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Best Restaurants in Charleston, SC


chapeaulong
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Reading some restaurant suggestions from Charleston, Sc made me cringe. I lived there for 7 years so i feel I have some authority on the subject. Here's my top 5:

1 McCrady's-Chef Kramer has more style and quality than any chef in town.

2 Charleston Grill-Classic consistency and the best service I've ever enjoyed in a restaurant.

3 Peninsula Grill-Good regional cuisine, great service.

4 Slightly North of Broad- Chef Frank Lee cooks with love and the food tastes like it. Not too stuffy as the name might imply. (S.N.O.B.)

5 Hank's- Best seafood in town, period.

Check them all out for yourself in any order I'm sure you'll be pleased.

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I have not been to your #1 so I will have to plan a trip soon. I agree with 2 thru 5 as being of the highest quality with great service. We also had a very nice evening at 39 Rue de Jean, is it sill open and how is the food these days?

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Reading some restaurant suggestions from Charleston, Sc made me cringe.

My pleasure. :biggrin:

I've been to a couple of those on your list. Indeed, quite good. But no Bowen's Island???

My list:

Bowen's Island

The Wreck

Your Place

Seewee

Gullah Cuisine

Welcome to eGullet!!!

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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The restrooms are yet another aspect of Bowen's rustic charm.

Fortunately Bowen's oysters are available in all but the summer months. And, as in any great restaurant, it is the overall Bowen's experience that makes it special - God's hand of course, but also the oysterman gathering the oysters every afternoon, the roasting room, the oysters arriving at the table by the shovelfull, the mandatory shower and first aid afterwards, and, of course, Bowen's unique, one of a kind ambience and hospitality.

Alas, I miss Mrs. Bowen. But her son has carried on the Bowen's Island tradition quite nicely.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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i worked in charleston for three years at the peninsula grill, i would highly recomend it, tell chef carter sean brock sent you, he'll get a kick out of it, also i would highly recomend union hall.....my very close friend is the chef and we worked together at pgrill........he is an amazing cook, i'm sure you will love it.....also vintage is really good.........

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Hey Sean, remember me?

My name is Chris, I remember you from hangin at Big John's. That's crazy to see you reply.. Charleston has a lot of great places to eat, although I hadn't seen some of the finer restaurants mentioned on egullet. Nice to see your doing well.

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  • 3 weeks later...

39 Rue de Jean is still open and a wonderful place for dinner.

I've had several memorable meals at Tristan, although the service was a bit lacking the last time I ate there.

Fish - on King Street - is another favorite of mine.

Probably my favorite restaurant in Charleston is on John's Island near Seabrook and Kiawah - Rosebank Farms Cafe. The decor/atmosphere are pretty basic, but the food is inventive and delicious. They don't take reservations, and the wait can be pretty long to get in but it's worth it.

I definitely would agree with the other recommendations on the list above.

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I had superb meals at Charleston Grill and Peninsula Grill in Summer '02. I'd recommend both as top-flight fine-dining restaurants very much worth visiting (not something I say about the typical small-city hotel-restaurant!). And I loved the Bowen's Island experience -- it's sui generis. Also enjoyed Sticky Fingers.

I'm probably going to be in Charleston next month, just for one night most likely, and am planning to go to Hank's.

Now tell me about this McCrady's place . . . what's the deal?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Fat guy, you must check McCrady's out. If you don't know you better ask somebody. Or just check out the website. www.mccradysrestaurant.com

Don't expect lowcountry cuisine though, Chef Kramer refuses to put shrimp and grits on the menu although he has been known to serve his rendition of the classic dish on tasting menus every now and then. picture this, seared prawn on fresh polenta with tomato pancetta jus. have fun

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  • 1 month later...

I live near Rockland, Maine and during February, the two dogs and I drove to Orlando, Fla. to find some warm weather... (I never really did find it)... and visit Primo in Orlando. Primo is an excellent restaurant here that recently opened another place in Orlando... It was closed because some corporation had rented the space for the evening...The whole trip felt like a bust so I turned the truck around and headed back north making a bee-line for Charleston because I'd heard it is a beautiful city. It truly is and it's really the closest thing to an Italian city that I've come to yet... Partly because of the architecture and gardens and also for the many restaurants there. As I parked the truck and got the dogs out for a walk I ran into a gallery owner closing up for the day who enjoyed seeing the two dogs and I asked if there were any good restaurants in town... I didn't know... never been there before... He said there were too many and I asked "But which of them is the best?"

He told me Charleston Grill and gave me directions. I was very pleased with the Charleston Grill. The food was beautiful and cooked very carefully and presented well. The service was excellent. I plan on returning to Charleston as soon as I can. I love that place! I look forward to all these other, I'm sure, great restaurants you have there.

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Just visited Charleston last December and ate at a wonderful, lesser-known joint called Fig.

It's fairly small (about 12 tables or so) and emphasizes organic, highly seasonal, meats and produce which rotate frequently.

We really enjoyed it. Had a few courses (no dessert). Great wine list. Great service. Very mellow and cozy. Excellent appetizers and a nice cheese plate.

Simple cuisine, beautifully presented and not expensive.

Also, Jestine's, Jestine's, Jestine's. Best soul food I had since visiting grandma.

The Accidental Chef

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I like Magnolia's because it was the first restaurant to give me the idea of making crabcakes Benedict (and it made a good one). This was maybe 5 years ago - and I can't comment on the restaurant today.

Note to Holly Moore - men's and women's standards regarding bathrooms differ. Perhaps that is because guys can just go out back in the woods if they don't like the bathrooms. Robyn

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We were in Charleston last October for one night and ate at Hank's. I had the soft shell crab, which was magnificent. I'd have to consult with the SO, as I don't even remember what she had. But over all, a great meal, nice atmosphere, comparable to any of the good restaurants we have in the valley. I was after East Coast seafood and found it.

Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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I too lived and worked in Charleston. Iwas at SNOB and Magnolias when I was in school and later moved back to work for Bob Carter at Peninsula Grill. I was there when they won Esquires "best new restaurant of the year". One of the top 20.

Union Hall is excellent too. I was there in January and saw my old friend Jacques Larsen who is Chef there.

Glad I discovered these forums. Think I'll hang out awhile. :biggrin:

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chefATL, welcome to the boards. This is a very exciting place to hang out.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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I just returned from a quick trip to Charleston and I am surprised I have not heard anyone mention, "Anson". I thought it was easily my favorite restaurant of the trip. It is quaint and not overly loud and most importantly the food is outstanding. Not to mention it is easy to find........it's on Anson st. Has anyone been there???

On another note, you clearly cannot go to Charleston and not stop in to McCrady's wine bar and get a flight of cheese. 12 various cheeses with full desciption for $20. I had such a good time I went back 2 nights later. The waiter was very nice, he pointed out where they purchased the cheese so I could go out and get some. Highly recommended w/ a wine list second to none.

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Chops -

I took my inlaws to Anson's for Thanksgiving Dinner in 2002. Not bad, but then also on that trip we went to Elizabeth's in Savannah and in my book the two meals were incomparable. Elizabeth's outdid Anson's food, value and ambience wise.

I may be jaded though as that was the first time I ever ate Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant and I have a soft spot for Elizabeth's. I have nothing negative to say about Anson's though and do remember the service was good and the food quite fine. Cute location too.

- Weka

"Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least."

- Goethe

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  • 2 weeks later...

i lived and worked in charleston for about 4 years and i agree with the usual pgrill, charleston grill, and mcradys, but what about the burgers at liberty in west ashley. c'mon sean brock i thought that would be the first on your list! a di la (sp?)in west ashley is very good too for a no frills italian joint. i had a decent meal at FIG. the steak tartare at vintage is the best in town, second is pgrill. union halls desserts are awesome. i know that tristan got a new chef about six months ago, i forget his name but he is supposed to be really good. god bless big john's!!!! where the hell is joseph lenn and brrrrrrocka?

the cakebaker, now in ATL

watermelon lizards catch bass in charleston!

simplicity is the mother of all beauty - Big John's Tavern

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  • 4 months later...
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