Food & Drink

The Best Restaurants in Charleston Right Now

Published On 10/09/2017 Published On 10/09/2017
CHRISTOPHER SHANE
Cassandra Michelle Photography

167 Raw

Ansonborough

In a city that has plenty of seafood, 167 Raw still makes a splash on the Charleston scene. Why? Because its ultra-fresh approach never seems blasé. The raw bar is where it's at in this place -- get the sampler if you're into trying everything -- but you'd be crazy not to order one of the best lobster rolls in the city... if you're willing to pay the high price for it, that is. Take some time and cruise the well-curated list of beers and wines, and choose a local draft, or something from the "everything else" menu.

Jason Stemple

Callie's Hot Little Biscuit

Upper King

Maybe you need a coffee and a cinnamon biscuit in the morning, and a chicken biscuit loaded with pimento cheese late at night. Hey, we don’t judge. In fact, we are probably in line behind you at Callie's Hot Little Biscuit. These small but mighty biscuits are one of the best things about good Charleston parties, and man, are we happy they are now democratically available to all.

Eric Kelley

Cannon Green

Cannonborough

Those of us who remember this property before its recent transformation are still in awe, but try to close your mouth and not gawk too much, especially if you brunch in the see-and-be-scene Caribbean-inspired courtyard. You’ll fit right in, though, if you order a mimosa and ooh-and-aah a bit over the chorizo egg scramble. Don’t forget to tip the valet.

Chez Nous

Chez Nous

Elliotborough

The menu -- two apps, two entrees, and two desserts -- is written by hand daily. There are only a few offerings, but don’t let that dissuade you. The food is thoughtful and beautiful and damn delicious, and the setting, in a Charleston single house, is charming in the least stuffy way. Chez Nous is French, and has that je ne sais quoi in a Charleston culinary scene full of it.

Courtesy of Coda del Pesce

Coda Del Pesce

Isle of Palms

In a city with so much water, there are sadly few restaurants with a water view worth a visit. Thankfully, chef Ken Vedrinski took his modern Italian fare to the beach in 2013. What better way is there to enjoy perfectly cooked scallops and tender pasta with a crisp white, if not in view of the dunes and the ocean beyond on Sullivan’s Island? Right, we didn’t think so.

Andrew Cebulka

The Darling Oyster Bar

Radcliffborough

There’s always room in Charleston for one more raw bar, and although this one has just opened, it’s filling a nice niche for the progressive dinner set. Care to have some oysters and wine while you walk to the next course? This is your spot. But that doesn’t mean you can’t sit in the gorgeously designed space for an all-evening affair. The creole shrimp is a go-to add-on with the requisite oysters, but here's a tip: always go for a variety, since this place has a solid rotating selection.

Courtesy of Edmund's Oast

Edmund's Oast

NoMo

Thrillist has made no secret of its love for Edmund’s Oast, but when executive chef Andy Henderson vacated the position, we were nervously poised over our perfectly smoked lemon cocktail garnish at the bar, watching for what happened next. Enter a sigh of relief. Sous chef Reid Henninger took the exec reins, and we couldn’t be happier. Our beloved charcuterie is in good hands, and there is chicken & Carolina gold rice porridge on the fall menu. Go, Reid, go.

Chrys Rynearson

EVO Pizzeria

Park Circle/North Charleston

Heavenly things happen at EVO (Extra Virgin Oven) Pizzeria: pistachios become homemade pesto, daily made dough blisters beautifully in the wood ovens, and local beers flow constantly. Then there's the Pork Trifecta pizza: an incredible trio of house-made sausage, pepperoni, and bacon atop red sauce, cheese, and a chewy crust. Honestly, one bite of that crust and you'll understand why people drive from Johns Island to get a table. It's just that good.

Courtesy of FIG Charleston

FIG

Elliottborough

This restaurant is beyond the hype; it is consistently one of the best in Charleston. And with Jason Stanhope, winner of the 2015 James Beard Southeast Best Chef award, as its executive chef, it hasn’t missed a beat. Stanhope’s elegant approach to Lowcountry ingredients highlights his excellent learning skills under mentor chef Mike Lata. Right now, don’t miss the wreckfish, served with butternut squash & Marcona almonds.

Valerie Schooling

The Granary

Mount Pleasant

Chef Brannon Florie is spreading his wings at a new centralized Mount Pleasant location. A South Carolina native, Florie maintains strong ties with local farms to ensure all of his menu items are made with top-quality local ingredients, whether it's comfort food favorites like chicken and dumplings, or elevated creations like local fish with sweet shishito peppers and a butcher board with house-made charcuterie, pickles, and condiments.

Courtesy of The Grocery

The Grocery

Cannonborough

Twice-cooked sunchokes. A tartine of braised greens. Blue crab pasta (that will break your heart). The menu at The Grocery always reads like a beautiful love letter to the Lowcountry’s bounty, and chef Kevin Johnson knows how to perfectly prepare heirloom vegetables. The menu is always seasonal, so there is always a reason to return.

Courtesy of Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ

Home Team BBQ

NoMo

Each of Home Team BBQ's three locations (West Ashley, Sullivan's Island, and Downtown) has its own distinct vibe, but no matter which one you choose, you'll find the smoked wings with Alabama white sauce and the frozen Gamechanger (Home Team's version of a Painkiller cocktail) on the menu. You'll want to get both, but don't overlook the truly monumental selection of whiskeys. Beyond wings, you'll find classic BBQ fare like chopped brisket, smoked chicken, and pulled pork, all of which you can get in platter, sandwich, or taco (yes, taco) form. This place also gets bonus points for its dog-friendly outdoor seating areas which, honestly, should be de rigueur for BBQ joints by now.

Squire Fox

Husk

French Quarter

If you think there's too much hype surrounding Husk, just spend some quality time with the fried chicken & pig ear lettuce wraps (yes, actual pig ears in lettuce, and they are absolutely delicious) and we're guessing your tune will change. Headed by James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock, Husk's menu is unique not only because of its interesting takes on Southern favorites -- seriously, we've never had fried chicken skins with pimento cheese dressing before venturing to this place -- but also because the menu changes twice a day. So if you're looking for something you had a while back, you might want to check the archives online.

Courtesy of Indago Restaurant Group

Indaco

Upper King Street

Simply put, this is the place to go. Creamy burrata appetizers leave the open kitchen at a steady pace, pastas are delectable, brunch has nutella pizza (what?!), and Negronis, Negronis, Negronis. But beyond that, this waitstaff is one of the most consistently excellent in a city that excels, so that alone is worth a visit. Especially if they are serving Negronis (did we mention Negronis?)!

Andrew Cebulka

Minero

French Quarter

Chef Sean Brock’s taqueria just moved into expanded digs, and that (hopefully) means less of a wait for a table to enjoy tacos, the salsa sampler, mezcal, and the burrito that is so good you won’t notice that it’s vegetarian. Oh, and get your own chips -- we don’t share.

Andrew Cebulka

The Obstinate Daughter

Sullivan's Island

Now that Charleston has gotten the hang of abbreviating the name to OD, they’ve visited again and again for fresh oysters, pasta, and a kale, egg, and Mepkin Abbey mushroom dish that is ordered by almost every other table. Thrillist might know that the cast of a soon-to-air HBO show were also regulars when they were filming on the island, but we’re not spilling any gossip. We’re above such name-dropping.

Andrew Cebulka

The Ordinary

Upper King Street

This is the gold standard for seafood in Charleston. With the menu returning to its classic “Hot” and “Cold” organization and the addition of desserts along with the presence of all those rums, there is always a time to visit for Caribbean fish stew or oysters sliders or smoked oysters with saltines. Bonus: any recollection of said visit makes anyone you tell jealous.

Courtesy of Hall Management Group

Slightly North of Broad

French Quarter

When this beloved Charleston resto was sold last year to another restaurant group, the town murmured a bit, but use of local ingredients and Chef Frank Lee’s talent for creating elegant comfort food is stronger than ever. This is the place for shrimp and grits, people. Get it. But also get any special, and the beet salad and the quail and...

Jonathan Boncek

Spero

East Side

It should be a requirement that every table order the milk & cookies at Spero. Really, it’s like a warm hug at the end of every meal. But if you're looking for some protein to go with that sweet tooth, you've picked the right place. Spero is a prime source for great food, wonderful service, and an always-enjoyable array of dishes coming out of the kitchen, whether we're talking the fried chicken sandwich or The Korean (a roast pork shoulder with kimchee, Swiss, and pickled mustard seeds). Is this place serious about the state of the parking lot, the decor, or staff uniforms? Not so much. But that doesn't matter. You’ll leave wanting to return.

JWKPEC PHOTOGRAPHY

Warehouse

Cannonborough

True dat. We put this on the recent underrated list, but it’s not going to be for long because Chef Emily Hahn keeps cranking out some serious good eats in this urban kitchen. Saddle up to the bar, get yourself a seat and a drink, and then start ordering. We’d suggest beginning with the empanaditas; after all, Hahn started in a food truck, Empanada Mamma.

Courtesy of Wild Olive

Wild Olive

John's Island

Try this: ask someone, “Have you been to Wild Olive?” If they have, get ready for the eye roll of bliss. This place is that good -- so much so that no one cares it’s on Johns Island. In fact, that’s actually a plus: it's easy to get to, it has parking, and there's an expansive dining room. Also, the staff is actually invested in its work, both in back and in the front of the house. But don't come for the staff alone; check it out for the biodynamic wines, the pappardelle, the charred octopus, the profiteroles, and, if you’re really lucky, the mushroom Parmesan bisque (check the special board).

Flickr/Jeremy Foster

Xiao Bao Biscuit

Cannonborough

Asian Soul Food in a converted gas station has to just be a trend right? Wrong. XBB has been keeping it fresh for years by continually updating their cocktail and beverage menus while keeping the raving fans of the okonomiyaki happy (“Don’t take away our cabbage pancake!” protest signs might read if it ever left the menu). A Borneo Sunrise -- which includes rum and orange water -- is a new sip to try with your pancake order.

Andrew Cebulka

Butcher & Bee

NOMO

Since leaving its former space, Butcher & Bee has blossomed into a gorgeous anchor for the city as it grows north of the historic district. Chef Chelsey Conrad's open kitchen serves Israeli-inspired dishes made with Lowcountry ingredients like lamb ribs or whole grilled snapper. Come for the whipped ricotta, order wine on the patio (no more BYOB, sadly), and always, always stay for dessert: Pastry chef Cynthia Wong's phatty cakes (ginger cookies with vanilla mascarpone) are a total necessity.

Leon's Oyster Shop

Leon's Oyster Shop

Downtown

Those sunny yellow umbrellas beckon you in for summer, but once you're at Leon's, it's the fried chicken, oysters, and great playlist that beg you to stay. That’s easy, though, since you will probably want an order of Char-Grilled Oysters, you need to try that Siam Salad with Napa cabbage and shrimp you keep hearing about, and you’re down to the last sip of your Elderflower G&T. And then there’s soft serve for dessert, so of course, you’ll have to save room for that. Actually, just plan to spend all summer here.

Little Jack's Tavern

Little Jack's Tavern

Westside

While Charleston watched the painfully slow transformation of the former St. Alban’s into the current Little Jack’s Tavern, people lamented the loss of the perfect coffee shop that was. Thankfully, with Little Jack’s opening, what we’ve gained is a delightful time machine back to the late '50s, menu included. In case that doesn’t intrigue you, the perfect “Lunch Martini” and Tavern Burger will. It just might be the most satisfying combo of flavors for its size in the city.

Lewis Barbecue

Lewis Barbecue

NOMO

John Lewis of Austin’s La Barbecue fame has finally finished welding his own smokers, outfitting his new space, and teasing us at all of his pop-ups over the past year. Lewis Barbecue is officially open. That means anytime you want the buttery smoked beef brisket, the creamy corn pudding, and that Texas Hot Guts sausage, you can have it. And you can pair your smoky meats with a cocktail from RH Weaver, newly vacated from his post at The Bar at Husk in order to create refreshing accompaniments to barbecue that lives up -- actually, it exceeds -- all the hype.

Courtesy of Oak Steakhouse

Oak Steakhouse

Broad Street

Located on the South side of Broad Street, Oak Steakhouse has been around long enough for it to get forgotten, but Chef Jeremiah Bacon has been quietly giving this classic menu the attention it deserves, from his use of sweet, local shrimp for his Shrimp Cocktail to a show stopper of a Mixed Grill that includes prime rib, filet, a lamb chop, and one hell of a rosemary bordelaise. Dress up and make an evening of it all.

Courtesy of Roadside Seafood

Roadside Seafood

James Island

The word is already out, so you are going to have to overcome a crowded parking lot and a crazy wait to eat here, but since the reward for this is a basket of the flakiest fried flounder and a side of clam strips, well, get ready to get in line. It’s not the fanciest or the fastest service, but if you like your seafood fried, the menu items here are among some of the best.

Le Farfalle

Le Farfalle

Harleston Village

Charleston was all abuzz when news hit that NYC Chef Michael Toscano was relocating to the Holy City. Now that his restaurant La Farfalle is up and running, the crowds are evidence that this new spot off Beaufain Street is more than just hype. There are plenty of pastas to choose from, of course, but we would never forget to order the Octopus Carpaccio and you shouldn’t either. Its tender rounds of octopus tentacles dressed in olive oil, pickled eggplant, and roasted tomatoes are hard to share and a menu must-have.

The Lot

The Lot

James Island

Ever since Chef Andy McLeod took the helm of The Lot this spring, he’s gained a crowd of regulars beyond those waiting for a show next door at the popular Charleston Pourhouse music venue. Those regulars are coming for his focus on local vegetables, fresh fish dishes, and a grilled-to-perfection grass-fed beef burger that’s gained a cult following. You can enjoy it all on the expansive patio underneath a pergola.

Courtesy of McCrady's Restauran

McCrady's Restaurant

Downtown

This is the hottest restaurant ticket in town right now. No literally, you have to purchase tickets. Chef Sean Brock closed the iconic Charleston restaurant this summer and then split it into two experiences (see the other below). For $125 per person, you have an immersive tasting menu experience from the mind of Brock of Mind of a Chef fame. The menu changes nightly, but one ticket buys you a multi-course dinner for the inventive diner, no decision making required.

McCrady's Restaurant

McCrady's Tavern

French Quarter

Chef Sean Brock has reimagined and transformed the cuisine of America’s Gilded Age -- you know, those kinds of dishes you might see on a Carnegie, Roosevelt, or Rockefeller dinner table. Brock has updated that last-century fare for today’s dining guests with dishes such as Escargot Stuffed Marrow Bones, Calf’s Head Soup, and Deviled Crab Stuffed Clams. While this might not sound like a light dinner, (it definitely won’t be), it will be an unforgettable meal, prepared with a deft hand to delicious results.

O-Ku

O-Ku

King Street

If you spend any time in Charleston, you’ll hear locals lament the lack of many good sushi restaurants in town. They’re generally right, but O-Ku is an exception. Serious sushi seekers (and less-serious sushi lovers) will enjoy an inventive roll menu that includes ingredients like shoestring potatoes alongside traditional offerings. However, dishes such as Yellowtail Carpaccio, Local White Fish Crudo, and Spicy Sesame Pork Belly place this firmly in the fine dining experience category. For extra points, O-Ku converts to a dance club after 11 pm.

Trattoria Lucca

Trattoria Lucca

Elliotborough

Many of Charleston’s most discerning palates make reservations at this beautiful, tucked-in spot when they’re craving a serious comfort meal. It’s been a fixture on the Charleston scene for years and has managed to maintain its excellence with handmade pastas and good wine under the helm of chef/owner/ sommelier (and James Beard nominee) Ken Vedrinski. One bite of Ricotta Gnudi with housemade Italian duck sausage, and the day’s troubles might just fade away.

Normandy Farm Artisan Bakery

Bar Normandy

Downtown

Once the sun sets on Broad St, Normandy Farm Bakery is transformed into Bar Normandy: one of the hottest little spots in the Holy City. The menu's short and sweet and changes at the whim of head chef Alex Lira who, depending on the night, could be your chef, bartender, and server. That said, the dinner menu typically includes a soup, some oysters, and a few specials, plus fantastic house-made bread. Relax and enjoy the ride.

Andrew Celbulka

Rodney Scott's BBQ

North Central

No need to make a pilgrimage out to the country to enjoy Scott's famous whole-hog barbecue anymore: The pitmaster has posted up in the former Chick's Fry House spot and has his custom smokers working overtime, delivering 'cue classics like ribs and smoked chicken alongside extended offerings like fried catfish. The place is still ultra-casual in a "red trays and booths" sense, but it's also a stop for many a celebrity, chef and otherwise, so keep an eye out as you chow down.

stems and skins

Stems and Skins

North Charleston

If you think this is primarily a wine bar... well, you're right, but don't let that fool you into writing off the food. Between the cheese plates, high-quality tinned seafood, and Iberico ham shaved right at the bar, this Park Circle spot is the next best thing to dining in Barcelona. The brainchild of former Husk sommelier Matt Tunstall, his wife Angie, and Justin Croxall, Stems & Skins features an impressive rotating wine list with a focus on small, affordable producers, making the spot a low-key wine lover's dream.

Jack of Cups

Jack of Cups

Folly Beach

We've been visiting Jack of Cups for tasty beers and bites for years, but lately the kitchen team has stepped up its game to include more seasonal, vegetable-focused dishes, making it a dinner destination for the James Island and Folly Beach crowds. The beachside beer bar's food menu steps outside the box with strawberry spring rolls, mulligatawny soup, and a flavorful selection of red, green, and yellow curries. With this many vegetarian-friendly options, maybe the basic "beer bar" moniker is a bit outdated.

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1. 167 Raw 289 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401

In a city that has plenty of seafood, 167 Raw still makes a splash on the Charleston scene. Why? Because it's ultra-fresh approach never seems blasé. The raw bar is where it's at in this place (get the sampler if you're into trying everything), but you'd be crazy not to order one of the best lobster rolls in the city -- if you're willing to pay the high price for it, that is. Take some time and cruise the well-curated list of beers and wines and choose a local draft or something from the "everything else" menu.

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2. Callie's Hot Little Biscuit 476 1/2 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Maybe you need a coffee and a cinnamon biscuit in the morning, and a chicken biscuit loaded with pimento cheese late at night. Hey, we don’t judge. In fact, we are probably in line behind you at Callie's Hot Little Biscuit, an alleyway-turned-cozy cafe where all the biscuits are made by hand with no machines involved.

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3. Cannon Green 103 Spring St, Charleston, SC 29403

Enjoy seasonal Mediterranean and Southern fare in this bright space with an amazing Caribbean-inspired courtyard in Cannonborough. Cannon Green is a full-service restaurant in addition to an event space, with communal tables and a full-service bar. The food highlights an emphasis on in-house production, with pastas, breads and curated meats all made in the kitchen. Brunch is particularly popular on warm days in the courtyard.

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4. Chez Nous 6 Payne Ct, Charleston, SC 29403

The menu -- two apps, two entrees, and two desserts -- is written by hand daily. There are only a few offerings, but don’t let that dissuade you. The food is thoughtful and beautiful and damn delicious, and the setting, in a Charleston single house in Elliotborough, is charming in the least stuffy way. Chez Nous is French, and has that je ne sais quoi in a Charleston culinary scene full of it.

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5. Coda Del Pesce 130 Ocean Blvd, Isle of Palms, SC 29451

In a city with so much water, there are sadly few restaurants with a water view worth a visit. Thankfully, chef Ken Vedrinski took his modern Italian fare to the beach in 2013. What better way is there to enjoy seafood dishes and housemade pasta, if not in view of the dunes and the ocean beyond on the Isle of Palms? The restaurant itself has a beachy decor, with reclaimed wood accents and island hues. The menu features locally or sustainably caught seafood and changes based on what is available and fresh.

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6. The Darling Oyster Bar 513 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Housed in a 115-year-old storefront, this gorgeously designed space has a 14-seat raw bar and rich leather green booths, where any seat is perfect for slurping bivalves and sipping cocktails. The Darling blends classical preparations with exciting new flavors with devoted attention to local ingredients and sustainability. For those without their seafood-legs, The Darling also offers non-aquatic options like fried chicken and burgers.

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7. Edmund's Oast 1081 Morrison Dr, Charleston, SC 29403

This modern warehouse/barnhouse/beer hall hybrid tucked inconspicuously amongst North Charleston's office parks and empty lots serves New American fare, beer brewed on-site and craft cocktails. Cult-ish domestic crafts like Coast, Evil Twin, and Prairie Artisan Ales are posted next to hard-to-find imports (De Struise, Nøgne ø, J.W. Lees...), all available alongside house-made jerky, charcuterie, and other indulgent bar snacks. Snag a seat on the patio for a relaxed dinner and stay out late with a young-professional crowd.

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8. EVO Pizzeria 1075 E Montague Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405

Heavenly things are happening at EVO (Extra Virgin Oven) Pizza: pistachios become homemade pesto, daily-made dough blisters beautifully in wood-fired ovens, and local beers flow endlessly. EVO also has a bakery that sells its artisan bread (focaccia, baguettes, semolina loaves) in-house and at farmers markets, so you can bet that the pizza dough is made with the utmost care and expertise. Though the crust tastes more than fine on its own, be sure to order the Pork Trifecta pie, a cult-favorite topped with red sauce, house-maude sausage, pepperoni, bacon, mozzarella, and parmigiano-reggiano.

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9. FIG 232 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401

FIG: Food Is Good. And, by our estimation, this restaurant does not tell a lie. Come here for high-brow dishes designed by Chef Jason Stanhope, enjoyed in a relaxed environment. Stanhope’s elegant approach to Lowcountry ingredients highlights his skills learned under mentor chef Mike Lata. The menu highlights ingredients from local farmers and purveyors that change seasonally, and FIG features a "100 under $100" wines list ranging from intriguing newcomers to Old World classics.

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10. The Granary 624 Long Point Rd Unit L, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

This cozy farm-inspired restaurant is one of Mount Pleasant’s best-kept secrets and offers a menu featuring seasonal dishes made from local ingredients. All butchery is performed in-house, making their Charcuterie program one of the restaurant's highlights. There's an 8-seat chef's table, communal bar table and a patio where you can enjoy dinner Monday through Saturday and brunch on the weekends.

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11. The Grocery 4 Cannon St, Charleston, SC 29403

This Cannonborough eatery evokes memories of an old-school small town grocery serving foods from local farmers and fishermen. The frequently changing menu always reads like a beautiful love letter to the Lowcountry’s bounty, and chef Kevin Johnson knows how to perfectly prepare heirloom vegetables. The restaurant also has an in-house canning program to preserve fresh produce, and an excellent cocktail program features ingredients as rich in quality as the dishes.

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12. Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ 126 Williman St, Charleston, SC 29403

Located in the NoMo section of Charleston, Home Team is easily a hub of after-work noshing and networking. But don’t think it’s just about the people; it's really about the food, all made from scratch. Almost every dish is highlighted with dry rubbed and slow smoked pork, ribs, sausage, chicken, turkey, brisket or Redneck Potroast. Load up on sides and be sure to order one (or two!) of their frozen Negronis with the Miller Lite Ponies.

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13. Husk 76 Queen St, Charleston, SC 29401

Headed by two-time James Beard award-winning chef Sean Brock, Husk's menu is unique not only because of its interesting takes on Southern favorites, but also because the menu changes twice a day. Housed in an historic 1800s Charleston mansion, the environs themselves are enough to make you lick your lips: the interior reads more like a stately residential home than a restaurant serving honey-lacquered duck with pickled blueberries and rabbit-pimento loafs. Long waits can be avoided at the adjacent and more casual The Bar at Husk, standing apart in a brick warehouse. In addition to a stunning list of some 50 bourbons, including its own barrel of the coveted Pappy Van Winkle, a seat at the more casual bar increases your odds of scoring the must-order, iconic Husk burger: two 100% chuck patties infused with Benton’s bacon, and griddled with onions shaved onto the patty before being topped with American cheese, bread & butter pickles, and Brock's own special sauce.

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14. Indaco 526 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Simply put, this is the place to go on Upper King Street. Creamy burrata appetizers leave the open kitchen at a steady pace, pastas are delectable, brunch serves pizza and the Negronis flow from a tap. The waitstaff is one of the most consistently excellent in a city that excels, and communal tables as well as an open kitchen provide an engaging and friendly atmosphere. Indaco’s wood-fired pizzas are exquisite, with a crust that’s thin, but not too thin, so it’s hearty enough to support their upscale and creative mix of toppings.

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15. Minero 155 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401

This chic, exposed-brick cantina nestled into the French Quarter offers Southern-influenced Mexican food from James Beard Award winner Chef Sean Brock. All of the corn for the restaurant's tortillas is ground in-house, making Brock’s tacos (the fried catfish variety really shows off the Southern flare) and burritos that much more authentic. You'll find Mexican favorites including enchiladas, chilaquiles, and charcoal-grilled meats on the menu, plus cross-over fare like shrimp & masa grits with chili sofrito and chorizo. Craft cocktails, including margaritas and sangria, and a formidable list of tequila and mezcal round out the experience.

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16. The Obstinate Daughter 2063 Middle St, Sullivans Island, SC 29482

The Wild Olive crew is behind this Sullivan's Island space, offering a pizza- and pasta-centric menu that includes eclectic New American offerings. The restaurant is decked out in rustic ship ware, from ropes to exposed wood, and tapas-style plates ensure that you get a variety of tastes in a single meal.

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17. The Ordinary 544 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Situated inside an old bank, this seafood hall and oyster bar is full of creative and tasty Southern twists on classic ocean fare, offering both large and small plates. It is the sister restaurant to FIG and maintains equal focus on seasonal and local ingredients to create delicious and fresh dishes every day. Some menu items, however, are so lauded that they have become mainstays, like the oyster sliders.

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18. Slightly North of Broad 192 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401

S.N.O.B. (Slightly North of Broad) remains a major player in Charleston's food scene thanks to Chef Frank Lee's fresh, modern Southern cuisine. The menu features fine-dining twists on Southern classics, such as shrimp and grits with house sausage and country ham, local scallops with okra and tomato ham hock broth, and duck breast with a sweet Johnny cake and a honey thyme reduction. Despite the name, the 18th-century warehouse space isn't snobbish: feel free to enjoy your upscale meal and classic cocktails in your favorite jeans and T-shirt.

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19. Spero 616 Meeting St, Charleston, SC

For Spero, "seasonal and thoughtful" is the name of the food game. Their menu of small plates is locally sourced whenever possible and highlights the interplay of produce and protein in interesting, unique and fresh flavor combinations. As for the atmosphere? You won't see waiters in aprons or flaming dishes with foam or foie gras. The space is casual and inviting with simple decor and a bar that serves a 40-ounce High Life in a champagne flute for $7.50. There's no pretension to be found, just excellent food.

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20. Warehouse 45 1/2 Spring St, Charleston, SC 29403

This industrial-chic bar garners lines with artisanal cocktails and New American cuisine served in a dark-hued space made edgy with exposed brick. The bar serves plenty of wine and cocktails (as represented by a sleekly designed menu), but PBR and a pool table also caters adequately to the casual post-work crowd.

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21. Wild Olive 2867 Maybank Hwy, Johns Island, SC 29455

If there's anything worth the trek to rural John's Island, it's Wild Olive. The staff are educated and friendly, and the interpretation of Italian classics with lowcountry ingredients makes for some of the most soul-satisfying plates in the city. There is an extensive list of food-friendly wines as well as house-made pasta and house-cured salumi. As the first Certified Green Restaurant in South Carolina, Wild Olive is committed to using locally ingredients and composting 85% of their waste, making it not only farm-to-table but table-to-farm as well.

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22. Xiao Bao Biscuit 224 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29403

Asian Soul Food in a converted gas station has to just be a trend right? Wrong. XBB has been keeping it fresh for years by continually updating their cocktail and beverage menus while keeping the raving fans of the okonomiyaki happy (“Don’t take away our cabbage pancake!” protest signs might read if it ever left the menu). This Pan-orient spot serves up classic and experimental dishes from across the continent. Thanks to their rotating menu, you'll have the chance to try something new every time you go.

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23. Butcher & Bee 654 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

The Cannonborough/Elliotborough outpost of Butcher & Bee was the answer to locals' prayers when they could barely find the hidden Upper King original. Now, there's no wild goose chase necessary to settle into this expanded, country-chic spot that's considered the master of sandwiches in Charleston. The chalkboard menu is constantly changing based on farm-fresh regional offerings, but you'll always find inventive options with global and local influences. Chicken shawarma is served in gyro form with spicy yogurt and Israeli relish, while squash gets the barbecue treatment and is loaded onto a sourdough hoagie. The classic cheeseburger is a fan-favorite, too, made with two patties, American cheese, and secret sauce.

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24. Leon's Fine Poultry and Oysters 698 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Leon's fried chicken is breaded in a flour/seafood seasoning blend, and topped by Duke’s mayo, house-made bread & butter pickles, and an Asian-style slaw tossed in Vietnamese fish sauce. Add in the flavors from the brioche bun, and you get a crunchy fried chicken sandwich touting a layered sweet and spicy flavor combo.

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25. Little Jack's Tavern 710 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

While Charleston watched the painfully slow transformation of the former St. Alban’s into the current Little Jack’s Tavern, people lamented the loss of the perfect coffee shop that was. Thankfully, with Little Jack’s opening, what we’ve gained is a delightful time machine back to the late '50s, menu included. In case that doesn’t intrigue you, the perfect “Lunch Martini” and Tavern Burger will. It just might be the most satisfying combo of flavors for its size in the city.

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26. Lewis Barbecue 464 N Nassau St, Charleston, SC 29403

John Lewis of Austin’s La Barbecue fame has finally finished welding his own smokers, outfitting his new space, and teasing us at all of his pop-ups over the past year. Lewis Barbecue is officially open. That means anytime you want the buttery smoked beef brisket, the creamy corn pudding, and that Texas Hot Guts sausage, you can have it. And you can pair your smoky meats with a cocktail from RH Weaver, newly vacated from his post at The Bar at Husk in order to create refreshing accompaniments to barbecue that lives up -- actually, it exceeds -- all the hype.

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27. Oak Steakhouse 17 Broad St, Charleston, SC 29401

Located inside an old bank, Oak Steakhouse has a contemporary atmosphere featuring specially designed chandeliers and local artwork. The old vault was turned into a gorgeous wine cellar with bottles from all over the world, not to mention over 25 kinds of pinot noir. This steakhouse prides itself on sourcing ingredients from local purveyors and has a great selection of seafood on the menu as well, lobsters and oysters.

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28. Roadside Seafood 807 Folly Rd, Charleston, SC 29412

This brick-and-mortar spot also has a food truck and served perfectly fried fish and shrimp alongside red rice and down-home desserts.

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29. Le Farfalle 15 Beaufain Street, Charleston, SC 29401

Housed in an airy, industrial-chic space with tasteful blue accents peppered throughout, Le Farfalle offers a relaxed yet refined dining experience. Helmed by chef Michael Toscano (whose tenure at Manhattan mainstays like Perla and Montmartre attests to his culinary talent), the kitchen serves authentic Italian with a modern twist: elegantly plated house-made pastas, octopus carpaccio, crispy chicken saltimbocca. Beverage options range from a curated list of specialty cocktails that reinvent time-honored staples (the Old Fashioned, for example, incorporates madeira in addition to bourbon), and the wine list proves both accessible and varied, with affordable bottles from Italy, Greece, France, and California.

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30. The Lot 1977 Maybank Hwy, Charleston, SC 29412

James Island’s The Lot serves up seasonal American fare on a rotating menu of produce-focused dishes, comprised of ingredients that receive minimal treatment to let their natural flavors shine through. Brunch staples are scrapple and biscuits & gravy, while dinner usually showcases cooked filet or ribeye from a whole grass-fed cow they procured that day from local farm Anchorage Cattle Company. The Lot is relaxing, bright, and comforting, with both whitewashed wood-paneled and teal painted walls, and decorated with vibrant paintings.

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31. McCrady's Restaurant 155 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401

McCrady’s is a tasting menu-only restaurant directed by James Beard Award winner Chef Sean Brock. Surrounding a u-shaped dark wooden bar are 18 seats adjacent to the open kitchen that serves up innovative dishes on a menu that offers a multi-sensory experience; dishes look as delectable as they smell and taste. Servers, chefs, and hosts make for a memorable night with their zealous commitment to hospitality, making you feel at home in the ultra chic dining room, enclosed by exposed brick walls illuminated by mood lighting.

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32. McCrady's Tavern 2 Unity Aly, Charleston, SC 29401

Inspired by the Gilded Age, McCrady’s Tavern’s lunch, and dinner menus are filled with old-fashioned dishes, like escargot-stuffed marrow bone and calf’s head soup, derived from an 1885 cookbook. For brunch, choose from appetizers, like blue crab bisque with vermouth and tarragon, and entrees, like a patty melt with fries or eggs benedict with pea meal bacon. With exposed brick walls, oil paintings, and lilac walls that match upholstered armchairs, McCrady’s Tavern’s décor simultaneously harks back to an earlier century and embraces modern aesthetic trends.

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33. O-Ku 463 King St Ste A, Charleston, SC 29403

O-Ku is a lively Japanese eatery and lounge with a focus on authentic Japanese flavors. The menu has contemporary, seasonal entrees and specialities include Yakiniku duck legs, salmon misoyaki, harumaki and spicy teriyaki pork belly. O-Ku uses fish from the world’s best markets, including areas like Norway, Scotland, Hawaii and New Zealand, and local sustainable sources. The interior has exposed brick and high ceilings.

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34. Trattoria Lucca 41 Bogard St, Charleston, SC 29403

Helmed by award-winning chef Ken Vedrinski, this cozy corner bistro serves a menu of Tuscan classics that changes nightly, depending upon the availability of local ingredients each day. Inspired by the city of Lucca, which is renowned for its olive oils, Lucca’s menu features imported cheese and salumi, handmade pastas, like gnudi, ravioli, taglioni, and bucatini, and fresh produce and local seafood from Charleston’s waters, all tossed with Italian ingredients like Cerignola olives, Calabrese chilies, and Crescenza cheese. Paired with a wine list that emphasizes Italian vineyards, Trattoria Lucca is the perfect locale for a robust, flavorful meal that is at once relaxed and refined.

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37. Stems and Skins 1070 E Montague Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405

This North Charleston spot is known for their varied selection of vino, craft cocktails, and Mediterranean inspired small plates. Named after the elements that give wine its flavor and texture, rest assured the selections here are top notch-- most wines in store are from global small-batch producers. The atmosphere at Stems & Skins earns bonus points for being upscale but not stuffy.

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38. Jack Of Cups 34 Center Street, Folly Beach, SC 29439

Jack of Cups is a nook of a craft beer bar with global pub grub and a growing cocktail list. Its a cozy, no-nonsense space with outdoor seating on a patio. Though small compared to some other spots on Folly Beach, this place is a far cry from the cases of Coronas served at other spots down the street. There are tripels, sours, seasonals, reserves, and the occasional “whale” on tap. Ask about it.