This was my first trip to Charleston and it will not be my last. Goodness, if you’re a foodie, book your trip to Charleston (and surrounding areas) now! When selecting restaurants for our first trip I was considering everyone in my family. Some aren’t as adventurous as I am with food (and budget was a priority too). I stuck to moderate priced meals that had a good variety for kids.
Poe’s Tavern. It’s in Sullivan’s Island (20 minutes from Charleston). It came highly recommended by friends and Yelp. Named in honor of the famous poet Edgar Allen Poe who was stationed at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island in 1827. It’s a popular spot for tourist. They have 2 other locations in Wrightsville Beach, NC and Atlantic Beach, FL.
It did not disappoint! We arrived on a stormy day and it had just finished raining and all of the outdoor tables were open so we got very lucky as the server said to me after I inquired about them, “if you’re willing to sit outside you can take any table right away”. Yes! The sun came out about 10 minutes after we say down.
Plan some time to find a parking spot. Poe’s has it’s own parking, but it’s limited. I must say I enjoyed sitting outside. The inside is very dark and noisy. The bathrooms are super tiny and not handicap accessible. I could barely get in and out of the stall.
My husband and I shared the Citrus Marinated Mahi Mahi Tacos and Amontillado Burger. Both were excellent. Both came with your choice of side (fresh cut fries, housemade potato salad, and bacon blue cheese slaw). I was impressed with the size of Mahi Mahi on each taco. And the 1/2 lb burger was ground in house and the buns freshly made. The tacos were garnished with pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, and chiptole sour cream YUM! The burger was topped with guacamole, jalapeno Jack cheese, pico de gallo and Chipotle Sour Cream. The fries were good as well. I try not to eat fries unless they are cut in-house and these were. I love that Poe’s has unique toppings for their sandwiches. You can also choose between beef or chicken for each sammie. Poe’s is also a great place to get a vegan or vegetarian meal. They offer a black bean burger.
They have specials of the day not listed on their menu. They don’t have a huge drink menu, but can make anything you wish. They have local beer, wine, and a full bar. The margarita (the server suggested) was great and refreshing as we sat outside and waited on our food.
They also have great selections for kids (they don’t give you a kid’s menu so ask for one or ask your server the options. Grilled cheese, mac and cheese, burger, quesadillas to name a few. My son ordered the mac and cheese and fries. It was Kraft mac and cheese, but he didn’t mind. I’m kinda shocked they didn’t make their own mac and cheese, but it’s not an option on the main menu.
We were very pleased and will be back to try more.
For more info : http://www.poestavern.com
Five Loaves Cafe
Five Loaves Cafe in downtown Charleston. Loved this place! Locally owned. Wonderful vegan or vegetarian options. You can even get a great raw meal here too. The downtown location also as an attached juice cafe with fresh juices, smoothies and acai bowls. I took advantage of this and got a juice to go for breakfast the next morning. It was very good!
Let’s just say I loved all the menu and was very hungry upon my arrival. I wasn’t trying to be healthy during this trip so I didn’t shy away from the bacon and I’m glad I didn’t because it was so good. They try to source all their ingredients locally which is wonderful. Y’all know I’m a sucker for flights of things! This place offered a flight aka “soup sampler” of their homemade soups. How could I NOT try them? I ordered a half of a BLT (best BLT ever!) and it was on local fresh bread with smoked bacon, sweet basil mayo, sharp cheddar, artisan greens and tomato. They didn’t skimp on any of the ingredients either. I ordered a custom salad and tried two of the house-made dressings (sweet basil and honey and avocado ranch) and they were fantastic! For the soup sampler I had the mexican chicken chili, Potato soup with broccoli, and chicken rice soup. Seriously, it was all so yummy!
They have a great healthy kid’s menu too! Grilled cheese, PB and J, Grilled chicken tenders and broccoli and cheese quesadilla to name a few. All served with a side of fresh fruit.
For more info: http://www.fiveloavescafe.com
EVO (Extra Virgin Oven) Pizzeria is located in North Charleston. It’s a lovely quaint downtown area and often overlooked when visiting Charleston. My son loves pizza so I wanted to make sure to try out a pizza place while on vacation. This one is a little more unique than your typical pizza joint. The owners of EVO used to work in the kitchen of FIG (the super popular and highly rated restaurant downtown Charleston). They have creative combinations of pizza toppings. Their pizza is wood-fired with locally sourced ingredients. One of the owners is even from Indiana (my home state). EVO also has specials of the day too! We decided to order off the main menu and went with the focaccia bread and wood-fired olives and garlic for appetizers. Both were very good, but I will not order the olives again as they were not pitted and that’s simply too much work for me. HAHA!
We ordered two pizzas. One with felino salami (aka pepperoni) which was my son’s pick and one with house-made sausage (daughter’s pick) and basil. They were delicious. My son even said “this is the best pizza ever”! Don’t get me wrong he’s said that a few times, but he is a professional pizza taster, ok maybe not, but he’s had many types in his 10 years of life.
We didn’t have any room for dessert, but they do have gourmet chocolate bars to choose from made in North Charleston at their sister company Sweeteeth Chocolate. PB+C is one option (2oz bar with filling – 65% dark chocolate, peanut butter, chipotle peppers, sea salt).
For more info: http://www.evopizza.com
Page’s Okra Grill
Page’s Okra Grill is located in Mount Pleasant, SC (about 15 minutes from downtown Charleston). It was very hard to decide what time of day to eat at this restaurant as it all looked amazing! We landed on breakfast as we met some friends there one morning. I have been craving waffles for some time now and was happy they offered them with many options of add ins like strawberry, bacon (it’s the south y’all), blueberry banana, pecans, chocolate chips to name most. I, of course, ordered the waffles which came with 2 eggs and choice of meat. Instead of an add in I went with homemade blueberry compote and ordered a side of their home fries too! I came hungry, people! I’m here to tell you it’s the best waffle I have had in a very long time. So light and fluffy!
My friend ordered Ashleigh’s signature shrimp and grits. Lightly battered and fried cheddar cheese grits topped with smoked andouille cream sauce and pan-seared shrimp. Served with biscuit or toast. Oh boy! This is a southern staple. Not one of my faves, but she let me try hers and it was delicious. VERY rich. If you have a hankering for shrimp and grits at a great price and made fresh, Page’s Okra Grill has you covered. May I also add it’s not your typical grits, but grit cakes.
Let’s take a moment to admire the actual restaurant. I loved the inside and out. If you are seated in the room we were you have no choice but to walk past the dessert case! Surprisingly I didn’t order any, but said YES to my son wanting a key lime pie for later. I had a bite (it was written in the agreement between mother and son) and it was yum. They have a great outdoor area to sit and many great photo ops as you leave with happy bellies. I can’t wait to go back and try their lunch and dinner menu. “Honey, can we drive 3 hours this weekend to go to Page’s Okra Grill?” I can see this playing out already! HA!
For more info: http://www.pagesokragrill.com
Mex 1 Coastal Cantina
Mex1 Cantina in West Ashley. They have multiple locations including West Ashley, Mount Pleasant and Sullivan’s Island. Great casual fun vibe. Their motto is “drop in, chill out” and you can do just that in this “come as you are” taco + tequilla restaurant. Tacos are a bit pricey but they pride themselves in making all their dressings, sauces and salsa from scratch and sourcing their food locally. Their margaritas are made with fresh juices and house infused spirits. They have great indoor and outdoor seating.
They bring yummy light and crispy chips and house-made salsa to your table for free and keep them coming. We also ordered the queso dip and it was delicious.
I always order a veggie taco anywhere I go, sometimes multiple if they have more than one on the menu. If they can knock a veggie taco outta the park they get a 5 star review. They did just that. I had the Charred-CALIflower (Roasted cauliflower, red pepper harissa, shredded lettuce, pepitas, lemon) and it was huge and full of flavor. I also had the Grilled Mahi ( ‘Baja Rubbed’ Mahi-Mahi, tomatillo chow chow,
lime crema and shredded cabbage ) and it did not dissapoint. I ordered a side of roasted street corn (and added bonus is that the corn is taken off the cob) and it was good. Kid’s options are all under $4.
As for drinks, it was my Taco Tuesday birthday and I tried not one, but TWO margaritas. I started with the Jalapeno Margarita and our server said it was the least “hot” margarita out of all the spicy ones. Yikes! I don’t wanna go any hotter than that and that comes from someone that has had many jalapeno infused drinks. The second one I picked was the Skinny Margarita (House Infused Strawberry Cucumber Tequila, Soda Water, Splash of Mex 1 Mix) and it was great.
For more info: http://www.mex1coastalcantina.com
Like I said in the beginning of this post, if you haven’t vacationed near Charleston you should add it to your to do list now. It’s a wonderful gorgeous city and only 20 minutes to the beach. So much to do and see for adults and kids! We didn’t stay nearly long enough. xo