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
218 reviews since June 25, 2014
Overall Rating4.7
  • Food4.7
    Service4.7
  • Ambiance4.6
    Noise LevelQuiet
92% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
romantic (174)special occasion (173)fit for foodies (155)notable wine list (93)neighborhood gem (57)good for groups (12)great for outdoor dining (11)scenic view (11)hot spot (7)late-night find (6)great for brunch (5)great for lunch (3)vibrant bar scene (3)kid-friendly (2)Show More
  • Great service, atmosphere & food.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Only complaint was that main entrees were a bit cool on arrival. Manhattan/Mojito cocktails, and prosecco wine were fantastic.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • AWESOME!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    We will be back. Our visit was wonderful in everyway!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great food but ...
    Eastcoastgirl
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    Great food but my husband and I both found this spot old and tired feeling (and we are in our 60s.) There are so many great restaurants in Charleston, and this is one of them, but I wouldn't go there again next time we are in town.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Outstanding Service and food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    We were a party of six. Service was attentive but not overbearing. We had special dietary restrictions that were already contemplated and dealt with perfectly. The food was outstanding and we really had a great time. We would recommend.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/17/2014
    The ambiance is terrific..especially if you are in one of the 3-4 booths...food is excellent and waitstaff professional...barkeep knew his drinks and very friendly and accomadating...a gem.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A fine dining experience!
    Lucky1VIP
    Dined on 10/16/2014
    Romantic setting in an elegant dining room. Creative menu and beautiful presentation. Impeccable service. The tenderloin melted in your mouth; best lobster tail ever-- and don't miss the croissant donuts..indescribable. It was a meal we will always remember! Don't miss it!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great experience
    TennesseeChemist
    Dined on 10/16/2014
    Discovered this restaurant by accident. Wish I would have found it sooner. Service was excellent, surroundings were outstanding, and the food was top notch. Very creative dishes. I chose the antelope medallions and they were succulent. Prepared perfectly and presented well. My date decided to try the lobster tail which was prepared in a totally unique fashion. Somehow the chef manages to infuse the lobster with a citrus butter preparation that was really great (no need for added butter.) Definitely will dine here again. As a side note, the restaurant is in the former carriage house of a mansion that is now a B&B. Diners are invited to visit the mansion and view the city from its cuppula , the highest point in the city in 1866.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Chad
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    We've eaten here several times and have never been disappointed . Thank you for a lovely and delicious evening.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • charlie
    Dined on 10/14/2014
    This is a gourmets dream! The food is superb and the service is excellent. Can't wait to come back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A home run for this KC couple
    goroyals
    Dined on 10/13/2014
    The appitizer with fried green tomato was fantastic! The chef sent us a collard green with ginger soup that was off the chart! The lobster tail with crab cake and the flounder were amazing as well as the croissant donut dessert! I would order the same meal again! We have eaten all over the world and this meal tied with our best dinner ever for food, ambiance and service. This historical beauty is a "must do again" the next time we visit Charleston.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing
    RegularVIP
    Dined on 10/13/2014
    Outstanding in every way: food was amazing and service was perfect
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Never Disappoints
    Andy
    Dined on 10/13/2014
    The expectation was very high and as in the past the delivery was every bit as high. Food, service and ambiance make this our favorite "special occasion" restaurant. Menu is very imaginative and the preparation is always at the highest level of quality. Don't miss a chance to go!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great overall experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    This was one of the best restaurants I've been to downtown, and that's a looong list of places
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • must dine here
    joyce
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    even though i was intimidated by the menu- so many flavors together- the dishes were prepared with great skill to marry the ingredients and i really enjoyed my duck dish. the chef was able to honor my requests for just a pinch of customization.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Chef's menu
    PolarBear
    Dined on 10/6/2014
    We had the chef's menu with wine pairings. Excellent meal with nice wine pairings. Wonderful descriptions of wine and food as served. Friendly service. Wish it was near where I lived so I could make it back more often.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Made our anniversary special
    Cavalierdiner
    Dined on 10/6/2014
    This restaurant is a gem. The service is impeccable and the menu creative and delicious from start to finish. Its reputation is well deserved. I had advised them that it was our anniversary: the menu came printed with Happy Anniversary on top. The desert had Happy Anniversary on the plate in chocolate script.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Queen of Charleston
    2togoVIP
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    A bit away from the downtown area, but worth the effort. This should be a "go to" dining destination for any visitors to Charleston, or residents for that matter.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent
    chsfoodieVIP
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    My husband and I chose Circa 1886 for a romantic evening out. The service was impeccable and the food and wine were absolutely delicious. I had the beef tenderloin and he had the cast iron lamb. Both were outstanding, but a warning that the portions are small. We may have ordered starters had we realized. We took the waiter's recommendation and pre-ordered dessert - whatever you do, do not skip dessert. We split the S'mores and it was one of the best things I've ever eaten. All in all, a fabulous meal in a romantic setting. We highly recommend it!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Awesome
    Awesome
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    The food was extremely flavorful- great unique taste. Had to ask to reread the menu to find out what was in the awesome good.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Outstanding Chef prepared Cuisine
    sendlimes
    Dined on 10/2/2014
    The food was wonderful. The menu was unique and interesting. Everything looked delicious. Our food did disappoint! It is expensive but worth a visit for a special occasion.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Exactly What We Were Looking For!
    DietitianDiner
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Circa is just exactly what we were looking for to celebrate the 1st night of our 1-Yr. Anniversary Trip to Charleston. The quaint and super private location behind the Wentworth Mansion, just down from the College of Charleston Campus was just incredible. Once we got inside for our reservation, we were shown quickly to our perfect booth and then it just got better from there. It is definitely one of the best service experiences I have ever had; the GM was even hustling to make sure the table setups were perfect. The wine was affordable, the menu was diverse and delectable, and the beignet dessert was just incredible! We will definitely go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Overpriced and under delivering
    John
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    Portions are sized as if you are doing a degustation menu of 6 courses...even when you are not. Veal chop was small and way over cooked. Crème Brulee was not browned to order (cold all the way through). Crazy high prices for quality. Old school dining room nice for older clientele.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Excellent!
    jrosso4
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    We had a great meal! Great Service! We split an appetizer and two entrees and the split everything in the kitchen and the plates looked great. Outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Outstanding restaurant
    SFTraveler
    Dined on 9/25/2014
    Circa 1886 is definitely one of the best restaurants, if not the best restaurant, in Charleston. The food was impeccably prepared. The service was excellent. We had an issue with the wine we ordered (not corked, but perhaps exposed to heat), the restaurant took it back without any questions and we ordered another wine.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great experience
    Lizzardd
    Dined on 9/25/2014
    The food was wonderful. Antelope and lobster were both great. Had Shrimp and grits for breakfast and it was fabulous. Service great.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fabulous dining experience
    JMyers
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    To try something new in Charleston, we made a reservation at Circa 1886. Tucked in behind the Wentworth House, the setting is very picturesque. The interior of the carriage house is impeccable, spacious and warm, with an intimate bar at the entry. Samantha, Charles and Chelsea could not have been more accommodating and professional and we felt totally welcome. The menu changes seasonally and our food, the lobster tail/crab cakes and the tenderloin, was spectacular. The deserts are not to be missed; we tried the croissant donuts and the pear soufflé. Forget dinner - just go for the desserts. This is our new favorite place. After five, there's complimentary parking in a lot across the street, which is no small perk in Charleston.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Discordant
    asherVIP
    Dined on 9/22/2014
    If you are looking for a show of beautiful architecture, the Wentworth and the associated buildings are for you. If it is the food channel you are tuned into, then "chopped" is the word. The menu and the food offerings are obviously intended to be creative. However, there is good creative and then there is bad. This is bad. Little on the menu is classic. The bulk of the offerings are are a collision of discordant flavors and textures. The potato salad and the foamy pea carrot appetizers need to be avoided. In general it is analogous to a chemistry experiment gone bad. The desserts are the bright spots in the disappointing fare.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Linda
    crazystylist
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Second time going to circa 1886 loved the Chef onion soup and the three course restaurant week menu! Highly recomnend this restaurant at any time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Anniversary Dinner
    Scumptious
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Me and my husband went to Circa 1886 to celebrate our 23rd Wedding Anniversary. The food was very good, we would definitely return.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great time!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    We were celebrating my husband's birthday with friends from out of town and had a great experience. We caught the tail end of the Restaurant Week menu, which I didn't love, but the food was delicious. I think we would've had a better selection at a different time, but the food was great. We were probably (definitely) the loudest people in the restaurant - everyone else seemed very serious and subdued, but we hadn't all been together in over a year, so we were probably (definitely) noisy. But our waiter seemed to enjoy us and didn't scold us and make us feel like we didn't belong.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Divine!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Loved it! Food was amazing, service was terrific, everything was awesome. We've been here before and will certainly be back. They wen had specialized menus for my husband and I for our anniversary! And they wrote "happy anniversary" in chocolate on the plates. So sweet!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfection
    Karen4VIP
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Once again, we chose to celebrate our wedding anniversary at Circa 1886, and once again, service, food and the whole experience was over the top! The little touches, such as personalized menus, a complimentary amuse bouche from the chef, the well wishes from all of the staff, and the "Happy Anniversary" written in chocolate on our dessert plates was truly appreciated. The food was superb, and the wine pairings, perfect. We couldn't think of a better place to celebrate our special life moments than at Circa 1886. Can't wait to return!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Wonderful
    Annie
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Everything was perfect, we had a wonderful time and can't wait to go back. The food was outstanding and the service was exceptional
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    My group grew up SOB in the 40 to 60 and have know about this building all our lives but have not ever been to it before. You have made it into a fantistic and professional place to dine. We will be back with friends as we continue to visit Charleston frequently and stay at our house on I of P.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Artistry in Dining
    welltravelled
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    A spectacular dining experience. My wife and I chose a three course fixed price offering paired with a wine selection to go with each course. Each course was a unique combination of delicacies, artfully prepared and presented. The flavors complimented each other and the selection of wine was perfect. Can't choose the best course; they were all superb, but the wine pairing offered with the Pear Crisp Soufflé was sublime. The gentlemen serving us was polite, gracious, and extremely well informed. For desert we had a Flourless Chocolate Tort. Would you believe a "Happy Birthday" written Chocolate Calligraphy on the rim of the plate? 5 Stars isn't quite enough !!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Batya
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    Cica offers familiar foods served up in unexpected ways. the vegetables were local and perfect. Signature coctails are exciting. I had one named "Lady Lazarus" that had gin, grapefruit and absthynth. quite reviving!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lovely setting
    Brunchisatreat
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    Lovely setting, presentation of all courses exquisite, wine pairing just ok. Otherwise, pear soufflé was the perfect dessert to end our wonderful evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Quaint and romantic
    Rockstarmar
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    We celebrated our 4th year wedding anniversary here and we couldn't have picked a better restaurant to go to. It's such a quaint, cozy spot, tucked away behind the beautiful Wentworth Mansion. The atmosphere was pleasant and romantic. Our server, Charles, was amazing and he had the greatest personality and sense of humor. The food was superb and definitely 5-star worthy. My absolute fave was the pork belly, the meat was very tender and juicy. To end our perfect evening, the desserts were served with "Happy Anniversary" written on the plate with chocolate syrup. That was very sweet and thoughtful, as well as the customized menu with "Happy Anniversary" printed at the top. The Crème Brûlée was heavenly! Thanks for an amazing experience!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lovely romantic place
    Newleywedsforever
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    Very romantic and special place, the waiter was very animated to which it did make us laugh a little. The food was superb, we did the tasting menu with the wine pairing. We did get in and out very quickly so probably should have savoured it a little more!
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • fantastic quality
    SDDaniel
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    Had the good fortune of dining during Restaurant Week. Meal was appetizer, main and dessert. Each choice was tasty, perfectly prepared and presented. The portobello had unique sides and all were so tasty. Chicken-fried halibut was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate