I was a little worried that we weren't dressed nice enough for Hank's, David was in jeans and tennis shoes and I was only slightly more nicely dressed but when we walked in, we saw people in shorts and tshirts and I knew we didn't have to trek back to the car to change. The atmosphere is more classy than the patrons with wood floors and nice leather booths. The service was attentive but we were there on the early side, other reviews talk of needing reservations and eating at communal tables, we had a nice leather booth to ourselves.
Favorite Dish: We started off with the she crab soup which was delicious, it's a rich cream based soup kind if like bisque so I was glad we decided to share a bowl. For my entree I got the # 4 seafood platter with fried oysters, crumb fried shrimp, crabcake, french fried sweet potatoes and southern coleslaw ($23.99) and David got the shrimp and grits ($21.99). The seafood platter was OK but it wasn't anything special. We opted not to have dessert, the menu was pretty standard and on the expensive side so we headed back to Jestine's to end our Charleston food fest.
My friend Patty said that I just had to eat at Jestine's when I headed to Charleston and boy was she right! This ended up being my favorite experience on our 4 day trip to the south. Reports of long lines had us heading here for an early lunch, I had slept through breakfast and was ready to eat. I was pleased to find that there was only a handful of people when they opened at 11am and we were seated right away.
Jestine's is named Jestine Matthews, the housekeeper for the owner's grandparents. The restaurant features food made from recipes passed down from the kitchen of Miss Matthews. The walls are covered with articles and accolades that the restaurant has received over the years, it's been featured on Rachael Ray's $40 a day show and Anthony Bourdain's No Resevrations.
Open Tues-Thurs 11am-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10om, Sun 11am-9pm, closed Monday. Jestine's Sweet Shop next door is open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm
Favorite Dish: Start off by ordering the "table wine" which is sweet tea at Jestine's. Everything on the menu looked interesting but we decided on the fried chicken ($10.95) which they are famous for and a fried seafood plate with fried shrimp, oysters and pecan whiting ($14.95). You get a couple of "veggies" with your meal, I opted for the red rice and mac and cheese, neither one of which is a veggie. The food was very good, not the best fried chicken that I've ever had but still pretty good.
The real hit here is the desserts, I couldn't decide between all the yummy offerings but we finally narrowed it down to the famous coca cola cake and the pineapple bread pudding with vanilla sauce. Our waitress, who was as sweet as the sweet tea we had us a beverage, brought me a small sample of the banana pudding. All three were out of this world and we liked them so much that we headed back here after dinner at Hank's for another helping.
Hank’s was recommended to me when I asked a local where they would go for dinner if they had the choice. She looked startled, so it was either a true answer or a rote answer. The food was so good, and the atmosphere so agreeable, I’m assuming it was a true answer.
Whoever wrote the 2005 review saying the food was so-so didn’t have my 2010 special of monkfish, scallops, potato bread, and garlic spinach. I don’t know what changed, but wow, and I’m not usually one for seafood. The atmosphere is genteel – high ceilings and soft jazz, and servers who don’t treat you differently for being windblown and bedraggled after a long day, in a crowd of well-dressed couples and groups. There was a loaf of fresh, warm bread for starters, and good local beer on tap.
The people at the next table were very pleased with their mussels and low country bouillabaisse. Kind of disturbingly pleased. The food was really good, though.
While I was waiting for a table, with many others, I overheard this: (visiting businessman) “Is this a local favorite?” (his local colleague) “Yes… [muttering under breath] the tourists found it.”
I’ve seen Jestine’s Kitchen reviewed as both a gem and as a tourist trap, but, whatever – it is exactly what it says it is: home cooking in a warm atmosphere; and it’s good food at a good price. Yes, it’s small, and unless you get there at an odd time you’ll probably have to wait lined up outside. Wait staff is competent and efficient, but never hurry people eating (or reading the paper during peak times), and once you’re inside the food and the service are great. I liked it so much I went back several times, and the pecan fried chicken, fried pork chop, and shrimp and grits Sunday special, with various combinations of vegetables and mac & cheese, were all delicious. The lemon custard pie was to die for.
You can also get deserts to go around the corner at Jestine’s Sweet Shop.
A more relaxing dinner would be hard to find, as we breathed in the restored warehouse-feel of Anson's Restaurant and appreciated the Class A service.
I can testify that the Shrimp and Grits entree was absolutely divine! Never one to like grits, I found the combination of sauces along with the shrimp atop the grits a delicious dish.
Comfortable seating, large windows to the street and an aged brick wall running the length of the dining room all contributed to a pleasant dining atmosphere. Prompt service, a polite and friendly wait staff and delectable food makes this restaurant a winner!
Written up in Southern Living Magazine, The NY Times and Wine Spectator Magazine among others, the consensus is that Anson's is a great choice for dining. We highly recommend it!
Favorite Dish: Shrimp and Grits--perfection!
One the 'the-must' Charleston experiences. Nothing 'extraordinary' about the food, but the I just loved the atmosphere! OK well...I admit it's on a touristy cliche side, but we had a great time after all. Try it's legendary dish, and the best so far, (meaty) crab cakes.
Favorite Dish: Crab cakes, fresh oysters and seafood platter
Chef Robert Stehling is not native to the South Carolina Lowcountry, but his “highrise” biscuits and breakfast shrimp are as authentic as you will find in Charleston, or anywhere else for that matter, and the buttermilk pancakes are paired with apple maple syrup and pecan butter. On a corner of Rutledge Avenue in an up-and-coming district of this genteel Southern city, Hominy Grill has been serving a gracious plenty to nearly overwhelming crowds of Dixie diners for about 15 years now. Other regional brunch specialties include a fried green BLT or she crab soup. And you can’t beat the pitchers of sweet tea poured by waitresses with equal doses of Southern charm.
Best side: Sausage gravy
Virtually our entire family went to Charleston for my niece's wedding, two years ago this spring. As we were leaving to come back to Charlotte, someone suggested that we go to the Hominy Grill. I have been threatened with revocation of my Southern citizenship because I do not like grits of any variety so I was much less than enthusiastic about that idea. When it took about an hour to get a table for 14, I grew even less enchanted with the idea but I am very grateful that I was out-voted on this issue. This was one of the best brunches (according to time not beacuse it was some sort of buffet, although when you can share with 13 others, it becomes sort of a brunch) which I have ever eaten. I started with scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy but even after gorging myself on those, I must agree that their buttermilk pancakes are among the world's best.
Favorite Dish: Light buttemilk pancakes with several types of syrups and toppings.
After driving through South Carolina and making stops at several small cities between Augusta, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina we arrived at our hotel around 6:00 p.m. on Sunday evening. The one thing that we had booked prior to our arrival in Charleston was dinner reservations at 7:00 p.m. for each of the 3 evenings we were going to be there. So arriving in Charleston for the first time ever and needing to quickly check in and freshen up we were in a bit of a rush.
Fortunately, Charleston is an easy city to get around and so we crossed the bridge from our hotel, drove down Calhoun Street and found a parking spot just to one side on the Old City Market. We walked around a little bit looking for Anson Street. We went right instead of left or else we would have found Anson Street with no problem. The restaurant wasn't too busy and we were promptly seated.
Our server, Matt took our drink orders (an iced tea for Sue and a glass of Riesling for me) and we purused the menu.
Before our trip we had reviewed a number of restaurants in Charleston and Anson's was one that was open on Sunday evening (there are several that are not open). Although it was a pleasant enough place, it seemed like we were a little too rushed with dinner. Matt checked in with us too frequently to allow us to enjoy a really relaxed dinner. VT's star rating is 1 to 5 stars. I would give this about a 3.5 stars. Food good, nice location, a bit pricey for what we ended up ordering.
Favorite Dish: I started out with a Roasted Beet Salad which had smoked ricotta, amarcona almonds and an orange-fennel vinaigrette dressing (Photo 2).
Sue's main course as the surf and turf, roasted potatoes, green beans with a bearnaise sauce(Photo 3). The surf part was a little unusual in that it was a fried lobster tail. This took away from the sweet flavor of the lobster although it may have also been that the lobster was more of a warm water variety (New England - cold water lobsters are our favorite).
Rich's main couse was a tasty cashew crusted grouper, hoppin' john (not too spicy) and green beans (Photo 4).
We looked at the dessert menu, but decided to explore the market area to see if we could discover something else in the market place area.
After getting acclimated to Charleston by visiting the Visitor Center and viewing a 20 minute film on Charleston we visited the Charleston Museum and one of the historic homes. We finished that tour, took a few more pictures of a church and cemetary and started toward another home but as it was around 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon, Rich said I think lunch is in order, or something to that effect. Anyways as we were walking back to the more commercial area we stopped and talked to a lady who was originally from Boston who said she liked to eat on John Street at Rue de Jean. She mentioned their burgers and fries were fabulous so without delay we headed up John Street and soon found our destination.
As you can see from the pictures we had our choice of eating inside or out, but since the temperature that day was approaching 90 and we were a little tired from our morning adventures we opted to eat inside.
We were seated near the bar and had the fortune to have Jimmy (by coincidence also a Boston transplant) the bartender as our waiter. Jimmy was extremely attentive and as you can see from the picture Sue took (2nd picture in this series) has a great impish smile. Look close at the Ooh La La! sign behind Jimmy and the bar in the picture.
Favorite Dish: So I can get in the 2 pictures and another inside shot from the restaurant this tip continues in Rue de Jean Part II
The Morgan Creek Grill is actually outside of Charleston, on the Isle of Palms. It sits right on the water, with a beautiful view of the bay (an awesome sunset dining experience!). The food was pretty good, but nothing to totally rave about - the setting is what makes this place special. It's kind of off the beaten path, but well worth the drive.
This is a fun restaurant that is immersed in Forest Gump references, hence the restaurant's name. We heard it was delicious so we tried it out. The food was average, but less expensive than many places in Charleston, so I would recommend it.
Favorite Dish: Shrimp sampler platter
A good franchise deli that has been in existence since 1941.
Favorite Dish: I had the Apollo Dipper:
Fat sub roll with hot ham, turkey and Swiss cheese melted together, served with your choiceof Formula “45”™ or Bleu Dip.
We enjoyed eating and later playing pool upstairs. Highly recommended for the food and the atmosphere.
Favorite Dish: The Charleston Chicken was awesome: Sautéed Chicken Breast Smothered with Proscuitto Ham and Lump Crab. Tossed in Savory Herb Sauce and Served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus
Great atmoshpere located in the Charleston Historic District. We enjoyed the food as well as trying to figure out everyones Blues Name. Mine is "Skinny BadBoy Parker"
Favorite Dish: I had a tasty Barbecue Pork Sandwich. Great beer selection here as well.
Look, as I local I feel obligated to give you the real scoop on our restaurants....Hyam's seafood is a joke, locals NEVER go there. Where do we go?....Downtown Charleston, by far the best places to eat here are Basil (amazing Thai) on King street - never had a bad meal there. There is also the sister restaurant Chai's - they have the best mini angus cheeseburgers and rock shrimp. Also downtown, a local favorite is Cru Cafe ---best four cheese macaroni, seafood thai risotto and chinese chicken salad. Other favorites downtown on the pricey side are FIG (they use local produce and have a seasonal menu) also great is High Cotton (great steaks, but you will pay for them). On the cheaper side downtown for good soup, salad and sandwiches is Five Loaves (best soup in town and relatively healthy menu). Also, best cheap mexican is either Yo Burrito (downtown and Mt. Pleasant) or Juanita Greenberg's (Downtown) ---neither one are order by numbers (thank goodness).
Poe's on Sullivan's Island has the best burgers in town, hands down.
For the Mt. Pleasant side of town---Langdon's is incredible, Mustard Seed is a good lunch spot, Red Drum has amazing dishes (but pricey) and one of my favorite lunch spots is Stacks (almost to Sullivan's Island). If you want gourmet take out or a gourmet picnic lunch--the square onion in Ion is your best bet.
By far, one of my favorite restaurants is the FAT Hen (French food with flare, also the best fried seafood in town -- no contest) on Johns Island, check it out. Also want to give a nod to Mondo's on James Island (great Italian).
One of the best restaurants in town is in West Ashley --called Al Di La (Northern Italian) ---you gotta go to this place (fig appetizer, pork shoulder), but fare warning you need a reservation and I would make one at least a week in advance to get a good night and time. (only open at night). These should get you started in the right direction. Don't leave Charleston without eating at one of these places, I promise you won't be disappointed!
Favorite Dish: see above.
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