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Looking for a great meal in Charleston? Here's your guide

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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Enjoy a delicious meal at one of Charleston's many restaurants.
Enjoy a delicious meal at one of Charleston's many restaurants.

If you're considering where to dine during your Charleston visit, the tough part will be deciding which of many fine restaurants to choose.

Charleston has a national reputation as a city full of fine food, which was the reason Fodor's Travel named it one of the places you must visit. So here's a summary of what a lot of people have said about Charleston restaurants in the past few years.

No other Charleston restaurant has received as much publicity in recent years as Husk, which opened in November 2010. The restaurant was a nominee for the James Beard Award's Best New Restaurant of the Year, and Southern Living magazine named it the Best New Restaurant in the South. USA Today called Husk one of the 10 best places in the country for local food and wine; the New York Times has gushed over it numerous times. And the biggest honor for Husk was that Bon Appetit magazine named it the nation's best new restaurant.

Former executive chef Sean Brock, was honored with the 2010 James Beard Best Chef of the Southeast.

At Husk, only Southern ingredients are used. If you plan to go, make your reservations immediately, and be prepared to go late or for lunch.

Another James Beard award winner is Mike Lata, chef at FIG (for Food Is Good), who won in 2009. FIG is a favorite spot for its emphasis on local foods, especially vegetables, and it consistently gets raves at online review sites.

No wonder FIG was among the 18 restaurants that Eater Charleston, an online publication about dining, called essential - "the places that you think of when you think of Charleston. Not necessarily the newest and hottest on the block, but the classics."

Others on Eater Charleston's 2021 essential list are:
Nigel's Good Food in North Charleston renowned for its Geechie wings;
Jackrabbit Filly for Chinese cuisine with some Japanese and American flavors thrown in;
Bertha's Kitchen for iconic soul food;
Butcher & Bee offering Southern-meets-Mediterranean fare;
Rodney Scott's BBQ for exceptional barbecue;
Maison for its elegant French menu;
Leon's Poultry & Oyster Shop for its famous chargrilled oysters;
Xiao Bao Biscuit, a hip Asian soul food spot;
and Zero Restaurant + Bar in the stunning Zero George hotel, for its artful Michellin-level plates.  

If you're looking for a restaurant with an exceptional wine selection, 10 Charleston restaurant's earned Wine Spectator magazine awards in 2021, among them: Charleston Grill, Circa 1886, Halls Chophouse, Peninsula Grill and SAVI Cucina + Wine Bar

In the mood for a hamburger? Southern Living magazine picked its South Carolina favorites and several are in Charleston: Moe's Crosstown Tavern and Poe's Tavern in Sullivan's Island.

Hungry for pizza? The Food Network Magazine says South Carolina's best pizza is the Pistachio Pesto at EVO or Extra Virgin Oven in North Charleston. But if that pizza doesn't appeal to you, no worry. The menu changes daily at EVO, as the owners emphasize local ingredients in season.

But all of those lists and recommendations only scrape the surface of the delicious food served in South Carolina's Lowcountry. Here are some others that people love:
Virginia's on King, Amen Street Raw & Fish Bar, Poogan's Porch, 82 Queen, Anson and Cru Café.

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.