Nice restaurants near Kiawah Island
October 10, 2012 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Spending the weekend on Kiawah Island, SC. I'd like to find a nice restaurant for Friday night, hopefully not all the way back in Charleston. Details inside.

We have a busy weekend with limited time but my wife and I (and possibly our son) would like to celebrate our (15th!) anniversary on Friday night. We have "drinks on the beach" planned with friends beforehand so I don't want to then drive an hour back to the city to eat. Not because I'll be drunk (I won't) but mostly for reasons of time and energy. We'd prefer somewhere closer to Kiawah, though it doesn't necessarily have to be on the island.

We have the option to have my son stay with friends but we also might want to bring him along if he would rather come with us.

Ideally the restaurant would be:

Upscale, though not requiring us to be too dressed up.

A reasonably well behaved ten year old kid wouldn't be looked at with scorn, though they also wouldn't have paper placemats with mazes on them.

Good food. This is key. Seafood is always welcome and my son, who despite our best efforts is a picky eater, would be happy with a big plate of pasta with clams or shrimp. Any cuisine is fine, though.

Price isn't an issue, unless it's French Laundry price.

A nice view would be a plus.

Easy to get to from the island.

I know there are restaurants at the resort(s) and/or golf club on the island but my experience with such places is they're usually overpriced and not very good. I'd be happy if you tell me I'm wrong.

If Charleston is our only option and there is some place we absolutely must eat, we'll accept that.

I'm not familiar with the area at all so specific, Google-mappable locations are a plus.

Any general advice about the area is also welcome.
posted by bondcliff to Food & Drink (4 answers total)
Fat Hen
posted by Mrs.Spiffy at 8:39 AM on October 10, 2012

Best answer: You're goign to be disappointed if you expect the French Laundry in that area. John's Island is the clsoest town and it's not exactly the big city.

That said some good places to eat there: JB Smokeshak and Mama Q for barbecue. The aforementioned Fat Hen and Wild Olive for a more sit down atmosphere.

Be warned, these are still a solid 20-30 minute drive from Kiawah, and downtown Charleston is a good 45 minutes to an hour away, depending on traffic.

Now if it were me, I'd bring a cooler, go to the dock in Rockville on my way in, get a couple of pounds of fresh shrimp and maybe whatever fish they caught and cook that. Boiled shrimp is an excellent group meal.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:31 AM on October 10, 2012

In case you don't get any suggestions that tickle your fancy on Kiawah, I'm going to address the options downtown, since I don't really know much about dining on Kiawah.

Fat Hen is excellent but it's essentially back in town. It's on John's Island and if you want something REALLY special I'd suggest just driving all the way into town. Wild Olive is the sister restaurant just up the road and as 1f2frfbf says they're not more than 10-15 minutes out of downtown (depending on traffic).

My recent favorite restaurant is the Macintosh on Upper King. Fish just down the street also has excellent food and a great atmosphere. Next door to Fish is Hall's Chophouse for an excellent (if expensive) steak. It's a new restaurant but it has an old world feel and the service reflects that. Slightly further away is Fig, which has gotten some great national press lately and is getting hard to get into. Down in the tourist section of town High Cotton, Magnolias, and Cypress all provide excellent food and a good atmosphere.

Take a look at the menus because I'm definitely not familiar with what would be kid-friendly at these places. These are all more on the high end side and will likely require reservations. If you can't get one feel free to memail me and I'll see if I can pull some strings. Don't worry about dressing up too much. I've walked into most of these places in shorts and a polo and nobody bats an eye. It's a tourist town in the South after all.

If you like good food Charleston is a great place to be. Wish I could help you more with Kiawah options but I never get down there. Too much good stuff up near town.
posted by This Guy at 10:41 AM on October 11, 2012

Response by poster: Our friends also recommended Rosebank Farms, which we really enjoyed. My son, the picky eater, was happy with his plate of fried seafood and his friend, who we expect will one day be a food critic, enjoyed his seafood paella. I had fried chicken, which frankly wasn't as good as my own, but it was good enough. My wife had shrimp and grits, which was amazing.

Friday night, for our anniversary, we ended up at the Jasmine Porch, which was part of "The Club". It was delicious and the service was excellent, though it being part of "The Club" it was a bit pricey. My wife had swordfish that was caught that morning. I had shrimp and grits, which was very different from the stuff my wife had the night before.

On Saturday a bunch of us took a road trip to JB's Smokeshack, which was just about the greatest thing in the entire universe. $9.00 all you can eat buffet with BBQ, all the sides (collards, black eyed peas, the best baked beans I've ever eaten, etc), fried chicken, fried catfish, and about a million other things.

I think shrimp and grits is my new favorite food.

Thanks for the suggestions. Kiawah was a blast!
posted by bondcliff at 7:18 AM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

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