Foodie Diary: The 10 Best Things I Ate & Drank In Charleston, SC

June 2, 2024
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I’ve already talked at-length about what a foodie town Charleston is, and shared a list of 15+ places to eat or drink in the charming historic city.  But I wanted to take that step further and tell you about the individual dishes or drinks that won my heart…that’s right, this is a list of the 10 best foods and beverages I had in Charleston!

The 10 Best Things I Ate & Drank in Charleston | frose from The Co-Op

I definitely recommend you check out my full foodie’s guide to Charleston, and if you’re planning a visit then you also should take a look at my detailed guide to the city (which includes things to do, where to stay, and so much more) and my recommendations for where to stay.

Before we dive in, a couple quick notes on the food scene.  You definitely want to make reservations for dinner, as well as rooftop bars and really anywhere you want to make sure you get into.  You *may* get lucky without one, but I wouldn’t count on it and we did get turned away from some places.

Also, something to know is that most restaurants close from 3:00-5:00pm, so if you don’t plan your day right you may find yourself stranded looking for a late lunch option and no good choices.  Good to be aware of.

So without further ado, let’s talk about the best foods & drinks in Charleston…

Charleston Food Diary: The 10 Best Things I Ate & Drank There | There's no question that Charleston is a foodie city! Here are the 10 best dishes, coffees, and cocktails I sampled in South Carolina's jewel of a city. Best coffee in Charleston, best cocktail in Charleston, what to eat in Charleston. #charleston #foodietravel

ccThe 10 best foods in Charleston best drinks best cocktails & more - Callie's Hot Little Biscuit

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Hot Honey Chicken Donut Sandwich from Miller’s All Day

This place is hoppin’ for brunch and doesn’t take reservations (as far as I know).  We were able to snag a seat and as soon as I laid eyes on the hot honey chicken donut sandwich, I knew I had to have it.

It’s sweet and salty and savory and crunchy…seriously SO good.

The best foods I ate in Charleston - this hot honey fried chicken donut sandwich

Other important info for planning your trip:

Where to Stay in Charleston: Mills House Review & Other Hotel Recos

15+ of the Best Spots to Eat & Drink in Charleston

A Fun & Chill Girls’ Trip Weekend: Things To Do In Charleston

Frosé from The Co-Op

This came highly recommended by multiple friends, so we made the Uber trek out to Sullivan’s Island to try The Co-Op’s famous frosé.  It definitely lived up the hype!

They have a few different flavors but we went with the O.G. strawberry, and sipped while enjoying the cool live music as well.

The best cocktails I had in Charleston - frose from the Co-Op

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Biscuits with cinnamon butter & honey from Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit

This was practically my first stop once I got to Charleston, and it set a high bar for the rest of the trip.  I loooooove me a good hot flaky biscuit and rumor had that this was the best in town.

I tried a few different versions, including the pimento cheese (delish!), fried chicken (A+, no notes), and tomato sandwich (seasonal, okay but a little bland). But I think the winner by a nose was the simple cinnamon butter and honey one.

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Burnt ends mac & cheese from Tavern & Table

We chose Tavern & Table on Sullivan Island for our first night’s dinner, and just about everything we had there—burger, cornbread, cocktails—was awesome.  But nothing could top the rich, savory, textured burnt ends max & cheese…I dream about that dish!

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Mayan Sour at Ritual Rooftop

I frequently will see a cocktail on a menu and go “UM YES I have to have that”.  That was definitely the case when I belled up to the bar at Ritual Rooftop and saw this drink.

The bar has a cool kind of Mayan jungle vibe, and it was a bit nuts even early in the evening when we visited, with bachelorette parties, and Patron doing an activation.  But none of that bothered me while I sipped the perfectly-made whiskey sour made with banana-infused bourbon.  Sutble, sweet, tropical perfection.

The best cocktails I had in Charleston - Mayan sour from Ritual Rooftop

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Oat cherry goat cheese sumac bar at Harken

Harken was basically across the street from my hotel and it might have been my favorite coffee shop in the city.  But it also had one of the best foods I ate in Charleston…I became absolutely OBSESSED with their oat cake with bourbon cherries and goat cheese frosting.

It was bizarre and delicious and I need to figure out how to make it.  Pair it with an iced spiced vanilla latte and you’re in coffee shop heaven.

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Iced blueberry chai latte from Handy & Hot

This spot had been on my list for their biscuits (which were fine but not nearly as good as Callie’s), but it was their blueberry iced chai latte that won me over.  It was just the refresher I needed at that time of day (they had a couple other ones that sounded interesting as well).

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Vice City cocktail at The Watch Rooftop

We were looking to kill some time mid-afternoon, so went up to The Watch Rooftop, hoping to hang out with a view.  A thunderstorm threw a wrench in those plans, but we did have a couple awesome cocktails and some delicious appetizers.  I honestly can’t remember which was which because I had two different strawberry-based drinks and both were delicious.

I started with the Vice City (coconut fat-washed gin, pineapple, charred strawberry syrup, and lemon juice), and then the Strawberry Blonde (strawberry-infused rum, amaro, falernum, lime, and pineapple).  Both were phenomenal, but I think Vice City edged out the win.

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Pecan praline french toast at Church & Union

I tend to find french toast at restaurants pretty underwhelming, but this was absolutely delicious!  Church & Union is gorgeous, housed inside a 100-year-old Gothic church building with stained glass windows and soaring ceilings, with a modern and cozy decor.

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The lamb burger at Church & Union

Yeah, it got two spots on the list…it might have the best brunch in Charleston?  There wasn’t a ton on the menu that didn’t have pork or shrim, so since it was nearing lunchtime, I went with a lamb burger as the “savory” to pair with my friench toast.

Also, a special shout-out to the home fries, which have a delicious sweet-and-salty coating.

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So if you’re headed to Charleston and are looking for a foodie adventure, these are 10 of the best foods in Charleston (and the best cocktails and coffee) to get you started!

Other deep-dive foodie explorations you’ll love:

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Charleston Food Diary: The 10 Best Things I Ate & Drank There | There's no question that Charleston is a foodie city! Here are the 10 best dishes, coffees, and cocktails I sampled in South Carolina's jewel of a city. Best coffee in Charleston, best cocktail in Charleston, what to eat in Charleston. #charleston #foodietravel

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