South Carolina

Restaurants in South Carolina


Though it’s best known for its seasonal, locally sourced cuisine, the wine program of this beloved downtown restaurant has also won serious accolades.

From the outside, this King Street bar often looks like it’s closed. There are no overhead lights here, no bright signs or TV screens—just a room of low-lit wooden tables and chairs.

There’s such a great vibe at this old house on Pitt Street in the historic Old Village, along with one of Charleston’s favorite chefs for decades, Frank Lee. Special dinners feature local ingredients—peaches, crabs, or shrimp, in season.

The burger, the burger. I don’t know if writer Edgar Allen Poe ate much beef when he was stationed at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island in the 1820s, but when we go to Poe’s Tavern, we get one thing, the half-pound burger—sometimes with a crabcake and remoulade on top.

A town-gathering place, the parking lot of Page’s Okra Grill is full breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the mayor of Mount Pleasant, Linda Page, is an owner.

Brighter, lighter and beach-ier than his wildly popular Wild Olive on John’s Island, Chef Jacques Larson is drawing East Cooper crowds to new digs on Sullivan’s Island that features local ingredients and plates to share—seafood, pizza, oysters.

One of those surprises-in-a-plaza places, Bacco serves octopus and clams, just-baked breads, pizza, and other delicious Mediterranean fare from their wood-burning oven. While chef Michael Scognamiglio cooks, his father, Luigi, is often the host.

Mustard-based sauce on the BBQ, that’s Melvin’s speciatly. Fast service, too, and southern sides including collard greens and fried okra. A granddaddy of the local BBQ scene dating back to the 1930s, the restaurant’s “secret-recipe” draws crowds.

Get this—a fried egg, pimento cheese, grilled okra, fresh tomato, pineapple, Sriacha mayo, Canadian bacon—the toppings for BBQ sandwiches and tacos here are like nowhere else in Charleston.

In a James Island neighborhood near the center of the island, Smoky Oak Taproom has dozens of beers on tap and cooks most anything over fire, including pulled pork, beef brisket, and beer can chicken.

Sure, the first of dozens of locations opened in Alabama in the 1980s, but Charleston thinks of this place as one of its own. I love to walk in off King Street and smell the hickory smoke.

The founding pitmaster at Fiery Ron’s is a chef with big restaurant experience, and he’s featured live music since day one.

The bartender recommends the fresh charcuterie (they also have a cured option), and we think the catfish rillettes are smoky-incredible. Another sure thing, I think, is the lamb meatball dish in a light broth, along with saison-style beer.

Brighter, lighter, and beach-ier than his wildly popular Wild Olive on John’s Island, Chef Jacques Larson’s Obstinate Daughter is drawing even more crowds—if that‘s possible—to the restaurant scene on Sullivan’s Island.

Chef Frank McMahon already has a following for his fish cookery at Hank’s Seafood nearby, but this place goes Parisian—with tile floors and café chairs and smoked (on purpose) mirrors.