As stated in my post about the charm of Charleston, I told you I wanted to bring you a post solely devoted to it’s divine food culture, and what better time to do that than at the start of the Charleston Wine + Food Festival. Last year I volunteered at the festival, participated in several events and had a blast; if 2016 wasn’t the year of our friends’ weddings (10!), our own wedding, and house hunting, we would be there – we’ll see ya there in 2017!
You never know who you’ll take a selfie with. Myself + Hugh Acheson.
You never know who’s autograph you’ll get. Myself + Virginia Willis.
And that was my experience in a nutshell. But I digress. You’re here for the food recommendations, right? So here they are. 10 of the places I couldn’t get enough of during my temporary stay in Charleston. These are the places I had neverbeenso happy to stumble upon and neverbeenso satisfied with when I left.
Poogan’s Porch – 72 Queen Street
The most adorable, quaint restaurant – it truly is what you expect when you think Southern.
TIP: Get the Mac & Cheese – creamy smoked gouda, country ham, need I say more?
Barsa – 630 King Street
Don’t let the fact that Barsa is a little bit on the outskirts detour you. This is one of the coolest atmospheres I experienced in Charleston and some of the best food!
TIP: WHEN, not If, you order the paella, put it in first since it takes roughly 45 mins – 1hr to prepare and snack on some light tapas and drinks while you wait.
167 Raw – 289 E. Bay Street
This place is SO good. It’s pretty tiny inside, so snag a seat at the bar if you can. The oysters were phenomenal and the tacos are out of this world – totally unexpected.
TIP: The Fish + 10 Hr Carnitas Tacos are the way to go.
Magnolia’s – 185 E. Bay Street
A Charleston staple, for sure. The fried green tomatoes are out of this world and the fried chicken is insane.
TIP: Reservations needed in advance – the earlier the better.
Poe’s Tavern – 2210 Middle Street
This spot is over on Sullivan’s Island, but totally worth the trip. Go on off-hours to ensure you get a seat, as they don’t take reservations. I mean, this burger, really.
TIP: A burger topped with a fried egg AND fried onions.
Fish – 442 King Street
French and Asian cuisines reimagined is how Fish describes its style and I can’t argue it.
TIP: The dessert dim sum allows you to get tiny bites of 4 different desserts to experience all the heaven they have on one plate.
Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit – 476 1/2 King Street
In my two month stay, I visited Callie’s at least 8 times. I’ll be the first to admit, I was an addict and would give my left arm if they would open up shop in Baltimore.
TIP: Some friday nights they open late night and serve fried chicken biscuits – HELLO!
Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar – 205 E. Bay Street
You guessed it, this place is a raw bar, and the quality is off the charts. The oyster shell chandeliers are so Charleston.
TIP: You need the Crispy Calamari Steak Slices in your life – crispy strips of calamari topped with corn, onion and bacon
Burwell’s Stonefire Grill – 14 N. Market Street
I spent a lot of time at this bar and when I finally had the food I was blown away.
TIP: Get the “on the rocks” appetizer and cook your own steak to perfection on the table side searing stone.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams – 501-A King Street
So I know Jeni’s has multiple locations, but it was my first experience and I couldn’t get enough.
TIP: Two scoops are always better than one.
You’re probably scrolling through wondering where the big hitters are, like FIG and HUSK, on my list. If you’ve read anything about Charleston or watched Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown: Charleston episode, you’d know these two spots are must-gos; HOWEVER, what they don’t tell you is you need reservations months in advance. I arrived in Charleston in February and couldn’t get a Friday or Saturday night reservation (at a normal dining time) before I left in April; neverbeenso crushed. So if you are even toying with the idea of heading to Charleston, make that reservation now. I’m having serious FOMO so let me know if you’ve been so I can live vicariously! What are some of your favorite spots in Charleston?!