289 E. Bay St., Ansonborough
167 Raw’s original location is on Nantucket: Owner Jesse Sandole opened the place after years of running his father’s famous seafood and meat market there. The Charleston outpost is situated in a cozy space (with a cute little outdoor patio) that’s significantly brightened by the subway tiles lining the walls in all directions. The straightforward menu is all about New England dishes like clam chowder, lobster rolls, fish sandwiches, and a serious seafood plate, with a few geographic detours for dishes that emphasize fresh catches, like tacos, ceviche, and poke. It’s relatively new and still pretty hot, so expect to wait if you don’t arrive early—they don’t take reservations.
39 Rue de Jean
39 John St., Mazyck-Wraggborough
Just off of King Street, Rue is a charming French restaurant housed in a former two-story brick warehouse, which was built in 1880 as a space for the Charleston Manufacturing Company to store their finished products. Seating here is a mix of tiny high-top tables, cozy booths, and stools lined up at Rue's generously sized bar. The (hearty) lunch menu is especially good, with plats du jour ranging from bouillabaisse, to duck confit, to Creole-style shrimp.
32 N. Market St., Ansonborough
In 2015, Charlotte's 5Church opened a sister restaurant in Charleston, a much-welcome addition to the city's terrific food scene, and one that feels wholly original here. The restaurant is located inside a former church—the stained glass windows are magnificent, as is the soaring arched ceiling, which has the entire text of The Art of War painted across it. The menu is driven by a fresh spin on some regional classics, along with various cuts of steak and chops, although they do have veg-friendly options, too. The wasabi crusted salmon served with bok choy and seaweed salad is excellent.
Butcher & Bee
1085 Morrison Dr., Uptown
Butcher & Bee is a bit out of the way, in a barn-like building that’s covered with aluminum siding and open to the patio via several sliding glass doors. The menu is all about locally (and ethically) sourced ingredients, with a strong emphasis on thick sandwiches and a mezze plate featuring several of the chef’s most popular side dishes like kale slaw, kohlrabi with yogurt, field peas, and bacon wrapped dates. Check the website in advance of your visit, as their events, from cooking classes to pop-up dinners, are said to be excellent. Also good to know: The menu changes daily; check Facebook and Twitter for the most updated versions.
103 Spring St., Radcliffeborough
Cannon Green’s gorgeous interiors justify a stop regardless of their food (which, incidentally, is excellent); they’re so stunning that the space actually doubles as a wedding venue. The high-ceilinged central room opens up to a huge back patio lined with twinkle lights and palm trees—from the inside, you can take a curved staircase along the bar to a mezzanine and access to a side porch that looks out over the aforementioned patio. Their cocktails are excellent, so we love it for Sunday brunch, when they set up a DJ booth outside, or for happy hour on cool summer evenings.
232 Meeting St., Ansonborough
Arguably one of the best restaurants downtown, Fig is run by self-taught chef, Mike Lata, who is also the mastermind behind The Ordinary. The restaurant is big on working with local farmers, growers, and purveyors, which is reflected in the seasonal dinner menu here: king mackerel tartare, summer vegetables with porcini, baked black bass with baby fennel, pan roasted ribeye with sherried onion. Come hungry.
434 King St., Radcliffeborough
One of the most recommended restaurants in Charleston, Halls Chophouse is the place to go in the city for steak. It's also a favorite Sunday brunch spot. Which means you should make a reservation early as Halls books up quickly. After eating here, walk a block down to The Cocktail Club for a handcrafted drink.
207 Rutledge Ave., Cannonborough
A local favorite, Hominy Grill is slightly off the beaten path, but still walking distance from King Street. Not surprisingly, it's situated in a historic building (previously a single family home). A James Beard Award-winning chef opened Hominy in 1996, and it's since become known for its delicious Low Country-inspired cuisine—jalapeño hushpuppies, catfish po-boys, tomato pudding, stewed okra, cornmeal fried catfish, and the Charleston Nasty Biscuit (fried chicken breast, cheddar cheese, sausage gravy).
76 Queen St., French Quarter
Hardly a secret, Husk is still a buzzy restaurant even though it's been open since 2010. The kitchen is run by two Southern natives, which shows on the rotating menu that puts local ingredients center stage. (They also do in-house pickling.) The fact that Husk is situated in a thoughtfully restored 1893 Queen Anne house makes it all the more at home in Charleston. Husk's bar, which is next door the restaurant, is very good in its own right, and worth a trip even if you aren't coming here for a meal.
Leon’s Oyster Shop
698 King St., North-Central
Located in a converted auto body shop, Leon's was opened by Charleston restaurateur Brooks Reitz—who previously served as general manager at Fig and The Ordinary—and partner Tim Mink. The industrial interior is hip, but this really feels like a neighborhood joint—the outdoor patio, with its mismatched chairs and yellow umbrellas, could be straight out of a backyard BBQ. Leon's is known for their oysters and fried chicken—order some of each.
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