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
209 reviews since June 3, 2014
Overall Rating4.7
  • Food4.7
    Service4.7
  • Ambiance4.6
    Noise LevelQuiet
91% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
romantic (168)special occasion (165)fit for foodies (140)notable wine list (85)neighborhood gem (51)scenic view (12)great for outdoor dining (12)good for groups (10)late-night find (7)hot spot (7)great for brunch (5)great for lunch (4)kid-friendly (2)vibrant bar scene (2)Show More
  • 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
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    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
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    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
  • Dining in grand style
    starmc
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    Celebrated a wonderful anniversary dinner here while in Charleston. Restaurant is charming, entering through a garden portico. While the meal was tasteful, I regretted that the chef had elected to extend his Restaurant Week menu which limited our selections. My husband enjoyed the halibut but for me 'a pork chop is a pork chop, etc'. I prefer being 'wowed' by a special meal that shows more imagination. The flourless chocolate cake dessert over compensated for that with Happy Anniversary written in chocolate sauce on each of our platings. I would definitely return when the more eclectic menu is available.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Perfect in every way
    OhioVIP
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    Wonderful food and splendid service. Charming ambience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    It was pouring rain that evening but once inside it was a wonderful escape of serene calm. It was restaurant week so the menu was soemwhat limited. the chef send out of celery soup was bright and rich. A crepe was a combo of chicken parts and mild sauce that melted on the tongue while the escargot received raves. Halibut, trout and pork chop entrees all offered with various sides of grits, vegetables and potatoes were all devoured and all the presentations were beautiful works of art. Creme brulee, chocolate cake and pear souffle finished our meal. The pear souffle was voted the "best" dessert. It was light, airy and the pear taste with the creme anglaise was a vperfect finish. Very romantic dining space. Service gracious. would return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Memorable evening
    Anne
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    The food and wine pairing made for a most memorable evening!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice restaurant
    InmanparkfoodiesVIP
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    It was restaurant week and we were visiting charleston. This had openings. We were surprised to be underdressed in jeans and nice tops. Also they add 20% gratuity to any bill.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Exquisite
    sherrybethVIP
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    The food, the service, the atmosphere was perfect. A thoroughly delightful meal. Taking a peak inside the Wentworth mansion is a treat although the restaurant is in the former carriage house. We attended restaurant week so had the three course meal. Every course was excellent. Portions were generous but not too large. We had heirloom tomato salad and escargot as starters, halibut and the pork chop for entrees and finished the meal with the flourless chocolate cake and creme brulee for dessert, a perfect ending to the meal. Oh yes, the chef provided a bonus at the very beginning of green gazpacho which was tasty and refreshing. This is a definite return venue for us.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Exceeded Expectations
    ChasDiner
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Circa 1886 far exceeded our expectations for dinner this weekend. The food quality was well above several other "fine dining" restaurants. The noise level was perfect to have a nice conversation without having to raise our voices. The friendly staff topped off the experience. We will definitely be frequenting this restaurant. Very enjoyable!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • I will return
    QBarr
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    My husband and I visited for restaurant week and it was awesome. However, the only hiccup was the appetizer. My husband wasn't particularly fond of the salmon flan, and wasn't crazy about my escargo kebab. Other than that the lamb was amazing and so was the desert was spot on.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • resturant week
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    offerings were terrific as was our waiter. Beware the driks will kill you financially. Food bill was as expected but add a cocktail and a bottle of wine and our bill quickly doubled. Also the resturant added the gratuity which although I am a generous tipper leaves a bad tast. Not a cheap night can't imagine how expensive it would be off the regular menue. just too expensive won't go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • MT
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    The food was very good. Make sure you are seated in the main dining room, as the back room is drab.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Judy
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    We went for Restaurant Week and dinner was perfect! We had a nice booth and the waiter was excellent. This is one of our favorite restaurants in Charleston. The food was outstanding and the ambience was wonderful.
    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.
  • ecdoesit
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    We came in from out of town and had booked our reservation about 2 months prior. It just happened to be during the Restaurant Week in Charleston. At the time of booking I asked that a booth be reserved. I had forgotten that I had made that request and was plesantly surprised when they sat us in the booth. Fantastic 3 course meal with excellent wine pairings made for a really fine night.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Always looking forward to Circa!!!
    5dayweekend
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    This was the restaurant our son wanted to go to for his 16th Birthday! Circa is a proven a leader for consistant quality and craftmanship in the culinary world!!! I have never seen anything twice in 12 years of dining. A statement of mastery for the dining experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fabulous!!!
    ordinaryJoe
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    We ate at 4 of the top rated restaurants in Charleston. Circa 1886 was the best!!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Restaurant Week Menu not Skimpy
    Foozle
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    Great food, excellent service (Ryan) and a lovely atmosphere highlighted our visit. Most items on the Restaurant Week menu are on the current (or Fall) menu. Highlights included a chicken-fried halibut and a superb pear souffle. Short ribs at another table smelled great, but we could only sample so many things.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointed
    Mina
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    We visited during Restaurant Week. We both chose the Heirloom tomato appetizer. It was not memorable. My partner chose the Rainbow Trout which was a better choice than my breaded halibut. The fish was cooked perfectly, but the accompanying vegetables that were on the plate were uninspired and the Carolina Gold rice could have been seasoned more. The two desserts, the pear soufflé and a flourless chocolate cake, were the highlights of our meal. The wine pairings for each course were appropriate and indicated a large inventory of wines. The service was ho-hum. Overall we were disappointed after all of the advance reviews that led us to believe we would be in for a spectacular experience.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Check your bill - overcharged
    Moldy
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    We went for restaurant week for $40 person. Wrong appetizers were brought to the table 1st and we were told to go ahead and eat these and then they brought the correct appetizers. When we received our bill we asked to have it divided in 3 and then they tried to charge an additional $25.00 per couple. We were told it was a computer glich? Luckily we caught the error before we left. However...the next day we found that we had to contact the restaurant because they charge some of us twice for our meals...eventhough they said they credited our accounts. Not impressed!!!!! Food was okay but not spectacular for the money! We had to wait for a long time in between the courses and we had to wait along time to get the bills resolved.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Never disappoints.
    CharlestonArtist
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    This is one consistently-good restaurant! We love the whole idea of it being the carriage house to the Wentworth Inn. Also love the onsite parking although space is limited to a degree.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Once a quarter
    doIhavetoVIP
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    It has been 3 1/2 years since we were last at Circa 1886 and now that we have moved to Charleston we must dine there once a quarter. We enjoyed scrumptious salads; tremendous trout and delicious desserts.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of the Best!
    Adventuesomecouple
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    We were with 2 other couples and everyone thoroughly enjoyed all the courses presented for Restaurant Week. Most impressive was the escargot appetizer, lamb entrée and the crème brulee. The pastry chef is to be complimented for presentation and outstanding taste.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet