Charleston, South Carolina–a colonial city known best for its historic buildings and friendly people–is now adored for its standout culinary scene. The "Holy City" has long since arrived as a must-see (and taste) destination of the South, and restaurants here must be special in order to thrive alongside the current Charleston talent. Expect a unique atmosphere from each spot in town and a loving dedication to local ingredients and farms.
Local Charlestonians and visitors alike enjoy the local food movement that's woven into the lowcountry's celebrity chefs and nationally recognized restaurants. Take, for example, the genuine pride with which The Ordinary presents each oyster, or the chalkboard menu at Husk that changes twice daily to reflect what's available locally.
Some of Charleston's best restaurants are found slightly off the main course–tucked into downtown neighborhoods among residential homes. Five Loaves Cafe is a longtime staple, serving vegetarian and gluten-free menus in humble environs for such a stellar variety of soups. R Kitchen, a newcomer in comparison, wows Charleston visitors with its 5 courses for $25, alongside wisely chosen wine pairings and a spontaneous atmosphere.
It would be remiss to collect a list of Charleston's best restaurants without mention of those honoring French and Italian cuisine with lowcountry ingredients. Chez Nous, "Our Home," is at home on a semi-hidden street downtown, snapping and sharing photos of the unique offerings of the day each morning. Meanwhile, Trattoria Lucca artfully serves up the best pasta you've ever had–handmade fresh daily.