This casual yet classic eatery serves up some of the best takes on traditional lowcountry cooking on the peninsula. The Lowcountry Bistro menu sets out to combine familiar Southern comfort foods with creole and French flavors, sourcing locally and changing the menu seasonally to account for ingredient availability. Expect to see such Southern favorites as Fried Green Tomatoes, Shrimp and Grits, Frogmore Stew and Carolina Crab Cakes on this simple yet delicious menu. Lowcountry Bistro is open 7 days a week for brunch, lunch, and dinner, and offers both indoor and outdoor porch seating. Check out Lowcountry Bistro before or after perusing the many vendor stalls of the historic Charleston City Market, as it is located just across the street.
Recommended for Lowcountry because: Lowcountry Bistro is affordable, approachable Southern fare in a prime location, just steps from King Street, Meeting Street, and the Charleston City Market.
Clare's expert tip: Try the Shrimp and Grits here, available as both an appetizer and an entree!
A sister restaurant to East Bay neighbors Mangolias and Cypress, Blossom serves up traditional lowcountry fare with an emphasis on locally sourced seafood. Headed up by executive chef Adam Close, Blossom consistently delivers intricately flavored and beautifully presented dishes to lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch guests, both indoors and on its small outdoor patio. Enjoy Chilled Seafood or Appetizers such as East Coast Oysters, Peel & Eat Shrimp or Buttermilk Fried Calamari to prepare your palate for the main event. Lowcountry influences are evident in the variety of Blossom's Small Plates and Entrees, including Shrimp & Grits, Batter-Fried Chicken and Cornmeal Fried Catfish.
Recommended for Lowcountry because: Blossom makes our list for its dedicated seafood-focused menu of lowcountry dishes.
Clare's expert tip: Head to Blossom at Brunch time for a cheaper yet equally tasty alternative to higher dinner menu prices.
Best known for its now-famous head chef, Sean Brock, Husk has established a well-deserved reputation as one Charleston and the Southeast's best restaurants. Expect a twice daily-changing menu here, strictly dependent on the fresh catch, fresh-picked ingredients available to the restaurant that morning. Here at Husk, you'll sample the best of what the lowcountry has to offer, in the form of classic Southern dishes and some new modern takes as well. Many lowcountry plates are best for sharing at Husk, such as the cast-iron skillet of cornbread and cheddar Geechie Boy Grits. Don't miss trying the crispy pig's ear lettuce wraps, or any fried chicken entree appearing on the day's menu.
Recommended for Lowcountry because: Husk's talented staff and fantastic locally-sourced menu deserve a place on any list recognizing the best of Charleston's Southern dining scene.
Clare's expert tip: Try Husk for brunch on weekends for a more affordable meal from this famous chef and restaurant.
High Cotton is a reliably delicious lowcountry restaurant, located on busy East Bay Street, and managed by the well known Maverick Southern Kitchens. Specializing in southern hospitality and fresh, lowcountry ingredients, High Cotton for dinner daily and brunch Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10am through 2pm. While this restaurant is stylish and service is attentive, High Cotton remains approachable, within a budget of $22 to $38 per dinner entree. Some High Cotton menu highlights include the Buttermilk Fried Oysters and Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs to share, as well as the High Cotton Shrimp & Grits and Braised Elk Osso Bucco. High Cotton is also an idea date or family gathering spot, due to a lively ambiance and extensive wine list.
Recommended for Lowcountry because: High Cotton Charleston is one of two of these lowcountry restaurants, serving up great food for a typically lively crowd in Charleston and Greenville locations.
Clare's expert tip: This East Bay restaurant is a popular one. Be sure to make a reservation here, especially before a weekend meal.
Located just outside of Charleston's historic French Quarter neighborhood, 82 Queen is named for its address on quiet Queen Street downtown, where it has served for over 30 years. This old Charleston classic is well known for its food and service to both Charleston locals and visitors alike, and is very dedicated to its elegant decor and atmosphere. The dishes at 82 Queen are equally as elegant, beautifully plated and put together. Dine at 82 Queen for lunch Monday through Friday, Dinner seven days a week and Brunch on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Menu items such as Fried Green Tomatoes, BBQ Shrimp & Grits, Lowcountry Gumbo and Carolina Crab Cakes highlight 82 Queen's commitment to lowcountry traditions and ingredients.
Recommended for Lowcountry because: 82 Queen serves up top-notch lowcountry plates in a classic setting, amongst other centuries-old buildings on quiet Queen Street.
Clare's expert tip: Ask for or reserve a window seat if you can, and you'll enjoy a nice view of historic Queen Street and a good deal of people watching.
Opened in 1990, this Charleston classic is a beloved favorite for many Holy City locals, as it is consistently delivering top-notch lowcountry dishes as well as attentive and welcoming service. Seafood dishes are a highlight of the Magnolias menus, with such items as Lowcountry Bouillabaisse, Spicy Shrimp and Sausage over grits, Blackened Catfish, and Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast serving as authentic representatives of lowcountry style cuisine. For a cheaper Magnolias dining option, opt to visit this East Bay Street restaurant for lunch or Sunday brunch; each of these menus shares at least a few options with the regular dinner menu.
Recommended for Lowcountry because: Magnolias makes our Lowcountry Restaurants list for its authenticity and welcoming atmosphere, despite its fine dining offerings.
Clare's expert tip: Enjoy Magnolias while exploring beautiful East Bay Street, lined with more restaurants, bars, and shops.
Circa 1886, nestled within the massive Wentworth Mansion bed & breakfast, is a destination in itself, drawing diners from both the property's guest list and those staying elsewhere. This elegantly appointed restaurant offers high class service and expertly crafted and presented lowcountry cuisine, alongside frequent culinary and holiday events. Dishes like the Tasting of Broccoli, Poach Salmon and Flounder highlight local lowcountry ingredients and traditional preparations. Don't skip dessert at Circa 1886; this restaurant is known for its artistic dessert plates that wow in both presentation and flavor ingenuity. Not sure what to order? Try the Chef's Tasting Menu, available daily for $75, $110 with wine pairings.
Recommended for Lowcountry because: Circa 1886 is one of Charleston best lowcountry restaurants for more than just its menu; Southern hospitality rules the setting and service here.
Clare's expert tip: Make reservations in advance, and expect to find this fine dining restaurant within the beautiful Wentworth Mansion bed & breakfast property.
Poogan's Porch is one of Charleston's most beloved restaurants, and is especially celebrated for its authentic lowcountry dishes and elegant setting in a restored historical Victorian home. The lowcountry theme is apparent through all meals and courses served at Poogan's Porch, from Brunch to Lunch and Dinner, starters to entrees and desserts. For a true sampling of lowcountry cuisine, opt for dishes like the She-Crab Soup and Pimento Cheese Fritters to start, and entrees such as the Shellfish and Grits, Wild Caught Roasted Catfish, and Sweet Tea Glazed Salmon to complete your Poogan's Porch experience. Reservations are highly recommended at this popular Queen Street restaurant.
Recommended for Lowcountry because: Poogan's Porch makes our list of Charleston's Best Lowcountry Restaurants for its unique setting and stylish approach to traditional Southern fare.
Clare's expert tip: If possible, reserve a porch or patio table to enjoy the best of both Charleston's lowcountry cuisine and warm seasonal temperature.
Managed by the Maverick Kitchens group alongside High Cotton and Charleston Cooks!, Slightly North of Broad, or S.N.O.B. as its sign reads, is named for the area of the peninsula historically reserved for those slightly less wealthy than their South of Broad Street neighbors. Today, this fine dining restaurant named for the dividing line certainly caters to all of the peninsula's residents and visitors, serving up traditional lowcountry dishes with modern style and flair. Expect dishes such as the Carolina Quail, Maverick Shrimp & Grits and the beloved Pan Seared Duck Breast, a local favorite, to satisfy both in portion size and flavor.
Recommended for Lowcountry because: This restaurant is truly a Charleston destination in itself, offering some of the city's best known lowcountry dishes in a classic fine dining environment.
Clare's expert tip: S.N.O.B. is ideal for group or family gatherings, as long as parties are reserved well in advance.