The Ordinary

4.5
1273 reviews
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$30 and under
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Seafood

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About

In Charleston, The Ordinary is a fancy seafood and oyster bar centered on traditional Southern hospitality with coastal Carolina charm. Guests to The Ordinary have the privilege of dining in a historical building that has been altered just slightly to accommodate the American brasserie it currently holds. High energy atmosphere, detailed service and great food and drink pairings make an excellent meal.

The menu at The Ordinary is based largely off of market availability from the local Charleston fishermen. Some classic favorites include East Coast oysters, fish chowder, American caviar and whole roasted flounder. Each day of the week features a different dish on special.

Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Seafood
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Hours of operation
Dinner: Tuesday - Sunday: 5:00pm - 10:30pm
Closed on Monday
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Phone number
(843) 414-7060
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
Mike Lata
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Cross street
Cannon Street
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Parking details
Validated Lot, Located one block south on Wolfe Street
Additional
Bar Dining, Beer, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Wine
What 1273 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.5based on all time ratings
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.3
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2017
Overall 1food service ambience

It is not unusual to occasionally get a bad plate, even from a good restaurant, so when we got a plate of badly undercooked peel-n-eat shrimp we were not upset, however, when the manager came to our table he was argumentative, condescending and seemed to take our complaint as a personal insult. That we take exception to! Even if the manager had never heard the old adage that the customer is always right, common courtesy should have been observed. There was no action taken on our complaint and we were charged for the plate we sent back. Unacceptable! We will not recommend this restaurant until the management has been properly trained, or replaced. (09/28/2017).

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G
10 reviews
Dined on July 23, 2016
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Nothing extraordinary about The Ordinary. I was quite disappointed with both the oyster bar and the dinner menu. Great cocktail selection, though, with a head bartender who really knows his stuff.

Better choice: O-Bar in the French Quarter.

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a
138 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The Ordinary it simply spectacular. It stands at the front of my list of great Charleston restaurants. I have never been disappointed except for the fact that it is hard to get reservations. one can always get full menu at the first-come-first-served bar. Go for the cold-smoked oysters. Ask for your server to bring you a libation of their choice. Heaven.

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b
67 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2016
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Top quality seafood, prepared simply. Judging from the presentation towers arriving at the tables around us, massive amounts of seafood is apparently why they come. We chose small plates including a mahi mahi salad (spread), broiled oysters, lobster roll and crab cocktail. All pricey, but excellent. Service was absolutely superb!

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m
11 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

One of the best in Charleston. Do not miss the delicious yellowfin tuna ceviche and smoked oysters. Delicious!! Great cocktails, too. We loved the atmosphere and decor. Upscale but comfortable.

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OT
27 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My wife and I have eaten here on more than 10 occasions. Wonderful. Oyster selection from NE cold water is the best. Rum drinks varied and imaginative. The Chef has serious talent. Recommend multiple small dishes to try as many as possible. We love cerviche, offered most of the time. The fish stew is amazing and you have to have at least one oyster slider!

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H
20 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a great dinner here. Delicious oysters, ceviche and other dishes. Let the servers guide you. They know what's good.

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MS
3 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Ordinary is one of the best restaurants I've ever visited. Period. Hands down top notch EVERYTHING. The servers are very friendly and knowledgable. The wine som was accommodating and fun to chat with. The space is spotless, classy and very comfortable. Definitely sit upstairs if you can, or at the raw bar. If I lived in Charleston, I'd be at The Ordinary far too often.

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MS
5 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The waitress we had gave great recommendations for food, which was excellent. It's a little bit more expensive but very worth it. Highly recommend. My new favorite restaurant in Charleston.

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JB
3 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome seafood, great atmosphere and fantastic cocktails. Highly recommend the specials - the whole grouper special was out of this world!

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MF
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Splendid rustic atmosphere, delightful southern charm service, outstanding food! A must when visiting Charleston.

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OT
2 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2016
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Great overall dining experience. Server seemed to want to upsell a little too much.

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JM
1 review
Dined on June 24, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great food and cocktails and wine. The call me old fashioned and date infused rum were ridiculously good, as was the smoked mackerel and Tuna ceviche. Our server was top notch. Overall great experience.

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ER
1 review
Dined on June 24, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food! Literally could have tried everything! This is not your ordinary restaurant, but extraordinary! Must go!

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MW
1 review
Dined on June 23, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waitress had an incredible knowledge (even formal knowledge) of food and great recommendations. The dishes were gorgeous, in presentation and taste. The restaurant is stunning and romantic with broad windows and beautiful light. We sat on the second floor that looks down on more tables and the bar; the people watching was great. Would highly recommend!

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P
6 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Real good food and service

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 19, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic service.

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EK
4 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing seafood, great ambiance and great service!

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OT
13 reviews
Dined on June 17, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing. Such unique and delightful dishes. Can't wait to go back. Service was excellent.

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C
3 reviews
Dined on June 17, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent dining experience all around. We always come for a special time with friends

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OT
12 reviews
Dined on June 17, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great food.. Need to like seafood to enjoy the restaurant. We had the fish chowder (good), razor clam salad (great), and porgy ceviche (very good). Service was great. Old fashioned cocktail was imbalanced.

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 10, 2016
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

So overrated. Lobster was tasteless. The Oyster Slider while good, was terribly overpriced for one oyster on a tiny Hawaiian roll ($6). The Seafood Chowder was potato soup, where's the FISH? One our most expensive dinners and our least favorite!

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C
49 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This was our second time to The Ordinary for dinner. Even though they have free valet parking, you still have to walk a block to the restaurant from the parking lot. Since we were last here about 2 years ago, their menu had changed. Now we had small plate choices from either a "Cold Menu", "Raw Bar" or "Hot Menu". The Hot Menu did have about 2 full dinner plates you could also choose. The other selection was to build a seafood tower or platter to share with others at your table. My husband and I mixed a few items from the cold menu and the raw bar: lobster cocktail (awesome), peel and eat shrimp, smoked oysters (great), and steak tartare w/crispy oysters (very good). The wine by the glass was very pricey ($14) and should have just ordered a bottle for the same amount of money as 4 glasses. We both had the salted caramel hazelnut dessert which was fantastic! Our wait staff was knowledgeable about the restaurant's offerings, and all were very personable and attentive during our entire meal. Despite the high prices and limited menu, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

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OT
1 review
Dined on June 4, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A friend visited from out of town for Spoleto. We arrived a few minutes before opening at the restaurant. The hostess suggested the bar while seating was arranged. I am happy she did. My friend was in a mood. She said there was nothing on the wine or food menu that appealed to her. Our barkeep began by asking what would appeal and stating gently that he couldn't help her if he didn't understand what she was looking for. She complied. He came up with suggestions for wine followed by suggestions for food. Her interest was peeked by the bright wine enough to change her mood from stubborn to happy and satisfied. The food pairing furthered her happiness. This sort of service in the face of difficulty distinguishes the great restaurants from the merely good. I hereby declare The Ordinary The Extraordinary.

Every dish, from smoked oysters to peel and eat shrimp was perfectly fresh and perfectly prepared and served. Cocktails and wine were unique and complemented each dish. The hostess inquired about our Spoleto curtain time and stayed on top of time for us so that we didn't need to check watches at all.

Did I mention wanting to drink all the broth the smoked oysters came to the table soaking in?

I will be back over and over and be certain to take all my out of town guests because I know we will be treated well and with Charleston's trademark hospitality.

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MN
10 reviews
Dined on June 3, 2016
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We try to make a trip to The Ordinary every time we're in town. Love the food so much and the service is impeccable. Favorite dishes include the smoked oysters, collard green farrotto and stuffed lobster.

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P
13 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2016
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 2

We had read so much about this place and are huge fans of FIG. We made it night one of a three day food tour of Charleston. Every dish was perfectly prepared and was truly delicious. Top notch. But the restaurants ambiance was somewhat sad. Upon arrival we were immediately ushered up the stairs to a remote table on the half full internal balcony -despite the fact that there were many tables available the setting for sure interfered with the food - which is a shame. It felt so sad up there.

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PM
3 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This is the best we've ever eaten in Charleston, and that is saying something. We had the porgy ceviche with avocado and cucumber - beautifully seasoned with perfectly crisp baked half-tortillas. We had the collard farrotto - remarkable, made with french-fried collards a la "Chef and the Farmer," crumbled into the farrotto - altogether lovely. For our main course we had skate wings schnitzel - not beaten to a pulp as schnitzels sometimes are but gently pressed to take the toughness out of the meat. Extraordinary, with 2 or 3 kinds of green beans done to perfection. Jay, our waiter, was extremely attentive and highly knowledgeable and better yet, was happy to get answers from the kitchen when he didn't know the answer for sure. Having read the other reviews, I don't understand why they didn't all give 5 ratings, even though it was very expensive. We will CERTAINLY go back.

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E
18 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2016
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Completely Ordinary. Expected more from Mike Lata. Disappointing.

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OT
2 reviews
Dined on May 29, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The ordinary isn't so ordinary! The food was simply fantastic with flavors and ingredients that had a purpose. The flavors were crisp and clean and exploded on your tongue whenever you took a bite.
Our waitress also gave fantastic recommendations and asked us what we liked.
A must if you are in Charleston!

We had tuna tartar, and ceviche for our apps, the Steamed Scamp Grouper, Porcini Ragout, and Almondine for mains, and the chocolate/hazelnut pudding and the pistachio macaroons.

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CW
14 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Hands on attention to seating, educating our palates, drink selection. Only complaint draft beer limited. Classy and comfortable. Mix and match oysters with sides. Real finds: Farotto with collards and cocktail sauce with Asian 5 spice and lemon grass.

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OT
5 reviews
Dined on May 24, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great atmosphere; fantastic food and excellent service - highly recommend!

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OT
24 reviews
Dined on May 22, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food and perfect service!

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FD
7 reviews
Dined on May 22, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Well, given the price of our bill, I'd say we REALLY enjoyed ourselves! The food was beyond excellent - BBQ shrimp was amazing, we *may have* licked the plate. Wine list was perfect pairing for the menu, 4 bottles - all excellent recommendations. And don't forget to save room for dessert, really it is beyond worth it! The carmel-chocolate deliciousness served in a mason jar was so so so good!

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CT
6 reviews
Dined on May 22, 2016
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

The food met and exceeded my highest expectations. The menu was interesting and I really enjoyed the section of high quality fresh seafood. My only complaint was the service, while not poor per se, was clearly overly solicitous and I felt the constant pressure from multiple wait staff hurrying us through our courses.

That left a lasting impression that was not superlative.

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 20, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As a Canadian, I found out about this place on Bon appetite charleston. It was a great neighborhood find with amazing food. We both had the Friday special "Bake Lobster" it was amazing. Everything was better than expected. Except the gin and tonic. It was a little bitter for my taste. The Ordinary is definitely a place I would go again if I was ever in Charleston

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JA
3 reviews
Dined on May 20, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

While the Ordinary has a casual vibe to it, it also offers 5 star service with their wait staff. There is nothing stuffy or pretentious about it, and while it is loud, the food is excellent. If you can't afford to go their often, you need to make the occasional trip, as it is worth it!

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 20, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome food, service & atmosphere! Oyster sliders & ceviche are a must!

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HS
2 reviews
Dined on May 20, 2016
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Excellent fresh seafood. Eclectic menu but portions rather small. No bread served to offset portion size and table turnover is rather quick.

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A
57 reviews
Dined on May 20, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Very charming little restaurant! Oysters on the half shell were good but small. Everything was delicious! Our server was great and made some recommendations.

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OT
2 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We have been visiting and dining in Charleston for thirty years. The Ordinary was a dining experience unlike any we have had in Charleston in quite a long time. Fine dining is more than just the menu - it's about the service, the atmosphere, the feeling of being catered to. I can truly say that The Ordinary nails all of these. If you aren't into seafood you will have very limited menu choices. Just skip the main course and go for dessert. Unbelievable.

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