Just got back from a trip to Charleston with a friend to check out a few concerts at Spoleto, tour the town and of course eat. Due to lack of time, our itinerary and my friend's food preferences there are a few places we didn't get to, but we had a lot of great meals. Here's my list (minus a couple unmemorable places):
Prohibition- We had brunch here our first day. We really liked sitting in the sunny, open back area. The steak and eggs, shrimp and grits and $15 carafe of mimosas were a perfect start to our vacation. The service, like in most of Charleston, was very friendly.
King of Pops- The blueberry lemonade and mimosa pops we picked up a stand in Marion Square were a refreshing snack on a sunny afternoon.
Warehouse- After a concert we sat at the bar at Warehouse for some snacks and cocktails. The roasted beets and fried cauliflower as well as a beer cocktail, the Shandy Shakedown, were great.
Bin 152- Another good snack option. The bartender made some helpful recommendations and we enjoyed a glass of rose, a sheep's cheese and salami and huge stack of bread. The portions (in comparison to most cheese/meat boards in NYC) were enormous.
Callie's Hot Biscuit- A yummy grab-and-go option for breakfast - I had two mini buttermilk biscuits with egg, cheese and roasted tomatoes. It was pretty busy but they kept the line going quickly.
S.N.O.B.- We nabbed a couple of seats (w/o a reservation) for lunch at the chef's table. Upbeat atmosphere with a varied menu. The corn bread basket was great. Also liked the asparagus soup. My deviled shrimp sandwich was just ok and way too large to actually pick and eat. Their salads and some other entrees looked promising.
Gin Joint- Cocktails were complex, strong and flavorful - service moved at a glacial pace though. They have a neat option to give the bartender a couple of descriptors (spicy, fruity, refreshing and so on) and they'll create a custom cocktail.
Stars Rooftop- A nice bar to grab a few drinks and hang with some friends. No view per se but a cool, chill atmosphere.
Hominy Grill- I think this place had been way too hyped in my mind so the actual meal was a bit of a let down. My ribs were good but nothing wow. The starters and sides were ok. I guess traditional Southern food in general doesn't wow me. Service was friendly but a bit harried.
Pearlz- We were staying a bit outside of the peninsula so we drove over to the location in West Ashley (they have one downtown as well). Had a really interesting beet cocktail and half a dozen oysters at happy hour. Didn't stay for a meal but happy hour is a good bet.
Edmund's Oast- Best meal hands down of the trip. We made a reservation for this restaurant (a bit of a drive outside of downtown). They have a really cool looking outdoor area and an expansive indoor space with a bar area and chef's table and both booths and raised tables (lots of seating options). We were unsure of which wine to order so our waitress brought over a few tastes for us. The carrot, potato and egg salad, veggie griddle cakes, braised meatballs and charred broccoli were excellent and nice portions to share between two people. The chocolate mousse dessert was melt-in-your-mouth amazing. Surprisingly the meal, plus two glasses of wine, tax and tip only came out to $105 total.
Cru Cafe- This place was mobbed at lunch but we had reservations so we were seated within a few minutes. I had calamari and the turkey brie sandwich with mash potato and all were excellent.
Black Tap Coffee- Very much a hangout for nearby college students but the coffee was great, especially the coffee "cocktail" with espresso, crushed ice, honey and mint. So refreshing!
Fuel- We needed a break from all of the Southern food so we hit up this former gas station turned restaurant/bar for a snack. Happy hour drinks were reasonably priced and pretty good. Tacos and chips w/salsa hit the spot (nothing extraordinary though)...it's all about the outdoor space here.
Sorry, that was long. In conclusion, Charleston is a great town for food and drinks. I could have used a couple more days to try some more places.