Credit for much of Charleston’s celebrated cuisine goes to the enslaved Africans and downhome cooks of yore who found the tastiest ways to showcase the local bounty. Charleston’s culinary scene is known for its standout seafood and down-home country cooking, although today’s buzzed-about new restaurants are as likely to serve Indian fusion as shrimp and grits.
No matter how you like your poultry prepared—chicken wings, roast chicken, fried chicken either shellacked and crispy with Sichuan spices, or simply crunchy drumsticks cooked from a traditional Southern recipe—we're divulging our favorite chicken joints in Charleston. Albertha Grant never set out to win a James Beard Foundation award and win the adoration of international magazines and patrons—she simply cooked good food and served it to people in her North Charleston neighborhood.
With lots of locally brewed beers and bartenders famous for their finely concocted cocktails on every corner, rooftop lounges, candlelit bistros, and deliciously divey bars, you'll never be far from a drink in Charleston. The Thoroughbred Club is in the lobby of Charleston Place hotel, right in the middle of downtown Charleston.
Eating oysters in Charleston can be a delicate affair, of course, with open shells served on beds of ice with lemon wedges, but it's more likely that you'll be served up a cluster of steamed oysters, pried open in front of you, ready for the slurping. and the local Lowcountry—bivalves at our selection of great restaurants for oysters.
Okay, some of these restaurants are technically still in Charleston, but what they have in common is food that merits a trip outside the well-trodden tourist area. Get there however you can, but don't miss the extraordinary things—soul food, Chinese food, barbecue, French-accented local, whatever!
Can’t decide when to visit Charleston? Our month-by-month rundown of annual events—highlighting everything from jazz to oysters to dogs that like to leap off docks—can help you plan your perfect itinerary. Smaller events, though, like the Lowcountry Oyster Festival and Boone Hall Fright Nights, feel purely local and full of just-Charleston flavor.
Charleston’s nickname may be the Holy City, but these days, there’s more action on King Street on Saturday night than on Sunday morning. The city still balances the pious with the party— Sunday brunch features a colorful mix of seersucker-clad sophisticates and bleary-eyed frat boys nursing a breakfast stout.
Once a slow-paced city by the sea, Charleston has transformed from regional secret to international sensation. including a 2016 nod from Travel & Leisure as the “No. 1 City in the World”—are well deserved. An intrepid foodie could book a month’s worth of memorable dinner reservations. Or, visit during Spoleto Festival USA (May-June), Charleston Wine + Food fest (March), or Charleston Fashion Week (March), and you’ll experience a cultural scene that rivals New York City’s, minus the hectic pace.