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Best Restaurants in Greenville

Greenville's best restaurants: local faves and top-notch tables


There is no shortage of restaurants in the Greenville area but how does one determine which are the “best”? Is it the place with the longest lines or best Yelp reviews? Is it a brand new place that everyone cannot stop talking about? There are plenty of ways of judging what makes a restaurant stand out above the rest and finding them is a tough task.

For this exercise, we considered the restaurants that we would take friends to if they were visiting Greenville for the first time. These are the establishments that make us say “You can’t leave town without trying this first”. They are the kitchens that are doing things just a little bit different from the rest and are telling a story with each plate that leaves the window. They are the restaurants that make you look around the room and take it all in, knowing that this place is unique. From the blink-and-you'll-miss-it likes of Asada to the James Beard recognized Anchorage, there is a lot to be excited about when it comes to dining in the Upstate. 

These are the Ten Best Restaurants in Greenville.


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For outdoor dining, there is no debate that Up on the Roof serves up the best views along with some really quality cuisine. Perched at the top of the Embassy Suites just a block off of Main St., the restaurant is eight stories up in the sky with plenty of outdoor seating. Diners and bar patrons alike will be treated to views of the Downtown Greenville skyline, the Reedy River as it meanders downstream to Falls Park, and the Blue Ridge Mountains off in the distance but plenty visible on a clear day. All of this pairs nicely with an extensive menu featuring some really unique plates such as lobster ravioli, frog legs, rabbit tacos, and so much more.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: A house-ground hanger steak burger, pasta, and an extensive wine list make this a perfect place for Downtown dining just steps from Falls Park.

Brett's expert tip: The garage can be a bit of a maze but the best bet is to enter through the Main Lobby which is actually on the second floor of the building.

Read more about UP on the Roof →


As a concept, The Trappe Door could have rested on its laurels with an incredible Belgian beer menu in its dimly lit, speakeasy-style basement location. Instead, they put just as much energy into the menu and quality of product across the board and it shows. From the classic Beer Battered Cod & Frites to Boulets Liegeois (Belgian meatballs) this is Old World food that warms the soul. The selection of Moules Frites offers up at least five different flavored mussel pots served with house-made fries that can't be beaten. Fourteen taps are joined by a seemingly limitless selection of bottled beers for an adventure in Belgian brewing and the perfect pairings to some high-quality cuisine.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Delicious Belgian-inspired fare paired with an extensive and ever-changing Belgian beer menu.

Brett's expert tip: Get there early. Or late. The Trappe Door fills up fast, especially if you are not willing to settle for a spot at the bar.

Read more about The Trappe Door →


8
Downtown


When you want sushi, look no further than the unofficial gateway to Downtown Greenville. The corner of North Main and College Streets. On the corner across from the Hyatt, you will find Sushi Go where Chef Max Godo is serving up the freshest and most innovative bites of sushi in town. From traditional rolls and Nigiri to more elaborate servings like the Godzilla and Volcano rolls, you will not be disappointed by the quality and variety on the menu. Even if sushi is not your cup of tea, cooked items like the Shrimp Shumai and Baked Mussels are well worth a visit (and pair nicely with a cup of sake, hot or cold).

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Sushi Go is the best (and most innovative) sushi establishment in town.

Brett's expert tip: Chef Max Godo is a classically trained Japanese sushi chef – don't be afraid to ask for a "surprise" to see what special off-menu item he might send out.

Read more about Sushi Go →


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7
Wade Hampton

Asada began as one of the Upstate's first food trucks but the regularly sold-out dinner services made it clear that a brick and mortar establishment was necessary. Their brand of Mission Style Tacos is inspired by owners Gina and Roberto's time in San Francisco but with an endless supply of other ethnic influences sprinkled in. Their classic tacos, quesadillas and burritos feature the usual suspects in terms of ingredients, melted queso, pico de gallo, sour cream and the like, presented in the highest quality you will find anywhere. Dig a little deeper and you will find things like the Japanese-inspired Chicken Karaage taco and the Nicaraguan Style Churrasco keeping your palate on its toes with a whole world of influences at play. The love Gina and Roberto put into their cuisine is on display as Roberto is always popping out from his place in the kitchen for a handshake across the counter and Gina continually wears out a path to the customer side to offer hugs to their regular customers.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: There's a ton of taco joints in town to choose from but Asada's Mission Style tacos take the cake.

Brett's expert tip: Asada is still operating as a take-out-only establishment during COVID but the small family-owned restaurant is still worth regular visits.

Read more about ASADA →




Focusing on the best local ingredients while supporting local farmers, Stella's Southern Bistro features fine regional cuisine, inspired by the coastal Carolinas and the American South. Stella's offers an intimate, but cozy atmosphere that makes it the ideal choice for a date or a night out with friends. Start with a plate of their specialty cheese or Stella's Sampler, before enjoying one of their delicious entrees that include steak, shrimp and grits and fried chicken. You can finish your evening with an exceptional dessert or a drink from the bar.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Stella's Southern Bistro offers quality Southern cuisine, utilizing local ingredients.

Maggie's expert tip: Every dinner entree is gluten-free or can be easily modified to be such.

Read more about Stella's Southern Bistro →


5
Laurens Road
Home Team BBQ

Home Team BBQ has evolved from a modest, neighborhood barbecue joint in Charleston to an important destination and near household name for anyone who has ever visited. That success has led to expansion, first along the coast and then to Columbia and, finally, Greenville. The mix of experimental vision and traditionally Southern flavors makes this an interesting and innovative take on barbecue that you will likely fall in love with at first bite. Just to sweeten the deal, Double Stamp Brewery is right next door bringing the beloved beer & BBQ combination to one great location right on Laurens Rd. just minutes from Main St.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Home Team BBQ does it all. Everything from the BBQ to the burgers and wings are in the conversation for the best in town.

Brett's expert tip: It may be a BBQ joint but don't sleep on the burgers or tacos coming out of the kitchen.

Read more about Home Team BBQ →


Urban Wren
Photo courtesy of Urban Wren

The initial concept of Urban Wren was to be an "urban wine and cheese shop" but Upstate diners are fortunate to have the fully actualized vision. Upscale, yet relatable, Urban Wren is serving up some really delicious plates in a variety of styles. Start with the likes of the Rye Whiskey Short Rib, share borderline life-changing Chicken and Burnt Ends, or bask in an entree like the house-made fresh Tagliatelle or Aji Amarillo Duck... no matter which way you go you will not be disappointed. Chef Taylor Montgomery is also a local farm owner meaning farm to table and only the best, locally sourced ingredients are the order of the day.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Urban Wren is one of the best fine dining experiences in the Upstate.

Brett's expert tip: The small plates and shareables can be the stars of the evening if you want to experience the depth of quality at Urban Wren.

Read more about Urban Wren →




If it is date night, a birthday, or an anniversary and you want to pull out all the stops, Halls Chophouse is the place to go. The location is stunning with a two-story glass wall gazing out upon the Reedy River and Downtown Greenville – the perfect backdrop to a luxurious evening out. Select from 28-day dry-aged steaks, grass-fed or Japanese Wagyu filets, or less traditional menu items like bison, duck, lamb, or locally raised trout. There are no wrong answers at Hall's and you are guaranteed a dining experience you will not soon forget.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: It's Downtown Greenville's premier steak house featuring dry-aged steaks in a stunning setting.

Brett's expert tip: For an evening that's lighter on the wallet, sit at the bar and indulge in the Prime Rib Sliders.

Read more about Halls Chophouse →


2
West Greenville

When Chef Greg McPhee set out to open his own restaurant, we all knew it was going to be a success. What we did not know is that he would earn a James Beard nomination in his first year in business and be partnering with a local farmer to grow his own produce in his second. Bring a group and enjoy the Tasting Table, a five-course, chef-selected assortment of the best locally sourced ingredients prepared as only Chef McPhee can do. You will also fall in love with the cocktail menu with treats like "I Love It When You Call Me Big Grappa" and "Rutabaga Ginsburg" just waiting to make your night.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Not too many restaurants earn a James Beard nomination their first year in business.

Brett's expert tip: Go on First Fridays so you can pair your visit with a tour of the Village of West Greenville's art galleries. Also, make sure you have a reservation.

Read more about The Anchorage →


Fork & Plough
Photo courtesy of Fork & Plough

Fork & Plough is exactly what one might expect out of a partnership between a couple of local farmers and High Cotton's former Executive Chef. The ambiance is casual, the ingredients are fresh, local, and loved, and the plates coming out of the kitchen are phenomenal across the board. Go for lunch and one of the best burgers or wing plates you will ever eat or enjoy a nice dinner with a Greenbrier Farm's pork chop served over herb risotto. Chef Shawn Kelly introduces a brand new menu with every service so don't get too attached to any one thing (except maybe that burger, of course) and be ready to have your mind blown with every visit.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Greenbrier Farms and High Cotton's former Executive Chef Shawn Kelly have joined forces for an incredible dining experience.

Brett's expert tip: Make a reservation, even if you are just going for lunch or brunch on the weekend. The word is out and the space fills up fast.

Read more about Fork & Plough →


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Meet Brett Barest

Brett Barest is a freelance writer in Greenville, South Carolina that has watched the city grow from cow pastures and boarded up buildings to the tourist destination it has become today. He...  More About Brett

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