Johns Island If Fat Hen proved that a fine restaurant could thrive on rural (but rapidly changing) Johns Island, then Wild Olive established that driving to Johns Island for dinner is now pretty much a requirement. 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. Bonus: no searching for a parking space.
Cannonborough Any place that can elevate cabbage to cult status deserves a spot on this list, and XBB accomplished that with the okonomiyaki -- on any given day inside the restaurant you’ll see at least a couple on the tables around you. The owners call their menu “Asian soul food,” which hails from a continent, not to a specific country. This is illustrative of the general creativity and whimsy on display here, from the converted gas station setting, to the inventive cocktails, to a rotating list of specials that keep regularly coming back, many times a week.
North Charleston No real website, no PR team, and no pretense. This is on the short list for the best fried chicken in the state, and one of the best “not-so-secrets” in the city. A lot of people might go to another soul food restaurant named for another woman, and that’s fine, but the line at Bertha’s is always long, and it is important because it doesn’t need anything but word-of-mouth to make it one of the best. Sign up here for our daily Charleston email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town. A native North Carolinian, Stephanie grew up in North Carolina on good Southern cooking and lots of books, but she now calls Charleston, SC home, and has done so for 10 years. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including
The Local Palate,
The Post and Courier, and
The Hollins Critic.