So I know I don't actually live there anymore, but since I spent four years in one of the most beautiful cities on the east coast, and often get asked for recommendations about what to do there, here is my first post about Charleston.
We'll start with the eating.
Charleston has more delicious restaurants that you could possibly visit during even a week-long stay there. When we lived there, we tried out quite a few, but once we'd found ones that we liked, we had a really, really hard time going somewhere new. This list is certainly not all inclusive, and there are TONS more great eating places there, but this is just what I like.
My favorite dinner place (and one I've talked about before) is called The Mustard Seed. There are two locations, one on James Island and one in Mount pleasant. The food is super tasty, and fairly inexpensive. I recommend the butternut squash ravioli. Everytime Jeff and I visit Charleston, this is the restaurant we go to.
Other great dinner choices:
1. Sermet's corner - a slightly fancier place we went once to celebrate my being done with my boards.
2. Magnolia - the most expensive date Jeff and I have been on. This was our choice one year for our anniversary. The food was incredible, but this is definitely the kind of place I'd save for a special occasion.
3. High Cotton - Although we never actually went to the one in Charleston, we recently visited the Greenville location. It was really good. They had house-made pickles, house-cured bacon, and use lots of local ingredients. I think the dinner menu is kind of pricey, but we went at lunch and it was actually fairly affordable.
4. Take a picnic to Sunrise Park. Definitely my favorite park in Charleston, it is located on James Island and overlooks all of downtown and you get a great view of the harbor as well. If you go to Charleston in the summer, it would probably be too hot for a lunchtime picnic, but any other time of year this place is great all day long.
1. Five Loaves - this is an excellent sandwich and soup place. Their soup selection changes daily, and they have great salads and sandwiches. It's like a trendier and more creative Panera. It's also good for dinner, and on friday they have half price wine.
2. Take a picnic to the beach. I'd recommend stopping at Whole Foods and picking something up, but Subway would work just as well. Or pack a PB&J and some cold sodas. Folly Beach is where the college students and surfers go, but it was also the beach Jeff and I went to most of the time. It was the closest to downtown, had some good waves. Sullivan's Island is a more family-oriented beach. Isle of Palms is the furthest away from downtown, but also really nice. You can't really go wrong at any of the beaches by Charleston.
3. Saffron Bakery - This place would be good for brunch or lunch. They have Mediterranean-type food and baked goods. Sundays they have a buffet that looks good. I can't remember exactly what I ordered here but it was delicious.
There are lots of famous seafood places in charleston. Everyone talks about Hyman's. Honestly, I'm not that big a fan of Hyman's because I think their menu is a little too limited. If you want to go somewhere in the Market:
1. A.W. Shucks - Really tasty menu and good seafood, and near all the other fun, downtown activities.
2. If you want a real, unique, southern experience, try The Wreck. They are located right on Shem Creek, but you need a map to get there. And they only take cash. But the food is awesome, and as someone who loves the hole-in-the-wall, locals-only type place, this restaurant was great.
1. My absolute favorite breakfast/brunch place is Hominy Grill. It's located about 3 blocks from where I lived, and I loved going there on saturday mornings. They specialize in southern food with a modern twist. They have some of the best shrimp and grits in charleston, and their biscuits and gravy are delicious. Jeff loved the huevos rancheros. Their fried green tomato BLT is also really tasty.
2. The Variety Store is another locals-only type place located in the Charleston marina. Jeff took me there the morning we got engaged. They have a delicious, but very typical eggs, bacon, pancake type place. You can sit and look out at the harbor and marina. It's beautiful there in the morning.
I realize that many people who have visited charleston will think that I missed whatever is their favorite good restaurant in charleston. Again, this is only a list of my favorites of the places I've actually been. I could probably do another post about places I really want to go, but never have. Anyone else out there have charleston favorites?
And check out Half Pint House for great ideas for visiting St. Louis!