18 Pinckney Street
Charleston, SC 29401Neighborhood:
Comfort FoodPrice: $30 and under
- Dining Style: Casual Dining
- Website: http://www.crucafe.com/
- Phone: 8435342434
- Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Tuesday - Saturday: 11:00am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Tuesday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm
- Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
- Cuisine: Fusion / Eclectic, Comfort Food, Southern
- Executive Chef: John Zucker
- Dress Code: Casual Dress
- Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
- Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Beer, Cafe, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Smoking Area, Smoking Area (patio only), Takeout, Wine
- Catering: Voted #1 Charleston Caterer from 2001-2013. Cru Catering offer fulls service customized catering, in-house personal chefs; cater to meetings, receptions, weddings and private parties. Please contact us at 843-534-2433.
- Entertainment: Private Dinning Room available for up to 18 people.
A word from Cru Cafe
It's the Holy City's Hidden Gem! Cru Café is Charleston's home to some of the best gourmet comfort food in the Lowcountry. Cru Café is the culinary creation of renowned Le Cordon Bleu graduate, Chef John Zucker. Opened in 2002 in response to overwhelming demand, Cru Café is a culinary destination off the beaten path in in a classic 18th century Charleston single-style home. Cru Café and its award-winning Cru Catering division are consistently ranked as top eateries by locals and tourists alike. From our famous Four Cheese Macaroni to our tasty Thai Seafood Risotto, we feature something for everyone. And if you're in the mood for lighter fare, try our Chinese Chicken Salad or Duck Confit Salad. Guests of the restaurant can enjoy daily specials, indoor and outdoor porch seating, a wine list tailored to the varied menu and rich, mouthwatering desserts. We invite to stop in and enjoy a delicious meal with us today.Continued
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
- Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
- Diners' Choice WinnerGreat for Lunch
Cru Cafe - Best Restaurants in Downtown Charleston ›
Cru Cafe reviews from OpenTable diners
348 reviews since May 24, 2014
- Ambiance4.2Noise LevelModerate
neighborhood gem (239)fit for foodies (238)great for lunch (185)special occasion (93)great for outdoor dining (91)romantic (71)great for brunch (61)hot spot (41)notable wine list (27)kid-friendly (22)good for groups (13)scenic view (9)late-night find (9)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
- Great experienceOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 9/17/2014I really enjoyed the overall experience at Cru Cafe. The staff was wonderful and the food was amazing.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- LarryDined on 9/17/2014Cru is in a converted home and holds only 37 guests. We made reservations for 6:15 PM on a weekday and arrived at 6:10. We found the restaurant already crowded with several tables set up on the outside porch. But we were seated inside immediately upon arrival--the beginning of a great evening. The service was prompt but not hurried. The dinners-we both had fish-were delicious and imaginative. My grouper was served with a scoop of lightly breaded mashed potatoes on top and a superb spinach and mushroom salad under it. My wife said her salmon was superb. Our shared Dessert was a peach and strawberry bread pudding which provided a perfect ending to a perfect meal. Don't go for the ambience; go for the food.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 9/17/2014A Charleston gem. Small but attracts us time and time again. The staff cares! Food presentation is terrific and delicious.Special Features:
- Not Handicap accessible!!!davidDined on 9/17/2014If you have someone in a wheelchair you should find another restaurant or bring a couple big guys to carry the chair up the steps. Way to many great places to eat in Charleston then to try and eat at a none ADA friendly place.
- Fantastic unique flavorsOpenTable Diner Since 2004Dined on 9/16/2014The Chet's ability to marry unique flavors into a delicious meal is outstanding. I enjoyed a fried oyster salad in which all ingredients were fresh, light and perfectly prepared. I am a seafood addict so I ordered their special. This plate consisted of a local sheepshead fish, risotto, fresh sweet green peas and a beautiful sauce. Absolutely deliciously sautéed. Completed with a peach and strawberry bread pudding. Well worth your time.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Awesome!LoreUyDined on 9/13/2014We loved the delicious food and ambiance! The restaurant is set inside an old southern house, which we loved.Special Features:
- Fantastic food w/ intimate settingwakebrinaDined on 9/13/2014As usual, the food was fantastic and our server was lovely! Took an out of town guests and everyone had a great time and a wonderful dinner. Make reservations since it's such a small place, but that's what makes it so charming!Special Features:
- Great service.CharlestonVisitorsDined on 9/13/2014The food was fantastic. The service was perfect. The noise was a little loud. We would return.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great PlaceKco105Dined on 9/12/2014We arrived an hour early for a 9:00pm reservation, hoping they would be able to seat us early. Staff was great, not only were they able to accomadate us in a short amount of time, dispite the fact this tiny restaurant seemed to be full, we were offered a seat at the chef's table! My daughter and I had a great time watching and interacting with the chefs, even got a sample of their fried oysters, which were wonderful. I ordered the salmon with lemon risotto and my daughter ordered the Thai risotto, both were excellent! Can't wait to go back!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great experienceFoodloversDined on 9/10/2014Food was unbelievable... Although the Cru Cafe is in a small old house...(seats 36)...it is the best food we have eaten in memory.. Johnnie was great...and Chef Zucker was the best... When you are in charleston , sc you must eat there...Special Features:
- Engagement DinnerOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 9/9/2014My fiancee and I celebrated our engagement at Cru for dinner. The service was impeccable and the food delicious!! It was the cherry on top to the most amazing day!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 9/9/2014Excellent. First time. Will be back!! Will highly recommend!Special Features:
- We really like Cru CafeOpenTable Diner Since 2008Dined on 9/6/2014Food and service were great. Cru Cafe is a small place so be prepared to wait for seating.Special Features:
- Soooo GOOD.LOVEDDined on 9/5/2014I'm local and wanted a special lunch place to bring my girlfriends that are here for the weekend. Wow, Cru did not disappoint....everything was melt-in-your mouth fabulous. Thank you Cru....you are now on my go-to list!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- What a let down!!LVGFDined on 9/4/2014The fish was very good, collards -tough and bitter, sauce - bland, and bread service - adequate. The experience was ruined by the host whose other job must be with the DMV. They appeared not to have our reservation and tried to seat us at a table in a hallway to the restrooms and when I said no, he got very DMV'ish- my wife wanted to leave, but the restaurant was highly recommended by my son and we stayed. Would not go back again.Special Features:
- OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 9/4/2014Very good food. 3 of us shared 5 appetizers and all were good - the mussels especially so.Special Features:
- Outstanding Dining in CharlestonSuzeQDined on 9/4/2014Based on TripAdvisor reviews we opted for a reservation at Cru Cafe while visiting Charleston. We were thrilled with our evening there. We were seated promptly and the restaurant was full at 7pm. We started with a bottle of wine which was reasonably priced and fried green tomatoes as an appetizer. They were elegantly served atop mixed greens and sprinkled with goat cheese and thick hunks of bacon...quite good! They had two specials for entrees that night and both were fish; one blackened salmon and one wreckfish. The presentation of the food on the plates was great and the flavors of everything were unique and delicious. Who would think to put boiled peanuts in red cabbage slaw? The chef is obviously amazing. We highly recommend Cru Cafe!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Just OKOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 9/4/2014Menu was different from what was posted on Trip Advisor. Rated high on T A, but did not live up to billing.
- Restaurant weekgidgetVIPDined on 9/3/2014We made a reservation but tslk waited 20 minutes for our table. We watched them clear a 4 top and a 2 top, then seat a party of 2 at the 4 top. That kept our party of 3 waiting longer. So I admit that the experience started on the wrong foot. But them it continued when I asked 2x for a straw, then the server threw 3 straws my way. I get it's restaurant week and you're stressed, but pick up your game! The kitchen made up for the negative service with a delicious cold cucumber soup, shrimp BLT and truffle fries. Not sure I would return.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Cru Cafe for LunchCruCafeVIPDined on 9/2/2014My wife and I decided to have a late lunch at Cru on our 53rd anniversary. From start to finish everything was perfect. Johnnie, our expert waiter for the day, started by helping with our wine selections which were great. My wife had her favorite Cru Cafe Angus Burger and I had the Orange Tilapia. Both our meals were superb and we enjoyed every bite and had some tasty morsels left for take home. We finished with espresso and the not to be missed Chocolate Torte with its smooth texture and deep chocolate flavor. In summary, Cru is always a delight and we thoroughly enjoyed another Cru Cafe lunch.Special Features:
- Nice respite on a H-O-T dayPHXfinedinerVIPDined on 9/2/2014Cru had been recommended to us by knowledgeable foodie friends so we decided to partake. As we entered though it was just a little cooler inside than out...meaning it was approaching 90 degrees (or so it seemed). I was starting to melt as we made our way there and I cooled myself nearly immediately with ice water and a glass of house sauvignon blanc so my face wouldn't end up in a pool on the floor. It REALLY was THAT hot! I had a soup & 1/2 sandwich combo which consisted of cucumber watermelon soup with cocoanut milk (better sounding than tasting) and a perfect BLT on grilled ciabatta with shrimp added. I had made fresh tomato BLT's for the family the evening before and theirs, I'm horrified to admit, was better. The service was Gr8!!!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great Lunch Spotrbaker71VIPDined on 9/2/2014First time at this restaurant, had lunch, amazing Shrimp BLT.Special Features:
- nothing remarkableDisappointmentDined on 8/30/2014Wish we had something outstanding to say about this tiny tiny restaurant. Food was very good but considering all the gourmet tastings in Charleston, this one does not stand out. No mixed drinks, just wine and beer. Salmon dish was small, my husband was still hungry. Ribeye steak was average. Bread was hard. It felt very cramped. Friendly and good service.Special Features:
- The Best!!!!BobWDined on 8/30/2014This is our third time eating here, what can I say it's the best. The food is alway outstanding, along with the service.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- One of the best in CharlestonmycharlestonDined on 8/30/2014Food & service were outstanding. Fair prices & good size portions.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 8/29/2014The peach strawberry bread pudding was amazing! We had a reservation and were seated very promptly. Enjoyed the waitresses recommendations, especially the shrimp blt and brisket sandwich.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Excellent choiceOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 8/29/2014Small house, boutique restaurant with great food and great service.Special Features:
- We'll eat at Cru again.BillyBubbaDined on 8/28/2014We took some friends from Atlanta to Cru this week. We all loved our choices. Portions were generous, but not too big, and the prices are extremely reasonable, especially considering the quality of the food. The daily special ......tilefish....was terrific. We sampled each other's desserts and liked all of them. The flourless chocolate cake is a standout. Service was excellent: professional, and not intrusive. Impressive, since the servers all looked so young ! The restaurant is tiny and "comfortable". There is easy parking (cash only) a few steps away from the restaurant, in a lot right on the corner of Pinckney and East Bay. This was our first visit to Cru but definitely not our last.Special Features:
- Always excellent!MukilteoVIPDined on 8/28/2014I go every time I am in town. Never disappointed!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Take a crew to CruJjo64VIPDined on 8/28/2014Innovative menu with lovely Asian and low country specialties. The Asian slaw is a bright side to the turkey Brie sandwich. A little heavy on the chutney which made the bread wet, but very nice. The general tsao entree is a very nice twist on the original. Lots of food tang on tender crunchy chicken. Make sure to make a reservation or you may be seated outside on a toasty day. Definitely a nice lunch spot. Will try dinner next ;)Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Perfect for Gf/dairy free foodie:)JillDined on 8/26/2014Had the duck confit salad & thai sea food risotto made with coconut milk....amazing! Thanks Jacob for taking care of us<3Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great foodOpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 8/23/2014My wife and I went here on a Saturday night and the food and service was excellent. I got the pork chop and my wife got a steak. The portions were filling and delicious. It is a small and cozy restaurant.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Loved it!GregGDined on 8/23/2014Warm service, great and creative menu. Get reservations!Special Features:
- Best food in CharlestonSeafoodfanDined on 8/22/2014While on vacation in Charleston we enjoyed the Cru Cafe twice on consecutive evenings. The food was so good we had to return the next day. The chef is extremely talented and the food is spectacular. The flavors and the presentation were wonderful. The desert was equally awesome. We highly recommend this establishment.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Delicious and great valueGlutton246Dined on 8/21/2014Of three fine dining restaurants in Charleston that I visited, Cru Cafe was the best. Creative menu and value all the way through. Service was excellent and lived sitting at the Chef's Table.Special Features:
- Actually my new fav in CharlestonKayeartDined on 8/21/2014There is nog one negative I can give of this great establishment. This is in my estimation the best place in Charleston. Hands down best food and the waitstaff is superb. I Thank You Crue for the best three meals I had in your great city . Many thanksSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Special Cru visitHmeadeDined on 8/21/2014Arrived and a few minutes earlier and was greeted promptly. Seated after a brief delay at the requested Chef table. The peaches and cream app was our start. During prep my wife noticed includes ricotta which I am allergic to. The chef promptly split the dish and created a different sauce for me with no ricotta that was awesome. I had thE special 'tilefish' which was fantastic and must have given the opportunity. My wife have chicken she shared was equally good. Another great dining experience until dessert. We ordered the bread pudding which we normally love. However this dish contain excessive smoke in the bread and all you could taste was the smoke. Possibly the worse bread pudding we have ever had and actually left 1/2 on the plate.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- This place is GREAT!!!2outfromnyDined on 8/20/2014This place was a great find. The owner greeted and seated us. I ordered the basil shrimp and my husband got the salmon. Both excellent. The owner came by and asked us how everything was. When I said the shrimp dish was amazing, he said it was his mother's recipe. You won't find this dish anywhere else.Special Features:
- luvgoodfoodluvgoodfoodDined on 8/20/2014This is my second time at Cru Café. The food is simply fantastic and unique. You, definitely, need to make a reservation as the seating is very limited and people tend to linger. The wait is worth it. I think it is one of Charleston's best dining restaurants......off the beaten path, nothing fancy other than the food experience. The servers were very efficient and accommodating and knowledgeable. Everything is fresh.Special Features:
- AMAZING!Todd4242Dined on 8/20/2014The food was so amazing we went back the next day to try other items on the menu. From entering the restaurant to leaving we had a 5 star experience! The food was AMAZING! Amazing presentation, amazing taste and amazing price! DELICIOUS..............Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.