It’s no secret that Charleston is one of the best food cities in the US. People from coast to coast and multiple continents journey to Charleston to experience the resurgence of Lowcountry cuisine. While it’s true that Charleston knows what it’s doing when it comes to fried chicken, buttery biscuits, and shrimp and grits, the city is also home to restaurants representative of the world’s best cuisine.
Whether you’re in search of a quintessential Charleston restaurant tour, an exorbitant barbeque spread, or a one-of-a-kind sushi tasting, the best restaurants in Charleston will surely surpass your expectations.
Bring Your Appetite – These Are Some Of The Best Restaurants In Charleston, SC
- 232 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401
Food is Good – the simple moniker of Charleston’s best restaurant hardly gives away the sensory splendor that diners will surely encounter when they sit down for a meal in this understated neighborhood restaurant. FIG’s menu changes with the seasons, and each dish is an ode to local produce and seafood that hail from the Lowcountry farms and waters.
Perennial favorites include the ricotta gnocchi alla bolognese, roasted B-liner snapper, and sauteed soft shell crab (when it’s briefly in season). FIG is ideal for a romantic dinner, special occasion, or large feast where everyone is keen to share several of the restaurant’s best dishes. You’ll want to book your reservation at least a month out, as it can be very difficult to get a table at FIG, easily one of the best restaurants in Charleston. Many of the best hotels in Charleston are within a short walking distance from FIG.
Husk – Routinely named one of the best restaurants in Charleston, SC
- 76 Queen Street, Charleston, SC 29401
One of the restaurants that put Charleston on the map, Husk boasts a menu that changes daily and features some of the lesser known food staples from the Lowcountry area. You’ll feel like you’re entering someone’s elegant Southern residence as you cross the threshold into Husk – if there happens to be a wait, you can saddle up at the bar next door to enjoy some of the best bourbon selections in town. Alternatively, you can dine upstairs with a limited menu that features the infamous Husk burger.
In the main restaurant, the menu is divided into first courses and supper entrees. Start your culinary adventure at Husk with Nashville hot lamb dumplings, country ham biscuits, or pork rind noodles. For your main course, you’ll be dazzled by unique dishes like Blue Ridge rabbit and grits, shrimp and squid ink rigatoni, and Keegan-Filion Farm porchetta. Husk is by far one of the best restaurants in Charleston to find unique Lowcountry cuisine that just doesn’t exist anywhere else. It's also within close proximity to the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Dock Street Theatre, and more of Charleston's best attractions.
- 434 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403
Hall’s Chophouse reigns supreme as one of the best places to enjoy a steak in Charleston. The restaurant sources its USDA Prime steaks from the Allen Brothers of Chicago, known as some of the finest meat purveyors in the country. Guests remark that Halls front of house staff embody the pinnacle of Lowcountry hospitality. Regardless if you’re a regular or first-time diner, you’ll feel like you’re right at home in this classy King Street establishment.
We could sing Hall’s praises for all of eternity – in addition to their top quality steaks, they serve other extravagant dishes like the Halls seafood tower, pan-seared diver scallops, and Heritage twin pork chops. Their knowledgeable servers are able to make the perfect wine pairing recommendations based on your course selections.
Alternatively, consider booking a table for the beloved Sunday Gospel Brunch, where you can splurge on fried green tomatoes, she-crab soup, and decadent iterations of eggs benedict while tapping your feet to a lively downstairs musical performance. If you’re looking to propose, impress the in-laws, or enjoy an unforgettable dining experience, Halls is one of the best restaurants in Charleston for your purposes.
The Royal Tern
- 3005 Maybank Highway, Johns Island, SC 29455
As it “terns” out, one of the best restaurants in Charleston is in Johns Island, located across the Stono River bridge in a slower-paced, idyllic part of the Lowcountry. The Royal Tern is perfect dining spot for those enthusiastic about visiting Kiawah Island or the massive Angel Oak tree.
It will be hard to find a better selection of oysters at any other restaurant, and the Royal Tern’s reputation is staked on its excellent seafood preparations. If you’re looking for fried seafood, order a generous portion of fried shrimp, oysters, or the fish of the day, which come with garlic fries, house-made cole slaw, and accoutrements.
In the entree section, your tastebuds will be teased by items like peanut-crusted yellowfin tuna in a dashi broth, blackened salmon etoufee, and caper-crusted halibut with sweet potato hash. If you’re looking for top of the line fresh-caught seafood, the Royal Tern is the best restaurant in Charleston to find your favorite filet served in a creative manner.
- 4628 Spruill Avenue #101, North Charleston, SC 29405
Another hidden gem located outside of the downtown Charleston area, Jackrabbit Filly is led by a husband-and-wife team passionate about bringing New American Chinese cuisine to the Lowcountry foodscape.
A casual establishment, Jackrabbit Filly maintains a lively indoor atmosphere and sunlit outdoor patio off of one of North Charleston’s main thoroughfares. As your server will happily explain, the menu is conducive for sharing, and it’s best to order two to three plates per diner. While you can’t go wrong with any selection, we recommend the Sichuan hot karaage Japanese fried chicken, okonomiyaki vegetable pancake, and tofu gnocchi in garlic sauce. Those in search of memorable Chinese cuisine will no doubt consider Jackrabbit Filly one of the best restaurants in Charleston.
- 464 N Nassau Street, Charleston, SC 29403
If you’re visiting Charleston SC, chances are that you’re on the prowl for some of the best barbeque in the South! While there are several excellent barbeque joints in Charleston, Lewis BBQ easily claims the top spot. Helmed by pitmaster John Lewis of Austin Texas, Lewis BBQ serves up hot, smoking platters of delicious meat in the form of USDA Prime beef brisket, pulled pork, Texas hot guts sausage, and more.
The sides are just as tantalizing as the meat options. Flank your pulled pork with creamy potato salad, tangy coleslaw, or the notoriously decadent green chile corn pudding. One of the best family-friendly restaurants in Charleston, Lewis BBQ maintains an outdoor graveled patio with plenty of picnic tables underneath sprawling live oak trees. A meal at Lewis BBQ is ideal for those looking for one of the best restaurants in Charleston with an outdoor patio space and low-key vibe.
- 1503 King Street Extension, Charleston, SC 29405
This 16-course omakase-style sushi dinner at Sushi-Wa is gaining popularity as one of the best meals in Charleston (and one of the best restaurants in Charleston, SC). The chef duo of Kazu Murakami and Chris Schoedler prepares an unforgettable dining experience twice nightly on Wednesdays through Saturdays, featuring featuring fresh sashimi imported from around the globe.
Each piece of fish is served on an assuming slate platter with minimal dressing or fuss. Creative items like an unagi ice cream cone or wagyu beef morsel punctuate the roster of flavorful snapper, tuna, and local shrimp. If you book a reservation at the chef’s counter, you’ll undoubtedly be surrounded by diners returning from New York, San Francisco, and other major food cities. Conversation flows as effortlessly as the sake, and this is one Charleston dining establishment you’ll certainly want to return to when foodie friends come into town.