Whether you’re looking for a quick trip away from the snowy Northeast, in the mood for touring historical sights and beautiful architecture, or of course, craving Southern food and ocean fare, Charleston, South Carolina should be on your list of places to travel to soon. Since there is no better way to experience the culture of a new destination than through their cuisine, here is your roadmap for eating your way through the Southern gem in five days.

Day 1 

Breakfast: Hominy Grill

George Thomson

As soon as you exit the airport or car after traveling to Charleston, Hominy Grill is a must-stop location for your Southern breakfast and brunch fix. The diverse menu will keep you salivating over items such as Cornbread Waffles with Hot Chicken and Strawberry Syrup, and the infamous “Charleston Nasty Biscuit” which includes a piece of fried chicken sandwiched between a homemade biscuit and smothered in sausage gravy.

Be prepared to wait at least forty minutes on the weekends, but rest assured that your meal will be worth it.

Snack: Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit

George Thomson

After a morning spent touring Charleston’s picturesque historic district, shopping downtown on King Street, and exploring the waterfront “Battery” you will likely be hungry for an afternoon snack, but won’t want to indulge in a heavy lunch that will leave you too full for dinner (it’s all about the food, right?).

For these times, Callie’s is the place to go. Located in the open-air Charleston City Market, Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit is the ideal place to grab the soft, warm biscuits that the South is known for. Choose from a delectable variety of biscuit sandwiches, such as those smothered with blackberry jam or cinnamon butter.

Dinner: Darling Oyster Bar

George Thomson

After a day full of eating the carb-saturated foods that Charleston is lovingly known for, a seafood dinner is the right move. Darling Oyster bar offers casual seafood-focused Southern fare with a refreshing twist. Don’t miss out on the oysters that Darling is named for, either by eating some raw if that’s your style (get the Beausoleil variety from New Brunswick, CA), or by trying a sampler of Baked Oysters.

Also worth trying is the King Crab Parfait with Avocado, Grapefruit, Herb Pistou, and crispy Sourdough Crostini, and the Creole Shrimp, which is bursting with flavor and comes served over a tender Anson Mills Rice Cake. The Darling is your go-to for the delicious and inventive seafood options that Charleston is known for.

Day 2

Breakfast: Virginia’s on King

George Thomson

Virginia’s on King offers classic all-day Southern fare, but is particularly prized for their breakfast offerings. Take advantage of your status as a tourist and go for a fully Southern breakfast, such as the Fried Chicken & Eggs, served with a biscuit and grits. You will leave Virginia’s on King feeling satiated and ready for a day of exploration, whether that includes exploring downtown Charleston, or visiting a nearby plantation or tea garden.

Fuel: The Rise

George Thomson

If you have some time after breakfast on your itinerary, penciling in a visit to The Rise in downtown is a smart move to ensure you’re not missing out on a daily caffeine fix. With a bright and airy environment, The Rise serves eclectic espresso options such as the savory Rosemary Latte, which surprisingly is pretty tasty.

Pastries, tea beverages, and cold-pressed juices are also available. If this isn’t enough convincing to visit The Rise, check out Food Network’s Alton Brown’s Instagram, where he proudly praises the coffee joint.

Snack: Beech

George Thomson

After a morning well spent touring local attractions, you will need a midday rest period to relax a bit. Located at the center of Charleston’s shopping scene surrounded by stores such as Lululemon, Vineyard Vines, and Louis Vuitton, Beech is a smart choice for a healthy snack after a few days of an indulgent (but worth it) eating itinerary.

Serving cold pressed juices, acai bowls, and almond-butter toasts, you can leave Beech feeling guilt-free and satisfied until dinner.

Dinner: High Cotton

George Thomson

When you’re feeling fancy, High Cotton is the perfect place to treat yourself to a well-deserved dinner. An elegant ambiance sets the stage for a seafood-focused menu including items such as Lobster Gnocchi made with sweet potato gnocchi and topped with crispy prosciutto and served in a heavenly brown butter sauce. 

Any visit to High Cotton would be incomplete without the Grilled Portobello appetizer, which comes with crispy burrata which will puts any mozzarella sticks to shame. You will be sure to leave High Cotton feeling nourished and content with your trip to Charleston.

Day 3

Breakfast: Black Tap

After two days of fried chicken for breakfast in a row, you may be searching something lighter and quicker to start your day. Black Tap Coffee, located near the stunning College of Charleston, is a great option. The lavender latte is refreshing without being too floral, and the nutella and banana turnover could arguably be one of the best pastries south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Late Lunch: Magnolias

George Thomson

After a long day of touring all that Charleston has to offer, a late lunch at Magnolias will fill you up so that you can head back to the hotel and call it a night. Magnolias prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients, from the complimentary homemade focaccia, to the shrimp and scallops used in the Shellfish Over Grits. The Country-Fried Steak is also a must try menu item at Magnolias, which will keep you full until breakfast tomorrow.

Day 4

Breakfast: Hominy Grill

George Thomson

One visit to Hominy Grill is just not enough on a multi-day trip to Charleston. Try to sample as much of the menu as you can with your eating partner by visiting a second time.

The Buckwheat Pancakes with Sorghum Butter and Peach Syrup are light and well-balanced, and the other menu options such as the Sweet Potato Waffle with Coconut will be sure to satisfy any early-morning cravings you have. As an added perk, the wait time during the week is minimal.

Snack: The Daily

George Thomson

Located north of downtown Charleston, The Daily (a spin off the popular Southern restaurant chain Butcher & Bee) is great for a quick snack that will keep your hunger at bay while still allowing you to leave enough room for a delicious final dinner. The avocado toast topped with za’atar (a flavorful savory mediterranean herb blend) is a great option, or if you have a sweet tooth, the plethora of fresh-baked pastries are sure to satisfy.

Dinner: Poogan’s Porch

George Thomson

If the weather permits, dining on Poogan’s Porch outdoor porch will transport you to a simpler time. Complimentary warm biscuits with honey butter are a perfect way to begin your meal, along with an appetizer of Fried Green Tomatoes - another traditionally Southern menu item. If you’re sick of Charleston staples such as shrimp and fried chicken, Poogan’s offers a “Contemporary” side of their menu, with items such as Roasted Duck Pirloo which is served with andouille sausage and a fancy merlot gastrique.

Day 5

Brunch: Basic Kitchen

George Thomson

After four days of indulging in all that Charleston has to offer, you may want to begin your final day with a light and vegetable-focused meal. Basic Kitchen provides a vegan and vegetarian friendly menu filled with standbys like Avocado Toast alongside creative options such the Rainbow Bowl made with sweet potato noodles and topped with thai peanut dressing. Guided by their motto “cleaner fuel, longer adventures”, Basic Kitchen provides clean and delicious food to fuel your plane ride home.

There are so many different ways to explore all that Charleston has to offer. While the guided tours, bicycle rides, and museum-visits, and sunny beaches are all safe bets, eating your way through the South’s hottest destination will provide you with a trip that your taste buds won’t soon forget.