Pearlz has been a Columbia seafood lover's haven for many years now, but a recent addition to the city's oyster scene might just give them a run for their money. Smoked is a swanky new restaurant that opened on Main Street in November. They have an oyster bar, microbrewery, bar, and dining area all in one restaurant. So which will you prefer? Smoked or Pearlz Oyster Bar? Let me break down the main differences. 

Pearlz Oyster Bar

Pearlz has four locations: Charleston, West Ashley, Columbia, and Ballantyne. On the Columbia oyster bar menu, they have oyster shooters, hard shell clams, house oysters, a trio sampler, and a chilled seafood plateau. 

The atmosphere is bustling, loud, and typically pretty crowded. If this upbeat environment is up your alley, it's a fun place to be and socialize! 

Pearlz has a more casual main menu, including a signature burger, crab cake sandwich, New England lobster roll, and selection of tacos.  It is definitely on the more expensive side, but still affordable to go to with friends or family. 


Smoked offers a little more of a relaxed, peaceful vibe, so if you like that atmosphere, then you will really enjoy this place.

Smoked has a new menu by the season, and their cuisine, libations, and craft brews are designed around local, heirloom ingredients.

Anne Tavierne

Right now on their spring 2022 oyster bar menu, they have chargrilled, smoked signature, and lemon parmesan oysters, raw oysters, oyster shooters, and two different seafood towers: the Coast to Coast and Capital Tower.

Featured in the photo above are the lemon parmesan and raw east and west coast oysters. Also featured is the meat and cheese board.

These lemon parmesan cooked oysters are to DIE FOR! They are sour and tangy with a mild, crunchy parm, garnished with coarse pink Himalayan salt, and served with 3 sauces that vary by day. Left to right on the photo was a sriracha/hot sauce mayo, pickled peppers, celery, and onion with vinegar, and a sweet and spicy jam. Although these were spectacular, the meat and cheese board was my favorite of the evening.

The menu description is "house-smoked meats, curated selection of premium cheese, house-made accompaniments." The meats included dried salamis and prosciutto, and a pickled jam and pickled celery, carrot, and onion on the side. The cheese selection included brie, pimento, gouda, and gruyere. The crackers with the spicy brown mustard, salami, pickled celery, and gouda was my personal favorite combination.

Anne Tavierne

The staff there is overwhelmingly welcoming and kind. They are proud to work at a new, up-and-coming restaurant, and have a lot of knowledge to bring to the table. To put it simply, the atmosphere they create is amazing.

Since the restaurant has a microbrewery, they have amazing hand crafted beers. Peak Drift Brewing Co brews rotating selections of craft beers, ciders, nitro coffees, and CBD water.

Anne Tavierne

To top it all off, there is a beautiful outdoor patio in the back with lounge chairs, couches, and hammocks!

This place is a MUST GO with your parents or for a special occasion. Like Pearlz, it is a little on the expensive side, but well-worth the price-tag! 

So which will become your favorite Columbia oyster bar? An old classic or new addition? There's only one way to find out: go try them for yourself! I promise you won't regret it.