Charleston is a foodie heaven. New five-star restaurants pop up every season and staple Charleston restaurants continue to thrive. It’s extremely impressive that within a small peninsula, there are countless fantastic restaurants. Your list of must-try restaurants only ever gets longer, despite actively crossing restaurants off your list. It’s a bold statement to say that Charleston has a defined top three restaurants for this very reason; no two people may agree on the top three. However, these three restaurants are undoubtedly favorites of locals and visitors alike.
167 Raw is a small restaurant with two 5-seater tables and bar seating, but don’t let the small size deter you from thinking it’s acceptable to skip. It’s been such a popular restaurant that extra bar seating was added after they opened in order to accommodate the crowds of people coming to eat every day.
It is said that 167 Raw has the best lobster roll in the whole city of Charleston. In fact, 167 Raw often runs out of lobster by mid-afternoon because their seafood is delivered fresh every day and everybody wants to try their famous sandwich. However, the dish that often gets overlooked, but may possibly be better than the lobster roll, is the shrimp tacos. No matter what you order, everything is fresh and bursting with flavor. A favorite addition to many dishes is the homemade beet sauce.
The Park Cafe
The Park Cafe is located further north on the peninsula and is, therefore, a bit off the beaten path. Called The Park Cafe because it is across the street from Hampton Park, the cafe’s decor is minimal with neutral white and tan decor. The decor is accentuated with green planters up the walls and flowers on every table top. It’s practically an extension of Hampton Park.
You can’t go wrong ordering from this farm-to-fork eatery. The fried egg sandwich is arguably the best breakfast sandwich in town (also served at lunchtime), with a fried egg, avocado spread, bacon, spicy mayonnaise, cheddar cheese and half a grapefruit on the side.
Leon's Poultry & Oyster Shop
Who knew fried chicken and oysters went so well together? A hit since the day it opened, Leon’s Poultry & Oyster Shop is a relaxed oyster shop with an outdoor patio that is always full during nice weather. The fried chicken is never too dry and a hint of spice is added into the breading. Top that off with the hush puppies, which are balls of deep-fried cornmeal batter, to start and a side of avocado toast, and you have one of the best meals in town!
Other notable mentions
With so many amazing restaurants to choose from, it’s nearly impossible to choose three favorites. Adding to the top restaurants, head to The MacIntosh for upscale American cuisine, Trattoria Lucca for the best Italian in Charleston, and The Obstinate Daughter in Sullivan’s Island for to-die-for pizzas.
To keep up-to-date with all the restaurant news in Charleston be sure to tune into Eater Charleston, a website detailing all things new and exciting in Charleston’s foodie world, including restaurant openings and menu changes.
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