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Charleston Chew

Charleston Chew

By
Trip Plan Tags: 
arts + culture,
beach + island,
food,
romantic,
shopping
Destinations: 
Charleston,
North America,
South Carolina,
United States

Charleston is one of my favorite cities for one main reason: The food. "Low-country cuisine" is all about fresh seafood and local veggies. I love shopping and gallery-hopping here, too--King Street has a lovely stretch of great boutiques. But the Le Creuset store (on King) is a must, and I could spend all afternoon in Charleston Cooks on East Bay Street. Two more restaurants I love: Magnolia and Slightly North of Broad. We're going soon and I can't wait to chow down...in a genteel way.

ITEMS

$199 or less
Editor's Pick

Hotel

Phoebe Pember House, South Carolina

26 Society St.
Charleston, South Carolina
Tel: 843 722 4186, Fax: 843 722 0557
Website: www.phoebepemberhouse.com

This 200-year-old Federal-style house is the only B&B in town with its own yoga studio. A walled garden overlooking Charleston's port insulates it from the historic district's street traffic. The birthplace of Civil War heroine Phoebe Pember, this quaint, affordable inn is featured in the popular Fall Candlelight home tours. Six ample guest rooms have private baths, antiques, fine fabrics, and works by local artists. Breakfast served on silver trays can be enjoyed in the room, on the piazza, or under the arbor. A charming private carriage house with garden is also available for retreats and short-term rental.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick

Hotel

Ansonborough Inn, South Carolina

21 Hasell St.
Charleston, South Carolina
Tel: 800 522 2073, Tel: 843 723 1655, Fax: 843 577 6888
Email: info@ansonboroughinn.com
Website: www.ansonboroughinn.com

Rustic-cum-nautical décor and huge rooms, big enough to house an entire family, set this all-suite B&B apart from the historic district's lace-and-doily crowd. Lord Anson of England, a master sailor, won the property in a spirited poker game with famous Charlestonian Thomas Gadsden. The inn now sports exposed brick, pine beams, wood ceilings, and clubby leather chairs. Each of the 37 units is unique; some have lofts with separate sleeping areas, five have fireplaces. All are decked out in faux antique furniture, original art, and warm fabrics. Wine and cheese is served on the rooftop terrace against a backdrop of the city's skyline. An authentic British pub pours pints, spirits, and wine. And the South Carolina Aquarium is just a short walk away.

See + Do

South Carolina Aquarium, South Carolina

100 Aquarium Wharf
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Tel: 843 720 1990
Website: www.scaquarium.org

More than 10,000 types of low-country critters, including loggerhead turtles the size of a car, pythons, alligators, and sharks, call this huge aquarium home. Watch them through the three huge "windows" of the massive, two-story, 300,000-gallon tank. One measures 17-by-28-feet high, the tallest in any aquarium ever built. There's also a huge Touch Tank with slippery sea urchins and horseshoe crabs ready for grabbing. Two-thirds of the aquarium is built over the Cooper River, with decks for viewing dolphins and ships in Charleston Harbor.

See + Do

Beaches in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Less than 20 minutes from downtown are two popular public beaches: Folly Beach (Ashley Avenue) and Isle of Palms (14th Avenue). Both are run by the Charleston County Parks Commission (843 795 4386; www.ccprc.com ) and have 600 feet of beachfront, lifeguards, snack bars, restrooms, outdoor showers, and umbrella and chair rental. Entry fee: $5 per car.

Sullivan's Island (1610 Middle St.; 843 883 3198; www.sullivansisland-sc.com ), a barrier island north of Charleston harbor, has a three-mile-long beach and modern-day lighthouse. There's also Fort Moultrie, a significant monument of coastal defense built in 1809. Watch where you park; police dole out tickets for cars blocking driveways in this hoity-toity enclave.

Eating

Peninsula Grill, South Carolina

112 N. Market Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Tel: 843 723 0700
Website: www.peninsulagrill.com

This award-winning restaurant in the chic Planters Inn oozes sexy sophistication. Rich velvet walls, dramatic chandeliers, a lush courtyard with reflecting pool, and doting but unobtrusive waitstaff make it a popular spot for romantic trysts. Canoodling couples pack its trendy champagne bar. The cuisine is sensuous, too; Robert Carter turns up the heat on low-country dishes with oysters Rockefeller in velvety Asiago cheese, wahoo in curried cream, grouper tarts and design-your-own dish with meats, seafoods and 10 different sauces. Save room for the famed seven-layer coconut cake, adapted from Carter's grand mom's recipe, which the restaurant ships to dessert lovers around the country.

Eating

Sienna, South Carolina

901 Island Park Drive
Daniel Island, South Carolina 29492
Tel: 843 881 8820
Website: www.siennadining.com

Five-star food without attitude has propelled Sienna into the ranks of the country's hottest restaurants. Award-winning chef Ken Vedrinkski (formerly of the dining room at Woodlands Resort) works his magic at this chic eatery on Daniel Island, well worth the five-mile drive from downtown. Diners feast on contemporary Italian cuisine in an open-air dining room with vaulted ceilings, arches, and intimate nooks. The affordably priced menu was inspired by family recipes. Try the $46 tasting menu, or come Monday nights for Grandma Volpe's Italian feast, a family-style dinner.

ALT HERE

Eating

Hominy Grill, South Carolina

207 Rutledge Avenue
Charleston, South Carolina 29403
Tel: 843 937 0930
Website: www.hominygrill.com

Chef Robert Stehling shocked genteel Charlestonians with his irreverent take on traditional Lowcountry fare when he opened Hominy in 1996. Since then, he's ingratiated himself with the locals and garnered national raves for such tweaked classics as grilled soft-shell crab with apricot almond slaw, creamed collard greens, fried chicken with spiced peach gravy, and rich buttermilk pie. The prices are equally delicious: Most dishes are under $15. Housed in an old barbershop off King Street, Hominy's tin ceilings, hardwood floors, oak tables, outdoor patio, and blackboard menus add to the down-home appeal. Breakfast is popular, so get there early for the country ham, hominy grits, and homemade ginger pumpkin bread (they take reservations for dinner only).

Open Mondays through Fridays 7:30 am to 9 pm, Saturdays and Sundays 9 am to 3 pm.

ALT HERE

Eating

FIG, South Carolina

232 Meeting Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Tel: 843 805 5900
Website: www.eatatfig.com

The name stands for Food Is Good, and nightly crowds at this hip local hot spot can attest to that statement. Rich but unfussy dishes are prepared with fresh organic produce and farm-raised meats. Chef Mike Lata focuses on seasonal ingredients for the daily menu, like a dessert of blueberry peach crisp studded with roasted pecans served with a custardy lemon ice cream. A stable of favorites are always on offer as well; the Wagyu bistro steak dripping with herbed butter is not for the fainthearted. The bar scene is lively on weekends, when the kitchen stays open until midnight.

Open Mondays through Thursdays 6 to 11 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 6 pm to 12 am.

Eating

Wreck of the Richard and Charlene, South Carolina

106 Haddrell Street
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina 29464
Tel: 843 884 0052

This hard-to-find dive (without a sign) behind the Shem Creek docks is worth the hunt. It serves up some of the freshest seafood in the Charleston area. Munch on boiled peanuts while waiting for heaping platters of fried shrimp, stone crab claws, oysters, and other just-caught bounty. The Wreck is named for a boat that washed up next to the restaurant when Hurricane Hugo passed through several years ago. And the ambiance lives up to the name—concrete floors, paper plates, no A/C, no reservations, and no credit cards. Call for directions.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.