When I’m not running or cross training until I go insane, I love going out to eat. It’s one reason why I run all the miles and log all the hours in the gym.
I don’t cook- at all. I joke with Clay that the best thing I make is reservations. I don’t even make those very often because most of my favorite restaurants are so simple, you don’t need reservations. In fact, these restaurants usually don’t take them, aside from Bluerose taking brunch reservations on Sunday.
Dashi Food Truck (Various Locations)
Some of the best meals I’ve eaten in Charleston have come from the Dashi Food Truck. The best thing about Dashi is that no matter where you live in town, Dashi will be nearby at some point because it’s a food truck that actually travels. Dashi frequents spots in West Ashley, Downtown, North Charleston, and Mt. Pleasant, but it’s been spotted in Summerville, Johns Island, and even Moncks Corner.
Dashi’s flavors are a blend of Asian fusion and Mexican. The menu always includes the same items (tacos, burritos, pad thai, rice, noodles, and steamed buns) with the same proteins (chicken, shrimp, duck, pork belly), but occasionally the truck has fun specials depending on what’s in season.
My favorite dishes from the truck include the shrimp burrito and the shrimp tacos. Clay likes the chicken noodles and the wings. The entire menu is reasonably priced, so you can try several items without breaking the bank.
Local’s Bar and Grill (Mt. Pleasant)
Local’s is a sports bar with non-traditional sports bar food. When most people think sports bars, they think of burgers, fries, sandwiches, nachos, and other heavy foods. Locals offers all of those things, but they also have a sushi bar.
Best of all, Local’s offers specials on sushi, like buy one get one free rolls or buy one get one half off.
Tuesday night is Local’s trivia night and taco night, where tacos are buy one get one half off. The tacos are bursting at the seams (tortillas?) with filling. Clay’s coworkers often like to go to trivia at Local’s, and we always have a lot of fun and sometimes win. If you win trivia, your tab’s even cheaper.
Charleston Sports Pub (West Ashley/Mt. Pleasant/Summerville)
Charleston Sports Pub opened about two years ago in West Ashley, but has since expanded with locations in Summerville and Mt. Pleasant. It’s becoming a local chain, which is good because my friends in other parts of town can try it. I’ve tried the Summerville location but still prefer West Ashley’s, and I haven’t made it out to the Mt. Pleasant one yet.
Monday night is half price burger night, which is always a steal. CSP used to offer a burger + beer special, but the half price burger and happy hour is actually a better deal (about $1 less) and is accommodating if you don’t want a beer. I don’t eat burgers, but I love the shrimp po boy at Charleston Sports Pub.
The brunch is also really good and offered on both Saturday and Sunday. The full menu is offered at brunch in case you want lunch/dinner food instead of breakfast.
Bluerose Cafe (West Ashley)
Charleston is known for Southern food, but neither of us are huge fans of it. Growing up in the South, Clay and I both ate our share of Southern foods as kids. While Bluerose Cafe has a few Southern options on the menu, the owner and chef, Denis, hails from Ireland and offers an Irish flair on many dishes.
Bluerose is just off the peninsula and has a local vibe, reminding me of eating at home or at my grandma’s house. The servers and hostesses will learn your name, remember you, and make you feel like family. In a city like Charleston, where most people move here from somewhere else, feeling like family is always a good thing.
Our favorite dishes at Bluerose are the crab cake sandwich and the fish and chips. The salads are also good, and so is the breakfast. They are open for breakfast and lunch, but the dinner hours are only on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Since Bluerose is closed for dinner Mon-Wed, you can rent the dining area out for special events.
The Southern General (Johns Island)
The Southern General is a sandwich shop on Johns Island, a more rural area of town. It’s located in a shopping center, but don’t let the appearance fool you- it’s worth the drive.
At first, I was confused about the name of the restaurant. The Southern General almost sounds like something redneck or related to the Confederacy, but when you go inside, you’ll see a large framed photo of Bill Murray dressed up like a general, and that’s where the name comes from. Bill Murray lives in Charleston, owns the local baseball team, and everyone is pretty much obsessed.
Along with the name, I was also expecting Southern food, but was pleasantly surprised to see poutine, a vegetarian potato latke sandwich, and sesame shrimp on the menu. Everything was really delicious, and there’s a full bar as well.
“Charleston” is a large area that encompasses everywhere from Mt. Pleasant to Johns Island to Summerville, so I tried to pick places from all over so that no one’s left out geographically. If you live here and think I should check out a place, let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to try it.