We’re lucky enough to be close friends with one of the best chefs to come to LA from South Carolina. (Avid readers may remember him as Ari, my chef friend at Red Medicine.) So when Mike and I decided to head to South Carolina for a weekend, we immediately emailed Ari to ask about the restaurants in Charleston that we HAD to try.
Here are the places he recommended, plus some others we discovered during our glutinous and amazing foodie weekend trip to Charleston.
Great restaurants in Charleston for foodies:
Fig was the one restaurant we’d been determined to go to from the moment we made Charleston plans. A little secret about Fig is that they welcome walk-ins as long as there are available tables (some people stupidly cancel their reservations) and they have a communal table! So even if you can’t get a reservation, it’s worth a try to walk in and see.
We were lucky to get sat early and then proceeded to eat our way through most of their menu. Here were some of our highlights…
It’s now one of our favorite restaurants in the world!
We were told by Ari to “go to Leon’s Oyster Shop and eat my fried chicken! And don’t sleep on the hushpuppies.” Yeah… go eat Ari’s fried chicken! And don’t sleep on the hushpuppies either. And also get the Siam Salad. And then top that all off with a rose slushie, just because you can.
We hadn’t had okonomiyaki since our trip to Japan, and we were stoked that they a) had it on their menu and b) it was good! Not quite the same as the kind we ate in Tokyo, but ridiculously good in its own right. And Mike really liked their pork dumplings.
Since the menu changes every day, this place could be hit or miss depending on your tastes. I’m not a fan of mussels or swordfish, so two out of the four things on the menu were out for me. But their steak and potatoes were amazing and cooked to perfection (which is different for each of us). Whatever you think of the food, it’s a super-cute date spot!
Little Jack’s Tavern is owned by the same people as Leon’s. We were told by a local to go get the sliders and a “perfect martini.” Of course we were told this AFTER we pigged out at Leon’s. So we just got the martini, and it was, indeed, perfect.
Another chef friend of mine recommended the Hominy Grill for breakfast. Bonus points: It’s one of the best restaurants in Charleston that’s actually open early!
Go early, like right when it opens, to avoid waiting a long time for a table. Get the sweet potato waffles for breakfast and a side of their chicken thighs and make your own chicken and waffles. Mike really liked their pork belly grits.
Other restaurants that were recommended:
Great places to grab a drink in Charleston:
One of the servers at Leon’s overheard us talking about The Belmont, and he suggested that we try his favorite cocktail — The Aldo Raine. Yes, it’s named after Brad Pitt’s character in Inglourious Basterds. And yes, it could definitely be a top contender for best cocktail in Charleston.
Inside The Dewberry Hotel is a swanky bar called The Living Room. This place was also recommended by several people, so we stopped by for a drink before our dinner at Fig. There was a live band playing jazz, and their Old Fashioned was perfect.
If you want to nibble while you drink, check out Bin 152. It’s a wine bar that also offers cheese and charcuterie.
We had a whirlwind of a three-day foodie weekend in Charleston. We drove away feeling fat and happy and dying to go back so we can try all the places we couldn’t fit into our schedule (and into our over-stuffed stomachs).
What would you recommend for our next foodie trip to Charleston?