About 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.

18 Pinckney Street
Charleston, SC 29401
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Comfort Food, Fusion / Eclectic, Southern

Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Tuesday - Saturday: 11:00am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Tuesday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm

Cross Street:
East Bay St

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(843) 534-2434

Website:
http://www.crucafe.com/

Entertainment:
Private Upstairs Dinning Room available for up to 18 people.

Catering:
Voted Charleston's best caterer consecutively since 2001 by the Charleston City Paper, our Cru Catering branch offers full service customized catering, in-house personal chefs, corporate catering, receptions, weddings and private parties. Please contact us at 843-534-2433.
www.crucatering.com

Parking Details:
Cru Cafe does NOT offer parking. The gravel lot across the street is owned and operated by Palmetto Carriage Company. There is a public parking deck located off Pinckney Street behind the Bank of America building. The address is 200 Meeting Street.

Executive Chef:
John Zucker

Additional:
Banquet, Beer, Cafe, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, Private Room, Takeout, Wine

Cru Cafe Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.8

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.8

service

4.7

ambience

4.5

value

4.6

Noise

Moderate

98% would recommend it to a friend

Creative Cuisine (73)
Neighborhood Gem (71)
Fit for Foodies (61)
See All
Local Ingredients (57)
Great for Lunch (57)
Cozy (54)
Good for a Date (53)
Comfort Food (49)
Casual (44)
Worth the Drive (39)
Authentic (38)
Special Occasion (36)
Fun (33)
Good for Anniversaries (23)
Good for Birthdays (22)
Healthy (21)
Romantic (19)
Quiet Conversation (18)
Hot Spot (17)
Great for Outdoor Dining (17)
Great for Brunch (16)
Sunday Lunch (15)
Notable Wine List (12)
Pre/post Theatre (12)
Seasonal (11)
Quick Bite (8)
Business Meals (8)
Bar Seating (6)
Good for Groups (6)
People Watching (6)
Tasting Menu (5)
Great Beer (4)
Late-night Find (4)
Tapas (4)
Good Vegetarian Options (4)
Organic (3)
Vegan (3)
Afternoon Coffee (2)
Kid-friendly (2)
Gluten Free Options (2)
Happy Hour (2)
Scenic View (2)
Spicy (2)
Disabled Access (1)
Handcrafted Cocktails (1)
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3432 reviews
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 (Raleigh)·Dined 6 days ago

This was our third visit and the food and service were outstanding for the third time. Our only negative is the restaurant is small and it can get so loud you can hardly hear yourself when you are talking. There was a party of four behind our table and they were so loud it became obnoxious. We will go back and just hope it’s a little quieter!

Tags: Good for a Date, Cozy, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined 6 days ago

I've been trying to get my husband here for years, and we finally were in town when I could get a lunch reservation. He is hooked! He had the best sandwich he's ever had (pastrami special) and is raving to everyone about that and the Fried Green Tomatoes! Thanks!

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Great for Lunch, Good for Birthdays, Hot Spot, Good for a Date, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service4
value5

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined 6 days ago

We sat at the chef’s counter and loved watching them work. Food was plated beautifully and tasted great. Great service. Would go back.

Tags: Comfort Food, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Western NC)·Dined 6 days ago

Service was terrific! Mike took great care of me! Salmon and salad were quite tasty. Hank stopped by to say hi as I had eaten at the sister restaurant Purlieu last night. Table next to me was quite loud and boorish.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
·Dined 6 days ago

Great atmosphere and food- very pleasant experience!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined 7 days ago

The staff were very helpful and the food was the best we had while in Charleston,

Tags: Comfort Food
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined 7 days ago

We travel from Charlotte maybe once a year....and this is a place we go to lunch everytime!!

Tags: Casual, Great for Lunch, Quiet Conversation, Great Beer, Fit for Foodies, Worth the Drive
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined 7 days ago

I have been coming to Charleston for 25 years, I’m 40. This is the most consistent, unbelievable original, oh and by the way it’s in a beautiful Charleston style home in downtown. There is usually a wait and they take reservations. I have walked up an waited over an hour to be seated. Was I mad hell no I was at Cru Café it’s worth any wait.

Tags: Cozy, Casual, Great for Outdoor Dining, Local Ingredients, Authentic, Good for a Date, Comfort Food, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined 7 days ago

Food was exccllent so what's the service. The only complaint is that it is always noisy and you are so close to the other tables.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Authentic, Healthy, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on January 11, 2018

The Mac n Cheese is fantastic as is the poached pear salad. The restaurant is very cozy and has a great atmosphere. It has limited seating so reservations are a must.

Tags: Cozy, Neighborhood Gem, Comfort Food
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on January 11, 2018

Always one of our favorites that has never disappointed. We sat at chef’s counter with view of the carefully orchestrated kitchen operations. We are frequent customers.

Tags: Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on January 11, 2018

Excellent pasta sandwich of the day. Not rushed out the door. Great locale .

Tags: Casual, Cozy
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on December 31, 2017

Amazing food! Loved the mac and cheese. Very well priced. But the server / host was kind of a douchebag. He just ignored us and acted a little too high and mighty. Fortunately another waitress seated us and helped us out. Great experience despite this one douchey guy.

Tags: Fun, Special Occasion, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience3
service2
value3

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 30, 2017

Excellent
Great for foodies!
Small, cozy
Fabulous food

Tags: Worth the Drive, Sunday Lunch, Casual, Local Ingredients
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Baltimore)·Dined on December 28, 2017

You must make a reservation.or you won’t get in. Worth it food is unbelievable

Tags: Comfort Food, Quick Bite
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service3
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on December 28, 2017

Had the burger special with pork belly — delicious!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Tasting Menu, Quick Bite, Worth the Drive, Good for Anniversaries, Bar Seating
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on December 28, 2017

A local favorite -- great spot for lunch, but be sure to make a reservation

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on December 27, 2017

We are locals who love the food. Never disappoints

Tags: Local Ingredients, Sunday Lunch, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
·Dined on December 27, 2017

Best place we are at during our 2days in Charleston. Every dish we ordered was really good, no disappointments. Best dish (lunch) was tagliatelle w shrimp in lemon cream sauce. Also excellent were General Tso chicken, fried green tomatoes w pork belly croutons, truffle fries, and burger. The Chinese chicken salad was very good though not standout. Service was excellent, and host did a great job of checking in was us often during the time we had to wait for our table. Highly recommend this one!

Tags: Worth the Drive, Fun, Cozy, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on December 27, 2017

The one place in Charleston where the fries are exceptional! Visiting Charleston? Cru Cafe is a MUST. Excellent food. Excellent staff. Overall, dining at Cru is a wonderful experience! Highly recommended.

Tags: Great for Brunch, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (New Orleans)·Dined on December 27, 2017

We were 10 minutes late and they gave a part of our table away. Ended up waiting for another 20-30 mins. They didn’t even asked if we want to have a drink while waiting (which they did to the people behind us).

Food was good though. They were creative with their dishes. Loved the orange cake with coconut frosting! One of the best dessert we had in our Charleston/Savannah trip!

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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Western NC)·Dined on December 24, 2017

Everything was top notch a homely feel with great service and great food

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on December 24, 2017

Food and service was outstanding. Cocktails are not available, only wine or beer. Parties of five or more are seated a a high table. Highly recommend the scallops entre, they were the best I have ever tasted.

Tags: Casual, Creative Cuisine, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 22, 2017

Worth the experience! We went for a small family dinner at Christmas time. Our server was a delight and attentive. You I enjoy the creative cuisine.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Cozy, Romantic, Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies, Comfort Food
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Savannah)·Dined on December 22, 2017

Even when we weren't "local", we have come to Cru Cafe since it's opening, at least once a year. Now that we have moved within a more acceptable day trip into Charleston, we always do at least one of our day's meals at Cru. It's been a favorite thru kid years of traveling, to southern relocation move, with grown adult kids still wanting to eat there. Still like the "regular" choices that haven't really changed through the years (mac & cheese, chinese salad, truffle fries, burgers)...but I especially like it when we come for later dinner meals with some standards and always something current to choose from. This is the time of year to get in though...otherwise by word of mouth has brought a few too many tourists discovering the place. LOL When we discovered their first year, it was simply by one of the Cru chefs having an after shift drink at our hotel bar, that we were at. LOL Best stranger meeting ever! And still we come back! :)

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Casual, Good for a Date, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Dallas)·Dined on December 22, 2017

Food and service were good overall but I’m glad we weren’t there during high season.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on December 21, 2017

Waiter was excellent

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food5
ambience4
service5
value3

 
·Dined on December 20, 2017

Great experience to eat where the locals eat. One of the best meals we have had in sometime.

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Comfort Food, Fun, Great for Lunch, Good for Birthdays, Local Ingredients, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 20, 2017

Delicious food! We had Mac & Cheese, Turkey sandwich and Chicken sandwich. All were delicious!

Tags: Local Ingredients, Great for Lunch, Casual, Cozy
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food5
ambience3
service4
value5

 
·Dined on December 19, 2017

We had a delicious lunch. The orange cake was excellent. It is a small room so it feels a little crowded, but the food is worth it!

Tags: Great for Lunch, Cozy, Neighborhood Gem, Healthy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 16, 2017

Excellent lunch with out of town friends. Cru Cafe never disappoints.

Tags: Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on December 16, 2017

Great experience overall!!! Food was delicious, staff was friendly and knowledgeable!

Tags: Great for Brunch, Neighborhood Gem, Quiet Conversation, Business Meals, Fun, Comfort Food
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on December 15, 2017

Everything about Cru was fabulous, except that they do not have a liquor licence. So instead of a martini and one glass of wine, we ordered a bottle of wine and my wife and I each had 2 glasses. Problem solved. Our waitress suggested a Barbera D'Asti which paired very well with what we ordered. I had the oyster salad and my wife had a salad with pomegranate seeds and goat cheese. Both were delicious. The carriage driver had suggested the fried green tomatoes.
We ordered them...Outrageous. The unusual aspect was the 1/2" cubes of seared pork belly served on top of the tomatoes along with a complementary sauce. There are 4 tomatoes to an order so we split the order. For our main course we split the duck breast. Absolutely delicious and unusual. Instead of the typical cherry reduction sauce served with duck, the sauce was a reduction of balsamic vinegar, butter, and Dijon mustard. Really good. Cru is in a old Charleston House and has about 26 seats, so reserve way ahead of time. The price is about 25% less than similar Charleston restaurants, so not only is the food outstanding but the price value is as well.

Tags: Special Occasion, Romantic, Local Ingredients, Notable Wine List, Creative Cuisine, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on December 15, 2017

Went for an anniversary and confirmed on the phone they had a note of it and nothing was acknowledged... a bit disappointing.

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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Charlotte)·Dined on December 15, 2017

Very good food, quick service, and lively. Glad we chose this for lunch.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Cozy, Casual, Quick Bite
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 15, 2017

Warm place. Wonderful food. Great manager who made us feel welcome.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Birmingham)·Dined on December 14, 2017

Great as usual - we dine here everytime we visit Charleston.

Tags: Comfort Food, Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Romantic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on December 13, 2017

Delicious dinner on our visit to Charleston. One of the best dinners I have ever had

Tags: Cozy, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on December 12, 2017

The meal was delightful! I had the Scottish salmon with lemon risotto. Cooked to perfection. Red wine recommended by server was a wonderful choice. My friend had a seafood dish that had mussels. She was very pleased and stated how fresh seafood was. Would highly recommend Cru Cafe. I come back every time I am in Charleston.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 9, 2017

CRU has Good food, casual atmosphere, large portions

Tags: Pre/post Theatre
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food4
ambience3
service4
value4

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