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Diners' Choice: Lively restaurants in Charleston

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Updated July 05, 2024

Looking for restaurants that have the most vibrant bar scenes in Charleston? You’re in the right place. Each month, OpenTable analyzes nearly 2 million global diner reviews from the past four months. We sort the results by location and category to help you discover new favorite restaurants. It's a great partnership: you reserve, eat, and review. We listen...and deliver the results for all to benefit. Enjoy!


A photo of O-Ku restaurant
4.8
4.8 (2640)
$30 and under
Japanese
Downtown Charleston
About the restaurant
O-Ku, a Japanese restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, is a triumph of execution and concept. The restaurant's menu is a modern take on traditional Japanese cuisine, and it features fresh, seasonal ingredients that are prepared with care. The dishes are beautifully presented, and the flavors are both complex and delicate. Focused on incorporating authentically Japanese flavors into the fare, O-Ku's menu is comprised of signature contemporary Japanese entrées and traditional sushi of the season reflecting the uniquely designed space. Guests can enjoy chef specialties including kurobuta pulled pork don-buri, braised short rib with shiso pesto, coconut curry, and hakozushi a box-style sushi. A wide variety of nigiri, sashimi and crudos are also available. The beverage program at O-Ku is a sophisticated blend of specialty cocktails, premium sake, bubbles, red and white wines and unique beer selections.
Top review
SandyL
Dined 7 days ago
Our food was quick to come out and our server and service were exceptional! The food was absolutely delicious! Will have dinner there again!
A photo of Indaco restaurant
4.8
4.8 (3670)
$30 and under
Italian
Downtown Charleston
About the restaurant
Located on Charleston's Upper King Street, Indaco (Italian for "indigo") serves rustic Italian cuisine. Wood-fired pizzas, hand-crafted pastas, housemade salami and cured sausages fill the restaurant's menu which can be enjoyed family-style or a la carte. With community tables, an open kitchen, and a comfortable atmosphere, Indaco can accommodate 100 guests for a casual night of food and drinks. The wine list is focused on affordable Italian varietals, the Negroni cocktail is on tap, and the fresh sodas are made in-house. The massive wooden doors on Upper King Street are your first indication that Indaco is different from the typical Charleston restaurant. Rustic details continue inside with butcherblock tables, lime-wash walls, and white brick. An open kitchen with nearby community tables lets interested diners keep an eye on the action inside the kitchen. Outside, a patio puts you streetside to watch Upper King Street's vibrant nightlife scene.
Top review
SpirosKvip
Dined 7 days ago
The food was fantastic and our server was extremely knowledgeable, polite, and experienced. She is a true asset to the establishment. Bravo all around.
A photo of Amen Street Fish + Raw Bar restaurant
4.7
4.7 (4910)
$30 and under
Seafood
Downtown Charleston
About the restaurant
Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar opened in 2009, reviving the former Amen name of Cumberland Street and restoring this historic corner. The new renovation stays true to the beauty of the original 1800's architecture while creating a comfortable atmosphere for contemporary life.



Located at 205 East Bay Street in the heart of the historic district this Charleston seafood restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining all within walking distance of the local Market and the Charleston Harbor.



The menu includes a variety of seafood dishes such as oysters, clams and shrimp in addition to an ever growing raw bar menu. Amen Street supports Charleston's local fishing industry with market fresh fish.



We are open for lunch and dinner. Walk-ins are welcome and reservations are accepted as well.

Top review
Jeta
Dined 5 days ago
Food and service was exceptional. I had the swordfish (grilled) special with low country succotash and it was the best swordfish I have ever had!! It was exquisitely cooked! My daughter had the salmon, and the bourbon glaze was delectable! We both had key-lime pie and it was amazing!! Service upon entering and out waitress were excellent. I have the good fortune to travel, love food, and I must say amen to Amen’s!! This is an absolute must stop!! Thanks to all at Amen’s!!
A photo of Rappahannock Oyster Bar - Charleston restaurant
4.7
4.7 (2582)
$30 and under
Seafood
Downtown Charleston
About the restaurant
Travis and Ryan Croxton debut their spinoff from the highly acclaimed Rappahannock Oyster Bar at Union Market in Washington, DC. They’ve even brought their DC Chef, Kevin Kelly, to man the kitchen at this outpost. This location in the historic Cigar Factory Building on East Bay Street, allows room for Chef Kelly to showcase more of his cuisine to a larger audience, including an incredibly unique 40 seat raw bar. Oysters grown by the Croxton’s own Rappahannock Oyster Company are accentuated, but Kelly’s signature dishes like lambs’n’clams, crabcakes, shrimp & grits and the best po’ boy you’ll ever eat are enough reasons in their own right for constant visits. Coupled with a great cocktail program and focus on local ingredients, ROB is a great place for any occasion.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Jul 15, 2024
Great service & the oysters & crab dip were delicious! We were there during happy hour which was a bonus.
A photo of Galpao Gaucho Brazilian Steakhouse - Charleston restaurant
4.7
4.7 (679)
$50 and over
Brazilian Steakhouse
Downtown Charleston
About the restaurant
Galpão Gaucho Brazilian Steakhouse, an authentic Brazilian dining experience.

Serving and preserving the Gaucho’s culture and the authentic dining tradition of the Brazilian cowboy of grilled meats and fresh salads.
With 17 different cuts of meats, ranging from beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and fish, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Hearts of palm, artichoke, sweet beets, asparagus, caprese salad, imported cheeses, and cured meats are only some of the almost 40 items that our gourmet salad bar offers.
Side dishes like garlic mashed potatoes, caramelized bananas, traditional rice and black beans, are a perfect complement to the true Southern Brazilian menu.

Whether you are visiting us for happy hour, a business dinner, a family gathering or a special occasion, we invite you to join us for a unique culinary experience at Galpão Gaucho Brazilian Steakhouse.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Jul 13, 2024
Wonderful service wonderful food as always one of my favorite places to go
A photo of Maya restaurant
4.6
4.6 (661)
$31 to $50
Mexican
Downtown Charleston
About the restaurant
Located in Charleston's lively Upper King Street District, Maya is an elevated Mexican eatery that celebrates Mexico's vibrant regional cuisines. The menu includes a selection of authentic dishes ranging from snacks and small plates, to tacos, shareable sides, and large format entrees. Maya's beverage program features mezcals, Mexican cervezas, and cocktails focused on fresh and seasonal flavors. The restaurant's décor is warm and welcoming, with natural furnishings and pops of color throughout. The space features La Terraza, an open-air patio with lush greenery and a full bar, which also serves as the setting for private dinners and events. Maya is open nightly for dinner, with happy hour available Monday through Thursday.
Top review
NanPvip
Dined 4 days ago
We had the best experience at Maya! Our food was delicious and our server Libby was incredibly kind and hospitable! It was a memorable night. We will be back again soon, and be sure to tell our local friends to dine often!
A photo of Bourbon N' Bubbles restaurant
4.5
4.5 (1275)
$31 to $50
Contemporary American
Downtown Charleston
About the restaurant
Bourbon n Bubbles is Upper Kings luxury restaurant and bar. Enjoy our offerings of appetizers and shared plates coupled with a premier selection of Champagne, bourbon, and hand-crafted cocktails.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 1 day ago
My favorite place in Charleston!! Will, the Bourbon Steward, was so knowledgeable and Wilder the server was so attentive. Highly recommend!!!
A photo of The Kingstide restaurant
4.5
4.5 (1428)
$30 and under
Seafood
Daniel Island
About the restaurant
The Kingstide is Daniel Island's first and only waterfront restaurant. Boasting a pristine setting along the Wando River's meandering waterways, the beautifully appointed two-story space features an abundance of windows that maximize natural light and picturesque views. Envisioned and executed by renowned Charleston-based Cortney Bishop Design, The Kingstide's rustic yet refined interiors offer a nautical nod that goes beyond coastal expectations The menu offers a variety of seafood dishes thoughtfully presented in both raw and wood-fired preparations. Inspired by the beautifully simple flavors of the sea, The Kingstide partners with local and regional fisheries, farmers, and purveyors to showcase the Lowcountry's bounty through fresh, seasonally driven cuisine.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 5 days ago
Our server Jacob was amazing the drinks were fantastic and the food was impeccable Priced well for the location Would definitely recommend
A photo of The Longboard - Sullivan's Island restaurant
4.4
4.4 (153)
$30 and under
Seafood
Sullivan's Island
About the restaurant
The Longboard - Sullivan’s Island is the 2nd iteration of The Longboard concept, originally born on St. John [USVI], opened May 2015 in the heart of Cruz Bay. Like the flagship concept, the S.I. location offers light & health fares and creative cocktails inspired by coastal regions around the globe. This location also embraces the rustic, wood-fire cuisine of the group’s other Caribbean locale [The Easterly – St. Thomas], focusing on fresh & local seafood, handcrafted cocktails, and an extensive wine list... all with a Lowcountry focus in mind.
Top review
ChristineWvip
Dined 3 days ago
Great night and service! Table of 7. Food was great!
A photo of Bahama Breeze - Charleston restaurant
4.4
4.4 (267)
$30 and under
Caribbean
North Charleston
About the restaurant
Bahama Breeze Island Grille offers a To Go menu with easy online ordering. Take home a taste of the islands today. Bahama Breeze offers all your favorites: burgers, salads, seafood, chicken-all with our island flair. From jicama or plantains to jerk chicken pasta, you can enjoy the islands one taste at a time, discovering new flavors along the way. If our Latin and Caribbean-inspired recipes sound delicious but you're not sure you're ready to explore, ask us about the ingredients or preparation. We're always happy to share our knowledge of Latin American and Caribbean cuisine.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Jul 15, 2024
A dozen ladies from my church group went. Everything was excellent! Will definitely go back.
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