We asked the Richards to give us a breakdown, dish by dish, of what they thought of our list. Here are their their scores, based on 10 being perfect.

She-Crab Soup at 82 Queen

Although we typically have a high threshold for richness, this one went too far for our tastes. The delicate crab flavor was masked by the overwhelming thickness of cream and roux. The only redeeming flavor from the soup was the kiss of sherry on top.

Aaron: 3 —–Elise: 2

Roasted Oysters at Bowens Island Restaurant

You can get fresh local oysters all around town, but the casual and inviting environment is what makes this place special. It is one of the few places that you can watch every step of your meal’s creation right from your table.

Aaron: 7.5 —–Elise: 7.5

  • Provided by Callie’s Bisquits

Callie’s Biscuits

Not sure how she packs so much butter into that dough, but these never disappoint! Amazing naked, but further amplified with a little fresh jam on top. A great appetizer to have at your next house party, but be prepared to pay a premium for these gems.

Aaron: 7 —–Elise: 7

  • Provided by Charleston Grill

Crab Cake at Charleston Grill

Worth every penny! The term “cake” devalues this dish … it is essentially a ball of perfectly seasoned crab meat garnished with local shrimp, with just the right amount of citrus. This is a restaurant that we have skipped over many times to hit the newest hot spot, but this dining experience made it clear why Charleston Grill has such staying power.

Aaron: 10 —–Elise: 9.5

Fried Chicken at the Griffon

We experienced two failed attempts at ordering this until we were informed that it is served at lunch on Wednesdays only. We think the gimmick of limited availability has created a false perception that one is getting a “special.” The chicken was moist, but had no flavoring and was accompanied by dry mac and cheese and greasy collards. Skip the chicken and order their fish and chips.

Aaron: 5 —–Elise: 5

Shrimp and Grits at Hominy Grill

In the endless battle of best shrimp and grits, this place is a solid competitor. This has just the right amount of pepper from the gravy and we love the smokiness the bacon adds. They use lemon juice to brighten it up and mushrooms to add a layer of earthiness that ties it all together.

Aaron: 9.5 —–Elise: 8.5

Sweet Tea at Jestine’s Kitchen

We are both true Southerners and can appreciate that this is a classic. However, we felt that this was more of a science experiment testing the limits of dissolving sugar in water. Overall, this drink was too sweet to enjoy even on a typical steamy Charleston afternoon.

Aaron: 7 —–Elise:

Lima Beans at Martha Lou’s Kitchen

Good Southern cooking is achieved by balancing the star ingredient with just the right amount of fat and salt. Martha Lou’s has this perfected. The tender beans were served in a bath of thick gravy and seasoned perfectly with pepper and pork. We recommend that you pair these with their fried chicken.

Aaron: 8.5 —–Elise: 8

  • Provided by Peninsula Grill

Coconut Cake at Peninsula Grill

Even if you don’t like coconut, you will love this cake! This is everything that a coconut cake should be in flavor and in presentation. It was so good we attempted to recreate it from the online recipe, but learned this one is best left to the pros.

Aaron: 10 —–Elise: 10

  • Provided by The Glass Onion

Sarah’s Pimento Cheese with Crackers at the Glass Onion

This appetizer is your typical Southern pimento cheese. Not our favorite in Charleston due to the strong black pepper flavor and a lack of sharpness from the yellow cheddar they use.

Aaron: 6.5 —–Elise: 5.5

Frogmore Stew at Gilligan’s

This experience was a letdown in both food quality and atmosphere. The stew was disproportionately high in white potatoes and onions and tasted of little but Old Bay. The stingy use of shrimp and sausage was inadequate for the price, and the ambience was just too cheesy.

Aaron: 2 —–Elise: 2.5

Macaroni and Cheese at Cru Cafe´

We walked in one afternoon to try this appetizer and found ourselves walking out registered for their New Year’s Eve dinner. This glorious menagerie of four bubbling cheeses is complex and delicious, while simultaneously reminding you of home.

Aaron: 9.5 —–Elise: 9

Cornbread at Husk Restaurant

This deliciously smoky, bacon-flecked cornbread arrives with wow factor in your own private cast iron skillet and drives it home with a side of sinful bacon butter. Although we both hold this cornbread in high regard, —–Elise scored it lower because she prefers a sweeter cornbread.

Aaron: 10 —–Elise: 7.5

Fried Green Tomatoes at Magnolias

Having eaten our fair share of fried green tomatoes around town, we can say that this is a real example of flavorful innovation. The tomato chutney and goat cheese pairing took us by surprise. But when eaten together, the synergistic effect of these components blew us away.

Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 9

  • Sarah M. Neilson

Stuffed Hush Puppies at Fleet Landing

Hush puppies are good. Stuffing them to the brim with sweet lobster and rock shrimp is great. In addition to being delicious, we felt these were a great deal due to the generous portion of shellfish hidden inside each puppy.

Aaron: 8.5 —–Elise: 9

Fried Shrimp at McClellanville Diner

These made to order shrimp were just pulled from the creek and had a light and crispy fry. If you happen to be in the area, it’s worth a stop. However, we still feel you don’t have to leave Charleston to find good fried shrimp.

Aaron: 7 —–Elise: 7.5

Hash and Rice at Bessinger’s

This hash is tasty, but lacks the complex, rich flavors that we expect out of the slow cooking process required to make it. The meat was ground almost into a puree, which created a thinner texture than we prefer.

Aaron: 6.5 —–Elise: 6.5

Collards at Virginia’s on King

Virginia’s figured out a way to maintain the inherent flavor of collards while complementing them with just the right amount of richness and acidity.

Aaron: 8.5 —–Elise: 8

Okra Soup at Bertha’s Kitchen

Trust us, the exterior of Bertha’s is no indication of what’s happening inside. The staff warmed our souls as much as the hearty bowl of soup they served us. A slow-cooked summer garden in a bowl accented with crispy bits of bacon, this soup paired great with their cornbread.

Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 8

Fried Fish at Rosebank Farms Café

As members of their CSA, we knew their ingredients were top notch. We didn’t realize the people of Rosebank Farms were also such good chefs! Once you sample this fish (along with anything else on their seasonal menu), you will find time to make the trip to Johns Island.

Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 9

Oyster Shot at Pearlz

This local treat is something we introduce to all of our out-of-town guests. This is a perfect combination of brine from the oyster, heat from their homemade cocktail sauce and kick from the private label pepper vodka.

Aaron: 10 —–Elise: 10

Mussels at 39 Rue de Jean

Although these stellar mussels are available in six flavorful baths, we always find ourselves ordering the pistou and extra bread for dipping. The chefs are heavy-handed with the garlic, so make sure you aren’t on a first date!

Aaron: 9.5 —–Elise: 10

Chicken Liver Paté at FIG

This is one item worth traveling outside of your comfort zone for. This pâté melts in your mouth and is paired with just the right crispy and tangy accoutrements.

Aaron: 10 —–Elise: 9.5

Asparagus Risotto at Al di La

Elise’s #1 list item. Everything about this dish was harmonious and sensual. Three seared scallops invite you into the creamy risotto, which is blended and topped with tender asparagus. You will not want to share this.

Aaron: 10 —–Elise: 10

Seafood Tower at Hank’s Seafood Restaurant

This dish scores high points for presentation; you can’t order this without reaction from the crowd. The ice-cold shellfish is prepped beautifully and all you need is a tiny fork. The tower is an adequate dinner for two, but if you want to go baller style, order the castle.

Aaron: 8.5 —–Elise: 8.5

Insalata di Polpo at Bacco Italian Restaurant

This octopus was anything but chewy. The meat was tender from slow cooking, but packed with smoky grill flavor. It comes paired with a simple salad dressed with a tasty vinaigrette.

Aaron: 9.5 —–Elise: 9

Fried Brussels at Big Gun Burger Shop

This ignited our interest in Brussels sprouts as a tolerable vegetable. The opposite of what Mom makes, these were crispy and flavorful.

Aaron: 7 —–Elise: 7.5

Basil Duck at Basil

Basil has not only mastered the art of serving tender duck with crispy skin, but also drowns it in a signature sauce that is good enough to drink. This is a great introduction to Thai cuisine, full of flavor without being too spicy.

Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 8

Oven-Roasted Turkey Plate at Boulevard Diner

This is a clever idea and therefore deserves a spot on this list. However, we didn’t feel that this dish represented what we love about Boulevard Diner. Each component was good, but it’s one of the less inspired menu items.

Aaron: 6.5 —–Elise: 6.5

  • Provided by Jim ‘n Nicks Barbeque

Cheese Biscuits at Jim ‘n Nick’s Barbecue

These are crazy good, and at times we consume so many that we can’t finish our BBQ. Perfectly sweet and cheesy and dangerously poppable.

Aaron: 9.5 —–Elise: 9

BBQ Duck Hash at High Cotton

We liked the concept of classing up hash by replacing corned beef with duck, but we felt that the duck was overwhelmed by the sautéed vegetables. A rather small portion of an otherwise hearty dish did not satisfy our Sunday morning needs.

Aaron: 6.5 —–Elise: 6

Pommes Frites a la Graisse de Canard at La Fourchette

Duck fat French fries are popping up all over Charleston, but these are still our favorite. We think it best to leave the French fries to the French.

Aaron: 9.5 —–Elise: 9

The Coddled Egg at FIG

Aaron’s No. 1 list item. We ordered this with no idea what was going to arrive or how one egg could cost $15. What we received was heaven in a ramekin. This was a life-changing lesson in how the simplest of ingredients can be transformed by the right chef. Adding to the excitement of this dish, the supporting components change seasonally.

Aaron: 10 —–Elise: 10

Pear & Gorgonzola Salad at Lana Restaurant

In a world of salads topped with fruit and nuts, this one raises the bar. The wine-poached pear added unique texture and body to a delightful and satisfying lunch.

Aaron: 8 —–Elise: 8.5

Chicken and Ribs Combo at Pollo Tropical

This is the only joint we have seen in Charleston that grills meat over an open hardwood charcoal grill. The result is a smokiness and char on the chicken that is unrivaled. The ribs were also delicious, but the real star was the chicken.

Aaron: 8.5 —–Elise: 7.5

Oysters Rockefeller Pasta at Long Point Grill

This was no longer featured on their menu when we visited, but the kitchen was happy to recreate this crowd favorite. Giant succulent oysters were tossed in a sauce that maintained all the flavors you expect from this old-school appetizer.

Aaron: 8.5 —–Elise: 8.5

Shepherd’s Pie at Madra Rua

The atmosphere draws us back to Madra Rua, but not this Shepherd’s Pie. The meat was under-seasoned, the potatoes were bland, and there was little sauce to speak of.

Aaron: 5 —–Elise: 4.5

Butter Bean Salad at Monza

We opted for the tuna topped version and loved every bit. The bright dressing, the crisp tender beans, and the flaky tuna makes for a healthy and satisfying meal in itself.

Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 9.5

Sumac-Rubbed Duck Breast at Muse

An interesting and welcomed departure from the typical pan-seared duck breast. We liked that this was prepared over an open flame and utilized unique spices typically not seen paired with duck. We found Muse’s creative Mediterranean menu to be worthy of a departure from King Street.

Aaron: 8.5 —–Elise: 8.5

Fried Lobster at Oak Steakhouse

The paper thin layer of crisp batter just barely obscures the bright red body of this succulent crustacean. Resting atop a bed of airy, herbaceous potatoes and a nice citrus butter sauce, the meat is tender and sweet.

Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 9

Extraordinary BLT at Moe’s Tavern

We knew that Moe’s excelled at burgers so never bothered to explore the rest of their menu, but we should have. The substitution of a fried green tomato was welcome, but the unexpected use of fresh mozzarella blew us away.

Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 9.5

    Eggy & Leggy Pizza at Mellow Mushroom

    As residents of West Ashley, we are proud to say that this originated at our local Avondale Mellow. Once you experience the glory of a runny egg yolk on an already irresistible pizza crust, you’ll be hooked too.

    Aaron: 9.5 —–Elise: 9.5

    Pork Trifecta at EVO Pizza

    Not only is there a preponderance of meat on this pie, but it is also all local or housemade. The wood-fired oven creates a crispy thin crust that is unrivaled and the fresh mozzarella shines through it all.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 9

    The Chauncinator at D’Allesandro’s

    This is the manly version of a margherita pizza. This pie came with more meat than dough and was truly decadent.

    Aaron: 7.5 —–Elise: 8

    The RiverDog at The Joe

    Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the hot dog line-up at the Joe. In an environment that typically lacks culinary creativity, we were impressed with the quality of the toppings and Lowcounty flavor profile.

    Aaron: 7.5 —–Elise: 7.5

    Yellowtail Carpaccio at O-Ku

    We were able to appreciate the freshness of the yellowtail, but felt that the dish as a whole was fragmented and lacked flavor. At this price point, a higher level of complexity was expected.

    Aaron: 5 —–Elise: 4

    Quail and Venison Sausage at Red Drum

    We liked the unique pairing of these two proteins and really enjoyed the wood-fired flavor from their grill. It came paired with a skillet of cheesy grits that were divine.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 7.5

    Crispy Red Snapper at Red Orchids

    Forget everything you know about Chinese restaurants in Charleston and go to Red Orchids. This dish is a generous portion for two and demonstrates how a light batter can be used to feature an ingredient and not mask it. Order an extra side of the sauce; you’ll want it for your rice.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 8.5

    Buffalo Kickin’ Chicken at Kickin’ Chicken

    We have been enjoying this Charleston classic since our freshman year at CofC. The sandwich may be simple, but they do it best.

    Aaron: 7.5 —–Elise: 8.5

    Mike’s Famous Duck Club at Tattooed Moose

    This sandwich is layer upon layer of decadence and makes you drool just thinking about it. Arguably one of the best sandwiches in the city, this one really satisfies.

    Aaron: 10 —–Elise: 9

    Duck Club Sliders at Voodoo Lounge

    You’ll want to keep the whole order to yourself. We especially love the sweet buns these tender bites of duck and bacon are delivered on.

    Aaron: 8.5 —–Elise: 8.5

    The Galactic Dog at Jack’s Cosmic Dogs

    The dog itself is a good quality Boar’s Head beef dog, but is somewhat lost under the blanket of toppings. The chili and slaw were underwhelming, but the sweet potato mustard was a nice touch.

    Aaron: 6.5 —–Elise: 7

    Clammer Dave’s Clams

    We experienced these local clams in a dish at Husk and enjoyed how meaty, salty, and perfectly chewy they were. The addition of these clams to any dish will take it from good to great.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 8.5

    Pork Slap at Closed for Business

    We were impressed with how juicy and tender the fried pork chop was and how it offers no resistance as you bite through the tower of flavor. The tangy chutney cuts through the rich toppings and creates a nice balance.

    Aaron: 8 —–Elise: 8.5

    Filet & Boursin Omelet at Sunflower Café

    This no-frills West Ashley café turns out a solid omelet. Ours was fluffy and filled with a generous portion of filet coated with oozing herbed cheese. This plate is both delicious and a bargain.

    Aaron: 7 —–Elise: 7

    Three-Year Gouda Mac and Cheese at Ted’s Butcherblock

    The deli case at Ted’s is always surprising us with something new and tasty to try, but this is a standby. Great on its own or paired with your freshly pressed panini as a side dish, this mac and cheese is robust and served chilled, which is a cool twist.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 9

    Crudo at Trattoria Lucca

    The crudo at Lucca’s is the best we’ve ever had. It’s not always available, but if it is, you owe it to yourself to experience this amazing dish. The fish varies based on what Chef Vedrinski feels is the freshest available, but ours was red snapper served with a bright citrus sauce and garnished like a work of art.

    Aaron: 10 —–Elise: 10

    Rio Bertolini Pasta

    This is a staple in our household. We never get tired of it because there seems to be an unending array of flavors to try. The ravioli fillings are both creative and delicious, and all you need is sauce to make a complete meal.

    Aaron: 9.5 —–Elise: 9

    Duck Confit Sandwich at Caviar & Bananas

    We picked up this sandwich to-go one evening, along with some other picnic sides. Once we dug in, we realized it was big enough to split! The duck was cooked so well it melted in your mouth and the balance coming from the pickled onion and fig preserves created a unique combination we are in love with.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 9.5

    Asian-Glazed Ribs at Coleman Public House

    Coleman Public House really blew us away with the level of cooking coming out of the kitchen behind their well-stocked bar. These ribs were unlike any we’ve had before, perfectly glazed in a sweet and tangy Asian sauce and topped with a crunchy little salad that offset the sweetness just right.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 9.5

    Beer-Braised Barbecue Sandwich at Hello My Name Is… BBQ

    The couple that run this food truck really pack a ton of flavor into their food. We love that everything is homemade and it really comes through in the quality. Although this BBQ lacks the smokiness and bark that can only come from an open flame, it makes up for that with the deep, rich flavor from braising and always changing condiments.

    Aaron: 8.5 —–Elise: 8

    Pan-Fried Sweetbreads at McCrady’s

    Whenever sweetbreads appear on a menu we have to try them, so we’ve had our share. These are the winners by far. They were crispy outside, creamy inside, and came with a heavenly egg yolk and lots of fun, but carefully crafted, sides.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 8.5

    Picnic Sampler at Hominy Grill

    The pimento cheese was very good and it paired well with the salty ham and okra, but the portions were small. The stale bread seemed to be re-purposed and the pickled egg was far too rubbery. We know Hominy Grill is better than this and would suggest ordering any of their other amazing menu options instead.

    Aaron: 6.5 —–Elise: 5

    Applewood-Smoked Chicken at JB’s Smokeshack

    In an industry where pork is king, JB’s makes chicken that is worthy of taking up room on your barbecue plate. We know it’s hard to turn down their porky smoky goodness, but give this chicken a try. Their smoke treatment works wonders.

    Aaron: 8.5 —–Elise: 8.5

    Carnitas Enmoladas at La Norteña

    When we first walked in, this restaurant looked very similar to the places we’ve been going to for years in Charleston. Upon inspection of their menu, we discovered that La Norteña offers options not found anywhere else. This plate is definitely one of their best. The meat is slow cooked in a mole sauce that is more complex that we’ve ever had at a Mexican joint.

    Aaron: 8.5 —–Elise: 9

    • Provided by Taco Boy

    Cowboy Beans at Taco Boy

    As far as beans go, these are good enough to get a bowl of. The sauce is spicy and meaty and reminded us more of a tasty bowl of chili than just a side of beans.

    Aaron: 8 —–Elise: 7

    The Cheeseburger at Husk

    This burger is special to us because Chef Sean Brock has avoided the current trend of creating a giant burger with a tower of toppings so big you can barely get it in your mouth. This burger is simple. Simply awesome. Two thin patties with bacon mixed right in for your eating pleasure, and a perfect blanket of melted cheese.

    Aaron: 10 —–Elise: 10

    The Memphis Burger at Sesame

    Sesame is known for their creative burger combinations, and we typically love them all, but this one didn’t quite work. The flavors went together, but since all of the toppings are inherently dry, we found it a little hard to get down. Maybe a drizzle of honey to moisten it up would have saved the day.

    Aaron: 7 —–Elise: 7.5

    Hop Frog Burger at Poe’s

    It’s hard to pick a favorite burger here, but the Hop Frog is definitely one of the best they offer. Combining spicy cheese with sweet barbecue sauce and a perfectly cooked patty, Poe’s hits a homerun with this one.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 9

    The Barnyard Burger at Rita’s

    This sandwich fuses the best of the burger world with the best of the breakfast world. The toasted English muffin provides lots of nooks and crannies for the oozy goodness to soak into, making for easy delivery to your mouth.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 8.5

    BBQ Buffalo Burger at Fuel

    We love bison and make our burgers at home with it whenever we can. But the Achilles heel of this amazing grass-fed meat is its tendency to dry out. Sadly, our burger at Fuel fell victim to this, but was kept alive by the vibrant mango sauce and slaw.

    Aaron: 6.5 —–Elise: 6

    The Wilbur at Triangle Char and Bar

    Triangle went big on this burger, bypassing the pedestrian option of bacon and putting a slow-cooked cross section of the entire belly on top. It works and is glorious, but make sure you like pork belly because they aren’t shy with the slab!

    Aaron: 8.5 —–Elise: 8.5

    Any Half-Price Burger at Moe’s Tavern

    Moe’s has been the deal of the century since we first moved to Charleston and continues to impress us with the quality of food you get for the price. If you haven’t had their burgers, do it. Better yet, go on Tuesday and try two for the same price.

    Aaron: 8.5 —–Elise: 9

    California Burger at A.C.’s Bar and Grill

    This was the first time we ordered something non-alcoholic from this Charleston establishment, and will probably be the last. The meat was very tough and clearly previously frozen, the bun was as plain as it gets, and the olives from a jar. We were not impressed with this burger on any level.

    Aaron: 2 —–Elise: 2

    Mother-Clucker from Roti Rolls

    In terms of sandwich vehicles, the roti is the Cadillac. Buttery and griddled, this roll is filled with barbecue chicken and kimchi and topped with pimento cheese. Bet you can’t eat just one.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 8.5


    Sashimi and Tuna Oyster at Cypress Lowcountry Grille

    We loved the simplicity of this dish and how it packed a real wallop of flavor with so few ingredients. This is a great example of how less can be more. Spicy and salty, this dish really works.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 9

    Fresh Garden Salad at Nirlep Indian Restaurant

    Nirlep puts out a nice buffet where you can get a little bit of everything Indian. With the variety of complex, Indian-spiced delicacies abounding, the salad really wasn’t the highlight of the buffet. It was pretty much just a salad.

    Aaron: 5 —–Elise: 5

    • Provided by Carolina’s

    Shrimp Crabmeat Wontons at Carolina’s

    The seafood filling in these wontons is delectable, and pairs perfectly with the crispy wonton shells. Unfortunately the ratio of creamy filling to crispy exterior was way off. After the bites with filling were gone, we still had a plate full of too-crispy-to-eat-on-its-own wonton.

    Aaron: 6.5 —–Elise: 6

    Ponzu and Truffle Tuna Sashimi at Social

    This was one of the more creative ways of serving tuna that we have tried. It was plated nicely and we found the candied lemon garnish went really well with the citrus flavor of the ponzu.

    Aaron: 7 —–Elise: 7.5

    Ceviche at Coast

    It was too difficult to choose just one of the fresh ceviche options, so we opted for the trio of traditional, lobster, and campechana. Every bite was full of bright, fresh flavor and the chefs did a great job of combining lots of complementary flavors and textures into each one of these beauties.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 9.5

    Lowcountry Carbonara at Tristan

    Chef Nate Whiting’s creative interpretation of carbonara was as impressive in design as it was in taste. The ‘spaghetti’ is actually slow cooked onions and what better to pair with melted onions than bacon, quail, and an egg? Everything blended together beautifully in this dish.

    Aaron: 9.5 —–Elise: 8.5

    Beef Brisket at Fiery’s Rons Hometeam BBQ

    Easily the best beef brisket in town, Hometeam never disappoints in our opinion. Their brisket is exactly what it should be: juicy and smoky, while maintaining enough of its structure that you can still slice it and put it on a bun.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 9

    Rice & Bean Bowl at Dell’z Deli

    We never knew this lunch counter existed, but found it fills a unique niche in the Charleston lunch scene. The ingredients here are all super fresh, and the salad is assembled right in front of you as you choose how to fill your bowl. There’s really no seating, so plan on getting the best salad deal in town to-go.

    Aaron: 8.5 —–Elise: 8

    Pork Ton Toro and Peekytoe Crab Cake at Circa 1886

    The only item we were unable to try. It’s sadly not on the menu anymore.

    34-oz Long Bone Tomahawk Rib Eye at Halls Chophouse

    When this steak arrives at your table, everyone stops for a minute. Easily the most eye-catching steak you will ever order, this perfectly crusted rib-eye arrives attached to a two-foot rib bone just before the server surgically removes every bit of goodness for you tableside.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 9

    The Rib at Fat Hen

    The supple meat alone is enough to make this a must-try, but the deep, dark sauce that is triple-glazed on top of this short rib is to die for. So tender, so smoky, you won’t put it down until there is nothing left.

    Aaron: 9.5 —–Elise: 10

    • Provided by Fish

    Bouillabaisse at Fish

    The French-influenced seafood at Fish is among the best, and this soup lets you try several at once in one pot. The broth is clean and flavorful, and the seafood all cooked to perfection. You’ll need extra bread with this one.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 8.5

    Gnocchi with Pork Bolognese at FIG

    The quality of the gnocchi was beyond reproach; they were little pillows of perfection. As the rich meaty sauce soaked into the gnocchi, magic happened in our mouths.

    Aaron: 9.5 —–Elise: 8.5

    Chocolate Croissant and French Press Coffee at G&M/Fast & French

    We stopped in for breakfast one Sunday morning to try this classic French pairing, but felt that it fell short. The coffee was good, but not great, and the croissant was not made in-house. The chocolate was slathered onto a too-hot croissant, creating a messy liquid chocolate syrup that was less than ideal.

    Aaron: 5 —–Elise: 6

    Sticky Buns at WildFlour

    Only served on Sunday, it is worth setting your alarm to experience these decadent delights. Freshly baked, yeasty, sticky, with just the right amount of sweet, these buns are perfect. And their cousin, the cinnamon bun, is just as right.

    Aaron: 10 —–Elise: 10

    Macaroons from Macaroon Boutique

    Having never tried a macaroon before, we really enjoyed these. The shell is light but crispy, and the filling is creamy with really nice flavor. These upscale cookies are worth a try.

    Aaron: 7 —–Elise: 7

    The Coca-Cola Cake at Jestine’s Kitchen

    We did not care for this dessert at all. It was like a crumbled brownie that was just barely held together with corn syrup and then topped with more sugar. This isn’t a dessert we grew up on, so maybe it’s supposed to taste like that. But our teeth hurt when we were done.

    Aaron: 2 —–Elise: 2

    Lavender Gelato at Paolo’s Gelato

    The floral hints and mild sweetness made this a nice treat on a summer day. Smooth and creamy, with nuanced flavors, this makes you stop and appreciate the creativity Paolo has when it comes to gelato.

    Aaron: 8 —–Elise: 7.5

    Beet Ice Cream from Roots Ice Cream

    We get such joy out of seeing what fresh ingredients will show up as ice cream in the Roots cart each week at the Farmers Market. One of the more creative flavors, the beet amazed us with how well it captured the true flavor of a delicious roasted beet in a sweet and creamy way.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 8

    Earl Grey Tea Painted Chocolate from Christophe Artisan

    With just the right amount of sweetness, the Early Grey chocolate combines delicate citrus and herbal flavors with rich chocolate perfection. His candies are really something: Just wait until you taste them. Our favorite from his hand-painted lineup was the gianduja.

    Aaron: 9.5 —–Elise: 8.5

    Chocolate Sea Salt Popsicle from King of Pops

    Possibly one of the best flavors they offer, this one really has it all. It’s sweet and salty with a perfect texture, and really refreshing on a warm day. The banana pudding is another not-to-be-missed.

    Aaron: 9 —–Elise: 9

    Smoky “Buffyaki Style” Chicken Wings at Husk

    The menu is always changing at Husk, but if you see these on it you must order them. These wings are smoked, fried, and glazed in a sauce that is half-Asian, half-barbecue. A true contender for the best wings we’ve had in the city.

    Aaron: 10 —–Elise: 9.5

    Southern Crab Salad at SNOB

    If you are looking for a seasonal, healthy, and filling meal downtown, this is one to try. A generous portion of lump blue crab sits atop a salad of greens and fresh fruit and is dressed in an herb vinaigrette. We recommend that you call ahead for a seat at the chef’s table to feel like part of the magic.

    Aaron: 7.5 —–Elise: 8

    • Provided by Wild Olive

    Garganelli with Milk-Braised Pork Ragu at Wild Olive

    The richness factor of this ragu is stepped up by simmering the meat in milk before ladling it over homemade pasta. We thought that the supporting flavors were a little lacking, however; we mostly just tasted the meat and fresh pasta.

    Aaron: 7 —–Elise: 7

    Homemade Pretzels at the Gin Joint

    Although we love a good, soft pretzel, this one did not do it for us. With much more of a bread texture than a pretzel, this could have just as easily come from your grocer’s freezer. We did however find the spicy cheese sauce it came paired with to be delightful.

    Aaron: 4 —–Elise: 4.5

    Slice of Pizza at Gilroy’s (after 2 a.m.)

    Many a late night of ours at CofC ended with the infamous chicken bacon ranch pizza from Gilroy’s. It did its job and we didn’t ask any questions. We will score this one with the qualifier of “after 2 a.m.,” and everything that comes with that time of night.

    Aaron: 8 —–Elise: 7

    10 Things We Think Should Be on the Next List

    Pulled Pork Sandwich at Home Team BBQ

    This meat defines Southern barbecue in our opinion. It’s well-spiced, smoky, tender, and maintains its texture. Top it with any of their sauces, or don’t. This meat can stand alone.

    Hanger Steak at La Fourchette

    There are lots of fancy steakhouses in the city, but we feel that this is easily the best steak in Charleston. The French spin they put on this cut of meat is a whole new world for those die-hard charbroiled fans out there.

    Napa Burger at Sesame

    Top Sesame’s mouthwatering beef with fig and bacon jam, blue cheese, and a red wine reduction and you’ve got a symphony of savory flavors you can’t deny.

    Lavender Martini at Cypress

    Made with vanilla vodka, lavender simple syrup, and a shot of fresh lemon juice, this cocktail is downright addictive. It’s so delicious Aaron doesn’t care if he looks manly or not drinking it.

    Afternoon Affogato at Black Tap Coffee

    Feeling rundown and need a boost to get to 5 p.m. on Friday? This is the answer. Intensely rich espresso cascades over vanilla ice cream, crowned with homemade toffee. I bet you’re feeling better already.

    Sweet and Salty Brownie at Bakehouse

    This is the definitive brownie, which hides a nice surprise of salted caramel between two layers of fudgy perfection. If you’re having a party, try the Sweet and Salty cake instead and wow your guests.

    Deluxe Cheesesteak at Philly’s

    A true Philadelphia cheesesteak, the Deluxe amps it up with the addition of sautéed peppers and mushrooms. If you’re a purist, go with the original; either way, there isn’t a better one to be found around Charleston.

    Bagel with Nova Lox at The Bagel Shop

    These chewy bagels are as close to New York as we’ve found in the city. Pair one with some fresh Nova Lox and you have a serious sandwich.

    Chicken and Waffles at Early Bird Diner

    A Belgian-style waffle laced with cinnamon is topped with two juicy pecan-crusted fried chicken breasts and drizzled with honey mustard and maple syrup. This combination will make you smile any time of day.

    Monday Family Supper at Trattoria Lucca

    Settle in for an evening of plate after impressive plate of authentic Italian cooking. Served in a communal setting, the prix fixe menu is always changing and never disappoints. If you’re lucky, Chef may even treat you to a few bonus “snacks” in between courses.