Charleston, SC Outfits + Guide to Our Favorite Eats

crop trench coat casual airport outfit

Madewell turtleneck xxs, Halogen crop trench xxs petite, Topshop petite jeans sz 25×28 (also worn here) with a maternity BellaBand sz 1, Soludus flats sz 5, Quay sunglasses, Goyard tote

We first visited Charleston, SC a few years ago, and it quickly became a go-to destination when we needed a quick break from Boston winters! Aside from its history and pastel-colored charm, the city is also a foodie’s dream. I blogged this travel & food guide after our first visit, but four visits later we wanted to share some additional favorites ( ** = my personal can’t-miss spots)!

best date food spots charleston sc

Jean – Uniqlo skirt xs (elasticized waist fits 24-25″), H&M top sz 2, Cuyana bag c/o.
Nick – J.Crew wool blazer (older color) + 484 jeans, Sperry shoes (similar), H&M henley

Everything in this small city is relatively close – we’ve never rented a car while visiting and have gotten by with walking and the occasional Uber. I usually pack skirts with elastic waistbands (perfect for eating your way around town), 2 pairs of skinny jeans (dark blue + white), and light layers like a trench and duster cardigan. Wedges, low block heels or flats are also a must for some uneven sidewalks and cobblestone streets!

casual spring outfit white jeans striped tee

Madewell tee xxs, Halogen cardigan xxs petite (also worn here & here), Baublebar necklace, J. Brand jeans sz 24 (also in maternity), Gucci bag, KJP bracelet, Marc Fisher wedges (similar) sz 5

Casual + Family-friendly (with plenty of outdoor seating)

leons oysters fried chicken charleston foodie guide
J.Brand jeans sz 24, Vince sweater, Soludus flats sz 5, Gucci bag – outfit from this blog post

Leon’s Fine Poultry and Oysters** ($$)
Fried chicken and seafood, flavorful salads (if you want something lighter), plus a robust drink and champagne list! Their namesake may be poultry and oysters, but our must-try’s are actually their fish sandwich (crispy on the outside, tender on the inside) and Thai-inspired Siam salad, which is an explosion of flavors and textures. Leon’s is less than a 10-min drive outside of downtown Charleston, or we’ve walked from upper King Street and it wasn’t bad.

lewis bbq charleston outdoor patio family friendly restaurant 
lewis barbeque best food in charleston sc bbq 

Lewis Barbecue ($$)
We don’t eat much BBQ since it can be very heavy, but this spot did not disappoint! The brisket, smoked over ~15 hours, was soo flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth good, and the hot sausage link was delicious. You pay for meats by the pound, so for a 2-person sampler, I’d recommend sharing one slice of brisket, 1 hot sausage, maybe 1 rib and then two sides (ask for free bread and extra pickles, of course). Their signature chili corn pudding was good but I would skip the mac & cheese.

For another guy-pleasing spot, cross the street to Edmund’s Oast afterwards for some of South Carolina’s best craft beers (at least according to Nick). Lewis and Edmund’s are a little further out than Leon’s and would require a car or Uber from downtown.

Darling Date Spots

darling oyster bar charleston best girls night happy hour
darling oyster bar charleston sc date night
Uniqlo skirt (current version) xs, similar AT sandals sz 5, H&M top, Talbots bag – outfit from this post

The Darling** ($$)
Elegantly decorated restaurant (those striped emerald couches!) true to its name. Popular for girls night as well as date night. They have an affordable happy hour with fresh oyster and wine specials – what more could one ask for after a day of exploring?

chez nous french restaurant charleston lemon print dress
chez nous french romantic restaurant charleston sc
F21 lemon wrap dress sz S (fabric is thin; I wore a nude cami under), Marc Fisher wedges sz 5 (similar)

Chez Nous ($$$)
A quaint French restaurant tucked away in a residential neighborhood. There’s several romantic tables for 2 to enjoy a cozy meal and sip on wine. The handwritten menu changes daily and includes just two appetizer and two entree options, so if your plans are flexible, check their Instagram at around 11 AM to see what they’ll be serving that day. The owners also run Bin 152, a wine & charcuterie bar near lower King Street. It would’ve been torturous for my pregnant self to visit, but we bookmarked it for a future trip!

Southern Fare Favorites

If you’re researching a trip to Charleston, chances are you’ve come across Yelp-favorites Husk and Poogan’s Porch. These two restaurants are located in restored Victorian houses next door to each other near King St. Although we prefer getting our southern food fix at the more casual Hominy Grill** (see photo in my first Charleston blog post), it’s worth it to eat at one of the aforementioned two spots if you get balcony seating on a gorgeous day. We loved lunching al fresco while enjoying a gentle breeze and people-watching down below!

charleston south carolina brunch outfit poogans porch

Uniqlo skirt xs (elasticized waist fits 24-25″), H&M top sz 2, Cuyana bag c/o (my review

Food-wise, Poogan’s Porch ($$, pictured above) serves more traditional southern fare compared to Husk ($$$) which is a little more elevated southern. While we did think Husk food was good (after trying both lunch and dinner), I wouldn’t say it’s a must-visit due to all the other good options in town!

Quick Bites

daves carryout charleston fried seafood cheap eats
callies hot little biscuit charleston sc travel food guide

Dave’s Carry Out – top left ($)
A true hole-in-the-wall with two folding tables to eat at, about a 5-min walk out from upper King Street. Don’t expect any ambiance, but do check it out if you’re in the area and have a hankering for yummy, affordable fried seafood or pork chops! The batter on the seafood is light and crispy, and Nick said the pork chop (bone-in, served simply with 2 slices of white bread) reminded him of Hong Kong-style chops. Almost everyone who came in seemed to be a regular.

Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit (second location) – top right ($)
Two locations – we went to the second one inside the historic Charleston City Market before strolling through the market. We got mini biscuits instead of the hefty-looking sandwiches. Our favorite minis include blackberry jam for sweet, and chive & cheese for savory!

Beech ($$)
Located right on King St, this was a welcome healthy and fresh alternative to the heavier eats. They have poke fish bowls (you can choose zoodles, kale salad, or rice as the base), açaí bowls, and fresh smoothies.

I’ve also updated the custom map from my original blog post with these restaurant locations. Please let us know any of your favorite spots so we can add it to the list for a future visit!

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Leave a Comment


  1. Taylor wrote:

    Hi Jean,

    What color is your madewell tee? Is it the black strip of the navy one?

    Posted 4.21.18 Reply
  2. Leah wrote:

    I’m prepping my wardrobe for a bachelorette trip to Charleston next weekend and CANNOT for the life of me figure out what to wear out at night. Was thinking a black jumpsuit and block heels with bright accessories, but now that seems like it might be too much. What are your suggestions?

    Posted 4.5.18 Reply
  3. Wow I’ve never been! I’d love to visit. Definitely loving the tips! Gonna use for planning!

    XOXO //
    SINCERELY OPHELIA | NYC Petite Fashion Blogger

    Posted 3.12.18 Reply
  4. Maureen wrote:

    Thank you for putting this together. It makes it easy when you have recommendation when researching for a place to eat or visit. I am so hungry though after reading your post! So much yummy goodness! I hope you are having a great day!

    Maureen |

    Posted 3.7.18 Reply
  5. Rose wrote:

    I’ve been looking at that Cuyana bag, but I’m generally scared of lighter leather colors. Did you protect your bag with anything?

    Posted 3.7.18 Reply
  6. Kay wrote:

    I LOVE Charleston. It’s a perfect southern city and I love that you represented Southern food so well here!

    Posted 3.6.18 Reply
  7. Hayley wrote:

    Great list! I can’t get enough of Charleston! A few of my favorites…
    1. Butcher & Bee…next door to Edmunds Oast
    2. Fuel…really fun outdoor lunch – used to be a gas station
    3. Le Farfalle…delicious Italian and beautiful space
    4. Stars Rooftop Bar…great sauv blanc sangria
    5. Closed for Business and Lagunitas Brew House for your beer loving husband!

    Sullivan’s Island is definitely on my list for next time!

    Posted 3.6.18 Reply
  8. Elizabeth wrote:

    This guide is every foodie’s dream come true when it comes to traveling <3 Thank yo u so much for sharing this, Jean! 🙂 I've been wanting to go to Charleston for awhile now, and this post is just perfect!

    XO, Elizabeth

    Posted 3.6.18 Reply
  9. I bought the Halogen trench coat you are wearing from Nordstrom in a XXS Petite as well. I read on the description on Nordstrom’s website that there was a front closure but am disappointed to find that the jacket does not seem to button and the only option is to wear it open. Do you prefer to wear yours open without the closure?

    Posted 3.6.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Elizabeth – I didn’t even notice they listed it as a double-breasted closure. They should get that fixed! I had read a review beforehand saying it does not have a closure, so I was forewarned. I have another crop trench in a different color, and due to the swingy silhouette I almost never wear it closed (it loses the swingy A-line shape and looks more rectangular when buttoned-up) so I was okay with that.

      Posted 3.6.18 Reply
  10. Fatou wrote:

    This is amazing

    Posted 3.6.18 Reply
  11. Laura wrote:

    Your trip looked wonderful! My husband and I are planning to visit Charleston for a babymoon in April. I was wondering if you had an recommendations of places to stay, seeing as you have been a few times. Suggestions of Airbnb’s or hotels would be great! Thanks!

    Posted 3.5.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Laura! Ah…so many options, depending on what you’re looking for! If budget allows, Zero George or 86 Cannon (check my other Charleston blog posts for photos of these bed & breakfasts) are gorgeous boutique properties for a romantic stay for 2. I have also stayed at the Restoration on King St which has spacious and comfortable suites (and cute, complimentary picnic baskets for breakfast delivered to your door daily), and for a more budget-friendly option I’ve also stayed at the Mills House on Meeting St. The Mills is a pretty standard hotel and some of the rooms need updating, but the location was super central to the things we wanted to do. Several of the Airbnb’s look pretty good, too – I’d suggest staying in the lower King St area near the Mills House (very walkable area to several different neighborhoods) if it’s your first time and visiting without a car.

      Posted 3.6.18 Reply
  12. Elisse wrote:

    Husk is so overrated! My parents weren’t a fan.

    Posted 3.5.18 Reply
  13. Carla Krae wrote:

    Jean, I’m going to be flying (domestically) for the first time post-9-11 in August and I’m kinda scared about all I don’t potentially know about modern travel. Can you point me in the right direction?

    Posted 3.5.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Carla – no need to be nervous, the airport check-in / security process is pretty streamlined. Just look up baggage limitations and the list of liquid / hazardous materials on TSA’s website or the airline your flying to make sure you’re not packing anything that isn’t allowed, and you should be fine. The scanners at security are not very invasive and at most I get a quick pat down. Enjoy your trip!

      Posted 3.6.18 Reply
      • Carla Krae wrote:

        I’d done that part and was hoping I wasn’t missing a traveling secret not easily found. Thanks. It’s a convention in Philly with a day of museum browsing.

        Posted 3.6.18 Reply
  14. Jandrew wrote:

    This looks like a great escape ! Good food is a must for a vacation, and It doesn’t look overly fussy , fabulous casual food is my fav. You look very Spring in these shots ! Hopefully for us northerners it’s not to far away !
    Dress The Part

    Posted 3.5.18 Reply
  15. All your food pictures look amazing! Never been to SC, but it’s definitely on the bucket list!

    May ||

    Posted 3.5.18 Reply
  16. Charleston is such a magical place! We live only 2 hours from it so it’s a quick day trip when we have a free weekend.

    Last time we were there we ate at Husk and it was amazing!

    Posted 3.5.18 Reply
  17. Jae wrote:

    Your travel guides are always so helpful! Saving this on my bookmark!

    Posted 3.5.18 Reply
  18. Jessica wrote:

    You look so lovely in these! Looks like such a fun trip! I love Charleston!

    Posted 3.5.18 Reply
  19. I love your outfit Jean! I’m desperate to get myself over to Charleston!

    I hope you’re having a wonderful Monday!

    Posted 3.5.18 Reply
  20. Felicity wrote:

    Charleston is the one place I want to visit! I always drove through it going to Disney World when I was younger, I didn’t realize until I got much older how adorable the city was. Also loving that lemon dress!

    Felicity | http://oliverandmoose,com

    Posted 3.5.18 Reply
  21. Amanda wrote:

    Nice guide, will definitely check out some of your recommended spots the next time I visit! My first time was 5 years ago when my sister lived there for a few months – she definitely took me to Hominy Grill for brunch since she was only a few blocks away. I also visited the two plantations you starred – just lovely <3 What I recommend are a few places outside of Charleston that would require one day with a car: Kiawah Island (clean beach resort!), Charleston Tea Plantation, and Fat Hen (French restaurant open in evening). Thanks for sharing your recent trip & outfits!

    Posted 3.5.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Amanda – thanks for your tips! I’d love to visit the tea plantation and Fat Hen sometime! My dad used to take me as a kid to Kiawah Island on his business trips so I have fond memories there (except for the scary crocodiles, lol!).

      Posted 3.6.18 Reply
  22. Amber wrote:

    All of your outfits are so cute! Also, all of the food looks super delicious.

    Posted 3.5.18 Reply
  23. La Bijoux Bella | by mia wrote:

    Beautiful recommended places! Alll are looking great with the foods! 💗👍🏼💗


    Posted 3.5.18 Reply
  24. Charleston looks so fun! If I ever visit the US I will definitely stop by and hit up your recommendations. 🙂 You look good as always!

    Posted 3.5.18 Reply
  25. Julie wrote:

    Everything sounds amazing! Thanks for putting this together Jean. How many days would you recommend for a first time visitor?

    Posted 3.5.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Julie, I would say about 3 nights / 4 days! That should give you plenty of time to visit many of the historical sites and also travel a little outside of the city for some other attractions (or go to the beach).

      Posted 3.6.18 Reply

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