Historic Charleston South Carolina has a reputation as a haven for foodies who enjoy indulgent flavor sprinkled with traditional lowcountry taste. That’s why selecting the perfect breakfast or lunch venue might seem like a monumental task.
But there is one restaurant that has risen to the top above the others. Palmetto Cafe is the only breakfast/lunch restaurant in this charming town to receive a coveted 4 Star rating and after having lunched there, it’s pretty clear why people can’t stop talking about this eatery!
205 Meeting Street
Charleston, South Carolina
Greeted as I entered the restaurant by a cheerful young lady, I felt the happy glow of filtered sunlight that poured in from a wall of windows. This marvelous restaurant exudes Southern style with plantation shutters, potted plants, slow moving ceiling fans and crisp white table cloths.
My table provided a front row seat to the peaceful and beautiful courtyard with plants, trees and gurgling water fountain. It was the perfect spot to enjoy lunch on my first day in Charleston.
I received an inside tip on what not to miss while dinning at Palmetto Cafe from the lovely and knowledgeable Audra Poole, Public Relations Executive for Charleston Place Hotel (you can read our hotel review HERE) which owns Palmetto Cafe. Audra shared that the restaurant’s She Crab Soup was the best she’d ever tasted and being a seafood lover myself, I knew she crab would be joining me for lunch today.
My server was Ruthie, a warm and friendly lady who has been with Palmetto Cafe for over 27 years, I couldn’t have been in better hands. After taking my beverage order, Ruthie quickly returned with a glass of their peach iced tea (which included a slice of fresh peach to kick the flavor up a notch) with a side of simple syrup in case I wanted to make my own Southern sweet tea (no in case about it, I did and it was out of this world!).
Ruthie also brought a bread basket overflowing with an assortment of fresh-baked breads as well as a butter plate that offered not one but three gourmet options to slather over my warm bread. There was a pesto butter, sundried tomato and my favorite, the kalamata olive butter. I swear if I’d have run out of bread (which Ruthie would never have allowed), I would have eaten that butter by the spoonful.
I perused the tempting lunch menu which featured a collection of salads, sandwiches and burgers from filet mignon to grilled seafood. If I had been in search of the ultimate comfort food, there was even a Lobster Mac and Cheese, LOBSTER MAC and CHEESE, ya’ll!
The menu descriptions for each dish sounded so tempting, I had a feeling, it was going to be close to impossible to choose. What I wanted, was a tasting of several dishes. As luck would have it, Chef Steven Manall had added the Palmetto Sampler to his delectable menu allowing guests to sample four of his most popular menu items.
When Ruthie arrived with my impressive sampler platter, I nearly lept from my seat to hug her, overwhelmed with the sensory overload and anticipation of what I was about to experience. On a large, white platter, was a crab cake, chicken salad, burger slider, basket of fries and Audra’s recommended she crab soup. My mouth is literally watering at the memory as I write this post.
Lowcountry She Crab Soup:
Let’s begin with the soup, it’s a dreamy, creamy blend of flavor with large flakes of tender crab meat. Ruthie asked if I wanted a drizzle of sherry, which took this fanciful soup to another dimension of deliciousness.
I’ve never tasted a chicken salad quite like this one and I mean that in the best possible way. It featured generous chunks of chicken, raisins, cherries, slivered almonds and a dash of curry. It was a modern take on a classic lunch salad and utterly exceptional.
The crab cake tasting was big on taste, bursting with fresh crab chunks, and herbs. It was lightly toasted (yum) which gave it that perfect balance between soft center combined with toasty goodness on the outside. Topped with fresh corn and herbs, it was light, flavorful and oh so Southern.
Burger Slider & Fries
The classic burger slider was chock full of caramelized onions and topped with a fresh and delicious housemade bun and cherry tomato. The basket of hot, crispy french fries were the perfect side to this American favorite.
Throughout lunch, Palmetto Cafe’s General Manager, Michael Barto stopped by lunch tables to provide a warm welcome to his guests and to ensure each plate exceeded expectations. When I asked Michael for his favorite lunch entrees, the Seafood Club featuring lobster, shrimp and smoked salmon and the Grilled Octopus with yukon potatoes, red peppers and chorizo were his top picks.
After I had finished off every last bite of my sampler platter, Ruthie brought the check and a treat. The decadent chocolate dipped pineapple, she explained, was a symbol of Southern hospitality. It was honesty so delectable, I could have eaten a dozen!
We loved the ambiance, charming staff and award-winning food at Palmetto Cafe. Whether you are looking for breakfast, lunch or something to nibble on before dinner, you’ll leave happy and satisfied.
If the Palmetto Cafe shipped their signature She Crab Soup to my neck of the woods, I’d place a weekly order! Honorable mention must be given to the unexpected surprise flavor of the chicken salad, just yummy!
The gourmet butter and peach iced tea with simple syrup also earned top honors.
Not So Much
Since I’ve never been a fan of onions, grilled or otherwise, for me, the burger slider was good not great, although I loved the fresh bun and the fries were perfection.
The lunch menu could have offered more choices.
So that was our lunch experience at Palmetto Cafe at Charleston Place | Restaurant Review. Have you ever tried she crab soup? Tell us your thoughts in the the Comment Section below.
If you are visiting Charleston and in need of a dinner recommendation, check out our review of CHARLESTON GRILL.
Live, Love and Travel, Darlings,