3 of The Best Restaurants in Charleston, 3 Totally Different Experiences

I’ve always had a wonderful relationship with food. I enjoy trying new flavors, experimenting with recipes at home and eating is one of my favorite activities. As I’ve had the opportunity to travel more often in the last couple of years I’ve discovered food is an important part of connecting with local cultures, whether I’m traveling across the states or abroad. When my family was able to take a babymoon to the charming southern city of Charleston my very pregnant belly began to rumble. I spent a good amount of time drooling over menus featuring unique twist on classic southern favorites like Shrimp n Grits, Fried Green Tomatoes and breakfast sandwiches and enjoyed putting together an itinerary that allowed me to try a little of everything from some of the most unique (and award winning) best restaurants in Charleston.

The Best Places to Eat in Charleston, South Carolina 

Brunch: Caviar and Bananas

Located just off King Street, Charleston’s famous shopping street, you will find Caviar and Bananas. It’s the perfect place to fuel up for a day of shopping and city tours. Stepping inside my super sniffer (a side effect of pregnancy) instantly alerted my brain to perk up at the smell of  freshly roasted coffee. It’s quickly apparent that Caviar and Bananas is no ordinary restaurant. Instead it’s an interesting juxtaposition of gourmet market and cafe – part serve yourself (beverages, snacks, fruits and specialty products) and part cafe service. Food is ordered from either an expansive hanging menu or deli style display depending on your preference for hot or cold meals and then served to your table.

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fried egg sandwich

My husband and I usually try to order different items from the menu in order to try a variety of options but neither of us could talk our taste buds into try anything other than the “WEEKEND” FRIED EGG SANDWICH.  Where do I begin? A Whole Wheat English Muffin (we ordered it on sour dough bread, which I recommend) serves as the base for fried egg, melt in your mouth seared prosciutto, on top of a bed of wilted spinach, topped with roasted tomato marmalade. I recommend adding the Parmesan Potatoes as the perfect side. 

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You will make a fool of yourself eating this meal.

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Your eyes will bug out of your head at your spouse while you both grin and nod wordlessly like a pair of buffoons. Delicious drippings will fall onto your plate only to be quickly sopped up by the bread less an ounce of it’s delicious taste goes to waste. 

Don’t just take our word for it, Caviar and Bananas has been featured in Woman’s Day Magazine, Bon Appetite Magazine, and is a favorite among locals. 

Dinner: Rita’s Seaside Grille

By the time our tires crunched the grovel at our hotel, the Tides at Folly Beach (just a short drive from Downtown), we were famished and exhausted. Upon exiting the vehicle my husbands head perked slightly and I watched his eyes widen as he took a deep breathe in. I thought he was simply enjoying the fresh ocean air that we both love but I should have known the interest stemmed from food instead.

“Do you smell that?! I smell smoke pits. We need to find that smell.”

After promising to find the source of the smell before leaving town that weekend we checked into the hotel and then punched in the address for the first destination on our itinerary: Rita’s Seaside Grille. To our surprise the GPS was telling us to walk across the street. Bewildered we looked around and realized the Rita’s lies almost at our hotels door step and in our exhaustion we had missed seeing it. As we walked across the street toward our destination my husband astutely wondered if this could be source of that delicious smell. Indeed it was.

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Ritas Seaside Grill 1

Naturally Jake ended up ordering the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, fresh off the smoker. It came accompanied by some of the best seasoned fries we’ve ever had and he washed it down with Rita’s Swizzle Crush. Meanwhile I ordered one of their Daily Special burgers topped with bourbon bacon and accompanied with cheesy fries that I could. not. stop. eating.  More than just delicious food, Rita’s has the perfect ambiance for a seaside grill with outdoor seating, friendly upbeat staff, and live music on select nights. 

Don’t just take our word for it, Rita’s Seaside Grille is packed on the weekends with locals, beach goers and tourist who rave about the place. 

Dinner: Eli’s Table

With an atmosphere and menu conducive to intimacy and merriment Eli’s Table is exactly the type of place my husband and I would seek out for a romantic date night. Low key lighting, a beautiful outdoor dining space and perfectly arranged tables set the tone for a memorable last evening in Charleston but little did we know it was just the beginning. You will not find better service than at Eli’s. The open kitchen buzzes with competence and the waitstaff was easily second to none with a thorough knowledge of the dishes, a personable attitude and an infectiously jovial manner. 

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shrimp grits

After a day spent walking the streets of Charleston, shopping and touring museums we were famished and the menu at Eli’s begged to treat ourselves to a full three courses, each as delicious as the next; beginning with Prosciutto & Fig Crostini featuring local fresh figs, prosciutto, truffled goat cheese, and pomegranate syrup. Followed by Catch of the Day for myself over a bed of Charleston “red rice risotto” and topped with pickled green tomato-corn relish and crawfish butter. While Jake decided to try his first ever dish of Shrimp n Grits. We finished dinner with savory desserts of Chocolate Cake and Creme Brûlée. While both were delicious I found my cake quickly disappearing anytime my head was turned. 

Don’t just take our word for it, Eli’s Table is Trip Advisor’s 2015 Certificate of Excellence Winner and the recipient of a 2015 Diner’s Choice Award.  

15 thoughts on “3 of The Best Restaurants in Charleston, 3 Totally Different Experiences”

  1. I am a foodie myself and when I visit a new place the first thing I like to research is where I will eat! I have friends in SC so this would be fun to have them take me to one of these spots…thanks for the review@

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  2. oh man… that smokey smell would have gotten me too!!!!

    we’re planning a trip there so i’ll definitely have to hit up some of these places!

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  3. Those photos are mouthwatering! I’ve never visited Charleston, but these all look like great places to visit.

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  4. These all sound like great places to eat in Charleston. The Parmesan potatoes sounds really good and so does the pulled pork sandwich. Yummy!!!!

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  5. These sound like three amazing restaurants with fantastic food. That photo of the pulled pork sandwich is making my drool.

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  6. Never been, but I’m also dirt poor :P I can’t afford to go out & eat. Kinda sucks because Applebee’s is goooooooood. The food in that last photo looks really good though :D

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  7. Ritas’ seaside grill is my type of dining! We always levitate towards any place that has a good pulled pork sandwich, although I do love a great fried egg sandwich too!

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  8. Love your choices! Especially the proscuitto. I love trying out something new whenever I travel. When we go to Charleston we’ll try one of these.

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  9. Charleston is one of the prettiest cities I have ever been to! It is so charming there! We first tried Shrimp n Grits there too and it has been one of our favorite dishes that I continue to make now for the family!

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  10. They all look great! That seaside grill looks like a fabulous place to dine! That burger and fries are definitely making me hungry now!

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  11. My family loves Charleston! We were there over New Year’s weekend when our son asked his girlfriend to marry him in front of the Pineapple Fountain. My daughter is getting married in Charleston in May. Two of my favorite restaurants are Brasserie Gigi and SNOB (Slightly North of Broad). My favorite bakery is Bakehouse. Charleston has some of the best food in the world!

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