Monday, May 11, 2015

10 MUST Eat At Restaurants in Charleston SC (According To Locals)

If you're visiting Charleston SC (downtown specifically) for only a few days to a week where are the BEST restaurants that locals go to? The best places you must eat dinner if you only have a few days to visit Charleston SC and you're staying in Downtown Charleston. It's one thing for a dining magazine editor to tell you their opinion, but who knows better than locals who eat there year around, and know the people who work at there. Nothing is better than local knowledge vs a food critic who just visited for a weekend. *As a side note, just this month Conde Nast Traveler magazine voted Charleston SC, the #3 Best Food Cities in America.

We sought 10 of the MUST visit  dinner destinations in Charleston, so you don’t have to:

Hanks (Seafood)

This is one tourist destination that even locals rave about.  With it’s cozy setting, Hank’s is perfect for intimate gastronomic affairs.  They have the fresh sea-to-plate promise that they actually deliver.  If you ever stop by, try the seafood ala Waldo, your tummy will thank you.

Dish locals swear by: Seafood ala Waldo

Yelp Rating: 4/5

Halls Chop House (Steaks)

Five out of five is my personal rating for Halls.  This family owned, family operated steakhouse has only been around a little over five years but has since become one of the flag bearers of Charleston food industry.  Locals love the large portions of good food served at the place.  If you’re lucky one of the Halls might even be the one greeting you at the door.

Dish locals swear by: Steaks, all the steaks

Yelp Rating: 4.5/5

Grill 225 (Steaks & Seafood)

Fresh ingredients in cocktails + almost magical presentation, count me in, and that’s just the opening drinks. This upscale place also offers steaks and seafood among other enjoyable dishes.  Want to be treated like the Kennedy’s? This is the place to be.   

Dish locals swear by: Tuna Tower

Yelp rating: 4/5

Basil (Thai)

When you think of Charleston cuisine your mind won’t automatically go to Thai food.  Folks, don’t knock it til you tried it.  Basil will take you all the way to Siam.  You have the option of table seating, but sitting at the bar offers a view of the Thai chefs as they prepare your food. The wait is a bit long at dinnertime so try and visit them earlier or after the dinner rush.  It would be out of this world.

Dish locals swear by: Crispy red curry duck

Yelp rating: 4/5

Peninsula Grill (Amazing Everything)

Words that come to mind when at the Peninsula grill: romantic and wonderful.  Don’t take my word for it, actually, please do take my word for it.  Peninsula offers a wide range of steak and seafood meal selection. Diners are always amazed by the freshness of their seafood.  The restaurant itself is dressy but definitely not snobby.

Dish locals swear by: The AMAZING world famous (literally world famous) Coconut Creme Cake(have it with coffee)!

McGrady's  (New American)

Foodies will absolutely love McGrady’s for so many reasons. One: the place is uber romantic but not too cloyingly sweet, you can bring the gang in anytime.  Two: the food is creative and great, from the garnishes to the meal itself.  Three: almost every dish is Instagram-mable.  What more can you ask for?

Yelp rating: 4/5

Dish locals swear by:  Beef Tartare

O-ku (Sushi)

Prepare for sensory bliss when you come in O-ku at King’s Street, Downtown Charleston. Feast your eyes on their modern Japanese decor and pretty food presentation.  Let your ears rest in their relaxed, toned down atmosphere.  Finally, let your palette rejoice over their delectable sushi and steak choices. If you don’t mind shelling out a bit of cash for great sushi, O-ku is for you.

Dish locals swear by: Sushi

Yelp rating: 3.5/5

Mellow Mushroom  (PIZZA)

Just like we can’t really talk about dinner without mentioning pizza, at Downtown Charleston, we can’t talk about pizza without thinking of the Mellow Mushroom.  It’s the perfect place to hang with friends and loved ones to just be.  No dress codes, so come as you are.  There might be a bit of a wait for your delicious slice or the whole pie but you can distract yourself with the unique sea inspired decor that they had going on.

Dish locals swear by: Kosmic Karma

Yelp rating: 4/5

High Cotton (New American Cuisine)

For a taste of true southern cuisine you can’t go wrong with High Cotton.  They may be famous for their brunches but their dinners never disappoint as well. Come just before 6PM to get a good seating. And, oh, there’s a three man jazz band too if the experience isn’t southern enough for you.

Must have drink locals swear by: Espresso Martini

Yelp rating: 4/5

Circa 1886 (Seafood & American)

Don’t let the name fool you, there is nothing outdated about this restaurant. The entrees have a very wide range from Mexican to Southern.  If you are into cataloging your dining experience then you are gonna enjoy taking pictures of Circa’s casually elegant grounds(carriage house of the Wentworth Mansion) and food presentation. It’s a bit on the pricey side but the experience can be worth it.

Dish locals swear by:  Anything with seafood

Yelp rating: 4/5

Obstinate Daughter

It's on Sullivan's Island but it's worth the drive. The atmosphere is great and the food is spectacular plus you're only two blocks away from a walk on the beach. Now who can beat that. Offering these wonderful little pizza flat-breads, seafood and other hand made dishes made to order this little gem is one to check out. 

Yelp rating: 4.5/5

The list of great eats could go on forever but by far these are South Carolina’s gems.  Do stop by the next time you’re around.  There’s definitely a place for everyone at Charleston.