Restaurants are sweet on Valentine’s Day. After all, table bookings can as much as double in the days leading up to February 14. Since the holiday falls on a Tuesday this year, the restaurants can expect their typical sales for that weeknight to jump dramatically too. You’ll want to reserve soon. Here are 14 great options, in no particular order, to consider for your romantic dinners in Charleston.
You’ll find this romantic pick on many lists. Located inside the historic downtown Wentworth Mansion, this fine dining restaurant offers a seasonal and local menu with elevated Lowcountry cuisine. Executive Chef Marc Collins and Executive Pastry Chef Ashley Cardona will treat your taste buds. You can pick also from Circa 1866’s extensive wine list.
There are now locations around the Southeast, but this Halls Chophouse is the original. You can enjoy prime steaks and fresh, regional seafood in this fine-dining environment. Expect sizable cuts of meat, but save room for the Decadent Chocolate Cake or the delicious Southern Caramel Cake.
French is the language of love, so why not try this cozy romantic French restaurant for your tête-à-tête? This is a “pint-sized” place in downtown Charleston featuring food and wine from Southern France, Northern Italy, and Northern Spain. You can choose from a daily tasting menu consisting of appetizers, entreés, and desserts made with local ingredients.
Maison is a bistro-style option offering what Conde Nast Traveler described as “deftly executed French classics.” You may not be able to fly your loved one to Paris, but they’ll still say “oooh la la” over the steak and seafood options on the menu.
This Charleston staple promises upscale Southern cuisine that elevates traditional ingredients and cooking techniques with “modern flair and artful presentation.” Open since 1990, this Bay Street restaurant is known for its Fried Green Tomatoes, Grilled Filet of Beef and Shellfish over Grits, Bouillabaisse, and Parmesan Crusted Market Catch.
Start your evening at Le Farfalle with a classic Italian cocktail (such as a Negroni) and then dig into small plates and pasta options. Of course, there are also mains such as Chicken Parmigiana, or cuts of steak, veal, lamb and more with many sauce options. If you have a sweet tooth, there’s Tiramisu Panna Cotta for dessert.
Enjoy Italian comfort food on Warren Street at a cozy, candlelit table at Pane e Vino. House specialties include Penne alla Maremanna or the Gnocchi allo Zola. USA Today’s 10 Best recommends taking your server up on their wine recommendations and exploring the ivy-covered patio with its string lights.
This culinary landmark sees you enjoying Southern fare in a charming cottage setting on Queen Street. Start your meal with the She Crab Soup, Pimento Cheese Fritters, or Fried Green Tomatoes. Then, you might try the Crispy-Skin Snapper or All Natural Fried Chicken. But trying not to fill up first on the delicious biscuits at Poogan’s Porch is a challenge.
Another of the Charleston romantic restaurants found in a historic home, Muse has a Mediterranean menu. You might enjoy Lobster Risotto, Pumpkin Ravioli, Tagliatelle Bolognese, or Veal Scaloppini. Of course, the wine menu is extensive as this is a wine bar.
“There’s always cause for celebration” according to High Cotton. This stylish Lowcountry restaurant boasts heart pine floors and antique brick as well as full-on Charleston hospitality. Highlights include the Buttermilk Fried Oysters, Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs, and Braised Elk Osso Bucco.
If you’re looking for something other than Southern fare, you might try the Spanish-style tapas at Estadio Charleston. This intimate 39-seat restaurant serves aromatic paella. Or try the steak grilled in a South American style that the Post and Courier’s critic described as “rich and robust” and one of the restaurant’s edible highlights.
Found near the Rainbow Row of pastel-colored houses, The Establishment is seafood-centric. Located in yet another historic house in downtown Charleston, this restaurant’s romantic offerings are served up amidst rich wood paneling, handcrafted fixtures, and a luxury vibe.
Opened in 1982, this is one of Charleston’s oldest restaurants. 82 Queen started out fusing culturally diverse flavors before it came to be known as Lowcountry fare. Crispy Fried Chicken Livers or Southern Tomato Pie can get you started. The Seafood Gumbo or the Jambalaya mains can make your evening spicy.
Counterintuitively, we’re putting Zero as number 14. Touting upscale cuisine and an exceptional atmosphere, this New American venue promises to serve up “an experience as much as a meal.” The focus is on flavors and fresh ingredients, with “zero fads, zero smothering sauces.”
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