16 Best Lunch Spots in Charleston You Need to Try

If you’ve ever thought that noon couldn’t come fast enough, we’re right there with you – especially if you’re in Charleston.

This city, dripping with history and Southern charm, also boasts a culinary scene that’s an absolute revelation.

Before you get lost in the multitude of choices, we’ve got a hot list for you: the top can’t-miss lunch spots in Charleston that locals rave about. Let’s get into it!

Queen Street Grocery and CAfe
Photo Credit: Queen Street Grocery and Cafe

1. Queen Street Grocery

There’s an amazing little lunch spot tucked away in Charleston called Queen Street Grocery, and it’s been charming hungry visitors since 1922.

It’s so much more than just a grocery store; it’s a café filled with delightful dishes that’ll make you swoon!

What’s on the menu? You must try their famous Crepes or signature sandwiches. And if that doesn’t strike your fancy, go for their gourmet salads or savory quiches.

Here’s a fun fact: the place is actually one of the oldest continuously operating stores in Charleston!

2. Xiao Bao Biscuit

Xiao Bao Biscuit is the very definition of lunchtime bliss nestled in the heart of Charleston. This Asian gem serves a scrumptious menu that’ll make you reconsider all your prior lunch choices.

Xiao Bao Biscuit is perched within the bustling Spring Street and Cannon Street area, surrounded by the hippest of Charleston’s dining scene.

Dive into customer favorites, like their delightful Mapo Tofu or their legendary Fish Curry.

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3. Butcher & Bee

If you’re craving a fantastic lunch, you can’t miss Butcher & Bee! This fantastic eatery has been nominated for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant, and for good reason.

Butcher & Bee brings a fresh approach to sandwiches, using locally sourced ingredients to create a seasonal menu that’s full of mouth-watering options.

Will you try the famous avocado toast or sink your teeth into their signature whipped feta with fermented honey? The world is your oyster.

Butcher & Bee is also known for its amazing brunch options, so gather your squad!

Slightly North of Broad
Photo Credit: Slightly North of Broad

4. Slightly North of Broad

Get ready to be amazed by the culinary magic of Slightly North of Broad (affectionately known as SNOB).

This fine dining hotspot in charming Charleston, SC, will have your taste buds dancing with joy.

The buzzing atmosphere and elegant decor set the stage for an unforgettable meal. And oh boy, the menu is a dream come true!

Fan favorites include the shrimp and grits, succulent clams, and the truly divine salmon salad.

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5. Poke Tea House

When hunger strikes in the heart of Charleston, it’s time to sail your way to the Poke Tea House.

This lively eatery is both a colorful oasis and a treasure trove of flavors, offering poke bowls and bubble tea to satiate your cravings.

If you’re wondering what to order, their Honeydew Milk Tea is a fantastic choice! Not only is it refreshing on a warm day, but it also pairs perfectly with their customizable poke bowls.

Take the plunge and create your own culinary masterpiece by choosing your preferred base, protein, and toppings.

Their Taro Milk Tea is truly worth trying as well. This lesser-known hidden gem on the menu is both delicious and packed with unique flavors.

Magnolias Down South Egg Roll
Photo Credit: Magnolias

6. Magnolias

Charleston’s treasure, Magnolias, is a delightful embodiment of Southern charm and culinary innovation.

Just picture a cozy atmosphere filled with delightful aromas while you dig into some out-of-this-world dishes.

Locals and travelers rave about their signature Fried Green Tomatoes and the succulent Down South Egg Roll.

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7. Lewis Barbecue

You’re in for a treat at Lewis Barbecue, one of Charleston’s top lunch spots that’s perfect for satisfying those smoky desires.

What sets this place apart? Well, let’s talk about the massive, custom-made smokers that the pitmaster himself welds. Impressive, right?

Now, when it comes to their menu, the melt-in-your-mouth brisket is a fan favorite. But don’t just take our word for it; explore other options like succulent pulled pork and mouth-watering sausage. You can’t go wrong!

Lewis Barbecue serves up true Central Texas barbecue, cut-to-order. Plus, they’ve got a huge bar and backyard patio to keep you entertained while devouring that heavenly goodness.

Don’t waste another second, treat yourself to the BBQ of your dreams at Lewis Barbecue!

8. Palmetto Cafe

Palmetto Cafe is a delightful lunch spot nestled in the heart of Charleston. This charming eatery is known for their eclectic mix of dishes, combining American and contemporary flavors.

Indulge in customer favorites like the Lobster Roll or the succulent Squid Ink Linguine. Who knows, you might discover your new go-to dish!

Palmetto Cafe is known for its exceptional service, so feel free to ask the knowledgeable staff for recommendations on dishes or local attractions.

The Harbinger Cafe
Photo Credit: The Harbinger Cafe

9. The Harbinger Cafe & Bakery

The Harbinger Cafe & Bakery is a charming little spot in downtown Charleston. It’s got a whimsical flair and specializes in small-batch baking.

Their sandwiches are the talk of the town. And if you enjoy a smashing salad, be prepared to be wowed by their version.

They don’t just do amazing food – The Harbinger also serves up some delightful biscuits and other baked goods!

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10. Bon Banh Mi

Bon Banh Mi is a scrumptious little eatery that serves up Vietnamese goodness in the heart of Charleston.

What makes Bon Banh Mi stand out? They’ve perfected the art of crafting a banh mi sandwich that’s simply out of this world!

When you’re hungry for a delightful bite of banh mi, try customer favorites like the Lemongrass Chicken Sandwich or the Beef Banh Mi.

Behind those steamy glass windows, they’re slinging these two palate-pleasers and other delicious offerings for you to devour!

11. Poogan’s Porch

Dive into a world of Southern comfort and charm at Poogan’s Porch in Charleston, SC.

This Victorian townhouse-turned-restaurant will sweep you off your feet with its cozy porches and an extensive wine cellar.

If your stomach is already rumbling, you’re in for a treat! Customer favorites include their famed Mac & Cheese and the irresistible Crab Dip.

82 Queen
Photo Credit: 82 Queen

12. 82 Queen

82 Queen is a delightful destination where Southern charm and mouthwatering delights frolic hand in hand.

Charleston itself is steeped in history, and this eatery inhabits a beautiful 300-year-old building in the heart of the French Quarter.

If your stomach is rumbling for something delicious, 82 Queen’s got you covered! Feast your eyes on their famous She Crab Soup or the delectable Crab Cakes.

But don’t let the fun stop there; try the classic jambalaya or the savory BBQ shrimp and grits, which have customers coming back for more.

82 Queen is nestled cozily within a serene courtyard garden, making it a perfect spot for a truly magical al fresco lunch experience.

So grab your friends and head on over to indulge in the delights of 82 Queen – where flavors meet history, and enchantment is served on a plate.

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13. Basic Kitchen

At Basic Kitchen, you can’t help but feel rejuvenated as you step into a bright and cheerful atmosphere. It’s like stumbling upon a hidden paradise for health-conscious food lovers.

The plant-forward menu is the star of the show, and boy, does it know how to shine!

Your eyes might be drawn to fan favorites like the quirky Cauliflower Wings and colorful Basic Bowl. You know you’re in for a treat when even classic dishes get a gourmet twist!

Here’s a tip to make your visit extra special: try snagging a table on their cozy outdoor patio.

Fleet Landing Restaurant and Bar Charleston SC
Photo Credit: Fleet Landing Restaurant and Bar

14. Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar

Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar offers the perfect blend of classic Southern fare and picturesque views of the Charleston waterfront.

With a focus on local and sustainable produce and seafood, this place serves dishes that will make you shout with delight.

Customers rave about Charleston’s famous dish – Shrimp and Grits, while other favorites include Carolina Lump Crab Cakes, Crispy Whole Southern Flounder, and Lowcountry Seafood Pasta.

And for a little extra excitement, did you know the building housing Fleet Landing was once a Naval facility? Get ready to dine in a little piece of history, giving your meal an interesting twist!

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15. Eli’s Table

Step into a world of flavor at Eli’s Table, where the food is so good, it’ll make you dream about it for days!

This Charleston favorite is bursting with bold, worldly flavors, incorporating fresh and local ingredients into each dish.

You won’t want to miss customer favorites like their delectable shrimp and grits or the lip-smackingly delish crab cakes.

Don’t forget to try their innovative twists on classic cocktails, turning your meal into an Instagram-worthy feast.

Here’s a fun tidbit: Eli’s Table is named after the owner’s son, making for a sentimental dining experience that’ll warm your heart just as much as the expertly crafted dishes!

Cru Cafe
Photo Credit: Cru Cafe

16. Cru Cafe

Cru Cafe is a charming lunch spot in downtown Charleston where gourmet comfort food reigns supreme!

Their delightful mix of traditional Southern dishes and innovative preparations will leave you giddy with anticipation.

Let’s dig into some customer favorites, shall we? Feast your eyes on their beautifully crafted sandwiches like the Shrimp B.L.T. or the savory Smoked Turkey Melt.

Cru Cafe is nestled in a classic Charleston single house, meaning the atmosphere is as cozy as the food is delectable.

And, reservations are recommended, so make sure to plan ahead and secure your spot for an unparalleled lunch experience!

Final Thoughts

Alright, fellow foodies, let’s wrap this delectable journey up with a bow! Charleston’s lunch scene? Absolutely legendary.

We’ve cruised through the city’s most lip-smacking spots, and we bet you’re already drooling in anticipation.

But hey, who’s up for some game-time action? Dive into our next read on the best sports bars in Charleston.

From mouth-watering munchies to heart-pounding games, let’s keep this flavor train going!