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​3 James Beard Award-Winning Charleston Restaurants

Gwen Fowler Gwen Fowler
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.
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flower, spoon, fork, plate, glass, knife, dish of gnocchi, cheese, wine
FIG's gnocchi and lamb Bolognese is a specialty of the house.

If you're considering where to dine on your vacation to Charleston, the tough part will be deciding between all the critically acclaimed restaurants populating downtown and beyond. A memorable meal is assured, however, when you choose one of these three James Beard Award-winning establishments.

FIG

Chef Mike Lata
FIG owner, Chef Mike Lata, won James Beard accolades in 2009.

Reservations at this iconic downtown restaurant continue to be a hot commodity years after it opened in 2003. FIG (Food Is Good) long ago won the hearts and palates of discriminating diners thanks to the inspired creations of owner and chef, Mike Lata, Best Chef: Southeast 2009 and executive chef, Jason Stanhope, Best Chef: Southeast 2015. The pair still wow the culinary crowd with their innovative dishes (especially seafood) centered upon the freshest available ingredients from a family of thoughtfully selected purveyors. The restaurant also won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Program in 2018, which makes WIG (Wine is Good) a fitting moniker, too.

 

Husk

Husk board with names of foods and local sources
Husk proudly proclaims the origins of ingredients - all Southern, all seasonal, all the time.

Husk founder, Sean Brock, was named Best Chef: Southeast by the James Beard Foundation back in 2010. While the lauded visionary has moved on to new ventures, the aesthetic that won him the national spotlight is not only alive but still thriving as Husk makes its mark on a new decade of distinctive Charleston dining. Executive Chef Raymond England upholds the restaurant's sacred culinary code that dictates Southern ingredients sourced from Southern farmers, growers, and fishermen grace its plates. Check the website for the daily menu, which frequently changes to reflect seasonal availability of ingredients. Tip: Make reservations far in advance.  

 

Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ

Rodney Scott standing over smoker lined with ribs
Rodney Scott's way with smoked meats elevated him to superstar status as a James Beard Best Chef: Southeast winner.

Rodney Scottt was 11-years-old when he cooked his first pig over a homemade pit at his family's convenience store in the rural town of Hemingway. In 2016, he brought his time-honored technique of smoking whole hogs "slow and low" to Charleston with the opening of Rodney Scott's BBQ. Two years later, he was named James Beard Best Chef: Southeast - a fitting honor for the man who singlehandedly revived the dying art of whole hog barbecue. While he now has locations popping up across the Southeast, you can experience the legendary 'cue where Scott first ventured out on his own as a pitmaster.  

Gwen Fowler
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.