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.
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.
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 are 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: If you are planning on ordering the burrito for lunch, go ahead and skip breakfast because it will be as big as your head.
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.
With walls upon walls of wine to select from, it seems clear when you walk in the door where the focus is. It is only when you look at the menu and see items like house made ricotta, grilled Spanish octopus, and a house ground hanger steak burger that you realize they take the quality of the food just as seriously as the wine selection. Right on South Main Street just steps away from Falls Park, this is the perfect setting for a relaxing evening on the town as you explore Downtown Greenville. The patio is always open so if dining al fresco is what you are after on a nice spring day or summer evening, this is a great place to visit.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: A house ground hanger steak burger, pastas, and an extensive wine list make this a perfect place for Downtown dining just steps from Falls Park.
Brett's expert tip: Keep an eye on their event calendar as their wine dinners sell out fairly quickly.
Mekong is a classic example of when not to judge a book by its cover. The building is a long departed fast food establishment (Long John Silver's, perhaps?) that, in all honesty, does not scream "Top 10 Restaurant!" from the rooftop. Don't let that fool you because inside, Mekong's kitchen is churning out some truly spectacular Vietnamese cuisine. Choose from a huge selection of authentic Vietnamese sandwiches, vermicelli bowls, and Pho soups at reasonable prices for a fabulous lunch or dinner. The fried calamari is the best in town and the lemongrass beef vermicelli cannot be beaten. While you are there, make sure you loop around to the back of the restaurant to see the "bucket garden" which supplies much of the restaurant's produce throughout the growing season.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Mekong is hands down the best Asian restaurant in town.
Brett's expert tip: Poke your head around back to see the restaurants "bucket garden" to know just how fresh Mekong's produce is.
Farm to table dining in Downtown Greenville is brought to you by Husk, the restaurant made famous by Sean Brock and its original location in Charleston. This is hardly a facsimile as Greenville's Husk puts the spotlight on the farmers doing their good work right here in our own backyard. Local farmers are credited specifically with items like Reedy River Farms Carrots and Hurricane Creek Grits being the stars of a recent menu. Other items let you know how far they traveled such as "SC Swordfish," "NC Beef," and "TN Ribeye" littering the menu. This is farm to table done the right way and it is definitely worth a visit.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Husk's first location in Charleston received national attention and its Greenville location continues to impress local diners.
Local Expert tip: The menu changes daily with what is in season, so bear that in mind in the event you fell in love with a particular special on your last visit.
If it is date night, a birthday, or 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.
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 almost daily 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: You cannot get a cocktail (it's beer and wine only) but the food is too good for that to matter.
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.