The Top Menu Picks at the Best Charleston Restaurant Week Spots
Twice a year, food-loving Charlestonians are blessed with an amazing chance to try out different menus throughout the city during Charleston Restaurant Week. This year’s event is made extra special since it’s happening in conjunction with Charleston Beer Week, which means you can get a special beer pairing at a number of Restaurant Week restaurants.
You only have 11 days -- from September 5-16 -- to try out some of the best restaurants in the city for dinner, lunch, and brunch, so it behooves you to streamline your selections and go into this thing with a plan. With that in mind, we went ahead and highlighted the best menus worth trying out so you can prioritize your reservation list. Your taste buds will thank you.
Balao is one of downtown Charleston’s best new restaurants (and best overall when it comes to seafood). Their standard menu changes up pretty regularly (like, daily) based on what’s seasonal and available, and features a number of small plates, larger entrees, and a fantastic cocktail program. If the weather is nice, there are few patios as enjoyable as Balao’s!
Order: Ceviche to start, seafood tacos for your main, and Cocoa Puff cereal brownie for dessert
Cost: Three courses for $35 for dinner
Bistro Toulouse has long been a sleeper hit for Mount Pleasant diners; it doesn’t get the kind of critical recognition that other restaurants get, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore this quaint Parisian-style eatery. For Restaurant Week, they’re one of the only places offering lunch, brunch, and dinner options for a reasonable price -- plus, they also give you the option to add wine pairings for just $16 at dinner, or a local three-beer flight (they’re also participating in Charleston Beer Week) for just $8 with any meal.
Order: For dinner: mussels mariniere to start, crispy duck leg confit for your main, and coconut mousse for dessert; for lunch: soup du jour to start, croque monsieur for your main, and homemade sorbet for dessert; for brunch: mimosa to start, braised pork hash for your entree, and beignets with bourbon syrup for dessert.
Cost: Three courses for $35 for dinner; three courses for $20 for lunch (Monday - Friday); three courses for $22 for brunch (Saturday & Sunday)
Famulari’s is well-known for being one of the only places to get a legit Chicago-style deep dish pizza in Charleston. The James Island location kicks things up a notch by adding a brewery component to the already-winning concept, which offers a hefty selection of Fam’s Brewing Co. beers, as well as a number of local and domestic selections, wine, and cocktails. Enjoy a slice inside, or out in the beer garden.
Order: Pepperoni rolls to start, a Chicago deep dish for the main (it’s a $4 upcharge, but worth it), and a pitcher of an FBC brew to split (we recommend the Southern Sippin’).
Cost: Three courses for $30 for two people (or just one if you’re very hungry)
Five Loaves Cafe is a perennial favorite of Charleston diners, and this year their Summerville location is participating in both Restaurant Week and Charleston Beer Week, so diners are in for an extra special treat. Their restaurant menu features options for carnivores and vegetarians (and even features two vegan options) so everyone can dine happy.
Order: Brown butter-fried corn to start, pork tonkatsu for your entree, and sweet potato custard for dessert. Pair your meal with a local beer for an additional $5.
Cost: Three courses for $25
Another newbie to the Charleston dining scene is Mill Street Tavern on Shem Creek. Opened by the same team who brought us Crave Kitchen & Cocktails (also in Mount Pleasant), the tavern features one of the best views you can get at a Charleston restaurant, coupled with a menu chock-full of Southern hospitality. This is a great option for a first date or romantic evening out during Restaurant Week.
Order: For dinner: Fried green tomatoes to start, smoked brisket for your entree, and Heath Bar buttermilk biscuits bread pudding to finish. For brunch: cauliflower soup to start, tomato pie next, and avocado grilled cheese to finish.
Cost: Three courses for $30 for dinner; three courses for $16 for brunch
Revival only opened its doors a couple of months ago, so Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity to give the place a try if you haven’t been yet. Chef Forrest Parker’s menu puts a huge emphasis on South Carolina agriculture -- both present and past -- and offers a modern spin on Lowcountry classics (Fun fact: Chef Parker was the South Carolina Chef Ambassador for the Lowcountry in 2016). The bright and airy space features exposed brick and lots of natural light (making it perfect for Insta pics), and Revival is also a #CHSbeerWeek sponsor, so be on the lookout for craft beer specials during your meal as well!
Order: William Dea’s Crab Soup as an appetizer, the Lowcountry Pirlou as an entree, and the Peach Clafoutis for dessert.
Cost: Three courses for $30 at dinner
Grace and Grit has been excelling in the Mount Pleasant dining scene with their traditional and elevated southern cuisine, and for good reason (can you say “grits flight?!”). They’ve upped their prices by $10 this Restaurant Week, but the resulting food is absolutely worth the extra shekels. For those who’d rather forgo dessert in favor of two appetizers, Grace and Grit has you covered, as dessert is not part of their restaurant week menu this season.
Order: The frogmore salad, fried oysters, and local fish succotash (or anything with the tarragon cream sauce on it).
Cost: Three courses for $40
Le Farfalle’s Italian cuisine is a must-try in Charleston, especially for those who are looking for a break from the traditional southern cuisine that makes up a majority of menus in Charleston. Chef Michael Toscano offers up new and traditional Italian favorites for lunch, brunch, and dinner, and offers a pretty decent happy hour as well. Their Restaurant Week dinner menu is perfect for those who prefer to eschew dessert in favor of more savory options, giving you a choice of appetizer, pasta, and main course.
Order: Polpette alla Siciliana to start, Sorghum Spaghetti for secondi, and Fried Chicken Piccata for your main
Cost: Three courses for $4
One of Charleston’s newer entrants into the culinary scene is The Establishment on Broad Street. The Establishment’s main focus is upscale, balanced seafood paired with a robust wine and spirits menu. The restaurant itself is dark and cozy, with local art, a baby grand piano, and a giant screen above the bar, making it the perfect spot for a romantic dinner out.
Order: The shrimp or the scallops to start, the black bass for your entree, and lemon tart for dessert.
Cost: Three courses for $40
If you go to Halls on a normal night, the 8-ounce filet alone will cost you $44, but during Restaurant Week, you can get the filet with a side of creamed corn and collard greens, a cup of she-crab soup as an appetizer, and a dessert (which varies nightly) for only $1 more than you’d spend on that steak. If you think of Halls as only for special occasions, consider this: Every day is a special occasion during Restaurant Week.
Order: She-crab soup to start and the 8-ounce filet mignon for your entree
Cost: Three courses for $50
CO is always a popular dining option, and whether it’s your first or 40th visit, restaurant week gives you the opportunity to try out some of their delicious Vietnamese options while also saving you a good bit of money. Pro tip: You can also elevate your dinner with a three-course sake pairing for just $17 more.
Order: Spicy crab rangoon, curry laksa, beef pho, and strawberry spring rolls.
Cost: Three courses for $20, or four courses for $25
Another great new addition to the Charleston dining scene is Parcel 32, helmed by Chef Shaun Brian. The restaurant celebrates its Lowcountry roots with a lot of Charleston flair -- everything from the decor to the menu to the restaurant building itself (it was built in 1837!) is infused with Lowcountry charm. The menu is full of wood-fired fare, so the earthy flavor of its food matches the earthy decor of Parcel 32’s interior. For Restaurant Week, they’re offering some of their favorite dishes, as well as the option to replace your dessert with your choice of alcoholic beverage.
Order: Pecan meal hush puppies to start, benne + herb grilled country pork chop for your main, and banana beignets for dessert.
Cost: Three courses for $40
A perennial favorite of Charleston diners, Red Drum is an intersection of Southern and Southwestern food that marries Chef Ben Berryhill’s Texan and South Carolina roots. It offers a refreshing change of pace, in that their food is artfully crafted and unique from pretty much any other restaurant in Charleston.
Order: Salmon poke with sticky rice to start, blackened red drum for your entree, and warm toffee pecan cake with hot buttered rum sauce to finish.
Cost: Three courses for $40
A fun way to get out and explore more of your own backyard, as well as enjoy a decent meal, is to take a Spiritline Dinner Cruise. Usually a bit on the pricey side, Spiritline is offering a restaurant week deal that combines food and entertainment for one low price; there’s no better way to play tourist and enjoy a one-of-a-kind dining experience than out on the water of the Charleston Harbor.
Order: The Chicken Saltimbocca or the Sweet Tea-brined Porterhouse Pork Chop, with the key lime pie for dessert.
Cost: Four courses for $45 on weekdays, or $50 on Friday and Saturday nights
Opened in 2002, Al Di La has been around longer than many locals have even lived in Charleston, serving up traditional Italian fare to hungry diners from across the country. The ownership has changed hands a couple of times, but the food remains just as delicious as always.
Order: The beef carpaccio for Antipasti, bucatini spoletina for Primi, the milk-braised pork shoulder for secondi, and the expresso tiramisu for dolci.
Cost: Three courses for $24 or $35; four courses for $43
When it comes to BBQ, pitmaster Anthony DiBerndaro really knows his stuff. Swig & Swine has been a favorite in West Ashley for years, eventually leading to expansions of the restaurant into Mount Pleasant and Summerville (and hopefully more places to come, too). While you can kind-of do restaurant week at Swig & Swine any week of the year by ordering their family platter (with pretty much all the meat on the menu, plus three sides for $49), Restaurant Week is an opportunity to explore more of the menu while spending a whole lot less than normal. Plus, they’re also participating in #CHSbeerWeek, so you can get local pints for just $5!
Order: The beef brisket and the pulled pork, with mac and cheese, and beans with brisket.
Cost: Two courses for $20 (includes two meats, two sides, and dessert)
If you like your dinner with a view, then The Watch should definitely definitely be on your “try” list for Restaurant Week. The dining room itself is mostly windows, so you get significant natural light during your meal, plus some pretty fantastic views of downtown. They’ve expanded their Restaurant Week menu this time around, offering four categories (including cocktails!), from which you can pick three options, depending on your fancy.
Order: Romer’s Bad Habit cocktail, seared New England scallops to start, the Shrimp and Grits for your entree. If you’d rather do a dessert than a cocktail, we recommend the Death by Chocolate.
Cost: Three courses for $30
Although it’s attached to The Pour House, which is considered more of a dive bar, The Lot is probably one of the more upscale restaurants on James Island when it comes to food. The atmosphere is more laid back and casual, but their menu features more elevated cuisine than what you’d normally find on the island, like porridge bread caprese and dueling pastas on a single plate.
Order: Pork Cheek Croquettes to start and the Fili-West Fried Chicken for your entree.
Cost: Three courses for $35
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