I’ve been visiting Charleston on a regular basis for longer than I’d really care to share. Over that time the city has become a serious foodie haven. I have my long time stand-bys and must visits. But with every visit, I find a new place to try. Here’s a little run down of where to eat throughout the day.
Virginia’s on King
This gets first mention because they do breakfast all week. Something I find rare, but also it’s fantastic low country breakfast and they’re pretty good at accommodating groups, even when they’re accidental.
While I’ve never done dinner, I have done breakfast, brunch, and lunch. They have the basics that are everywhere, but if you’re visiting why do that? Go for the shrimp and grits or biscuits and gravy.
At lunch or dinner be sure to add on fried green tomatoes to your order.
Bonus: Just up King Street from Marian Square means it’s convenient to several hotels, and Marian’s Square’s Saturday farmers market and King Street shopping.
Their weekend brunch now includes music. Again – go for the Low Country over the classics. You’re in the South – embrace it! Crab cakes benedict is something I often see on menus around the country, but will only order when I’m on the East coast between Maryland and South Carolina. Call it what you will, but that’s where they know what they’re doing!
High Cotton isn’t far from Waterfront Park or Market Street, so you can start your day there and then head to nearby sites or grab a carriage tour down the street.
Right on the water, this lunch gets you a pretty great view. The food is good, with your basic and not so basic sandwiches and burgers. The building itself was used to organized troops in World War II before they boarded ships to Europe and North Africa. If it’s nice out get a table on the patio – you’re literally on the water for your meal.
There’s a location in Charleston but head out to Folly Beach and get some fish tacos! Folly Beach is one of the many, many barrier islands around Charleston, and home to one of the beautiful beaches in the area.
Both locations have an interesting indoor and outside seating. The Folly Beach location is right on the main drag that leads up to the beach. This is where you cool off after a morning on the beach.
If you’re heading to the location in Charleston, head up Meeting Street to Huger Street. Fill up on tacos so you can visit the Holy City Brewing and Palmetto Brewery, both also on Huger just a few blocks apart.
This is one my must go to at some point on your visit kind of restaurants. The menu changes seasonally and is filled with locally sourced ingredients and meat. If you’ve been to the one in Nashville that doesn’t mean you’ve been to this one. Reservations are a must for any meal (they also do brunch), but if you can’t get in when planning your trip don’t worry! Grab a table at the bar – the full menu is available there too. You might run into Bill Murray there, as it seems Anthony Bourdain did when he went (watch Parts Unknown Charleston before going as well!).
Pre or Post Dinner Drinks
The Bar at High Cotton
I love this bar. It’s small with an impressive menu and cozy atmosphere and feels pretty swanky. More so than I think the rest of the restaurant can feel during brunch.
The Dewberry Hotel
Feel like you stepped into an episode of Mad Men. There are a few options here – from a rooftop view to the lobby that feels more like a palatial living room. Pick your spot and order a G+T.
The Vendue Inn Roof Top Bar
Charleston is nicknamed the Holy City because of the number of churches. The skyline is mostly church steeples and rooftop bars are few. The Vendue Inn offers one of the best views in the city, along with some serious cocktails.
Whatever you get here: pie, ice cream sundae, milkshake, cake, it’ll probably be the best you have anywhere. You’ll dream about it later. You’ll start coming back to Charleston to get a sweet fix.
Kaminsky’s is super small, but attached to another restaurant means it’s open late. It’s also a great place to escape the heat or sudden downpour. It is in an exceptionally touristy area, but so worth it if you’d normally avoid such spots.
Sugar Bake Shop
Grab some cupcakes and cookies to stash in your hotel room for later – they are not open late and they only have a few stools! This tiny little shop has been in the Cannonborough neighborhood for more than ten years. Not in downtown so head up north to Cannon Street and check out the neighborhood shops while you’re up there!