Charleston is the epitome of southern charm with cobblestone streets, flower-box lined houses, and pastel-colored buildings. The historical district is special for its bright and beaming neighborhoods, but more importantly, the local food joints that line the sidewalks!
Not only does Chucktown serve up all the southern classics (you can find sweet tea and biscuits just about anywhere), but the city also has SO MANY trendy and tasty coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, and sweet stops.
This is a list of Charleston’s best eats – don’t miss!
Eclectic Morning Café – 1 Broad Street
Located in a renovated antebellum building, just steps away from Rainbow Row (are you not convinced already!?), this neighborhood hangout is worth the stop. The interior is café, bar, and restaurant goals, all in one. And they do just that – you can find shakshuka, roasted lamb with naan, and hot cross buns on one menu. 1 Broad Street may market themselves as a small plate eatery, but have you ever seen the size of their cinnamon buns?! They are large and in charge, oozing with vanilla cream cheese glaze. Grab a cup of Joe in the morning on a sunny day – this corner shop makes you feel alive with the killer lighting.
#GreenVibes Lunch – Basic Kitchen
I love Basic Kitchen because they totally embrace BASICNESS. We’re not talking the #basicgirlclub, but in the cooking sense. This dining spot off of Wentworth uses local produce to invent simple AND clean, internationally inspired, plates. The cauliflower “wings” served with cashew ranch are a must starter! The basic bowl, both gluten free and vegan (#winning), is the perfect entrée, with sweet potatoes, grilled brussel sprouts, sesame kale, rice and sides of a magic green or carrot ginger sauce. I wish I saved room for the polenta cake with rhubarb compote – sounds like the perfect sweet! Just another Charleston, picture worthy spot! I love the diner bar stools, baby blue to-go case, and succulent friendly environment.
On-the-Go Lunch – Circe’s Grotto
Definitely a local favorite, Circe’s has all the hometown feels of a sandwich and salad shop. It’s small inside with just a few stools, but the perfect grab-and-go lunch spot. Order the turkey avocado sandwich or the Caesar salad, you won’t be disappointed! They have refreshing raspberry iced tea too. Perfect for the sizzling hot heat in the city!
Asian Fusion Spot – Xiao Bao Biscuit
You all know I love Asian cuisine because I won’t shut up about my time in Thailand (sorry not sorry!). Xiao Bao Biscuit is just what this southern city needs: an Asian soul food kitchen. The menu is filled with authentically inspired dishes from Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. It’s a one-stop for any southeast Asian obsessed foodie! Family style is the best way to fully experience the unique menu options. Okonomiyaki (Japanese cabbage pancake), Pad Kra Pow (Thai style minced beef with basil over rice, the local green curry with fish, and the Som Tum with Chicken (black bean fried chicken with papaya salad) are must-try dishes!
Southern Classic – Leon’s Oyster Shop
You can’t go to Charleston without visiting Leon’s. Down on King Street, the old garage atmosphere does it all. The homey, southern joint serves oysters 3 ways, spicy coated fried chicken, tossed green salads (I like the kale salad), and KILLER side dishes. The hush puppies and brussel sprouts (have you caught on to my brussel obsession?) are my favorite. The oyster bar is definitely worth the wait – don’t forget to save room for the soft serve ice cream with rainbow sprinkles! I am already looking forward to trying the rosé on tap when I go back!
Family Favorite – 5 Church
5 Church is the ultimate dining experience with a historic ambiance – it is located in an old church, after all! In the market street district, this restaurant is a must see! From the stained-glass windows, pop-art on the walls, and modern décor, it is worth a visit, even for a cocktail at the bar! If you’re like me and always hungry, taste the new American menu. The chili and honey infused fried chicken and sea scallops with corn puree and strawberry salsa are not to be missed. The menu is on the smaller side – but quality and taste were spot on.
Taco Tuesday – Taco Boy
For the tequila dreamers! Every town needs a taqueria to fulfill their #tacotuesday Mexican cravings. The downtown location is an old warehouse, with an eclectic exterior, and warm color vibes at the bar. The outdoor patio with string lights is the ideal setting for a fresh frozen margarita and the appetizer trio, salsa, guac, and queso. YUM! I could eat Taco Boy’s salty and warm chips as my meal! Save room!! They offer a laundry list of tacos, 14 kinds to be exact! I saved the best for last… The Mexican street corn is the DELICIOUS, slathered in crema, cotija cheese, and dusted with cayenne. Vaminos! Vaminos! Vaminos!
Afternoon Sip – The Skinny Dip Edition
More than just a store housing a well curated selection of La Croix clutches and chic clothing, visitors can stop bythe second floor, a bar ran by Rudi’s Café e Vino. Not only brewing coffee and selling baked goods, the bar is known for its frosé. If you’re a plant lover, sip on the frosé on the patio swing – you will be in heaven!