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fried shrimp
Shrimp platter at Bowen’s Island
Mike Ledford

Top 11 Seafood Restaurants for a Fresh Catch in Charleston

From shrimp to oysters to flounder

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Shrimp platter at Bowen’s Island
| Mike Ledford

Every year millions of visitors come to Charleston with one question, “Where can we get good seafood?” While many locals are inclined to shuffle tourists off to a Market Street crab house, we wouldn’t maintain our reputation as the most polite city in America if we did that. The following is a guide to everything seafood in Charleston. Look beyond the Lowcountry boil, and stop at one of these establishments for a real Holy City experience.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Nana's Seafood & Soul Uptown

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5117 Dorchester Rd Suite D
North Charleston, SC 29418
(843) 937-9311
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For those looking for seafood, soul, or real-deal Gullah-Geechie menu items, Nana’s is the place to be. Mother and son team Carolyn and Kenyatta McNeil create Lowcountry classics, with local products. For a reasonable price, patrons can score a giant piece of perfectly-fried whiting, fried cabbage on rice, lima beans, and a sweet piece of cornbread — really, it’s enough for two people. The trick is to keep up with the restaurant’s Instagram feed to check when crab rice or garlic crabs are on the menu (two of the most popular dishes).

2. Gillie's Seafood

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805 Folly Rd
Charleston, SC 29412
(843) 297-8615
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Gillie’s Seafood is dedicated to chef/owner Sean Mendes’ grandmother LaReese Gilliard, so patrons are treated like family when they sit down at a table. There’s plenty of Southern seafood favorites here, from shrimp purloo to fried flounder to shrimp and grits. Fun note: if you bring in a framed photo of your grandmother, the staff will hang it on their wall of grandmas — how adorable is that?

Gillie’s Seafood
Mike Ledford

3. Bowens Island Restaurant

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1870 Bowens Island Rd
Charleston, SC 29412
(843) 795-2757
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Any visitor Charleston must trek out to Bowens Island at least once. The experience of non-stop steamed oysters, cheap beer, and creekside views makes for lasting memories. It’s rustic (some say “dive”), and a bit hard to find, but as former Eater restaurant editor Bill Addison said, “It has been a draw for decades and remains luring both for its ramshackle funkiness and the gut-level goodness of its food.” And if you’re searching for a Lowcountry boil, a combination of corn, sausage, shrimp and potatoes, this is the place to find it.

Bowens Island Restaurant
Mike Ledford

4. Leon's

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698 King St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 531-6500
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Leon’s gives fried-fish goodness with a side of crispy chicken and freshly-shucked oysters. This North Central hangout is the spot to be if you prefer perfectly-battered bait with a glass of rosé and New Orleans soul pumping out the speakers. The outdoor patio is the place to be if the weather is nice.

Fried seafood platter at Leon’s
Andrew Cebulka

5. Dave's Carry-Out

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42 Morris St # C
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 577-7943

Dave’s Carry-Out has somewhat unpredictable hours, but if visitors can find the Morris Street dining room open, then they are in for some of the best fried fish around. Most people take their food to go, but there’s a few tables scattered about and a television on, so folks like to hang out and discuss the day in between bites. The popular seafood platter allows diners to sample fried shrimp, scallops, fish, and a deviled crab.

Shrimp and fish from Dave’s
Mike Ledford

6. The Ordinary

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544 King St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 414-7060
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What can be said about The Ordinary that hasn’t already been printed in hundreds of other publications? The hype is real. Gather friends and family, make a reservation, and luxuriate in the two-story dining room housed in a former bank from 1927. Standouts include a selection of local oysters, king mackerel pâté, and the New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp. Imbibers should finish the night with a few a rum drinks and go home very happy.

Lobster roll at the Ordinary
Robert Donovan

7. The Darling Oyster Bar

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513 King St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 641-0821
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Upper King hot spot the Darling keeps a lively dining room full of guests seeking fry baskets, Hawaiian-influenced poke, and clam chowder poutine. The attractive space draws in crowds night after night. Go early for happy hour and sit at the window-facing raw bar to watch the hustle on King Street in between shucks.

Lobster and King crab roll at the Darling 
Robert Donovan

8. 167 Raw

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193 King St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 579-4997
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Seafood house 167 Raw started as a small storefront on East Bay Street and has since upgraded to a multi-dining room space on King Street, but that has not diminished the crowds vying to grab a seat for perfectly shucked oysters, little neck clams, or a jumbo shrimp cocktail. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, but it does offer online ordering. The lobster roll with a buttery, buttery bun is the stuff of legends. Don’t sleep on the shrimp taco or the frosé.

Bar at 167 Raw
Leslie Ryann McKellar

9. Hank's Seafood Restaurant

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10 Hayne St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 723-3474
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Hank’s is the OG fine dining fish house in Charleston. The menu stocks Charleston legends like seafood a la Wando and she-crab soup. The servers wear white dinner jackets and black ties, the dining room is old-school polished, and the seafood tower and whole lobster are always a good idea.

Seafood tower at Hank’s
Hank’s Seafood Restaurant/Facebook

10. The Kingstide

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32 River Landing Dr
Daniel Island, SC 29492
(843) 216-3832
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Daniel Island’s the Kingstide is the newest waterfront seafood restaurant in the Lowcountry, and it’s already packing the dining rooms regularly. Diners stop in for a chance to sample chef Kevin Getzewich’s menu of creative fish dishes like swordfish with nage, English peas and whipped potato or a trout rueben. There’s also more traditional dishes, like a packed lobster roll, and plenty of items to choose from at the raw bar.

Open kitchen at Kingstide
Mike Ledford

11. Coda Del Pesce

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1130 Ocean Blvd
Isle of Palms, SC 29451
(843) 242-8570
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If you wish for fine dining by the sea, then Coda del Pesce can satisfy your needs for Italian plates — heavy on the frutti di mare — on the beach. Chef Ken Vedrinski offers a taste of the Italian Coast closer to the Lowcountry with grilled octopus, snapper crudo, and fusilli with blue crab. Enjoy a dinner and then go for a walk on the Isle of Palms sand.

Code del Pesce
Coda del Pesce/Facebook

1. Nana's Seafood & Soul Uptown

5117 Dorchester Rd Suite D, North Charleston, SC 29418

For those looking for seafood, soul, or real-deal Gullah-Geechie menu items, Nana’s is the place to be. Mother and son team Carolyn and Kenyatta McNeil create Lowcountry classics, with local products. For a reasonable price, patrons can score a giant piece of perfectly-fried whiting, fried cabbage on rice, lima beans, and a sweet piece of cornbread — really, it’s enough for two people. The trick is to keep up with the restaurant’s Instagram feed to check when crab rice or garlic crabs are on the menu (two of the most popular dishes).

5117 Dorchester Rd Suite D
North Charleston, SC 29418

2. Gillie's Seafood

805 Folly Rd, Charleston, SC 29412
Gillie’s Seafood
Mike Ledford

Gillie’s Seafood is dedicated to chef/owner Sean Mendes’ grandmother LaReese Gilliard, so patrons are treated like family when they sit down at a table. There’s plenty of Southern seafood favorites here, from shrimp purloo to fried flounder to shrimp and grits. Fun note: if you bring in a framed photo of your grandmother, the staff will hang it on their wall of grandmas — how adorable is that?

805 Folly Rd
Charleston, SC 29412

3. Bowens Island Restaurant

1870 Bowens Island Rd, Charleston, SC 29412
Bowens Island Restaurant
Mike Ledford

Any visitor Charleston must trek out to Bowens Island at least once. The experience of non-stop steamed oysters, cheap beer, and creekside views makes for lasting memories. It’s rustic (some say “dive”), and a bit hard to find, but as former Eater restaurant editor Bill Addison said, “It has been a draw for decades and remains luring both for its ramshackle funkiness and the gut-level goodness of its food.” And if you’re searching for a Lowcountry boil, a combination of corn, sausage, shrimp and potatoes, this is the place to find it.

1870 Bowens Island Rd
Charleston, SC 29412

4. Leon's

698 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Fried seafood platter at Leon’s
Andrew Cebulka

Leon’s gives fried-fish goodness with a side of crispy chicken and freshly-shucked oysters. This North Central hangout is the spot to be if you prefer perfectly-battered bait with a glass of rosé and New Orleans soul pumping out the speakers. The outdoor patio is the place to be if the weather is nice.

698 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

5. Dave's Carry-Out

42 Morris St # C, Charleston, SC 29403
Shrimp and fish from Dave’s
Mike Ledford

Dave’s Carry-Out has somewhat unpredictable hours, but if visitors can find the Morris Street dining room open, then they are in for some of the best fried fish around. Most people take their food to go, but there’s a few tables scattered about and a television on, so folks like to hang out and discuss the day in between bites. The popular seafood platter allows diners to sample fried shrimp, scallops, fish, and a deviled crab.

42 Morris St # C
Charleston, SC 29403

6. The Ordinary

544 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Lobster roll at the Ordinary
Robert Donovan

What can be said about The Ordinary that hasn’t already been printed in hundreds of other publications? The hype is real. Gather friends and family, make a reservation, and luxuriate in the two-story dining room housed in a former bank from 1927. Standouts include a selection of local oysters, king mackerel pâté, and the New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp. Imbibers should finish the night with a few a rum drinks and go home very happy.

544 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

7. The Darling Oyster Bar

513 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Lobster and King crab roll at the Darling 
Robert Donovan

Upper King hot spot the Darling keeps a lively dining room full of guests seeking fry baskets, Hawaiian-influenced poke, and clam chowder poutine. The attractive space draws in crowds night after night. Go early for happy hour and sit at the window-facing raw bar to watch the hustle on King Street in between shucks.

513 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

8. 167 Raw

193 King St, Charleston, SC 29401
Bar at 167 Raw
Leslie Ryann McKellar

Seafood house 167 Raw started as a small storefront on East Bay Street and has since upgraded to a multi-dining room space on King Street, but that has not diminished the crowds vying to grab a seat for perfectly shucked oysters, little neck clams, or a jumbo shrimp cocktail. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, but it does offer online ordering. The lobster roll with a buttery, buttery bun is the stuff of legends. Don’t sleep on the shrimp taco or the frosé.

193 King St
Charleston, SC 29401

9. Hank's Seafood Restaurant

10 Hayne St, Charleston, SC 29401
Seafood tower at Hank’s
Hank’s Seafood Restaurant/Facebook

Hank’s is the OG fine dining fish house in Charleston. The menu stocks Charleston legends like seafood a la Wando and she-crab soup. The servers wear white dinner jackets and black ties, the dining room is old-school polished, and the seafood tower and whole lobster are always a good idea.

10 Hayne St
Charleston, SC 29401

10. The Kingstide

32 River Landing Dr, Daniel Island, SC 29492
Open kitchen at Kingstide
Mike Ledford

Daniel Island’s the Kingstide is the newest waterfront seafood restaurant in the Lowcountry, and it’s already packing the dining rooms regularly. Diners stop in for a chance to sample chef Kevin Getzewich’s menu of creative fish dishes like swordfish with nage, English peas and whipped potato or a trout rueben. There’s also more traditional dishes, like a packed lobster roll, and plenty of items to choose from at the raw bar.

32 River Landing Dr
Daniel Island, SC 29492

11. Coda Del Pesce

1130 Ocean Blvd, Isle of Palms, SC 29451
Code del Pesce
Coda del Pesce/Facebook

If you wish for fine dining by the sea, then Coda del Pesce can satisfy your needs for Italian plates — heavy on the frutti di mare — on the beach. Chef Ken Vedrinski offers a taste of the Italian Coast closer to the Lowcountry with grilled octopus, snapper crudo, and fusilli with blue crab. Enjoy a dinner and then go for a walk on the Isle of Palms sand.

1130 Ocean Blvd
Isle of Palms, SC 29451

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