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Downtown dining is where it's at… and these are the best around



As Greenville continues to earn its place as a “foodie” town, more and more restaurants open for business – and that is an entirely good thing. The hard part, however, is sorting through them all and determining who the best of the best might be. Fortunately, that is precisely the type of challenge that 10Best.com lives for and we set out to determine which of Downtown Greenville’s restaurants were the most deserving of your hard earned time and money.

Some of the folks on this list are the finest of the fine dining – restaurants like Hall’s Chophouse and Trattoria Giorgio, where you go to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other things that only happen once a year. Others, like Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria, serve up a casual experience best enjoyed with friends and merriment a-plenty. Still, others provide not-your-normal culinary experiences like the imaginative fare from Sushi Go and the Spanish style Tapas courtesy of The Cazbah. One thing they all have in common, however, is that each of the restaurants on this list is the very best at what they do.


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10
Downtown
Limoncello


My recent visit to Limoncello saw me almost not make it to the entrée as the list of antipasti options had us dining on Fried Calamari, Ricotta Toast, House Meatballs, and Fried Mozzarella. I persevered, however, and found room for the scallops served with herb mascarpone risotto, crispy broccolini, and lemon butter. Everything was delicious and I look forward to going back for the cannelloni, pappardelle, and capellini on the pasta menu and again for the house made pizzas. Limoncello is the Larkin's organizations contribution to the Italian dining market and they are doing an outstanding job of things there.

Recommended for Downtown Greenville's Best Restaurants because: Limoncello is the Larkin's organization's contribution to the Italian scene and they have hit a home run with it.

10Best's expert tip: The outside seating area is perfect for happy hour (4-7 pm), especially on Thursdays when live music is scheduled.

Read more about Limoncello →


Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria


Good food does not have to be fancy. Sometimes it can be as simple as pizza and beer which, when done well, is hard to beat. Barley's does just that with the best pizza Downtown Greenville has to offer and the best craft beer list you can ask for to wash it all down. With toppings ranging from classically simple to "did you say carrots and corn?" the sky is the limit as you design your next pie. With more than 30 craft beers on tap, you will find the perfect brew to pair your pie with and, I assure you, it will not come from a mass-produced domestic brewery. Every item on the menu is selected and prepared with love, making Barley's the perfect spot for your next casual evening out.

Recommended for Downtown Greenville's Best Restaurants because: Barley's is Downtown Greenville's definitive "pizza and a beer" establishment.

Brett's expert tip: Don't be afraid to branch out and try some of the more unusual toppings offered at Barley's, like squash, corn, or tofu crumbles.

Read more about Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria →


Husk Greenville
Photo courtesy of 10Best Editors


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 Downtown Greenville's Best Restaurants because: Husk's first location in Charleston received national attention and its Greenville location continues to impress local diners.

Brett's 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.

Read more about Husk Greenville →


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Ristorante Bergamo


For the perfect Northern Italian dining experience, look no further than Ristorante Bergamo, a staple of Downtown Greenville since 1986 when, quite frankly, the city's Main Street was at its lowest point. Ristorante Bergamo's commitment to quality Italian cuisine has resulted in more than 30 years worth of great dishes coming out of their kitchen. The daily specials are the highlight of the day here with a fresh catch of the day, special beef cuts, a weekly selection of imported meats and cheeses, and daily risotto specials all deserving of your attention every time you walk in the door. For a risotto addict like myself, every visit to Ristorante Bergamo is a delightful one.

Recommended for Downtown Greenville's Best Restaurants because: Ristorante Bergamo has been a constant on Main Street since 1986, dependably turning out delightful Italian cuisine.

Brett's expert tip: Try to get a table near the front windows or call ahead for a reservation, for optimal people-watching.

Read more about Ristorante Bergamo →


6
Downtown
The Cazbah
Photo courtesy of The Cazbah


There is something undeniably sensual about tapas-style dining. When done well, each plate comes out on its own and a couple will take their bites simultaneously, thus perfectly enjoying the experience together. The subtle grunts of satisfaction are not inappropriate as good food is supposed to elicit such primal reactions, especially on date night. Just to take things to the next level, the amount of sexual innuendo on the menu itself ranges from nuanced to blatantly obvious and will entertain those inclined to such humor. Just make sure you order the Lobster Cigars and spring for a couple extra as the menu invites you to do (I have yet to meet the person that can just eat one).

Recommended for Downtown Greenville's Best Restaurants because: The Cazbah has been the place for tapas in Downtown Greenville since it opened.

Brett's expert tip: Pay attention to the Peace Center calendar as The Cazbah gets packed before showtime. Make a reservation just to be safe.

Read more about The Cazbah →


Wine Cafe at Northampton Wines
Photo courtesy of Northampton Wines


Let's be honest - a romantic evening for two is likely going to include wine. For that, you cannot forget about the restaurant side of Northampton Wine. It is a quiet, low key space which is perfect for a date night with upscale offerings like grilled quail and lamb shank on the menu. You also have the luxury of choosing between a recommended wine pairing with each dish or ordering a bottle from the retail side itself. That feels like a near limitless assortment of options so leave room in the budget for an extra bottle or two (and an Uber ride home, of course).

Recommended for Downtown Greenville's Best Restaurants because: Northampton can't be overlooked as a romantic dining destination; the meticulous staff, sweet setting and excellent menu make it so.

Brett's expert tip: If you want a bottle of wine with your meal, save a few bucks by buying it in the bottle shop and only paying a $10 corkage.

Read more about Wine Cafe at Northampton Wines →




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 Downtown Greenville's Best Restaurants because: Delicious Belgian inspired fare paired with an extensive and ever-changing Belgian beer menu.

Brett's expert tip: Make sure to make a reservation. 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 →




For anniversaries, birthdays, or any other reason that calls for celebration, you cannot beat Trattoria Giorgio. This is Italian fine dining at its absolute best and every visit promises to make memories you will hold for years to come. Classics like Pappardelle Bolognese and Veal Scallopini Picatta will blow your mind, as will more inventive selections like the Ravioli di Spinachi e Noce â, a ravioli stuffed with spinach and walnuts and served in a cream sauce. All of this pairs nicely with an impressive wine list and finishes with a Tiramisu or Mousse al Cioccolato for the perfect Italian dining experience.

Recommended for Downtown Greenville's Best Restaurants because: The Italian fine dining experience at Trattoria Giorgio is unparalleled.

Brett's expert tip: When the weather is nice, elevate the experience by dining al fresco in the restaurant's garden.

Read more about Trattoria Giorgio →


2
Downtown
Sushi Go


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 Downtown Greenville's 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 →




Halls Chophouse may have originated in Charleston but it is right at home in Downtown Greenville. Space is nothing short of elegant as the restaurant's two-story glass façade gazes out over the Reedy River just north of Falls Park and the Liberty Bridge. Dry aged NY Strips and ribeyes and grass-fed filets are the stars of the menu but your options extend to seafood, pork, chicken, and even vegetarian offerings as well. Pair your meal with a selection from Halls' extensive wine and cocktail list for the ultimate dining experience on a night out on the town in Downtown Greenville.

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

Brett's expert tip: Halls offers live music courtesy of local singer/songwriters seven nights per week. Check out the schedule on their website to see what's coming up.

Read more about Halls Chophouse →


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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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