The Darling Oyster Bar

4.6
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1618 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Seafood
The Darling Oyster Bar is a casual seafood restaurant and raw bar. The Darling's menu features fresh seafood and creative ingredients, served with an approachable style. The Darling Oyster Bar’s atmosphere promotes comfortable hospitality; with a lively, neighborhood feel.

Anchoring The Darling Oyster Bar is a stunning raw bar showcasing fresh, made-to-order seafood. Guests can enjoy the lively raw bar scene while overlooking historic King Street from The Darling’s iconic storefront. The Darling raw bar also offers full service dining.

Located in the heart of Upper King Street, The Darling Oyster Bar is housed in a 115-year old historic building that enjoys a storied past. A mix of the original 1900’s reclaimed wood, whole exposed brick walls, classic tile, antique molding, and nautical theme combine to create a setting that is all at once convivial, charming, and comfortable.
What 1618 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.6
service
4.6
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Birthday celebration. Everything was great. Menu was a bit limited but understood the philosophy of doing a few things well.

k
New York Area
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

came through during a road trip- great casual chic place. food and service excellent . no issues requesting a simple modification to dish to remove a meat.

LR
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience5

The food here was top notch! Excellent oysters on the half shell, followed by crab cakes and shrimp and grits, then ended with key lime pie. All of the food was outstanding, decor was beautiful and service was attentive without being intrusive. Cannot recommend enough!

f
Charleston
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Incredible. I can’t wait to go back and get the tower. Amazing.

OT
Washington DC
29 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall4food4service4ambience4

limited menu but good food. Loved the fried oysters and shrimp, and the hush puppies were quite good. Prompt and very attentive service.

QC
Nashville
14 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food4service5ambience5

We were from out of town visiting and I picked this place and it did not disappoint. The food was outstanding, our waitress was great and the wine I had, was actually very good. I consider myself a foodie and we really wanted some good seafood and this hit the spot. My only complaint was the ceviche seemed like a bit of an afterthought and we didn't care for that or the hush puppies but everything else was great. I highly recommend the Tuna, Fried Clams, Baked and Raw oysters.

OT
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall2food5service4ambience5

Amazing food, waaaaaaaaayy to expensive for what you get.

CP
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great seafood, great service. Don’t have a bad thing to say. The lobster roll is to die for.

C
Louisville
65 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Our table of 4 had oysters, clams, shrimp, cocktail, shrimp and grits and fried clams. Everything was very good with the exception of the fried clams....which were ok but not great. The service was excellent. We highly recommend.

SM
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall4food5service2ambience4

Waiter was not very friendly but food was excellent.

J
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Lauren our server was outstanding

Very knowledgeable about the food and area

We would go back just because of her

OT
Pittsburgh
1 review
Dined on January 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Went for the happy hour, loved the oysters, the catch of the day awesome and Gabriella was great!

M
Charleston
7 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2020
Overall3food4service5ambience3

We had a reservation for 6pm. Other than the oyster bar the restaurant was pretty empty. They seated us at the back of the dining room - all together with 2 other parties along the back wall. No privacy for conversations, in fact you could hear everything each other were saying. I think it would have been more sensible to spread us out a bit.

WH
New Orleans
3 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall2food2service2ambience1

Was hit with a blast of off putting fish smell combined with ammonia as soon as we walked in. I wanted to leave but the person who picked the restaurant wanted to stay. Retrospectively we all decided we would leave immediately. Tab greater than $400 for mediocre food at best. Fish tasted like straight from freezer- fishy taste. No one ate. Oysters tasted off as well. Not from Charleston but my fellow 4 diners were. We won’t be going back. Super disappointed.

OT
Tampa
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall4food3service3ambience4

The atmosphere was great. The service was fine. The food was kind of forgettable. The best thing was the fire

B
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome meal, great service. Scallops were fantastic.

OT
St. Louis
12 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service! Food was very good! Our server made great suggestions. The oysters were top notch...from presentation to quality to flavor,

C
Houston
7 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious! We loved oyster shooters, oysters, salad and scallops. Would definitely recommend. The ambiance was perfect and it is close to a few wine bars. Looking forward to next time!

D
Charleston
81 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Jill our server was terrific and the food was delicious! Thank you for seating us in a quieter area as requested we will definitely be back

SF
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience3

The Darling never fails to disappoint. Food and beverages always outstanding. Had a wonderful time with family and friends.

RL
Atlanta
4 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience3

I was a little disappointed, I found this restaurant on Yelp and chose it based on the good reviews. I ordered the lobster and king crab roll with fries for the side. The roll was more bread than meat and was very greasy. The fries were overly salty, so much so that I had to order a side of ranch to try to tame the saltiness.

DM
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food, atmosphere and service.

P
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2020
Overall1food1service1ambience4

Terrible experience. We ordered fried clam strips and they came chewy and room temperature. Told the waiter, takes them and brings a new plate but placed them on table next to us, who starts eating them. When, sometime later they tell the waiter they did not order them the waiter brings them to our table ( already half eaten). We let him know we saw them eating them, he takes them “back” to the kitchen and supposedly brings “new ones” two min later but they look like same ones and have the exact same dipping container with already used sauce.

The hushpuppies were reheated from day before ( chewy and room temperature).

Do not waste your time, best thing we ate was salad.

k
Washington DC
19 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2020
Overall4food3service4ambience4

The raw bar ( oysters, clams, shrimp, are very fresh. Excellent happy hour deals! The regular menus were just ok for us . We ordered the avocado toast ( too much cucumbers ! ) , mussels ( broth not tasty , kinda watery)

PH
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience5

The Darling Oyster was okay, but not great. It was definitely too expensive for what it delivered. I would not recommend that anyone go out of their way to visit the Darling, especially with some other much better restaurants nearby.

Everything felt rushed - which is a huge turn-off at a restaurant billed as "up-scale". Our server was very friendly, but at times unattentive. Since the restaurant was out of the fish entree, my wife and I decided to order a number of appetizers instead of entrees (I think we had five appetizers in addition to our oysters). Our server offered to stagger the appetizers, which was great because we were about to make the same request. However, all of our food came out within a five minute window. Our table was so crammed it was hard to pick up our wine glasses. In addition, many of the hot items were no longer warm by the time we got to eat them. Also, several of our dishes were over-salted (which I generally wouldn't mention, but on top of everything else, it was disappointing).

Surprisingly, after the flurry of food delivered to our table, our server was then hard to find - resulting in a couple of occasions where we were searching for her to order another drink.

There is obviously room for improvement, and it wasn't close to living up to the hype. Considering the price and the other great restaurants in the area, I would recommend going somewhere else.

GL
New England
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Had a Reservation for 8:30pm on New Year's Eve. We were seated prompted. Joe was our waiter.
We ordered the Seafood Tower. It was outstanding! We each had several different cocktails that he recommended. Enjoyed them all. Overall eating there was an outstanding experience. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

OT
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

New Years Eve my brother and his wife visiting Charleston

h
Atlanta
22 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Service very slow. Felt oysters were very overpriced.

OT
Vancouver
35 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our second round on this trip. It’s that good! Kid friendly but a nice spot for a quiet dinner. Oysters are amazing. The fresh fish basket is insane. Ask for the house hot sauce. Amaze!

RD
Baltimore
3 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Service was first rate, very attentive staff. The food was amazing loved the shrimp and grits.

DJ
Birmingham
9 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience3

It took a long time to get our meal. No explanation why but they comped us some cocktails. The food was very good. Some of the best scallops we have ever had.

OT
Atlanta
2 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing! Would highly recommend.

S
Nashville
3 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service from the staff. Food was great, and not too loud in the dining area.

OT
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was excellent. Joe our waiter was excellent..very knowledgeable and guided us in the right direction when it came to our tastes. We ordered the octopus appetizer and the cajun shrimp appetizer, which were so incredibly flavorful. The rice cake in the shrimp dish soaks up the sauce beautifully and the legumes laying under the octopus were incredibly flavored. Our entrees comprised of shrimp and grits and the scallop entree. The roasted brussel sprouts in the shrimp and grits were perfectly crisp and the scallop dish was not shared with me, but I was assured the dish was incredibly delicious. Next time we are in town, we will definitely revisit.

T
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

We went there at happy hour and had a delightful experience. We will add it to our annual Charleston dining agenda!

OT
Vancouver
35 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

In one word:INCREDIBLE! We will be coming back for seconds this trip! The oysters are fresh and wild caught. The fried fish basket was to die for! Very crisp, flakey, white fish that will make you compare every other meal to this during your stay! Def make reservations Bc they book up quick!! Bravo!

JG
Tampa
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was delicious and the waiter was knowledgeable

H
Phoenix
10 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Every visit to Charleston, we eat at Darling Oyster.

R
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Strolled past the restaurant as we walked on King Street. Had nice curb appeal/facade with raw bar immediately inside main window. Felt it was worth giving it a a try. Service and food was excellent! Great flavors and very nice ambiance.

ER
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A visit to Charleston, SC, on our way to Florida. This may be the best restaurant I have been to. It is definitely a number one. Thank you for the great service and spectacular food served.

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