If you count the premier food cities in the United States on one hand, Charleston has to be one of the fingers. Its long history of good taste and livability combines with an affluent and sophisticated population to attract some of the brightest chefs and restaurateurs in the country. Kitchens here eschew fickle trends, instead emphasizing quality, professionalism, and most of all, freshness of ingredients.
In a sort of Southern Zen, the typical Charleston chef seems to take pride in making a melt-in-your-mouth masterpiece out of the culinary commonplace—in not fixing what ain’t broke, as they say down here. (I’ve heard Charleston’s cuisine described as “competent classics,” which also isn’t far off the mark.)
Unlike Savannah, its more drink-oriented neighbor to the south, even Charleston’s bars have great food. So don’t assume you have to make reservations at a formal restaurant to fully enjoy the cuisine here. Though an entire volume could easily be written about Charleston restaurants, here’s a baseline from which to start your epicurean odyssey. You’ll note a high percentage of recommendations in the list; there’s a good reason for that.
© Jim Morekis from Moon Charleston & Savannah, 4th Edition