Romantic dining in Charleston
By Jenny Peterson
While Charleston is considered one of the country’s most romantic cities with its cobblestone streets, unmatched charm and storied buildings, some Lowcountry restaurants take date night to a whole new level. From stunning dining rooms to excellence in hospitality, discover memorable meals and unique experiences at these culinary gems for Valentine’s Day or any other romantic celebration.
On the top floor of the trendy artsy Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston sits Élevé, a vibrant and colorful dining room with views of the Ravenel Bridge from the windows and rooftop terrace (perfect to lounge with a pre-dinner or after-dinner cocktail). Élevé recently added a new concept and menu that includes a raw bar serving up oysters, scallop carpaccio and amberjack crudo and renowned chef Mahdi Naim who brings his worldly take on comfort classics including lamb Bolognese with housemade pasta. Specialty cocktails are crafted to enhance each specific dish. Either before dinner or as a separate experience, Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston offers a memorable, one-of-a-kind wine blending class where you get a lesson from a sommelier about red wine varieties and blend your own with a customized label to enjoy on a future special occasion.
55 Wentworth St., Charleston
One of downtown Charleston’s most buzzed-about new additions, Costa offers high-end coastal Italian fare inside a stunning dining room on the ground floor of The Jasper, next to Colonial Lake. The seafood-forward menu stars oysters, several crudo dishes and caviar atop fried mozzarella and also includes pastas, classic beef dishes and other culinary nods to the Mediterranean. Led by Chef Vinson Pertrillo of The Restaurant at Zero George, Costa also has a robust beverage program offering creative craft cocktails, bubbling aperitivi and globally-sourced wines.
320 Broad St., Charleston
Sommba Cocina & Cellar
Take a trip to Spain in a modern coastal atmosphere at Sommba Cocina & Cellar in Mt. Pleasant. At this energetic and flavorful gastrobar, enjoy classic Spanish small bites (pintxos) like smoked Marcona almonds, charcuterie featuring in-house freshly-shaved meats, Ibérico and Manchego cheeses; Spanish tapas that include three types of empanadas and a bevy of Spanish-style main dishes that include three different sharable paellas. The new concept from the owners behind SAVI Cucina + Wine Bar, Sommba Cocina & Cellar also has an award-winning wine cellar with wines served by the glass or bottle from both Spain and from around the world.
1710 Shoremeade Rd. #450, Mt. Pleasant
In a charming Charleston house in downtown Charleston’s Cannonborough Elliotborough neighborhood is a live-fire restaurant where menu items are prepared in an oak-wood fire grill, from coal-roasted Spanish octopus and coal-roasted potatoes down to the freshly-charred bread, herbs and spices. Southbound serves dry aged meats and their wide variety of entrees include a dry aged New York strip, doublecut Berkshire pork chop and crispy Orvia duck. A standout on the starter menu is dry-aged steak tartare, served with a smoked egg and miso butter toast. The dishes are complemented by perfectly-balanced cocktails and uncommon wines. The sound of crackling oak adds to the cozy atmosphere.
72 Cannon St., Charleston
The Restaurant + Bar at Zero George
A feast for the senses, The Restaurant + Bar at Zero George is a one-of-a-kind chef’s tasting menu that turns food into sublime art inside an immaculately-restored circa-1804 building and private courtyard. The restaurant “aims to delight, spoil, and surprise” as Chef Vinson Petrillo serves wildly creative takes using seasonal local ingredients in this contemporary, upscale hospitality experience. Make a reservation and bring your sense of wonder or grab a seat at the piazza bar for a la carte caviar service of a classic presentation of Regiis Ova caviar along with divine accompaniments. A highly-curated beverage program complements the menu.
0 George St., Charleston
Every guest is a VIP at Hall’s Chophouse, where outstanding hospitality puts the steakhouse over the top in its guest experience. Family-owned Hall’s Chophouse opened in 2009 when patriarch Bill Hall, a lifelong hotel and restaurant operator, decided to open a restaurant with a pursuit of exceptional hospitality. Halls Chophouse continues to have it all—the finest steaks in many cuts, an extensive wine list and special reserves, hearty family-style sides and unmatched service and warmth of the staff. Indulge in their signature steak or a variety of seafood options including oysters Rockefeller and a 10-ounce lobster tail add-on for a decadent surf and turf. Hall’s offers dinner service as well as Saturday lunch and Sunday gospel brunch.
434 King St., Charleston
Set inside a former bank that underwent a stunning renovation, The Ordinary is a Southern seafood hall and raw bar celebrating the “merroir” of the Coastal Carolinas and the East Coast with local and regional products from fishermen, crabbers, oystermen, farmers and producers. “Fancy” seafood towers are perfect for sharing and include a variety of raw oysters, clams and other seafood in a dazzling presentation. Smaller and larger plates celebrate the local bounty, perfectly paired with an extensive wine list and unique martini service, choose vodka or gin, presented with all the garnishes.
544 King St., Charleston
Tucked inside The Wentworth Mansion, arguably one of the most stunning hotels and buildings in downtown Charleston, Circa 1886 is romantic dining personified. Culinary artistry meets historic charm and the history of the Lowcountry converges with the art of modern cuisine inside one of the city’s most storied buildings. Executive Chef Marc Collins puts an elevated spin on Lowcountry favorites like shrimp n’ grits and cornmeal-crusted flounder on its traditional dinner menu. The restaurant also offers two five-course tasting menu options that include truffle risotto and foie gras flan.
149 Wentworth St., Charleston
Old-world Italian in a breathtaking space, Sorelle opened in 2023 and quickly became a hot spot for its handmade pastas, including its “pillows of gold” ricotta tortellini, as well as its stunning dining room that has an immersive landscape mural and large windows that overlook Broad Street in a building that dates as far back as 1884. In addition to a lengthy menu to satisfy all palates—which includes a separate category of dishes that celebrate truffles—chefs Adam Sobel and Nick Dugan offer a Centro Tavalo, or “center of the table” chef’s menu—a carefully crafted five-course culinary journey designed to showcase the best of Sorelle in a shareable format.
88 Broad St