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

4.5

Noise

Moderate

97% would recommend it to a friend

Creative Cuisine (84)
Neighborhood Gem (78)
Fit for Foodies (70)
See All
Great for Lunch (62)
Local Ingredients (60)
Good for a Date (54)
Casual (53)
Cozy (52)
Fun (40)
Special Occasion (40)
Authentic (39)
Comfort Food (39)
Worth the Drive (37)
Romantic (27)
Good for Anniversaries (27)
Good for Birthdays (26)
Healthy (23)
Great for Outdoor Dining (23)
Quiet Conversation (19)
Hot Spot (18)
Seasonal (14)
Great for Brunch (13)
Business Meals (10)
Pre/post Theatre (10)
Quick Bite (9)
Sunday Lunch (9)
Notable Wine List (8)
Good for Groups (7)
Late-night Find (7)
Good Vegetarian Options (7)
People Watching (6)
Tapas (6)
Kid-friendly (5)
Tasting Menu (5)
Bar Seating (4)
Great Beer (4)
Organic (4)
Scenic View (3)
Afternoon Coffee (2)
Gluten Free Options (2)
Handcrafted Cocktails (2)
Vegan (2)
Disabled Access (1)
Happy Hour (1)
Spicy (1)
Sort by
S
3361 reviews
Loading Reviews ...

 
 (Houston)·Dined 4 days ago

Food and service great.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined 4 days ago

Sat at the chefs table and watched the hustle bustle in the very busy kitchen. What a fun experience. The food was wonderful, service was fabulous. A great nite in Charleston. Highly recommend this wonderful restaurant

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

vip
 (Nashville)·Dined 4 days ago

Cru Cafe is the best! Reservations recommended, it is tiny.

Tags: Special Occasion, Pre/post Theatre, Local Ingredients, Great for Brunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Charlotte)·Dined 6 days ago

Normally our experience at Cru has been excellent. This night was mediocre with nothing exceptional and just frankly blah. Disappointing for Saturday evening in Charleston.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service4
value3

 
 (Baltimore)·Dined 7 days ago

Really enjoyed the food presentation and the excellent quality of the dishes. Gorgeous...and tasty. Service excellent and a truly enjoyable evening. Shrimp and grits were out of this world and the fish was an artful creation and delicious too!

Tags: Fun, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Charleston)·Dined 7 days ago

Creative flavorful dishes. Prices reasonable. Warm atmosphere quaint venue. Close quarters so a bit noisy but go early or go late to minimize.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (Charleston)·Dined 7 days ago

We dine at CRU every time we visit Charleston. We love the unique menu, wonderful food and the overall ambiance of this small restaurant. We consider it to be fine dining without the stuffy atmosphere.

Tags: Tapas, Special Occasion, Worth the Drive, Romantic, Comfort Food, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, Creative Cuisine, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined 7 days ago

The food was delicious and the staff extremely pleasant. We certainly will come again!

Tags: Seasonal, Good for Anniversaries, Comfort Food, Sunday Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Pre/post Theatre, Good for Birthdays, Fun, Quiet Conversation, Romantic, Great for Lunch, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on November 8, 2017

Cru Cafe is our favorite restaurant! It's always a treat to eat there. Great servers and the ch efs are amazing!

Tags: Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine, Pre/post Theatre, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Outdoor Dining, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Baltimore)·Dined on November 7, 2017

Excellent! Visited while on vacation for lunch. We left the area and made a special trip to return to the restaurant for dinner because of how great the food tasted. Will eat there again when I visit the area.

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

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 4, 2017

Cru, as always, was excellent. It has become a favorite when we have company in town. We have never had a bad experience here, and the food is excellent. It is a small place so be sure and make reservations in advance, but it is well worth the visit.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Scenic View, Pre/post Theatre, Good for a Date, Quiet Conversation, Neighborhood Gem, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on November 4, 2017

Our meal was absolutely delicious. Would definitely
Recommend and return.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine, Comfort Food, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Naples)·Dined on November 4, 2017

Lovely little southern home off a side street. Different atmosphere but we enjoyed it. Great food (stuffed fried chicken, steak and salads) and service.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service3
value4

 
·Dined on November 4, 2017

Love this restaurant.The food and quaint setting are a wonderful! Must try four cheese mac and cheese.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Good for a Date, Spicy, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value4

vip
 (Nashville)·Dined on November 3, 2017

I have never had a bad meal at Cru and it is consistently at the top of my list!

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

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on November 3, 2017

Cru never disappoints! John does a great job - I always visit when in Charleston from NC. YUM!

Tags: Worth the Drive, Comfort Food, Good for a Date, Local Ingredients, Fun, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on November 1, 2017

We totally enjoyed our experience. We asked to move our reservation up at the last minute and they graciously got us in early. The food and service was amazing!

Tags: Good for a Date, Good Vegetarian Options, Hot Spot, Healthy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Raleigh)·Dined on November 1, 2017

Great lunch. Wonderful choice of salads. Great wine selection. Inspired menu.

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

 
·Dined on November 1, 2017

The weather was great so i sat out on the porch. The service was perfect and the house smoked pastrami was awesome. I would highly recommend this restaurant for a casual meal. Also there is nothing to hide because the kitchen is wide open.

Tags: Comfort Food, People Watching, Cozy, Casual, Good for Groups, Afternoon Coffee
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on October 31, 2017

Outstanding local fish dish w/fingering potatoes. Our second trip to Charleston and we ate here last time as well. Now a favorite for the quality of food and southern charm decor. Will return!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on October 29, 2017

Fried green tomatoes are the best in Charleston! We ordered them twice.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 28, 2017

Nice atmosphere. Brie appetizer was amazing. Great service

Tags: Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on October 27, 2017

Enjoyed our first lunch so much, we canceled another reservation so we could return for lunch the following day. Sat at small counter watching the cooks on both days. All the employees at Cru Cafe work energetically to prepare and serve creative and very tasty food to customers in this obviously popular, casual restaurant.

Tags: Great for Lunch, Good for a Date, Casual, Creative Cuisine, Hot Spot, Fun, Local Ingredients, Worth the Drive, Healthy, Neighborhood Gem, Quick Bite
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 26, 2017

Love Cru cafe! We keep coming back every year! We have been making reservations for at least 6 years! Love it!

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

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 26, 2017

Really great food and service. Loved the mussels, followed by duck, and scallop dinners. Orange cake dessert was excellent. This cafe is the perfect alternative to the giant, noisy restaurant scene in Charleston.

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

 
·Dined on October 25, 2017

I was in town on business and after a friend had recommended CRU I was lucky to get a reservation for 1. I had the good fortune to be seated at the Chef's table and had a bird's eye view of the kitchen staff, it was exciting to watch how well they worked together in getting the orders out. The dishes looked delicious! I had a salad with a salmon addition and the soup was a yummy corn chowder with bacon. The party of 3 sitting next to me were certainly enjoying themselves and the beauty of sitting at the bar (albeit this wasn't really a bar) is you always strike up a conversation with those next to you. Disappointing was the bread pudding which was supposed to have peaches and raspberries which were non-existent, when I told my waiter he just acknowledged it, but didn't do anything about it. Overall it was a good experience and I would definitely go back. I took a photo of the fellow diner's scallops with schnitzel and of my lovely looking bread pudding with whipped cream.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Great for Outdoor Dining, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 25, 2017

Awesome experience. My wife and I are visiting from out of town and were lucky enough to snag a seat at the chef's table. The staff has a great chemistry, that added with a wonderful meal, was an unforgettable experience. Thanks Cru Crew!

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

vip
 (Nashville)·Dined on October 25, 2017

We had a lot of great food on our trip to Charleston, but Cru Café's is at the top of the list. My travel partner had the butter lettuce salad with shrimp, and I had the General Tso's Caesar wrap with delicious, thin fries. Highly recommend! (Also had a great lunch at 167 Raw, which doesn't take reservations. If you can handle the very small space and hipster vibe, you'll be rewarded with a superior buttered, grilled lobster roll and outstanding fish. The $27 dollars I spent on my lobster roll was well worth it, as was the beautifully presented oyster po-boy.)

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

 
 (Jacksonville)·Dined on October 24, 2017

This was our second visit, having been there when it first opened fifteen years ago . The food was outstanding as it was then. We will be back soon .

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

vip
 (Louisville)·Dined on October 20, 2017

Great little restaurant. Loved the food, the friendly service and upbeat vibe. Don't miss this little gem in Charleston.

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

 
·Dined on October 20, 2017

Excellent food, great service, and perfect atmosphere. Cru Cafe is great!!

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

 
·Dined on October 20, 2017

entrees, I had the turkey & avocado sandwich with truffle fries, while my husband had a burger with regular fries. All of it was really tasty and well-cooked. I recommend the truffle fries, because they aren't super common, but they are a nice treat!

The cafe is in an old home, and it has seating inside and outside. It's comfortable and classic, and it looks like the epitome of a charming Charleston cafe. We went here on a Friday around 11, and there weren't too many people yet, but by the time we left it was really busy. We recommend making a reservation just in case.

Btw: There is free street parking nearby, but it's an hour limit.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Scenic View, Comfort Food, Great for Brunch, Great for Outdoor Dining, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Worth the Drive, Great for Lunch, Fun, Good for a Date, Healthy, Romantic, Casual, Business Meals, Good for Birthdays, Sunday Lunch, Creative Cuisine, Authentic, Hot Spot, Cozy, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Columbus)·Dined on October 20, 2017

We really enjoyed this restaurant. We were seated quickly. Our server was very knowledgeable! The salmon with lemon risotto was one of the best salmon dishes I have ever had.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 19, 2017

Reservations are a must a couple days in advance.

Our waitress, Nelia, was so sweet and amazing!!!! Loved her!

The cauliflower soup was out of this world. Butter lettuce salads were excellent.

Always love eating at Cru!

Tags: People Watching, Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies, Healthy, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Great for Lunch, Comfort Food, Authentic, Casual, Great for Outdoor Dining, Bar Seating, Good Vegetarian Options
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
·Dined on October 18, 2017

This is a yearly dinner while on vacation. One of our favorite restaurants in Charleston. Farm to table ingredients are skillfully prepared into delicious dishes. Service is top notch. Reservations highly recommended.

Tags: Healthy, Great for Lunch, Local Ingredients, Fit for Foodies, Worth the Drive, Cozy, Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Authentic, Good for a Date, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 17, 2017

Excellent restaurant -- service . food and ambiance!!

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Worth the Drive
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food1
ambience2
service1
value1

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on October 17, 2017

Great dining atmosphere. Casual. Good wait staff. Nice selection of wines by glass.
Nice selection of varied dishes. Would definitely go back.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Creative Cuisine, Great for Outdoor Dining
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service3
value3

 
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on October 14, 2017

I ate here last years with my friends and thought I would take my family....they LOVED it!! The food was excellent (fried green tomatoes) and well as the service! When we visit again we will make sure you are on the top of the list!!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Charlotte)·Dined on October 14, 2017

Just about our favorite restaurant in Charleston . It only takes one visit to get you hooked . Don’t miss the Chinese Chicken Salad or the Shrimp BLT...or anything else for that matter. Always a good idea to get reservations. Did I mention how good the truffle fries are...

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Fun, Great for Outdoor Dining, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on October 14, 2017

Cru cafe always my favorite!

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

Report this review as inappropriate?

If you believe this review should be removed from OpenTable, please let us know and someone will investigate.