You’re on vacation for a week in Charleston. Or, maybe you are a local, and you want to live like you’re on vacation and soak in all that the Holy City has to offer. Whatever the case may be, you’ve got a week of dining out in Charleston ahead of you. Where should you go?
Charleston, of course, is known for its cuisine. The Holy City is unquestionably a food city, and there are enough restaurants to keep you well-fed for months. Several of downtown Charleston’s fine dining establishments are world-renowned; and, if you ask ten locals for their opinion on the best restaurant in Charleston, there is a very good chance you will get ten different recommendations.
With that in mind, this isn’t a list of the best restaurants in Charleston. In fact, for this list we’re not staying on the peninsula. Instead, we’re branching out—a different restaurant in a different area each night of the week. We’re exploring some different types of cuisine as well, from high gastronomy and haute cuisine to authentic tacos and woodfired pizza.
So, you’ve got seven nights to eat out in Charleston. Where to? Here is our menu for the week (along with a handful of alternatives in each area):
Sunday: Tavern & Table in Mount Pleasant
Tavern & Table is one of several restaurants located on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant. Its dining room blends farmhouse and chic styling with contemporary touches—an aesthetic well-suited to the menu. With that said, if the weather is nice and you can get a table on the patio, do so. Shem Creek is one of the surprisingly few places in Charleston where you can have a waterfront dining experience, and Tavern & Table is one of the best.
Sitting on Tavern & Table’s patio, you will watch boats pass as the sun goes down. Start with a Lowcountry-inspired appetizer (or “Snack” on the menu) like the Skillet of Cornbread, then have the Mixed Greens Salad followed by your choice “From the Brick Oven” or from the “Mains.”
Tavern & Table is located at 100 Church Street in Mount Pleasant. Other restaurants you might want to try for dinner out in Mount Pleasant include:
- Grace & Grit
- Saltwater Cowboys
- The Mill Street Tavern
- Vickery’s Bar & Grill
- Wreck of the Richard & Charlene
Monday: The Obstinate Daughter on Sullivan’s Island
The Obstinate Daughter is likely Sullivan’s Island’s best-known restaurant—and for good reason. The atmosphere and food are equally light and enjoyable, and you can’t beat a refined dining experience followed by a short walk to a quiet beach after your meal.
The Obstinate Daughter describes itself as, “a Southern restaurant that is influenced by French, Italian and Spanish cuisine.” For dinner, try a selection of “Plates” like the low Country Frites, Apple Salad, and Cheese of the Day along with a pasta dish or the Miss Carolina pizza, and indulge in the Apple Butter Cake for dessert.
- Dunleavy’s Pub
- High Thyme Cuisine
- Poe’s Tavern
- Sullivan’s Fish Camp
- The Longboard
Tuesday: 82 Queen in Downtown Charleston
For the third night of your restaurant-a-night tour of Charleston’s culinary offerings, make a reservation at 82 Queen in downtown Charleston. Located in the French Quarter, 82 Queen’s unassuming façade gives way to classical dining areas with a touch of whimsy and Lowcountry flair; but, here too, you will want to sit outside if you can. Eating in 82 Queen’s garden courtyard on a warm night is a quintessentially Charlestonian experience.
The chefs at 82 Queen prepare seasonal cuisine, so be sure to take your time and enjoy exploring the menu when you arrive. Choose a Starter and a Main Course with one (or two) of 82 Queens’ “Additions” for a meal you won’t soon forget.
82 Queen is located at 82 Queen Street in downtown Charleston. Other restaurants you might want to try for dinner out in downtown Charleston include (among many, many others):
- High Cotton
- La Farfalle
- Tempest Charleston
Wednesday: Crust Wood Fired Pizza on James Island
It’s Wednesday, and it’s time to head to James Island for pizza night. But, this isn’t just any pizza night—it is a night out at Crust Wood Fired Pizza.
While Crust has four locations, the relatively small James Island location with aged leather benches and worn wooden tables is arguably the best. Along with a long list of unique pizzas, Crust has tasty starters, salads, pasta dishes, and sandwiches as well. Several of Crust’s options are vegetarian and/or gluten free.
Crust Wood Fired Pizza is located at 1956 Maybank Highway on James Island. Other restaurants you might want to try for dinner out on James Island include:
- Bohemian Bull
- Edison James Island
- Grumpy Goat
- Maybank Public House
- Zia Taqueria
Thursday: The Royal Tern on Johns Island
The Royal Tern on Johns Island is another local favorite offering Lowcountry-inspired dishes in a casual-but-upscale atmosphere. The dining room is open and airy, and its many windows add to the evening atmosphere as the day starts to come to a close.
For dinner, start with one of the house breads (you can choose from biscuits, yeast rolls, or hushpuppies) followed by an appetizer or salad. Then, you have no shortage of options for your main course—from raw or baked oysters to grilled steak or salmon.
The Royal Tern is located at 3005 Maybank Highway on Johns Island. Other restaurants you might want to try for dinner out on Johns Island include:
- Blu Oyster
- Cabana Burgers & Shakes
- Krazy Owls
- Tattooed Moose
- Wild Olive
Friday: Angel Oak Restaurant in West Ashley
On Friday night, it’s time to head to West Ashley. The Angel Oak Restaurant opened in 2012 and has been a local favorite ever since. It also happens to be one of the select few upscale dining options in the area.
But, while the Angel Oak Restaurant is relatively upscale, it still has a very comfortable and down-home vibe. The mismatched wooden tables and chairs add to the Lowcountry aesthetic, and the small dining room is just big enough to comfortably seat patrons without the space feeling too crowded. Dinner starts with Lowcountry appetizers like pickle chips and fried green tomatoes, and entrée options range from the catch of the day to seasonal house-made pasta.
The Angel Oak Restaurant is located at 3669 Savannah Highway in West Ashley. Other restaurants you might want to try for dinner out in West Ashley include:
- Agaves Cantina
- Red Orchids
- Taco Bartina
- The Glass Onion
- Triangle Char & Bar
Saturday: Taco Boy at Folly Beach
For the final night of our restaurant-a-night tour of Charleston, we’re headed back to the beach—specifically Folly Beach. Find parking on one of the local side streets, then head to Taco Boy just north of Center Street.
While Taco Boy used to be in a relatively small space on Center Street, it took over the recently constructed stand-alone building formerly occupied by the Wiki Sandbar a few years ago. Dine indoors or out (most days the large garage-door-style windows are fully open), and enjoy your favorite beverage along with the Mexican dish of your choice. Along with traditional favorites, Taco Boy serves up some unique offerings like tempura avocado tacos with sweet chili sauce as well. After dinner, finish off the week with a walk on the recently-renovated Folly Beach Pier just two blocks away.
Taco Boy is located at 106 E. Ashley Ave at Folly Beach. Other restaurants you might want to try for dinner out at Folly Beach include:
- BLU Beach Bar & Grill
- Jack of Cups
- Loggerhead’s Beach Grill
- Rita’s Seaside Grille
- The Washout
Again, these aren’t necessarily the best restaurants in each area—and we have left off many options that are just as good (if not better). We tried our best to provide a good variety. Freshfields Village on Kiawah Island, James Island, Summerville, and other areas around Charleston are equally worth exploring. If you try a restaurant a night in Charleston, let us know where you go @life_charleston.
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