Circa 1886
Circa 1886

Circa 1886

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.circa1886.com/
  • Phone: 8438537828
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 9:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Southern
  • Executive Chef: Marc Collins
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Smith
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Off-street parking next to restaurant
A word from Circa 1886
Chef Marc Collins draws inspiration from many cuisines around the world to create a menu that is truly unique to the Charleston restaurant scene. Drawing inspiration from historic Southern dishes and always highlighting what is local and in season, Chef Collins puts a healthful, distinctive spin on classic Lowcountry dishes. This means there is less butter and cream than typically seen on Southern menus. Whole grains are incorporated to dishes and ingredients are used at the peak of flavor. The result is satisfying dishes that retain their bright, bold flavors without the large amounts of fat found in many restaurant dishes. From our Plantation Rice Bread Rolls made in house daily, to the selection of local seafood, to Pastry Chef Lovorn’s incredible desserts, each dinner at Circa 1886 celebrates the region we call home. Let our professional, attentive, experienced and knowledgeable staff guide you through the menu and help select a wine that is a perfect pairing for food and budget.
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Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Circa 1886 reviews from OpenTable diners
199 reviews since April 22, 2014
Overall Rating4.6
  • Food4.7
    Service4.7
  • Ambiance4.6
    Noise LevelQuiet
93% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
romantic (167)special occasion (159)fit for foodies (118)notable wine list (80)neighborhood gem (46)scenic view (17)great for outdoor dining (14)good for groups (12)late-night find (7)hot spot (4)great for lunch (4)great for brunch (2)vibrant bar scene (1)kid-friendly (1)Show More
  • Circa is a bit stuffy.
    DebandgreggVIP
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    Charleston is a foodie town for sure with many great restaurants (e.g. Husk and SNOB). When compared to these great tasting and great ambience restaurants, Circa simply is not comparable. Our food was good, but not great; and, though it sits in another of Charleston's fantastically historic buildings, it is nonetheless a stuffy atmosphere. There are simply too many other great restaurants at this price-point, and therefore we will pass Circa on our next visit to town.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Amazing!
    pattonjw
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    This was one of the best meals I have ever had! The food was amazing and so was the service. I very highly recommend Circa 1886 and will be returning soon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great cuisine
    JazzmanVIP
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    Food is great with unique menu. Had chicken fried halibut, really great. Unfortunately, an appetizer of deep fried sweetbreads was bland, suspect would have been far better sautéed. The foies was terrific, though small portion. Service was very friendly but slow and irregular with difficulty obtaining water refills and bread on table. Not up to Michelin star standards for sure. But overall, a fine meal in pleasant surroundings.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Is truly 5 star
    Bergy
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    The ambiance, service, menu and presentation make this restaurant one of the best. Couldn't have been more pleased.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • FoodieVIP
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    Seated 30 minutes after our reservation time- hostess neglected to tell us our table was ready. Food and wine seriously overpriced-appetizer substandard and when we said something our previously friendly waiter "disappeared" and a promised correction never appeared . Decor very good- one entree terrific, one satisfactory. The attitude seemed to be that we were tourists and they would not see us again soon so it doesn't really matter- bartender was an exception. Seeming indifference and inconsistency in food-esp at supposedly upscale restaurant -makes it hard to recommend
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Excellent service, unusual menu
    Biskit20
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    We dined here for our 20th anniversary. The service and atmosphere were perfect for the romantic evening I had planned. The wait staff was attentive yet not hovering, which was wonderful. The menu was a little eclectic for the style of restaurant we thought we were in. The chef's creations were pleasing to the eye and the flavors were exercises in polarities. Some of the combinations stretched the palate - not always in a good way. If you want traditional upscale southern cuisine this is not the place. Food may have been a little too contemporary for the surroundings. It felt he was trying too hard to be creative and it came off a little pretentious. All in all a good experience but not sure a return trip is in our future.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Sensational
    Laurie
    Dined on 7/28/2014
    Food was amazing and service was excellent. I would recommend this to anyone visiting Charleston.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Still our favorite...
    cobracat
    Dined on 7/28/2014
    We ate here last year and had to come back when we visited Charleston again this year; we were not disappointed. We had the crab cakes and the chicken fried halibut as our entrees. Both were excellent. As expected, the service was outstanding.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • My new favorite restaurant
    swbozzyVIP
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    My wife and I went away for a long weekend in Charleston. We were looking for a very nice restaurant to enjoy a night out without the kids. Circa 1886 was the perfect choice. Everything was wonderful. Many unique and creative dishes that looked and tasted great.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Circa 1886... Circa Unbelievable!!”
    albert91
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Staff is very friendly, polite and knowledgeable about the menu. Jason our server (fantastic!), recommended the Chef's dinner and wine pairing which was absolutely Unbelievable!!. Each course showed the talent and passion of the chef and its artistic presentation was second only to the breathtaking flavors of the course.( do not be shy to try the Antelope..It is Delicioso!! ) The selection of wines for the pairing were perfect for each course and the dessert (Strawberry Souffle) was the perfect closure to one of our best culinary experiences.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A very good night out
    mjhpgh
    Dined on 7/24/2014
    Every time I visit Charleston on vacation, my wife and I take a night out away from the kids and find the best restaurant possible for just ourselves. This was one of the best experiences we have had. Service was helpful but not over bearing. Prices were affordable considering the quality of the food. The wine list provided plenty of choices within a broad price range. The setting was quiet and relaxed. The menu had plenty of choices that made the choice difficult. An appetizer, 2 meals, 2 desserts, and a bottle of medium priced wine for $140 was well worth it!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The BEST
    tommyb
    Dined on 7/21/2014
    Probably one of the best overall dining experiences we have EVER had. Yes......it was that good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent Meal
    ExpatfromBahrain
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    We enjoyed a most memorable meal. The setting, service and dinner were all outstanding. Recommendations by our waiter were all A+ - it was an excellent evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Amazing!!
    WonderfulVIP
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    My husband and I were looking for a restaurant in Charleston we hadn't been to yet and always noticed Circa 1886. The service was awesome and the food surpassed our expectations! We felt very appreciative when the dessert came and they acknowledged our anniversary! It is definitely going to be one of our favorites!!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Solid Standard
    HalseyStreetGuy
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    Charleston probably has more great restaurants per square meter than any city of its size in the country, and Circa 1886 is in the top tier. The cooking is adventurous, and the staff is superb. My only slightly negative observation is the room itself. It's a very quiet space, which in a town of noisy restaurants, is a nice change, but it's so quiet that you feel as if you're intruding on neighboring tables if you raise your voice too much. And the decor is dull. In a city with such a competitive restaurant scene, I worry that it's falling a few steps behind.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Delicious
    deloresday
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    The desserts here are fantastic and go beyond what I initially anticipated. Very filling and very tasty
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Evening!
    Grateful
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    Outstanding! That is the one word I would use to describe the evening, the atmosphere, the services, and the food. The staff at Circa 1886 were excellent and they made our evening special. We celebrated our anniversary and the pregnancy of our third child. I was able to contact them and plan the evening out and the staff delivered with style and class! They were the best and everyone made it their duty to stop by and wish us congratulations on both the anniversay and the pregnancy. The food was excellent! I had the antelope cooked medium, and my wife had the pork chop cooked medium well. Both were seasoned to perfection! Everything from the soup to the desert was excellent. I highly recommend this restaurant to everyone.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Romantic birthday
    HHJH
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    We were very impressed with the unique combinations of flavors and beautiful presentation. Our waiter was fantastic!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Outstanding
    Tksnooks
    Dined on 7/10/2014
    Outstanding food. Attentive and friendly service. The antelope entree and the croissant donut dessert were incredible. I highly recommend this restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Far from the madding crowd
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 7/10/2014
    Circa 1886 may be Charleston's most civil restaurant. Far from the hustle and bustle of East Bay and King Steet, it is not part of a restaurant row. But that's what makes it so special. You can engage in conversation without shouting (what a difference), the food is imaginative and the service professional without too much fuss.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always impressive
    FineDiningFan
    Dined on 7/10/2014
    We dine here several times a year. Try the chef's tasting menu with the wine pairings. You won't be disappointed! We've never had a bad dish. We've gone with friends, and there's something for everyone. They're always willing to accommodate dietary restrictions. Atmosphere is pleasant and relaxing, not stuffy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Supurb
    ItsAboutTheFood
    Dined on 7/9/2014
    Creative menu with wonderful execution and and superior service that isn't too stuffy or intrusive. Overall, a truly delightful dining experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/9/2014
    Food was good but a little too "unique" for my taste.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, scenic view, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Favorite in Charleston
    Theophanu
    Dined on 7/9/2014
    I've been trying out the fine restaurants of Charleston, and Circa 1886 is definitely my favorite. I've dined there three times now, and it's always been perfect. I love the quiet atmosphere, good service, and excellent drinks. But what keeps me coming back is the food surprises. Every time, the menu has included food pairings that are unusual, sometimes even sound bizarre---but that are absolutely wonderful together. The place is a delight.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Romantic Fine Dining
    Sherylfay
    Dined on 7/8/2014
    This was our second visit to Circa 1886 and it did not disappoint. The service was impeccable, the atmosphere elegant and the food delicious. The chef is clearly experimenting with textures and flavors and for the most part it was all quite successful. Particularly notable was a salmon sashimi appetizer that included watermelon, truffles, celery gelee and jicama. These all combined to form a tantalizing first course. Our main dishes were equally delicious: a lobster poached monkfish in a lobster bisque sauce was amazingly good, although the popcorn on top was unnecessary and distracting. The chicken-fried halibut was a surprising twist and quite good. This is definitely a special occasion restaurant & one of Charleston's best.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent!!!
    Maryfaith84
    Dined on 7/8/2014
    As out-of-towners it can be difficult to find a great restaurant, although after done online research, we decided on Circa 1886 due to the "old charm" it seemed to offer. The restaurant was incredibly beautiful and clean. The food was absolutely wonderful, and our server Charles was great!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best Restaurant
    GatorMom
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    During our weekend stay in Charleston we went to FIG, Circa, and Husk - Circa was by far the best dining experience and had the best food. We did the tasting menu with wine pairings. The wine pairings were a little weak, but other than that, everything was wonderful. We will definitely be going back,
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent
    Montclairdesignmom
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    I've been to Charleston twice & made a point of coming here each time. Very inventive cuisine- chef is excellent. Great service, lovely atmosphere. Highly recommend. Excellent choice in an already foodie town.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Circa deliciousness
    CityOfCompton
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    My wife and I were in town, and wanted to find a very nice dining experience in Charleston. We settled on Circa 1886, and booked a table a few days before heading into town. The ambiance and staff were great and extremely knowledgeable. The food was fantastic. The chef here does a fabulous job. The winelist, while not mind-blowing by any means, was solid. Highly recommend this place for any occasion!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Unforgettable evening
    DomingoVIP
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    Circa 1886 is a beautiful carriage house, serving an impeccable delicious and very well done menu, matched by a very knowledgeable and service oriented staff. I will come back to it every time in Charleston.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good but not great!
    Rich
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    Circa 1886 is a special place with good food but not great, my wife and I dined there last Thursday. We found the food inventive and tasty but a bit over the top in its presentation. Her dinner had far too much happening with a pesto sauce then a thyme emulsion atop the entree. I had the antelope and this was wonderful, our starters were good but the scallop sashimi was overpowered by the watermelon. We enjoyed our dinner there but would not return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A Special Place for a Special Day
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    We took our 23-year-old recent college graduate here for his birthday dinner. Even though he is young, he is an appreciator of great cusine, especially of locally grown foods. He notices and revels in small details, and Circa 1886 saw to the smallest of them. The food, the service, and the ambience were all of top quality, and our evening was perfect. We'll be back the next time we have a special occasion in Charleston. Thank you.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 6/25/2014
    Really enjoyed the chicken fried fish. What a treat. The entire evening was most enjoyable. The service was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • overall great experience
    chefisch80
    Dined on 6/25/2014
    Very much enjoyed the food! Andrew was a very attentive and informed (he did his research) server. Made us feel very welcome. The pace was a bit slow but we were celebrating and did not mind really dining versus the usual Chucktown turn and burn. As a chef myself I really appreciated some of the ideas, the pork was cooked perfectly and the flavors were on point. Thanks for making a special day really great for us!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice dinner & accommodating chef
    foodforthoughtVIP
    Dined on 6/25/2014
    We stayed next door at the inn and decided to walk over for dinner. Very nice experience with good food and service. Torched scallop, 3 bean salad, strawberry/cream soufflé were standouts for us. Chicken Fried Halibut was on the main course menu and I asked the chef if he could instead just sear the halibut and finish in the oven: no problem for him and fish arrived just the way I wanted it with his sides (probably 2000 less calaries!). While not my top pick in town, we would eat here again on our next trip.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best Meal in Charleston
    bobr
    Dined on 6/23/2014
    Food is eccletic, fresh from the farm with beautiful presentations. It is the best food we have eaten in a long time. We wished we were staying in Charleston another evening.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Very special night!
    Bostontraveler
    Dined on 6/23/2014
    My wife and I recently had dinner at Circa 1886 and the food was fantastic! The appetizers and entres were all incredibly creative and clearly the work of a very talented chef. My appetizer was shaved scallops on cubed watermelon with a delicious drizzle that made the dish come alive. The monkfish entre was perfectly cooked and served with a unique medley of beans and sauce. We were so excited to see what was next! The atmosphere was very quaint and great for a quiet romantic meal rather than a large group.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Proposal
    Kyle717
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    Circa 1886 turned out to be the perfect post-proposal romantic outing that capstoned an amazing and memorable night. The atmosphere was amazing, the wait staff and hostess were awesome, the flowers I ordered were set out perfectly, the food was delicious, and the setting was perfect. I highly recommend Circa 1886 for any romantic outing! I will certainly be back.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fabulous
    Chaslady
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    Amazing food. Unique menu. Best dessert we've ever had in a restaurant. Service was wonderful
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wine & Dine Magnificent
    Junebug
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    The most wonderful place we have ever been. The "Chef Meal" with wine pairing is the most magnificent, fun and delicious meal we have ever had. It is interesting and fun to see what the Chef will make and what wine will be paired with it . This was our third year at Circa 1886 and we intend on going again next year when we visit Charleston and stay at the Wentworth Mansion
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet