Part of the charm of dining in Charleston is checking out its many neighborhoods, each defined by a personality all its own. While downtown is famously teeming with swoon-worthy choices, venturing just a short distance away is also highly recommended for those seeking varied and memorable culinary adventures.
Great dining in Charleston is certainly not confined to what’s walkable from your downtown lodgings—not by a long shot. So, spring for a rideshare and explore a little farther out. Here are three neighborhoods with notable restaurants to kick off your dining discovery adventure just outside of the downtown scene.
These two mid-peninsula neighborhoods meld their identities to exist as one thriving community. The vibe is artsy, charming and quirky with exciting options for dining.
Restaurants to try:
Malagon: Market and traditional Spanish tapería serving small and large plates.
Chez Nous: Small, intimate dining room known for expertly prepared Spanish, French and Italian dishes. Sister restaurant of Malagon.
Sorghum & Salt: Laid-back, trendy spot for farm- and sea-to-table dishes that are veggie-forward.
Xiao Bao Biscuit: Asian comfort foods and cocktails served up in a former gas station.
Wild Common: Upscale, modern, artsy dining with dishes categorized as “Wild” or “Common” and made from locally sourced ingredients.
The Grocery: Hip hub for locally sourced seafood, vegetable and meat dishes with a Mediterranean lean.
Pink Cactus: Vibrant Mexican cafe known for traditional Oaxacan cuisine.
Chubby Fish: Seafood-centric, chef-driven restaurant offering creative dishes in a bright, casual atmosphere.
Babas on Cannon: European-inspired cafe featuring on-point coffee drinks, house-crafted pastries, light plates, and beer and wine in the evenings.
This pleasant, pretty neighborhood partially borders the Ashley River and is punctuated by green spaces, Craftsman-style houses and a small, but noteworthy clutch of eateries prized by locals and those tourists who go the extra mile to experience them.
Rutledge Cab Company: Convivial neighborhood eatery with retro vibes serving comfort foods with creative twists.
Harold’s Cabin: Historic renovated corner cafe with cozy interior, mercantile, rooftop garden and bar serving locally sourced provisions.
Park & Grove: Lively cafe with a seasonal menu of inspired New American dishes made with local ingredients.
Short for “North of Morrison,” this trendy neighborhood has a Soho-ish flavor that sets it apart. Recent interest in the area has helped grow it into a dining destination for a cool crowd looking for fantastic grub, fun gathering spots and drinks to go with it.
The Tattooed Moose: Off-beat, laid-back gathering place for lunch, dinner and late-night indulgences like Mike’s Famous Duck Club, duck fat fries, good cheap beer and shots.
Edmund's Oast: A must-try restaurant and brewpub known for its warm, inviting atmosphere, expertly prepared comfort foods, classy cocktails and world-class beer.
Sushi-Wa: Headquarters for some of the area’s freshest, most masterfully prepared sushi, chirashi, small plates and a tongue-titillating, rotating sake.
Lewis Barbecue: Home of Texas pitmaster John Lewis’s outstanding, melt-in-your-mouth smoked brisket, pulled pork, turkey breast, pork ribs and “hot guts” sausages served with tasty sides like green chile corn pudding, collards, mac and cheese and decadent banana pudding.
Santi's Restaurante Mexicano: Where locals go for traditional Mexican plates built around tacos, burritos, enchiladas and other favorites washed down with margaritas and cold beer.
Babas on Meeting: Sister cafe to Babas on Cannon offering the same menu of coffee drinks, house-crafted pastries, light plates and fine night bar selections of beer and wine.