East Bay Meeting House Bar and Grill
After learning the night before that not much stays open late in Charleston, the next morning we discovered that few establishments open early for breakfast. After walking around the historic district for 20 or 30 minutes in the rain, we finally stumbled up on the East Bay Meeting House. This nicely decorated establishment with an old fashioned classic vibe has a small bar and a tiny dining area, along with a few tables on the sidewalk out front.
We took a seat at a table on the side near the window and enjoyed huge cups of coffee of cappuccino. We scanned the breakfast menu, which is quite sparse, but containing several interesting, unique items. Laura and I both decided to get a quiche. Laura had the spinach with Parmesan quiche, and I the Portobello mushroom, ham and cheddar cheese quiche, both served with fresh fruit for $8. The quiches were absolutely spectacular; I'm not normally a huge quiche fan, but I could have easily eaten another. Delicious.
The staff was OK, just one bored waitress giving about 75% effort. She even got our bill mixed up with another table, after I viewed the correct bill and gave my credit card. Oh well.
Fleet Landing Restaurant - on the waterfront
Fleet Landing Restaurant is a newish restaurant in a cool, historic location with great views. The concrete building on a pier was originally built by the US Navy in 1942 to process sailors from the ships. Later it was merely used for storage by the city of Charleston. In 2004 the current owners of the Fleet Landing acquired the building and opened this fine restaurant.
We started at the huge and crowded bar that is half inside and half outside. Here the bartender named Wes served us a few Yuengling Lagers. We asked for a menu, then he went on to ignore us for the next 20 or 30 minutes while our beers sat empty and we patiently waited to order. Finally we just decided to leave, because he seemed to be going out of his way to ignore us.
On the way out the door, we noticed there was no longer a wait, so we decided to give the restaurant a second chance, and we asked for a table for two. We started off with a few fresh Yuenglings, then decided on the shrimp and lobster stuffed hush puppies as an appetizer. They were huge, hollowed-out hush puppies full of shrimp, and with a piece of lobster somewhere--unique dish, great taste, but cheap on the lobster ($12)
For my main course, I decided to try shrimp and grits ($20). The dish consisted of a huge bowl of creamy grits in a special gravy with lots of shrimp and Andouille sausage. It was excellent! My dad had the grouper filet, which was the fish of the day ($21).
Circa 1886 Restaurant: Low Country High End Restaurant
On our last night in Charleston we went a little above budget and ate here. Written several years ago unfortunately I can't remember every dish and just got rid of the food photos as they did not turn out very well, but just did find the sales slip.
I remember my overall impressions were very nice place, but again like a lot of the high end type restaurants they tend to be almost too attentive. The food was good and not overly expensive, but its not the place I really need to go back to again.
Favorite Dish: Our food for the evening was as follows:
Appetizers: We had a cheese trio for $12.00 and a bowl of peanut bisque for $8.00. The cheese was as you would expect it and the bisque was very tasty and something we wouldn't find in the Chicago area where we live.
Main: We both had fish that night. One of us had bass while the other had salmon. These were $24 and $25.
Deserts: We shared a chocolate desert which I remember being very rich. This was $11
The 2 glasses of wine we had were a bit pricey at $10 and $14, but went well with the meal.Related to:
- Wine Tasting
- Historical Travel
Rue de Jean: French Burgers - Part II
Anyway to continue. We really enjoyed lunch here at Rue de Jean. Jimmy was great and since it was a little late for the regular lunch crowd he had some time to spend talking to us about his sojourn to Charleston from Boston. Short story he wasn't sure where he wanted to go when he left Boston, so he took a train, got off in Charleston where he had never been before and decided to stay. Better winters, although the summer months get a bit steamy.
Favorite Dish: Sue had the Frissee Lyonnaise which is Frisee lettuce, bacon lardons, toasted hazelnuts, poached egg with hazelnut vinaigrette.
Rich had the 10 oz. Brasserie Burger with Gruyere Cheese (the other cheese choices were Roquefort or Cheddar) and great fries.
We opted not to have the speciality of the house which are mussels. But if you are a mussel lover they had over a half dozen varieties. They had many other options and a great dessert menu, but we noticed a Italian Gelato place right next store so we opted to skip dessert here and head next door. Who'd a thunk it was that short a trip from France to Italy? See the dessert in another tip.Related to:
- Wine Tasting
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Arts and Culture
Noisy Oyster Seafood Restaurant: Mouth-watering Seafood Steam Pot
Favorite Dish: Noisy Oyster Seafood Steam Pot. Described as a 'big ole iron pot full of steamy snow crab legs, lobster tails, shrimp, oysters, clams and mussels all in a spicy seafood broth. AND to make it even better, we toss in corn on the cob, potatoes and country sausage.' And it's just that! The broth is absolutely delicious! A tomato base and slight spicyness to awake the senses!
We dined here on our first night and was such a good find, we went back the second night!
Jestine's Kitchen & Bakery: There's a reason there are lines to get inside!
Real southern hospitality felt like we were visiting family in this cozy yet not crowded restaurant. Jestine Matthews was born in Low country in 1885. Her mother was a native American and her father was the son of a freed slave. Jestine moved to Charleston working as a laundress and housekeeper. In 1928, she went to work for the Ellison family who were expecting a baby. Dana Berlin is the baby that now owns Jestine's with Shera Lee Berlin, her daughter. Justine died in 1997 at 112. Her recipes inspired the menu.
We began with sweet cucumber pickles & huge glasses of iced tea. The sweet was too sweet so I got unsweetened with a splash of sweetness. Our meal came out pretty quickly. Afterwards we went next door to the bakery and bought cola and red velvet cakes to go. We were not disappointed!
In retrospect we could have tried the corn fritters, crab cakes & fried green tomatoes. We saw the huge portions & didn't realize we could have tried these items by the piece, The greens were available in little or big portions as well.
Favorite Dish: Po Boy, Iced Tea & shrimp gumbo were pretty amazing. People all around us were getting two huge pieces of fried chicken (I've never seen such large chicken) it looked wonderful.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
Hank's Seafood Restaurant: Charleston seafood at its best
I am not a big fan of tuna, although I did have a friend when I lived on Crete who made a tuna noodle casserole to die for, so I was pleasantly surprised when a friend invited me to taste her tuna at Hank's. It almost literally melted in my mouth. Unbelievably tasty! The shrimp which I had ordered were some of the biggest I have ever seen and were seasoned to perfection. The service was as excellent as the food. I usually think that desserts are too expensive in restaurants but I would definitely recommend the chocolate peanut butter pie which was delicious. There is not a lot of fried stuff on their menu which enhances your ability to taste the seafood. Their food always seems to be very fresh.
They open for dinner only at 5 PM every day, so don't go for lunch.
Say hello to Joey Ryan, the manager, when you visit.
Favorite Dish: The she crab soup, which is normally not one of my favorites, is something which I will eat whnever I have another chance to eat there again. It is impossible for me to describe why I loved it so much but I will say that if you like she crab soup, you must try Hank's, and if you have never tried it this just might be the perfect place to try your first bowl.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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.
Jestine's Kitchen: Southern comfort food and hospitality
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: First Class Seafood
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.
Jestine's Kitchen: Personal Favorite
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.
Anson's: Seafood and Other Delicious Stuff!
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!Related to:
- Women's Travel
Charles Crab House: Seafood and more seafood!
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 platterRelated to:
- Food and Dining
- Road Trip
Hominy Grill: Best pancakes in the Southeast
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.Related to:
- Family Travel
Anson: Old City Market Area Original
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.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
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