Restaurant Recommendations

Visitors often ask for local advice as to enjoyable places to dine. Suggesting restaurants can be a challenge in Charleston, where we have so many good choices and interesting venues, so it can be difficult to narrow down to the select few. For various categories there are some eateries whose names seeming come up on a regular basis, so here goes.
For ambience, one of the most delightful is Fulton Five at 5 Fulton Street just off King Street. This cozy little restaurant has a small, single dining room and a few seats at its attractive bar. Tucked away on a shaded street in an historic building, the white linens and classic décor make for an exquisite atmosphere, and is reminiscent of old Europe. High Cotton Restaurant at 199 East Bay Street is much more commodious in size, but is tastefully arranged to feature an extremely comfortable décor. Located overlooking a busy restaurant section along historic East Bay, the restaurant gives the feeling of being part of the zesty public scene while at the same time elegantly situated. Hank's Seafood at 10 Hayne Street offers a dazzling first glance with its classic hardwood paneling, flooring and alluring wrap-around bar. The look and feel of Hank's conveys a mood of elegant openness, and is a place one feels comfortable to see and be seen.
For flavor and food, Blossom Café at 171 East Bay Street offers a great selection that includes spicy seafood dishes and hand-tossed pizza from brick ovens. Over at Cru Café on 18 Pinckney Street, sensational southern flavors include poached pears and buttermilk fried oysters. At Trattoria Lucca at 41 Bogard Street, Tuscan dishes are all the rage in Charleston these days, and just the name Gorgonzola Creamafacia suggests that the meal will be a treat. Southern tradition is the basic ingredient at Jestine's Kitchen at 251 Meeting Street, where collard greens and okra gumbo still have a decidedly strong appeal. Authentically French cuisine is always irresistible, and at Gaulart et Maliclet at 98 Broad Street, the flavors of France simmer in a cozy downtown setting.
For just plain old good times, it's hard to beat Cypress Restaurant at 157 East Bay Street, where the upstairs restaurant/bar is a great place to start an evening with appetizers such as the ginger half-shell oysters and a glistening seating area that uplifts the spirit. Side by side at 432 and 434 King Street are La Fourchette and Hall's Chop House, each with a markedly different appeal. Both Chef Perig at La Fourchette and the Hall family at the Chophouse are very personable and welcoming to all who enter. The Chop House has live jazz and an upbeat atmosphere of well-heeled aesthetes, while La Fourchette is romantically filled with music from old Paris in a candle-lit atmosphere that seems to fit a Bogard movie. The name gives away the location at 82 Queen Street restaurant, which has long enjoyed a reputation as a pleasurable locale, with its cozy room seating inside the historic 1870 structure, and a lush garden seating area ideal for those wonderful nights in Charleston.

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