About Cru Cafe

It's the Holy City's Hidden Gem! Cru Café is Charleston's home to some of the best gourmet comfort food in the Lowcountry. Cru Café is the culinary creation of renowned Le Cordon Bleu graduate, Chef John Zucker. Opened in 2002 in response to overwhelming demand, Cru Café is a culinary destination off the beaten path in in a classic 18th century Charleston single-style home. Cru Café and its award-winning Cru Catering division are consistently ranked as top eateries by locals and tourists alike. From our famous Four Cheese Macaroni to our tasty Thai Seafood Risotto, we feature something for everyone. And if you're in the mood for lighter fare, try our Chinese Chicken Salad or Duck Confit Salad. Guests of the restaurant can enjoy daily specials, indoor and outdoor porch seating, a wine list tailored to the varied menu and rich, mouthwatering desserts. We invite to stop in and enjoy a delicious meal with us today.

18 Pinckney Street
Charleston, SC 29401
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Comfort Food, Fusion / Eclectic, Southern

Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Tuesday - Saturday: 11:00am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Tuesday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm

Cross Street:
East Bay St

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(843) 534-2434

Website:
http://www.crucafe.com/

Entertainment:
Private Upstairs Dinning Room available for up to 18 people.

Catering:
Voted Charleston's best caterer consecutively since 2001 by the Charleston City Paper, our Cru Catering branch offers full service customized catering, in-house personal chefs, corporate catering, receptions, weddings and private parties. Please contact us at 843-534-2433.
www.crucatering.com

Parking Details:
Cru Cafe does NOT offer parking. The gravel lot across the street is owned and operated by Palmetto Carriage Company. There is a public parking deck located off Pinckney Street behind the Bank of America building. The address is 200 Meeting Street.

Executive Chef:
John Zucker

Additional:
Banquet, Beer, Cafe, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, Private Room, Takeout, Wine

Cru Cafe Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.7

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.8

service

4.7

ambience

4.4

value

4.5

noise

Moderate

98% would recommend it to a friend

Creative Cuisine (108)
Neighborhood Gem (108)
Fit for Foodies (107)
See All
Local Ingredients (99)
Great for Lunch (92)
Good for a Date (84)
Casual (82)
Cozy (77)
Authentic (68)
Comfort Food (68)
Open Kitchen (63)
Special Occasion (56)
Historic (52)
Fun (49)
Great for Outdoor Dining (46)
Good for Anniversaries (42)
Good for Birthdays (42)
Worth the Drive (40)
Romantic (32)
Healthy (28)
Hot Spot (27)
Sunday Lunch (26)
Great for Brunch (20)
Quiet Conversation (18)
Business Meals (17)
Seasonal (17)
People Watching (16)
Good Vegetarian Options (15)
Pre/post Theatre (13)
Organic (10)
Tasting Menu (9)
Gluten Free Options (9)
Kid-friendly (8)
Bar Seating (8)
Outstanding Value (7)
Great Beer (7)
Good for Groups (7)
Quick Bite (7)
Tapas (6)
Afternoon Coffee (5)
Afternoon Tea (5)
Family Style (5)
Notable Wine List (4)
Late-night Find (4)
Vegan (3)
Private Room (3)
Paleo Friendly (3)
Modern Decor (2)
Fireplace (2)
Spicy (2)
Handcrafted Cocktails (2)
Molecular Gastronomy (2)
Live Music (1)
Live Sports (1)
Happy Hour (1)
Vibrant Bar Scene (1)
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3098 reviews
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vip
 (New York Area)·Dined 4 days ago

Located in an old residence the cafe is fairly informal. The choices for lunch are varied as is the wine list. Great food and drink.

Tags: Hot Spot
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Western NC)·Dined 4 days ago

Wonderful dinning experience; worth the great reviews and accolades; every taste was incredible

Tags: Comfort Food, Creative Cuisine, Paleo Friendly, Good for a Date, Good Vegetarian Options, People Watching, Hot Spot, Casual, Local Ingredients, Worth the Drive, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Outdoor Dining, Authentic, Sunday Lunch, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Miami)·Dined 5 days ago

CRU Cafe's food and establishment were excellent. The service was good except that we arrived, our table was ready, however it took the host almost 10-15 minutes to seat us. He seemed to be running around trying to do too many things at once, including helping out in the kitchen.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine, Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Comfort Food
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Charleston)·Dined 5 days ago

There is really nowhere to stand when waiting to be seated. The staff basic overlooked us as we stood there. We had a reservation. The head of house gave our appetizer to the table beside us knowing it was ours and made up some story. We felt quite second rate. He obviously knew them and we came second. Very loud and hard to carry on a conversation.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service3

 
 (New York Area)·Dined 5 days ago

Casual dress, great food. Imaginative and tasty. Would definitely go again.

Tags: Authentic, Creative Cuisine, Fun, Good for a Date, Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Jacksonville)·Dined 6 days ago

Small space, but great service and great tasting food, but enough veggies on local fish plate.

Tags: Healthy, Good for a Date, Neighborhood Gem, Comfort Food, Quiet Conversation
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined 6 days ago

We enjoyed a lovely lunch before our walking tour of Charleston. Our waiter was outstanding! The food was delicious! Thank you for a wonderful lunch!

Tags: Casual, Fun
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Las Vegas)·Dined 7 days ago

The salads were soooo fresh. The tomatoes were unbelievably sweet. Tasty snapper for main course (special of the day). Had a special orange dream sickle cake for dessert. Service was great with Johnie as our waiter.

Tags: Casual, Organic, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Miami)·Dined on May 16, 2017

My husband and I were visiting Charleston with some friends and this restaurant had been recommended to us by other friends who had been there about a year ago during their visit. The soup of the day was carrot ginger coconut and was delicious. Our server suggested the mac 'n cheese appetizer for the four of us to share and it was amazing! All of our meals were delicious. We had to wait a bit even though we had a reservation, but well worth the wait. A true gem. I will surely go there again on my next visit to Charleston.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Denver)·Dined on May 13, 2017

We enjoyed a family dinner on our daughter's college graduation weekend. Everything was excellent.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on May 13, 2017

I try to visit Charleston once a year for a few days and the number one place thats a must for me is Cru Cafe. The food, staff and ambience is perfection. Nothing compares.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Great for Lunch, Great for Outdoor Dining
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on May 12, 2017

Fabulous as always! Ingredients are always fresh, portions are decent.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Comfort Food, Organic, Casual, Good Vegetarian Options, Great for Lunch, Worth the Drive, Quick Bite, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Savannah)·Dined on May 11, 2017

Great food, cute little house in the center of town

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Historic, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on May 11, 2017

Food was awesome. Friendly wait staff. Centrally located in historic, old Charleston.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Organic, Gluten Free Options, Kid-friendly, Afternoon Coffee, Casual, Historic, Great for Brunch, Fit for Foodies, People Watching, Cozy, Great for Lunch, Healthy, Great for Outdoor Dining, Good for a Date, Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Good Vegetarian Options, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Birthdays, Fun, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Western NC)·Dined on May 10, 2017

Cru is a small house turned restaurant. They did an excellent job on service and the food was well prepared (loved my steak and seafood was fine). Greens with the steak were extremely burnt and sides were limited. Sauce was thick but good. The calamari was different with a sesame sauce added (nothing to dip in). It was more Asian fusion than traditional Southern comfort. The restaurant also only has soft drinks by the small glass bottle (which is fine but just a FYI). Since the house has tables everywhere, it was loud at times and kitchen is very open to the rest of the house. Some outdoor dining available. It's a good concept and would recommend for locals and longer term stays. It wouldn't make my 1 night stay as a must visit. But the food is good and concept is decent, just needs some direction on certain dishes to align them together.

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining, Romantic, Cozy, Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on May 10, 2017

Best lunch place in town. Food is worth the wait.

Tags: Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on May 10, 2017

We always make a reservation and drop by Cru Cafe for lunch when in Charleston. A great location, knowledgeable/attentive wait staff, nice wine and beer selections & always uniquely prepared, delicious food.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine, Casual
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on May 10, 2017

We sat on the front porch which was very lovely and quiet. The server was awesome, staff was super nice. The food was amazing! Had the beef rib tips & my husband had the mozzarella chicken-both amazing. Our favorite meal here yet.
Chocolate dessert was also really really good!
Hubby ate most, I would have gotten the cheesecake.
Will be back!

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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on May 9, 2017

We had an enjoyable early dinner this week. Our two entres (Thai Seafood Risotto and NY Strip) were excellent. My only disappointment was that we ordered as a starter the small goat cheese salad instead of the large! We had cheese cake for dessert and it was light and delicious. Johnny attended to us well and we enjoyed his service.

Tags: Authentic, Romantic, Fun, Open Kitchen, Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on May 9, 2017

I visited this Cafe while on vacation so my evaluation is limited to that one visit. Five stars because of the food; atmosphere, service, etc. very hectic and loud. I would go back if in Charleston again.

Tags: Comfort Food, Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Charlotte)·Dined on May 7, 2017

We had reservations, but didn't sit us until 30 minutes after. Host didn't seem inclined to offset their poor planning until I complained and then he brought truffle fries to table. Food was good. Good ambiance. Don't recommend going there with party greater than 4.

Tags: Authentic
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food5
ambience4
service3
value3

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on May 6, 2017

Cru Cafe is one of our favorite restaurants in Charleston. It is an older home, small but wonderful. Reservations are a must but there is a communal table for walk ins. It is an open kitchen visible to the patrons at the communal table. Has outdoor seating on the porch. The food is creative and very fresh, seasonal offerings. The service has always been top notch. Four of us went to lunch and all of our choices were superb. Highly recommend for lunch or dinner.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Fun, Open Kitchen, Cozy, Casual, Neighborhood Gem, Seasonal, Notable Wine List, Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New England)·Dined on May 6, 2017

Everything was perfect, our server was wonderful. The food was delicious!!. Beautiful outdoor dining on the porch!

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining, Sunday Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on May 6, 2017

Once again, the Cru staffed delivered a delicious meal with outstanding service. We were fortunate enough on this occasion to sit at the Chef's table with a view of the kitchen. So much fun to interact with the kitchen staff and watch so many delicious dishes come together. Cru takes what might seem like a basic sandwich and takes it to the next level with all fresh ingredients and home made breads. My husband enjoyed the always perfect General Tso's chicken, but I tried something new. The Turkey & Avocado sandwich with
Buttermilk Frisee Slaw, Muenster Cheese, Tomato Bacon Jam, on a wonderful English muffin. The Tomato Bacon Jam was the perfect touch with layers of flavor. Delicious! Plus Truffle Fries! Best lunch in Charleston!

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining, Business Meals, Good for Birthdays, Kid-friendly, Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
·Dined on May 6, 2017

Everything was wonderful except they had a large group of 18 people upstairs that delayed our reservation by half an hour and our dinner we ordered by an hour.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Houston)·Dined on May 6, 2017

Fantastic and intimate find in Charleston. Seats about 35 people. Everything was amazing. Wine and beer: all reasonably priced. Will definitely return.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Central Coast)·Dined on May 5, 2017

This was our second trip to Cru---excellent food on both occasions! A definite treat if you are visiting Charleston!

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food4
ambience3
service4
value3

 
 (Dallas)·Dined on May 5, 2017

Had reservation and was seated on time. We were seated at chef table and enjoyed the expereince.had shrimp Blt and Chinese chicken salad.. We loved both of them. Saw desserts being prepared and chose the flourless chocolate torte with whipped cream. Very rich and delicious! Loved every minute being there. All the staff were friendly and personable.

Tags: Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New England)·Dined on May 5, 2017

Our favorite when in Charleston. The food never disappoints! We have been dining at Cru Cafe since we discovered it over 5 years ago and consistently recommend it to our friends who travel to the low country :)

Tags: Historic, Authentic, Hot Spot, Great for Lunch, Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine, Seasonal, Casual, Good for Birthdays
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on May 5, 2017

Fantastic place! Exceptional food and service. Definitely recommend

Tags: Cozy, Local Ingredients, Neighborhood Gem, Casual
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
·Dined on May 5, 2017

The food is insane! Megan our server was awesome! Only thing they don't tell you is if you book with OpenTable you can only sit inside, if you want the porch you need to call directly . Otherwise it's a MUST to eat at!

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food5
ambience4
service5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on May 5, 2017

Great experience. Staff was friendly, food arrived in a timely manner. Food was great. Dessert was not impressive.

Tags: Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on May 4, 2017

Love this restaurant. Everything is fresh and wonderful! We had a great meal. Thank you!!

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Fun, Good for Anniversaries, Modern Decor, Good Vegetarian Options
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on May 4, 2017

Delicious food. Friendly, prompt service. Porch seating is nice.

Tags: Good Vegetarian Options, Comfort Food, Authentic, Great for Lunch, Great for Outdoor Dining, Historic, Fun, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on May 4, 2017

The restaurant comes very well recommended so it was disappointing to experience our dining there. The ambiance was very pleasant, the young woman who was our waitress could not have been more helpful or accommodating. However the food was very disappointing. We both had the Turmeric seasoned fish dish; it was dry and bland. I had the goat cheese salad which was nothing exceptional.
I regret I am not more enthusiastic but we had made a special effort to get to your restaurant and so were very disappointed.

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food3
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (Louisville)·Dined on May 4, 2017

Wonderful and respectful

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Charlotte)·Dined on May 3, 2017

Great food, ambience, service...everything you can ask for. An amazing place.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Worth the Drive, Bar Seating, Great for Lunch, Hot Spot
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on May 3, 2017

CruCafe is reliably excellent -- interesting menu options and great specials. Sitting outside on the porch is big plus too. We are never disappointed and the service was outstanding... personalized, professional, friendly, and fun.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date, Healthy, Open Kitchen, Fit for Foodies, Pre/post Theatre, Casual, Great for Outdoor Dining, Cozy, Special Occasion, Local Ingredients, Authentic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on May 3, 2017

Cru Cafe is always a favorite when in Charleston. Small and charming the food is always tasty with a few specials that urge you to make a decision off the menu. Just the right amount of selections so anyone can be satisfied. The sides are very good. A good meal all the time.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Hot Spot, Open Kitchen, Good for a Date, Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine, Cozy, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Indiana)·Dined on May 3, 2017

What an awesome dining experience!!! Very attentive servers! Our server was a musician dad and he was as good as it gets! Food was delicious! Viva CRU!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

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