Best known for the golden dome of its Capitol Building, Charleston may be one of West Virginia’s smaller cities but the local dining scene is eclectic and diverse. Foodies will find ethnic restaurants, casual eateries and fine dining spots, as well as a few venues combining food and culture. Here is our updated guide to 10 of the best restaurants in Charleston, West Virginia.
Black Sheep Burrito is an eatery, a bar and a brewery, but most importantly, it is a cosy, friendly place where you can unwind and take a break from the stress of modern life in a chilled, laid- back atmosphere. The menu features an incredible selection of inviting quesadillas, telera sandwiches and, of course, the house’s speciality burritos. For an accompanying drink, choose from margaritas, mimosas, bloody marys, mojitos, sangrias, or take a look at the beer list —Black Sheep Burrito prides itself on its fine selection of imported, premium Mexican beers. Swing by here during the weekend for a special, delicious, all-Mexican brunch.
Charleston’s restaurant Bluegrass Kitchen seamlessly combines art and food for a dining experience that nourishes both the body and the eyes. The historic venue, restored to mimic its original, 1920s looks, features luscious oak floors, a beautiful pressed tin ceiling and exposed brick walls. On these walls, exquisite contemporary artworks by the many talents in the local, thriving art community are regularly rotated, transforming Bluegrass Kitchen into an eclectic restaurant-cum-gallery. Come here for a bite of scrumptious, local fare typical of the mythic Appalachian mountains. Although not a vegetarian diner, Bluegrass Kitchen puts particular emphasis on meat-free dishes, making this an ideal choice for vegetarians or anyone looking for a lighter meal.
Book a table at Fazio’s and get ready for a delectable meal firmly rooted in Italian cuisine. Established and operated by a family of Italian descent, Fazio’s has been on Charleston’s dining scene for over 35 years under the direction of chef Danny. Here guests can sample many exquisite Italian delights, like the house-made Italian sausages, the fried zucchini and cauliflower, and any option from the selection of piping hot pastas. Every dish is perfectly cooked and made fresh from scratch whenever possible to ensure maximum taste and bursts of Italian flavour.
Open for breakfast, brunch and lunch, First Watch ensures tasty, wholesome meals prepared with fresh, quality ingredients, and through processes that preserve the nutrients contained in each food (no heat lamps or deep fryers here). Neat and cosy, First Watch is a great little spot to start your day with a hearty breakfast in a tranquil, lovely atmosphere. Take a seat, grab the newspaper or read the news on your smartphone through the free wifi while sipping a warming cup of First Watch’s signature, delicious coffee – the Sunrise Select Premium Blend – and tasting a traditional, American breakfast that will set you up for the rest of the day.
Asian food lover? Join like-minded foodies at Ichiban, a popular pan-Asian restaurant conveniently located on prominent Capitol Street. From sushi and fried rice to noodles and dumplings, Ichiban entertains guests with the best specialties from the Asian continent that are now so popular around the world. In particular, restaurant Ichiban takes pride in its imported sake, and the caring attention that goes into the colourful, imaginative presentation of each dish. Ichiban boasts a great sushi bar, one of the best in downtown Charleston, and outdoor seating for the warmer months.
A fixture of Charleston’s food scene since 1979, fine dining restaurant Laury’s flaunts one ofthe most charming locations in town. The restaurant is housed inside the historic Amtrak train station, a unique landmark listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. The building is located along the Kanawha River that runs through the city — from the restaurant, guests can enjoy scenic views of the river and of Charleston’s downtown. Laury’s interiors impress just as much, with its extremely elegant setting creating the perfect ambience to match the house’s delectable, lip-smacking cuisine.
When Charleston’s residents think of pizza, Lola’s Pizza is among the top names that comes to their minds. The restaurant is situated in an endearing white wooden house, and enjoys a consistent flux of happy patrons who can’t wait to take a bite of Lola’s gourmet, Mediterranean- inspired pizzas, like the spinach and feta, the fig jam and rosemary, or the spicy shrimp and sausage. The salads and small plates served as appetizers (honey-crisp apple salad, lemon & herb hummus) are no less enticing, but besides the great food Lola’s fans keep coming back to bask in the pizzeria’s beautifully casual, relaxed atmosphere.
Mexican food junkies in Charleston know that restaurant Mi Cocina de Amor has what they need to soothe their cravings. Chef Frank Gonzales III tempts his guests with mouth-watering recipes typical of the state of Sonora, in Northern Mexico; and likes to add a few of his own, signature creations in the mix. Come here for a quick, tasty lunch of tacos or burritos, or join Mi Cocina de Amor for dinner to enjoy a more elaborate, scrumptious meal. The restaurant’s menu is packed with tantalising options, from the array of appetizing antojitos (cheese crisp, guacamole tostada) to the plate of carne seca and a variety of enchiladas.
Downtown Charleston is home to Taylor Books, a unique independent bookstore set up in a characterful venue with an unmissable large, red facade, brick walls and exposed ducts. Taylor Books offers a vast selection of books and rare magazines — make your pick, then sit in the bookstore’s cosy café to enjoy a cup of coffee and perhaps a sweet treat while you settle in to your reading, or take advantage of the bookstore’s free wifi. Contiguous to the bookshop is the Annex Gallery, an art gallery exhibiting works by local and regional contemporary artists. Indie, artsy and eclectic, Taylor Books is absolutely worth checking out by anyone visiting Charleston.
Whether you prefer a juicy, succulent steak perfectly cooked to order, or you would rather feast on fresh, fine seafood, Charleston’s restaurant The Chophouse has you covered. The kitchen uses prime ingredients, from tender meats to freshly caught sea produce, to please the palate of both meat and fish lovers with an exquisite meal that won’t disappoint. The wine list is not too shabby either — the range of available bottles is so extensive that guests are sure to find a great match for their food. Gas lamps and marble accents create a romantic atmosphere that only adds to the overall dining experience. The Chophouse is open for dinner only, so booking is recommended.