Welcome to The Holy City, the culture and culinary capital of the lowcountry.
Before visiting any new city, town, or hamlet, I have to research it online to find the best possible places to eat and drink. My attitude is that if I'm only going to have a few meals in a place, they better be the absolute best meals around. It is an obsession that often annoys those traveling with me, but once we're presented with a plate of [insert local specialty here], the complaints magically stop.
Therefore, I want to present you with the cream of the crop. Fortunately (and unfortunately), if you're looking for an incredible meal or a picturesque stroll, my new-ish home (I moved to the lowcountry about nine months ago) has almost too many choices. Not only is it enchantingly beautiful (Travel+Leisure named it the most romantic city in America), but Charleston is also one of the most vibrant, creative, and welcoming places I've ever experienced.
This list will inevitably leave some things out (tell me about them in the comments! I'm still new!), and most recommendations are on the more affordable end of the spectrum, since I am not yet wealthy enough to frequent the swankier spots. (I also shied away from listing the more well-known eateries, like Sean Brock's Husk—skip the wait and go to the bar next door—and the uber-Southern Hominy Grill, because you already know about those, don't you?)
Here are my favorite spots in and around Charleston, the ones I find myself returning to again and again, where I most likely know a good portion of the patrons and the bartender, to boot. By the end of the night, you will to.
Note: Charleston has been in the news a lot lately after the shooting this June, which killed 9 people. I don't want to dwell on this tragedy, but I did want to mention that the community's response of overwhelming love and support was something truly special to experience. #CharlestonStrong
Have you been to Charleston? Where were your favorite places to eat? Sip cocktails? Explore? Tell us in the comments!