Best Places to Eat in Charleston, South Carolina

Who’s ready for the best places to eat in Charleston, South Carolina?! This blog post has been a long time coming for my friends, followers, and family! If you missed part one, “Best Places to Stay in Charleston,” you can find that here! I lived in Charleston in 2018 (more on that here) and spent a majority of my time exploring. Since I am a photographer (and a major foodie), I put a lot of time into location scouting and stumbled across some amazing spots and restaurants along the way! I wanted this guide to be more than just your typical list that you could find on Trip Advisor with my favorite recommendations of things I did to fill my days. Also, please remember, these recommendations are obviously subjective! BUT, I think this guide is a pretty dang good place to start 🙂 SO – without further adieu, here is my guide of the BEST places to eat in Charleston, South Carolina (from a past local’s perspective).


Best Places to Eat in Charleston, South Carolina

Map created using Wanderlog, a road trip planner on iOS and Android


I took a vote on my Instagram and DESPITE my opinion of separating these by type of food, you guys asked for these (almost unanimously) to be separated by location. So my disclaimer here is: PLEASE don’t let a different location than where you’re staying deter you from trying a restaurant in another location! Some of my favorite restaurants ARE NOT in downtown Charleston! I’ll make sure to bold my all-time favorites for you so that if you’re feeling adventurous, you can give those a try 🙂 Please know that my husband and I are major foodies, so these choices were carefully picked for you all!
Best Places to Eat in Charleston including Hank's SeafoodHank’s Seafood, voted best seafood by locals 16 years in a row!

Downtown Charleston:

  • Breakfast/Brunch:
    • Blind Tiger Pub ($$): this likely won’t show up in your search for “best brunch,” but IT SHOULD. Irish breakfast shooters, candied bacon, beignets… you know where I’m at on a Sunday morning!
    • The Daily ($-$$): this is also on my coffee list below! You could knock out two birds with one stone. Be warned: they are always slammed on the weekends, but the avocado toast is literally the best on this earth so it’s worth the wait! This is also a great place if you’re wanting something a bit on the healthier side.
    • Harken Cafe ($$): right off of Queen Street, this is the perfect spot to walk and grab breakfast in the mornings with indoor seating as well as a side patio! Their coffee is phenomenal and their baked goods are out of this world! Everything is made from scratch in house. Trust me on this – grab a baked good to split as well as the breakfast sandwich on the ricotta biscuit OR the avocado toast.
    • Miller’s All Day ($): an easy, cute and casual stop on King Street for breakfast! Make sure to try something from their glass-cased bakery and their “unicorn” grits!
    • Poogan’s Porch ($$-$$$): a southern staple in the heart of downtown! Order a mimosa and try to snag a table on the porch with chicken and waffles or shrimp and grits!
    • Toast ($): a Charleston staple! It’s not the best breakfast I’ve ever had, but somehow, I always find myself here when I come back to visit. Blaming it on nostalgia and the bottomless mimosas 🙂 Still a great spot!
  • Coffee:
    • Clerks Coffee ($-$$): inside Hotel Emeline, this cute little spot has delicious baked goods, a few breakfast sandwiches, and killer latte’s!
    • The Daily ($-$$): the BEST almond milk latte’s! They make all of their alternative milks in house. Always slammed, but for good reason – it’s SO good! Breakfast tacos are also next level.
    • Harken Cafe ($$): mentioned above for food, but if you’re just looking for coffee, you can’t go wrong with this cute spot on Queen Street!
    • Kudu Coffee & Craft Beer ($)the best ambiance – no wifi and a gorgeous courtyard with fountains and palm trees. Forever a favorite.
    • Second State Coffee ($): the coffee here is GOOOOOD. This isn’t a spot I would go to for the cute scenery, but if you want a reliable cup of coffee or a good brown sugar latte, this is your spot.
82 Queen in Charleston on Queen Street Outside of 82 Queen on Queen Street.


  • Lunch/Dinner:
    • 82 Queen ($$-$$$): this one has a special spot in my heart, so I could be biased! It was the first dinner Chance and I had during his first visit to Charleston! Either way, they have delicious Southern food! Their pickled veggies are SO good! The best spot to grab a nice dinner in their open air courtyard and walk to the Battery for sunset!
    • Bay Street Biergarten ($$): my favorite spot on the peninsula to grab a beer and eat “freaky taters” – loaded tater tots with BACON JAM, smoked cheese sauce, and pulled pork. Has great German food, too, like pretzels and schnitzel! Amazing patio area and always a fun place to watch sports and just hang out! Dogs allowed outside, too!
    • Felix ($$-$$$): found this gem through one of our local friends – SO delicious and honestly has the best atmosphere! It’s French, but don’t let that stop you! It’s right on King street and the perfect spot for even drinks at their bar! They have the best cocktails!
    • Frannie and the Fox ($$): this cute, Italian eatery is located inside Hotel Emmeline! I truly love this place for the atmosphere! The open-air patio is absolutely gorgeous, and the food is great, too!
    • Hank’s Seafood ($$$): voted best seafood by the locals for 16 years!! And for good reason! You can’t go wrong with any of the seafood here!
Frannie and the Fox patio at Hotel EmmelineFrannie and the Fox patio at Hotel Emmeline.


    • Husk ($$$): just really delicious food all around. You have to come prepared for this one, though! Make sure to get a reservation, though! Walk-ins are welcome but you have to wait outside basically before they open – it’s that popular. The menu changes almost daily because they only use fresh ingredients from the South. Truly, a must!
    • Leon’s Oyster Shop ($-$$): literally, this place is amazing. It’s not quite as walkable as all the options here as it’s on the upper part of King Street, but it is WORTH IT! This place is legendary in Charleston and it’s 1000% worth the hype. Don’t skip the chargrilled oysters.
    • Malagón ($$-$$$): I’m not kidding when I say this is one of my favorite restaurants in the entire world. The ambiance is amazing – a small, Parisian café feel with incredible tapas and knowledgable staff for optimal wine pairings! If you love tapas, this place is an absolute MUST!
    • Melfi’s ($$-$$$): This spot on Upper King Street is a must if you love Italian food. Everything is made from scratch, in house, and feels like an old Italian bistro. The food is decadent and delicious! Their Cacio e Pepe is *chef’s kiss* – and all of my true Italian lovers out there know that’s an easy dish to not get right!
    • O-Ku ($$-$$$): there is an O-Ku in Charlotte, but this is where I first found it and just have to include it because it’s DELICIOUS! Happy hour (5:00-7:00pm) on MWF have 1/2 price select sushi rolls – this is the best time to go!
    • Taco Boy ($-$$): THE BEST TACO’S EVER. EVER. Locations on Folly and downtown! You can’t go wrong with any of them!
    • The Watch Rooftop Kitchen & Cocktails ($$-$$$): one of my favorite rooftops in Charleston with a great view of the Ravenel Bridge! You may have to get a reservation for an open air table on the roof, but worth planning for! Their food is tapas style and cocktails are on point!
The Citrus Club inside the Dewberry Hotel for Best Places to Eat in CharlestonThe Citrus Club inside the Dewberry Hotel.


  • Drinks + Desserts:
    • Carmella’s ($) – gelato. paninis. I don’t really need to say another word. I love grabbing a s’more’s gelato panini and sitting at a table on the sidewalk to enjoy the sights and people watch on East Bay Street!
    • The Citrus Club ($$): this spot at the Dewberry is absolutely adorable. The cocktails and appetizers and SO delicious and the atmosphere is next level! My favorite stop for drinks and apps!
    • The Vendue Rooftop Bar ($$): strawberries and champagne or the bartenders favorite are my favorite orders for this rooftop hot spot! Right off of East Bay Street, so any easy after-dinner stroll!
Kudu Coffee courtyard in Charleston SCKudu Coffee and their courtyard.


Mount Pleasant:

  • Breakfast/Brunch:
    • Grace & Grit ($-$$): my all-time favorite brunch in ALL of Charleston! Mimosa flights and grits flights – do I really need to say anything else? It’s just across the Ravenel Bridge, too, so still really close proximity to downtown!
    • Post House Inn ($$): truly one of the cutest spots nestled in the heart of the Old Village (my favorite neighborhood in all of Charleston). You can’t go wrong with their full southern breakfast and a mimosa!
    • The Shelter ($-$$): just literally delicious. Chicken biscuit with hot honey? YEP. Have so many memories on this patio on Shem Creek!
    • Toast ($): a Charleston staple! It’s not the best breakfast I’ve ever had, but somehow, I always find myself here when I come back to visit. Blaming it on nostalgia and the bottomless mimosas 🙂 Still a great spot!
  • Coffee:
    • Brown Fox Coffee ($): an adorable little small coffee shop at the entrance of the Old Village neighborhood! Locals will walk or drive their golf carts there in the morning and sip latte’s while sitting at their picnic tables. No indoor seating available.
    • Second State Coffee ($): the coffee here is GOOOOOD. This isn’t a spot I would go to for the cute scenery, but if you want a reliable cup of coffee or a good brown sugar latte, this is your spot.
    • Vintage Coffee Cafe ($): literally right across the street from Brown Fox! Their chai tea latte is one of my all-time favs! They have great little cafe foods, too, for breakfast and lunch!
  • Lunch/Dinner:

    • Coastal Crust ($): delicious pizza! Spend the evening on the beach at Sullivan’s and hit Coastal on the way back when you’re sandy and eat at their picnic tables with string lights!
    • Crave Kitchen & Cocktails ($$-$$$): world famous mac and cheese! I’m not kidding! Their mac has won so many awards, and for good reason. It’s delicious. Their she crab soup is also one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. My mom and I always eat it there and get 2 tubs to go. One of my favorites in all of Charleston!
    • Cuoco Pazzo ($$): if you appreciate authentic Italian food, you MUST stop here! A cozy dining room with authentic wines and Italian dishes, this place just across the bridge is amazing!
    • Five Loaves Cafe ($): a cute cafe with lots of options that’s a cheap and quick stop! Their FLC Caesar is Chance and I’s all time favorite Caesar!
    • Post House Inn ($$): I know this was on the brunch list, too, but it’s worth the double slot. This is wild because I’m not a vegetarian, but I dream about their veggie burger – seriously!
    • Red Drum ($$): I LOVE this place! There is an outdoor area with a gorgeous fireplace, too, that is great for fall and early spring in Charleston. The Fried Chicken tacos are sooooo good!
    • Tavern and Table ($$-$$$): right on Shem Creek and my favorite happy hour spot! Their southern food is delicious and gives one of the best views of the sunset over the creek! Come early for their happy hour on the docks and stay for dinner! DO NOT sleep on the skillet cornbread!
Tavern and Table at sunset highlighted during Best Places to Eat in CharlestonThe view from Tavern and Table at sunset.


Folly Beach:

  • Bowen’s Island ($-$$): forget the Charleston Crab House (seriously, do not go there no matter how big the sign is) – Bowen’s Island is a local hot spot off the beaten path on Folly. It sits on the harbor and has the BEST seafood in the area!
  • Center Street Coffee ($): one of my favorite spots to get coffee in all of Charleston! Grab coffee and then walk to the beach!
  • Lost Dog Cafe ($-$$): eat outside with your doggo and enjoy (heavy on the champs) mimosas on the patio for breakfust/brunch!
  • Pier 101 ($-$$): want to come right off the beach to eat? Pier 101 is perfect for some seafood and a place to cool down while you eat lunch looking at the ocean! I wouldn’t make a point to eat here for dinner, but it’s a perfect lunch spot in the heat of the day.
  • Taco Boy ($-$$): this was on my list for downtown and it’s on this list, too. They just moved to a huge new spot on Folly and the food is just is good! The Mexican street corn?! I die!!
Lost Dog Cafe brunch in Charleston SCLost Dog Cafe brunch and heavy champagne mimosas!


Sullivan’s Island:

  • Mex 1 ($-$$): just really great Mexican food all around. Their cucumber strawberry marg is my fav! It’s such a great spot to take a lunch break from the beach!
  • The Obstinate Daughter ($$-$$$): brunch or dinner – an amazing spot with delicious food! Make sure to grab a reservation.
  • Poe’s Tavern ($-$$): this is just a good ol’ burger and fries joint, but it’s truly one of my all-time favs. Their Poe’s sauce and fries – SO GOOD.
Poe's Tavern in Charleston SC for burgers and fries Poe’s Tavern in full bloom in the spring.


West Ashley:

  • Early Bird Diner ($): I don’t know about you, but I love a cute little hole-in-the-wall diner. This spot has delicious traditional breakfast and is super cheap! It’s such a cute spot!
  • Frothy Beard Brewing Company ($): grab a brew and a GIANT slice of Zombie Bob’s pizza here. Live music and patio area – my favorite pizza I’ve ever eaten. EVER. I do not say this lightly!!
  • Locals Sushi ($$): 1/2 priced sushi on Mondays starting at 3pm!! Delicious sushi (and tacos)! Locations in Mount Pleasant and West Ashley!
  • Paisano’s ($$): I don’t know that I would make a trip here, but if you’re at your hotel and need to just stay in and order a pizza, make it from here. This was a weekly eat at our place! The Dinosaur BBQ – ridiculous!
  • Toast ($): (mentioning again here) a Charleston staple! It’s not the best breakfast I’ve ever had, but somehow, I always find myself here when I come back to visit. Blaming it on nostalgia and the bottomless mimosas 🙂 Still a great spot!

There you have it! Seriously, these are some of my go-to’s forever and always in Charleston! As I continue to visit often, I’ll keep this list updated! I hope you enjoy your time eating your way through Charleston!!

xo, Demi


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