I started my love affair with the Lowcountry and Charleston, SC when my grandparents re-located there in 1987. Since then, the city has experienced a boom of culture and expansion, which has solidified Charleston as a bona fide dining destination. Named the 2013 # 1 top city in the US and Canada by Travel + Leisure magazine, Charleston continues to build upon its rich history to solidify it as a world-class destination. Here are my top five Charleston restaurants:
McCrady’s holds the distinction of being my favorite restaurant in Charleston. Without fail, each time I choose to spend my evening at this restaurant I am rewarded with a complete dining experience, as the atmosphere, food and service are impeccable. The four course menu option is the most popular, and will allow you to taste the best of what chef Sean Brock has to offer. Each plate is beautiful, resembling a work of art, and tastes just as amazing as it looks. The recommended wines are perfectly paired with each dish, and allow you to experience the full potential of the stringently-local food.
2 Unity Alley
FIG (Food is Good) is such a popular destination among locals and visitors to Charleston that reservations constantly fill up 3 – 5 weeks out. Chef Mike Lata has become one of Charleston’s premier chefs, thanks to his seasonally-inspired cuisine with a commitment to using local and sustainable foods. One part neighborhood café, and one part elegant bistro, FIG delights diners with uncomplicated yet delicious Lowcounty dishes.
232 Meeting Street
Virginia’s on King
If traditional Lowcountry cuisine is what you’re craving, Virginia’s on King is one of your best options. Exposed brick walls adorned with local art and wide-plank wood floors will transport you to right to Virginia’s home kitchen. The restaurant specializes in upscale southern food, and is where I have tasted some of the best fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits and fried chicken I have ever eaten (which speaks volumes considering I can whip up a mean batch of shrimp and grits myself).
412 King Street
One of the best ways to experience what Tristan has to offer is by combining it with a show at Dock Street Theater. “Dinner and a Show” is an incredible deal, featuring a multi-course pre-theatre dinner for two, a bottle of wine, and tickets to a show at historic Dock Street, followed by dessert back at the restaurant. If you choose only to dine at Tristan, you will not be disappointed either. The restaurant is located in the French Quarter Inn, and provides a respite from touristy Meeting Street. The food is delicious and artfully prepared, and staff are friendly to the point you may think of them as your new best friends upon the conclusion of your meal.
10 Linguard Street
The Macintosh is relatively new to Charleston’s dining scene, having only made its appearance in 2011. What it lacks in history, it makes up for in panache and popularity. Three of my favorite menu items include “The Mac” house ground burger, duck breast, and the best blue cheese stuffed olive martini I have ever had. A martini and burger make for the best start to an exciting evening, considering The Macintosh is located right in the middle of Charleston’s vibrant and fun Upper King St.
479B King Street