include rabbit, oysters, crabmeat, shrimp, fish, duck, greens & grains. Paneled walls, herringbone floors, softly padded carver chairs & local folk art blend with live jazz to create an elegant, but casual setting. The private Vintner's Room features walls of glass-fronted wine cellars showcasing the impressive stock of vintages from around the world.

Reviewed By Aikenfans - Aiken, South Carolina

We were wonderfully surprised by our anniversary dinner at the Charleston Grill. It is an elegant, but not stuffy or pretentious restaurant. It is a very spacious, light, inviting, wood-paneled place. It is not noisy, (they do have a piano, etc. after 7:30PM), and one does not look into a distracting kitchen. Diners are not rushed. The service is great - especially Andrew and Nellie who waited on us. A sport coat and tie are ideal. A button-down shirt is fine. Blue jeans would seem-out of -place. It is more expensive than some of the restaurants, but it is particularly great for a special occasion. Since it is popular, one should make reservations in advance.

We have been to many of the restaurants in Charleston, including Husk and SNOB. Our dinner, and evening, at Charleston Grill was the best we have ever had in Charleston, and every item did not contain pork or bacon, and there was no attitude. We had their now in-season soft-shell crab appetizer, which was superb! Our entree was sturgeon, which was excellent. We were glad that we asked for the sauce on the side, since the sturgeon did not need anything else on it. (The entree menu is limited, so one might want to check it out on-line first to be sure the items sound good.) (Since it is a restaurant in the South, we asked that everything be low salt.)

Our Tanqueray martini was good and seemed not absurdly- priced at $13.50. Some of the glasses of wine can be much higher.

All the recommendations we were given were excellent.

Thank you to all the staff for a wonderful evening!

3. 167 Raw

289 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401-1620 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Street Parking, Free Off-Street Parking, Serves Alcohol, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Accepts Discover, Accepts Credit Cards American, Seafood, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner +1 843-579-4997
Excellent
83%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

167 Raw

Reviewed By JimSTL1021 - Saint Louis, Missouri

Arrive early if you want a seat without a wait at 167 Raw. The place is very small but the food is simply wonderful. There are samplings of cold, raw seafood as starters including fresh oysters and beautiful cold cocktail shrimp. Various po-boy's and a fabulous lobster roll can be added to fill you but save room for their key lime pie which melts in your mouth. Service is great. All in all a unique dining experience well worthy of a return.

4. Grill 225

225 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401-2608 Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Valet Parking, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Reservations, Private Dining, Accepts Discover, Accepts Credit Cards Seafood, American, Steakhouse, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options, Vegan Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch SGD 41 - SGD 52 +1 843-266-4222
Excellent
81%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Grill 225

"Exprience the Difference in 42-50 day aged Prime Steaks."Welcome to Grill 225, Charleston's first and only 100% USDA Prime steak house, and member of the Great Steak Houses of North America. Located at the luxurious Market Pavilion Hotel in the heart of historic Charleston, we offer a dining experience like no other.

Reviewed By Jess9413 - Charleston, South Carolina

From the complimentary champagne and appetizers, to the detail oriented server, to the SPECTACULAR food, Grill 225 was the perfect place to celebrate my fathers 60th birthday! The food is worth the amount you pay for fine food and service. The location is perfect if you want to see the highlights of downtown Charleston. John was the perfect server and we thoroughly enjoyed our dining experience. I HIGHLY recommend this establishment to anyone looking for the perfect dining experience.

5. Circa 1886 Restaurant

149 Wentworth St, Charleston, SC 29401-1733 Reservations, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Free Off-Street Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Accepts Credit Cards American, Contemporary, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Dinner, Late Night SGD 33 - SGD 59 +1 843-853-7828
Excellent
82%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Circa 1886 Restaurant

Chef Marc Collins draws inspiration from many cuisines around the world to create a menu that is truly unique to the Charleston restaurant scene. Drawing inspiration from historic Southern dishes and always highlighting what is local and in season, Chef Collins puts a healthful, distinctive spin on classic Lowcountry dishes. This means there is less butter and cream than typically seen on Southern menus. Whole grains are incorporated to dishes and ingredients are used at the peak of flavor. The result is satisfying dishes that retain their bright, bold flavors without the large amounts of fat found in many restaurant dishes. From our Plantation Rice Bread Rolls made in house daily, to the selection of local seafood, to Pastry Chef Lovorn’s incredible desserts, each dinner at Circa 1886 celebrates the region we call home. Let our professional, attentive, experienced and knowledgeable staff guide you through the menu and help select a wine that is a perfect pairing for food and budget.

Reviewed By pwkl - Irvine, California, USA

My wife and I came here for dinner and rather enjoyed our evening with the food and the nice atmosphere. The service was excellent and the food was quite good. The outstanding dish that we had was the pecan pie bread pudding. We both ordered loup de mer for our entrees and it were quite satisfied with the taste and the presentation. I noticed that the apple crisp soufflé is quite popular and will definitely order that in my next visit.

6. R Kitchen

212 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29403-5303 Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Serves Alcohol American, Cajun & Creole, International, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Dinner +1 843-789-4342
Excellent
85%
Good
10%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 471 reviews

R Kitchen

Reviewed By ajbike - vermont

We really wanted to love this place. We visited a couple years ago as part of a food tour. We absolutely loved the small bites we got. But at that time the chef/owner was still running the kitchen. We were told he has stepped back from everyday operations to open new locations. And now a rotating cast of chefs run the Kitchen. The pricing is still incredible as you get 5 courses for $35.00 and what little choices they have for wine are only $30-$40 a bottle. Just don't set your expectations too high as the wine choices are sparse. There are two big issue with the entire concept, one you don't know what will be on the menu before you walk in. Some nights I imagine we would of given the restaurant a 5 star but on this night the menu just didn't appeal to us. And yes the chef does say he will make you something else but we did not want to be one of those people. The starter of lentil and black bean soup was very salty, stuffed poblano pepper with Israeli couscous was innovative but again not really to our liking. The fried rice really uninspired and bland. The last two courses were incredible short ribs and pear tart, shows what this place at their best. The 2nd huge problem is this is a very small place and if you are not sitting at the counter facing the chefs the entertainment value drops considerably. We were at one of the two tops and even though in the main room we were trying to look over the heads at everyone at the counter.And the noise level is such we had a hard time hearing the chefs. Yes, the server or one of he chefs comes over to talk to you but it isn't the same as being right in front of them. And god forbid you are stuck in the Siberia that is the back porch. i felt so sorry for the one couple eating out there all by themselves. Their meal should of been comped.All in all the food can be spectacular or average at best. And depending on the menu for the night or the chefs working that night you experience may be much different. Charleston is such an incredible food city you may or may not want to roll the dice.

7. Swig & Swine

1217 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC 29407-7826 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Free Wifi American, Bar, Barbecue, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night +1 843-225-3805
Excellent
76%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Swig & Swine

Reviewed By ShelbyJeanG - Charleston, South Carolina

Wing Wednesday for the work day win! I love Swig and Swine! Dined with a co-worker for Wing Wednesday (50 cent wings!). Mac and cheese and collards were right on point. Wings were delicious. Excellent service by Jenny, she was attentive and kept the sweet tea coming. A plus all the way.

8. Peninsula Grill

112 N Market St, Charleston, SC 29401-3157 Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Reservations, Private Dining, Accepts Credit Cards American, Seafood, Steakhouse, Grill, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Dinner SGD 13 - SGD 66 +1 843-723-0700
Excellent
78%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Peninsula Grill

Located in the very heart of Charleston's famed Historic District, this AAA Four-Diamond restaurant has been recognized by Departures, Conde Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, The New York Times, Southern Living, Travel + Leisure, Wine Spectator, and others for serving the finest and freshest ingredients sourced locally and globally. With velvet-lined walls in shimmering oyster tones, woven seagrass, and indigenous cypress, the Peninsula Grill Dining Room ambiance is supper club sumptuousness. The Peninsula Grill Champagne Bar is an intimate jewel box space that offers several outstanding champagnes by the glass and a delicious bar menu. The lush Peninsula Grill Courtyard is one of the Charleston's true hidden gems and the most romantic al fresco dining setting in the city. Peninsula Grill also offers private dining. Peninsula Grill is a proud member of Relais & Chateaux, an exclusive collection of restaurants and hotels in romantic destinations around the world. Business casual attire.

Reviewed By Adrienlm - Erie, Pennsylvania

This was our first experience with The Peninsula Grill and it won’t be our last!!!!!! Everything from start to finish was outstanding. The service was impeccable the food exquisite. Everything we tried was amazing the halibut, blue crab salad, steak tartar and the duck. I have a problem with certain foods and they were more than willing to accommodate me and use something else in the dish, I was impressed!

9. Cru Cafe

18 Pinckney St, Charleston, SC 29401-2006 Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Serves Alcohol American, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night SGD 13 - SGD 39 +1 843-534-2434
Excellent
76%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Cru Cafe

Located at 18 Pinckney Street, in a classic 18th century Charleston single-style home, Cru Café offers the best in upscale comfort food. Guests of the restaurant enjoy indoor and outdoor porch seating, gourmet comfort food, a wine list tailored to the varied menu and rich, satisfying desserts. It’s one of Charleston’s best kept secrets. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday.

Reviewed By HGKCFP - Honolulu

Small 40 seat restaurant in a small old home. Food is spectacular and crack service. Reservations a must. Off the tourist path but not a far walk. Yummy!

10. Brown Dog Deli

40 Broad St, Charleston, SC 29401-3004 Delivery, Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol American, Delicatessen, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch 843-853-8081
Excellent
72%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Brown Dog Deli

Reviewed By MGordonCharlotte_NC - Charlotte, NC

The Brown Dog Deli is...well..fun and very good food and excellent service and...well just give it a try.

We were a group of five friends - celebrating Easter together and very fortunately - 'we' found The Brown Dog Deli! Well ok - Jimmy 'found' the restaurant and it was a real home run!

Arriving pretty close to prime lunch time we were lucky to get a table on the back (covered) patio without having to wait. We all tried something different and everyone was more than happy with their lunch.

Our experience included: She Crab Soup (really, really good), the Pastrami Hot Dog - great choice, Cup of Chili, Folly Crunch Wrap, Pimento BLT, Turkey in the Straw, Wackie Jackie Salad, Broccoli Salad and a 'couple of' Craft beers! Everyone was pleased with their choices and all gave a thumbs up to the whole experience.

Jennifer Lawrence was our wait staff and she was excellent! Thanks to the wait staff, the kitchen crew who 'created' the wonderful lunches and the management team who obviously know how to hire, train and retain great wait staff and kitchen crew.

If you want a 'slightly' off the beaten path lunch spot....this is the place.

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