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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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Circa 1886 reviews from OpenTable diners
208 reviews since May 24, 2014
Overall Rating4.7
  • Food4.7
    Service4.7
  • Ambiance4.6
    Noise LevelQuiet
92% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
romantic (170)special occasion (163)fit for foodies (135)notable wine list (82)neighborhood gem (47)scenic view (13)great for outdoor dining (12)good for groups (9)late-night find (7)great for lunch (6)hot spot (5)great for brunch (4)kid-friendly (2)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • This was the highlight dining
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/30/2008
    This was the highlight dining experience of our Charleston visit. Exquisit at every detail. Highly recommended. Although jackets are recommended and which I wore, many came in dressed down - that was dissappointing.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • First of all, they called
    TMyerscough
    Dined on 8/29/2008
    First of all, they called to reply to my request for something special for my wife's birthday as I'd stated in the notes section of my reservation. 5 Stars for that!!! We dined at Circa 1886 for my wife's 40th birthday. The staff had the Champagne I'd requested in advance ready when we arrived and they all wished her a happy birthday. The service was EXCELLENT! The food was AWESOME. I cannot say enough about the place. We kept reading that it was one of Charleston's best kept secrets and they were right. It really should not be kept a secret. What an outstanding restaurant!!! I would (and have) recommended it to anyone who wants an outstanding meal. Oh, and such reasonable prices too! If you're in Charleston, GO THERE!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Service, Amazing food.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004
    Dined on 8/22/2008
    Great Service, Amazing food. I enjoyed the entire experience. Each course was better then the first. My wife and I had a great evening out at a place perfect for a special occasion or a special night out.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The food is inventive and
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 8/16/2008
    The food is inventive and excellently prepared and presented. The decor, however, is a bit drab and does not do justice to the setting or the prices.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We wisely chose Circa 1886
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 8/16/2008
    We wisely chose Circa 1886 for our anniversary dinner. The restaurant, in the gate house of the Wentworth Mansion in historic Charleston, embodies southern elegance in its decor. Service was spectacular yet nonintrusive. For the most privacy, request a booth. The spicy shrimp appetizer is not to be missed. We also had the crabcake souffle appetizer, which had huge lumps of crab meat - delicious. We both tried their trio of soups (canteloupe, honeydew and watermelon derivations) and were in awe of the depth of flavor! For the main course we had key lime scallops, parfectly cooked, and the grouper with fennel pollen grits. The grouper was great, but was outdone by the grits! The chocolate medley dessert (shared) was decadent! Enjoy!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Most unbelievable food & service!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 8/5/2008
    Most unbelievable food & service! Like something you see on the Food Network. The atmosphere is cozy, quiet, & intimate. The service is perfect. They even scrape your bread crumbs up! The menu is a la carte separated into Course 1, Course 1, etc. I tried the trio of soups consisting of small servings of a honeydew soup, cantaloupe soup and a cucumber watermelon blend. So refreshing during the August heat! As my entree, I ordered the pork chop topped w/goat cheese. You are also able to explore the Wentworth Mansion which is the fabulous mansion the restaurant is behind & that is now an inn. Circa 1886 is a true Charleston gem! I can't imagine that there is a better restaurant in the city...and Charleston has a lot of wonderful restaurants.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The food was excellent, very
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 8/2/2008
    The food was excellent, very different. It was a very professional and quite resturant for a romantic dinner and new experience while in the Charleston area.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • I loved the aesthetics--very
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 7/28/2008
    I loved the aesthetics--very calm, beautiful, and romantic--great for anniversaries. By far the best food in Charleston--hands down. Everyone and anyone can find something they LOVE on this menu. The Chef is very talented, artistic, creative with all of the dishes, beautiful presentations. You can find anything from antelope to flounder, a heavier dish to a lighter dish, depending on your mood. Service is great, always attentive. The atmosphere is great, never loud, and always private. You can enjoy your conversation without the disturbances of others'. I would insist that you get dessert, even if you are already full and satisfied, because it is to die for...especially the chocolate dessert.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • This was the second time we
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 7/25/2008
    This was the second time we have been to Circa 1886. Both times it was an outstanding dining experience. The food was excellant, the service impeccable. Our only regret is that we can't afford to go more often.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • great evening...well worth
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 7/24/2008
    great evening...well worth the money...very memorable
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Suprised that there was only
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 7/21/2008
    Suprised that there was only one waiter for the entire restaurant. He did a very good job, but with one more the service would have been excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The meal, the service, and
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 7/14/2008
    The meal, the service, and the overall experience were outstanding. Trey is an excellent server. The pork chop is the best in town. We have recommended the restaurant to our friends and will definitely return.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Circa is one of my favorite
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 7/12/2008
    Circa is one of my favorite places! The 4 for $49 special is unbelievable!
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Charleston is a town with
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 7/12/2008
    Charleston is a town with many fine restaurants. Those of us who live here are really spoiled for choice. With such a competetive dining scene the restaurants have to be "on their game" of course. Especially if they are not on the main tourist streets1 Circa 1886 is one of Charleston's best. Tucked away in the old coach house of the Wentworth Mansion this great restaurant never fails to please. On this, our latest visit the food was again wonderful and the service top class. Circa 1886 is a "very nice" place to dine. It's that simple!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Food was great, except the
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 7/12/2008
    Food was great, except the braised beef in the beef tenderloin/beef combo was too dry and overcooked tasting. All the other dishes were tasty, beautifully presented, and very innovative. 4 for $49 pricing was very friendly to "locals" Service was impeccable, very attentive and professional. Will return again with guests.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We went for the seafood and
    ckhunder
    Dined on 7/9/2008
    We went for the seafood and southern cuisine. It was southern - but oversauced, and accompanying ingredients overwhelmed the main stars of the dish (in our case, flounder, shrimp and lobster). The waiter forgot that we mentioned a dairy allergy - and there were only three couples in the restaurant. However, the one in our party without the allergy immensely enjoyed the complimentary truffles. If you're looking for a very quiet place to dine with a nice view of the garden, this is a good place to try. If you're a foodie, I'd go to McCrady's. It is hands-down the best place in Charleston for foodies, has great atmosphere and friendly, knowledgeable, attentive staff.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The dinner was amazing. The
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 7/8/2008
    The dinner was amazing. The scallops were like art for the eye and the mouth. The Grouper was so fresh and I loved the Soutehrn touches of okra and grits. The desserts were a great ending to the evening and the coffee was fabulous. Service was impeccable.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Food was outstanding. Service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 7/7/2008
    Food was outstanding. Service was attentive without being overbearing. Ambiance was wonderful and very romantic. The $49 price fix was a steal. Overall a wonderful dining experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • excellent food, good , relaxed
    OpenTable Diner Since 2002
    Dined on 7/5/2008
    excellent food, good , relaxed ambiance but still with a flair, subdued decor. the service needs urgent training. All waiters were very nice and helpful but VERY clumsy. take the 4 course menu. it's worth it!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great dining experience, definitely
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 7/5/2008
    Great dining experience, definitely visit again when we are in town on vacation.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The staff was so nice and
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 7/3/2008
    The staff was so nice and quick to make you feel welcome. The atmosphere was sophisticated yet in warm way. I'd highly recommend the bar for a quiet relaxed cocktail.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good drink, great dessert.
    DobieDameVIP
    Dined on 6/28/2008
    Good drink, great dessert. Tables are too big for two, entrees were bland and left a lot to be desired and the bread tasted like "Kings Hawaiian".
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lovely spot! Would return
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 6/27/2008
    Lovely spot! Would return each visit to Charleston. Have already recommended to friends!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • I am from Danville, Va. My
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 6/26/2008
    I am from Danville, Va. My daughter and I made an agreement to visit Charleston last year, so she then gave me a $50 birthday gift certificate. I gave it to the hostess when we arrived, but the server did not credit my bill. Fortunately I realized the situation on the way out and returned to the building where they did credit the bill. It was an unfortunate mistake which cost me a bit of time to correct and it was a touch uncomfortable. I hope that the credit card was credited and have to wait a month to ensure that.
    Special Features:
    late-night find, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Dinner was great, presentation
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 6/21/2008
    Dinner was great, presentation was excellant. Desserts were outstanding.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • This place takes itself way
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 6/16/2008
    This place takes itself way too seriously. Food is pretty decent, but the atmosphere is uncomfortably quiet and stuffy.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • For 5 years my wife and I
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 6/14/2008
    For 5 years my wife and I have celebrated her birthday at Circa. The food is wonderfully inventive and always very tasty. The service continues to be very attentive without being "over the top". I would suggest this establishment to anyone wanting to have a romantic meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • I hate to slam this restaurant
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 6/5/2008
    I hate to slam this restaurant that can offer wonderful food at times, but it has become so inconsistent I have to caution everyone that they are taking a huge gamble. This last visit our waiter disappeared for 30 minutes after taking our wine order. We had to have another waiter search for him to find out why there was such a delay. And, sadly, the food that night was mediocre ( chicken breast appetizer reminded me of raiding the refrigerator at midnight). Other visits have been wonderful, but we are now 60/40 bad experiences.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Located in the carriage house
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 6/3/2008
    Located in the carriage house of an historic mansion. Food was gourmet, and the service was impeccable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We thought(Four in the Party)
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 6/3/2008
    We thought(Four in the Party) that the service started off excellent and then as it started to fill up our service slowed down and we were on a time schedule so not happy about that. Prices compared to portions a little high. Bread ok but not outstanding. Grouper dish very good. Scallops- ok. She Crab soup very good. the sample soup with molasses was excellent. Dessert-strawberries- good but pricey. Because of the ambiance, noise level and the good points we will probably return at some time in the future.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • This was our first visit to
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 5/31/2008
    This was our first visit to Circa 1886, after having been told how great it was by a friend years ago. It is a treasure. The waiter was MOST knowledgeable about everything on the menu. The scallops were to die for while we were there. We'll be going back to this one!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We had to change our reservation
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 5/30/2008
    We had to change our reservation time from 8:30 to 7:30. We had requested previously booth seating but were seated in the back. I was a little disappointed, although the table we had was pleasant. The food was elegant and delicious. The wait staff was knowledgeable, particularly in helping to select a wine.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A memorable experience in
    SFO777
    Dined on 5/29/2008
    A memorable experience in an absolutely beautiful setting. Exceptional service and imaginative cuisine. One of the best meals of the year! Far surpasses the Peninsula Grill, Charleston's supposed #1 restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Outstanding presentation and
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 5/28/2008
    Outstanding presentation and service. The Foie Gras was excellent. The Pork Chop entree was exquisite. Beautiful atmosphere...can't wait to return. Two thumbs up!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • This is a superb restaurant.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 5/25/2008
    This is a superb restaurant. It isn't often that I ask to see the menu again after eating a course, just so I can remember all the components of a dish. It is truly outstanding on every level.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • This was our first time here.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004
    Dined on 5/25/2008
    This was our first time here. Because we were very early in anticipation of a Spoleto event there were few other diners. Everything was excellent but we would like to return at a peak time to experience a bit more energetic ambience. Service was exceptional.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • I ordered the flounder, which
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 5/24/2008
    I ordered the flounder, which was not labeled as fried. I was very disappointed as i dont eat fried foods. I think this should be made more clear. Unsatisfied for the price.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Service and food were more
    Foodsnob
    Dined on 5/24/2008
    Service and food were more than I could possibley ask for. The upscale southern cuisine hit the spot.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • As always, the experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 5/24/2008
    As always, the experience at Circa 1886 was wonderful. I am a Charleston native living in Northern VA. I was joined this time by three friends. The experience could not have been nicer. From the amuse busche of crispy fingerling potato with black pepper gravy to the chocolate truffles and the adorable "purse" of chocolate dipped benne cookies there were many ooohs and aaahs at our table. The location is special to me as I had worked in the accompanying mansion before it was brought back to life as a lovely Inn. This will always be a must visit any time I am back in the Holy City.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • the air conditioning was turned
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 5/24/2008
    the air conditioning was turned up so much we had to huddle around the candle on the table. A disgrace for such a nice restaurant. We asked for it to be lowered so did the other guests but they didnt/couldnt manage to fix it.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate