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16 Best Restaurants In Charleston That You Need to Try

Victoria Green

Looking for the best places to eat in Charleston? You’re in luck! Here are our favorite restaurants in Charleston so you can have a taste of the Holy City.

Picking where to eat in Charleston can be difficult as the city’s restaurant scene continues to grow beyond the area’s most popular eateries.

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for fresh seafood, Southern cuisine with a modern twist, or smoky barbeque; Charleson has it all. Our list of the best Charleston restaurants includes historical and contemporary establishments.

Since Charleston’s inception, it has had a dynamic mix of food offerings, but the old-school Southern stereotypes about this city are long gone.

  • Charleston offers the best upscale and casual dining
  • Top Charleston restaurants use local products sourced from the sea and sandy soil
  • The deliciously wide variety of food from emerging new restaurants is a must taste
  • Choose from Seafood, Chinese or BBQ joints
  • Rediscover Southern cuisine

16 Best Restaurants in Charleston, SC

Here are our favorite restaurants in Charleston, SC! Enjoy!

Rodney Scott’s BBQ

Rodney Scott’s BBQ is one of the best restaurants in Charleston, SC
Rodney Scott’s BBQ is one of the best restaurants in Charleston, SC

Price Range: $5 – $43 | Website | (843) 990-9535

Rodney Scott, a James Beard Award-winning pitmaster, introduced whole hog barbecue to Charleston via Hemingway and quickly became a staple of the city’s cuisine. 

Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ has a strict no-strangers policy for all patrons, so everyone feels welcome. It has been set up so that everyone can sit at their table.

There is a strong aroma of smoked pork long before you enter the restaurant’s front door on King Street, which has a row of blue-framed windows that runs the length of the building. 

Make a reservation at a red-decorated booth at the restaurant in North Central and order some hearty ribeye sandwiches or smoky pulled pork with vinegar.

Rodney Scott’s BBQ offers convenient take-out and many picnic tables in the outdoor area. 

As a matter of course, everyone should take a few skins home with them to enjoy later. 

Rodney’s retains the interior style of a classic country barbecue place by preserving characteristics like the menu board, counter service, and those charming red and white paper boats for the side dishes.

Husk Charleston Restaurant

Husk Charleston Restaurant is one of the few that offers memorable dining experience in Charleston, SC

Price Range $12 – $35 | Website | (843) 577-2500

Is it possible to talk about Charleston’s most memorable dining experiences without mentioning Husk? 

The Husk on Queen Street is almost universally recommended by anyone in the city when asked for a good restaurant recommendation. 

The chefs at this restaurant take great delight in updating traditional Southern dishes with a contemporary touch utilizing only the freshest local ingredients.

Regarding what can be served at Husk, there are some guidelines. Nothing that isn’t from the South is getting in the door here. 

Ultimately, the cuisine is not about rediscovering Southern cooking but rather about discovering the truth about Southern food.

Jackrabbit Filly

Jackrabbit Filly is an excellent restaurant in Charleston, SC that serves Chinese fusion
Jackrabbit Filly is an excellent restaurant in Charleston, SC that serves Chinese fusion

Cocktails: $10-12, Lunch Bowls: $13-15, Dinner Options: $8-19. | Website | (843) 460-0037

North Charleston’s Park Circle neighborhood is quickly becoming a foodie hotspot, and Jackrabbit Filly is a big reason for that. 

Jackrabbit Filly is a Chinese American restaurant run by Corrie and Shuai Wang. They serve Chinese food with some inspiration from Japanese and American.

Lunchtime’s chirashi rice bowls pay homage to Short Grain, the company’s first and most popular food truck. 

As for dinner, start with dumplings and move on to karaage and fried rice. The karaage fried chicken at Jackrabbit Filly is a must-try for most diners.

Chubby Fish

Delicious grilled grouper fillet on a plate

Drinks: $4 – $95, Food: Small And Large Plates $18 – $39, Raw Bar $18 – $20 | Website | (854) 222-3949

Chubby fish opened in Charleston in 2018 and has become one of the city’s most popular and exciting restaurants. 

Plump fish is tucked away in a part of Charleston that the city doesn’t want to be overrun by tourists, but it’s still a great seafood restaurant.

Customers flock to the nautically themed dining room to see what chef James London has prepared with the day’s fresh catch. No matter what they serve, you can be sure it will be delectable.

Hannibal’s Kitchen

Hannibal’s Kitchen is one of the popular restaurants in Charleston

Lunch: $11 – $18, Specials: $4 – $11.50, Drinks: $1.25 – $2 | Website | (843) 722-2256

Since its inception in 1985, this Lowcountry institution on Blake Street, off the beaten path in the Eastside neighborhood of Charleston, has been serving up traditional Charleston fare. 

Locals and chefs hail the crab and shrimp rice as a Hannibal mainstay and the city’s most famous dish.

Hannibal’s serves up some of Charleston’s best soul food. The restaurant presently serves lunch and dinner with a seafood-heavy menu. 

Those searching for authentic Charleston soul food should not miss a trip to Hannibal’s Kitchen.

Bar George

A pan of succulent Peruvian roasted chicken

Price range: $24 – $39 | Website | (843) 793-2231

Bar George is in the Riverland Terrace neighborhood. You can look forward to the unexpected in the kitchen and bar at this establishment. 

It’s a bit tiki joint with a raw bar in the corner that looks like a 1970s basement rec room. Peruvian roast chicken is on the menu alongside hotdogs and oysters. Cocktails are also a must-try at this establishment.

Lewis Barbecue

Lewis Barbecue is one of several barbecue restaurants in Charleston worth visiting if you’re looking for great smoked meats

Price Range $15 – $39 | Website | (843) 805-9500

Lewis Barbecue is one of several barbecue restaurants in Charleston worth visiting if you’re looking for great smoked meats. 

Pitmaster John Lewis brought the best brisket to Charleston via Austin, and it’s been a hit since the beginning.

It’s all about the tray here, and if you make it through the line, chances are you’ll have one piled high with hedonistic glory. 

One of the highlights of the experience is the employees, who slice and portion your meats on the dish. Hot guts sausages, fatty brisket, and amazingly moist turkey slices are among the most popular dishes.

FIG Restaurant

luscious tarte tatin

Price Range: $15 – $56 | Website | (843) 805-5900

One of Charleston’s most highly recognized restaurants is the FIG Restaurant. 

Since it has been around for a long time to be considered an institution, FIG has been one of the city’s most inspiring success stories because of its ability to impress newcomers and longtime customers and a decade after Mike Lata and Adam Nemirow founded it.

The Ansonborough eatery FIG is still rated one of Charleston’s best restaurants for its impeccably cooked dishes. 

Summertime favorites include the Tarte Tatin, a tomato tart staple of the season. In addition, they infuse Southern cooking with the flavors of his native South America and French technique, resulting in meals like fish stew provencal, cooked with locally caught white shrimp, squid, mussels, and Carolina gold rice.

The Wild Olive Restaurant

Zasu is an award-winning restaurant in New Orleans

Price Range: $6 – $43 | Website |(843) 737-4177

Wild Olive’s seasonal menu changes have resulted in a devoted customer base. Not to be ignored are classic main dishes like the veal scallopini with marsala and the grilled octopus. 

Also, make a beeline for the mushroom-parmesan bisque if you see it on the menu.

Located on Johns Island, Wild Olive is a restaurant that serves simple and comforting Italian cuisine that transports diners back to rural Italy. 

The Lowcountry farmers and producers that supply the restaurant’s food are among the best in the area. The Wild Olive also offers gluten-free and vegan choices for vegetarians and vegans.

Leon’s Oyster Shop

A delicious plate of grilled oysters

Price Range: $5 – $50 | Website | (843) 531-6500

Since its doors opened in 2014, Leon’s Oyster Shop has attracted hungry Charleston residents. 

While enjoying chargrilled oysters, check out the former auto body shop’s stunning interiors, filled with artwork fashioned by local artists and vintage discoveries. The owners have spent a lot of time and effort to ensure that every detail is flawless.

It is the ideal attire for the upcoming small gathering you’ve planned. You’ve loved the excellent cuisine and laid-back atmosphere at Leon’s. 

There is a laid-back raw bar called Leon’s Oyster Shop in a building that was once an auto body shop. In addition to their fried chicken and inexpensive beers, they also serve superb champagne and cheap beer.

The soft filet is served with Duke’s mayonnaise and Asian slaw seasoned with fish sauce after being coated in a maritime-inspired breading. 

A brief grilling of the brioche buns ensures they have a crisp surface and a delicate pillowy inside. For the midday crowd, there are several salads to select from, such as the iceberg stack topped with buttermilk dressing.

The Obstinate Daughter

Flavorful seafood pizza

Price Range: $9 – $28 | Website | (843) 416-5020

The Obstinate Daughter is in Charleston, with a wood-fired oven, plancha, and island kitchen range influenced by Spanish, Italian, and French cuisine. 

So if you come here for brunch, order the shrimp roll and Lowcountry frites, and then take a stroll down to the water.

Because the restaurant is a big fan of local farms, the vegetables and salads are always fresh. 

In addition, it is the sister restaurant to Wild Olive on Johns Island, so it’s only natural that it has an Italian flavor, albeit one filtered through a coastal lens.

The Grocery

Succulent lamb chops with carrots and peas

Price Range: $11 – $65  Website (843) 302-8825

Using seasonal foods gathered from local and regional farmers and fishers with whom Kevin Johnson has worked for years, the executive chef and proprietor of the restaurant has created a gathering place that evokes the feel of a small town grocery store. 

Menu items that change with the seasons and specialty beverages like wine and craft beer are available at this upscale restaurant in Charleston.

Both residents and visitors to the area enjoy this contemporary spin on traditional Lowcountry cuisine, which emphasizes the utilization of local ingredients. 

Having abstained from eating meat for ten years, chef Kevin Johnson treats veggies with the respect they deserve rather than as an afterthought.

The Grocery uses an in-house canning program to preserve its fresh ingredients for its menu items, as well as locally sourced fish and shellfish always available in the kitchen. 

However, even though the ingredients are gathered locally, the Mediterranean Sea heavily affects the flavors.

Consider the lamb loin with farro tabouli, harissa-spiced carrots, Jimmy Red Cornbread with duck mousse and watermelon rind jam, and the filthy house martini made with pickled green tomato juice. 

Adding a wood-burning oven enhances the convivial ambiance of the former furniture warehouse.

167 Raw Oyster Bar

Bleu Northeast Seafood is one of the best restaurants in Burlington, VT

Price Range: $5 – $43 | Website | (843) 579-4997

167 Raw on King Street is an oyster bar in the New England style, located in the historic downtown district of Charleston, South Carolina. 

The dining room has a party atmosphere because it is packed with people having plenty of cold frosé, oysters on the half shell, baked crab dip, and rich lobster rolls. 

Plate after plate of oysters and po’boys pile onto tables that are often already crowded with wine glasses. 

A seafood dream makes you glad you’re on vacation and, if you’re not, determined to act like you are.

Dave’s Carry-Out

A plate of battered fried fish

Price Range: $3 – $14 | (843) 577-7943

Dave’s Carry-Out is a little corner shop with only two tables for on-site dining and a reputation for remaining open later than nearly any other business in town. 

In addition, the establishment is known for its expertise in the preparation of french fries.

As its name suggests, the kitchen is excellent at providing take-out service, and the small corner fish shack offers a peaceful respite from the bustling activity of King Street. 

This convenience store has been serving up heaping platters of freshly battered and deep-fried fish with all the fixings for many years.

Those in the know recommend serving the buttery flounder with a meal consisting of rice and lima beans in a creamy sauce. 

Almost all meat-and-three restaurants’ main meal is deep-fried food, but Dave’s is one of the only places offering relatively few other options.

Kwei Fei

A delicious plate of Mapo tofu with rice

Price Range: $3 – $19 | Website | (843) 225-0094

Kwei Fei is a Sichuan restaurant located next to the popular music venue known as the Pour House. This restaurant does not shy away from big flavors or heat. 

Fortunately, after Chef David Schuttenberg arrived in Charleston, there came a tremendous boost of options for Sichuan cuisine.

Chef David Schuttenberg had worked in several highly regarded kitchens in New York. As a result, this Chinese cooking style is well-recognized for having vibrant, colorful, and intense flavors.

Chez Nous

Appetizing crab and melon salad

Price Range: Not available online | Website | (843) 579-3060

Chez Nous, a small neighborhood restaurant in the heart of downtown Charleston, serves Southern French, Northern Italian, and Northern Spanish cuisine. 

Every day, Chef Jill Mathias cooks the food from scratch. So even though the restaurant’s Instagram feed will be updated daily, reservations are still a good idea regardless of which dishes are expected to draw the most attention in the dining room.

Among the most recent options are a crab and melon salad, grilled fish with creamy fennel sauce, and a lavender custard to finish the meal. 

Every day feels like a dinner party because the food is the same for lunch and dinner. It’s a seasonally appropriate reinterpretation of European comfort cuisine classics.

More Charleston Restaurants Worth Checking Out

  • Xiao Bao Biscuit – trans-continental Asian cuisine in a reclaimed gas station.
  • Bertha’s Restaurant – iconic spot serving soul food classics like smothered pork chops and oxtails.
  • The Ordinary – incredible seafood restaurant on Upper King Street.

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