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8 romantic restaurants in Charleston for every kind of date

Romance fills Charleston’s cobblestone streets, candlelit verandas, and fiery sunsets. That signature Lowcountry charm also distinguishes the city’s best date-night restaurants.

At an oyster bar on King Street, window seats and fried fish baskets take the edge off first-date jitters. For a transportive evening complete with lamb kebabs and anise cocktails, couples hit one of the area’s only Lebanese restaurants. A classic steakhouse in a restored bank makes an elegant backdrop for an unforgettable proposal.

There’s a table for every kind of date night in one of the South’s most scenic cities. Read on for a guide to 8 Charleston restaurants ready to host your next romantic occasion.

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Barbara Skidmore
Updated February 01, 2023
A photo of The Darling Oyster Bar restaurant

The Darling Oyster Bar

Price: Moderate
Downtown Charleston
3196 reviews

When it comes to planning a flawless first date, the right vibes are just as important as the food; you want a place that isn’t overly loud or too hushed and a setting that smooths over any awkward moments. The Darling checks all those boxes with a crowd-pleasing menu of oyster shooters, seafood towers, fried fish baskets, and burgers. The best seat in the house is by the raw bar near the front window, where you’ll be entertained by bustling King Street views.

A photo of Sorghum & Salt restaurant

Sorghum & Salt

Price: Expensive
Tapas / Small Plates
Downtown Charleston
325 reviews

A local food journey at a rustic-chic spot is bound to impress your date. At Sorghum and Salt, the ultra-seasonal New American menu changes daily, though dishes are always heavy on the produce. Chillier months bring options such as scallops with celery root, shiitake, and watercress or butter beans with focaccia, feta, and sea bean vinaigrette. To focus solely on your date and get better acquainted, leave the decision-making to the chefs and opt for the four- or six-course tasting menu.

A photo of Brasserie la Banque restaurant

Brasserie la Banque

Price: Moderate
Downtown Charleston
797 reviews

Nothing enhances a special anniversary like a decadent French meal in a gorgeous dining room. Find both at Brasserie la Banque, a locally beloved spot in historic downtown. Start your celebration with caviar, chilled oysters, escargot, or foie gras. Mains include classics such as steak frites, coq au vin, and duck cassoulet; all pair well with the exceptional French wine list. Be sure to save room for dessert, because the top-notch choices here include crepe cake, chocolate mousse, tarts, and profiteroles. Pro-tip: start—or end—your romantic evening with a martini or a manhattan at Bar Vaute, the cozy bar downstairs.

A photo of Tempest restaurant


Price: Very Expensive
Downtown Charleston
2047 reviews

Tempest’s nautical dining room is an elegant backdrop for a celebratory night out together. But it’s the installation by local artist Honey McCrary that’s the true scene stealer. The 100,000-piece stained glass creation on the restaurant’s ceiling adds a wow factor to any anniversary or romantic milestone. The seafood-focused menu is just as innovative, featuring local bounty such as Lowcountry oysters from the Ace Basin and sheepshead with perloo (a savory rice dish), shrimp, and sauce Americaine. Whether you and your SO are perched indoors or out, Tempest’s dimly lit atmosphere fits the bill for an enchanting evening.

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A photo of Maison restaurant


Price: Expensive
Downtown Charleston
1420 reviews

Paris is always a romantic idea—and so is escaping to Maison. The petite but popular French bistro is led by executive chef Vandy Vanderwarker (formerly of The Ordinary). Vanderwarker’s menu marries traditional French fare, such as burgundy escargot and rabbit en croute, with more casual dishes including steak frites. Large glass windows allow a peek into the bustling bistro. French wines grace the drinks menu, rounding out the transportive European ambiance for you and your date.

A photo of Indaco restaurant


Price: Moderate
Downtown Charleston
3314 reviews

Indaco’s farmhouse-inspired interiors, dressed in natural woods and white brick, are ideal for lively conversations. And its rustic Italian plates, which include black pepper tagliatelle with a runny egg yolk, housemade salumi, and wood-fired pizzas, were made for devouring with multiple friends. Parties of four or more can enjoy a meal at a pair of butcher block tables or out on the streetside patio. Sign up for one of Indaco’s regular wine dinners for an exceptionally great group date.

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A photo of Oak Steakhouse - Charleston restaurant

Oak Steakhouse - Charleston

Price: Moderate
Downtown Charleston
5097 reviews

Royal service awaits at Oak, a classic steakhouse in a former bank building. Each of the three floors boasts a distinctly different vibe: downstairs is where you sit to see and be seen, while the upper levels are more intimate. No matter what vibe and area is right for you, you’ll be treated to attentive service and a luxurious menu, worthy of your momentous evening. Signature steak options include filet mignon, prime ribeye, and a porterhouse to share with upgrade options such as scallops Oscar. The wine selection features an impressive by-the-glass list as well as half bottles and magnums, ideal for your extra-special toast.

A photo of The Kingstide restaurant

The Kingstide

Price: Moderate
Daniel Island
1234 reviews

Pop the question at one of the area’s prettiest waterfront restaurants. From Charleston, a visit to The Kingstide begins with a leisurely 30-minute ferry ride to Daniel Island, setting the tone for an epic evening. Executive chef Kevin Getzewich’s menu focuses on fresh and seasonal dishes with solid seafood options such as crab fried rice and Lowcountry chowder. Sit inside the nautical dining room or on one of the multiple terraces overlooking the Wando River. Or propose at The Kingstide’s scenic rooftop, equipped with its own raw bar and small plates menu.

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