Food Guide: Famous Places to Eat in Charleston SC

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I visited Charleston recently and it was as charming as I’d imagined. I went in search of the most famous places to eat in Charleston SC and was not disappointed! I’m already excited to return to the charming city.

Charleston, SC is a city where the cobblestone streets echo the footsteps of history, and the air is filled with the aroma of some of the most delicious cuisines in the South. Also known as Holy City, you’ll see many places of worship dotted around Charleston. It’s one of the best places to visit if you want to stay downtown and be able to walk to all the top tourist attractions.

Explore famous places to eat in Charleston SC for a true taste of the South. These are some of the best places to eat in Charleston SC that come highly rated.

The city’s dining options are interwoven with stories of colonial heritage, African influences, and a modern embrace of farm-to-table philosophies. Charleston is a great place where each meal is a celebration of past and present, offering a taste of local traditions, seasonal options, and innovative culinary techniques.

From Lewis Barbeque to Leon’s Oyster Shop, Charleston restaurants include an array of famous places to eat that are sure to leave you full and satisfied. Whether you’re a lover of fresh seafood or a devotee of Southern comfort food, this food guide to the best restaurants in Charleston will lead you to the right place.

#1 Famous Places to Eat in Charleston SC

Hyman’s Seafood – 36,000 reviews and counting

Hyman’s Seafood, located in the heart of Charleston, South Carolina, has been a favorite place for both locals and visitors for many years.

Known for its authentic Southern hospitality and an extensive menu that showcases the best of Lowcountry seafood cuisine, Hyman’s Seafood offers a dining experience that is both memorable and flavorful. When we dined at Hyman’s, multiple servers came over to ensure we were having a great time. The service and food were both 10/10.

The restaurant prides itself on serving fresh, locally sourced seafood, including shrimp, crab, oysters, and fish, all prepared with traditional Southern flavors and techniques. The atmosphere of Hyman’s Seafood is warm and welcoming, with a decor that reflects the rich maritime heritage of Charleston. I was very happy trying out their famous hush puppies for the first time while waiting for my main course.

Over the years, it has garnered numerous accolades for its quality food and service, making it a must-visit destination for anyone wanting to experience the true taste of South Carolina’s coastal cuisine. Whether you’re in the mood for a casual lunch or a special dinner, Hyman’s Seafood is highly recommended. This was one of my favorite restaurants in Charleston.

If there is a wait, enjoy a drink at one of these top rooftop bars in Charleston.

Best Thing to Eat at this Famous Charleston Restaurant: Trying out the Famous Hush Puppies. Get a taste of tradition here.

Address: 215 Meeting St
Phone: 843-853-8600
Style of Food: Seafood

#2 Famous Places to Eat in Charleston SC

Poogan’s Porch – Southern Comfort & History

Poogan’s Porch is tucked away on Queen Street and offers delicious Southern comfort food and is a place where the warmth of Southern hospitality is matched only by the heartiness of its cuisine.

Set in a historic Victorian house, the restaurant offers a glimpse into Charleston’s past, with a menu that showcases the timeless traditions of Southern cooking. The buttermilk fried chicken, a dish that’s both simple and delicious, embodies the essence of comfort food, offering a taste of home that’s both nostalgic and deeply satisfying.

Explore famous places to eat in Charleston SC for a true taste of the South. These are some of the best places to eat in Charleston SC that come highly rated.

Poogan’s Porch is a celebration of the South, a place where the stories of Charleston’s history are shared over plates of deliciously prepared food.

Best Thing to Eat at this Famous Charleston Restaurant: Buttermilk Fried Chicken. Explore more here.

Address: 456 Comfort Ct
Phone: 888-999-0000
Style of Food: Southern

#3 Famous Places to Eat in Charleston SC

Leon’s Oyster Shop – A Casual Affair with Serious Flavor

Leon’s Oyster Shop is Charleston’s answer to the casual yet sophisticated seafood eatery, where the ambiance is laid back, but the food is anything but. Marrying the casual vibe of a seaside shack with the sophistication of Southern cuisine, this restaurant has carved a niche for itself with its specialty in char-grilled oysters and impeccably fried chicken.

The restaurant’s commitment to fresh, locally sourced seafood, along with its innovative approach to traditional dishes, makes it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an authentic taste of Charleston’s vibrant food scene.

The char-grilled oysters, smokey and succulent, are a must-try, showcasing the kitchen’s ability to elevate simple ingredients into something extraordinary. Leon’s is not just a place to eat; it’s a place to gather and share laughter over plates of beautifully prepared food.

This is a great spot for happy hour. The perfect place to explore the wine list and fresh oysters while catching up with friends.

Best Thing to Eat at this Famous Charleston Restaurant: Char-grilled oysters. Get a taste of the sea and more here.

Address: 698 King Street Charleston SC
Phone: 843-531-6500
Style of Food: Seafood/Southern

#4 Famous Places to Eat in Charleston SC

Charleston Grill – Where Jazz and Foodies Meet

Charleston Grill is a place where jazz and the artistry of fine dining meet. The restaurant’s commitment to providing an unparalleled dining experience is evident in every aspect, from the live music lineup to the innovative menu that combines local Southern ingredients with global culinary influences.

Executive Chef Michelle Weaver’s creations, like the celebrated crab cakes, are a testament to her ability to balance complexity with comfort, offering dishes that are memorable and satisfying. Whether it’s for a special occasion or a treat-yourself evening, Charleston Grill’s warm, inviting atmosphere makes it an ideal spot.

Best Thing to Eat at this Famous Charleston Restaurant: Crab Cakes. Discover more here.

Address: 224 King Street Charleston, SC
Phone: 843-751-4017
Style of Food: Contemporary

#5 Famous Places to Eat in Charleston SC

Lewis Barbeque – The Holy Grail of Southern BBQ

Lewis Barbecue, located in Charleston, South Carolina, has quickly risen to acclaim as one of the premier destinations for authentic Texas-style barbecue in the heart of the Lowcountry. Founded by John Lewis, a pitmaster renowned for his mastery of traditional barbecue techniques, this eatery brings the rich flavors and traditions of Texas barbecue to the Southern dining scene. At Lewis Barbecue, the focus is on high-quality meats, smoked to perfection over Texas post oak, resulting in succulent brisket, ribs, sausage, and more that melt in your mouth.

The atmosphere at Lewis Barbecue is as inviting as its menu, featuring a spacious, rustic interior and an expansive outdoor dining area that encourages communal dining and a relaxed experience. The restaurant’s open kitchen and custom-built smokers are a testament to Lewis’s dedication to the craft of barbecue, allowing diners to witness the care and precision that goes into every dish. With its combination of exceptional smoked meats, southern hospitality, and a laid-back vibe, Lewis Barbecue offers a slice of Texas in Charleston, making it a must-visit for barbecue aficionados and casual diners alike.

Best Thing to Eat at this Famous Charleston Restaurant: The Brisket. For more details, visit their website.

Address: 464 N Nassau St
Phone: 843-805-9500
Style of Food: Southern BBQ

#6 Famous Places to Eat in Charleston SC

Peninsula Grill – A Fine Dining Experience

As you stroll through the heart of downtown Charleston, the Peninsula Grill awaits to envelop you in its lush, secret garden ambiance. This establishment is renowned for its refined Southern cuisine.

The Peninsula Grill offers a fine dining experience that combines elegance with the comforting flavors of the South. The restaurant’s setting, reminiscent of a bygone era, offers a backdrop of opulence and serenity, making every meal a special occasion.

Discover the heart of Southern cuisine at these famous places to eat in Charleston SC. You’ll find delicious dishes at these top Charleston restaurants.

The menu, crafted with an eye for detail and a passion for flavors, features the finest local ingredients transformed into delicious dishes that speak to both tradition and innovation. The Ultimate Coconut Cake, a legendary dessert offers layers of flavor that are as complex as they are comforting. Dining at the Peninsula Grill is a delicious and memorable treat.

Best Thing to Eat at this Famous Charleston Restaurant: Ultimate Coconut Cake. Peek at their menu.

Address: 112 North Market Street Charleston, SC
Phone: 843-723-0700
Style of Food: Southern/Seafood

#7 Famous Places to Eat in Charleston SC

Chez Nous – European Elegance with Southern Charm

Nestled in a quiet Charleston neighborhood, Chez Nous is a culinary gem that feels like a secret shared among friends. The restaurant’s charm lies in its simplicity and authenticity, offering a daily changing menu that reflects the chefs’ experience in Europe, with a sprinkle of the local palate and produce.

The mystery of not knowing what will be on the menu until you arrive makes dining here an adventure. It’s seasonal menu is always creative and delicious. Housed in a restored historic home, the intimate setting provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Best Thing to Eat at this Famous Charleston Restaurant: Handwritten Menus. Explore more here.

Address: 6 Payne Court Charleston, SC
Phone: 843-579-3060
Style of Food: European

#8 Famous Places to Eat in Charleston SC

167 Raw Oyster Bar – An Oyster Lover’s Dream

167 Raw Oyster Bar has a rustic, yet chic, atmosphere. The menu at 167 Raw Oyster Bar goes beyond just oysters; it includes a variety of seafood options such as lobster rolls, fish tacos, and ceviches. The bar also boasts an impressive selection of wines, craft beers, and cocktails, carefully chosen to complement the seafood. The lobster roll, a standout dish, encompasses the essence of the sea with its fresh, succulent lobster nestled in a perfectly toasted bun— simple yet delicious.

Discover the heart of Southern cuisine at these famous places to eat in Charleston SC. You’ll find delicious dishes at these top Charleston restaurants.

What sets 167 Raw Oyster Bar apart is not just its commitment to sourcing the finest seafood but also its dedication to creating a memorable dining experience for every guest. The staff is known for their knowledge and passion for seafood, offering recommendations and insights that enhance the dining experience.

Best Thing to Eat at this Famous Charleston Restaurant: The Oysters. Learn more about the fresh catch here.

Address: 193 King Street Charleston, SC
Phone: 843-579-4997
Style of Food: Seafood

#9 Famous Places to Eat in Charleston SC

Chubby Fish – The Evolution of Charleston’s Seafood Scene

Chubby Fish commits to working with local fishermen and purveyors to ensure a menu that’s not only fresh but also responsible.

The chefs at Chubby Fish employ a creative approach to seafood, combining traditional techniques with modern flavors to create dishes that are exciting, unexpected, and delicious.

Explore famous places to eat in Charleston SC for a true taste of the South. These are some of the best places to eat in Charleston SC that come highly rated.

The open kitchen design adds an element of excitement so you can see firsthand how the food is prepared.

Best Thing to Eat at this Famous Charleston Restaurant: Seasonal Seafood Dishes. Explore what’s fresh today.

Address: 252 Coming Street Charleston, SC
Phone: 854-222-3949
Style of Food: Seafood

#10 Famous Places to Eat in Charleston SC

Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar – Delicious Fish

Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar, situated in the historic heart of Charleston, South Carolina, is a great option for seafood lovers. This distinguished restaurant is celebrated for its innovative approach to seafood dining, blending traditional Southern flavors with contemporary culinary techniques.

The restaurant’s menu is diverse and includes raw oysters, succulent shrimp, fresh catch fish dishes, and more. Amen Street’s ambiance combines elegance with a relaxed coastal vibe, making it a perfect spot for both intimate dinners and casual gatherings.

The raw bar, a focal point of the dining experience, invites guests to watch as their food is prepared, adding an interactive element to the meal.

Best Thing to Eat at this Famous Charleston Restaurant: The Fish of The Day. Find the most up-to-date menu here.

Address: 205 E Bay St
Phone: 843-853-8600
Style of Food: Seafood

#11 Famous Places to Eat in Charleston SC

The Obstinate Daughter – Relaxation on Sullivan’s Island

If you are going to explore Sullivan’s Island (which I highly recommend), stop by The Obstinate Daughter. The restaurant serves a unique blend of Southern, French, Italian, and Spanish cuisine.

You’ll find lots on the menu which includes everything from wood-fired pizzas and homemade pasta to sophisticated seafood dishes, all made with locally sourced ingredients.

The interior of The Obstinate Daughter is both rustic and refined, creating a cozy yet elegant atmosphere that complements the island’s laid-back lifestyle.

The restaurant’s commitment to providing an exceptional dining experience is evident in every dish. Beyond the food, The Obstinate Daughter is also known for its exceptional service and warm hospitality, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a memorable meal in a historic and scenic location.

Best Thing to Eat at this Famous Charleston Restaurant: The Pizza. Explore the menus here.

Address: 2063 Middle St, Sullivan’s Island
Phone: 843- 416-5020
Style of Food: A unique blend of Southern, French, Italian, and Spanish cuisine.

My Overall Thoughts: Famous Places to Eat in Charleston SC

Charleston, SC, is a treasure trove of delicious dining options. Whether you’re sinking your teeth into a succulent piece of BBQ at Lewis’s, savoring the fresh flavors of the sea at 167 Raw Oyster Bar, or indulging in the comfort of Southern classics at Poogan’s Porch, you’ll enjoy the delicious food offerings available.

Immerse yourself in the beautiful views and exquisite flavors found at the best rooftop bars Charleston, an essential experience for visitors and locals alike.

These famous places to eat in Charleston not only showcase the city’s diverse culinary landscape but also its warm southern hospitality and rich history. While a lot of these restaurants are in downtown Charleston, there are a lot of restaurants to choose from in North Charleston also.

Fancy a drink while in Charleston, visit one of these top rooftop bars in Charleston before or after your dinner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I find vegetarian options at these restaurants?

Yes, many of Charleston’s famous restaurants cater to various dietary preferences, including vegetarian. While some places like Chubby Fish and 167 Raw Oyster Bar focus on seafood, they often offer vegetarian dishes. It’s recommended to check their current menus online or call ahead.

Do these famous places to eat in Charleston, SC, offer options for people with dietary restrictions?

Many of Charleston’s renowned restaurants are accommodating of dietary restrictions, offering gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options. Establishments like Lewis’s Barbeque, Chez Nous, and others often feature dishes that cater to various dietary needs. It’s always a good idea to check the restaurant’s menu online or contact them directly for the most current options and to ensure they can accommodate your dietary requirements.

Are reservations required for dining at these famous places?

While not all restaurants in Charleston require reservations, it’s highly recommended to make them where possible, especially during peak tourist seasons or for dinner service at popular spots like Charleston Grill and Peninsula Grill.

What are the must-try best cuisine dishes at these famous places to eat in Charleston, SC?

Must-try dishes include the Ultimate Coconut Cake at Peninsula Grill, the seasonal seafood dishes at Chubby Fish, and the buttermilk fried chicken at Poogan’s Porch. Each restaurant has its signature dish that reflects the best of Charleston’s culinary scene.

Are there famous places to eat in Charleston, SC, that also have historical significance?

Yes, Charleston’s dining scene is as rich in history as it is in flavor. For instance, Poogan’s Porch is set in a Victorian townhouse, offering a glimpse into the city’s history alongside its traditional Southern dishes. Many restaurants in Charleston are housed in buildings that date back centuries, offering diners not just a meal but a journey through time. They are also beautiful charming buildings that add to the experience of dining out in Charleston.

If you have any more questions about famous places to eat in Charleston SC, Charleston travel recommendations, or all things travel, please reach out via Instagram or my contact page. I would love to help you!

About Lorna Ryan

Lorna's fashion & beauty journey began on runways, including NYFW, which sparked her love for all things chic. Lorna spent two years as a SephoraSquad ambassador, sharing hero beauty products. Lorna unveils coveted beauty gems, the latest fashion trends, and best-kept jetsetter escapes.

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