Whether you are in the mood for BBQ, Mexican, or even dessert here is a list of affordable restaurants located in downtown Charleston.
1. Poogans Smokehouse
Poogans was one of the first restaurants I ever ate at in downtown Charleston. It is located on East Bay Street and contains mainly BBQ. The menu has plenty of options that everyone will love.
Recommendation: Mac and Cheese AND Cornbread appetizer AND Pilmento Cheeseburger
I have been here for both brunch and dinner and both times were spectacular. The service is fast and it is nice enough for a first date with reasonable enough prices.
Recommendations: Biscuits (they come with three different spreads and deciding which one to eat will be one of the hardest decisions you will ever face), and the asparagus sauteed in a yummy garlic sauce.
3. Kaminskys Dessert Bar
Kaminskys is a "College Student Favorite". There are two dessert bars located downtown and this is definitely my favorite. It's a great place to go after a late night dinner because it does stay open until 1 AM. They not only have delicious dessert but also it is a full bar.
Recommendation: Tollhouse Pie (it will literally melt in your mouth)
4. Jenni's Ice Cream
Jennis ice cream may be a little pricey, but it is worth a scoop. This is the most delicious ice cream in Charleston and it is located right on Upper King Street
Recommendation: Gooey Butter Cake
If you are planning to go to brunch on a Sunday, Toast is the place to go. The only downside is there will be a wait, so prepare in advance. Not only do they have the best brunch, but great mimosas, too. Toast is located on Meeting Street.
Recommendation: Jumbo Breakfast Sandwich with Potatoes
6. Fleet Landing
Fleet landing is a cute little restaurant located on Concord Street, right past the Market and on the water. If there is a cruise ship in town you are literally right next to it. You can see the battery and Fort Sumter if you decide to sit outside. It is mainly seafood but does have some other options for "non-seafood" eaters.
Recommendation: All the seafood. BUT if you do not like seafood I am going to recommend their signature burger
7. Smoke BBQ
Smoke is a little BBQ place located on King Street, don't let its size fool you. The food is your classic Charleston barbeque.
Recommendations: Mac and Cheese (I really like Charleston Mac and Cheese), "smoke-style" ribs and the loaded fries and the chicken wings. (I am not a hugeee BBQ eater so I asked some of my friends their favorite options from here and the options kept coming)
8. Juanita Greenbergs
Among the many Mexican restaurants in Charleston, Juanitas is my all-time favorite. I don't know if its just because it is walking distance from my apartment or if its because it's the just the place all my friends go to regardless, they have so many flavors of margaritas and the food is
Recommendation: Watermelon Margarita (get it on the rocks, frozen are not very strong), QUESO... best queso in Charleston, I promise.
9. Tattooed Moose
Tattooed Moose is located on Morrison Drive and it is a restaurant bar. I would not recommend bringing your kids here because of the bar atmosphere, but if you are in college and want to have a fun Thursday night, definitely go check it out. They have live music every Thursday night and not to mention the best french fries in Charleston. They are cooked in duck fat making them burst with flavor.
Recommendations: ANY burger, and roasted garlic and bleu cheese fries
10. California Dreaming
I had to save the best for last, my ultimate favorite, located right off of the highway on Ashley Point Drive, lays California dreaming. Not only do you get a beautiful view of Charleston, but you also get a meal you will be wanting more of. This is one of the more expensive options, but a good place to bring your family, kids, or a date. They are notorious for their croissants which have a honey butter glaze. Good luck looking at the menu and actually deciding what to get.
Recommendations: Croissant (duh), Fried crab claws, California Dreaming Salad, AND the Four cheese ravioli.