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Charleston Seafood Guide

Charleston Seafood Guide

August 20, 2018

In a city at the edge of the ocean, surrounded by rivers, creeks and salt marshes, fresh seafood isn’t hard to find. Tracking down the really good stuff can be trickier, though. We don’t want you to waste your time in the Holy City navigating endless Yelp reviews, so we’ve done the grunt work for you. Check out eight destination-worthy seafood haunts below, from award-winning fine dining establishments to hole-in-the-wall local joints to the fabulous fresh catch at our own Henrietta’s.


You don’t have to leave the hotel for great seafood. Inside our lobby-adjacent brasserie Henrietta’s, you’ll find jumbo lump crab cakes, plates of shrimp and grits, pan roasted scallops over creamed Charleston gold rice and bowls of Lowcountry-inspired bouillabaisse.

Bowen’s Island

There’s a near constant line at this old-school seafood house overlooking Folly Creek, just fifteen minutes from downtown. But the platters of fried shrimp and plates of Frogmore stew—shrimp, corn, potatoes and sausage—are worth the wait (and the drive). Peak oyster season is right around the corner, so come September, wander downstairs for a bucket of the steamed bivalves and get shucking.

The Darling

Located in the heart of the King Street dining (and drinking) district, the Darling’s mint-green raw bar sits right in the front window—perfect for people watching. Spring for a dozen or two oysters. The Lowcountry cups and Single Ladies are local favorites.

Dave's Carry-Out

Perched on the corner of Coming and Morris streets, this unassuming joint is still family run, and slings some of the best fried seafood in town. Order the seafood platter, and for just $13, you’ll get a white Styrofoam take-out container stuffed with a shrimper’s helping of local fish, scallops and deviled crab. Order a side of Charleston red rice for good measure.


Consistently voted the Holy City’s best seafood restaurant, this longtime white table-cloth establishment offers old-school elegance on Hayne Street, near the historic Market. The staggering seafood towers are built to impress, but you can also dress down your experience and go for a cup of she-crab soup followed by one of five fried seafood platters.


At his flagship restaurant on Upper King Street, restaurateur Brooks Reitz has cracked the fish sandwich code with his crispy catfish version, simply dressed with lettuce, ripe tomato and just enough Duke’s Mayo. You won’t regret the side of hush puppies with honey butter or the post-meal swirl of vanilla soft serve topped with house-made jimmies, either.

The Ordinary

You can’t go wrong with a dinner reservation at the acclaimed chef Mike Lata’s King Street seafood temple housed in the gleaming shell of an old bank, but locals know the best way to experience the Ordinary is with a pre-dinner seat at the bar, daiquiri in hand, and a shellfish tower heavy with local oysters, blue crab, Littleneck clams and peel-and-eat shrimp headed your way.

The Wreck of Richard and Charlene

This no-frills dockside seafood spot across the bridge in old Mt. Pleasant is Shem Creek’s best kept secret. Fair warning: there’s no air-conditioning but sitting at a table on the waterfront screen porch elbows deep in stone crab claws, we promise you won’t mind a bit.

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