The Darling Oyster Bar

4.6
1261 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 1261 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
4.5
food
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
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Baltimore
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Get the scallops!!! And key lime pie!!!

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Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Charleston is a quaint city full of Oyster Bars.... with so many great options to choose from, we scrolled the list coupled with touring the city on our first day.... we chose this restaurant for ambiance and location... amazing service, great food, the kids enjoyed the oysters, mussels, avocado toast, lobster roll, clam chowder.... the mixed drinks were well proportioned. Fantastic locale, will definitely be back!!!

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Denver
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Should accommodate families a bit better. Kids shouldn’t impact parents ability to eat out! Just add some butter noodles and breaded chicken and you would be set!

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TH
Saskatoon
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome above level service. Love this place.

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T
New York Area
105 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Another great dining experience at The Darling. Freshly shucked raw oysters and steamed mussels with Muscadet, and then sea scallops, triggerfish special, and other enjoyed entrees with more great wine and nice desserts plus excellence service made it another memorable family experience. Thank you!

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DP
Seattle
14 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was genuinely low country with a light, fresh preparation. Service was prompt and personal. Fantastic!

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WS
New York Area
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Fresh catch was swordfish—best I’ve had, excellent.

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AC
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Great service, had some great food, and some good but not great food.

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BB
New York Area
20 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent seafood. Had gulf oysters, lobster and crab roll and bay scallops. All great. The buttered toasted roll in the lobster crab roll was the best roll I have ever had!

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WD
Los Angeles
19 reviews
Dined on April 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Just great food! Friendly and informative service. Who could ask for anything more?

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JM
Pittsburgh
13 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was fantastic!! We had a great dinner!!

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San Diego
1 review
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great brunch! Crab parfait was excellent

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l
New England
3 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Such a cute spot for brunch! The mimosas were delicious, as was the french toast! The atmosphere was just what I was looking for - beautiful decor, spacious, and not too loud!

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KB
Western NC
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 1

Service was good, but EXTREMELY rushed. One of those places that wants to get you out of the door as quickly as possible to turn more tables. Very loud. We had two appetizers and two entrees. Tuna appetizer special was fairly good, but avocado toast with crab was mediocre at best as sauce overpowered any of the other flavors. Crab pasta was bad...pasta had strange texture, crab was mushy and stringy, and sauce had no flavor. Fried oysters were okay, but only got seven for dinner entree. Hushpuppies were awful (strange flavor and pink interior coloring!). Would not go back. Waitress did check on us regularly however, which was nice.

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DL
Orlando
16 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding fresh seafood, great service, and quality wine.

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A
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a great birthday experience here! Staff was friendly. The food was delicious. We got oysters, the shrimp and grits, half fried chicken, and clam chowder. They brought out a delicious key lime pie for dessert.

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LR
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I could not have asked for better food or a better experience. We will definitely be back.

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C
Greensboro
10 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our first stop in Charleston this weekend was at Darling, and we're so glad for it! The pictures online blew me away, but didn't do justice to the cool ambiance the restaurant has. I especially loved all of the different textural details in the decor and design of the historic renovation. But most importantly, our food and service was amazing. Lauren was our awesome server, who was very attentive and patient with me when I couldn't decide what I wanted. We eventually started rolling orders of oysters and clams, (with a side of the best french fries I've had in a long time,) and everything was perfect from the hot sauce to the cocktails.

Thanks for the wonderful experience, Darling + staff!

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New England
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

Food not as good as the hype. Service good and very pretty dinning room and bar

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Columbus
1 review
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was one of the best restaurants in terms of service, fresh food and just a good time! We are in Charleston for a bachelorette party and they accommodated us so well. We will definitely come back next time we are in town!

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D
Chicago
59 reviews
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Great service, beautiful salad and the artic char special was terrific! The scallops were good, not great. We’ll go back and sit in the bar room next visit. Lively and fun!

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SM
Richmond
1 review
Dined on April 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were a party of 8. First time dining at The Darling Oyster Bar. From beginning to the end service was AMAZING!! Our server Dylan made our trip to Charleston memorable! I would highly recommend asking for Dylan as your server! The food was outstanding! We order from both the kitchen & the raw bar. We had a couple of special request and were delighted they could accommodate us!The drinks were top notched! Especially the Old fashion & The punch. The oyster choices fantastic! Great location on King Street. Can easily accommodate party of 8! Make sure you put this top of your list of must eat restaurants in Charleston!!

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SR
New York Area
21 reviews
Dined on April 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Cool place – spacious and casual with intelligent friendly service. During the week, happy hour oysters are $1 each – such a deal and super delicious. Wine, beer, cocktails reasonably priced as well. Amazing mussels, too – perfectly plump, sweet, and juicy. Entrees included perfect diver scallops with corn, greens, tasty sauce. Daily special of trout seemed under-seasoned by comparison. Would totally recommend and return.

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BA
New England
6 reviews
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

We have dined here before and had an excellent time, so we expected the same experience again. The vibe was completely different this time and it might be because it was a Sunday night, or maybe we should have sat in the bar area again not in the room as you enter the restaurant. We ordered cocktails and my husband’s first choice of beer was unavailable (not a big deal) but my tonic in my G & T was flat. Our server apologized and it was remedied within 10 minutes. We ordered oysters as an app and they were fabulous! Briny and nicely chilled. We ordered our entrees, but the waitress returned to tell us they were out of our selection. We ordered the pasta with blue crab and it took forever to get. I mean forever! Our waitress returned several times to apologize for the delay. When we received our order, it was nothing special. If you go to this restaurant, make sure to sit in the lively bar area and don’t order the Blue crab pasta.

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Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had the best time at The Darling! The food was some of the best we had on our trip and would highly recommend to anyone visiting Charleston. If you like Bloody Marys and are there for brunch, order The Captain - you won’t regret it!

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Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The “Captain” Bloody Mary at brunch is a must do.

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Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service was very good, we got oysters, the half chicken, the shrimp grits and the s’mores desert. All was amazing. Will come back again.

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NJ
New York Area
52 reviews
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

This is a great place for a very good, casual meal with friends. The food is fresh and well-prepared and presented nicely. The bar is great and they have a very cool Happy Hour. While we were treated very well, I have to admit that this place is frequented by a younger crowd. This wasn't a problem at all, but I thought I might mention it for others to be aware of.

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AD
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Came for happy hour oysters - they were overall pretty bland unfortunately. Drinks were delicious. Ambiance was wonderful.

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KL
Western NC
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 5

The soft shell crab was horrible. The breading was doughy and just wrong. The succotash salad served with it was fantastic. We had horrible service this night also, bad enough that she never came back to find out and correct how bad the crab was.
We are there previously and had a fabulous experience.
Cocktails were creative and very good.

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G
New York Area
102 reviews
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing oysters and the shrimp and grits were perfect. Dylan is an awesome waiter. We had a lot of fun with him! Get the ice cream sandwich!

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D
Charleston
28 reviews
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

I have tried to like this place but still feel it’s no big deal. The menu could include a fish option that is sautéed, or fried with optional sauces. It feels like a college restaurant.

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f
Nashville
5 reviews
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Out favorite little spot in Charleston!

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TB
Miami
6 reviews
Dined on March 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place had THE BEST New England style (creamy) clam chowder I've ever had, and I'm old! The scallops were wonderful, as was the shrimp and grits!

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S
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on March 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

We were greeted by two lovely and friendly young ladies at the door. Decided to sit at the main bar, not the oyster bar. Staff behind our bar were a bit unfriendly and nervous! They need to smile and become more friendly. It’s Charleston after all. Food was fresh and delicious.

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New England
2 reviews
Dined on March 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went for the soft shell crabs and they did not disappoint! Had a great waiter Dylan and enjoyed white wine, oysters and clams, we will be back

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was absolutely amazing! Our server was very knowledgeable and made excellent recommendations.

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B
London
12 reviews
Dined on March 25, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

Service was excellent. Food was mediocre, which was very disappointing. The restaurant is so noisy we couldn’t hear a word anyone at our table said (and we like noisy places!)

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SM
Cleveland
29 reviews
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Insist on being seated in the main/corner room with the bar/oyster bar! It has ALL the atmosphere. If you get stuck, as we did, in the side/blue room - you'll not only have none of the ambience of the other room (and I mean NONE) you'll also get to see the restaurant's servers make about 100 trips in and out of the curtained kitchen during your meal. Those being stuck in the second class room should get discounted pricing...

As for the food? From not bad to pretty good, depending on the dish - but not in any way worth a trip back - sure, given The Darling's frequent mention on so many "best of" lists ...

Maybe the food would have tasted better in the main room? I'll never know.

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ND
Atlanta
3 reviews
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 5ambience 2

The service from the second we walked in was off. As a party of two with reservations for 7pm we were seated back towards the kitchen between two tables with children. I love children however, as an older adult couple being seated next to a noisy traffic pattern and children was not cool. Hostess was unresponsive. Server was not engaged. Never asked how the food was, if we needed anything, would we care for another drink or more water. We had to attract his attention for everything. Except to swoop in and grab empty cellophane wrappers from the crackers served with the oysters without saying anything. Only when asked about his tattoo did he smile or show any personality. Main restaurant appeared pleasant. Side dining was noisy and busy. Not at all what we expected when requesting a reservation. Food was delicious. Service really detracted from the experience.

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