Stand somewhere in downtown Charleston and you will find almost three dozen amazing places to satiate your taste buds along a three mile radius. Expand the map up to a ten mile radius, you will find two dozen more, each with something special to offer. A local is indeed lucky. One has all the time to explore every fascinating joint. A pilgrim has to prioritize. That is why you need to know about the food hubs of Charleston. A word of caution, don’t get overwhelmed with all the options. You can pick and choose. You can skip a recommendation here and there. There are very few places in and around the city that would not cater to your demanding palate. If you don’t have enough time, perhaps because you are here only for a day or two, then you should stick to downtown Charleston and eat all you can. For all practical purposes, you would not be able to exhaust even the most stringent shortlist of the finest places to eat in downtown Charleston, let aside the suburbs and towns nearby.
Local Charleston Food Hubs
- Downtown Charleston is undoubtedly the place to be. It is around four miles, north to south. If you are being hosted by a local family, then you are in for a delightful treat. Fret not if you don’t know anyone for there are many family owned eateries. You should explore Bowen’s Island. It is the closest you would get to authentic Low Country flavors. The versions of the various dishes are a tad different from what the families would cook in their home kitchens but you will relish them nevertheless.
- South of Calhoun is a major hub. It has several historic neighborhoods. You may want to sign up for a carriage tour. Explore French Quarter, South of Broad, Harleston Village, Lower King and Ansonborough. As you dive into the delectable menus, do not forget to marvel at the architecture of the mansions. Tour the White Point Garden, grab a crepe at Queen Street Grocery, check out some fresh oysters or indulge in some lobster rolls, dine at McCrady’s or binge on Minero’s tacos. There are beer bars, cocktail hotspots and more.
- North of Calhoun with the neighborhoods of Radcliffeborough, Cannonborough/Elliotborough, Eastside and Mazyck-Wraggborough would surprise you with their Asian cuisine and croissants, jell-o shots and cappuccinos. Explore Wagener Terrace and North Central to unwind with char grilled oysters, fried chicken and some cocktails with pickled shrimp on rye toast. You should visit North Charleston. It is not as amazing a sight as the seafront neighborhoods but what it lacks in landscape is compensated by its diverse cuisines. There are chain restaurants where you can find a plethora of comfort foods and fancy dishes. You can also spot a mom and pop restaurant in between where the food is more affordable and more thrilling.
- Charleston is not solely about the Low Country delights. It has sufficient hotspots for American, Tex-Mex and Italian cuisines as well. Head out to Mount Pleasant where you can still buy hot dogs for a dollar and burgers for less than five bucks. Be at Sullivan’s Island if you are in love with seafood and barbecue. Other hotspots for sumptuous meals are West Ashley, Folly Beach, Johns Island, Kiawah and James Island. Some of them are a long drive from downtown Charleston so if you have time, they are worth a visit.