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The Best Seafood Restaurants In Downtown Charleston | 18 Must-Try Places

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Ever found yourself strolling through the charming cobblestone streets of Downtown Charleston, with its rich history echoing through the air, and thought, “Where can I find the ultimate seafood feast?”

Well, you’re not alone! Charleston isn’t just about antebellum mansions and horse-drawn carriages; it’s a city that flaunts its food scene just as proudly as its southern hospitality.

6 Best Seafood Restaurants In Downtown Charleston

The salty breeze carries whispers of buttery lobster tails, crispy calamari, and tantalizing shrimp cocktails. Trust me, this city’s seafood game is as strong as its ties to history.

So, for all you seafood enthusiasts out there, let me guide you to the 6 best seafood restaurants in Downtown Charleston. Ready to dive deep into a sea of flavors? Let’s set sail!

My Top Three Picks of the Best Seafood Restaurants In Downtown Charleston

Restaurant Top PickOur Rating
Hyman’s SeafoodHaddock fish5/5
Fleet Landing Restaurant & BarFried Flounder4.5/5
A.W. Shuck’s Seafood ShackPo Boy4.5/5

The 8 Best Seafood Restaurants In Downtown Charleston

Hyman’s Seafood

215 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401, United States // +18437236000

Tucked away amid the historic charm of buildings from the 1890s, spanning almost an entire city block, lies a gem that seafood lovers will treasure – welcome to Hyman’s Seafood in Downtown Charleston. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking: a seafood joint in a structure that’s over a century old? But that’s just a sliver of what makes Hyman’s stand out.

From the moment I stepped into Hyman’s, the walls whispered tales of the many celebrities who’ve dined here, each leaving their mark on this iconic establishment. 

Glancing over the menu, I was spoiled for choice with an array of seafood delights. And let’s talk value – mouthwatering dinners that won’t break the bank, ranging only from $25-$30.

I couldn’t resist and went all out, starting with the Carolina Delight, which set the tone for the meal. Opting for the ‘choose 3 items’ dinner was a delightful decision. 

fish

The Chilean sea bass croquette? Bursting with flavor. The mussels? Generously portioned, leaving me pleasantly surprised. And the Haddock fish was pure perfection – every bite moist and juicy.

But the surprises didn’t end there. A savvy tip from the Charleston visitor center led us to a complimentary fried green tomatoes appetizer. 

And, oh boy, the house hush puppies and coleslaw? Simply divine. With two sumptuous seafood dinners, a refreshing drink, and that appetizer on the house, the bill was astonishingly below $70 pre-tax.

Beyond the scrumptious food, the friendly servers and relaxed ambiance at Hyman’s added to the entire experience. And their motto “attitude” resonated with me deeply. 

If you ever find yourself in Charleston with a seafood craving, do yourself a favor and drop by Hyman’s. A delightful blend of quality food, affordability, and history awaits!

Charleston Crab House

41 S Market St, Charleston, SC 29401, United States // +18438532900

145 Wappoo Creek Dr, Charleston, SC 29412, United States // +18437951963

508 Mill St, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464, United States // +18437254902

Nestled in the heart of Downtown Charleston, near the bustling Market, lies a culinary haven for seafood aficionados: the Charleston Crab House. 

Contrary to its name, it’s not just about crabs—though they do play the starring role on the menu.

From the get-go, the ambiance of the place wraps you in. It’s casual, yet buzzing with energy. Every corner seems to echo with laughter and lively chatter, making it more than just a dining experience—it’s a vibe.

I was lucky enough to grab a spot on the upstairs outdoor patio. Bathed in the soft Charleston sunlight, with the gentle hum of conversations around, it was the ideal setting for a memorable lunch.

crab cake sandwich

On the recommendation of our server (who, by the way, was an absolute delight and probably one of the sweetest people I’ve met), I indulged in the crab-stuffed mushrooms and hush puppies to kick things off. 

Every bite was a testament to the restaurant’s commitment to flavor. But the pièce de résistance was the crab cake sandwich

Delicate, flavorful, and packed with succulent crab meat—it was everything I’d hoped for and more. Oh, and did I mention the crab legs? They were a symphony of taste, perfect in their simplicity.

If you’re ever wandering through Downtown Charleston, with an appetite for some seafood magic, make your way to the Charleston Crab House. 

It’s more than just a meal; it’s an experience steeped in flavor, fun, and fantastic service. And trust me, you’ll leave with a full stomach and a heart full of memories.

Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar

186 Concord St, Charleston, SC 29401, United States // +18437228100

There’s something magical about dining by the water, with shimmering reflections and gentle breezes setting the tone. And in Downtown Charleston, one place embodies this experience like no other: Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar. 

Though its name suggests something nautical, you might be surprised to hear that this isn’t your typical dockside eatery.

It’s mid-morning, and even before the doors open at 11, an eager crowd gathers. The promise of Southern seafood delicacies, set in modern, airy surroundings, has us all waiting with bated breath. 

As the doors swing open and we make our way in, we’re greeted with panoramic views — a majestic cruise ship moored in the distance, truly a sight to behold.

Opting for an indoor seat, my friend and I were treated to a feast that would leave us raving for days. It all began with appetizers: the fried green tomatoes with their crunchy exterior and soft, tangy insides and the calamari

fried flounder

Oh, the calamari! Every bite was a delightful play of thick, juicy tenderness that only left us wanting more. But the star of the show? The whole fried flounder. A dish we’d been hankering for, and it did not disappoint. The journey culminated with a slice of pecan pie, sweet and nutty, the perfect endnote.

And here’s a little tip if you decide to drop by: the parking adjacent to Fleet Landing is just $5. Just let them know you’re dining at the restaurant.

Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar stands as a testament to the beauty of waterfront dining. Combining scenic views with a culinary spread that sings praises to Southern seafood, it’s no wonder the place is always bustling. 

A hearty shoutout to the chefs and the impeccable service, making every visit truly memorable.

Hank’s Seafood Restaurant

10 Hayne St, Charleston, SC 29401, United States // +18437233474

Every city has its legends, and in Downtown Charleston, Hank’s Seafood Restaurant holds that title when it comes to sumptuous feasts from the deep. 

Set against the backdrop of a grand and classic setting, Hank’s is more than just a dining experience—it’s an institution.

Upon entering, one can’t help but be captivated by the beauty of the dining room. It whispers tales of timeless elegance and countless memories shared over plates of the finest seafood. And speaking of accolades, this bustling eatery hasn’t rested on its laurels. 

Local Charlestonians, known for their discerning palates, have crowned Hank’s as the Best Seafood Restaurant for a whopping 18 years in a row. That’s not just a testament to its taste but a culinary legacy.

The menu, brimming with Lowcountry recipes, posed a delightful dilemma of choices.

My table started with the calamari—a dish that set the stage for what was to come. The shrimp and grits? Creamy and packed with flavor. 

The flounder and seafood a la wando danced on the palate, while the salmon sealed the deal. It was a parade of flavors, each dish perfectly executed.

But it wasn’t just the food that stood out. Our waiter, Matthew, with his impeccable blend of professionalism and warmth, ensured our evening was unforgettable.

The next time you find yourself in the city, make sure Hank’s is on your to-do list! It’s one of the best seafood restaurants in Downtown Charleston.

Oyster House Seafood Restaurant

35 S Market St, Charleston, SC 29401, United States // +18437231151

Tucked away in a former warehouse on historic Market Street lies a gem that seamlessly weaves Charleston’s industrial past with its vibrant culinary present: the Oyster House Seafood Restaurant. 

A visit here isn’t just about the food; it’s an intimate dance between history, ambiance, and gastronomy.

Chef Nate Ladson’s magic touch transforms local seafood specialties into dishes that tantalize the taste buds and pay homage to Charleston’s rich seafood tradition. You feel a sense of connection not only to the sea but to the very soul of the city.

Nestled in the midst of the bustling market area and a stone’s throw away from the French quarter of Charleston’s historic district, this place is a sanctuary. 

oyster po boy

Despite its location right off the main street, there’s a tranquil buffer once you step inside. It’s as if the walls of this ancient warehouse have stories to tell and they gently envelop you, sheltering diners from the outside world. 

And if you’re lucky enough to grab a spot on the covered terrace, be it rain or shine, you’re in for an atmospheric treat.

The menu? Ah, a delightful conundrum of choices. While the grilled flounder sandwich with those perfectly seasoned fries was a crowd-pleaser at our table, the oyster po boy held its own, making up for the much-anticipated gator po boy that they’d run out of. 

The prices, considering the prime location and the sheer quality of dishes, felt just right. A slice of Charleston’s soul served right on your plate. It’s definitely one of the best seafood restaurants in Downtown Charleston.

A.W. Shuck’s Seafood Shack

208 King St, Charleston, SC 29401, United States // +18436281554

Lastly, on my quest for the best seafood restaurants in Downtown Charleston, I stumbled upon A.W. Shuck’s Seafood Shack. 

With its vibrant hues and shaded outdoor seating, this informal joint beckoned me like an old friend waving from afar.

Now, the setup here is quite straightforward and adds to its charm. Order up front, pick a cozy spot, and voila! Your seafood delights are delivered right to your table.

While it’s not the traditional full-table service, the attentive staff doesn’t miss a beat, making sure to check in and see if your meal is hitting all the right notes.

Speaking of notes, let’s talk oysters. Sourced from James River, each bite resonated with the fresh essence of the sea. Paired with a zesty cocktail sauce and a wedge of lemon, it felt like a harmonious symphony of flavors. 

There’s a small catch, though – I did find myself giving the abductors a little scrape, but that’s just me being me!

po boy

And oh, the po boy! Drizzled with a fiery sauce and overflowing with juicy shrimp, it was a delectable marvel. 

A tiny twist was its nesting in a hotdog roll. A tad unconventional, yes, but in a city known for its surprises, this was a delightful one.

But the pièce de résistance? Those fries. Golden crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside – culinary perfection.

I chose to soak in the ambience outside on the patio. The gentle rustle of leaves and the cooling shade were the perfect companions to an already perfect meal.

To anyone wandering Downtown Charleston with a seafood craving and a penchant for a laid-back atmosphere, A.W. Shuck’s Seafood Shack is your spot. Parking might be a tad tricky, but I promise, the flavors are worth every circling block!

Delaney Oyster House

115 Calhoun St, Charleston, SC 29401, United States +18435940099

My recent dining experience at Delaney Oyster House in Charleston left an indelible mark on my palate. Located in the heart of this historic city, Delaney Oyster House combines coastal charm with an unparalleled commitment to seafood excellence, bringing delicious seafood as a gift to you. 

Stepping into Delaney Oyster House is like entering a refined coastal retreat. The nautical-inspired decor, complemented by subtle lighting and a welcoming ambiance, sets the stage for an intimate and memorable dining experience. 

As the name implies, the oyster selection at Delaney Oyster House is a highlight. The variety of East and West Coast oysters presented a tantalizing array of flavors. Each oyster at the raw bar was impeccably fresh, skillfully shucked, and served with precision in this amazing seafood in Charleston. The accompanying sauces and garnishes elevated the tasting experience.

Spicy Shrimp Ajillo at Delaney Oyster House

We also enjoyed the lobster roll, this classic and beloved seafood dish, particularly popular in coastal regions,

Another recommended dishes are Spicy Shrimp Ajillo and Caesar Salad, perfect for lunch or dinner while overlooking the water. It will be great to find the perfect seat to enjoy the shining view. 

While the focus is on oysters, the broader seafood menu at Delaney Oyster House showcases a commitment to culinary excellence. From perfectly seared scallops to succulent lobster dishes, each entree is a testament to the chef’s skill and dedication to quality ingredients.

The drink menu complements the seafood offerings seamlessly. A thoughtfully curated selection of wines, craft beers, and inventive cocktails enhances the dining experience. The staff’s expertise in pairing drinks with the menu further adds to the overall enjoyment.

Delaney Oyster House’s dessert offerings provide a sweet finale to the seafood feast. The desserts, though not numerous, showcase a delightful blend of flavors and textures, providing a satisfying conclusion to an exquisite meal.

It’s a destination for those seeking a culinary journey into the world of exceptional and sustainable seafood.

Delaney Oyster House in historic Charleston is a seafood lover’s paradise and a true gem in the city’s culinary scene. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, this establishment offers an unforgettable dining experience. 

Bowens Island Restaurant  

1870 Bowens Island Rd, Charleston, SC 29412, United States  +1 843-795-2757

Bowens Island Restaurant in Charleston provided a unique and authentic Lowcountry dining experience. Nestled on the waterfront, located in a historic area this establishment carries a rich history and an unmistakable charm that sets it apart.

Bowens Island Restaurant boasts a laid-back and rustic ambiance that perfectly complements its waterfront location. The open-air setting, with a view of the marsh and the sea breeze, creates a relaxed atmosphere. The casual, no-frills décor adds to the charm, making it an ideal spot for a down-to-earth meal.

The service at Bowens Island Restaurant is friendly and reflective of the laid-back coastal vibe. The staff was attentive and accommodating, enhancing the overall dining experience. 

As a seafood lover, the variety of fresh catches at Bowens Island Restaurant was a highlight. From the oyster roast to the fried shrimp, fresh oysters, and the famous hushpuppies, the menu features locally sourced food and captures the essence of Lowcountry cuisine. The flavors were authentic, and the portions were generous, reflecting the restaurant’s commitment to showcasing local seafood. This is the reason why is a favorite among the locals.

Fried Shrimp at Bowens Island Restaurant

Bowens Island Restaurant embraces a casual dining experience, and it’s important to appreciate it for what it is. Picnic-style tables, a laid-back atmosphere, and a sense of community make it an ideal spot for those seeking a break from formalities and a genuine taste of local culture.

One of the standout features of Bowens Island Restaurant is the breathtaking sunset views over the marsh. It’s worth timing your visit to catch the sun setting on the horizon, creating a picturesque backdrop for your meal. The outdoor seating is a major plus for those who want to soak in the natural beauty.

Bowens Island Restaurant is a haven for those seeking an authentic Lowcountry seafood experience in Charleston.

While the casual setting might not be for everyone, it’s a testament to the restaurant’s commitment to preserving the local flavor and offering a true taste of the coastal lifestyle. For a laid-back evening with excellent seafood prepared with seasonal ingredients and stunning views, Bowens Island Restaurant is a solid choice.

Seafood restaurants in Charleston: To Visit List

1. O-Bar at Oyster House 

  1. Cuisine: Seafood
  2. Location: 70 State St, Charleston, SC 29401, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.7 out of 583 reviews

2. 167 Raw Oyster Bar

  1. Cuisine: Seafood
  2. Location: 193 King St, Charleston, SC 29401, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.7 out of 2489 reviews

3. The Pass

  1. Cuisine: Seafood
  2. Location: 207-A St Philip St, Charleston, SC 29403, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.8 out of 156 reviews

4. The Crab Shack 

  1. Cuisine: Seafood with a Southern Twist 
  2. Location: 1901 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29407, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.5 out of 1500 reviews

5. Rappahannock Oyster Bar

  1. Cuisine: Seafood
  2. Location: 701 E Bay St No. 110, Charleston, SC 29403, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.6 out of 1100 reviews

6. Gillie’s Seafood

  1. Cuisine: Seafood and Southern Specialties 
  2. Location: 805 Folly Rd, Charleston, SC 29412, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.4 out of 2100 reviews

7. Leon’s

  1. Cuisine: Southern-style Seafood & Fried Chicken 
  2. Location: 698 King St, Charleston, SC 29403, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.5 out of 2600 reviews

8. Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls 

  1. Cuisine: Seafood
  2. Location: 36 N Market St, Charleston, SC 29401, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.4 out of 340 reviews

9. Easterby’s Familly Grille 

  1. Cuisine: Seafood
  2. Location: 2388 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29414, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.4 out of 774 reviews

10. Ellis Creek Fish Club 

  1. Cuisine: Southern Seafood
  2. Location: 1243 Harbor View Rd, Charleston, SC 29412, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.5 out of 1300 reviews

Foodies also ask about the seafood restaurants in downtown Charleston

What’s the vibe like at most seafood restaurants in Downtown Charleston?

Downtown Charleston boasts a medley of atmospheres. From the rustic charm of old warehouses turned eateries to elegant dining rooms exuding Southern elegance, there’s truly something for every mood. 

But, if there’s a common thread, it’s a warm, welcoming ambiance that feels quintessentially Charleston.

I’ve heard a lot about “Lowcountry” seafood recipes. What exactly are they?

Ah, Lowcountry cuisine! It’s a delightful blend of Southern U.S., African, and coastal recipes. Think dishes like shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, or Frogmore Stew. These are hearty, flavorful, and deeply rooted in Charleston’s rich culinary heritage.

Do these restaurants offer live music?

Yes, many of them give the pleasure of the freshness of the water, and smelling the music of the waves, while having that blessing to enjoy amazing seafood selections with different live music, diving into the world of southern cuisine.  

Any recommendations for seafood dishes not to miss?

Definitely give the shrimp and grits a try; it’s a Charleston classic! Also, the seafood po’ boys, crab cakes, and any local catch of the day are sure bets for a memorable meal.

Wrapping Up: The 18 Best Seafood Restaurants In Downtown Charleston

After diving deep into the bustling heart of Charleston’s culinary scene, it’s evident that this charming Southern city is nothing short of a seafood haven. 

Nestled between cobblestone streets and historic facades, Downtown Charleston’s seafood offerings are as varied as they are delightful, each telling a story that’s uniquely Charleston.

As you traverse the alleys and boulevards, the aroma of fresh catches wafts through the air, a testament to the city’s long-standing relationship with the ocean. 

It’s not just about the mouth-watering shrimp and grits or the perfectly seared scallops; it’s about the tradition, the craftsmanship, and the love that goes into every dish. 

Here, seafood isn’t just a meal; it’s an experience, a celebration of the bounty the coast provides and the heritage that’s been passed down for generations.

But beyond the delectable dishes, what truly stands out is the atmosphere. It’s the fusion of the old and new, where historic charm meets contemporary flair. 

It’s the soundtrack of lively conversations, clinking glasses, and the soft hum of jazz in the backdrop. It’s the genuine warmth of the servers, the chefs’ passion, and the shared smiles of fellow diners as they savor every bite.

In Charleston, dining isn’t just about feeding the body; it’s about feeding the soul. It’s about those magical moments when flavors, aromas, and memories merge, creating an experience that’s unforgettable. 

Whether you’re a die-hard seafood aficionado or just dipping your toes into the vast ocean of marine delicacies, Downtown Charleston promises an adventure that’ll tantalize your taste buds and warm your heart.

So, as the sun sets over this historic city, painting the sky with hues of gold and pink, take a moment to savor the culinary journey you’ve embarked upon. 

Charleston’s seafood legacy is rich, vibrant, and waiting for you to explore it all over again on your next visit. 

Until then, keep those seafood memories close and let the taste of Charleston’s coast guide your culinary dreams. Cheers!

While in Charleston, don’t miss out on activities that will help immerse yourself with the city (hurry while they’re hot!):

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