18 Excellent Lunch Restaurants In Charleston

Your guide to the best lunch restaurants in Charleston. Find out where to get a great sandwich, which eatery makes the best healthy lunch in town, the perfect spot for waterfront dining and more.

Rodney Scott’s | Basic Kitchen | Mercantile & Mash | Harken Cafe

There are so many great lunch restaurants in Charleston, from the nicer spots that make for a perfect business lunch to casual yet delicious eateries. This article shares our top picks for a variety of lunch places, as well as what to order for a memorable meal.

Where To Eat Lunch In Charleston

The map below should help point you in the direction of nearby lunch spots. As you’ll see, most are in the downtown area. We also included a waterfront lunch spot on James Island and three more great eateries on Sullivan’s Island.

Lunch In Charleston: Our Top Picks

This article highlights lunch in Charleston. Make sure to check out our guide to brunch in Charleston because many of the restaurants are great for lunch, too.

207-A Saint Philip Street | Downtown Charleston

Italian deli with epic sandwiches in Cannonborough

Without a doubt, The Pass is our top pick for a great sandwich in Charleston. You’ll find authentic bites on the menu, with everything from their famous Nice Italian Boy with pistachio mortadella and hot +sweet soppressata to an Italian Girl with roasted turkey and gabagool.

Their ParmaJawn is also great– and bonus points if you understand the name! The owner of The Pass is from Philadelphia and moved to Charleston to open this gourmet sandwich shop after a career in fine dining. Lucky us!

The shop isn’t huge but its a great casual spot for lunch if you’re looking for an elevated Italian sandwich.

The Pass

185 East Bay Street | Downtown Charleston

Delicious Southern fare and equally great Southern charm

If you are looking for an upscale Southern lunch in Charleston, check out Magnolias. Their lunch menu includes pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, crab cakes and dill pickled deviled eggs. And that’s just the starters!

Magnolias also has soups, salads, sandwiches and several entrees on the lunch menu. If you are looking for a particular delicious meal, try their blackened catfish entree. It’s served with fried green tomatoes and habanero butter.

Lunch at Magnolias is served Monday through Saturday, and they have a brunch menu on Sunday.


62 Queen Street | Downtown Charleston

Cafe with vegan options, delicious sandwiches and great pastries

Harken Cafe is a go-to spot for breakfast in Charleston and it’s also a great spot for daily lunch. They have a variety of vegan grain bowls and (non-vegan) sandwiches on the menu.

The Harken’s G+G bowl is a great option if you are looking for a healthy and filling lunch. It includes a medley of fresh greens, house-made Hummus, herbed flatbread and an olive oil drizzle. Their BLT Focaccia with turkey, bacon, sundried tomatoes and green apple slices is also a culinary delight.

Harken is also a top coffee shop in Charleston and they have the most delicious pastry offerings. Many of their pastries are vegan!

224 Rutledge Avenue | Downtown Charleston

Pan-asian cuisine big on flavor in a cool space

The charm of Xiao Bao Biscuit is hard to describe. From the character of the converted old time gas station with bright colors and greenery all around, its the perfect casual setting for lunch and dinner.

With Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese items on the menu, the pan-asian menu offers mouthwatering bites.

Try the dumplings to start and their Japanese cabbage pancake (okonomiyaki) or Pad Kra Pow (Thai beef and basil stir fry) for an out of this world experience.

The okonomiyaki is such a crowd-favorite that they even offer shipping! You can get a 3 pack or 6 pack that includes toppings.

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464 North Nassau Street | Downtown Charleston

Texas-style BBQ in Charleston

Lewis BBQ is one of the top BBQ joints in Charleston (and all of South Carolina for that matter.) Specializing in Texas-style BBQ, you won’t find better brisket or ribs anywhere in town. They also smoke delicious Boston Butt pulled pork, turkey, and sausage.

For lunch, try their pulled pork or chopped brisket sandwich with their signature green chile corn pudding side. Or order your meat by the pound to take home with you.

Their restaurant located in Charleston’s NoMo district his awesome with a huge outdoor space under old live oak trees.

1011 King Street | Downtown Charleston

Epic Carolina-style pulled pork

Speaking of delicious BBQ in Charleston, don’t miss Rodney Scott’s! You’ll find authentic Carolina style wood smoked BBQ here made in the traditional style. They smoke whole hog BBQ specializing in Carolina style pulled pork.

With a nice interior and great patio seating outside, its the perfect spot for lunch or dinner. Order a whole hog pork sandwich or plate for a delicious treat with some of their mouthwatering southern BBQ sides.

As one of the most celebrated BBQ joints in town, Rodney Scott’s is definitely worth a visit.

320 Broad Street | Downtown Charleston

European-style market and eatery near Colonial Lake Park

Charleston’s Alcove Market is a café and specialty food market concept with delicious and nutritious options for breakfast and lunch. It’s located in The Jasper

It’s a great stop for lunch, especially when the weather is nice and you sit out on their patio.

Their lunch options are all very fresh and healthy. We love their rainbow quinoa bowl with cherry tomatoes, black beans and pickled red onions. Their crispy falafel pita and chicken salad sandwich are also great options.

In addition to lunch, Alcove Market also offers espresso coffee drinks, smoothies and juices to get your morning started right.

Authentic Cuban sandwiches on King Street

Self-described as the little Cuban cafe on King Street, Cafecito is a true gem offering traditional Cuban coffee, breakfast and lunch.

If you are looking for the classic, try their Cubano– pork, ham, swiss, mustard, pickles on hot pressed Cuban bread. Their Arsenio’s Avocado sandwich is also great, as well as the Caprese Cubano.

Looking for something different? Try the beef empanada!

701 East Bay Street | Downtown Charleston

Go-to casual eatery for a great lunch burger

Located in The Cigar Factory on East Bay Street, Mercantile and Mash offers an artisan market, coffee shop, butcher, bakery, and cafe all rolled into one. It’s a great spot to enjoy a cup of coffee with a pastry or a hearty all-day breakfast or lunch.

The space is impressive with massive posts and beams from the original factory and the open kitchen spaces add to the ambience. There is plenty of seating inside and several picnic tables outside on the sidewalk.

Even though it’s kind of expensive, we can’t get enough of their double mash burger. It’s topped with bread & butter pickles pimento cheese, bacon jam and their house-made Merc sauce. Add a side of shoestring fries for the complete experience! It’s totally worth it.

You can also opt for breakfast all day at Mercantile & Mash, including breakfast sandwiches, pastries and smoothies. It’s an order-at-the-counter place with seating inside and a few picnic tables outside.

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133 Queen Street | Downtown Charleston

Charming corner store with delicious lunch

Downtown Charleston’s Queen Street Grocery is a cute cafe in a charming old school corner grocery store. It’s an ideal spot to enjoy all-day breakfast and lunch.

Their daily lunch menu includes a few sandwiches, like a Cubano, an Italian and a choose-your-own veggie sandwich. We personally love their Tenacious Turkey with brie, green apple, sprouts and honey basil aioli on ciabatta.

They also have all-day breakfast, crepes and salads. You can choose from a savory crepe with a side salad or a sweet crepe. All are named after local cities and nearby beaches!

Queen Street Grocery’s laid-back atmosphere is great for a casual meal with seating inside and a few tables on the sidewalk.

2063 Middle Street | Sullivan’s Island

Crown jewel restaurant on Sullivan’s Island

Located on Sullivan’s Island, Obstinate Daughter is worth a visit if you’re on the hunt for a great lunch in one of the Charleston area’s most popular beach towns.

Lunch is served daily at The Obstinate Daughter and includes crowd favorites like their local lettuce salad, campanelle pasta with market fish, Frogmore chowder and peel ‘n eat shrimp.

Their pizzas are also very popular— and for a reason! They are wood-fired and absolutely delicious. We especially love the combo of their Moultrie pizza with their local lettuce salad.

The Obstinate Daughter

730 Rutledge Avenue | Downtown Charleston

Park & Grove is such a charming eatery– it feels a but out of a Nancy Meyers movie. We love their seasonal menus and focus on fresh ingredients. And the covered outdoor dining area is the cherry on top.

For lunch, we love their seasonal tartine. They also have a croque madame on the menu and a smashburger with special sauce and fries.

Looking for something a little healthier? Try the seasonal greens with grilled shrimp or chicken!

Park & Grove serves lunch on weekdays and has a weekend brunch service. So, no matter the day you can be certain to have a great mid-day meal at Park & Grove.

82 Wentworth Street | Downtown Charleston

Local eatery with a seasonal menu and healthy offerings

Basic Kitchen is fresh local eatery with a trendy upbeat atmosphere. Their tall ceilings and big windows make for an airy and overall happy space.

They offer seasonal lunch and dinner menu with tons of fresh and healthy options. There are also several vegan and vegetarian options on the menu.

Basic Kitchen’s lunch menu offers salads, bowls, burgers and tacos. What we love is that you can choose a ‘good burger’ with beet ketchup and harissa slaw, or a ‘naughty burger’ with everything you’d expect to find on a classic cheeseburger.

Their Basic Bowl is a great place to start if you are looking for a healthy lunch. It includes roasted sweet potato, broccoli, kale, curried chickpeas, chimichurri and grains. It’s filling but doesn’t cause immediate regret!!

Basic Kitchen

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698 King Street | Downtown Charleston

Fried chicken and oysters at a casual spot loved by all

You’ll find exactly what you expect at Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oyster Shop— world class fried chicken and seafood.

It’s the ultimate casual restaurant space in a repurposed auto shop, with original architectural detail still in tact.

There’s nothing better than kicking back on their patio with a beer and their char-grilled oysters. And if oysters aren’t your thing, don’t miss out on their fried chicken meal or their chicken sandwich. You won’t be disappointed.

550 King Street | Downtown Charleston

French-inspired restaurant with

Whether it’s their Parisian mac & cheese, lobster deviled eggs, French onion soup or their petit steak frites, you will love your lunch at Felix in downtown Charleston.

As you can probably guess, Felix is a French-inspired restaurant. The interior is as impressive as their dishes. It’s our top recommendation if you are looking for a nicer lunch in Charleston.

You can order from their lunch menu on weekdays or catch them for brunch on the weekends. Felix also has a daily dinner service.

2019 Middle Street | Sullivan’s Island

Excellent destination for seafood on Sullivan’s Island

Sullivan’s Fish Camp is a seafood restaurant on Sullivan’s Island serving lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. They opened in July 2022 after completing renovations at the former Sullivan’s Seafood Restaurant.

Their menu is the same all day and includes the crowd-favorite beer battered fish and chips. We also really like their Fish Camp Sandwich with jerk rubbed fish and the jalapeno and gouda hush puppies. And we absolutely can’t leave off the New England lobster roll!!

Sullivan’s Fish Camp has a dedicated takeout menu with fish & chips, truffle parm fried shrimp, a burger and lobster roll. They wrap their takeout in easy to transport boxes (and they make for an easy picnic on the beach!)

Sullivan’s Fish Camp

1243 Harbor View Road | Downtown Charleston

Waterfront dining on James Island

Located on James Island, Ellis Creek Fish Camp, is one of the best settings to enjoy the delicious seafood that Charleston has to offer.

This waterfront dining establishment lets you take in the beautiful lowcountry marsh views. Dining on wooden decks overlooking the marsh creates a true fish camp feel.

It’s a great spot for a casual lunch or dinner. You can’t go wrong with their fish and chips or their grouper sandwich.

2210 Middle Street | Downtown Charleston

Burgers, quesadillas, nachos and fries on Sullivan’s Island

Located in the quaint and popular beach town of Sullivan’s Island, Poe’s Tavern is a Charleston burger destination with some of the best burgers in town. They also have nachos, quesadillas, several options for chicken, salads and more.

Poe’s has a relaxed island feel with awesome outdoor seating in their garden and on their front porch.

It’s the perfect spot to grab lunch before hitting the beach or dinner and drinks after a day on the surf. Speaking of beachy, check out their fish and shrimp tacos!

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