5 Restaurants You Can’t Miss in Charleston, SC

5 Restaurants You Can’t Miss in Charleston, SC

Updated August 2, 2023

Charleston, South Carolina is an amazing destination. The cobblestone streets alone are enough to send you back to another place and time. Once you begin exploring the town, you will realize why it was named after the “Merry Monarch” King Charles II. The eclectic influences from 18th century Asia and Europe envelop you into a whole new world. Adding to the influences and rich history of Charleston is its ports. The ports played home to pirates, natives, and armies alike, and wars and invasions were once ordinary in the town. When you are in Charleston, there are so many restaurants and cuisines to enjoy. Here are five restaurants you cannot miss when you are visiting the exciting town of Charleston.

82 Queen

When in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, why not enjoy the food of the Lowcountry? The area considered the Lowcountry is world renowned for historic cities and its rich cultures and influences. 82 Queen specializes in Lowcountry fare, and you will not be disappointed. The restaurant itself is located in the French Quarter of Charleston. For three consecutive years, 82 Queen has earned the title “Best City Restaurant” as voted by Southern Living magazine readers. It has also been presented with “Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence” for five years. The authentic Lowcountry cuisine paired with the fantastic wine list makes this restaurant a do not miss. The She Crab Soup is a favorite of locals and visitors alike, and do not leave without trying the seasonal dessert offered.

39 Rue de Jean

39 Rue de Jean is located in downtown Charleston and it fully encompasses all that is a French Brasserie. The classic Brasserie cuisine is phenomenal. 39 Rue de Jean prides itself on being a part of the community of Charleston, and every year they have been voted “Best French Restaurant” by the readers of the Charleston paper. The raw bar is a favorite feature at “Rue” as the locals call it, and for a dish that you will never forget, try the Duck A’Lorange. The chef at 39 Rue de Jean has some tricks up his sleeve that many would love to figure out.


Stroll down the famous King Street in Charleston, and you will find O-Ku. O-Ku observes the traditional and authentic flavors of Japanese cuisine. In keeping with the tradition and history of downtown Charleston, you will find that the restaurant kept high ceilings and exposed brick; however, there is still the minimalist Japanese presence. A favorite at O-Ku is the Fresh Wasabi Scallop. The extensive list of saki is also quite impressive.

Virginia’s on King

Virginia’s on King also offers Lowcountry foods cooked with southern flair. The food is prepared from fresh and local ingredients, and it reflects recipes from the family and the south. Stop by Virginia’s on King (which you’ll find on King Street) on a Saturday morning for an incredible Crab and Asparagus Omelette and bottomless mimosas. For a lunch, the po’boys are especially delicious.

Peninsula Grill at Planters Inn

Planters Inn itself has won multiple international awards, and the restaurant Peninsula Grill is just as critically acclaimed. For nine years in a row, the Peninsula Grill has been voted Charleston’s Best Restaurant and Best Chef. The food is a true reflection of the Charleston area. The Wild Mushroom Grits and Lowcountry Oyster Stew are favorites at the Peninsula Grill.
No matter what you happen to be craving when taking a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, you are sure to find exactly what your taste buds are screaming for. Many of the restaurants offer al fresco dining so you can take a seat, enjoy the food, and take in all that is Charleston.