Living in a city with so many amazing restaurants is a blessing and a curse. As someone who loves to try new food and enjoy a leisurely meal with drinks and multiple courses, Charleston is paradise. But as a working mom with two young kids and a limited budget, it can be torturous to be so close to fabulous food and not be able to partake in its delights.
But this year, I plan on taking better advantage of the exciting dining opportunities that put Charleston on the culinary map. My children are older now (and hopefully those traumatic times going out to eat when they were little are a thing of the past). I’m ready to re-enter the restaurant scene!
Just because I’ve been living in a foodie purgatory since we moved here three years ago, doesn’t mean I haven’t been prepping for this moment. I have watched every season of Top Chef (mostly for Padma: how does she eat all that food and stay so gorgeous?) and am an avid reader of The Post & Courier’s food section. I also have been living vicariously through friends who venture out to eat often and take their recommendations to heart. All of this, in addition to my love of food and the fact that I am an excellent eater, has helped me to compile my bucket list of restaurants.
Charleston Bucket List of 15 Places to Eat and Drink
(It’s broken up into three categories: Places to go with kids, places to go for drinks, and places to go for date night.)
PLACES TO GO WITH KIDS
Morgan Creek Grill: Located on Isle of Palms, I’ve heard there is room for little ones to run around while the adults enjoy good food and a beautiful view. 80 41st Ave., Isle of Palms.
The Granary: I’ve been excited to eat here since the new location opened on Coleman, especially for the savory Sunday brunch. 835 Coleman Boulevard, Mt. Pleasant.
Taco Boy: I have a boy, and he likes tacos. Seems like a good match. Funky decor, yummy cocktails, and Mexican food only add to the appeal. There are two locations: one in downtown Charleston and one on Folly Beach.
Grace & Grit: Creative takes on favorite Southern staples, combined with a cool ambiance, seems like a perfect recipe for a family outing. 320 Wingo Way, Suite 100, Mt. Pleasant.
Bohemian Bull: As a tavern and beer garden, perhaps this funky spot would fit better in the “Places To Go for Drinks” category. But with a huge (fenced in) outdoor area and a menu of specialty burgers, it seems like a great place for our family to spend an afternoon. 1531 Folly Road, James Island
PLACES TO GO FOR DRINKS
Grand Bohemian Hotel: I’ve been insanely jealous ever since my husband went to the chic rooftop bar for a work-related event at this boutique hotel downtown. The hotel’s restaurant, Élevé, is supposed to be top-notch as well, but I’ll settle for a drink overlooking the city at sunset. 55 Wentworth Street, Charleston
The Dewberry: The beautiful brass bar is the main attraction in The Living Room, a throw-back spot with dark wood and a little reading library located in the lobby of The Dewberry on Marion Square. 334 Meeting Street, Charleston
The Pour House: As a lover of live music, it is embarrassing to admit I’ve never been to this venue on James Island. But I am determined to catch one of the many awesome bands that perform throughout the year at this popular watering hole. 1977 Maybank Highway, Charleston
PLACES TO GO FOR DATE NIGHT
Edmund’s Oast: Innovative dishes, ranging from grilled octopus to chicken liver parfait, and a stellar selection of beer and wine put this hip restaurant at the top of my must-try list. 1081 Morrison Drive, Charleston
FIG: With a focus on high-quality Lowcountry ingredients, FIG has been a longtime leader in the local dining scene. How have I not eaten here yet?! 232 Meeting Street, Charleston
Le Farfalle: Billed as a modern take on regional Italian cuisine, this charming restaurant nestled in Harleston Village is calling me with its hand-made pasta dishes. 15 Beaufain Street, Charleston
Nico’s: “A modern and lively French oyster bar serving wood-fired seafood from French Master Chef Nico Romo.” Conveniently located near Shem Creek? Oui! 201 Coleman Boulevard, Mount Pleasant
Félix: This newly opened (November 2017) hot spot serves three of my favorite things: creative cocktails, small plates, and Paris — as in Parisian-inspired fare. 550 King Street, Suite 100, Charleston
Xiao Bao Biscuit: A delicious blend of authentic Asian and classic Southern, I’ve heard only rave reviews about this eatery in a trendy converted gas station. 224 Rutledge Avenue, Charleston
Locals: It sounds like a weird combo, sushi and taco, but it totally works at this fun sports bar known for its award-winning sushi and awesome tacos. 1150 Queensborough Boulevard, Mount Pleasant
Although this list is fairly arbitrary and far from comprehensive, I hope it does inspire you to get out and stimulate your tastebuds with a sampling of Charleston’s culinary splendor.