Greenville offers diners the option of regional southern cuisine, upscale dining and everything in between. It will surprise many to find two staples on countless menus: pimento cheese and deviled eggs. But if youre not sure about certain regional tastes, you'll probably be hooked once you try some of the Upstate's barbecue, collard greens, cornbread, sweet tea and pecan pie. If traditional options are more to your liking, Greenville offers a cosmopolitan variety beyond what you'd expect for a city of its size. American Grocery gets national press for its slow food seasonal menu, while locals' favorites Northhampton Wines and High Cotton consistently pull in locals. You'll discover Thai, Indian, Chinese, New Mexican, Italian, Dutch, German, French, Brazilian and more, due in large part to a diverse population and healthy economy. Main Street is chockablock with restaurants, as is Augusta Road, Haywood Road, Laurens Road, Pelham Road and Pleasantburg.
A pale, shining environment only serves to highlight the exceptional northern Italian cuisine served at Bergamo's. Always prepared with the freshest ingredients, this is some of the best Italian in the Upstate. Pastas, steaks and seafood are satisfying and robust. Salads and antipasti showcase a medley of flavors, and the simple desserts perfectly complete the richness of a good meal. Definitely one to try. (864-271-8667)
Rick Erwin's West End Grille
Attracting a professional crowd, this upscale enterprise grants fine dining and a great bar scene. The interior is a study of dark, polished woods, rich colors, textured brick, and wrought iron that's eminently gracious. Local art adds a vibrant touch. The menu's steaks are Certified Angus beef, and fresh seafood is delivered daily, confirming the quality of items like a NY strip, seared tuna, or lamb or veal chops. As a boon to diners, many entrees are available in two sizes, as are by-the-glass wines, which offer terrific value. Family-style side dishes like creamed spinach must be ordered separately, and experienced servers are a welcome amenity. (864-232-8999)
Delighting Greenville locals with their meticulously prepared entrees and expansive wine collection, Davani's has become one of Greenville's best restaurants. Located on Augusta Road, patrons flock to Davani's to partake in Italian and French influenced meals complimented by upstanding service and an inviting environment. Trying to impress a foodie? Take them here for a sample of the veal Oscar or the Muscovy duck, both outstanding dishes. Using local ingredients and the freshest seafood around, Davani's offers guests a bite of genuinely delicious food. (8643739013)
This quintessential American steakhouse is hiding in a nondescript hotel just east of downtown. Same great menu as in other cities and the quality of the meat is as high as always. This is a great place for a business dinner and the bar is highly inviting. (864-248-1700)
Sassafras Southern Bistro
Set on a courtyard just off Main Street, Sassafras occupies a former cigar warehouse, whose aged brick and worn timbers add a textural note that's complemented by original art. Comfortable and upscale, the restaurant specializes in gourmet Southern fare, especially that tinged with Low Country accents. Start with a basket of sweet potato fries or a napoleon of fried green tomatoes and pimiento cheese before giving yourself over to blackened sea scallops, shrimp and grits, crab cakes, pecan-crusted rainbow trout, or even fried chicken livers. More standard options include steaks, tuna, grilled salmon, and pork loin. Outdoor dining and a great bar scene heighten the allure. (864-235-5670)
This Main Street staple is one of Greenville's favorites. The new-south cuisine includes such tempting entrees as New Orleans BBQ shrimp and grits, grilled smoked pork loin, and crab cake remoulade. The desserts are sumptuous, especially the banana cream pie. Soby's also offers a lively bar scene which attracts Greenville's after-business crowd with its extensive wine list and after dinner drink options. Very knowledgeable and friendly staff. (864-232-7007)
Chophouse '47 hearkens back to the cozy, masculine eateries of the World War II era – subdued lighting, hardwood floors, dark-stained tables and chairs, and the Chairman himself crooning in the background. Kick off your meal with rich oysters Rockefeller or shellfish bisque, then move on to more serious fare – a delicious 14-oz New York strip, Tenderloin Towers wrapped in a giant onion ring, or a 38-oz Portherhouse for Two. Add to the mix a superb international wine list and a dessert menu that features fine cigars, and you've got the perfect place to entertain clients or celebrate a big event. (864-286-8700)
Wine Cafe at Northampton Wines
This restaurant developed from Northampton's much-applauded wine shop and is a natural outgrowth of its focus on quality goods. The bright, narrow space is quiet and decidedly unpretentious, so it's a great place for a date or a low-key celebration. The menu boasts dishes like roasted pheasant, ale-braised rabbit, coriander-crusted tuna loin, and twin tournedos with basil pesto duxelles. Each dish is accompanied by suggestions for wine pairings, or you can choose a bottle from the shop and have it served with your meal. Special wine dinners are available regularly. Prixe-fixe: $98 with wine. (864-271-3919)
American Grocery Restaurant
Fine, seasonal cuisine is the hallmark of this quaint dining room, occupying a refurbished storefront in the West End. Its talented kitchen staff use ingredients from regional farms to create breathtaking concoctions that might include garden ratatouille with herbed couscous, or venison with baby Swiss chard, parsnip puree and Cumberland sauce. A delightful selection of artisan wines and Leopard Forest coffee enhance the meal. (864-232-7665)
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.
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