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Charleston’s Dining with a View

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Charleston’s Dining with a View
Bowen's Island Photo by Mac Kilduff

YOU KNOW THE DEAL: Places with impressive views don’t generally have impressive food; they simply don’t need to focus on offering fabulous fare since people come in droves regardless. Not that there is anything wrong with eating an only decent meal when it comes with a side of sublime sunset, but we always care about food first and foremost. So here are a few places in and around town where we think you can have it all, the vista and the vittles.

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Cannon Green. Photo courtesy of Cannon Green.

CANNON GREEN It might not be the view you initially imagine—being on the interior and all—but entering this meticulously restored Spring Street property instills you with the notion that architectural possibilities are endless. The pristine entrance gives way to a vast, airy dining area, one that includes an intimate bar at the back and cleverly features an interior Charleston Single house. Yes, that’s right, there is a replica of a historic house inside the restaurant. It’s just so darn pretty in Cannon Green and Amalia Scatena’s ever-changing, locally-inspired menu is a curated delight—we especially love her shrimp escabeche and cioppino. If you can, venture out back: this never-ending property also includes an interior courtyard and private event space beyond. 103 Spring Street. Dinner thru Tuesday from Saturday. Brunch on Sunday. 

BOWENS A bit of a drive from downtown (located close to Folly Beach, on James Island), Bowens is the city’s best example of a classic fish camp. It’s bare-bones in terms of service and décor, but the views, particularly of the sunset, are unbeatable. This close to the drink, the seafood plates are what you want to focus on—fried or boiled. Better yet, get to know a Lowcountry classic, and feast on Frogmore Stew. When in season, outdoors offers steamed oysters at a community table, so pull up your sleeves, and belly on up with a beer—these beauties were just pulled from the water you are looking at. Insider tip: Beat the hordes of hungry folks waiting in line by eating at the bar instead. 1870 Bowens Island Road. Open Tuesday through Saturday.

FLEET LANDING The sadly ironic truth is that most seaside locations offer very few worthwhile seaside venues for eating and drinking. Fleet Landing is a historic exception. Housed in a former naval building that dates from the 1940s, the décor is ship-casual, but the floatation devices on display are eclipsed by the panoramic view of Charleston Harbor. Go for a beverage at the outer bar at sundown, or dine in for classics like Lowcountry boil or crispy whole flounder. 186 Concord Street. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

TAVERN AND TABLE Drive over the breathtaking marvel that is the Ravenel Bridge (a well-worth-it view on its own) to arrive at the always-serving-up-fun grouping of restos on Shem Creek in Mt. Pleasant. Paddle boarders and kayakers drift by as many sun-loving minglers get their drink on. The most notable of eating establishments lining the waterways is Tavern & Table, where you can get flatbreads and burgers, lobster beignets, and pimento cheese. Check out their “daily’s” (bread, cocktail, burger), and you’ll see they are committed to offering only the freshest finds. 100 Church Street. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

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492 King Street. Photo by Callie Cranford.

492 KING STREET Revitalizing a late 19th century building that had been abandoned since Hurricane Hugo, no detail was left unconsidered at this fantastically appointed Upper King newcomer. Even the iron patio gates have been forged to reference historic Charleston maps. With long community tables, plushly intimate booths, and a thriving rooftop garden, there is something to exclaim about at every turn, including Chef Nate Whitings’ interpretive Lowcountry cuisine. As for drinks, order a Disco Sour for a funky fun refresher with serious taste, or just ask bartending boss Megan Deschaine for her liquid suggestion—she’s always ready to shake things up. 492 King Street. Open for dinner seven days a week.

82 Queen Restaurant in Charleston, S.C., March 18, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jodi Martinez)(Not Reviewed)
82 Queen. Photo courtesy of 82 Queen.

82 QUEEN On Queen Street, in the heart of downtown, this regent has been offering Lowcountry classics in its string of dining rooms—ranging from a dimly lit pub to a bright, grandma-would-be-happy-here upstairs homey room. But the major stunner is the courtyard—it is as quintessential Charleston as can be and is the perfect place to impart the mood of the city, even in the throes of summer humidity. Classic dishes reign here: she-crab soup, fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese, and shrimp and grits. They aren’t trying to compete with the big boys and many would say that is a-ok. Instead, they offer a slice of old school Charleston, with a killer view to boot. 82 Queen Street. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

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