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Wondering where the locals eat in Charleston, SC?
We reveal the best restaurants in Charleston for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner.
This guide also includes ideas for take-out food for those who are on the go and just looking for a quick bite to fill their stomach.
Finally, our useful Charleston restaurant guide shares the most romantic restaurants for those planning a unique meal for a special person.
We also have a few other specific recommendations, plus tons more activity recommendations if you’re looking for romantic things to do in Charleston.
Beside each restaurant, we have identified the neighborhood so you can plan your meal easily.
Do you agree with our choice for the best places to eat Charleston? Tell us in the comments if we’ve missed your favorite!
Best of Charleston Restaurants
Best Breakfast in Charleston, SC
Some of the best food in Charleston starts with the most important meal of the day, breakfast!
Toast All Day
Neighborhood: West Ashley, Downtown, Mt. Pleasant
Located in the Days Inn by Wyndham, at first glance, you would think Toast All Day is just the hotel cafeteria- at second glance, you’ll see a comfy diner setting.
They’re getting rave reviews for their Flat Iron Steak Breakfast Burrito (available for a limited time), Stuffed French Toast, and their Sweet Tea Glazed Fried Chicken.
Voted Best Breakfast by Charleston City Paper; with entrees like these- its sensory overload “All Day”.
Toast All Day has indoor and outdoor seating.
Daps Breakfast & Imbibe
You can easily pass by this place that’s inside a lime green house, but that’s exactly what Daps is going for; your neighborhood place that you walk down the street to in your pajamas.
Half coffeehouse, half restaurant.
Menu items feel like a mashup of homemade concoctions including Fruity Pebble Pancakes and mimosas with wine!
Daps has indoor and outdoor seating and kerbside pickup for take-out deliveries.
Early Bird Diner
Neighborhood: West Ashley
This place has breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
However, It’s the breakfast with a twist that stands out; including the pecan fried chicken and cinnamon waffle with honey mustard BBQ sauce and syrup.
Also don’t miss the corn cake benedict or the beef patty with scrambled egg on top!
Best Brunch in Charleston, SC
If it’s the weekend and you are wondering where to eat in Charleston for brunch, keep reading.
Millers All Day
A bistro, bakery, and bar rolled into one? Sign us up!
People come to Millers All Day for the hearty portions of meals served up all day, like the Hot Honey Chicken Donut Sandwich.
An attraction is their 175-old antique mill, which still grinds out cornmeal into grits daily.
Big Bad Breakfast
Neighborhood: Cannonborough Elliotborough
Based on the cookbook of the same name, written by founder Chef John Currence- Big Bad Breakfast takes its pride in reminding you of grandma’s breakfast in the South.
Born and raised in New Orleans, everything on the menu will give you a sense of place, however, they do source items from elsewhere too.
Their motto is: Eating breakfast out is special. It’s a chance to greet the day together, socially or professionally.
The Junction Kitchen & Provisions
Neighborhood: Park Circle/Holy City
The Junction is known for its homemade jellies and jams, as well as its ales and brews.
The restaurant is now a staple along the Spruills Ave corridor.
Come for either breakfast or lunch and — if you cannot decide on what you want — a lot of your options can be ordered ala carte.
Best Lunch in Charleston, SC
Next, let’s take a look at Charleston lunch spots for quick catch-ups or slow meals with friends and family.
Feeding the soul of the city, come to Hannibal’s for authentic Lowcountry Gullah cuisine, which includes specials like turkey wings, oxtails, and hoppin John.
This no-frills place has been around for nearly 40 years and the founding Hanger family has deep roots in Charleston.
Fleet Landing Restaurant
Neighborhood: French Quarter
How can you come to a place like Charleston and not eat by the water?
With views of Charleston Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean, chow down on surf and turf, oysters, or crab cakes at Fleet Landing.
It’s not too early for that tall glass of beer, either.
Butcher and Bee
Neighborhood: East Central
Butcher and Bee offers locally sourced fresh food that’s on the healthier side.
Bringing a variety of greens, fish, and meat to the table.
Their take on lunch is refreshingly different than most local offerings. They also have a bakery that makes bread on-site daily.
Best Dinner in Charleston, SC
Starters, mains, and desserts coming right up in our evening dining section.
Neighborhood: French Quarter
A pioneer in the category of “refined Lowcountry cuisine,” 82 Queen is known for its She-Crab Soup.
Eat under the big magnolia tree in their courtyard that’s been around for over 100 years.
A handful of the most romantic hotels in Charleston are located close to Queen Street and this restaurant.
Neighborhood: French Quarter
Located in a restored Victorian-era home, Husk is unique in that it has an ever-changing menu.
They pride themselves on everything being locally sourced- and I do mean locally sourced, even down to the decor.
Their saying is, “If it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming in the door”.
Charleston is the original but has also expanded to Savannah and Nashville.
Neighborhood: Daniel Island
Daniel Island is off the beaten path and further out for sure, but great if you’re attending The Charleston Open or any other professional tennis matches at Credit One Stadium.
Kingstide is a seafood/tapas place hybrid that’s rarely seen in other places.
Share some oysters, calamari, tuna tartare, and brisket fried rice among others.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, get the seafood towers- an assortment of raw and cooked seafood with accompaniments, including peel-and-eat shrimp, oysters, clams, and crab.
Best Takeout in Charleston, SC
Neighborhood: Mt. Pleasant
BISCUITS ARE THE KING OF THE SOUTH is their motto.
Vicious Biscuit offers comfy-style sit-down or takeout that puts different spins on what you can do or put on a biscuit.
This includes pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, jalapenos, avocado, and remoulade, just to name a few.
Plans are to expand to Wilmington, Jacksonville, and Charlotte in the very near future.
Rodney Scott’s BBQ
Neighborhood: North Central
Rodney Scott BBQ is a James Beard award winner for its slow-smoked pulled pork and pulled chicken.
Their motto is “Every Day is a good day,” and they have even opened up a second outpost in Birmingham and a third outpost in Atlanta.
Rodney Scott is considered a true pitmaster when it comes to cooking the whole hog.
Neighborhood: North Charleston
In a city full of seafood and lowcountry cuisine, having a successful vegan place might be a bit of a challenge but that is what’s happening at this newly established joint that brings southern food together with a twist.
Those recipes are showing up at breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Vined.
Guests can expect to find plant-based burgers, fried cauliflower “vings,” mushroom steak with asparagus and mashed potatoes, shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, breakfast burritos, and more on the Vined menu.
Most Romantic Restaurants in Charleston, SC
In this section, we will discuss the best places to eat in Charleston for date night or special occasions.
Neighborhood: French Quarter
Magnolias has been a Charleston institution for 32 years.
This restaurant reignited the culinary scene in the city.
The romance comes in the form of the regal decor and their stellar wine list.
Neighborhood: Harleston Village
How romantic can you get?
How about being inside a converted carriage house at Circa 1886?
Tucked behind the Wentworth Mansion (now a 5-star hotel) from 1886, you can dine either outside on the patio or inside the beautiful Tucker Room.
Classic old-school steakhouse, where the waiters are in tuxedos and the walls are wood paneled.
Located on historic King Street, this is a place with hearty portions, with sides that could substitute as full meals unto themselves, including lobster smoked bacon mac & cheese, sweet & sour collard greens, and the pepper jack creamed corn skillet.
Pour into the romance with a low-density dining room and a great selection of wines.
You may also like our guide on where to eat in Savannah, GA.
Our South Carolina Travel Guides
Have you eaten at any of these best Charleston restaurants? Tell us in the comments.