In the spirit of truly feeling “at home” in Charleston, I’m reviewing some of my favorite “hidden gems” around town. You might not see these businesses on TV, none are tacky tourist traps, and people from outside Charleston may not have heard of them.
With my city gaining various accolades in the public eye, here’s where the Lowcountry locals go!
Each January and September, local restaurants celebrate Charleston Restaurant Week, offering three entries for $20, $30, or $40. Over a hundred establishments from Mt. Pleasant to Kiawah to Goose Creek participate, including chain restaurants, local dives, and fine dining restaurants.
Charleston Restaurant Week, which actually lasted from January 8-19, gives locals a chance to try restaurants we ordinarily wouldn’t frequent while saving a few dollars. It’s a nice event excuse for a date night between Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
This restaurant week, my ladies social club voted to try Fish Restaurant, and we all had a great time. Located on King Street, Fish Restaurant serves up Asian and French inspired seafood creations, as well as several chicken and tofu dishes for those who don’t care for seafood.
Fish’s menu changes each season, with many main dishes staying but side items representing local, seasonal produce, and Fish uses as many local ingredients as possible.
Best of all, the Charleston Restaurant Week menu, which was 3 courses for $30, included almost every item on Fish’s menu. During Restaurant Week, some places limit appetizer, entrée, and dessert options- why go out to eat if you may not be able to order what you want?
The staff at Fish Restaurant did a great job of taking care of us and explaining the menu and making any substitutions we needed (I asked to leave bacon off my salad, and it was). Our drinks were kept full. The atmosphere is laid back but upscale, with tons of cool art.
After taking our orders, the server brought out delicious bread for us to start with, along with honey for dipping. The bread was great, not heavy or filling, and left us with plenty of room for our appetizers, entrees, and dessert.
My first course was a chopped salad, no bacon. The salad was simple, light, and my order was correct, but the dressing was a bit thick for what I liked. I’m kind of a salad snob (I eat a very plant-based diet so I am picky with salads), so I’d probably order a different small plate next time.
My second course was the scallops- which was outside of my usually vegetarian comfort zone. Since Fish’s menu changes seasonally, the winter scallops came with creamy cauliflower puree, and a noodle apple & cabbage pancake.
Everything in this course was delicious! it was my first time having the cauliflower puree but a nice change and light dish. Almost all of us ordered scallops, and the four scallops were very filling (the dish is also normally $25-26 and I believe it includes six scallops).
Last came dessert- mine was a monkey bar with chocolate and ice cream. It was a great dessert, but the chocolate cake was thick, rich, and *very* filling. My friend got a glass of milk with it. I just ate my ice cream with it, which lightened it up. All of the parts of the dessert complimented each other well.
We all left satisfied but not overly stuffed. At Fish, you get quality food for your money, not just a ton of mediocre food. Parking is conveniently located in the garage on John Street, which is a very short walk. After finishing your meal, you may appreciate the little bit of exercise that a walk + climbing garage stairs provides.
As a self-proclaimed foodie (does being a foodie have actual criteria these days?), I try to make it to at least one “splurge” restaurant during the week, and with delicious food and excellent customer service, Fish Restaurant was a great choice- and I hope to return soon.