An Insider’s Guide to Mount Pleasant, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, and Daniel Island
As you head northeast along the South Carolina coast, you start to get an interesting mix of swank and casual beach vibes. While Mount Pleasant and the northern islands have a well-deserved reputation for poshness, they are also home to longstanding local communities interested in preserving the area’s resources, beauty, and livability. As a result, you can wine and dine at some truly excellent local establishments both new and old, all while appreciating the unique beauty of South Carolina’s Lowcountry.
Ali Baba Mediterranean Deli is Daniel Island’s best-kept secret. Try the kofta kebab, which comes with saffron rice and two items from the deli case—you can expect salads like fattoush, tabouli, hearts of palm, and Turkish rainbow, along with hummus, Greek ziti, sautéed eggplant, and spicy feta. Call ahead to ask if they’re serving Turkish coffee with cardamom.
On Isle of Palms, Acme Lowcountry Kitchen is an institution. Whether you’re nursing a hangover or finishing up an early morning of surfing, their brunch will cure what ails you, in particular the Holy City hash. Or indulge with the scallops and pimento grits to get your Southern food fix, because our next recommendations are Mount Pleasant’s Nick’s German Kitchen and Malika Pakistani Chai Canteen—and you should definitely go hungry. Nick’s schnitzels and spaetzles are appetizer, entrée, and dessert all in one, but it’ll be hard to resist Der Salat as well, with seasonal greens, schnitzel strips, and pretzel croutons. And if you’re not careful, you’ll fill up on Malika’s chaat and masala fries before you even get to chef Maryam Ghaznavi’s signature thali, with a choice of any two vegetarian or meat entrees plus basmati rice, raita, and chutney.
For coastal fine dining with a French flavor, oysters and potato caviar at NICO just off Shem Creek are unmatched, followed by a selection from the wood-fired menu offering filet and steak frites alongside quenelle and chicken cordon bleu.
Cantina 76 just might have the best jalapeño margs in the area, so we recommend settling in with a pitcher and any combination of their tacos. If spicy isn’t your thing, they’ve got seven other margaritas on the menu, with your choice of tequila.
With locations on both Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s, the Co-Op has your frosé needs covered. You can get a flight of flavors like blood orange and Aperol spritz while dining in, or a wine bottle full to go—don’t drink it on the beach, but we have no doubt you can find a poolside party to crash.
No visit to Mount Pleasant is complete without some time on Shem Creek. The main and second-floor decks at Red’s Ice House get you a waterside view to go with your bucket of beer and, usually, some laid-back live music.
Above all, you should go to the beach. Parking can be a challenge, so be sure to obey all signage—but you can make things easy by parking in the Isle of Palms County Park lot and taking advantage of the changing area. You’re within easy walking access of the beach and a number of local restaurants. Finish your day at the shore with live music at the Windjammer (check their website for schedules and tickets) and a drink on the back deck overlooking the oceanfront.
A walk down Mount Pleasant’s Pitt Street Bridge and back again is the perfect way to unwind during a packed trip. Leave your phone in the car and enjoy the unspoiled view of Sullivan’s Island and lots of local sea birds. Then make the short drive into the Old Village for some dessert at Gala Café & Bakery, and book a night at the Post House Inn, a historic inn and restaurant built in 1896, where the dining and the décor are charmingly updated Southern.
- by Erin Byers Murray