11 Center Street
11 Center Street fuses good food and beautiful scenery for an enjoyable experience at Folly Beach. The creative tapas menu features dishes like empanadas, a Mediterranean plate, spinach and poultry spring rolls, and citrus scallop ceviche. Buy wine by the glass or the bottle from the downstairs gourmet food and wine store, which has a generous selection of items. Upstairs, a rooftop dining area offers a place to linger on the patio by the open fireplace. Weekly wine tastings, live music, and the beach are all part of the relaxed and easygoing vibe at 11 Center Street, voted Best Folly Beach Restaurant in the City Paper's 2006 Best of Charleston issue.
Folly Beach. 11 Center St. 588-9898
39 Rue de Jean
Escape to Paris for a few hours to soak in the sun on the patio, to have a cocktail at an inviting zinc bar, or enjoy fabulous steak frites and a splendid bottle of wine. Widely known simply as "Rue," this John Street hot spot became an instant classic thanks to an impeccable menu, a big-city-inspired interior, and the "see-and-be-seen" crowd. It manages to be both a fun bar and a good restaurant. You'll find the atmosphere festive and very European, and just the right spot for a café au lait, a leisurely lunch, or lively dinner. Enjoy a specialty Bloody Mary and Filet Benedict at Rue's Brasserie Brunch every Sunday. Experience what made Paris (the city) synonymous with style.
Downtown. 39 John St. 722-8881. www.39ruedejean.com
A.C.'s Bar and Grill
Repeatedly voted best bar in Charleston, A.C.'s Bar and Grill never disappoints. The food offerings read like a bar menu, but with quality far superior to mere pub grub. Not only have they received City Paper's Critic's Choice for Best Philly Cheesesteak, their burgers really are some of the best in town. After satisfying weekday lunch crowds and late-night food cravings for years, A.C.'s downtown upped the ante again by serving brunch every Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. A.C.'s invites you to come try brunch specials so unique they could only be offered by this Charleston institution.
Downtown. 467 King St. 577-6742
Mt. Pleasant. 1035 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. 849-2267
Amazon Grill successfully brings a taste of authentic Brazilian food to Charleston. The restaurant, located in Goose Creek, is a family-owned and operated favorite among the locals. With buffet tables of rich soups and vegetables that accent hearty meats like bacon-wrapped chicken, ribeyes, and sirloins steaks, it's no surprise that Amazon Grill is known as the best churrascaria in town. This family-style restaurant is a meat lover's dream. Amazon Grill's South American atmosphere and frequent performances by various artists are true Brazilian treats. Amazon Grill is open daily for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with live music on Friday and Saturday.
Goose Creek. 1316 Red Bank Road, Ste. 5. 569-6275
Amuse has defined the local tapas scene since its opening in 2004 and is loved by local food critics. Holly Herrick of the Post and Courier rated Amuse as one of her top five restaurants for 2005. Due to popular demand, the menu recently expanded to include the owner's Italian family recipes. Diners can now enjoy great selections from either the Mediterranean tapas menu or full-course dinners from the Italian side (featuring homemade pastas, gravies, breads, and desserts.) Five-dollar wine flights served every day from 5 to 7 p.m., serving dinner Tues.-Sat. until 10 p.m.
West Ashley. 1720 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. 573-8778
Voted best pizza in Charleston for 15 years running. Huge New York-style hand-tossed pies with dough made from scratch, freshly grated cheese and tomato sauce made daily. Piled high with the finest ingredients and served hot from the oven, Andolini's Pizza will have you saying, "That's some good 'ZA!" Try the calzones, salads, and breadsticks. Originally from New York, the family team that owns Andolini's has been serving Charleston since 1991. Open seven days a week for dine-in or takeout. New location coming soon to North Charleston at Rivers Avenue.
Downtown. 82 Wentworth St. 722-PIES
James Island. 976 Folly Road. 576-PIES
Mt. Pleasant. 414 Coleman Blvd. 849-PIES
West Ashley. 1117 Savannah Hwy. 225-4PIE
The owners of Arlaana Restaurant are determined to create the most memorable and pleasurable dining experience for each of their customers. Its magical color changing lights and beautiful covered patio overlooking a pond, combined with the amazing culinary artistry of Executive Chef Jeff Gibbs (formerly of Charleston Chops), make Arlaana's food and atmosphere truly unique. Beach glass reflects off the tables and walls, and color-changing sconces mesmerize customers young and old. The friendly bartenders, attentive staff, live music, and unique combinations of delectable foods (made with only the freshest local ingredients) prove that the folks at Arlaana Restaurant are committed to everyone's enjoyment.
Daniel Island. 259 Seven Farms Dr. 471-2400. www.arlaana.com
With upscale cuisine served in a casually elegant setting, this Sullivan's Island mainstay features fresh local favorites ranging from New Age Southern to traditional. Atlanticville was deemed Best Beach Meal with Appeal by the Post and Courier in 2005. Chef William Condon offers seasonal nightly specials that keep discerning diners coming back. Special nights include Thai Tuesdays, with music by Triple Lindy, Jazz Fridays on the porch, and Sunday brunch served from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Restaurant and bar open nightly from 5:30 p.m.-until. Reservations encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome.
Sullivan's Island. 2063 Middle St. 883-9452. www.atlanticville.net
Avondale Wine & Cheese
Browse the specialty coffees, artisan cheeses, wines, and gourmet condiments or sit back and enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese plate in the cafe or backroom parlor. Be sure to visit this quaint and cozy establishment with competitive pricing. Monday and Thursday nights from 5-7 p.m. stop by for $5 wine and cheese tastings.
West Ashley. 813-B Savannah Hwy. (At Avondale) 769-5444
A.W. Shuck's Seafood Restaurant & Raw Bar
Serving the freshest seafood around, A.W. Shuck's specializes in dishes like award-winning bacon-wrapped stuffed shrimp, seafood jambalaya, crab cakes, and more. Also serving great chicken, steaks, sandwiches, and salads. Perfect for the entire family, a newly renovated patio overlooks Market Street. Open daily for lunch and dinner starting at 11 a.m. Large party space also available.
Downtown. 30 S. Market St. 723-1151 www.a-w-shucks.com
Whether you're looking for a laid back casual approach for an evening out or a place to sit and catch the game, Benders answers your call. The traditional menu features a variety of eats, including wings, poppers, burgers, salads, and overstuffed subs. Join the locals at this neighborhood bar for daily happy hour specials to end your workday. Soothe your mid-week blues with $2 bourbons on Tuesdays and $2 margaritas on Wednesdays. With daily draft prices from $1-$2 and pitchers starting at $5, Benders will help keep the cash in your wallet. Open daily.
West Ashley. 1750 Savannah Hwy. 573-1027
(The Kitchen at the) Blind Tiger Pub
Located on historic Broad Street, the Blind Tiger Pub has played a role in Charleston's colorful past for many years. Chef Mitch Wyman puts a refreshing focus on food, using simple, fresh ingredients served in a casual, relaxed atmosphere that includes outdoor dining and live entertainment nightly. Enjoy items such as a hearty Black Angus burger or pulled pork with root beer barbecue sauce, hand-cut fries, quiches, salads, shaved lamb sandwiches, mussels, or shrimp salads, all made fresh to order. All sauces and dressings are made in-house, and the creative daily specials are always a delight.
Downtown. 38 Broad St. 577-0088
Bocci's Italian Restaurant
Serving the finest in Italian cuisine, including authentic specialties such as homemade pasta and sauces combined with fresh veal, chicken, and seafood in a casual, ethnic setting. Bocci's offers an excellent wine list, gourmet coffees, and heavenly desserts. Enjoy Italian dining on par with New York's Little Italy. Newly renovated second floor is great for large parties up to 50. Open daily for dinner at 4:30 p.m.
Downtown. 158 Church St. 720-2121. www.boccis.com
Brick ovens enhance the natural flavors of quality ingredients at Brixx, giving their pizza a great wood-fired taste unlike anything you'll find anywhere else. Delicious sandwiches are served on fresh-baked focaccia, with big salads made with only the freshest greens. The menu features a great selection of pasta dishes or enjoy any of the 23 beers on tap or 15 wines by the glass. Buy one get one free pizzas and appetizers every day after 9 p.m. Live trivia Wednesdays from 8 to 10 p.m. The outdoor patio offers a perfect place for family dining and serves food until 1 a.m.
Mt. Pleasant. 656-G Long Point Road (Belle Hall). 971-2120. www.brixxpizza.com
California Dreaming provides exceptional waterfront dining where every table is a "table with a view." Designed to resemble an 1800s fort from the Civil War era, the restaurant sits at the mouth of the Ashley River and gives diners a panoramic view of both the city and harbor. Serving classic American cuisine in a casual atmosphere, California Dreaming is open for lunch and dinner daily. Reservations and phone-ahead seating are available. Happy hour served Mon. to Fri. from 4-7 p.m.
Downtown. 1 Ashley Pointe Dr. 766-1644. www.californiadreamings.com
The Bookstore Café, recognized as one of "the South's great neighborhood restaurant(s)" by Bon Appétit magazine, closed its doors after 15 years in downtown Charleston and reopened in Mt. Pleasant as Charleston's Café. It "still serves an excellent breakfast. In fact, even better," says the City Paper's Jeff Allen. The menu also features a selection of salads and sandwiches. Check out "the social scene going on" as featured on the Food Network's The Hungry Detective and enjoy the creative dishes. Located on the corner of Highway 17 and Anna Knapp Boulevard in Anna Knapp Plaza, open seven days a week.
Mt. Pleasant. 1039 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. 856-7796. www.charlestonscafe.com
This authentic bistro sits out on Johns Island, and making the trip there is much like visiting a relative, as you drive up to a white picket fence, friendly faces, and great wine. The delicious cuisine is American with a French flair, and is served at lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. The daily specials usually hail from the wholesale fish market next door, and the swordfish and mahi-mahi duo is a prime example of why you should grab some fish on your way out. Honest and friendly service complements the food as much as the fading décor and worn-out paint on the walls, suggesting that Chez Fish isn't trying to impress with fancy ornamentation -- they let the food do the work.
Johns Island. 3966 Betsy Kerrison Pkwy. 768-0753
Chinar/Taste of India
Chinar boasts an extensive menu of elaborate appetizers, delicious soups, prepared vegetables, fresh bread, and authentic entrées. The entrée selection consists of various Indian dishes of chicken, lamb, and fish cooked in various sauces, herbs, and spices to accommodate an array of palates. If you think the food sounds good, the locations are even better. Chinar, located at 363 King St. (the old Hoagie Haven), and Taste of India, located at 851 Savannah Hwy, are perfectly located for an authentic Indian dinner, an extensive lunch buffet, or a last minute meal. Visit King Street's newest dining attraction for their $6.99 lunch buffet from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. or try the regular dinner menu from 5-10 p.m. Chinar is a delicious, convenient, downtown alternative to the popular restaurant Taste of India in West Ashley; each offer consistency in menus and recipes.
Downtown. 363 King St. 937-9800
West Ashley. 851 Savannah Hwy. 556-0772
- Nancy Santos
- At Cintra, Chef Thomas Clayton draws inspiration from Europe
Cintra Ristorante and Martini Bar
Cintra's charming atmosphere and sophisticated martini bar offers patrons a true culinary experience. This high-energy restaurant is a popular local dining spot drawing rave reviews for extraordinary Italian and European cuisine. The City Paper's Jeff Allen says Executive Chef "Thomas Clayton can flat out cook." Clayton emphasizes combinations of simple, clean flavors with rich, earthy ones featuring dishes such as sweet potato ravioli, mustard gnocchi with pork cheek and Swiss chard in a mushroom pork jus, house-made pastas, beef tartare, house-pulled mozzarella, seafood, meats, and risotto. Complimentary parking provided; reservations recommended.
Coast Bar and Grill
With a lively island atmosphere, Coast redefines fresh, from the menu to the décor. Coast features 40-foot ceilings, rustic tin roofs, and paintings from around the world. Coast's chefs meet daily with local farmers and fishermen to procure the freshest seafood and produce in the Lowcountry. At the heart of the restaurant is the custom-made oak and hickory wood-burning grill, a preparation you will find only at Coast. The menu incorporates Charleston classics with the chef's unique creations. Favorites include the seared rare tuna, plantain-encrusted mahi-mahi, and Coast tamale. Enjoy peach blanco sangria on the patio or a bottle of wine and fish tacos under preserved palm trees in the spacious bar. Join us on Sundays for the chef's featured small plates.
Downtown. 39-D John St. 722-8838. www.coastbarandgrill.com
Located in Mt. Pleasant this fine French restaurant is a jewel of a place. Owner/Chef Stephen Ollard has created an elegant and very European fine dining room that offers great value. The cornerstone is authentic French cuisine and the chef's élan, which together attract loyal patrons. Chef Ollard prepares special seasonal dishes on a daily basis, and the dinner menu offers many gourmet specials. Stop by Coco's the last Monday of every month for the five-course "A Taste of France" wine dinner, which features recipes and wines from a different region of France. Coco's Café offers several take out selections such as house-baked breads, artisanal cheeses, soups, desserts and house-made charcuterie. In addition, full service catering is available for corporate or private functions. Luckily, you don't have to journey a continent away to enjoy a fine French dining experience. Instead, just head over to Coco's Café for an unforgettable meal. Open for lunch and dinner.
Mt. Pleasant. 863 Houston Northcutt Blvd. 881-4949
Cru Café and Catering
Cru Café is home to some of the best and most consistent food in the Lowcountry. Renowned Le Cordon Bleu Chef John Zucker graduated at the top of his class and, in response to overwhelming demand, opened Cru Café in 2002. Cru is a true hidden gem in downtown Charleston's impressive restaurant scene. Locals and tourists consistently rank Cru Café and its award-winning Cru Catering division as top eateries. Enjoy indoor and outdoor porch seating, gourmet comfort food, a wine list tailored to the varied menu, and rich, satisfying desserts. Lunch is served Tues.-Sat. 11a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner is served Tues. -Thur. 5- 10 p.m. and Fri. and Sat. 5-11 p.m. Call Cru Catering at 534-2433.
Downtown. 18 Pinckney St. 534-2434
Charleston's sweetest delicacy is now available on King Street. Cupcake, the Lowcountry's cupcake specialty shop, sells old favorites in an exciting new way and in a variety of delicious flavors. Offering unique combinations such as pumpkin with cinnamon cream cheese icing, praline, mint chocolate chip, and coconut, made with the finest all-natural ingredients, the cupcakes are baked fresh daily and contain no preservatives. Cupcake's creations are perfect for birthdays, showers, office parties, business meetings, weddings, and other events. Sure to add fun and excitement, you will be the hit of the party if you show up with these treats. Open Mon.-Sat. from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Downtown. 433 King St. 853-8181. www.freshcupcakes.com
Serving up authentic family recipes, this pizza joint offers much more than great 'za. The salads are large, subs are hot, and the ingredients are always fresh. With whole pies starting at just $4 you can get great food and not break the bank. Offering a casual atmosphere for lunch or dinner and free delivery downtown, you're never far from a great pie. Stocked with great beer selections on tap or in bottles makes it a perfect spot for happy hour. Open until midnight, D'Allesandro's satisfies even the late night hunger. "These guys are for real, they know their way around pizzas and calzones" --City Paper's food critic Jeff Allen.
Downtown. 229 St. Philip St. 853 6337. www.229pies.com
DB's Famous Cheesesteaks, Burgers, and Fries
Voted best cheesesteak by the Washington Post and Washingtonian Magazine, DB's is passionate about cheesesteaks. One bite and you'll be able to taste the difference authentic quality makes. Amoroso's rolls and sirloin steak straight out of Philly guarantee a flavor unique in Charleston. Ask for it with onions or without, or choose from a wide variety of toppings at no extra charge. The burgers are fresh, never frozen and cooked to order. Be sure to try the fries, fresh cut daily, and cooked in 100 percent peanut oil. A family-operated business with over 25 years experience in the Northeast, DB's brings the real deal to James Island.
James Island. 915 Folly Road (next to Mondo's). 762-7232
d.d. Pecker's Wing Shack
Nothing goes together quite like chicken wings and cold beer, and d.d. Pecker's Wing Shack brings these two bar favorites together like no one else, offering more than 20 flavors of wings and an ample selection of draught and bottled beer. But simply talking about the wings and beer doesn't do d.d. Pecker's justice, as the enormous menu offers over 30 sandwiches. Choose from panini, burgers, and the best Philly cheesesteaks and homemade soups in town. Come enjoy their family atmosphere inside or out on one of the best decks in West Ashley. Live trivia is a popular weekly event, along with live entertainment four nights a week. Whether you're a cock or a chick, you'll love d.d. Pecker's -- so swing on by.
West Ashley. 1660 Savannah Hwy. 402-4567
- Nancy Santos
- The broccoli cheese soup at East Bay Deli
East Bay Deli
Charleston's real New York-style deli slices sandwich meats fresh every morning and uses only quality products such as Thumann's deli meats and Hebrew National deli dogs. The varied menu comes with many options to choose from: soups, chili, both hearty and heart-healthy sandwiches, wraps, giant spuds, and desserts. The salad bar, a local favorite, provides a great selection with many options for even the most calorie-conscious patron. East Bay Deli believes in the importance of great food that's modestly priced and served quickly. Two great downtown locations open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Free delivery.
Downtown. 334 East Bay St. 723-1234
Downtown. 159 N. Market St. 723-4443
The Eclectic Chef
Selected as The Post and Courier's Lunch Counter of the Year for 2005, The Eclectic Chef is anything but your standard lunch counter. Chef Ben McCollum and his staff serve made-to-order sandwiches, salads, and sides, with seating indoors or out. The seasonal menu reflects only the freshest ingredients. And don't forget about dessert -- there's plenty to choose from. Located in Summerville's historic district, this eclectic eatery also boasts gourmet-to-go entrées and catering for any occasion. Life is too short for boring food ... so eat eclectic!
Summerville. 125 Central Ave. 821-7733
El Bohio serves authentic Cuban cuisine for lunch and dinner. Enjoy the Caribbean atmosphere while indulging in traditional Cuban fare. Recipes passed down from generation to generation come alive in this quaint and unique spot on Maybank Highway. Try the roasted pork plate or the marinated chicken plate, served with white rice, black beans, and a choice of either sweet or green plantains. The tamales, yuca con mojo, and papas rellenas have quickly become favorites among regulars. Citrus and garlic infuse most dishes and the house-made mojo sauce has become a "must-have" for customers. Enjoy a fresh mojito with a member of our friendly staff and come experience a small taste of Cuba right here on James Island. Buen Provecho! (Enjoy!)
James Island. 1977 Maybank Hwy. 571-4343
Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ
Born out of "Bunch's gas station," which was built in the '40s. Home Team BBQ is dedicated to bringing you the best barbecue in Charleston. With fresh ingredients, salads, sandwiches, tacos and wraps, we have a unique approach to barbecue that you can eat everyday. The dry-rubbed ribs, chicken, and pulled pork will knock your socks off. There's something for everyone at Home Team BBQ, while they still hold true to the traditional methods involved in producing great barbecue. Home Team proudly features eight beers on tap, 20 bourbons, and live music.
West Ashley. 1205 Ashley River Road. 225-RIBS. www.hometeambbq.com
Celebrating six successful years last August, Fish restaurant in downtown Charleston has given locals and visitors alike the opportunity to enjoy local, sustainable, and flavorful seafood in a chic and stylish atmosphere. Housed in a beautifully renovated, 1837 Charleston single-style home in the heart of the city's Upper King Street district, Fish takes an Eastern, minimalist approach in both menu and design, allowing guests to experience the true flavor of fresh and seasonal seafood. Innovative dishes include tuna tartare, scallop ceviche, and the "Naked Fish," which features the freshest fish prepared simply and served with two sides. Lunch served Mon.-Fri. from 11:30 am-2 p.m.; dinner served Mon.-Sat. from 5:30 p.m.-until.
Downtown. 442 King St. 722-FISH (3474). www.fishrestaurant.net
Five Loaves Café
Due to its extraordinary success, Five Loaves Café has opened in three locations. Lunch focuses on a creative, fresh, ever-changing menu of soups, salads, and sandwiches. The lights are dimmed for dinner, as the chef creates specials focusing on fresh fish, pasta, and roast chicken. A short but well-chosen wine list and an eclectic selection of beer make Five Loaves the perfect casual dining experience. Beer and wine are available at all locations, with a full bar downtown and live music at the King Street location. Five Loaves is the perfect destination for lunch or dinner, and it's vegetarian-friendly!
Downtown. 43 Cannon St. 937-4303
Downtown. 372 King St. (inside Millennium Music). 805-7977
Mt. Pleasant. 1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. 849-1043
- Nancy Santos
- The fish is the focus at Fleet Landing
Fleet Landing Restaurant
With waterfront dining perched over Charleston Harbor in a 1940s naval building, Fleet Landing is the peninsula's finest casual seafood restaurant. Diners can enjoy waterfront views from the wrap-around deck or dining room. Featuring Southern seafood fare, regional favorites, sandwiches and salads, juicy burgers, and more. Lunch and dinner daily, weekend brunch, family-friendly, full bar, outstanding wines, reservations accepted, and complimentary parking.
Downtown. 186 Concord St. 722-8100. www.fleetlanding.net
Frankie Biggs Sports Grill
Frankie Biggs is more than just a sports bar with over 25 TVs (including plasma screens and 17 satellites), it's an awesome place for casual dining. Selections include marinated chicken breast tenderloins, hand-breaded and fried to golden-brown perfection; dirty dip sandwiches with shaved redeye, sautéed peppers and onions, and provolone cheese; and hand-rolled spring rolls. A few of the local favorites include the "Biggs Little Burger," traditional club wrap, and buffalo chicken wrap. For delicious sandwiches and salads, plus some of the best wings on James Island, visit Frankie Biggs Sports Grill, a great place to watch sports, enjoy live music, and eat great food.
James Island. 1175-G Folly Road. 225-4030
Nestled in Charleston's historic district, near Waterfront Park, The Griffon, locally owned and operated since 1995, is one of Charleston's favorite local watering holes. The great pub fare, extensive beer menu, and friendly staff combine to give The Griffon the authentic atmosphere that has made it a fixture with both locals and tourists, garnering the City Paper's Best Authentic Pub award seven times. Throw a game of darts while enjoying fish 'n' chips, one of their most popular items, in addition to salads, soups, sandwiches, burgers, chicken fingers, and wraps, with daily specials on weekdays. Open Mon.-Sat. from 11-2 a.m. Sunday hours seasonal.
Downtown. 18 Vendue Range. 723-1700
- Leslie McKellar
- Fanned, perfectly seared tuna at Hank's Restaurant
Hank's Seafood Restaurant
Located in a turn-of-the-century warehouse in the heart of the Charleston market, Hank's is a modern interpretation of a classic Charleston fish house. Chef Frank McMahon's menu combines traditional Lowcountry dishes and delicious fried seafood platters with seasonal specials and contemporary offerings. A Charleston classic from the start, Hank's has won the City Paper's readers' pick for Best Seafood Restaurant every year since it opened in 1999. The classic saloon-style bar is a perennial hot spot to enjoy oysters, shrimp, and other fabulous raw bar selections, including the famous seafood tower, featuring iced shellfish from around the world. In Charleston, you go to the market for fresh seafood and that means Hank's.
Downtown. Corner of Church and Hayne streets. 723-FISH (3474)
Henry's on the Boulevard
The perfect location for an after-work cocktail or an intimate evening, Henry's on the Boulevard is simultaneously spacious and cozy. Plush couches serve as the backdrop for a sophisticated bar environment that offers live music and karaoke. If you're out for an evening with friends, stop by for delicious drinks and sample from their creative menu. Fridays and Saturdays are known for some of the best live music in town and having the only dance floor in Mt. Pleasant. With close attention to detail and a commitment to exquisite taste, Henry's on the Boulevard succeeds as an elegant choice for any evening.
Mt. Pleasant. 816 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. 971-1777
High Cotton, like the time-honored phrase, is first-class, high-spirited, and livin' large. It's an unabashedly American saloon. The old brick walls of this converted 18th-century warehouse, combined with mahogany woodwork, heart pine floors, and high ceilings, evoke feelings of warmth and well-being. The food, prepared by Chef Anthony Gray, is straightforward, hearty, and robust. Prime steaks. Game. Fresh fish. No confetti on the plates or in the descriptions. And, oh my, the desserts! The wine list is equally compelling. Whether you're looking for a California Cab or noble Bordeaux that will bring tears to your eyes, it's all here. This is one place you'll want to come back to.
Downtown. 199 East Bay St. 724-3815
Nestled between the majestic live oaks on Charleston's back porch, Wadmalaw Island, this 48-acre winery and vineyard is a wine lover's delight. As Charleston's only domestic winery, Irvin-House Vineyard takes special care in growing, harvesting, making, and bottling the wine. The wines are handcrafted from the humble muscadine grape, a sweet grape with a fruity aroma that grows practically everywhere in the South. With a variety of five fine muscadine wines to choose from, there is something for everyone. Drink to your enjoyment and your health as you picnic on the vineyard. Catering can be arranged for special events.
Wadmalaw Island. 6775 Bears Bluff Road. 559-6867. www.charlestonwine.com
Jack's Cosmic Dogs
This retro slice of American nostalgia has been dishing out an updated version of fast food on Highway 17N since the invention of sliced bread (well, sort of). Voted Best Hot Dog every year in the City Paper's Best of Charleston, this hip hot dog joint combines style with homemade combinations of toppings that are out of this world. Channel 2 News says, "the Cosmic Dog with Jack's sweet potato mustard and blue cheese slaw is almost a new food group! Combine that with fresh-cut fries, draft root beer, and ice cream custard, and you know this just isn't another roadside attraction!" Food Network star Alton Brown says, "best hot dog I've ever had. Ever." Check it out! Open seven days a week from 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. Three miles north of IOP connector.
Mt. Pleasant. 2805 Hwy. 17 N. 884-7677
A true Southern experience. Jasmine Porch features walls of authentic Charleston brick and windows that overlook the ocean, evoking remembrance of things past. Fresh native ingredients and traditional Lowcountry favorites served with warmth and charm create an ultimately relaxing, yet refined, dining experience. For the ultimate Sunday Brunch experience, visit the Jasmine Porch for a world class assortment of chef's Southern-inspired creations. Allow our local jazz duet to serenade you as you enjoy a mimosa or bloody mary. Reservations recommended. For more information or to preview our menus visit www.thesanctuary.com or call (843)768-6253 for reservations.
Kiawah Island. 1 Sanctuary Beach Dr. 768-6253
Selected as Best of the Best in America by National Barbecue News, Best Southern Veggie Spread by the City Paper, and one of Charleston's 50 Best Food Finds by Charleston Magazine, J.B.'s is a must-do in Charleston. They have it all -- mouth-watering barbecue, a Lowcountry cookin' feast of pork barbecue, hickory-smoked beef brisket, applewood-smoked chicken, and succulent ribs. Choose from plates and sandwiches, or pig out at the all-you-can-eat buffet. J.B.'s has two locations, one on Johns Island open Wed.-Sun., and a new second location in Goose Creek at 521 Redbank Road. Either way, you won't be disappointed! J.B.'s Smokeshack also offers full service catering. Don't forget -- at J.B.'s "the flavor's in the meat, the sauce is on the side."
Johns Island. 3406 Maybank Hwy. 557-0426
Goose Creek. 521 Redbank Road. 572-3311.
J. Bistro has been a Mt. Pleasant favorite for years. Its eclectic design, upscale casual atmosphere, and unique menu are a few reasons it has enjoyed the honor of Best Mount Pleasant restaurant for seven years running. J. Bistro also boasts a unique wine list with many offerings by the glass. A weekly wine tasting led by local wine expert Pasquale Pellicoro is held every Tuesday at the community table. A relaxed bar area offering booth seating only adds to the cozy dining experience with happy hour at the bar beginning at 5 p.m. Tues.-Fri. Brunch is served on Sun. from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., offering favorites like brioche French toast and shrimp and grits. On Sunday evenings, J. Bistro features a special three-course menu for $20 and 20 percent off the regular wine list.
Mt. Pleasant. 819 Coleman Blvd. 971-7778. www.jbistro.net
Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q
Smoke, yes. Mirrors, no way. At Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q, the trick to serving the most authentic Southern food is staying away from the tricks altogether. Everything is fresh, never frozen. The meats are slow-smoked over real hickory wood, then finished on an authentic brick pit. The vegetables come from a garden, not a can. And in every dish -- from the grilled catfish to the homemade pies -- you can taste the deep respect for Southern culture. Sure, there are easier ways to serve up a plate of barbecue, but don't worry; they'd never consider them, not for a second. Stop by Jim 'N' Nick's on King Street or call ahead and let them bring the Southern goodness curbside.
Downtown. 288 King St. 577-0406
Kaminsky's Most Excellent Café offers a vast selection of house-made desserts, specialty coffees, as well as a full beer, wine and liquor selection. Relax and enjoy your favorite fresh-baked dessert, exotic coffee drink, or libation from the full service bar. The hospitality and friendly staff have made Kaminsky's a favorite for nine years running. Kaminsky's also makes full desserts to-go. Call 24 hours ahead.
Downtown. 78 N. Market St. 853-8270
Mt. Pleasant. 1028 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. (Inside Tbonz). 971-7437
The Kickin' Chicken
For ten years, The Kickin' Chicken has been a Charleston favorite among locals and tourists alike. They feature many traditional favorites including wings, fingers, and delicious sandwiches. Choose from their signature sandwich menu where everything is tempting and will tantalize your tastebuds. You'll feel right at home with their casual dining atmosphere and friendly staff. Aside from great food the Kickin' nails entertainment with live music and trivia weekly, tons of TVs, and awesome beer specials you can always count on. Come "kick it" for lunch, dinner or late night eats, or if you're a homebody take advantage of take-out at any of their four locations.
Downtown. 337 King St. 805-5020
James Island. 1175 Folly Road. 225-6996
Mt. Pleasant. 1119 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. 881-8734
Summerville. 800 N. Main St. 875-6998
Langdon's Restaurant and Wine Bar
Since opening in 2003, Langdon's has become the only Mt. Pleasant restaurant to receive AAA's four-diamond award for an exceptional dining experience. The eclectic American cuisine is complemented by an ever-changing wine list, with 100 choices by the bottle and more than 20 by the glass. Chef Patrick Langdon Owens enjoys experimenting with different types of food and ingredients from all over the world. From lamb chops to sea bass, Langdon's never fails to impress. The friendly, inviting, and relaxed atmosphere and the excellent menu selections echo Owens' personality and flair.
Mt. Pleasant. 778 Shelmore Blvd. 388-9200
The Library Restaurant at Vendue Inn
The Library, an intimate restaurant, exemplifies the Vendue Inn's standard of excellence. In the evening, the restaurant offers the finest Southern cuisine with a French country flair. It's the ideal venue for a romantic dinner with that special someone. Perfect for a power lunch, the Library Restaurant prides itself on creative sandwiches, soups, and salads. Serving lunch Mon.-Fri. 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner begins at 6 p.m. Tues.-Sat. Al fresco dining available.
Downtown. 23 Vendue Range. (At Vendue Inn, adjacent to Waterfront park). 577-7970
Folly Beach's gourmet pizza hot spot also specializes in sandwiches, salads, and big fat quesadillas. Beer and wine, a kids' menu, and vegetarian options have made this little spot a hit with both locals and tourists. Open seven days a week during beach season with indoor and outdoor dining. Lil' Mama's also offers free delivery on the beach! Yum, yum ... come get some!
Folly Beach. 106 Hudson St. 588-2212
Live Oak Café and Coffee
Live Oak Café is Johns Island's fine dining alternative. Start off with the jumbo lump crabcake or Prince Edward Island mussels. For dinner, select from a variety of entrées, including certified Angus beef steaks, fresh seafood, excellent fried chicken, and creative pasta dishes. Premium wines are also offered at reasonable prices. Stop by for the critically-acclaimed breakfast and lunch, service begins at 8 a.m. Tues.-Sat. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. Located across from the Johns Island Post Office under the live oak tree. Dinner reservations accepted for parties of six or more.
Johns Island. 2867 Maybank Hwy. 557-1795. www.liveoakcafe.net
With three locations serving the Lowcountry, you're never more than a couple of miles away from fresh seafood, steaks, chicken, pastas, sandwiches, or salads. Enjoy the best ocean view in Charleston from the deck at the Folly Beach Fishing Pier or host your next function in a private dining room at their James Island and Mt. Pleasant locations, just minutes from downtown. Looking for a late lunch or early dinner? Locklear's is open all day, every day. Full bar open on Sundays. Don't forget to try the award-winning she-crab soup and fried green tomatoes. Now offering full-service catering.
Folly Beach. (Folly Pier). 588-6412
James Island. 1990 Maybank Hwy. 762-2549
Mt. Pleasant. 320 Coleman Blvd. 884-3346
Mad River Bar & Grille
Enjoy a mouth-watering meal in a breathtaking historical Charleston landmark: Mad River Bar and Grille, located in the old Seamen's Chapel on the corner of East Bay and Market streets. Mad River opens daily at 11 a.m. and serves lunch and dinner until 11 p.m. Their legendary burgers are half-price every Mon., and they feature unique daily pasta and seafood specials. Enjoy half-price select appetizers during happy hour, from 5-8 p.m. every evening. They also have an extensive catering menu and can host any private party or group function for absolutely any occasion. After just one bite, you'll be begging, "Take me to the River!"
Downtown. 32-B N. Market St. 723-0032
- Nancy Santos
- A precise pint is poured at Madra Rua
As the Irish saying goes: "Tis better by far at the rainbow's end to find not a pot of gold but the heart of a friend." That is just the atmosphere Dublin native Stephen O'Connor has created in this quaint Irish Pub located in the Olde Village of North Charleston. Madra Rua pours the freshest pint of Guinness around while serving traditional Irish stew, fish and chips, and shepherd's pie. Sunday's offer a great brunch to start your day. Bring your friends or make some new ones. Here the saying goes, Céad Míle Fáilte! "One hundred thousand welcomes!"
N. Charleston. 1034 E. Montague Ave. 554-2522. www.madraruapub.com
Just off East Bay Street in historic downtown Charleston, tucked away in the romantic little Unity Alley, McCrady's seamlessly intertwines world-class cuisine with impeccable service. Within its sophisticated 220-year-old walls, flavorful, modern and beautifully presented dishes await guests. Chef Sean Brock's cuisine is modern American, sophisticated and playful. He's created an exquisite menu of bold flavors, stylish sauces and an optional seven-course tasting menu. Originally built in 1788, McCrady's interior combines traditional with modern elements and features soaring skylights, dramatic chandeliers, exposed brick, bluestone tiles, and a striking honey-hued bar featuring a towering wine cellar and flickering gas lanterns. To learn more or to make a reservation, call 843-577-0025, ext. 1.
Downtown. 2 Unity Alley. 577-0025
Located in the heart of Charleston's historic district at the site of the original Custom House, Magnolias combines true Southern style with Charleston charm in a sleek, yet comfortable atmosphere. Founding chef and partner Donald Barickman is widely recognized as a pioneer in the creative culinary use of the Lowcountry's bounty, sparking a culinary revolution in Charleston and what is now known as Lowcountry cuisine. Executive Chef Don Drake continues the uptown/down South tradition with his own refreshing interpretations of classic Southern cuisine.
Downtown. 185 East Bay St. 577-7771
Manny's is an old favorite that's sure to please even the pickiest group with an enormous menu encompassing everything from authentic Greek cuisine to American favorites like burgers, sandwiches, and steaks. For Greek lovers, there's classic fare like spanakopita, stuffed grape leaves, falafel pita, souvlaki, and Greek-style shrimp and pasta. Enjoy the signature lamb shank or choose an item off of the newly upgraded seafood and pasta menus. Manny's is open for lunch and dinner and is a great place to catch your favorite team or game on one of the 12 satellites and 50 TVs. Also enjoy Sunday brunch from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and receive a complimentary glass of champagne. Too busy to come in? Manny's delivers their signature Greek hand-tossed pizzas to West Ashley and downtown.
West Ashley. 1680 Old Towne Road. 763-3908
Marie Laveau's is a cozy, New Orleans-inspired restaurant sitting in the heart of the trendy "Avondale Point" area in West Ashley. Etoufée, beignets, and chicory coffee are served almost all day long during breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Saturday or Sunday brunch. Dishes like Uncle Jack's Creole Rabbit, served at dinner, smoked duck country gumbo and "The Famous Duck Club" have put Marie's on the map. Marie's is stocked with a full bar and a decadent specialty drink menu. Named after the famed voodoo priestess of New Orleans and decorated by some of Charleston's best artists, it's sure to cast a spell on you.
West Ashley. 9 Magnolia Road. (next to Gerald's Tires). 843-ROOSTER
Med Bistro, a funky little eatery that's one of Charleston's oldest continuously-run restaurants, has been located in the South Windermere Shopping Center for more then 50 years. People come from all over for the black bean soup and Reuben sandwich. The dinner menu includes great pasta dishes like Rex and Sherry and Med Pasta, plus great entrées such as pecan-encrusted pork loin, pancetta-wrapped salmon, and grilled bistro steak. At night, this funky little place comes alive with the sounds of jazz, blues, and acoustic guitar, plus great food, wine, a large beer selection, and a fully-stocked bar. Come enjoy Saturday brunch from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and happy hour Mon.-Fri. 4-7 p.m. Open Mon.-Sat. for lunch and dinner.
West Ashley. 90 Folly Road. 766-0323
Pizzas, salads, calzones, and hoagies reign supreme at this funky restaurant in the heart of downtown Charleston. If you want to truly tempt your tastebuds, visit the restaurant that's been voted Best Gourmet Pizza six years running by City Paper readers. The Mellow's pies are full of fresh ingredients and are always prepared to order. Toss in cheerful service, a relaxed environment, and a great full-service bar, and you'll see why the Mellow is a Charleston institution for locals, students, and tourists alike. Along with a full selection of premium liquors, the upstairs bar boasts Charleston's best beer selection, with over 150 draft and bottled brews and a 100 Beer Club that rewards you for sampling your favorites. Having garnered numerous Best of Charleston awards for Best Draft and Bottled Beer, and awarded Best Bar Staff in 2004, a visit to the bar at Mellow Mushroom is a pilgrimage all beer lovers should make. Dine-in and delivery available. Open seven days a week from 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
Downtown. 309 King St. 72-FRESH
Located in the historic Market, this swanky social spot is Charleston's newest Italian restaurant. Offering intriguing blends of Italian culinary styles, the cuisine is as impressive as the surroundings, which include Venetian plaster walls and leather chairs beneath the luminescence of period chandeliers. But Mercato's authentic Italian dining hasn't abandoned Charleston's Lowcountry traditions. Sample Executive Chef Jacques Larson's Gamberoni Locali con Polenta, local shrimp with the house-made pancetta and tomatoes over polenta, and Ravioli di Lowcountry, pasta stuffed with collard greens and shredded ham hocks, in a lightly spiced broth. Experience an extensive culinary selection ranging from light bites at the antipasti bar to pizza and multi-course meals paired with fine and affordable wines. Serving dinner Mon.-Thurs. 5-11 p.m. and Fri-Sat. 5-12 a.m. Serving late-night menu 'til 1 a.m. nightly. Live jazz Thursdays 8:30-11:30 p.m.
Downtown. 102 N. Market St. 722-6393
Michaelangelo's Kitchen is West Ashley's newest family-style dining experience, offering a touch of "Old World" Italian cuisine -- homemade gnocchi, mozzarella, meatballs, sauces, pizza dough, and pasta dishes. Serving lunch and dinner six days a week, you can choose from gourmet pizzas, subs, calzones, salads, and the best homemade desserts around made with only the freshest ingredients at reasonable prices. Relax and enjoy our friendly atmosphere and the best Italian in town. Tues.-Sun, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
West Ashley. 1749 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. 225-2128
Morgan Creek Grill
Overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway by the Isle of Palms Marina, Morgan Creek Grill serves fresh seafood, choice steaks, and Lowcountry fare with unbeatable water views. The Upper Deck Bar and Grill, on the rooftop, provides outdoor dining with panoramic vistas, live entertainment, and a casual menu. The restaurant serves dinner nightly and fabulous Sunday brunch, featuring a "Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar." Lunch is served on the Upper Deck daily beginning March 1. Call for reservations and to ask about the live entertainment schedule. Large groups are welcome and free boat docking is available.
Isle of Palms. 80 41st Ave. 886-8980. www.morgancreekgrill.com
Muse, Charleston's newest restaurant and intimate wine bar, serves Mediterranean cuisine complemented by an extensive, esoteric wine selection. Reflecting cuisines from Spain, France, Italy, and Greece, the menu features items such as sautéed squid, sumac-rubbed duck breast, homemade pastas, rare cheeses, whole Loup de Mer, and braised lamb. Accent the cuisine with one of their 70 selections of wine by the glass, highlighting every corner of Europe and places in between. Enjoy outdoor dining on the cozy patio that plays host to the wine bar before and after dinner. Reservations encouraged.
Downtown. 82 Society St. 577-1102
If it's Indian cuisine you're craving, head to Nirlep Indian Restaurant, recently voted Best Indian Restaurant by City Paper readers. Nirlep has two locations, in West Ashley and Mt. Pleasant. For those who are especially hungry or have trouble choosing, Nirlep has a lunch buffet seven days a week for only $6.99. They also offer a full dinner, including favorites like the hot garlic nan (flat bread), lamb vindaloo, shrimp curry, and a variety of vegetarian dishes. Quench your thirst with a selection of beer or wine, and then cool down with kulfi, a pureed pistachio, almond, and cashew ice cream.
Mt. Pleasant. 536 Belle Station Blvd. 216-7979
West Ashley. 908 Savannah Hwy. 763-9923
Noisy Oyster seafood restaurants have three very different locations for your dining pleasure. The downtown location, at the corner of Market and East Bay streets, has large windows that open to allow the harbor breezes to blow through. The Rivers Avenue location, in the shopping hub of North Charleston, is a great spot for lunch or dinner. The new Summerville location offers the same well-known food and service, at an even more convenient location. All three provide extraordinary seafood and great service. Don't miss incredible happy hour specials, as well as phenomenal seasonal specialties.
Downtown. 24 N. Market St. 723-0044
N. Charleston. 7842 Rivers Ave. 824-1000
Summerville. 9880 Dorchester Road. 821-1213
O'Hara and Flynn Wine and Cheese Merchants
O'Hara and Flynn Wine and Cheese Merchants, formerly located on Laurens Street, is well-situated in the French Quarter at 160 East Bay St. With an indoor wine bar featuring local musicians Friday and Saturday evenings and street-side seating, it is quickly becoming a popular low-key spot for those who enjoy an alternative to the usual late-night fare. All wines from the retail store are available for consumption for a small corkage fee. O'Hara and Flynn offers small production wines, artisanal cheeses, local pâtés, good music, and friendly service Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. 10-2 a.m. Weekly wine tastings held on Fri. from 5-7 p.m. and Sat. from 3-5 p.m. Call for details and special events.
Downtown. 160 East Bay St. 534-1916
Mt. Pleasant. 1640 Palmetto Grande Dr. 216-1916
Old Village Post House
Step inside the Old Village Post House and immediately feel the welcoming hospitality and relaxing comfort. This Maverick Inn and Restaurant, located in a picturesque historic village, is a gathering place for locals and travelers alike. Designed to emulate the Post Houses of yesteryear, guests at the Old Village Post House can dine on award-winning Lowcountry cuisine, sleep in the quiet comfort of our six guest rooms and enjoy the fellowship of the neighborhood tavern. Chef Richard King will prepare a variety of menu items offering ingredients, flavors, and traditions of the Lowcountry, such as Maverick shrimp and grits, lump crab cakes, roast stuffed quail, pork tenderloin, and more. Join the local neighbors in the tavern while you dine or relax with your favorite cocktail. The lush courtyard is available for outdoor dining (weather permitting).
Mt. Pleasant. 101 Pitt St. 388-8935
Papa Zuzu's is the kind of place where it doesn't take your senses long to tell you you're in the right place for some good eats. As you walk past the local tomatoes sunning themselves in the window, you see baskets of onions and garlic perched on buckets of Greek pepperoncini peppers. Beside the newspaper rack are large jars of kalamata olives bought directly from the importer who grew up under the very same trees from which they were picked. The aroma of the slow roasted beef/lamb gyro grows stronger with every step forward into this warm and friendly little hole in the wall. This is the kind of place where you can enjoy good eats while tapping your foot to local acoustical offerings. The kind of place you come back to. Open everyday 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
Downtown. 370 King St. 534-1666
Parson Jack's Cafe
Parson Jack's Cafe is West Ashley's premier undiscovered restaurant and bar. The new concept from Steve Morgan, former "Mayor of Hootersville," takes pub food to a fresh new level. Fresh, seasoned burgers cooked from rare on up, marinated grilled chicken salads, chicken wings, and the most unique dessert in Charleston make this new restaurant worth checking out. If you liked the "Mayor's Wings" before, you'll love 'em now. Kids will love the balloon animals made by the PJ's girls and adults will love the flat screen TVs and great happy hour.
West Ashley. 3417 Shelby Ray Ct. 769-7775
- Leslie McKellar
- Nate Alton serves 'em on the half-shell at Pearlz
Pearlz Oyster Bar
Charleston's eclectic little oyster bar located in the historic district of Charleston on East Bay Street is a fun place to go for the freshest seafood around. Pearlz Oyster Bar features an assorted mix of raw shellfish, local seafood, Lowcountry recipes, and regional favorites. The raw bar offers a variety of oysters and fresh seasonal shellfish. A full-service bar serving the coldest beers and unique, refreshing cocktails, Pearlz has become a favorite meeting spot for both locals and tourists. Patrons looking for a nightcap or "bite to eat" may order from a late-night menu that includes several of Pearlz' gems.
Downtown. 153 East Bay St. 577-5755
This world-class, four-star restaurant is a jewel in Charleston's culinary crown and has won the City Paper's award for Best Restaurant time and time again. Internationally recognized and award-winning Chef Robert Carter has crafted a menu filled with classic American and Lowcountry favorites. Top-notch wines, impeccable service, and a clubby, yet relaxed atmosphere round out a dining experience not to be missed. Leave room for the sumptuous desserts, including the Ultimate Coconut Cake, which the New York Times accurately referred to as "a little slice of heaven."
Downtown. 112 N. Market St. 723-0700
Tucked away on a charming downtown street, Poogan's Porch is one of Charleston's oldest and most reputable culinary establishments. A historic landmark with an entertaining past, Poogan's has become synonymous with impeccable Lowcountry hospitality and excellent Southern cuisine. Open 365 days a year, Poogan's Porch serves a Lowcountry lunch from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner from 5-9:30 p.m. and weekend brunch from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. A variety of rooms are available for special events throughout the year.
Downtown. 72 Queen St. 577-2337. www.poogansporch.com
Queen Anne's Revenge
Classic American cuisine, offering great steaks, prime rib, local seafood, pasta, sandwiches, salads, and more. Known for its food, drinks, and fun historical atmosphere, Queen Anne's is the only restaurant dedicated to the authentic history of piracy along the Carolina coast. A unique collection of artifacts on display explores the "Golden Age of Piracy," circa 1690-1730. Open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. Coming soon, a new outdoor deck and a bar featuring live entertainment.
Daniel Island. 160 Fairchild St. (next to Hampton Inn). 216-6868.
Red Drum Gastropub
As featured in the New York Times, Red Drum deftly infuses local seafood and Lowcountry traditions with the robust flavors of Southwestern cuisine. Presided over by Chef Ben Berryhill, Barman Charlie Chance, and Pastry Chef Lauren Mitterer, the Red Drum has become Charleston's hot spot for food and drink. Stop by the bar and watch the scene or reserve ahead for full dining in the pub room, outside on the patio, or at a highly sought-after table in the main dining room. A beautiful wine cave hosts private dinners and an extensive wine collection. Signature dishes include crabmeat and avocado with red jalapeno salsa, sea scallops and grits with Cascabel chile sauce, and hot butter rum cake. The Red Drum proudly features 15 beers on tap, handcrafted margaritas, and live music. Serving dinner Mon.-Sat. from 5:30 p.m., bar opens at 5 p.m.
Mt. Pleasant. 803 Coleman Blvd. 849-0313
Red Orchids China Bistro
For three and a half years Red Orchids has been serving up the best Chinese cuisine in Charleston, and has been consistently voted best Chinese restaurant by City Paper readers. If you haven't tried Red Orchids, you've really missed out. Long gone are the days of heavily-breaded, mass-produced fare. No expense is spared in ambience, quality, or presentation. The staff and management are attentive, personable, and gracious. Red Orchids has the recipe for a romantic meal or a great business lunch. Enjoy them any time of day, and be sure to speak with any of the staff for suggestions on daily specials or staples that shouldn't be overlooked.
West Ashley. 1401 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. 573-8787
Red Pepper Squirrel
Specializing in fun, funky, and fresh cuisine, the Red Pepper Squirrel is located just over the Ravenel Bridge in Mt. Pleasant on Coleman Boulevard. They have indoor and outdoor dining, beer and wine, a kids' menu, vegetarian options, and unique daily specials. RPS is open Mon-Sat, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Stop by and check it out. It's sure to please every palate in your party. You know you want some!
Mt. Pleasant. 440 W. Coleman Blvd. 849-7400
Located on Shem Creek, Red's is what Charleston is all about. Beautiful views of the creek, fabulous sunsets and, of course, some of the best food east of the Cooper. Featuring delicious lobster rolls, Lowcountry boil, some super spicy shrimp, and oysters. For non-seafood lovers Red's will grill up some of the best burgers you'll ever sink your teeth into. Monday nights Red's features all-you-can-eat crab legs and Thursday join them for local Bulls Bay oysters steamed up right on the deck and served in heaping buckets. No matter what time of year it is, make it Red's Icehouse, as local as you can get. Open every day at 11 a.m.
Mt. Pleasant. 98 Church St. 388-0003
Roof Top Bar and Restaurant
The Roof Top Bar and Restaurant, voted number one Roof Top Bar in town, also features televisions for sporting events and live music nightly. Serving delicious Lowcountry cuisine in a casual atmosphere, the two-level establishment is located above the Vendue Inn in the Historic District, adjacent to Charleston's beautiful Waterfront Park. With both covered and open-air dining options, you can enjoy a colorful Lowcountry sunset or dine under the stars. Heaters create a cozy, warm atmosphere during the chilly months. Overlooking the city skyline and Charleston Harbor, the Roof Top is the perfect place to unwind at day's end. Go on upstairs today.
Downtown. 23 Vendue Range. 414-2341
"Gourmet burger joint heaven" has been used to describe this haven for carnivores and herbivores alike. Sesame's large variety of beef and black bean burgers, along with options like "Burger in a Bowl," make Sesame seem light years ahead of its competitors. Offering other selections including gourmet sandwiches, great salads, pasta, and grilled fish nightly and a few house made desserts, this little establishment, located in the Park Circle area of North Charleston, takes the idea of the American burger and mixes it up. Their fresh ground beef is cooked to any degree of one's liking, and topped with anything from shiitake mushrooms and goat cheese to smoked bacon and caramelized onions. Mustard, ketchup, and mayo condiments are made fresh daily. Drop by on Wed. for live trivia or on weekends for occasional live music. Sesame also serves a full bar. Kids' menu available.
N. Charleston. 4726 Spruill Ave. 554-4903
Shane's Ribshack is the place to go for the best barbecue on the planet. There is definitely a secret in this sauce\. And whether you go for the baby back ribs, chicken wings, or a barbecue sandwich, you can be sure you're getting the freshest, highest quality meat. At Shane's they're big on family, fun, and, of course, food. There's even a special menu just for the kids. Stop in for lunch or dinner and bring your family and friends. Just be prepared because "it's gonna get messy." They cater too. So remember to call Shane's Ribshack for all of your catering needs, big or small.
Mt. Pleasant. 1909 Hwy. 17 N. (Sweetgrass Shopping Center at IOP Connector). 881-6565. www.shanesribshack.com
Sushi lovers who are looking for a more casual scene should visit Shi Ki. The quaint restaurant on East Bay Street caters to those who want authentic Japanese cuisine without the exorbitant prices. Shi Ki combines exquisite Japanese flavors, exotic sushi, and reasonable prices. Try their $6.95 lunch special or the $8.95 sushi special. Ask for Misa for a friendly, personal Japanese experience.
Downtown. 334 East Bay St. 720-8568
Enjoy an elegant meal in an intimate setting at Six Tables of Charleston! If it's a romantic dinner, special occasion, or business gathering, guests can be assured they will receive an exquisite, personally-prepared dinner by Chef Colin Flynn. The limited number of tables and warm atmosphere add to the intimacy of the experience. Six Tables, an intimate meal in an elegant setting ... the ideal destination for an extraordinary evening you'll never forget.
Mt. Pleasant. 664-G Long Point Road (Belle Hall). 971-8850. sixtablescharleston.com
Slightly North of Broad
Termed a "Maverick Southern Kitchen," Slightly North of Broad is distinguished from the crowd by its cuisine, decor, and approach to food. It's a restaurant where the unexpected is a key element. Chef Frank Lee, a native South Carolinian, is a Southern chef with classical French training. His menu emphasizes regional seafood and vegetables, which form the core of his dishes. His Maverick Southern cooking is Lowcountry food with a twist. S.N.O.B. has been recognized as a culinary leader by national and international media, has been included in many television food shows and cookbooks, and has received GQ magazine's Golden Dish award for its Maverick Grits.
Downtown. 192 East Bay St. 723-3424
Like the many fine wines showcased within its massive cruvinet, Social has been worth the wait. Featuring a diverse menu ranging from afternoon nibbles to late night sustenance and dozens of selections by the glass, owner/sommelier Brad Ball and executive chef Matt Dibble are placing a premium on the unbridled beauty that well-paired food and wine can achieve. Choose from artisanal cheeses, pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and house-made desserts while sipping and savoring selections from one of the city's most extensive wine programs. Open daily at 4 p.m.; smoke-free.
Downtown. 188 East Bay St. 577-5665.
The Starfish Grille that resided on the Folly Beach Pier for the past 10 years is now located in the heart of James Island, in the Merchant Village Shopping Center at the intersection of Folly and Harborview roads. Although there may not be an ocean view, just as before, Starfish continues to serve an eclectic, moderately priced menu, nightly specials, and the finest in fresh local and regional seafood, cooked the way you like it. Enjoy a cocktail, cold draft, or frozen drink from the full-service bar. Children's menu and parking is plentiful. Serving from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and brunch is also served on Sundays.
James Island. 520 Folly Road. 762-9252
Sticky Fingers has been serving Charleston's best ribs since 1992. It's no secret that slow, low-temperature smoking produces mouth-watering, tender ribs, chicken, and pork, and Sticky Fingers slow-smokes everything on-site at their restaurants. Voted Best Ribs by the readers of the City Paper, Sticky Fingers has always been a local favorite. All four locations have private banquet space for meetings, rehearsal dinners, and other special occasions. Sticky Fingers Catering serves up the restaurant's award-winning ribs, wings, and barbecue at your location. They offer both full-service catering and simple drop-off options to meet any party planner's needs.
Downtown. 235 Meeting St. 853-7427
Mt. Pleasant. 341 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. 856-7427
N. Charleston. 7690 Northwoods Blvd. 797-7427
Summerville. 1200 N. Main St. 871-7427
- Nancy Santos
- Sublime gets creative with their Key lime confections
Sublime Pies & Cakes, located in Avondale, focuses on one flavor: Key lime! From pies to cookies to delicious Key lime concoctions, there's something here to please any palate. Sublime Pies & Cakes won two first place ribbons at the National Pie Championships in Orlando, Fla., in April of 2006. Key lime was the winning ingredient: Key lime cheesecake and the bakery's well-known Key lime pie received top honors. Come visit Sublime Pies & Cakes for all your Key lime treats ... are you eating the best Key lime pie in the country?
West Ashley. 829-A Savannah Hwy. 225-LIME
Sunfire Grill and Bistro
Just off of I-26 at exit 216A, over the Cosgrove Bridge and right at the caution light, sits the Sunfire Grill and Bistro. Practically everything is on the menu -- honestly. They've stocked the pantry, fridge, and bar especially for you to come in and relax. (They even do the dishes!) As far as seating, there are two private rooms, the main dining area, a music lounge, and the breezy, beautiful patio for diners to choose from. Whether you go for lunch, dinner, or for happy hour and live music, you're in for a truly spectacular culinary restaurant experience. Come as you are; guests are their family.
West Ashley. 1090 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. 766-0223. www.sunfiregrill.com
For a family-friendly environment, head to one of the area's popular TBonz restaurants. The extensive menu ranges from hand-cut steak to off-the-bone baby back ribs, fresh seafood and poultry, and sandwiches. Bring your friends and share a cozy leather booth while snacking on Tbonz's acclaimed appetizer, Tommy's Texas Cheese Fries Deluxe. After dinner, head next door to Kaminsky's, their sister restaurant, for delectable homemade desserts and coffees.
Downtown. 80 N. Market St. 577-2511
Mt. Pleasant. 1028 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. 971-7777
West Ashley. 1668 Olde Towne Road. 556-2478
Chef Paul McCollum, who made the River Café a local favorite, can now be found alongside Chef Frank at Terrapin Café cooking up delicious eclectic American cuisine. The Terrapin Cafe, located on Center Street on Folly Beach, serves a casual American, eclectic menu featuring fresh local seafood, steaks pasta dishes, homemade desserts (including crème brûlée, cheesecake, and Key lime pie), as well as nightly specials. Check out Terrapin's Sun. jazz/blues brunch and live entertainment Friday nights. Enjoy dining on the screened deck from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Open daily for dinner at 5:30 p.m. and Sun. for brunch (from 10:00 a.m. -1:30 p.m.). Reservations recommended.
Folly Beach. 4 Center St. 588-2101
Tommy Condon's Irish Pub
Located in the heart of the historic Market area, Tommy Condon's is Charleston's true Irish pub, serving traditional dishes like fish 'n' chips, shepherd's pie, and Irish potato chowder. Tommy Condon's also specializes in Lowcountry dishes like shrimp and grits and jambalaya. Dine in the casual, family-friendly setting with live Irish music Wed.-Sun. nights. Large party space available for up to 100 people. Open daily for lunch and dinner starting at 11 a.m.
Downtown. 160 Church St. 577-3818. www.tommycondons.com
Triangle Char and Bar
Triangle is Charleston's place for coal-fired fare, with a family-friendly, open-air atmosphere with two outdoor patios. Triangle Char and Bar offers 15 different meats and seafood, including shrimp, scallops, mahi mahi, NY Strip, baby back ribs and more, all grilled over live charcoal. Triangle also offers unique dishes like Southern-style chicken livers, flavorful pastas and salads, and 18 fresh side items to choose from, along with a great selection of coffees and homemade desserts. Large party space available. Open daily for dinner at 5 p.m. Also serving the best brunch around every Sun. from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
West Ashley. 828 Savannah Hwy. 377-1300. www.trianglecharandbar.com
- Nancy Santos
- Tsunami presents colorful, freshly-made sushi
A two-time City Paper Best of Charleston Readers' Pick for Best Sushi, Tsunami is known for great sushi, great sake, and great times. Their innovative approach to sushi makes them a must-eat for those passionate about this culinary delight. Tsunami also offers traditional Japanese tempura, gyoza, tataki, and hibachi. Whether for a date or with a group, Tsunami is the perfect place for a sophisticated night out. Try it downtown or in their Mt. Pleasant location.
Downtown. 215 East Bay St. 965-5281
Mt. Pleasant. 1909 Hwy 17 N. 881-7061
With an open patio and easy access to shopping on King Street, Vickery's Downtown has fast become a favorite destination for both locals and visitors. Vickery's Mt. Pleasant, in one of the country's most picturesque locations, features water on three sides and tremendous views for all tables. You can stroll outside onto the deck, where there is additional seating, a shark bar, and telescopic viewers for a closer look at nature. Both Vickery's locations serve a variety of dishes -- some simple and creative, some complex -- from various regions and cultures, all consistently good and fairly priced, in a friendly, fun, and casual atmosphere with attentive, professional service.
Downtown. 15 Beaufain St. 577-5300
Mt. Pleasant. 1313 Shrimp Boat Lane. 884-4440
Steps from downtown's thriving Market Street, Wasabi is downtown Charleston's only Japanese steakhouse, and is owned by a Chinese husband and wife team, John and Wendy Tang. In one part of the dining room, you can sit at the hibachi grill and watch as chefs prepare seafood, steak, and specialties such as Japanese noodles in front of you. The sushi bar can prove just as entertaining, as patrons can see the sushi chef in action, preparing a variety of favorites such as the scam roll, crunch roll, and eel and avocado roll. You're guaranteed nothing less than a fantastic meal at Wasabi, voted Best Sushi by the readers of the City Paper in 2005 and 2006.
Downtown. 61 State St. 577-5222. www.wasabicharleston.com
Wild Wing has "The Best Wings South of Buffalo" in 33 different flavors, but there's a whole lot more the Wing has to offer. Big beefy burgers, chargrilled chicken sandwiches, tender baby-back ribs, mountains of nachos, awesome salads, and the original Bucket O' Beer! Plus late night fun and live music all week. Go see Ginger and try one of her award-winning drinks. Wild Wing is the perfect place for family fun dining, with three Charleston locations.
Downtown. 36 N. Market St. 722-WING
Mt. Pleasant. 644 Coleman Blvd. 971-WING
N. Charleston. 7618 Rivers Ave. 818-WING
The Dining Room at Woodlands
Enjoy exuberant masterpieces that flow from the kitchen of South Carolina's only Mobil Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond dining room. A three or four-course a la carte and five-course tasting menu are offered nightly featuring eclectic preparations with parings from the extensive wine list. Gourmet Magazine praises Woodlands for "innovative Lowcountry cooking with a sophisticated international accent." Executive Chef Tarver King's appreciation for exquisite ingredients assures artistically prepared, simple presentations filled with deeply infused flavors. "Wines of the World" dinner is held the third Tuesday of each month with a monthly cooking demonstration the first Tuesday. Woodlands is located 25 minutes from Charleston. Come enjoy some of this historic and romantic region's most celebrated dining.
Summerville. 125 Parsons Road. 800-774-9999. www.woodlandsinn.com
Ye Ole Fashioned Ice Cream & Sandwich Café
Whether you go for ice cream or the famous BLT with an unprecedented 10 slices of bacon, or a burger, you are guaranteed a heaping of a helping at this little café. Choose from 32 ice cream flavors, a full menu of sandwiches, entrees, burgers, soups, salads, and almost any other delight your appetite can muster up. Dine-in or take out. Check out the new downtown location. Serving lunch, dinner and dessert from 10 a.m.-11p.m. Also be sure to visit our other near by locations.
Downtown. 306 King St. 727-1227
Mt. Pleasant. 1502 Hwy. 17 N. 849-3698
N. Charleston. 6554 Rivers Ave. 797-7760
West Ashley. 474 Savannah Hwy. 766-4854
Yo Burrito! has been serving up burritos and healthy Mexican fare from the grill since 2000. Satisfy your salsa craving with the famous homemade salsa bar or try the delicious fish tacos with a Mason Jar margarita. Check out new menu items like roasted pineapple salsa, grilled spinach, or spicy grilled tofu, along with old favorites like rojo chicken and slow-cooked carnitas. Enjoy $1 beers, $2 Coronas and Mason Jar Margarita specials weekdays during happy hour, from 4-8 p.m. Located in Mt. Pleasant at the Shelmore intersection of Johnnie Dodds Blvd. (by Time Out Sports), and now open downtown, just a few doors down from the original location.
Downtown. 77 Wentworth St. 853-3287
Mt. Pleasant. 675 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. 856-0061