Top Seafood Restaurants in Charleston SC


If you've been longing for the freshest catch prepared with true Southern flair, well, darling, you're in the right place. Charleston, South Carolina, is the heart of the Lowcountry and a city swimming in seafood love.

This city is steeped in history, but we’ve all had to sit through seemingly endless high school history classes…So let's talk about something a little tastier. It’s time to dive deep into the oceanic delights that Charleston's best seafood restaurants have to offer so that next time you’re looking to dine somewhere with a menu from under the sea, you won’t have to think twice.

Hank's Seafood Restaurant

Hank's Seafood Restaurant has been serving up top-tier fresh seafood dishes for over two decades, making it a stalwart in the Charleston food scene. As you step through the doors, you'll be greeted by an atmosphere that's equal parts elegance and Southern charm, with delicious Lowcountry cuisine.

Chandeliers twinkle above the mahogany bar, and the warmth of the space is rivaled only by the welcoming service. We’re in the South, after all, and there’s nothing more Southern than good, old-fashioned Southern hospitality.

In addition to the top-notch ambiance, Hank’s Seafood has a menu that’ll make you want to roll up your sleeves and dive in headfirst. From specialties like the crispy calamari to classic crab cakes to the delectable seafood tower loaded with the day's freshest catch, every dish sings with flavor.

Hank's delicious seafood platter is the showstopper — an abundant display of the ocean's bounty, deep-fried to golden perfection. If you're looking for a taste of Charleston's seafood tradition, Hank's should be at the top of your list.

The Darling Oyster Bar

If you want something delicious and darling enough to star on your Instagram, look no further than the aptly named Darling Oyster Bar. Nestled on King Street, this spot brings together the laid-back vibes of a casual oyster shack with the polished elegance of a chic bistro.

The interior — all white tiles and nautical accents — sets the stage for an immersive dining experience. You can even pull up a stool at the raw bar and watch as shuckers deftly open fresh oysters right in front of you.

The menu at The Darling is as refreshing as a sea breeze. Whether you're hankering for entrees like fried clam strips, buttery lobster rolls, or a vibrant poke bowl, The Darling has you covered. The raw bar features an impressive array of locally sourced oysters, clams, and crudos.

And let's not forget about the craft cocktails. The Darling's punch, with its blend of rum, fruit juices, and a dash of sparkling wine, is known for packing…well, quite a punch. It pairs perfectly with these delectable seafood offerings, too.

167 Raw

Boasting a petite, intimately rustic setting, 167 Raw is a spot where you'd want to sit back, relish each bite, and let the world drift away. The magic of 167 Raw lies in the simplicity of its menu, the freshness of the ingredients, and, of course, the extraordinary execution.

The lobster roll is an undeniable star, loaded with fresh, sweet lobster lightly dressed and served on a buttery, toasted roll. It's the stuff dreams are made of. The raw bar, featuring daily selections of raw oysters, clams, and shrimp, is another highlight.

And if you're up for a little adventure, go for the tuna burger — trust us, it's a delightful departure from the ordinary. (And we’re not talking about the restaurant The Ordinary…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.)

Beyond the food, 167 Raw reels you in with a unique, relaxed ambiance. Surrounded by weathered wood, marine artifacts, and the sweet hum of good conversation, it's as if you're in your own coastal retreat.

Bowens Island Restaurant

As is often the case, one of the best seafood secrets in Charleston isn't nestled in its bustling city streets but rather off the beaten path. If you head towards the marshes, you might not expect to find some scrumptious seafood and fresh fish, but that’s exactly where you’ll go to get to the iconic Bowens Island Restaurant.

This hideaway on the water is an absolute treasure that's been serving up some of the best seafood since 1946, featuring gorgeous outdoor seating and classic sides like hushpuppies and grits.

Its location alone is enough to sweep you off your feet — a rustic shack perched on a beautiful marsh with views of the River and the breathtaking Charleston sunset. If that's not romantic, honey, what is?

The menu at Bowens Island is simple and traditional but oh-so rewarding. They’re known far and wide for their locally harvested, roasted oysters, served by the shovel-full. Yes, darlings, you heard that right — a shovelful of oysters.

To dine at Bowens Island Restaurant is to embrace the unpretentious, relaxed vibe of the South Carolina coast — it’s a little messy, a lot delicious, and an experience that's authentically Charleston. So roll up those sleeves and prepare to get down and dirty with some good ol’ Southern seafood.

The Ordinary

The Ordinary is anything but ordinary, which almost goes without saying for any restaurant bold enough to basically call themselves basic — you can expect that they’re confident in their ability to outdo nominative determinism! This is an upscale oyster house sitting in a former bank that dishes out the freshest seafood with a side of elegance.

High ceilings, historical details, and a dynamic raw bar that takes center stage in the dining room…Bliss. The ambiance here is almost as exciting as the seafood spread.

This King Street gem curates a menu that's a playful blend of classic and inventive. You might start off with a pristine selection from the raw bar and then be tempted by the inventive Seafood Tower, brimming with royal red shrimp, blue crab, and clams.

But don't you dare skip the famed smoked oyster sliders; they're the kind of good that makes you close your eyes, sigh, and whisper sweet, wistful nothings to your empty plate. With its delightful mix of old-world charm and modern cuisine, The Ordinary is a vibrant part of Charleston's seafood scene that you simply cannot overlook.

Leon’s Oyster Shop

No pilgrimage through Charleston’s seafood scene would be complete without a visit to Leon’s Oyster Shop. What used to be an old garage on Upper King is now a bustling Charleston seafood restaurant where Southern food, particularly seafood, is celebrated. Here, the motto is simple — serve really good food and have fun doing it. Now isn't that a vibe we can all get behind?

The menu at Leon's is a showcase of all things crispy, cold, and occasionally spicy. Take a gander at the Fried Chicken, the Grilled Oysters, or the Siam Salad. Each dish has its own charm, but the stars of the show here are definitely the oysters. Choose from raw, grilled, or fried, and then just sit back and bask in the glory of these briny beauties.

Leon’s has a casual, cool energy that’s infectious. As you sip on a frozen G&T and slurp down oysters, you might find yourself falling in love — with the food, the atmosphere, and Charleston itself.

Dave's Carry-Out

Now let's turn down a charming side street and saunter over to an unassuming little spot that's big on taste and heart. Dave's Carry-Out is a humble local favorite for takeout that packs a mouthwatering punch. This no-frills joint is tucked away from the main drag, but let's face it, darlings — nothing hits quite like a hidden gem.

Though small in size, Dave's Carry-Out dishes out some of the boldest, most soulful flavors in town. This is the place where traditional Southern comfort food meets the bounty of the sea. The menu? Simple but incredibly satisfying.

Their Fried Shrimp is the stuff of legends — lightly breaded, flawlessly fried, and perfectly paired with their home-style sides. And if you’re in the mood for fish, the whiting or flounder sandwich is your go-to, served hot on soft white bread with a special sauce that’ll make your taste buds dance.

But it's not just the food that's winning hearts here. It's the warm, welcoming atmosphere — the sort of place where you’re not just a customer but a part of the family.

So if you're looking for a seafood joint that's got soul, charm, and a little something extra, Dave's Carry-Out is your perfect match. You'll leave with a full belly, a happy heart, and a real taste of Charleston hospitality.

Sea You Soon, Foodies

From The Ordinary's indulgence to 167 Raw's rustic retreat, we've gone deep beneath the wave-making restaurants in Charleston’s seafood scene to bring you the best and brightest this city has to offer. Each has a unique story, ambiance, and an unyielding commitment to serving the freshest, most flavorful seafood.

But don't just take our word for it. Whether you're a local or a visitor, the best way to truly experience Charleston's seafood scene is to get out there for yourself and taste it, one perfect, briny mouthful at a time.

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