A vacation to Charleston is not complete without sampling the seafood. Good thing this historic city loves to dish up the very best creations from the sea. Whether you prefer your fish fried, baked, poached or raw, you’ll never be at a loss for fresh-caught meals.
Best Charleston Seafood Restaurants
Hank’s Seafood Restaurant
10 Hayne St., Charleston, SC 29401
This Charleston seafood restaurant in the heart of the famous Historic District prides itself on serving entrees that are caught fresh daily. Stop in for Lowcountry recipes seasoned with flavors of genuine Charleston cooking.
If you’re vacationing in Charleston, be sure to visit Hank’s Seafood Restaurant and start out with something from the Raw Bar. Sesame crusted rare tuna with red chili slaw, cucumber and Shiitake mushroom with a soy grain mustard vinaigrette is a great way to highlight one of the selections from the oceans of the world. The Charleston She Crab Soup is the perfect appetizer popular with restaurant-goers.
The Chef’s Specialties at this neighborhood seafood restaurant feature a wide selection expertly prepared main course dishes including Roast Grouper with spinach, mushroom and goat cheese risotto with tomato balsamic brown butter. The Grilled Swordfish is a tempting menu item featuring fried okra, sautéed spinach and sweet corn leek and ham hock bisque. Seafood lovers can also choose from a tasty selection of Southern Fried classics like grouper, shrimp, oysters and flounder.
Hank’s Classics have been popular in the Charleston area for more than 15 years. Shrimp and Grits is a home-style favorite. The recipe has shrimp sautéed with smoked Andouille sausage, tomato, garlic and parsley butter served with creamy stone-ground grits. The Curried Shrimp is a hearty meal made with shrimp cooked in a traditional Charleston curry sauce mixed with onions, coconut milk, mango chutney, bananas and apples. The meal is served hot and fresh over white rice.
442 King St., Charleston, SC 29403
The aptly named Fish restaurant cooks up classic Asian/French dishes with an innovative twist. Fresh and seasonal seafood meals are presented with vibrant flair and served on either large or petite plates.
Trout from North Carolina comes on a large plate, and features haricot vert, quail egg, red onion, tomato, nicoise potato and brown butter caper sauce. Virginia Scallops are pan seared and come with corn, asparagus, coconut rice and grilled watermelon in a corn sauce. The 72 Hour Short Ribs are cooked under a vacuum with beef from Texas. This excellent turf dish is served with gnocchi carbonara, corn, asparagus and bordelaise sauce on a large plate.
Petite plate selections include Sweet Chili Calamari, Flounder Dumpling, Blackbird Farm Salad and Curry Crab Soup. Fromage Du Jour includes choice of soft, hard and le bleu served with a baguette and spicy apricot marmalade. Round off your Charleston seafood experience with a selection of Escargot Rangoon, Crab & Fish Rillette, Tempura Fried Octopus and Lobster Croque Madame Dim Sum.
For dessert, Strawberry Fields are forever at the top of a sweet lover’s list. The decadent treat is made with strawberry mascarpone semifreddo, basil sponge cake, goat cheese cremeux and strawberry consommé.
Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar
186 Concord St., Charleston, SC 29401
For waterfront dining at its best, stop into Fleet Landing Restaurant and Bar for great food with a view. Located on the east side of the Charleston, this family-friendly restaurant is housed in what used to be a 1940s naval building. This 6,000 square-foot maritime structure is completely hurricane proof and offers some of the city’s best views of the Charleston Harbor.
So what’s good at this seafood restaurant in Charleston? For starters, the Peel N’ Eat Shrimp is timeless classic. This one is served chilled sprinkled with Old Bay Seasoning and comes in quarter-pound and half-pound serving sizes. The Pan-Fried Carolina Lump Crab Cake is a tantalizing appetizer made with pickled corn relish, red pepper sauce and crispy fried onions.
If you’re in the Charleston area then you’ll definitely want to order a bowl of the She Crab Soup. This warm menu item is blended with blue crab roe and sherry. The Lowcountry Seafood Gumbo is sure to satisfy even the biggest soup foodie—and that’s because it’s loaded with lots of Andouille sausage, okra and rice.
A featured specialty menu item at Fleet Landing Restaurant and Bar is the Crispy Whole Fried Southern Flounder with Apricot Glaze. It is always served fork tender with sides of red rice and veggies of the day. Another popular entrée is the Pan-Seared Tilapia, with fingerling potato and sun-dried hash along with charred asparagus covered with citrus basil butter. For a truly filling meal, dig into the Lowcountry Boil. It’s a heaping helping of jumbo shrimp, smoked sausage, corn on the cob, red bliss potatoes and diced onions simmered in a rich lager broth.
Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar
205 E. Bay St., Charleston, SC 29401
Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar is proud to support the local Charleston fishing industry by purchasing and serving market-fresh seafood. The menu features caught-daily selections like oysters, clams and shrimp.
Lunch at this seafood lover’s restaurant includes Baked Oysters filled with spinach, tasso Rockefeller sauce and parmesan. Amen’s Street’s Famous Shrimp Corndogs are presented with lemon pepper ketchup and Carolina spicy mustard. Hushpuppies include a dash of local wild flower honey and the mussels are swirled in a white wine, butter and tomato reduction with garlic and a slice of grilled bread.
For dinner, order the Tuna Taco stuffed with napa cabbage, red onion, avocado, chipotle crema, fresh tortilla chips and a lime. House specialties at this Charleston restaurant include Flash in the Pan Pirlau, which is a mouthwatering meal consisting of grilled scallop and white wine steamed shrimp along with mussels and clams over Lowcountry vegetable rice. The Shrimp and Grits plate is a seafood hit made with house-smoked tasso ham and roasted gravy over Geechie Boy local grits.
You can also plan a happy hour celebration at this Charleston seafood restaurant. From draft pints of Yuengling to rum and Amen’s Award-Winning Oyster Shooter: house infused lemon and pepper vodka, Bloody Mary mix hot sauce and fresh-shucked oyster, you’re sure to find plenty of reason to be happy.
Cypress Lowcountry Grille
167 E. Bay St., Charleston, SC 29401
Home-cooked meals are prepared by chef Craig Dehl, a two-time James Beard nominee from Danville, Pennsylvania. Lowcountry ingredients are used to showcase the menu items being served up in this historic two-story Charleston seafood restaurant.
Begin your culinary experience at Cypress Lowcountry Grille with a sampling of artisan meats. The Charcuterie is served with homemade mustard, biscuits and pickled vegetables. The House Cured Meats come with marinated olives so be sure to bring your appetite when ordering this carnivorous treat. Complete your meaty starter with a cheese plate or Cucumber Tuna Roll rolled up with nori chips, avocado cream, Korean pepper and sesame oil. Please be aware that the tuna roll is raw or undercooked.
For the main course, select the Grilled Charleston Swordfish. This delicately prepared seafood favorite is served with deviled crab, mixed beans, tomatoes and red wine shallot vinaigrette. For a true taste of Southern-influenced seafood, try the Pan Fried North Carolina Flounder. It’s a classic pairing of crushed peas, pickled shallots, carrots and herbs.
For those that want turf instead of surf, Cypress Lowcountry Grille has a great selection of main course meats. The Poached Chicken Breast is made from smoked chicken thighs in jus, with green beans and potatoes. The BBQ Trio is a trifecta of goodness featuring pork belly, smoked chicken and grilled sausage. Side include pickles, BBQ peanuts, braised greens, Alabama white sauce. Smoked tomato BBQ sauce and chow-chow.