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An aluminum tray with hash, sausage, and rice.
A tray from Palmira Barbecue.
Palmira Barbecue

The Hottest New Restaurants in Charleston, February 2024

The latest Lowcountry spots offer beef cheeks, creative sandwiches, and dill pickle martinis

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A tray from Palmira Barbecue.
| Palmira Barbecue

More often than not, tipsters, readers, friends, and family of Eater have one question: Where should I eat right now? What are the new restaurants? What's everyone talking about? While the Eater 18 is a crucial resource covering old standbys and neighborhood essentials across the city, it is not a chronicle of the "it" places of the moment. Enter the Eater Heatmap, which will change continually to highlight the spots crowds are flocking to at the moment or generating a big buzz. Folks are asking, "Have you been yet?" Try one of these newbies today.

New to the list:

February: Cleats, Lowland Dining Room, Palmira Barbecue
January 2024: the Harlow, Da Toscano Porchetta Shop
December: the Quinte, Lowland Tavern, Lost Isle, Costa, Bearcat
November: King BBQ
October: Honeysuckle Rose
September: the Habit, Beautiful South, Colectivo
August: Kultura, the James
July: Bintü Atelier
June: Azur, Ma’am Saab
May: La Bonne Franquette, Legend Deli
April: Palace Hotel
March: Sorelle

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

King BBQ

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Jackrabbit Filly owners Shuai and Corrie Wang and chef de cuisine Brandon Olson opened King BBQ to bring Chinese barbecue with a Southern twist to the Lowcountry. Now open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant serves chopped pork noodle bowls, ginger scallion kielbasa, five-spice duck, soy-braised collards, shrimp sliders, “trashy fancy cocktails,” and more.

Palmira Barbecue

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Slow-cooked brisket and whole hog meet Puerto Rican flavors at Palmira Barbecue. Pitmaster Hector Garate has been popping up around the Lowcountry for several years, but now he has a permanent address in West Ashley.

A tray from Palmira.
Palmira Barbecue

The crew from hip breakfast spot Daps opened a sports bar with better food and drinks found at typical sports bars. Find pit beef sandwiches, Thai-flavored hot dogs, green hatch chili wings, and waffle fries.

The dining room at Cleats.
Mike Ledford

Bintü Atelier

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Chef Bintou Ndaw couldn’t find the food of her homeland, Senegal, in the Lowcountry, so she created African restaurant Bintü Atelier. The petite spot on Line Street offers appetizers like beef suya; crispy prawns with millet and fonio grains; and supa kanja, an okra stew with red shrimp. Ndaw will keep a few staples on the menu, but she wants to rotate dishes to be able to highlight the different countries across Africa.

A white plate full of okra stew, red shrimp, and fufu.
Supa kanja at Bintü Atelier.
Mike Ledford

Beautiful South

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The team behind Sichuan restaurant Kwei Fei has a new downtown spot serving Cantonese and Chinese-American takeout classics. Beautiful South is a fun new space to explore menu items like crab rangoon, pork dumplings, and XO clams for lunch and dinner.

A long bar beside tables with banquettes.
The dining room at Beautiful South.
Mike Ledford

Honeysuckle Rose

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Restaurateurs Ryan and Kelleanne Jones (Southbound and Community Table) continue to add more dining rooms to their portfolio with the recent opening of tasting menu establishment Honeysuckle Rose. The West Side restaurant offers an eight-course dinner experience with wine pairings at $250 a seat. Recent plates included Alaskan king crab with caviar, wagyu with truffles, and rabbit cavatelli — every course is a practice in rich indulgences.

Kultura Charleston

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Chef Nikko Cagalanan and Baguette Magic co-owner Paula Kramer teamed up to make Filipino flavors a more permanent fixture on Spring Street with the opening of Kultura. For brunch, the space offers coffee and pastries from Baguette Magic but with Filipino flavors, like ube lattes, guava “Pop-Tarts,” and egg sandwiches with pork belly adobo. In the evenings, the menu includes arroz caldo with smoked trout roe, pancit with lump crab, and a whole snapper curry.

Da Toscano Porchetta Shop

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The team behind Italian favorite Le Farfalle has an enticing new cafe in Charleston. The focus of Da Toscano Porchetta Shop is the housemade focaccia and everything that can be sandwiched between the airy bread. Chef Michael Toscano serves a filling chorizo and egg sandwich in the morning and a sumptuous porchetta sandwich in the afternoon. There’s also choices like prime rib, roast chicken, marinated eggplant, and so much more.

A porchetta sandwich on a wood counter.
Porchetta sandwich at Da Toscano.
Walker Creative Inc.

Lowland Dining Room

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Lowland Dining Room is the upstairs sibling of Lowland Tavern. The Dining Room is a tasting menu experience from chef Jason Stanhope. The four-course dinner is $125 with an option to add wine pairings for an additional $75.

The Quinte Oyster Bar

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The Quinte Oyster Bar has reopened as a less-precious version of its former self. With chef Jason Stanhope (formerly of FIG) in charge, customers can now build their own raw platters, tuck into a lobster bao bun, or order a bowl of seafood chowder with Benton’s bacon.

Lowland Tavern

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The gorgeous dining room and bar at Lowland Tavern is Charleston’s latest see-and-be-seen spot. Diners step into a historic Charleston home brought back to life by the team at luxury hotel the Pinch. The food is update pub fare from across the globe — Southern American (Ossabaw porchetta and collards), British (banoffee pudding), and Japanese (chicken tsukune). When in doubt, try the luscious burger with the martini service.

Ma'am Saab

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Fans of Pakistani restaurant Ma’am Saab have waited for co-owners Maryam Ghaznavi and Raheel Gauba to open their downtown spot for a few years now, and the time is finally here. The Meeting Street establishment offers butter chicken, lamb samosas, biryani, and nalli nihari in a hip and vibrant dining room. The music is loud and the cocktails are unique (each drink can be made without alcohol or with the addition of delta-9 THC). It’s an experience like none other in Charleston right now.

Bearcat

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Chef/restaurateur George Kovach likes to say that Bearcat is “fine dining without the tablecloth.” The food is modern American, pulling from influences from Japan to North Africa to Mexico. The bar serves snacks like colorful tartare lettuce wraps and roasted oysters topped with wagyu beef fat. The dining room even more refined fare like duck liver mousse and crab rice with uni hollandaise.

Sorelle

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Reservations filled up for stunning Italian restaurant Sorelle as soon as they opened, but the bar is walk-ins only, so try stopping by to grab a seat or a table. The bar opens at 4 p.m. and serves the full dinner menu at 5 p.m. The menu focuses on southern Italian cooking, which means arancini stuffed with bolognese, pasta-baked branzino, ricotta tortelloni with prosciutto, and much more. During the day, the Mercato is open and serves Lamill coffee drinks and breakfast items like mascarpone and Nutella toast. For lunch, the shop offers sandwiches ranging from meatballs and ricotta to chicken and broccoli rabe, as well as salads and Sicilian-style pizza by the slice. Gelato, wines, craft beers, and dry goods are also available. Most items are made to grab and go, but there is a communal table and window seating in the bustling space.

The upstairs dining room at Sorelle.
Peter Frank Edwards

Broad Street restaurant Costa serves coastal Italian fare in a magnificent waterfront dining room (ok, it’s not right on the water, but you can see the Ashley River from the windows). Chef Vinson Petrillo, also of the Restuarant at Zero George, pulls from his own Italian family for menu inspiration. Look for eggplant parmigiana, pork Milanese, porchetta-style chicken, and whole snapper with salsa verde. The dining room is elegant and the service is impeccable.

The James

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American grill comfort foods are key at the James. The menu offers all the hits, like tuna tartare, chicken tenders, spinach artichoke dip, prime rib, Caesar salad, burgers, and Cosmopolitans. It’s basically an upscale Applebee’s and is a hit for its predictability and something-for-everyone menu.

The Harlow

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James Island residents are always searching for a neighborhood restaurant with comforting food and good cocktails, so they don’t have to battle downtown traffic. The Harlow may fill that need with stacked cheeseburgers, raw oysters, crispy fries, and dill-y martinis. There’s also a kids' menu for the family crowds.

A martini with a pickle, olive, and onion as garnish.
The Harlow serves a refreshing dill martini.
The Harlow

Colectivo

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Chef Alex Yellan (formerly Minero and the Tippling House) puts out the flavors of Mexico at Johns Island restaurant Colectivo. Start with the mariscos section and then move on to large platters of carnitas ribs, adobo lamb, and cochinita pibil, which are meant to be shared and heaped onto corn or flour tortillas with accouterments like pickled onions, salsa, and cilantro. 

A brick wall next to an ocean mural.
The dining room at Colectivo.
Mike Ledford

Lost Isle

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Be prepared to smell like wintery smoke when leaving Lost Isle, because the dining room is all outdoors and the food is prepared via live fire. The restaurant comes from the team at Folly Beach bar Lowlife, and has the same touch of playfulness, but in a more grown-up fashion. Food ranges from big platters of grilled meats to collards in a curry broth — it’s all meant to be shared with friends or family.

Wood-fired carrots at Lost Isle.
Andrew Cebulka

King BBQ

Jackrabbit Filly owners Shuai and Corrie Wang and chef de cuisine Brandon Olson opened King BBQ to bring Chinese barbecue with a Southern twist to the Lowcountry. Now open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant serves chopped pork noodle bowls, ginger scallion kielbasa, five-spice duck, soy-braised collards, shrimp sliders, “trashy fancy cocktails,” and more.

Palmira Barbecue

Slow-cooked brisket and whole hog meet Puerto Rican flavors at Palmira Barbecue. Pitmaster Hector Garate has been popping up around the Lowcountry for several years, but now he has a permanent address in West Ashley.

A tray from Palmira.
Palmira Barbecue

Cleats

The crew from hip breakfast spot Daps opened a sports bar with better food and drinks found at typical sports bars. Find pit beef sandwiches, Thai-flavored hot dogs, green hatch chili wings, and waffle fries.

The dining room at Cleats.
Mike Ledford

Bintü Atelier

Chef Bintou Ndaw couldn’t find the food of her homeland, Senegal, in the Lowcountry, so she created African restaurant Bintü Atelier. The petite spot on Line Street offers appetizers like beef suya; crispy prawns with millet and fonio grains; and supa kanja, an okra stew with red shrimp. Ndaw will keep a few staples on the menu, but she wants to rotate dishes to be able to highlight the different countries across Africa.

A white plate full of okra stew, red shrimp, and fufu.
Supa kanja at Bintü Atelier.
Mike Ledford

Beautiful South

The team behind Sichuan restaurant Kwei Fei has a new downtown spot serving Cantonese and Chinese-American takeout classics. Beautiful South is a fun new space to explore menu items like crab rangoon, pork dumplings, and XO clams for lunch and dinner.

A long bar beside tables with banquettes.
The dining room at Beautiful South.
Mike Ledford

Honeysuckle Rose

Restaurateurs Ryan and Kelleanne Jones (Southbound and Community Table) continue to add more dining rooms to their portfolio with the recent opening of tasting menu establishment Honeysuckle Rose. The West Side restaurant offers an eight-course dinner experience with wine pairings at $250 a seat. Recent plates included Alaskan king crab with caviar, wagyu with truffles, and rabbit cavatelli — every course is a practice in rich indulgences.

Kultura Charleston

Chef Nikko Cagalanan and Baguette Magic co-owner Paula Kramer teamed up to make Filipino flavors a more permanent fixture on Spring Street with the opening of Kultura. For brunch, the space offers coffee and pastries from Baguette Magic but with Filipino flavors, like ube lattes, guava “Pop-Tarts,” and egg sandwiches with pork belly adobo. In the evenings, the menu includes arroz caldo with smoked trout roe, pancit with lump crab, and a whole snapper curry.

Da Toscano Porchetta Shop

The team behind Italian favorite Le Farfalle has an enticing new cafe in Charleston. The focus of Da Toscano Porchetta Shop is the housemade focaccia and everything that can be sandwiched between the airy bread. Chef Michael Toscano serves a filling chorizo and egg sandwich in the morning and a sumptuous porchetta sandwich in the afternoon. There’s also choices like prime rib, roast chicken, marinated eggplant, and so much more.

A porchetta sandwich on a wood counter.
Porchetta sandwich at Da Toscano.
Walker Creative Inc.

Lowland Dining Room

Lowland Dining Room is the upstairs sibling of Lowland Tavern. The Dining Room is a tasting menu experience from chef Jason Stanhope. The four-course dinner is $125 with an option to add wine pairings for an additional $75.

The Quinte Oyster Bar

The Quinte Oyster Bar has reopened as a less-precious version of its former self. With chef Jason Stanhope (formerly of FIG) in charge, customers can now build their own raw platters, tuck into a lobster bao bun, or order a bowl of seafood chowder with Benton’s bacon.

Lowland Tavern

The gorgeous dining room and bar at Lowland Tavern is Charleston’s latest see-and-be-seen spot. Diners step into a historic Charleston home brought back to life by the team at luxury hotel the Pinch. The food is update pub fare from across the globe — Southern American (Ossabaw porchetta and collards), British (banoffee pudding), and Japanese (chicken tsukune). When in doubt, try the luscious burger with the martini service.

Ma'am Saab

Fans of Pakistani restaurant Ma’am Saab have waited for co-owners Maryam Ghaznavi and Raheel Gauba to open their downtown spot for a few years now, and the time is finally here. The Meeting Street establishment offers butter chicken, lamb samosas, biryani, and nalli nihari in a hip and vibrant dining room. The music is loud and the cocktails are unique (each drink can be made without alcohol or with the addition of delta-9 THC). It’s an experience like none other in Charleston right now.

Bearcat

Chef/restaurateur George Kovach likes to say that Bearcat is “fine dining without the tablecloth.” The food is modern American, pulling from influences from Japan to North Africa to Mexico. The bar serves snacks like colorful tartare lettuce wraps and roasted oysters topped with wagyu beef fat. The dining room even more refined fare like duck liver mousse and crab rice with uni hollandaise.

Sorelle

Reservations filled up for stunning Italian restaurant Sorelle as soon as they opened, but the bar is walk-ins only, so try stopping by to grab a seat or a table. The bar opens at 4 p.m. and serves the full dinner menu at 5 p.m. The menu focuses on southern Italian cooking, which means arancini stuffed with bolognese, pasta-baked branzino, ricotta tortelloni with prosciutto, and much more. During the day, the Mercato is open and serves Lamill coffee drinks and breakfast items like mascarpone and Nutella toast. For lunch, the shop offers sandwiches ranging from meatballs and ricotta to chicken and broccoli rabe, as well as salads and Sicilian-style pizza by the slice. Gelato, wines, craft beers, and dry goods are also available. Most items are made to grab and go, but there is a communal table and window seating in the bustling space.

The upstairs dining room at Sorelle.
Peter Frank Edwards

Costa

Broad Street restaurant Costa serves coastal Italian fare in a magnificent waterfront dining room (ok, it’s not right on the water, but you can see the Ashley River from the windows). Chef Vinson Petrillo, also of the Restuarant at Zero George, pulls from his own Italian family for menu inspiration. Look for eggplant parmigiana, pork Milanese, porchetta-style chicken, and whole snapper with salsa verde. The dining room is elegant and the service is impeccable.

Related Maps

The James

American grill comfort foods are key at the James. The menu offers all the hits, like tuna tartare, chicken tenders, spinach artichoke dip, prime rib, Caesar salad, burgers, and Cosmopolitans. It’s basically an upscale Applebee’s and is a hit for its predictability and something-for-everyone menu.

The Harlow

James Island residents are always searching for a neighborhood restaurant with comforting food and good cocktails, so they don’t have to battle downtown traffic. The Harlow may fill that need with stacked cheeseburgers, raw oysters, crispy fries, and dill-y martinis. There’s also a kids' menu for the family crowds.

A martini with a pickle, olive, and onion as garnish.
The Harlow serves a refreshing dill martini.
The Harlow

Colectivo

Chef Alex Yellan (formerly Minero and the Tippling House) puts out the flavors of Mexico at Johns Island restaurant Colectivo. Start with the mariscos section and then move on to large platters of carnitas ribs, adobo lamb, and cochinita pibil, which are meant to be shared and heaped onto corn or flour tortillas with accouterments like pickled onions, salsa, and cilantro. 

A brick wall next to an ocean mural.
The dining room at Colectivo.
Mike Ledford

Lost Isle

Be prepared to smell like wintery smoke when leaving Lost Isle, because the dining room is all outdoors and the food is prepared via live fire. The restaurant comes from the team at Folly Beach bar Lowlife, and has the same touch of playfulness, but in a more grown-up fashion. Food ranges from big platters of grilled meats to collards in a curry broth — it’s all meant to be shared with friends or family.

Wood-fired carrots at Lost Isle.
Andrew Cebulka

Related Maps