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Charleston suggestions?

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    Charleston suggestions?

    Hey, folks. My wife and I are heading to Charleston, SC this month for a long needed vacation. I want some suggestions on places to eat. I prefer places the locals like to frequent, not the touristy places.

    Two foods I know I want to experience:

    1) BBQ (of course). Rodney Scott’s gets lot of praise but lately I am hearing about a Lewis BBQ. Any comments about these or perhaps there is a lesser known joint that is as good or better?

    2) Shrimp and grits. One of my favorite dishes.

    Any other places you folks can recommend is greatly appreciated.

    I am also searching out a liquor store where I might be able to find some bourbon I can’t get here in VA. Any suggestions here are also appreciated.



    You will love Charleston! You've already got a line on Scott's and the other place. If you happen to be looking for an activity of some sort, I can highly recommend a tour with www.walkingcharleston.com. He is excellent!!


      Please note, the "General Discussion (Off Topic)" channel is for off-topic conversation. Anything to do with food, restaurants, gear, cookers, or accessories has a channel.

      I have moved this to Member Reviews > BBQ Restaurant Roundup > South Carolina.


        Been a while since I've been but Fleet Landing sticks out in my memory for Shrimp and Grits. There are lots of great restaraunts there. Havent tried either bbq place though.


          I haven’t been to either two of the places you are looking at, but I thought the ribs at Sticky Fingers and Fiery Ron’s (on one of the Islands off Mt Pleasant) were pretty good. Hymans down town and the Hominy Grill are pretty good restaurant choices.


            A couple liquor stores for you:
            1. Island Liquors on the Isle of Palms. If you ask, they can usually pull out some selections for you that are not so easy to find.
            2. Tavern Wine and Spirts on East Bay Street (next to the Dungeon) is the oldest liquor store in America, and they have a good selection, but expect to pay $$.

            I'll come back with some restaurant options...


            • Troutman
              Troutman commented
              Editing a comment
              Well that's something to be either proud of or ashamed of, 'oldest liquor store in America', not sure which. Kind of makes ya wonder about the needs and aspirations of Charleston

              BTW I love that town, extremely charming, represents the old South.

            So many good restaurant options it's hard to narrow it down, and really depends on what you're looking for. So most of these options are geared toward lesser known, not fancy, go-to spots. There are an awful lot of great, obvious, higher end options that a Google search could steer you towards, but here's a stab at some food for thought...

            Swig 'n Swine (pork belly, turkey - yes), Lewis (brisket and sausage), Home Team, Rodney Scott's (chopped whole hog).

            The Wreck at Shem Creek. It's a hole in the wall shack for getting some fried shrimp.

            Sunday Gospel brunch is a real treat at Hall's Chop House.

            Soul food:
            Martha Lou's, Bertha's, Dave's Carry Out. Don't judge these books by their covers.

            Rutledge Cab Co. (owned by Bill Murray).

            167 Raw. Best lobster rolls this side of Maine, plus other seafood options.

            Shem Creek Bar & Grill, just an old local hangout at the oyster bar out back.

            Coda del Pesce on Isle of Palms if you need a romantic spot with a beachside view for date night. Excellent Italian food.

            The Cod Father. Best fish n chips you will find anywhere, period. Order a side of mushy peas.

            Laura Albert's on Daniel Island. The seared tuna BLT is outstanding.

            Edmund's Oast. Good food, great beer.

            The Griffon, legendary downtown dive bar.

            Pho No. 1 at H&L Asian Supermarket if you like Vietnamese.

            So many places, so little time. Could keep going...


            • ColonialDawg
              ColonialDawg commented
              Editing a comment
              I’m definitely going to try Bertha’s and Dave’s Carryout. Those are my kind of places.

            We live here in Charleston. Probably have a very different opinon on most of the spots.

            For BBQ Rodney Scott's is hands down the best. Swig 'n Swine was okay but pricey. Lewis has a great reputation but you like Rodney Scott's so much it's hard to go somewhere else. His ribs are absolutely the best.

            We were at Cod Father just a week ago. We won't be going back. Fish was decent but it just wasn't worthy of a return trip. Too bad because we are in that area a ton due to work. I suggest you head out towards Folly for a beach afternoon. On the way stop at Roadside Seafood in James Island. It's always busy. It's always good.

            Shrimp & Grits? You can trip and fall in this town and find good s&g. Literally all of the places downtown serve it. Two places of note: Early Bird Diner (expect to stand in line if you go near peak breakfast time) and Millers All Day. EBD is in West Ashley across the river but easy to find. MAD is on King street just down from Queen St. Different takes. Both good.

            Most locals loathe Hyman's but I love that place. They serve the best fried flounder in town. Hominy is another over rated tourist stop.

            Our dirty little secret is Pane E Vino. Of all of the high end restaurants downtown, this is the only one we've returned to over and over again. Freshest pasta, seafood. Great ambiance. Sit outside this time of year. It's a hidden treasure. Bring your wallet though. 8-)

            Not sure if you like Mexican food or not but there is only one place in/near Charleston to get it: Maria's on John's Island. The only thing to order is the Molcajete Cielo Mar y Tierra. It is an awesome meal.

            Page's Okra Grill in Mount Pleasant also serves up some really tasty meals. It's another place to scratch that shrimp & grits itch.

            Avoid the "institutions": Fleet Landing, almost anything at Shem Creek, and so many others.

            Good luck and enjoy your time here. Hopefully, it won't be too soggy with Michael headed this way...


            • ColonialDawg
              ColonialDawg commented
              Editing a comment
              Great tips. Thank you. I’ll have to check out Roadside Seafood. We are staying on James Island.

            I have been vacationing in Charleston for several years the most recent ones we have been staying in Folly beach.

            This is my must go to that I recommend to everyone that goes to that area. The Lost Dog in Folly beach. They are only a breakfast/lunch joint however every time I have been there everything has been more than wonderful.

            If you are into beer there is a dog friendly tap house called The Barrel which is on folly road just past James island but before Folly beach which has a lot of local brews on tap. Their front door is a massive barrel its pretty cool. The staff there has always been extremely helpful to suggest brews/breweries to visit while in the area.

            There is another joint close by on James island that I visited this spring called Bohemian Bull which was a very good burger joint I would go there again for an easy meal without a lot of fuss.

            Now for the places in downtown that I would recommend.
            1. Husk. This place embodies the farm to table approach and is very good. They also take whiskey and bourbon very serious and use special glasses with an ice sphere to cool the booze as you tilt the glass instead of leaving ice in the drink to melt.
            2. Poogans Porch. I am on the fence about this place simply because last time we visited service was not very good especially for that area of town. The shrimp and grits there however is very very good but just like atlpbc mentioned good shrimp and grits is usually just a football throw away at all times.
            3. Eli's Table. We visited here just this year and we were very pleased with the food and service. I had the chicken and waffles and it was too much for me to eat everything
            4. Hymans. I really liked the place. I would go there again. I don't get everyone's hate for the place
            5. Toast. This is a well known breakfast joint just south of Market st on King st. They have really good food as well but you may want to plan a week day to visit since the weekends can be very busy there.
            6. Taco Boy. I went to the location in Folly beach however they have multiple locations in the area. Great tacos what else could you ask for.
            7. Grill 225. Very nice upscale steakhouse on Market street and Bay. There is a new place that I wanted to visit called Hall's Chophouse which is suppose to be crazy good. I believe Hall's had a top 5 rating in the country at one point on tripadvisor.
            I personally do not have any experience with BBQ joints in Charleston since when I go to the coast I am after seafood usually sorry I can't be any help there.

            There are other places that I have been as well but my memory is failing me. Send me a PM if you have any questions.


            • ColonialDawg
              ColonialDawg commented
              Editing a comment
              Awesome suggestions. Thanks!

            Man now I want to go back to Charleston, you guys are killing me


              Thanks to everyone who gave me some great suggestions. I can't say we had a bad meal. The number of restaurants in Charleston is insane. Here are some highlights...

              1) Early Bird Diner - chicken and waffles were delicious
              2) Hominy Grill - nice place but I wasn't blown away. Shrimp and grits were just OK. My wife had Chicken Country Captain, which was very good.
              3) Roadside Seafood was closed. They merged with Gillie's Soul Food which is run by the same owner. I gad the shrimp and grits which was tasty. It had a more traditional brown gravy. My wife had crab cakes which tasted like they were cooked in old oil.
              4) Page's Okra Grill was awesome. Shared the shrimp and grits appetizer with my wife and it was amazing. I had the chicken and waffles and they might be the best I've ever eaten.
              5) Bertha's kitchen - this James Beard award winning hole in the wall has some of the best fried chicken I've had the pleasure of eating. It was slap yo' momma good.
              6) Slightly North of Broad - this was our fancy meal. I had the .... wait for it.... shrimp and grits, which were awesome. My wife had the triggerfish. It was fresh, light, and very good. The banana cream pie dessert was so good, we bought two more slices to go the next day.
              7) Dave's Carry-Out. This place is a dive. A hole in the wall. BUT.....Fried shrimp. Deviled Crab. Red Rice. It was all damn good. Best fried shrimp I have eaten.

              We didn't make it to Rodney Scott's. In the end we decided to get fried chicken at Bertha's instead. I figured I can make ribs that are as good or better. At least that is my experience. Not bragging. Fried Chicken, though is an art.


              • BourBonQ
                BourBonQ commented
                Editing a comment
                Glad you enjoyed your visit! The food scene is hard to beat, right up there with some of the best culinary destinations IMHO, drawing from several styles, regions and cultures.

              • EdF
                EdF commented
                Editing a comment
                Now I want to go to Charleston!


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