Cream of the Crop: Charleston's Best Restaurants Honor Their Environment, Heritage

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.



From loaded salads and stacked deli-style sandwiches to impressively flavorful soups, curry, fish, and chicken dishes, Five Loaves satisfies every party and taste. Ask any Five Loaves regular for their perfect meal, and they'll likely recommend...  Read More

R Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Clare Sweeney


This tiny but mighty restaurant packs in a crowd each day of the week (except Sundays when R Kitchen is closed for business). Chef and owner Ross Web heads a small team of assistant chefs in his venture here on Rutledge Ave--to bring affordable...  Read More



Chez Nous, meaning "Our Home" in French, is as cozy inside as you would expect from the name. But don't let that fool you--the team at Chez Nous serves up a three course menu (two options for app, entree, and dessert) each day that commands the...  Read More



Housed in a grand old bank building on Upper King, this downtown oyster bar and seafood restaurant serves only the highest quality fish and shellfish, sourcing locally and sustainably. The Ordinary also offers a few 'exotic' (or at least...  Read More



McCrady's plates each dish as though it was an art form, and the benefits abound in it's stellar reviews and reputation in town (and across the country). Located just a few steps back from bustling East Bay Street, McCrady's serves a creative...  Read More



Chef Ken Vedrinksi, also chef at Coda Del Pesce on Isle of Palms, knows exactly what he's doing when preparing Italian food. We're just thankful he's chosen to bring is talents for authentic Italian to the city of Charleston, serving world-class...  Read More



Both longtime locals and first time visitors to Charleston quickly become aware of Hall's Chophouse on Upper King, and it's glowing reputation for high-quality steaks, "chops," and seafood. The elegant, old-world steakhouse interior of Halls,...  Read More



Make the reservation, come inside, and immediately you feel at home here. Edmund's Oast was designed with great attention to detail, made for long and relaxed meals, and comfortable space to enjoy good food with good company. The restaurant...  Read More



Chef Sean Brock pays homage to solely Southern ingredients in an 1893 house on Queen Street. Casually elegant d--cor showcases the Lowcounty in soft, neutral tones and details such as dried okra pods as table centerpieces. It's for good reason...  Read More



Distilling the essence of each season is what FIG is all about. True to its acronym, which stands for Food Is Good, FIG delivers big taste in a lively dining room, where the walls are decorated with serene scenes of the Lowcountry. Chef/partner...  Read More


Meet Clare Sweeney

A South Carolina native and avid locavore, Clare is always venturing between traveling abroad and her beloved Lowcountry. 

Clare works and plays in downtown Charleston, spending her days...  More About Clare