The Holy City is famously one of the great culinary capitals of the South. Whether you are craving savory Southern classics, like shrimp and grits, or vegan treats, like sweet potato hash, the restaurants here have it all. Our Charleston foodie guide below is full of recommendations on must-try restaurants in downtown Charleston! But, if you are hungry for more, take a look at our free Sea Islands Vacation Guide. These carefully curated guides have helped so many people plan the ultimate Charleston vacation. Use them for restaurant recommendations, guided tours, beach destinations, and more!
Your Foodie Guide to Charleston’s Best Restaurants
At Husk of Charleston, Chef Travis Grime’s love of Southern cuisine is apparent in his devotion to using only the best, locally sourced ingredients. The result is a subtle interplay of culinary genius and homage to the culture of soul food, the cuisine that made the South Carolina Lowcountry what it is today. Call early for reservations!
Telephone: (843) 577-2500
Magnolias serves some of the best Southern food in Charleston. It is THE restaurant that “ignited a culinary renaissance” in 1990 when it first opened its doors. They offer brunch, lunch, and dinner with menus that change with each season. However, their No. 1 menu item is always available, and that is their buttermilk fried chicken breast. This dish is served with mashed potatoes, collard greens, creamed corn, a cracked pepper biscuit, and sausage-herb gravy. Call early for reservations!
Telephone: (843) 577-7771
For some of the most savory vegan and vegetarian dishes in the Holy City, make your way to Dellz Uptown. This casual eatery offers affordable and delicious dishes, including vegan nachos made with Daiya cheese, brown rice, black beans, mango salsa, avocado, and their special vegan sour cream! Excellent veggie burgers, pizza, and veggie bowls are also on the menu.
Telephone: (843) 641-0352
No Charleston foodie guide is complete without mentioning Barsa. This tapas lounge and bar prides its menu on Spanish traditions and cooking techniques. Some of their best dishes include lightly fried calamari, roasted olives, and empanadas. If you aren’t sure what to order, their most popular dish is the paella; it takes 40 minutes to make but is well worth the wait. There is a veggie, seafood, and chicken option served in a scorching hot pan! Excellent craft cocktails are also available, so come hungry and thirsty.
Telephone: (843) 577-5393
Bowens Island Restaurant
Bowens Island Restaurant is a legendary, waterfront restaurant near Folly Beach, SC. If you happen to visit in the winter, then you’re in for a treat! When December, January, and February arrive, you’ll find the best local oysters in Charleston, harvested and roasted by local oystermen. If oysters aren’t your thing, have one of their delicious fried seafood platters or the Frogmore stew. Bowens Island is on Folly Road, only a few miles from Folly Beach.
Telephone: (843) 795-2757