Charleston’s most historic neighborhoods, including the French Quarter, Harleston Village, and South of Broad, boast the city’s biggest mansions, most elegant architecture, and many of its fabled restaurants. If you’re looking to dig into Lowcountry classics and treat yourself to a decadent meal at an old-school establishment, this is the place to go. Start your culinary tour with some homemade buttermilk biscuits with sausage gravy or a chicken fried pork chop in a restored Victorian home at Poogan's Porch, Charleston's oldest independent culinary establishment. Later, dig into Lowcountry seafood gumbo and award-winning she-crab soup at 82 Queen or duck confit and fried green tomatoes at Cru Cafe. Indulge in dinner at Circa 1886, located inside the original carriage house of the Wentworth Mansion. Consistently ranked as one of the city’s finest restaurants, the kitchen serves sophisticated seasonal dishes such as a Southern grilled cheese with pimento cheese mousse and caviar and sea scallops with blue corn grits.
This largely residential area which encompasses neighborhoods such as Cannonborough, Radcliffeborough, and Eastside has experienced a period of revitalization over the past couple decades, leading to a new crop of trendy boutiques, hip coffee shops, and off-the-beaten-path restaurants that are a winning combination of local favorite and critical darling. Acclaimed pitmaster Rodney Scott serves his famous pulled pork and other Lowcountry favorites at his perennially popular and James Beard award-winning restaurant, Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ. For a bit of international flavor, don’t miss the mole enchiladas (green or red) and birria tacos at Pink Cactus; Indaco’s handmade pasta; and Wild Common’s inventive tasting menu of substantial bites, including crab rice with kimchi and baked oysters with chorizo. Wrap up your day at The Cocktail Club, a speakeasy-style bar that creates playful craft cocktails like the Ramen Noodle, a mix of gin, coconut milk, ginger, pineapple, and lemon.
There’s a beach for everyone in Charleston, from surf bums to nature lovers. Something they all have in common: easy access to some of the city’s best (and freshest) seafood, as well as a plethora of restaurants with views of the stunning scenery. At Folly Beach, casual seafood huts and tiki bars crowd the main drag where surfers and sun-worshippers fuel up on calamari fries and fish tacos at Blu Beach Bar & Grill and homemade crab cakes oysters on the half shell at The Crab Shack. On charming Sullivan’s Island, a favorite with families, stop by Mex 1 Coastal Cantina for tacos, tortas, and Baja bowls, and Sullivan's Fish Camp, a neighborhood institution that serves the daily catch from local fishermen. Meanwhile, Kiawah Island lives up to its reputation with fine dining restaurants like The Atlantic Room at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island’s Golf Resort, which features a seafood stew made from shrimp, mussels, clams, crab, island curry broth, and Carolina gold rice.