If you’re considering where to dine during your Charleston
visit for the 2012 PGA Championship
at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
, 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 this year. So here’s a summary of what a lot of people have said about Charleston restaurants in the past couple of 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 in January. 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.
The executive chef is Sean Brock, the 2010 James Beard Best Chef of the Southeast and also executive chef at McCrady’s
, also a top dining choice.
At Husk, only Southern ingredients are used. I loved it
. If you go, be sure to try the pig’s ear wrapped in lettuce.
And If you plan to go, make your reservations immediately, and be prepared to go late or for lunch.
You can also go to other restaurants and experience the cuisine of a James Beard award winner. Try Hominy Grill
, owned by Robert Stehling, who was the Best Chef of the Southeast for 2008. Everything on the menu is excellent, but you’ll want to be able to tell your friends you’ve had the Big Nasty, a biscuit with fried chicken breast, cheddar cheese and sausage gravy. It’s outrageously good, and it’s on the breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner menus.
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 and Hominy Grill were 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 essential list are:
at Sullivan’s Island for delicious burgers;
for its famous coconut cake;
in John’s Island for fresh, local food;
Bowens Island Restaurant
for excellent seafood in a very rustic spot;
for its inventive cuisine;
Martha Lou’s Kitchen
for great Southern favorites like fried chicken and collard greens;
for excellent seafood;
for exceptional steaks;
Jestine’s Kitchen on Meeting Street, for such favorites as pork chops, fried chicken and Coca-Cola cake;
for its elegant menu;
The Glass Onion
for combining the best of the Lowcountry and New Orleans;
in Mount Pleasant, for Lowcountry with a Texas twist;
for the best Italian cuisine in the city;
for the charcuterie of Executive Chef Craig Deihl, a two-time James Beard nominee;
and High Cotton
for Charleston classics such as shrimp and grits.
If you’re looking for a restaurant with an exceptional wine selection, several in the area have earned Wine Spectator
magazine’s second-highest award, the Best of Award of Excellence. They are: The Ocean Room in Kiawah Island
, Charleston Grill
and Social Restaurant & Wine Bar
In the mood for a hamburger? Southern Living
magazine has picked its South Carolina favorites and several are in Charleston: The Macintosh
, 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.
And for one last endorsement, four Charleston restaurants made the list of online reservation service Open Table’s
Top 100 Restaurants of 2011
. They are FIG
, Charleston Grill
, Hall’s Chophouse
and Peninsula Grill
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
, Five Loaves Café
, Circa 1886
, Cru Café
, Tristan Restaurant
, Gullah Cuisine
and Martha Lou’s Kitchen