Friday Favorites: Charleston Restaurant Edition


Ben and I have both long agreed that the mark of a truly good chef or restaurant is ordering a dish and having it come out in a way that’s completely different than you expected. Totally imaginative and exceeding your expectations. Here in Charleston we’ve had a number of those experiences, which I want to share with you so you can see for yourself on your next visit which, seriously – make some time soon. I know you’ll just love it here!

(PS I apologize in advance for some of the following horrendous iPhone photos. They are zero indication of the quality of meals we’ve had here!)

Favorite Restaurant: S.N.O.B. (Slightly North of Broad)

S.N.O.B. in Charleston, SC |

S.N.O.B., or Slightly North of Broad, is “an eclectic low country bistro that brings together an abundance of local ingredients and thoughtful, expert presentation with a friendly, contagious energy.” Um, nailed it!

S.N.O.B. in Charleston, SC |

SNOB (removing the periods from here on out because they are slowing me down) serves southern fare made with local ingredients in a way that is not only beautiful, but thoughtful, brought to you by a super friendly bar and wait-staff. Of all the meals we had in Charleston, this one was my favorite. The ambiance, staff, and most important, food, were just incredible.

S.N.O.B. in Charleston, SC |

By this time on our trip I was feeling stuffed to the gills, so I ordered 2 appetizers instead of an entree for my meal and started with the Ambrose Farm Strawberry Salad: mixed greens, local chevre, organic hazelnuts, strawberries, and white balsamic vinaigrette. Not-so-stunning photo, but perfectly light and delicious. I’d swear it was the middle of July by how sweet those strawberries tasted!

S.N.O.B. in Charleston, SC |

Ben’s salad was also a can’t miss – Caramelized Pear Salad: toasted pistachios, blue cheese, dried cranberries, mixed greens, champagne honey vinaigrette. His slow-poached pear was INSANE. It had a bruleed topping that, without the bleu cheese and pistachios, would have made the salad feel almost desserty. The other fixins, though, pulled it all together. Wow!

S.N.O.B. in Charleston, SC |

For my entree I enjoyed Sauteed Nantucket Bay Scallops with braised leeks, crispy fingerling potatoes and arugula pesto. I could eat this meal everyday for the rest of my life – it was full of surprise flavors and textures. Braised leeks – who knew?!

S.N.O.B. in Charleston, SC |

Bay scallops hold a special place in my heart because they were the first meal Ben and I had together after getting engaged in San Diego in 2007, and I order them whenever I get the chance. The saute on these babies was crisp and bouncy, and the fried spinach they were nestled into were mind-blowing. Best. Meal. Ever!

S.N.O.B. in Charleston, SC |

Not to be outdone by Ben’s tenderloin, which could not have been anymore tender. Way to go SNOB!

S.N.O.B. in Charleston, SC |

Favorite Experience: HUSK

HUSK in Charleston, SC |

HUSK was by far your most recommended restaurant to visit when I announced we were coming to Charleston, and it lived up to every expectation we had set for it. The restaurant is actually located just steps away from Poogan’s Porch on quaint Queen Street in another southern-style mansion.

HUSK in Charleston, SC |

(BTW the reason all the restaurants are empty in my photos is because we like to get the first reservations. Mama’s usually hungry by then…)

HUSK in Charleston, SC |

At HUSK…the kitchen reinterprets the bounty of the surrounding area, exploring an ingredient-driven cuisine that begins in the rediscovery of heirloom products and redefines what it means to cook and eat in Charleston. Totally spot on again! Common, southern ingredients interpreted and served in a way that I would have never in a million years thought of myself. The chefs at HUSK are exceptionally creative.

HUSK in Charleston, SC |

The service was impeccable and our server, Travis, promptly brought out hot, fresh rolls for us to enjoy right away. Hot, fresh, buttermilk rolls with bourbon rock salt served with pork infused butter. THAT’S RIGHT.

HUSK in Charleston, SC |


HUSK in Charleston, SC |

While Ben and I wrestled with what to order for our entrees, we already knew what we’d be getting for appetizers. Up first, “Kentuckyaki” Glazed Pig Ear Lettuce Wraps with Sweet Vinegar Marinated Cucumber and Red Onions. A girlfriend of mine was down here a few weeks ago and assured me that, although a tad bizarre sounding, these pig ear lettuce wraps were absurdly delish – which they absolutely were.

Think of the crunchiest thing you’ve ever eaten, multiply it by 10, then toss it in sweet and smoky teriyaki sauce, pair it with house-pickled cucumbers and red onion, and then wrap it in a tender lettuce cup. We’d never tried anything like this, and I’m still thinking about them 3 days later. Must, must, must try if you go to HUSK.

HUSK in Charleston, SC |

Our second appetizer was even farther out there – Pork Skin “Ramen” with Crispy Pork Belly, Soft Poached Egg and a Roasted Pork Mushroom Broth, Cilantro. Basically, ramen soup made with “noodles” made from pork skin. Toooootally unique, and Ben went crazy for it. I can’t say I loved the pork skin noodles (just a little unnerving) but the broth was some of the most intensely flavored broth I’ve ever had. Super high on the umami factor. Loved that part!

HUSK in Charleston, SC |

For my entree, Travis helped me decide on the Wood Fired Carolina Pork Chop, Creamy Pit Beans with Smoky Tomatoes and Heirloom Lacinato Kale. Now, I have not had a pork chop in well over a decade, but this was irresistible. A crisp-seared pork chop nestled onto smoky tomatoes and pit beans with tender kale. MIND BLOWING. How they got such a delicate, smokey flavor into those tomatoes, beans, and broth, I will never know. I slurped down every last bite!


DO NOT skip the cheesy grits at HUSK, either. Best we had all trip.

HUSK in Charleston, SC |

Since I’m PG and not drinking, I’ve been enjoying Arnold Palmers (lemonade + iced tea) about once a day for something flavorful to sip on, so we thought it’d only be appropriate to order the “Arnold Palmer” dessert with Lemon Pound Cake and Sweet Tea Ice Cream (and foam!) So delicate, and that ice cream seriously tasted just like iced tea. Too cool.

HUSK in Charleston, SC |

HUSK also owns the building next door, which they call the “Bar at Husk”. Kind of prohibition-esque with excellent drinks (so Ben reports.) Be sure to stop in for a drink either before or after dinner!

HUSK in Charleston, SC |

Favorite Low-Key Spot: Lost Dog Cafe

There are a ton of fun little side trips you can take from downtown Charleston – dolphin and shrimp boat spotting at Shem Creek, going to see the Angel Oak tree, plantation and garden visits, in addition to many others. We didn’t rent a car down here though, and had already seen 2 plantations in New Orleans, so we decided to hail a cab one morning and high tail it out to Folly Beach, about 20 minutes outside of town! (Yellow Cab – ~$25 each way.)

Lost Dog Cafe, Folly Beach, SC |

While the beach itself was fah-reezing (we were about 1 month too early for laying out weather, me thinks) the sight of the ocean, a brisk beach walk, and stroll to Lost Dog Cafe made the trip worth it.

Lost Dog Cafe, Folly Beach, SC |

Lost Dog Cafe is the cutest little surf shack cafe, tucked into a side street and surrounded by palm trees. It reminded me of Ben’s and my favorite surf spot in Cardiff by the Sea, CA – Pipes

Lost Dog Cafe, Folly Beach, SC |

By the time we arrived we were starving, and spent our 20 minute wait distracting ourselves by pointing out the cute pooches that line the walls at Lost Dog.

Lost Dog Cafe, Folly Beach, SC |

This little guy was my favorite. ;)

Lost Dog Cafe, Folly Beach, SC |

After a quick peruse of the menu we ordered some drinks – decaf coffee for her, and a bloody for Ben. I haven’t been drinking any coffee this pregnancy (most decaf is decaffeinated through a chemical process) but the splurge was absolutely delicious. First cup in almost 5 months – MMMM!

Lost Dog Cafe, Folly Beach, SC |

Breakfast was quickly decided upon next – French Toast with a side of home fries. The French Toast was tender and topped with more of those sweet strawberries. I can’t wait for the Midwest to catch up. The home fries though were EPIC. Sauteed with garlic and red onions, those potatoes were one the most garlicky foods I’ve ever had. So, so, so amazing. I’d order them again in a heartbeat!

Lost Dog Cafe, Folly Beach, SC |

If you want a nice trip to the beach, and an awesome low-key meal to go with it, definitely take a trip to Folly Beach, and the Lost Dog Cafe!

Lost Dog Cafe, Folly Beach, SC |

Favorite Sweet: Kaminsky’s

By 7:00pm there’s a line for Kaminsky’s, a downtown Charleston dessert cafe and bar, out the door and it’s not hard to see why.

Kaminskys, Charleston, SC |

The first thing you see when walking in is sky-high cakes and pies glistening in the glass-front case, with a menu featuring ice cream, milkshakes, and more up above.

Kaminskys, Charleston, SC |

Ben and I nabbed a spot at the bar in the crowded cafe and ordered up after dinner one night!

Kaminskys, Charleston, SC |

A Hot Toddy and cheesecake for him.

Kaminskys, Charleston, SC |

Kaminskys, Charleston, SC |

And a MAMMOTH slice of Red Velvet Cake for her.

Kaminskys, Charleston, SC |

O.M.G. both of us – best respective slices of cake EVER. Look at the size of this thing – it’s as big as my head!! (PS how much do I look like Ina Garten in this photo – I can’t even. Brown bob, jean top, scarf. HALP!!)

Kaminskys, Charleston, SC |

Anyways – the restaurant desserts around here have been really good, but do yourself a favor and save some room for Kaminsky’s when you come into town. Such a unique concept for a “restaurant” with decadent desserts that will blow your mind.

Favorite Spots

One of Ben’s and my favorite vacation activities is bar hopping. Seeing the local watering holes, trying local beers and cocktails, and just talking our faces off. This time the bill was cut in half since I wasn’t drinking, but the fun remained. Here are a couple of our favorite spots:

Blind Tiger Pub

BTP has just the right amount of dive, and a beautiful view of Broad Street out its front windows.

Blind Tiger Pub, Charleston, SC |

What’s really cool though is the back patio, which holds the remains of a 19th century carriage house with arched entryways, and twinkling lights.

Blind Tiger Pub, Charleston, SC |

Sit under the crumbling brick, grab a beer and lunch, then try your luck at the community ring toss – a game where you try and hook a ring attached to a string.

Blind Tiger Pub, Charleston, SC |

It gets pretty competitive!

Blind Tiger Pub, Charleston, SC |

High Cotton

Ben and I hopped into High Cotton on a whim for drinks before dinner at SNOB, and it ended up being one of our favorite bars here. It’s so classy/cute!

High Cotton, Charleston, SC |

The bartenders are really friendly, and make a mean Nojito.

High Cotton, Charleston, SC |

Don’t miss live jazz in the back and happy hour 7 days a week from 4-7pm. Can’t beat that!

High Cotton, Charleston, SC |

Bakehouse Bakery Cafe

Bakehouse Bakery Cafe is located just a few doors down from where we had breakfast at the East Bay Meeting House and is a great mix of cafe/bakery/bar.


The sunny tables and chairs setup outside are the perfect spot from which to people watch while enjoying a local beer, or sparkling soda.


We liked this place so much we went back several times to sit and relax. Definitely make a stop if you’re in town!


Other Recommended Spots!

I think Ben and I could stay here another month and not make it to all the restaurants that were recommended to us. There are SO many great places to sip, dine, and unwind around here! In case you’re ever planning a visit, here are the other places in Charleston that were recommended to us, as well as a few more we tried out:

F.I.G. (Make reservations way in advance, we tried but were too late.)
Hominy Grille (Going to try and stop here for lunch before leaving today!)
The Rarebit (Ben had their Chicken & Waffles for dinner one night and the bites he saved for me were some of my favorite from the whole trip!)
King Street Grill (Amazing build your own chop salads for when you need something light.)
Fulton Five
The Macintosh
The Tattooed Moose
Charleston Cocktail Club
The Ordinary
Basil (We had lunch here – AWESOME Pad See Eiw!)
Fat Hen
Butcher and Bee
Cru Café (Tried to eat here for lunch one day, but all booked up. ADORABLE, so make reservations.)
Fleet Landing
The Taco Spot
Jestines (good, no-frills southern food.)

Final thoughts on Charleston, plus details on where we stayed coming up later this weekend! Hope you all had a great week, and I’ll see ya’ real soon!

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  1. So fun :) I love Charleston and hope to get back someday. My cousin was married on a plantation there – so many of the areas seem to transport you back into time! I love that feeling!

    PS – All of the food looks delicious. I need to go eat breakfast now!

  2. Looks like I need to make a return visit. Such wonderful dining experiences.

  3. kaminskis is like heaven!

    • Barbara Noland 04.05.2013

      you cannot go wrong with any of the restaurants owned by Mark Cummings and the TBonz group. Kaminskys, Tbonz, Pearlz, etc are all delightful. We also love several of the restaurants on Shem Creek.

  4. Lisa 04.05.2013

    Oh Folly!!! Cannot wait to get back there in Sept!
    Hope you make it to Hominy Grill today. Worth. It. The chocolate pudding!!!!
    Safe travels back to Iowa! Weather is finally a bit more tolerable here….

  5. Cori 04.05.2013

    We live in Charleston and still haven’t had a chance to try out all the restaurants we want yet, lol. SNOB is definitely a fave for us and we are going to Husk (finally able to get reservations) for my hubby’s bday next week. Charleston is definitely an awesome place for food!

  6. Big Hungry Shelby 04.05.2013

    Great post, Kristin! I went to Charleston last September, and loved Pooghan’s Porch and Husk. I was most tickled to see you sipping a Blenheim’s hot ginger ale! I went to school n Carolina, and Blenheim’s is one of the things I miss the most about the south. So good!

  7. Oh wow, I feel like I just went on vacation. (Which is awesome because I needed it.) That carriage house archway is just stunning and now I’m craving all things southern. (Not not so awesome for the waist line.)

  8. Jo 04.05.2013

    We took the walking culinary tour while in Charleston. How fun!! Love Charleston!!!!! Thanks for the tour you gave us.

  9. I just found your blog through a friend of mine who recommended this post since she knows I have a soft spot for Charleston — love this post and your writing! Hope you made it to Hominy Grille – I’m obsessed with that place and ended up buying their cookbook. ;)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 04.05.2013

      That’s another reason I want to go today – I’ve heard from others that the cookbook is fab!

  10. You should know that because of the last Charleston post, our (hubby and me) previous plans to go to Colorado next month took a 180 turn (literally) and we are now headed to Charleston! We’re on quite a budget, so if you (or any readers!) have recommendations for enjoying Charleston on a shoestring, I’d be ever so grateful to hear!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 04.05.2013

      Oh my gosh – I am grinning from ear to ear – you will just LOVE it here!! So cool! My biggest piece of advice for saving money is to try and make lunch your biggest meal of the day. Most of the restaurants we visited had very similar menus for lunch that were priced much lower. Oh, I’m so happy for you. Promise to let me know how it goes?!

      • Great advice – I hadn’t thought of that! We’ll probably be preparing one meal a day ourselves if possible, so I was figuring on just buying dinners – but you’re so right, lunch IS cheaper! Maybe we could even use the leftovers for dinner. I’m so excited I can hardly wait! Looking forward to your future post on lodging, I’m trying to get that situation figured out right now :)

        • Amy 04.05.2013

          We stayed at the ansonborough inn, which is downtown , and they had co pli entery breakfast and happy hour with appetizers daily. It was very nice and helped the budget

  11. Kristin from MN 04.05.2013

    Oh my those grits look so good! We went to Florida for the first time in November and my son and I fell in love with grits. P.S. How in the world can you not have had a pork chop in a decade when you live in Iowa?! ;)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 04.05.2013

      I know – it doesn’t make sense. It stems from eating one too many chops as a kid though (love ya’ Mom!) ;)

  12. love this! this is exactly how my husband and i vacation…we could spend hours just wandering down streets in a new place. i’m glad to hear you don’t need a rental car there (i hate spending money on those), are you guys happy you didn’t get one?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 04.05.2013

      If we hadn’t already seen plantations I actually think we might have rented a car for maybe just 2 days (definitely not the whole trip) but no I don’t think it was necessary. There are tours you can join to go to Fort Sumter, for instance, take a water ferry over to Shem Creek, or just pony up for a cab if you want to go anywhere within 15-20 minutes away!

      • okay that’s awesome to know, thank you! we’ve taken a few big trips this year (we call them three honeymoons!) so the next couple of years will be shorter trips to fun cities, and i love gathering info!

  13. Jess 04.05.2013

    The Nojito looks great! I loved when a bartender could make a good mocktail for me when I was pregnant!! It was the ritual of going for drinks is what I missed most. Sadly, I had one bartender who thought a Shirley Temple was a mocktail! I had to explain that I was pregnant not ten years old!!! :)

  14. What a delicious trip!!! This all looks incredible!

  15. Molly 04.05.2013

    Love this!! I used to live in Charleston when I was getting my masters at the College of Charleston and LOVED every minute of it!!! My two absolute favorite restaurants are Cru Cafe (MUST get a side of mac and cheese) and F.I.G. (the sorghum cake for dessert is out of this world). So sad you missed out on them! You will have to put them both on your list for next time :)

  16. Dena 04.05.2013

    Loved this post! Thanks for taking the time to share with all of us. Even food I strongly dislike (pork chops, scallops) looks good coming from your pics and descriptions! LOL. Have a safe trip home! And thanks to you (Ben?), I am in desperate need of a piece of cheesecake with strawberry sauce now. ;)

  17. Jessica A 04.05.2013

    check out Edwin McCain’s song “Holy City” it is about Charleston!
    Love “Chucktown” and Folly. Kaminskys is amazing as is Basil! Next tiime hit up Jestine’s Kitchen and Fat Hen (southern food with a french flair!) on Daniels Island.

    Glad you enjoyed SC’s little piece of heaven. Come back anytime!

  18. S.N.O.B. looks like such a cool spot with a great atmosphere. I am loving the name, too! ;)

  19. AshleyCarole 04.05.2013

    I love this!! Charleston is one of my favorite cities. I loved Husk but was too afraid to try the pig ear wraps. Must put it on the list for next time :) Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

  20. Margo 04.05.2013

    All I can say is W.O.W.
    Great Post, Great Trip, felt like I was there… Can’t wait for you to get home & “re-create” some of those pics! Safe Travels…

  21. Courtney 04.05.2013

    Huge fan, first time commenter.

    Glad you’re having a great time in Charleston! I was born in Georgia, but I then lived in Summerville, SC for about nine years of my life and I LOVE Charleston. I was actually going to recommend that you visit High Cotton, so that’s awesome that you were able to check it out! Also, the carriage ride tours are never a bad idea if you have the time. Hope you guys continue to have fun!

    Side note – I loved your boisterous brother/sophisticated sister comparison of New Orleans and Charleston! So true.

  22. Charleston has been on my list of places to visit for awhile now so I’m bookmarking this post! So many great recommendations and the photos are so cute. Exactly what I pictured it to be like.

  23. My husband (then boyfriend) and I spent a day in Charleston when we were vacationing in South Carolina with his family a few years ago, so we really only got to try one restaurant while we were there. I’d love to go back again and explore some more! Those rolls look amazing!

  24. Lol…I am cracking up about your Ina Garten comment!
    Those are some southern meals! Looks like a perfect trip for a foodie.

  25. Mae 04.05.2013

    My husband and I did our 5 year anniversary in Charleston, and we loved it! We thought the food at Peninsula Grill was really good, and Cypress was another favorite for their food and beer list. Now I want to go back and try all those restaurants too!

  26. Kristina 04.05.2013

    So jealous! I want to visit the South so bad. My husband and I watch the food and travel channels all the time and have a list of restaurants to visit when we finally go!

    BTW – If you’re worried about the chemical process of decaffing coffee you should be worried about the chemical food coloring in your Red Velvet. I don’t allow artificial food coloring or flavoring in my house after educating myself on how bad it is – especially for children.

  27. I was in Charleston a year and a half ago for a wedding and we went to Husk for dinner of the nights. Everything was delicious..and you’re right their grits are the best!

  28. This looks like such a fun spot! The Pub would definitely be on our list if we were ever to visit! Oh and I need those hot rolls! :)

  29. Rosanne 04.05.2013

    Those cheesy grits look great. Come back with a recipe.

  30. kate 04.05.2013

    Stop! I’m a hostess at Hominy! Please let me know what you thought of it if you ended up stopping in! I’m bummed I wasn’t working today!

  31. Debt girl 04.05.2013

    I have always warnted to go there and I will use this as my guide when I do, later this week I am making your pan enchiladas ,,

  32. Elizabeth 04.05.2013

    Gorgeous photos! I’m going to Charleston for a bachelorette party this summer and am even more excited now!

  33. Annie 04.05.2013

    I absolutely LOVE Charleston! I love all of your recommendations, the only one I have actually been to is HUSK and it was phenomenal! Next time you’re in that neck of the woods you should check out Sermet’s Corner and Saffron Bakery.

  34. kendall 04.05.2013

    Ahhh! I got engaged on the porch of Cru Cafe in Charleston and reading this brought back so many great memories. So happy you enjoyed this gorge city:)

  35. Kristin 04.05.2013

    Those sweet strawberries you had were probably from Florida. We are just ending our strawberry season (end of Jan. through early April). I bought strawberries at the flea market today for $1.00/pint. So sad they’ll soon be over.

  36. Jen 04.05.2013

    FUEL (Across from Hominy Grill)is an awesome restaurant in a 1950s gas station. It’s a Cantina with Caribbean inspired dishes. Ah.Mazing. And such a fun atmosphere.

  37. Wow those rolls with pork infused butter just blew my mind. AMAZING!

  38. Lee 04.06.2013

    I’ll have to keep these restaurants in mind. My brother in law lives in Charleston, but I’ve only been over Thanksgiving and we really didn’t go anywhere but their house.

  39. Rainey 04.06.2013

    Man, this soooo makes me want to go back to Charleston! I think I will have to suggest it for next year’s vacation.

  40. LO 04.06.2013

    Most high quality decaf coffee is decaffeinated using water, and not chemicals, FYI.

  41. Bobbi Jo 04.06.2013

    I am an Illinois Girl and married an Iowa Boy and we left Chicago 2 years ago to relocate to Charleston– best decision we ever made. When people ask us “what brought you to Charleston” my husband always says “shrimp & grits”!

    A suggestion for budget minded travel to Charleston is to take advantage of the Happy Hours! Many restaurants & bars have half price appetizer and drink specials- cheap early dinner!

    Also want to add a couple of not to miss restaurants:
    Hanks for seafood- splurge and get the seafood tower
    82 Queen (same block as Husk and Poogans Porch)-best she-crab soup in town
    Blossom- best buttermilk fried calamari and shrimp
    Magnolias- my favorite- never had a meal I didn’t love, and I LOVE their collard greens

  42. Looks like ya’ll had an amazing time! I visited Charleston YEARS ago, and it was one of the best trips I’ve been on. Ben’s salad looks SO good! And the cheesy grits.. right up my alley. :) I couldn’t help but notice the Butterfinger cake in the case.. yum! lol

  43. These places look so fun! And the food looks delicious. :)

  44. Abby 04.06.2013

    YOU LOOK EXACTLY LIKE INA! Oh, I’m dying. But in a totally gorgeous way. She’s one of my heros for sure.,or.r_cp.r_qf.&biw=1280&bih=604&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=GaBgUcr0AcfrqQHpxYCwDg

  45. Lily 04.06.2013

    I live in Charleston! Glad you enjoyed your visit! :)

  46. Karen Kidwell 04.06.2013

    Did you go to Dunleavy’s Pub on Sullivan’s Island? No better peel and eat shrimp in the WORLD!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog!

  47. Hannah 04.07.2013

    Your pics are amazing – I instantly fell in love with Charleston in February. I think I have to go back there and try out some of your recommendations! Glad you had a nice trip!

  48. Steph 04.07.2013

    Request!!!! Would you do a post sometime about the process you use to book a trip? You always go on such fun trips, and I’m wondering where/when you book flights, hotels, etc…help us more non-experienced travelers!

  49. Polly 04.07.2013

    So happy you shared this trip! I’ve been to Charleston several times, and have loved every minute – and bite! This post brought back great memories of a terrific night at SNOB, and a fun trip to Folly Beach in a rented red Mustang! Can’t wait to go back with the whole family.

  50. Everything looks so gorgeous and delicious.

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