The Wide Open Eats' Guide to Charleston, South Carolina

Known as the oldest city in South Carolina, Charleston is known for its rich history, beautiful weather, and distinct culinary fare. Founded in 1670 as Charles Town, the city was named to honor King Charles II of England, however, after the Revoluntary War, the spelling was changed to what we presently use. You can still feel the history beneath your feet as you step on the cobblestone streets and hear the distant clopping of horse carriages. From Rainbow Row to the Charleston Harbor, there are beautiful buildings on every corner.

Named one of the nation's leading food cities, Charleston encompasses the comfort of low-country cuisine with modern twists. So shoot back an oyster and sip on a mint julep, here are our top picks for this foodie city.

1. Charleston Wine+ Food Festival

With over 100 different culinary experiences, the Charleston Wine + Food Festival is well worth the visit. Attend beverage workshops, taste your way through the culinary village, and spend the evening dining at some of the city's best restaurants. The five-day festival brings in top chefs and sommeliers from around the world, so make sure to bring your camera to capture these masters at work.

The festival will be taking place March 4-8 2020, with event locations throughout downtown Charleston and Mount Pleasant. Most events take place on King Street right in the heart of the historic district.

Get more info here.

2. Acme Lowcountry Kitchen

Nothing says low-country more than freshly shucked oysters, and the Acme Lowcountry Kitchen, located in Isle of Palms, serves them up right. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this casual spot is known for their local oysters on the half shell and their variety of shrimp and grits.

Acme is the only South Carolina restaurant to be a part of Smart Catch, a James Beard Foundation program to push towards local sustainable fishing and farming.

Get more info here.

3. Charleston Tea Plantation

Love tea? Look no further than the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only tea plantation in the United States, the plantation hosts free tours of the grounds and the factory. Hop aboard the trolley (for a small fee) or stop by the gift shop and get everything you need to brew a proper cup.

The plantation is located only a few miles south of Charleston on historic Wadmalaw Island. 

Get more info here.

4. Husk

A visit to the Holy City wouldn't be complete without a stop at Husk for a bite to eat. Focused on local, sustainable ingredients, Executive Chef Travis Grimes says if it doesn't come from the south, it doesn't come through the door.

The menu changes pretty frequently with the southern seasons, so contact the restaurant directly if you have any food allergies or preferences.

Get more info here.

5. Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka Distillery 

Known as the largest distillery in South Carolina, Firefly Distilling is the perfect stop on a hot and humid summer day. Known for their sweet tea infused vodka, Firefly Distillery hosts tastings in the tasting room of their vodka, moonshine, whiskey, and rums. You might want to determine a DD for this adventure!

Get more info here.

6. Xiao Bao Biscuit

Opened in a former gas station, Xiao Bao Biscuit was opened in 2012 by Josh Walker, Duolan Walker-Li, and Joey Ryan. The menu is inspired by Josh Walker's trip to Asia with his wife. The dishes include a little bit of everything from China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, and include some unusual dishes like okonomiyaki covered in "pork candy". 

The dishes are served family style and they do not accept reservations.

Get more info here.

7. Charleston Culinary Tours

If you are looking to take part in a walking tour and taste your way around town, Charleston Culinary Tours is for you. Each tour includes food and non-alcoholic beverage tasting, free entrance into the Charleston Powder Magazine, Charleston's oldest public building, and a fully-narrated tour by a knowledgable travel guide. Visit Upper King Street, the historic Charleston French Quarter, and the City Market. 

Get more info here.

8. Boone Hall Plantation

It's America's most photographed plantation! Known as one of America's oldest farms, Boone Hall was once known for pecans and cotton and now boasts U-Pick fields throughout the year.

Admission to the plantation includes a live presentation on Gullah culture (a culture adapted by African slaves) and a tractor tour of the property. Group tours may also add-on The Gullah Luncheon which includes a delicious southern farm-to-table meal with a private History Of The Gullah Culture presentation.

Get more info here.

Watch: 5 Okra Recipes Showcasing the Southern Delicacy's Best