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.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
See all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Circa 1886 reviews from OpenTable diners
215 reviews since June 27, 2014
Overall Rating4.7
  • Food4.7
    Service4.7
  • Ambiance4.6
    Noise LevelQuiet
92% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
romantic (172)special occasion (172)fit for foodies (152)notable wine list (93)neighborhood gem (57)good for groups (12)scenic view (11)great for outdoor dining (10)hot spot (6)late-night find (5)great for brunch (4)vibrant bar scene (3)great for lunch (2)kid-friendly (1)Show More
  • Circa 1886 is outstanding.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 7/6/2009
    Circa 1886 is outstanding. The food is wonderful! The chef's are excellent and very talented. The waiters are outstanding! Nothing but good things from this place. Very romantic and a beutiful garden to look out over at the Wentworth Mansion.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Food was some of the best
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 7/1/2009
    Food was some of the best we've experienced. Service not far behind. A bit difficult to find though and not quite as "romantic" as expected though that's obviously a very personal opinion. Fantastic restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • My husband and I went to Circa
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 6/29/2009
    My husband and I went to Circa 1886 while on vacation in South Carolina. We had been to quite a few restaurants in Charleston, so we were looking for something a bit off the the beaten path and romantic. Circa 1886 fit the bill perfectly! It was one of the best meals we have ever had...and we go out to dinner quite a bit. They had both traditional low country dishes and some more eclectic dishes. I tried antelope for the first time and it was delicious! The chocolate mousse was amazing!!!! The service was also first class! Would highly recommend:)
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Fabulous!!! Our server Lindsay
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 6/20/2009
    Fabulous!!! Our server Lindsay was outstanding and really went out of his way to ensure we had a memorable experience. We will be returning for sure!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • I love fine dining & have
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 6/19/2009
    I love fine dining & have been to most restaurants in downtown Charleston. Circa 1886 was not a disappointment. The Chocolate Martinis were some of the best I've had. The service was very good. The waiter was on top of things at all times. The Salmon I had was very good & would definitely recommend it. The wine list was extensive. I was there celebrating my friends birthday but it is a great place for couples looking for a romantic evening. Great dessert selection we had a hard time deciding between the cheesecake & the banana dessert. We settled on the banana. It was wonderful!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Service and Food - very
    BonBonsez
    Dined on 6/19/2009
    Great Service and Food - very comfortable atmosphere - booths available - convenient for me since it is around the corner from my home!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We went for our 40th anniversary
    birthdayplace
    Dined on 6/6/2009
    We went for our 40th anniversary and overall had a wonderful experience. The service was outstanding and knowledgeable and managed to get us out in time to accomodate our early Spoletto tickets without making us feel rushed. I had the bass and my husband had the steak, both very well done and beautifully presented. Dessert (some sort of chocolate decadence)was FABULOUS. The only reservation we had was the very small size of the entrees, as compared to some of the other fine dining establishments we visited in lovely Charleston. However, we would absolutely return and give it a big thumbs up.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Dining at Circa 1886 is always
    m216VIP
    Dined on 6/2/2009
    Dining at Circa 1886 is always a wonderful experience. The staff is professional and friendly, the food is innovative as well as superb, and the ambiance is quiet and relaxed, yet elegant. Their wine dinners are well worth attending, as well.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The service was fantastic
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 6/1/2009
    The service was fantastic and professional. The food was excellent, and the presentation was unlike anything I had ever seen. The ambiance was very romantic and our dinner was everything we had hoped for.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • What a hidden gem in Charleston.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 5/27/2009
    What a hidden gem in Charleston. We've added it to our list for our annual visit to Spoleto. Superb service and superb food. Be back next year.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Spectacular and generous tasting
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIP
    Dined on 5/26/2009
    Spectacular and generous tasting menu. Wine pairings were extraordinary!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Excellent. We sat outside
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 5/8/2009
    Excellent. We sat outside and it was beautiful, quiet, and the food was excellent. The menu is very unique and interesting.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • What a great restaurant, a
    TheWolf55VIP
    Dined on 5/2/2009
    What a great restaurant, a true compliment to the awesome dining scene in Charleston. Service was great, dishes were innovative and delicious, wine list was good, and ambiance very nice. I will be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Our experience at Circa1886
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 5/2/2009
    Our experience at Circa1886 was wonderful. The food was excellent. It's presentation great and portion size was just right. The service was excellent and helpful with understanding the menu choices. We were the first diners there and the atmosphere was quiet and romatic. Later as more people arrived, the noise level increased (to be expected) but not so noisey as to disturbe the atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • I have a food allergy which
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 4/30/2009
    I have a food allergy which I included in the reservation. The chef went out of the way to make sure I had food to eat even making a special treat without onion for me and letting me know ahead which items on the menu already had onion in the sauce. The food was all delicious. My only complaint is that we were celebrating an anniversary and we were seated in the middle of the room without much privacy. The noise level was a little loud and my husband couldn't always hear over it when we were talking. The service was good until larger tables came in and we sat for some time waiting to order desserts. When the desserts came we reminded the server that we ordered coffee. It didn't come for a while. The check also took a long time to process.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • This was our 6th visit - we
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 4/11/2009
    This was our 6th visit - we were pleased the menu had changed. The food was very good but nothing that really WOWed us. Don't get me wrong - the food was VERY GOOD, but having visited this retaurant 5 times previously, we tend to judge vs the previous visits - CIRCA have set the bar very high, so a WOW is a tall order. Service as always was excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Absolutley wonderful experience!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 4/11/2009
    Absolutley wonderful experience! This was one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. We went for our anniversary and were treated to a complimentary opening course from the Executive Chef that was not even on the menu. Wonderful staff, set at historic Wentworth Mansion... if you go, go early, get a drink from the bar and have the hostess call over to the mansion to let them know you'd like to go up to the coopola while you wait for your table. It is the most stunning view of Charleston.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We think when this restaurant
    DurhamVIP
    Dined on 4/11/2009
    We think when this restaurant received its top ratings from Mobil and AAA that the food critics confused novel with quality. The food arrives in novel fashion,e.g., a romaine hearts salad looking like 3 large sushi rolls topped each with a large crouton and sauce, but the effect is only in the viewing, if that. It is very difficult to eat and not exceptional. This restaurant is about ambiance, but not necessarily about notable food. it's good, but it's certainly not exceptional.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Portions, including wine by
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 4/10/2009
    Portions, including wine by glass, small. Food very good but not outstanding. Outstanding-plantation rolls made with rice flour. Loved the quiet. This place is a real hidden jem. Beautiful at night.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Tucked behind the Wentworth
    DarlineSVIP
    Dined on 4/4/2009
    Tucked behind the Wentworth Masion in their coach house, it was a very quaint and elegent setting. Menu seemed to be comparable for upscale Charleston restaurants, and some interesting twists on standard dishes. For example, I had a Hearts of Romaine salad where the lettuce and cheese was wrapped in thinly sliced sirloin (tartare) with dressing drizzled over it. Only negative, but a big one, was the service. Most of the staff was friendly (hostess, waiter back-up), but the waiter was rather arrogant, unwelcoming and missed things like an empty wine glass half-way through dinner. Really missed out on the southern charm on this one. There are too many other fine dining establishments in Charleston to recommend spending your money here.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Friendly staff, OK atmosphere.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 3/28/2009
    Friendly staff, OK atmosphere. Food dishes were simple and we were looking for complex flavors.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Our second visit and as good
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 3/28/2009
    Our second visit and as good as we remembered! Good wine list and knowageable wait staff. A thouroughly enjoyable evening.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Excellent overall! Great for
    Leland
    Dined on 3/20/2009
    Excellent overall! Great for a special dinner. Recommend chef's tasting.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Incredible place...great location.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 3/10/2009
    Incredible place...great location. Made our 1 year anniversary memorable and romantic!
    Special Features:
    late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The place is incredible. Perfect
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 3/3/2009
    The place is incredible. Perfect food, great service, beautiful decor.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The food was outstanding.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 2/25/2009
    The food was outstanding. The presentation equally ambitious. I wish the service matched the quality of the food. They must have been short handed that evening. Very charming location. Adjacent to a historic and majestic mansion. I highly recommend this beautiful restaurant.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We have been to Charleston
    thecobblepots
    Dined on 2/11/2009
    We have been to Charleston many times ranging from romantic weekends to family get togethers. Circa 1886 is the BEST restaurant we have experienced. Our waiter, John, was knowledgeable and the food was wonderful. There is something for everyone on the menu. The Antelope is a must for those who think they have had everything there is to have in Charleston! This is a small, intimate restaurant that is the perfect quiet get away for a couple or family group. The restaurant is tucked away behind the Wentworth Mansion, which by the way is the best place we have ever stayed in Charleston as well. Its location keeps most of the tourists unaware of its existence. We will always return for at least one Supper at Circa from now on.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Circa 1886 was a fantastic
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 1/23/2009
    Circa 1886 was a fantastic experience for a romantic and special occasion. The service was fabulous, the decor gorgeous and historic, the food beautiful and delicious, and the staff warm and friendly. The absolute only thing I would have changed was the occasional noise coming from the kitchen, which happened to be behind us. It wouldn't, however, discourage me from going back. The Monkfish Osso Bucco was sublime!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The staff was outstanding...highly
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 1/17/2009
    The staff was outstanding...highly efficient, but invisible. The food was good with an exception. A couple in our party was served meat that contained excessive grissle. The restaurant graciously reduced the cost of those meals without hesitation or suggestion. The dining area is small, we were a party of six and our table was in the center of the room. The location made us somewhat self-conscious of our position and seem to discourage across the table discussions. Overall, the our experience was good and I will return for dinner again, but my future visits will be limited to four or less.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The food, presentation and
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 1/17/2009
    The food, presentation and service was outstanding. For the chocoholic, the s'mores were to die for.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Service was above and beyond
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 1/10/2009
    Service was above and beyond - ...and that also goes for OPENTABLE.COM !
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Circa 1886 was a lovely place
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 11/15/2008
    Circa 1886 was a lovely place to dine. The staff is excellent and the food was very good. The portions were larger than we expected and other than 1 dish, every plate was fantastic.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • In a group of four...no one
    TAC49VIP
    Dined on 11/10/2008
    In a group of four...no one liked this restaurant. Extremely difficult to even find !!! Food was very disappointing and service mediocre at best. Will not return.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A little out of the way.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 10/28/2008
    A little out of the way. Good value. Limited selection on menu. Very good service. Quiet and romantic.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We were treated extremely
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 10/4/2008
    We were treated extremely well and the ambiance is very good. I had a highly-recommended smoked-steak dish at $40. While very good, it was not that outstanding and did not command that price. We went for our wedding anniversary and it is a perfect setting and place for that. The total bill with drinks beforehand and 1 bottle of wine was $200. From our perspective, this is therefore a place for special occasions for sure, but that $$ amount precludes us from visiting it with frequency.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The food here was excellent
    Sled
    Dined on 9/27/2008
    The food here was excellent and very original. The atmosphere was a bit stuffy for me.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The food at Circa 1886 is
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 9/11/2008
    The food at Circa 1886 is always great. We eat here every year when we vaction in Charlestown. This year it was beyond expectation. Doug made sure that what ever we wanted or needed happened and the evening was a culinary treat.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • very nice atmosphere and attentativ
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 9/11/2008
    very nice atmosphere and attentative service. The food is excellent but unique and would not recommend eating here if you didn't enjoy trying new tastes and flavors. Definitely special occasion as it is very pricy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Expensive, but worth it for
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 9/5/2008
    Expensive, but worth it for the pampering you recieve. The food was good. The service impeccable.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • 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