CHARLESTON, South Carolina - When you think of South Carolina’s Low Country style of dining, it’s hard to imagine an absence of meat and fish and butter. But if you’re looking for vegan food — and great vegan food to boot — in Charleston, you won’t be disappointed. Bookmark these eateries chock-full of delicious options bound to satisfy both the plant eater and carnivore.
Butcher & Bee
Known locally for its off-the-menu hamburger, this southern restaurant (found also in Nashville) offers a plethora of salads and inventive, plant-based bites. While your carnivore friends may opt for the aforementioned burger, the veg crowd will be happily feasting on a grilled chickpea Caesar salad, dips and mezze, and the Chef’s Choice feast bursting with seasonal ingredients.
The sister restaurant to the much-lauded Post House Inn in Mt. Pleasant, Basic Kitchen should be a staple restaurant in any Charleston experience. Designed by the duo behind Basic Projects, the interiors offer an airy, sea breezy ambiance that just beg you to dive into one of their fresh salad bowls. Sidle up to the bar that runs the length of the dining area and perch atop the robin's egg blue stools or opt for a bite en plein air in the back garden. Nearly everything on the menu is or can be made plant-based, like addictive Corn Ribs smothered in BBQ sauce for lunch and the Good Burger with beet ketchup for dinner. Start your day with their freshly squeezed juices and smoothies or savor an herbaceous cocktail with dinner.
Self-described as “f*%#ing fun whether you identify as vegan or not,” Neon Tiger lives up to its own hype. The menu verges on indulgent with highlights like trumpet mushroom calamari, an array of burgers and pizza, and crab cakes served with celery root slaw. There are salads for those so inclined, but with its dimly lit interiors and buzzy vibe, Neon Tiger just may be the perfect place to end your night out in Charleston with a cheat day bite.
Little Palm Bar & Swim Club
While The Ryder Hotel (one of Fathom's Best New Hotels of 2021) offers a fantastic value for guests looking for Malibu-esque design and a central location, it’s Little Palm, the hotel’s poolside eatery, that really steals the show, and not only for the strawberry shortcake color palette. Snag an umbrella-topped lounger and savor their plant-based bites in between dips. While crudite may have earned a sad reputation over the years, the veggies on ice here get an extra kick from the smoked cashew ranch dipping sauce. The indigo popcorn is another great small bite, but if you’re looking for something more ample, try the raw bar ménage à trois. Briny, fresh, and the perfect complement to Charleston’s hot summer days.
Citrus Club at The Dewberry
At eight stories high with the tallest rooftop bar in town, there’s a reason why the Citrus Club consistently attracts visitors and locals alike for happy hour with a prime view. The cocktails and the vista are the main event, with brunch classics like mimosas and bloody marys served all day long, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the small bites as well. Curried seasonal veggie tacos pack a flavorful punch, and the citrus salad (hold the queso to go vegan) is a nicely tart counterpoint.
Just over the Cooper River in Mt. Pleasant, Post House is worth the quick drive from downtown for its ambiance alone. A cozy, warm spirit drifts across the marble-topped bistro tables — with quintessential Southern hospitality a given. While the menu offerings may not seem vegan at first glance, it's the team's almost backbreaking willingness to create a special experience for each diner that stands out. Whatever your preference — vegan, dairy-free, allergy specific — the culinary and waitstaff teams will make sure to create something special for each guest, cementing their status as local favorite.