Being the port city that it is, of course seafood is the king of dining in Charleston, South Carolina. And not only seafood, but low country cuisine, which among other things, includes fried green tomatoes, crab cakes and shrimp and grits. Beyond the plethora of Charleston seafood restaurants, the city is making a name for itself as a city of diverse cuisine, offering something for everyone. Head to historic downtown Charleston on any given night, and you’re sure to find several restaurants that will please every palate.
Charleston’s seafood restaurants are typically divided into two groups, the deep friend tourist seafood restaurants, and the more fine local establishments. Follow the crowds during vacation season, as they’re likely to be heading to Hyman’s, which has made a name for itself in the Carolinas as a hallmark of deep fried, family style seafood. For a more local, fresh flavor, there’s Coast Bar and Grill. Located a couple blocks from the Charleston waterfront in historic downtown, Coast features fresh, locally grown food, emphasizing the Low Country style that’s so popular in Charleston.
Fig is one of Charleston’s most eclectic and culturally diverse restaurants. Renowned among locals, Fig features a unique mixture of cuisine that you’re not likely to find elsewhere in Charleston. Located in historic downtown on Meeting Street, Fig is a simple, neighborhood bistro, but with a very unique menu that stretches across multiple cultures, including Caribbean and Mediterranean. Using locally grown vegetables and produce to compliment main dishes, some of the entrees include roast suckling pig, hanger steak and pork shank.
Joining Fig as another one of Charleston’s international restaurants, is the Cajun Kountry Kitchen Cafe, which is located outside of downtown in North Charleston, but worth the drive. Just a small cafe, it goes beyond many Charleston restaurants by offering cuisine you can hardly find in the south, such as gator, crawdads and cuban pork sandwiches. This is casual dining at its best.
Another Charleston restaurant that is worth the drive is Red Drum Gastropub, which is across the Cooper River Bridge in Mt. Pleasant. Featuring a European ambiance, it draws on a variety of flavors, including southwestern in delivering unique entrees. The award winning restaurant, like so many Charleston restaurants, wins people over with unique dishes like barbecued sweet potatoes, wood-grilled salmon and molasses-grilled quail.
[Photo courtesy of skyliner72]