Nothing says South Carolina cuisine like fresh seafood, and there are few foods more quintessentially Southern than grits. When you combine the two, you get a South Carolina specialty that has gained widespread popularity across the country. From flavorful shrimp gathered from the salt creeks of the Lowcountry to fresh corn harvested throughout the state, shrimp and grits is a perfect marriage of flavor and texture that has grown from a Lowcountry delicacy to one of South Carolina’s most iconic dishes. Originally a breakfast staple, this time-honored, seafood-and-grain super duo has transcended the confines of morning meals to grace brunch, lunch, dinner and late-night tables.
As one of South Carolina's most iconic dishes, shrimp and grits is served in restaurants throughout the Palmetto State. But if you're looking to enjoy this Southern tradition at its most refined, you'll want to head to the culinary hub of Charleston.
Arrive at the HarbourView Inn. Located on the edge of Waterfront Park and in the heart of the historic downtown, this retreat gives visitors an authentic city experience, complete with picturesque views of Charleston Harbor.
Become a Shrimp and Grits SNOB
Once you’ve unpacked and settled in, get to know the Holy City on one of the incredible tours offered around town. Explore Charleston’s pirate and colonial history on a walking tour, step back in time on a horse-drawn carriage or hear the city’s history from the comfort of a climate-controlled bus.
When you're ready to sample one of the Palmetto State's tastiest dishes, head to Slightly North of Broad. Also known as "SNOB,” this is the restaurant that helped fire up Charleston's food renaissance.
SNOB's popularity is due in large part to former Head Chef Frank Lee, a pioneer who changed the culinary landscape with his fresh approach and homegrown menu. Chef Lee developed SNOB’s famous shrimp and grits dish by pairing fresh, local ingredients with French techniques he learned while traveling and dining in Europe.
Situated inside a 19th-century brick warehouse, SNOB's dining room serves as a natural extension of its kitchen. This allows customers to marvel in anticipation as some of Charleston's finest chefs prepare their dishes for all to see. Chef Lee's modern interpretation of shrimp and grits highlights the flavor of South Carolina's Lowcountry, from fresh-off-the-boat shrimp to stone-ground grits and house-made kielbasa sausage.
After that hearty Southern meal, walk around and explore everything Charleston's historic district has to offer. From the architectural charm of Rainbow Row to the lively Charleston City Market, there's no shortage of things to see and do.
From late-night ghost tours to live music, Charleston’s nightlife is as varied as the city itself. Cap off your night at The Rooftop Bar at Vendue and enjoy a handcrafted cocktail along with breathtaking views of the Holy City.
Looking to become a shrimp and grits connoisseur? Here are 10 Charleston-area restaurants that each put their own signature elements on this classic dish.
Take Your Taste Buds for a Stroll
Begin your day with a savory Southern breakfast at Marina Variety Store, a waterside diner that comes with beautiful views of the yacht basin and marshes. This is where locals head for breakfast shrimp and grits, which Marina Variety Store prepares with its own special touches. For a double dose of Southern goodness, opt for the fried green tomatoes and shrimp over creamy grits.
Another tempting option is the more traditional Lowcountry shrimp and grits which features plenty of fresh, local shrimp and grilled peppers, onions and tomatoes with a hearty brown gravy to bring it all together.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, Charleston is a great place to eat. With so many world-class restaurants serving up a blend of iconic, time-honored food traditions and globally inspired dishes that feel utterly transformative. Take a deeper dive into the city’s food culture on a culinary tour. Learn the history behind Charleston’s artisanal cocktails as you visit quaint bars and upscale boutique inns. Enjoy food tastings and fascinating stories at three house museums: the Nathaniel Russell House, the Missroon House and the Edmondston-Alston house on the Battery. Or gain insight into traditional Lowcountry cuisine on a culinary adventure through the French Quarter and City Market.
With so many incredible dishes to try, you’ll be booking your trip back in record time.
If you're interested in making your own shrimp and grits, take the one-hour drive to quaint Edisto Island where you can gather all of the freshest ingredients. Edisto Seafood, home to the only operational shrimp boat on the island, sells shrimp caught that same day. Marsh Hen Mill is famous for their homegrown grits and heirloom vegetables, and you can even watch how grits are made in their old stone mill.