Loads of choices and a terrific range of great places to eat in Charleston so here’s my personal favorites – trying to cover a broad spectrum.
My favorite *steak* restaurant is called Peninsular Grill and its smack in the middle of downtown. Just park at the old market on, surprisingly enough, market street and walk to it. http://www.peninsulagrill.com/ is a little up market but with a great intimate feel. The staff are very helpful and it has a superb wine list. After dinner stroll around the area.
I would recommend getting a carriage tour for two (assuming it is just two of you) its a fun way of spending an hour and listening to your carriage driver tell you all the history of Charleston.
Another of my favorites is BASIL. A simply excellent Thai restaurant… if you go… try their famous Basil Duck. That’s all I’m going to say. http://eatatbasil.com/
Make sure you visit the Pavilion Rooftop bar downtown (at the bottom end of the market) for cocktails or a lunch drink. Good views and cool all around. http://www.marketpavilion.com/index.cfm?page=pavilion
and last but not least is ‘Rue Doo Jaaarn’ as the locals call it. Its actually called 39 Rue De Jean http://www.39ruedejean.com/ and does really good French inspired food….
Driving out of town a bit but well worth it
Excellent restaurant on the beach – Head down to Folly Beach… its one of the nicest beaches and Folly Island (although a tourist trap in the summer months) is a cool kind of bohemian vibe. Lots of small bars to drink at and one terrific restaurant called BLU. It’s part of the only big hotel (don’t let this put you off) which is straight ahead of you as you drive down center street…. just keep driving straight as you get on the island and you cant miss it…. overlooks the ocean and is great location for some Tapas style food (large portions tho) and a stroll on the beach afterwards…. http://blufollybeach.com/ Folly is about a 20 minute drive from downtown Charleston.
If your looking for a fun lunch spot – POE’s on Sullivan Island is steeped in history… famous for its burgers and does some good beer. Lots of history around Sullivan’s as well. http://www.poestavern.com/