The Darling Oyster Bar

4.6
1306 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 1306 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
4.6
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
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AT
Charleston
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Always hear rave reviews online but our experience was very average. They need to up their game with so many great restaurants in town.

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SG
Charleston
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved this place. Seafood was so fresh. Already recommended it to friends!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 4

They didn’t pace our appetizer orders and all the food came out at once. There was no room on the table and literally oysters were falling on the floor - not so darling. Food was good but the attention to detail and service was disappointing considering the price.

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KW
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing oysters and shrimp. Friendly staff and great ambience on a Friday night. Highly recommend.

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OT
Cleveland
4 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The oysters and shrimp were outstanding! Make sure you get the clam chowder fries!

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MP
Detroit
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Service was a bit slow. Food was really good and it’s a fun atmosphere.

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JD
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Great atmosphere, okay food. Great place for a cocktail.

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D
Jacksonville
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Great food and atmosphere. We definitely come back next time I Charleston. Service was also terrific

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Mother’s Day

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OR
Charleston
21 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The oysters were delicious and fresh, expertly shuck and the Matini was to die for.

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OT
New England
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great staff

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BB
Charleston
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a reservation for 2 at 845 on a Saturday evening but decided to get there a bit early in hopes of getting in sooner. We arrived around 815 and were seated right away. The food, cocktails, and service was incredible! Highly recommend the charred octopus and fried clam strips! I will definitely be back on my next trip to Charleston.

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OT
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great spot

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OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The appetizer and entrees were outstanding, the service excellent and atmosphere extremely pleasant..great location..a real find!

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LM
Charleston
2 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

The Darling Oyster was a cute place and the clam strips were good but the fried shrimp basket and lobster and crab roll weren't great. Also, the mixed drinks weren't my favorite. The Paloma was very tart and the Fish House Punch seemed watered down. Seemed like a great place for oysters if you enjoy them but overall the food was a little disappointing.

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DS
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Delicious and Darling place to dine! Casually elegant and the food was yummy!

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m
Charleston
9 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We took our oyster-loving friends for their first visit. We tried three new oysters and enjoyed them all. I had excellent fried catfish and my wife had the blue crab tagliatelle. Everyone really enjoyed their food along with the very attentive service.

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ML
Denver
7 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was by far our favor I ate dining experience in Charleston! Oysters and food were amazing and we loved the upscale casual atmosphere. This place really is darling, and a must on your dining itinerary!

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OT
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

My oysters and lobster roll was fantastic. My mom ordered the pasta... it was not what she expected so she was a little disappointed. Good cocktails!!

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KF
1 review
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Darling Oyster bar had excellent food with excellent service, which is hard to beat. The waitress walked us through the oyster options, brought out drinks and refills quickly, and was incredibly friendly. The baked oysters with Alabama white sauce were one of my favorite things I had!

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OT
Des Moines
2 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was outstanding. We had the hush puppies with sorghum butter, creole shrimp and octopus salad.

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OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

The food wasn’t as good as I expected— too much vinegar used on the mustard sauce in the Creole Shrimp dish and the Crab Parfait. It overpowered the food. The octopus was a bit overdone and had a charred taste mostly and I eat octopus more than anyone. Worth a try but mostly disappointing although the atmosphere and staff/service are perfectly lovely. It was my birthday and overall wish I went somewhere else to celebrate.

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SA
1 review
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a wonderful evening at Darling with delicious food and pampered by lovely staff. Highly recommended.

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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Darling never disappoints . Excellent

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OT
Detroit
1 review
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Waitress was so great!

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JF
Charleston
7 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Spent my boyfriend's birthday dinner at Darling, highly recommend! The tables are close together and if you are in the middle booth it feels a little to close to comfort but we settled in. We got the seafood platter for two, some extra oysters, and split the grouper special. I was so happy to spend the money because it was so enjoyable!

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SB
Denver
8 reviews
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service from wait staff

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SC
1 review
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

Shrimp Creole appetizer was fantastic as was the sea scallop main dish. The fried oysters were large and meaty with a bit too much breading.
Wine list could use some work. Many more people will order full bottles with varied and reasonably priced choices.

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S
Dallas
3 reviews
Dined on April 29, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 4ambience 3

Beautiful main room and very friendly staff. The side room is a sad hallway with several small tables of seemingly disappointed diners. Oysters were just okay, but the other dishes were terrible. The blue crab tagliatelle was flavorless and gummy, the charred octopus salad was a mess, and the clam chowder was thin and oily with very little flavor. By far our worst meal in Charleston.

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SM
1 review
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server was wonderful. We were on our honeymoon and this was, I believe, the only place to do something special for us (the champagne sorbet was great!). On top of that, the crab legs in the raw bar were some of the best things we ate in all of Charleston, and we ate A LOT of great food while we were there. Thank you all for the experience! We will be sure to come back!

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KD
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Really good raw bar. Waiter was able to give good recommendations for selections of oysters.

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MO
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and wonderful service. Wonderful menu.

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MB
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great service and menu. Everything we had came out timely and was delicious.

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c
Charleston
6 reviews
Dined on April 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Have always loved the food and atmosphere here

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d
1 review
Dined on April 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had been looking forward to visiting The Darling Oyster bar from the moment we laid eyes on the large, fresh seafood bar through the sidewalk window our first night in Charleston. Probably due to Easter, weekend reservations were literally unavailable for any hour. Our Monday night booking afforded us a delicious, memorable meal and exceptional service.

Overindulgent is a mighty weak word to describe our visit. We ordered the oyster shooters for starters and the Seafood Plateau for dinner. The $90 offering included clams, oysters, lobster, shrimp, and crab accompanied with cocktail sauce, mignonette, horseradish, house-made tartar sauce, and plenty of lemons. Every bite was outstanding. I can't recall if I have ever tasted such fresh, flavorful fruits de mer. The clams and oysters were delicious on their own without any of the sauces. Not even hot pepper sauce.

We skipped lunch we decided we were still hungry after we decimated the Plateau. Patrick ordered the fried chicken sandwich: a crisp-fried chicken breast served with slaw, pickles and tomato mayonnaise. His choice of sides was kale slaw. I chose the double burger with cheddar, lettuce, onions, pickles, and special sauce. And, since I was throwing decency to the wind, I chose crispy, delicious fries for my side. He couldn't finish his sandwich, but I wasn't leaving anything on the table except perhaps a fry or two.

I'm embarrassed that I don't remember her name, but the delightful, attentive woman who took care of us—and made our visit so special—treated us to oyster shooters (on her) to finish out the night.

This evening was probably the highlight of our dining experiences in Charleston.

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

A really great place to eat. Lots of local charm. Wait staff was wonderful!! Food was outstanding!! Would definitely go back.

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KT
1 review
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Exellent service quick food and drink delivery to the table. The waiter was very attentive. He took extra special care with getting our meal in a timely fashion. Even suggested things we should try . Kudos to our waiter!

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L
Washington DC
25 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fresh and Delicious!

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OT
Columbus
3 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 3

First visit I had the lobster roll and clam strips and they were both excellent.

My wife and I ate there on Saturday for our second visit and we were not impressed. She had the crab pasta and there wasn’t much crab in with the pasta and peas for the $23 price. I had the creole shrimp on rice cakes and it was absolutely the worst meals I’ve had outside of the old Sermet’s dish(which is now closed). The clam chowder was good though. I guess you can’t win 100% of the time. With all the other options in Charleston we will not be back, unless it for the lobster roll and clam strips.

Chris

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S
New York Area
30 reviews
Dined on April 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is a very beautifully designed modern restaurant with delicious food. The restaurant is separated by two rooms. One side is in dark blue with modern lighting. The other side is a bit louder with tiled floors and seating at the large bar or at tables. Some seating on long communal tables great for groups.

We had the She Soup, raw oysters, and crab legs on ice. We were delighted to try the crab legs with a unique ginger dipping saw that I think was intended for the oysters, but was amazing with the crab legs. Very unique flavor! Very reasonably priced I thought.

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