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Fish fry at Leon’s
Andrew Cebulka

Crunch Into Fried Shrimp at These 13 Charleston Restaurants

Lowcountry shrimpin’   

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Fish fry at Leon’s
| Andrew Cebulka

Put simply, Charleston loves fried food. The bounty of fresh seafood in the area makes it a great item to batter up and throw in the fryer, creating a comforting result that also allows the fish to shine through. Dives, waterside destinations, and high-end restaurants bread and sizzle the shrimps to tender, crunchy bites that are hard to put down, often serving them with classically Southern sides. Whether served as part of a refined dish or on a to-go platter with hush puppies and red rice, the fried shrimp offering at these 13 establishments is a must try when in Charleston.

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Hannibal's Kitchen

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Hannibal’s has been a staple in Charleston for over 40 years, dishing out real deal Southern soul food with a twist. A 10-piece order of fried shrimp with two sides — like red rice, okra soup, or macaroni — is just $9.75.   

Leon’s is quirky in the best kind of way, as the eatery housed in a refurbished former auto shop offers up items like frozen gin and tonics, smoked mahi dip, and whole fried chicken. Grab the battered shrimp alone with a side of tartar sauce or as part of the Leon’s fish fry, which includes two hush puppies, three shrimp, four oysters, and four catfish nuggets.  

Harold's Cabin

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A step inside Harold’s Cabin instantly transports guests to a cozy cottage in the countryside. The fried shrimp are offered in different dishes thanks to an ever-changing menu that’s based on available local ingredients. The cornmeal crusted shrimp can be found on a sandwich or as a part of main dishes like the Carolina gold rice “gumbalaya.”  

Red Drum Restaurant

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Tex-Mex Southern mashup Red Drum’s fried shrimp are constantly touted as some of the best in the Lowcountry.  The sizeable, crunchy bites are served with a citrusy, spicy remoulade that is downright delicious.

Nana's Seafood & Soul

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This Gullah-Geechee restaurant is popular with local in the know. Patrons are hard-pressed to spend over $10 on a meal. The fried shrimp are crisp yet juicy and best served with a large slice of dense cornbread.  

Falonda Huffman/Facebook

Page's Okra Grill

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There’s often a wait at this casual Mount Pleasant eatery, but it’s worth it, as its use of local ingredients makes each dish stand out. Pair the expertly fried, golden shrimp with one of Page’s Southern sides like black-eyed peas or sweet potato casserole.  

Dave's Carry-Out

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Dave’s epitomizes the no-frills soul food that the city has grown to love, as entrees arrive in Styrofoam containers and patrons fill the few tables inside the takeout joint.  The fried shrimp platter is a mere $7 and goes best with a side of rice and lima beans.

Shrimp and scallops at Dave’s Carry-Out
Joshua S./Yelp

Wreck of the Richard & Charlene

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This Shem Creek destination may be on the touristy side, but the Charleston Harbor views and consistent seafood offering make it worth a stop. All seafood is fried using peanut oil creating the perfectly crunchy bite. Order the shrimp alone or in a combination platter with oysters and scallops.   

Hank's Seafood Restaurant

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An old school Charleston classic, Hank’s utilizes shrimp throughout the menu, from the jumbo shrimp cocktail to a half-pound of peel n’ eats. The fried shrimp arrive on a platter — either alone or alongside another fish like grouper or flounder — with a side of crisp sweet potato fries and Southern slaw.  

Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar

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Once a 1940s naval building, Fleet Landing is now known for having one of the best waterfront views in Charleston. Stop in at lunch time for the fried shrimp po-boy or check out the fried shrimp platter for dinner, which comes with sides like collard greens and pimento cheese grits.

Fleet Landing shrimp platter
Barbara A./Yelp

Gillie's Soul Food

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Lightly breaded and fried large, sweet shrimp are served with Southern sides like collard greens and fried okra at this Folly Road pit stop. The casual joint is an ode to chef Sean Mendes’ grandmother, LaReese Gilliard, with the menu reflecting her classic recipes

Bowens Island Restaurant

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Picturesque sunsets, trays of steamed oysters, and platters of fried shrimp are all part of the Bowen’s Island experience. The restaurant has been open on the 13-acre island five minutes from Folly Beach since 1946, becoming a spot worth seeking out when visiting the Charleston area.  

Bowen’s Island fried shrimp
Nancy C./Yelp

Roadside Seafood Johns Island

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This former food truck and James Island staple has a new home on Johns Island that’s still dishing out the renowned she-crab soup and a variety of fried items — from green tomatoes to shark bites to alligator. The fried shrimp arrives lightly battered and pairs best with a side of red rice.

Hannibal's Kitchen

Hannibal’s has been a staple in Charleston for over 40 years, dishing out real deal Southern soul food with a twist. A 10-piece order of fried shrimp with two sides — like red rice, okra soup, or macaroni — is just $9.75.   

Leon's

Leon’s is quirky in the best kind of way, as the eatery housed in a refurbished former auto shop offers up items like frozen gin and tonics, smoked mahi dip, and whole fried chicken. Grab the battered shrimp alone with a side of tartar sauce or as part of the Leon’s fish fry, which includes two hush puppies, three shrimp, four oysters, and four catfish nuggets.  

Harold's Cabin

A step inside Harold’s Cabin instantly transports guests to a cozy cottage in the countryside. The fried shrimp are offered in different dishes thanks to an ever-changing menu that’s based on available local ingredients. The cornmeal crusted shrimp can be found on a sandwich or as a part of main dishes like the Carolina gold rice “gumbalaya.”  

Red Drum Restaurant

Tex-Mex Southern mashup Red Drum’s fried shrimp are constantly touted as some of the best in the Lowcountry.  The sizeable, crunchy bites are served with a citrusy, spicy remoulade that is downright delicious.

Nana's Seafood & Soul

This Gullah-Geechee restaurant is popular with local in the know. Patrons are hard-pressed to spend over $10 on a meal. The fried shrimp are crisp yet juicy and best served with a large slice of dense cornbread.  

Falonda Huffman/Facebook

Page's Okra Grill

There’s often a wait at this casual Mount Pleasant eatery, but it’s worth it, as its use of local ingredients makes each dish stand out. Pair the expertly fried, golden shrimp with one of Page’s Southern sides like black-eyed peas or sweet potato casserole.  

Dave's Carry-Out

Dave’s epitomizes the no-frills soul food that the city has grown to love, as entrees arrive in Styrofoam containers and patrons fill the few tables inside the takeout joint.  The fried shrimp platter is a mere $7 and goes best with a side of rice and lima beans.

Shrimp and scallops at Dave’s Carry-Out
Joshua S./Yelp

Wreck of the Richard & Charlene

This Shem Creek destination may be on the touristy side, but the Charleston Harbor views and consistent seafood offering make it worth a stop. All seafood is fried using peanut oil creating the perfectly crunchy bite. Order the shrimp alone or in a combination platter with oysters and scallops.   

Hank's Seafood Restaurant

An old school Charleston classic, Hank’s utilizes shrimp throughout the menu, from the jumbo shrimp cocktail to a half-pound of peel n’ eats. The fried shrimp arrive on a platter — either alone or alongside another fish like grouper or flounder — with a side of crisp sweet potato fries and Southern slaw.  

Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar

Once a 1940s naval building, Fleet Landing is now known for having one of the best waterfront views in Charleston. Stop in at lunch time for the fried shrimp po-boy or check out the fried shrimp platter for dinner, which comes with sides like collard greens and pimento cheese grits.

Fleet Landing shrimp platter
Barbara A./Yelp

Gillie's Soul Food

Lightly breaded and fried large, sweet shrimp are served with Southern sides like collard greens and fried okra at this Folly Road pit stop. The casual joint is an ode to chef Sean Mendes’ grandmother, LaReese Gilliard, with the menu reflecting her classic recipes

Bowens Island Restaurant

Picturesque sunsets, trays of steamed oysters, and platters of fried shrimp are all part of the Bowen’s Island experience. The restaurant has been open on the 13-acre island five minutes from Folly Beach since 1946, becoming a spot worth seeking out when visiting the Charleston area.  

Bowen’s Island fried shrimp
Nancy C./Yelp

Roadside Seafood Johns Island

This former food truck and James Island staple has a new home on Johns Island that’s still dishing out the renowned she-crab soup and a variety of fried items — from green tomatoes to shark bites to alligator. The fried shrimp arrives lightly battered and pairs best with a side of red rice.

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