Where to start?! There are so many great restaurants here, it's amazing.
Baked, on East Bay Street, is a fantastic bakery.
Virginia's on King
The Variety Store at the City Marina
Truth be told, most of us eat so much at night, breakfast is a Luna or Cliff bar with a Bloody Mary
Butcher and Bee is a GREAT new place in town for lunch (and also late night, as they re-open at 11 pm until 3 am). They have great sandwiches and sides (if they have the Bahn Mi, try that!), and the menu changes frequently. Just got back from lunch there!
Amen Street has fun sandwiches and salads
SNOB, just across the street from Amen, is one of the busiest lunch spots, and for good reason.
Cru Cafe is another spot where all of us flock for lunch. Oriental Chicken Salad. 'Nuff said.
Husk was rated the #1 restaurant in America last year by Bon Appetit...as a result, it is super busy most of the time still. It is highly recommended, as Chef Sean Brock is really doing some amazing things with sourcing (everything comes from below the Mason Dixon line...even the oils) and old seeds (he has a farm in Johns Island). The pig ears are a specialty!
The Macintosh is Charleston's new jewel. Chef Jeremiah Bacon (yes, that's right) has created an incredible, changing menu with fresh seafood, local ingredients, deckle (try it...it's amazing), and the best Bone Marrow Bread Pudding in America.
Wild Olive remains my favorite restaurant in Charleston (although Mac is a close second now). It's a little off the beaten path (out in Johns Island), but the experience is totally worth it. Italian and incredible. They even have not one but two kinds of Montepulciano on their menu. Fabulous! One of the during-the-week bartenders, Chris, makes the house limencello and espresso vodka...not to be missed.
The Grocery is a fantastic new spot that's become part of the Urban Revival of Upper King Street. They are, regrettably, not open for lunch but are a very popular new place.
Tristan is in an area of town that's generally frequented by fried shrimp seeking tourists, so it's often left out of the "Best of" lists. It is a fantastic restaurant with very contemporary settings (and very inexpensive liquor!). They also have a great wine list.
O-ku is great for sushi
Grill 225 is fantastic for steak
Any of the Cypress/Blossom/Magnolia's restaurants on East Bay are great. Check out their menus for differences.
Fleet Landing really fits for either meal, depending on the weather. If it's nice out, go for lunch, sit on the deck, and enjoy the harbor breezes that you can only get here. If it's super hot, wait until that sun goes down and explore their larger dinner menu while getting to experience the deck in the twilight.
Fish is another great seafood spot on Upper King. Their Dim Sum are exploratory...even venturing to frog's legs! They also have great artisan cocktails.
Langdon's is another off the beaten path spot. They're located in Mt. Pleasant in a shopping center, and you probably won't think much of it. Until the food hits your table. Amazing.
I think that's enough to at least get you started! Enjoy your trip. I've been in Charleston for 10 years and have absolutely no intention of ever moving away. Home is where the food is!
<message edited by chsfoodie on Sat, 05/19/12 12:23 PM>