Are you a seafood lover? Charleston, South Carolina, is a destination you shouldn’t miss. It’s home to some of the finest seafood restaurants in the country, boasting a wide variety of dishes to choose from.
Whether you’re in the mood for a light fish lunch or want to spend the evening shucking raw oysters at a bar, you can always find the best seafood in Charleston, SC. Keep reading for our top seafood picks in the city!
Rappahannock Oyster Bar $$
701 East Bay Street, No. 110, Charleston, SC 29403
*Dine-in *Takeout *Delivery
The Cigar Factory hosts Charleston’s branch of the Rappahannock Oyster Bar. Here, Executive Chef Kevin Kelly serves raw oysters, caviar, sandwiches, and a range of both seafood and terrestrial dishes.
You can also browse the restaurant’s seafood market for a fresh meal. The selection changes daily.
Must-try dish: While all of the dishes are delicious, the real draw of Rappahannock is the oysters at the raw bar. You have your choice of sweet with a little salt (Rappahannock), mildly briny and crisp (Rochambeau), or ocean-salty (Olde Salts).
Rappahannock Oyster Bar is open from 11 AM to 8:30 PM Sundays to Thursdays and 11 AM to 9:30 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. It is dine-in only.
CudaCo Seafood House $$
765 Folly Road, Charleston, SC 29412
James Island is home to CudaCo, established in December of 2020. Owners Shaun Brian and Chris John aim to provide fresh, seasonal seafood and also educate their customers about sustainability.
The restaurant aims to bring lesser-known fish species to the forefront so that stocks of more “traditional” fish can recover. In fact, the name comes from “barracuda”, one of the house specialties – despite its reputation as a “trash” fish.
Must-try dish: Pick whatever seafood you like for the Fish Fry, or try the raw bar that serves clams and oysters by the half-dozen.
CudaCo Seafood House is open from 11 AM to 8 PM six days a week and is closed on Mondays. It offers both dine-in and takeout.
Bowens Island Restaurant $$
1870 Bowens Island Road, Charleston, SC 29412
*Dine-in *Drive-through *No Delivery
Bowens Island Restaurant has been around since 1946, and it’s a family-owned institution unique to Charleston. It serves the freshest seafood right alongside french fries, hushpuppies, and coleslaw.
If you decide to visit, bring a pen. Diners are encouraged to write on the walls, lending the place a one-of-a-kind ambiance.
Must-try dish: Go into the Oyster Room, where you’ll see locally-harvested oysters being cooked on a sheet of steel before they are served to you by the shovelful. Alternatively, try the fried shrimp, made with May Bowen’s classic recipe for a light batter.
Bowens Island Restaurant is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 11 AM to 9:30 PM. It is dine-in only.
Hank’s Seafood Restaurant $$$
10 Hayne Street, Charleston, SC 29401
*Dine-in *Take-out *No Delivery
Nestled in a turn-of-the-century warehouse facing City Market, Hank’s Seafood Restaurant has been voted Best Seafood in Charleston for 18 straight years. Not bad for a place that opened in 1999!
The silver-service-trained staff maintains a fine dining environment. The restaurant offers a selection of high-quality seafood dishes plus a raw bar. Other places may have more diverse menus, but the quality at Hank’s is unmatched. The menu is classic and familiar, also boasting a few unique dishes and a well-curated wine list.
Must-try dish: Order the seafood a la Wando, a collection of various seafood with mushrooms and scallions in a cream sauce, served above a fried grit cake.
Hank’s Seafood Restaurant is open from 5 PM to 10 PM Sundays to Thursdays and 5 PM to 10:30 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. It offers both dine-in and takeout.
Coda del Pesce $$$
1130 Ocean Blvd, 2nd Floor, Isle of Palms, SC 29451
*Dine-in *No Take-out *No Delivery
Coda del Pesce is on the Isle of Palms, providing a magnificent view of the ocean. Chef Ken Vedrinski runs the place with careful attention to both his staff and the guests. The menu is all Italian – the closest thing you’ll get to an Italian seaside experience without crossing the Atlantic.
Must-try dish: The menu changes daily based on what fresh fish and ingredients are available. For appetizers, we recommend Chef Vedrinski’s classic crudo. For a main course, we recommend the Torcino-style swordfish piccata, served with a yellow tomato broth.
Coda del Pesce is open from 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM Tuesdays to Saturdays. It offers both dine-in and takeout.
Chubby Fish $$$
252 Coming Street, Charleston, SC 29403
*Dine-in *Take-out *No Delivery
This restaurant is in a neighborhood away from the usual tourist spots. Aiming to be one of the best seafood restaurants in Charleston, Chef James London blends flavors from all over the world with fresh local ingredients and Lowcountry cooking at Chubby Fish.
Come early and be prepared for a wait, as the restaurant doesn’t accept reservations. Try the wine or local beers while at the bar.
Must-try dish: The menu changes daily to adapt to seasonal ingredients and fresh catches directly from the Atlantic and local rivers. We recommend the smoked tilefish curry – the fish coupled with fairytale eggplant, peanuts, and rice makes for a delightful dinner.
Chubby Fish is open from 5 PM to 9:30 PM Tuesdays to Thursdays and 5 PM to 10:30 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. It is dine-in only.
Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar $$
205 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC 29401
*Dine-in *Curbside Pickup *No Delivery
At the corner of East Bay and Cumberland Streets is the Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar. Chef Todd Garrigan oversees the menu, which is largely modern takes on Lowcountry cuisine and focuses on fresh seafood. Try more than 20 oyster varieties at the raw bar!
Must-try dish: Start with shrimp corn dogs, served with lemon pepper ketchup and Carolina spicy mustard. As a main course, try the seafood platter, which includes shrimp, oysters, and flounder served alongside creamed corn and hushpuppies.
Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar is open 11:30 AM to 10 PM Sundays to Thursdays and 11:30 AM to 11 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. It is dine-in only.
There are a lot of candidates for the best seafood restaurants in Charleston, SC. If you’re looking for fresh, local seafood, then you can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants on this list. Each one has something unique to offer, so be sure to try out a few different places to find your favorite!