10Best Finds Deals and Value in Variety of Settings
By Libby McMillan
Greenville Local Expert
Although Greenville is blessed with many fine dining establishments and more great restaurants than you could ever hope to patronize, there's also a wonderful variety of places which offer highly affordable meals. Whether its via a happy hour deal or just by very fair pricing offered all week long, the city's best value restaurants offer patrons many places to have the a great meal without breaking the budget. so the next time you ask yourself, "Where's the best place to go out to eat that doesn't cost a fortune?" you should consult this list as a reminder. But beware, locals know about these places so it's good to get there early or in off-peak hours if the value is available then. While many of our Best Value picks - like Sushi Koji, Smoke on the Water, and High Cotton - are on Main Street in the downtown neighborhood, others are throughout the city, from south Augusta Road to Haywood Road.
10 Pita House
Even if you have to wait to order, the service is fast and the patrons are never rude. Plus, the Mediterranean food is great. Garlicky hummus, fresh-baked pita bread, stuffed grape leaves, and hot falafel will appease your appetite for something unusual. When you place your order at the counter, keep an eye out for a table. Turnover is quick, but seats are at a premium. The best deals are plates, which come with a sampling of several foods. Share with some friends, and don't forget the baklava. (864-271-9895)
9 Thai Restaurant
Augusta Road's nondescript Thai Restaurant gives diners a great value for great food. It's worth the drive to Thai Restaurant just for its green curry. More locals order takeout than opting to eat in, but the interior is pleasant, although plain. There's also never a wait, even at peak dining hour. If you're looking for tasty Thai food, this is a good bet. ((864) 299-0677)
8 Como's Pete's
At lunch time, you'll see well-to-do Augusta Road yuppies, tables of senior citizens, groups of professionals, construction workers on break, a crew of Greenville policemen and women, and crowds of teens. In short, everybody comes here. The interior is dotted with photos of local baseball teams and information about civic groups. An extremely friendly staff is happy to give you refills of the best sweet tea around. The menu, varied as it is, makes ordering difficult, but you can't go wrong with the meat and three combination or the Greek salad, which has tons of feta cheese and a great garlic dressing. Stop by in the AM for a tummy-tickling country ham biscuit, or a plate of eggs and bacon � you won't be disappointed. (864-233-1385)
7 Henry's Smokehouse
Widely proclaimed as the best barbecue in town, Henry's is Greenville's great equalizer, seating business and government types alongside guys in jeans and workboots. Such a response isn't surprising when you sample the tender, succulent meat (with your choice of sauce) served alongside baked beans, cole slaw or fries. It's a classic Southern lunch, and you can readily gauge its popularity by the crowds. The decor at Henry's isn't fancy and seating is somewhat limited but, after the first bite, you'll know where the restaurant has directed its attention. (864-232-7774)
6 Sushi Koji
Sushi Koji is a Main Street staple: easy to find and very inviting. Best the best part about it is that they serve their great sushi and sake at deeply discounted prices during happy hour, SEVEN days a week. Family-owned and -operated, this small but friendly place also has an attractive interior space and a good-looking bar. It's also rare to eat here without seeing Japanese patrons, always a good sign for a sushi restaurant. (864-631-1145)
5 Saffron's Sidewalk Cafe
This cozy cafe, located on the lower level of a historic brick building, has become a tasty stop-off for casual fare. Dine inside amid funky artwork, or claim a table on the patio and enjoy a little al fresco time. The lunch menu puts forth sandwiches, salads, soups, wraps and burgers, along with daily specials. A few selections: Glenn's wasabi shrimp caesar wrap, smoked bacon and provolone burger, grilled salmon sandwich and the reuben wrap. You can also build your own sandwich or do a combo with soup or salad. (864-241-0401)
4 Smoke on the Water
Most times, folks think of barbecue in conjunction with small, no-frills eateries. Smoke on the Water quickly dispels that perception. The upscale restaurant is as serious about ambience as it is about barbecue. Quietly elegant, it's a great place for lunch or dinner, especially when you factor in perfectly cooked beef brisket, pulled pork, baby back ribs, prime rib, or beer-butt chicken. To please all tastes, a variety of zesty sauces can be had: tomato-, mustard-, or vinegar-based. Add in fresh greens and warm fruit cobbler, and your lips will be smacking in no time! The restaurant's busy bar is also a top hangout during happy hour. (864-232-9091)
3 High Cotton
When news broke that this Charleston standout was planning to open a Greenville location, the public rejoiced and for good reason. It's widely known that the folks behind High Cotton know how to impress, and that's just what this multilevel dining room does with its soaring glass walls and cool, contemporary space. Take in the view of the Reedy River as you savor an appetizer of seared Hudson Valley foie gras or jumbo lump crab Oscar. From there, main courses like sliced venison medallions, butternut squash, buttermilk-brined free range chicken or cornbread-crusted flounder should (and do) warrant your undivided attention. Outstanding wine list. (864-335-4200)
2 Papas & Beer
Papas & Beer is a large, lively Mexican restaurant which serves good to great food at incredibly reasonable prices. Families are often seen here, a testament to its fair pricing, but there is also a bar which offers a little more privacy. A favorite feature here is the salsa bar, which allows patrons to sample up to 10 different salsas in small, self-serve portions. They range from mild to hot and come in every color of the rainbow, from pumpkin to guacamole. But the best reason to go isn't even listed on the menu: it's a healthy, delicious dish called, simply, Pollo Loco: a chicken cutlet smothered in spinach, mushrooms, and cream sauce, and served with rice, beans and salad with guacamole dressing. It's priced well below $10 and is a huge plate of healthy food. You can't beat it. Papas & Beer also has large margaritas, all the traditional Mexican beers, and a good size menu. ((864) 286-3350)
1 The Trappe Door
The cozy Trappe Door is tucked beneath Barley's Tap Room just west of Main St. Find the staircase and you'll descend into a cozy and incredibly inviting pub-like space that's popular with locals. A large bar sits within the pub space and exposed brick walls add to the coziness. The Trappe Door is Belgian inspired, and its Australian-born owner has done it right, with a huge variety of great beers, many unusual and fantastic wines by the glass, and delicious pub fare at very fair prices. From cheese croquests and lamburger sliders (yes you read that right) to Belgian stew cooked in beer, the menu offers mouth-watering choices and only the steak frites crosses teh $20 threshold. (864-451-7490)
About Libby McMillan
A longtime travel journalist, Libby chose her beautiful city after a nationwide search for a new hometown. Greenville's amazing downtown, four mild seasons, varied terrain, friendly residents and countless nearby waterfalls made it a winner.
Libby previously spent 20 years in Florida, what she calls “the only place in the world where you drive north to reach the South.”
An avid college football fan, Libby has deep ties to the University of Oklahoma but graduated from rival Texas. She’s lived in Austin, Boston, Nashville, San Francisco and Captiva Island, Florida, including 4 happy years on a houseboat.
Read more about Libby McMillan here.