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Magnolia's

185 East Bay St., Charleston, SC - (843) 577-7771
Posted By Michael Stern on 6/9/2008 2:16:00 PM
'Uptown/Down South' is how Magnolia’s describes its fashionable way with Lowcountry classics. An 1820s East Bay Street warehouse transformed into a snappy modern dining room with a big painting of a magnolia on one wall and an elevated horseshoe-shaped bar that is great for people-watching (and being watched), it is a relaxed restaurant that takes its cooking seriously. (Chef Donald Barickman has written 'Magnolia's Authentic Southern Cuisine Cookbook.')

Start supper with house-made potato chips topped with blue cheese and green onions or Lowcountry bouillabaisse in which the seafood is augmented with Tasso ham and andouille sausage; feast on buttermilk fried chicken accompanied by cracked pepper biscuits, top off the meal with swoonful pecan pie adorned with vanilla bean ice cream and bourbon caramel sauce. While dinner can be a significant event, with entrees in the $30 range, lunch is less than half the price and features such happy sandwiches as a Charleston cheese steak, grilled meat loaf, and a 'three little pigs' trio of barbecue bunned with jalapeno peach cole slaw.

One nice thing about Magnolia's is that it serves lunch until 3:45pm and starts serving dinner at 3:45pm, meaning it doesn't close. That makes it a great place to visit for a mid-afternoon break, when you can find a seat at the bar, order a few Planter's Punches, and munch on Down South egg rolls filled with collard greens and Tasso ham or fried green tomatoes with caramelized onion grits, country ham, tomato chutney, and melted cheddar cheese.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Pimiento Cheese
Hamburger
Shrimp Po Boy
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

The parmesan-crusted flounder comes over top of jasmine rice, tomato and asparagus salad, and lump crab meat. This dish is as delicious as it looks!
"The parmesan-crusted flounder comes over top of jasmine rice, tomato and asparagus salad, and lump crab meat. This dish is as delicious as it looks!"
Cliff Strutz





The housemade potato chips are surprisingly non-greasy and come buried in an avalanche of intense blue cheese and scallions.
"The housemade potato chips are surprisingly non-greasy and come buried in an avalanche of intense blue cheese and scallions."
Cliff Strutz


Magnolia's half-pound hamburger is a full-flavored mound of juice-dripping beef encased in a smoky crust and draped with melted cheddar cheese, piled into a pretzel roll with smoked bacon, tomato, and onions.
"Magnolia's half-pound hamburger is a full-flavored mound of juice-dripping beef encased in a smoky crust and draped with melted cheddar cheese, piled into a pretzel roll with smoked bacon, tomato, and onions. "
Michael Stern


Surrounded by crisp, salt-spangled tiles of Charleston flat bread, the timbale of pimiento cheese is extraordinarily zesty, speckled with bits of puckery green olive.
"Surrounded by crisp, salt-spangled tiles of Charleston flat bread, the timbale of pimiento cheese is extraordinarily zesty, speckled with bits of puckery green olive."
Michael Stern


After several days of eating the local specialty, she-crab soup, I was ready to try something else. This luxuriously rich lobster bisque was a New Year's Eve special.
"After several days of eating the local specialty, she-crab soup, I was ready to try something else. This luxuriously rich lobster bisque was a New Year's Eve special."
Cliff Strutz


This dish features sauteed shrimp, lobster, and scallops in a lobster butter sauce over creamy grits. Highly recommended!
"This dish features sauteed shrimp, lobster, and scallops in a lobster butter sauce over creamy grits. Highly recommended!"
Cliff Strutz


This po boy is rich! The shrimp are good-sized with snappy, sweet flesh, veiled in fine, luxey crust, abundantly heaped into a long roll with remoulade, red onion slices, and peach cole slaw. In the background are excellent sweet potato french fries.
"This po boy is rich! The shrimp are good-sized with snappy, sweet flesh, veiled in fine, luxey crust, abundantly heaped into a long roll with remoulade, red onion slices, and peach cole slaw. In the background are excellent sweet potato french fries."
Michael Stern


When Chef Donald Barickman opened Magnolia's in 1990, Lowcountry cuisine was hard to find in restaurants and Charleston was not known as a destination-dinner city. All that has changed, thanks in no small part to the way this restaurant has set standards of classic down south food served with uptown panache.
"When Chef Donald Barickman opened Magnolia's in 1990, Lowcountry cuisine was hard to find in restaurants and Charleston was not known as a destination-dinner city. All that has changed, thanks in no small part to the way this restaurant has set standards of classic down south food served with uptown panache."
Michael Stern



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