It’s hard not to love Charleston. Last year we launched our Charleston Guide to help people discover great places to eat, great places to stay and fun things to do. I love running into visitors while they’re in town that have followed some of our recommendations. It makes us happy that we are able to help people enjoy this beautiful place we call home. Since the launch of our Charleston Guide and 48-hour Charleston Itinerary, we’ve seen incredible new additions to the restaurant scene, so we want to share a list of these spots to add to your list! A few of the following locations have been local hits for a while, but we only recently had the time to truly experience all they have to offer. In the list below, you’ll find delicious breakfast dishes, the freshest assortment of local ingredients for lunch, as well as French cuisine and craft cocktails for a date night. For places to stay, make sure you reference the Charleston Guide for our full list of recommendations in the area!
The Harbinger Cafe
The Harbinger Cafe is a cozy little breakfast and lunch spot located on Upper King St. Every dish here is made from scratch and features locally-sourced and seasonal fare in both plant-based and gluten-free options. At The Harbinger Cafe they always have a rotating open face sandwich called “The Grasshopper,” and they’ve topped their latest slice with basil hummus, avocado slices, tahini, sriracha, parsley, micromint, a super seed mix, and lemon zest. This is no plain slice of toast! It has the perfect amount of savoriness with a hint of spice, and it only takes one bite to realize it’s a unique twist on a crowd favorite.
Their baked goods consist of an incredibly creative mix of ingredients – you won’t find these recipes anywhere else. One of our favorite treats is the PB&Blue bar with peanut butter, blueberry jam, and chocolate chip crumble (a vegan item!). If you’re a peanut butter lover, this is where you deserve to treat yourself. Pair it with a matcha latte (delicious with almond milk) and you’re ready to take on the morning!
One Broad Street
One Broad Street opened up last fall, and it’s been a neighborhood hit. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and you will find a loyal crowd during any of those times of the day. Its convenient location makes it an easy stop for a quick bite before heading out to Rainbow Row, or you can stay a while and simply enjoy the atmosphere. Everyone here is so kind and friendly that you will feel like a local the second you walk-in.
They have a vibrant assortment of dishes on the menu, but if you have trouble deciding, take it from us, and order their granola & yogurt dish for breakfast. It sounds simple, but it’s a creative spin on the traditional breakfast pairing. Their homemade granola will leave you craving another taste for days after you leave – it certainly keeps us coming back! Their cold zucchini soup is great to enjoy anytime, but especially during the hotter Charleston days. Served with one of their homemade toasted baguettes, you’ll be indulging in every last bite.
Millers All Day
A new kid on the block, Millers All Day has added a breath of fresh air to Lower King St. with their colorful exterior, mid-century decor, and an emphasis on the most important meal of the day – breakfast – at any hour, all day! They’re here to bring easy dine-in breakfast or grab-n-go lunch items, a happy hour craft cocktail, and of course, some southern homestyle grits. Whether you lean more towards sweet or savory, or a little bit of both, their menu has you covered.
Our favorite must-try dishes are definitely the waffles and unicorn grits! The waffles are topped with bananas, sorghum, caramel, and meringue. After your first bite you will wonder why you never thought of adding caramel like this to glaze your waffles vs. the typical maple syrup. Also, you heard it here first: the waffles are the fluffiest you will ever eat! On the savory side, their grits bowl changes daily. They have about 7 different types of grits on rotation and the toppings are always different. This unicorn grits bowl is topped with corned beef brisket, collard greens, and pickled red onions. We can assure you it is just as delicious and satisfying as it looks! You can also request a vegetarian option of toppings. Rather than pairing these dishes with a coffee, try the Frozen Brunch Punch – it’s a mouthwatering upgrade from a mimosa.
For a healthy dose of heartiness, head on over to Basic Kitchen on Wentworth St. for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This bright and airy space has many great options to cleanse the palette. They take seasonal, local produce and the best ingredients to bring you light, refreshing and nourishing dishes that leave you perfectly content and energized.
One of their biggest hits is the Basic Bowl: brown rice, sesame kale, braised beans, grilled brussel sprouts, grilled sweet potato, and sides of a Magic Green and Carrot Ginger sauce to drizzle over. This dish is one of their most popular vegan options and for good reason! It’s hearty, filling, and just the right balance of flavors. You also can’t go wrong with the Soba Bowl, any of their juices (especially the Beets by BK), a beet margarita, or the tea-totaler.
Felix Cocktails et Cuisine
One of our new favorite date night spots, Felix Cocktails et Cuisine, fuses the delight of Parisian dining with small plates and creative cocktails. The atmosphere and menu are best experienced with a friend or two as an excuse to try as many dishes as you can. Every item on the menu complements the other so perfectly you will keep asking for more.
For starters, we suggest the Lobster Deviled Eggs – a bit of chive, celery, espelette, dijon, lobster brown butter crumb – it’s something to devour in one easy bite! Follow with the Salade d’Automne – butter lettuce, pear, fennel, soft herbs, walnut, lavender brie, and champagne vinaigrette. The slivers of pear add the perfect amount of sweetness to this light and crisp salad. You can’t go wrong with any of the cocktail options, but for this pairing we suggest the La Voilà – green tea vodka, chareu, velvet falaernum, lemon, lime, bitters, and soda.
Is there ever a time anyone would say no to pizza or a classic Italian meal? I sure haven’t! Juliet is one of the best spots for casual dining to enjoy pizza, pasta, cocktails, and beer. Their creations are a mix of ingredients you would never imagine being combined to make a delectable slice of heaven. Our top pick is the Genovese Pesto pizza – pesto, parmesan, olives, red onion, and lemon ricotta. For such a small spritz, the lemon makes quite a difference on this pizza – it’s delicious!
Purlieu opened its doors late last fall boasting a menu inspired by traditional European cooking and culinary styles of the Lowcountry to the Westside neighborhood of Charleston. Situated on the corner of a quaint side of town, at Purlieu you will find many appetizing dishes from artichoke gratin, to duck prosciutto, salmon toast, and the chef’s special bouillabaisse (pictured below).
The salmon toast is a great starter. Top off the toast by mixing together the egg yolk/white, capers, and shallot for a tasty blend of ingredients. The bouillabaisse is incredibly flavorful ’til the very last drop that the only thing left on your plate will be the mussels’ shells – it’s a must-try!