Welcome to our short but sweet list of food and beverage hidden gems in Charleston, SC. If you’re planning on spending your days lounging at Charleston hotels with pools, or you’re a resident bogged down by day-to-day life, make sure to take a break to explore and taste what the city has to offer. While this list is by no means exhaustive—Charleston’s food scene is rich with incredible options—it’s a good place to start. Whether you’re a visitor looking for a unique dining experience or a local seeking to rediscover your city, these spots offer something special and should not be missed. So dry off that swimsuit or clock out from work, and let’s dive into some serious flavors!
Location: 721 King St, Charleston, SC
If you’re staying in one of the many hotels near King Street in Charleston, SC, a trip to Melfi’s should be on your itinerary. Located in the bustling Upper King Street area, Melfi’s offers top-tier Italian food with an ingredient-driven focus. You’ll find a variety of Italian-American fare, such as handmade pastas, rich homemade sauces, and wood-fired pizzas. The restaurant provides a full-service bar and is an excellent choice for either a date night or a group dinner. Its upscale atmosphere sets it apart, but its patio area makes it a true hidden gem.
The patio at Melfi’s is what elevates it from a well-known Italian restaurant to a hidden gem. Surrounded by lush greenery and adorned with string lights, the patio offers an intimate setting that captures the essence of a warm Charleston evening. So, while the restaurant itself might be well-known, the patio is where you’ll want to spend your evening for a special experience.
2) Miller’s All Day
Location: 120 King St, Charleston, SC
Millers All Day is in the heart of Charleston on Lower King Street, known for its boutique shops, art galleries, and historic architecture. The restaurant itself resides in a historic building and features a glass-enclosed antique mill, which grinds grains for both the kitchen and retail shop. The interior is adorned with mid-century furniture and has a turntable with a vinyl collection, making it a dining space and a lifestyle destination. It’s a pedestrian-friendly zone, popular with both tourists and locals—making it an excellent spot for breakfast, brunch, or lunch.
What truly sets Millers All Day apart is its commitment to serving breakfast throughout the day. From grits and biscuits to freshly baked pastries, the restaurant offers a plethora of breakfast options any time you walk in. Its refined bistro atmosphere, coupled with the stylish contemporary decor, makes it popular among both residents and visitors. Add to that a broad range of quality beverages—from a simple $3 drip coffee to a $14 glass of sparkling Cremant Brut—and you have a venue that caters to various tastes and budgets. The outdoor patio is also dog-friendly, adding another layer of convenience for pet owners. So, if visiting, bring the fur kid from your pet-friendly hotel in Charleston, SC, for a bite to eat! Overall, Millers All Day is considered a must-try by many, solidifying its status as a well-known hidden gem, especially for those who relish the idea of breakfast at any hour.
3) Xiao Bao Biscuit
Location: 224 Rutledge Ave in Charleston, SC
Xiao Bao Biscuit is a standout for its Asian fusion cuisine. This restaurant offers a unique blend of flavors, specializing in various dishes like okonomiyaki, pad kra pow, and som tum with chicken. The restaurant has a lively atmosphere that appeals to families, college students, and business professionals alike. Online ordering for pickup is available, making it convenient for those on the go.
The restaurant was once a gas station, and its transformation into a vibrant eatery has added to the lively vibe of the Cannonborough-Elliotborough neighborhood. Food blogger Condé Nast Traveler describes it as “the shell of a station and the heart of an Asian eatery,” with a diverse crowd that enjoys the food with visible enthusiasm. For drinks, they offer a variety of options, including bottled-aged cocktails and an array of beers suitable for those who might find some dishes spicy. Service is generally efficient, but note that they do not allow substitutions, emphasizing that each dish is carefully crafted to be enjoyed as it is. Whether you’re adventurous with food or looking for a unique dining experience, Xiao Bao Biscuit has something for everyone.
4) Scotty Doesn’t Know Speakeasy
Location: 247 E Bay St, Charleston, SC
Scotty Doesn’t Know Speakeasy has carved out a niche for itself with an exclusive atmosphere and finely crafted cocktails. If you’re looking to veer off the beaten path and escape the crowd, this bar is your ideal destination. It offers an extensive range of wine options and cocktails that are anything but ordinary. Reservations are recommended, and you can book a table easily via Resy.
What sets this place apart is its elusive charm—its hard-to-find location and speakeasy theme add layers to the overall experience. While Charleston has no shortage of bars and lounges, Scotty Doesn’t Know Speakeasy is not as mainstream, making it a true hidden gem. The establishment has garnered positive feedback on platforms like Yelp, and if you want to get a sneak peek into what they offer, their active Instagram page is worth a visit.
5) Boxcar Betty’s
Location: 1701 Shoremeade Rd Suite 610, Mt Pleasant, SC
Boxcar Betty’s in Mount Pleasant might be a drive from downtown boutique hotels in Charleston, SC, but it’s well worth the trip. Situated about seven miles from downtown Charleston, this popular eatery specializes in fried chicken sandwiches. The menu is simple but satisfying, with options for both fried and grilled chicken and a pimento cheese-stuffed fried Portobello mushroom cap for vegetarians. Boxcar Betty’s has gained a reputation for its award-winning sandwiches and casual atmosphere, making it a must-try spot for both locals and visitors.
What sets Boxcar Betty’s in Mount Pleasant apart as a hidden gem is its dog-friendly attitude. The restaurant features a covered outdoor patio where dogs are welcome, providing a shady and comfortable space for your furry friend. This aspect makes it particularly appealing for dog owners, allowing them to enjoy a meal without leaving their pets behind. Located in The Boulevard shopping center, which also has other dog-friendly businesses, Boxcar Betty’s offers a great, laid-back dining experience that you and your four-legged companion can enjoy together.
Time for seconds, anyone
You’ve sampled our starter list of food and beverage gems in Charleston, SC. From Italian delights on King Street to Asian fusion treats and secret speakeasies, we’ve shown you a glimpse of what the city’s culinary landscape has to offer. But don’t stop here—Charleston is also known for its historic architecture, vibrant arts scene, and charming waterfront areas. So, once you’ve had your fill at these remarkable eateries, why not discover what else this captivating city has in store? After all, exploring is the best way to digest a good meal.
The article Five food and beverage hidden gems in Charleston, SC first appeared in TravelDailyNews International.
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Author: Apollonas Kritikos