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

4.8

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.8

service

4.8

ambience

4.5

value

4.5

noise

Moderate

98% would recommend it to a friend

Neighborhood Gem (125)
Fit for Foodies (117)
Creative Cuisine (112)
See All
Local Ingredients (104)
Great for Lunch (101)
Casual (94)
Good for a Date (84)
Authentic (80)
Cozy (79)
Comfort Food (74)
Special Occasion (64)
Fun (54)
Great for Outdoor Dining (49)
Good for Anniversaries (47)
Open Kitchen (45)
Good for Birthdays (44)
Worth the Drive (43)
Historic (43)
Healthy (35)
Romantic (31)
Hot Spot (26)
Sunday Lunch (26)
Quiet Conversation (21)
People Watching (21)
Great for Brunch (20)
Seasonal (18)
Business Meals (17)
Good Vegetarian Options (16)
Pre/post Theatre (15)
Organic (9)
Kid-friendly (9)
Quick Bite (9)
Afternoon Tea (8)
Gluten Free Options (8)
Bar Seating (8)
Great Beer (8)
Good for Groups (8)
Afternoon Coffee (6)
Tasting Menu (6)
Outstanding Value (5)
Late-night Find (5)
Notable Wine List (4)
Paleo Friendly (4)
Tapas (3)
Private Room (3)
Family Style (2)
Fireplace (2)
Vegan (2)
Spicy (2)
Handcrafted Cocktails (2)
Modern Decor (1)
Live Music (1)
Happy Hour (1)
Molecular Gastronomy (1)
Live Sports (1)
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3166 reviews
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 (Charleston)·Dined 2 days ago

Love this small cafe in an old traditional Charleston home. Delightful atmosphere, original preparations and good, friendly service. Best fried green tomatoes anywhere!

Dining Occasion:Everyday Dining
Tags: Good for a Date, Great for Lunch, Good Vegetarian Options, Casual, Great for Outdoor Dining, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Seattle)·Dined 4 days ago

Great service and great food! The calamari appetizer was the best interpretation I've ever eaten.

Tags: Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies, Seasonal
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined 4 days ago

This is some of the best food in Charleston! Southern food at its best!

Dining Occasion:Special Occasion
Tags: Good for a Date, Quiet Conversation, Fit for Foodies, Authentic, Good for Anniversaries, Neighborhood Gem, Casual, Hot Spot, Special Occasion, Cozy, Healthy, Comfort Food, Local Ingredients, Worth the Drive, Great Beer
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined 4 days ago

Excellent food and incredible service. Calamari was best I've had. Gotta have reservations or be prepared to wait upwards of 45 minutes or more.

Dining Occasion:Everyday Dining
Tags: Local Ingredients, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Naples)·Dined 4 days ago

We spent 4 days in Charleston and tried all the top food spots we could fit in. Cru was by far the best. We were there for lunch. The butter lettuce salad, the fried green tomatoes with pork belly croutons, the truffle fries, and the bread pudding were all truly outstanding versions. The wine list had depth and the pours were generous. We would certainly look forward to returning to Cru if we're ever back in Charleston. Nice, friendly service too!

Dining Occasion:Everyday Dining
Tags: Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Philadelphia)·Dined 4 days ago

Cru Cafe is a restaurant where I could literally enjoy a meal every day. Unfortunately I live in Philadelphia, PA, so that is not possible. Fortunately, I do have relatives who live nearby which gives me an extra incentive to regularly renew family ties. The ambiance is so welcoming, it feels like I am in someones home. The food is always excellent, tasty and well prepared and presented. The service is outstanding they have a very attentive wait staff. I can only hope that they stay true to what they have going because it is a winning formula.

Dining Occasion:Everyday Dining
Tags: Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Diego)·Dined 4 days ago

My mom loved the truffle potato soup. I had the short rib pastrami sandwich which was wonderful!

Tags: Local Ingredients, Neighborhood Gem, Sunday Lunch, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined 5 days ago

Cru was amazing, per usual! The food is spectacular, and Nate always takes great care of me and my group. The Chinese chicken salad is my favorite entree, prefaced with the truffle French fries- I'll never change up my order!

Dining Occasion:Friends' Get-Together
Tags: Special Occasion, Pre/post Theatre, Sunday Lunch, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Great for Outdoor Dining, Fun, Authentic, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service2
value4

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on June 17, 2017

Great service and amazing dishes. Can't wait to come back!

Dining Occasion:Special Occasion
Tags: Authentic, Great for Lunch, Great for Brunch, Cozy, Local Ingredients
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Baltimore)·Dined on June 16, 2017

The 2 dishes we chose were so delicious, filled with healthy vegetables and tasty scallops!

Dining Occasion:Special Occasion
Tags: Special Occasion, Gluten Free Options, Worth the Drive, Quiet Conversation
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New England)·Dined on June 16, 2017

Have been here many times and the food never disappoints! Friendly waitstaff. Would recommend and will continue to make this one of our go to restaurants when visiting Charleston in the future!

Dining Occasion:Everyday Dining
Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Baltimore)·Dined on June 15, 2017

Great experience - food was incredible and service was wonderful! Even brought us a dessert as we were celebrating - would recommend!

Dining Occasion:Special Occasion
Tags: Authentic, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on June 15, 2017

Went here because of good Yelp reviews. Thought the food was average which was disappointing. I think the waiter forgot to put in our initial appetizer order as it took over 1/2 hour before serving our salad and fried green tomatoes. The host did notice and took the salad off our bill(which we did appreciate). Our waiter seemed to try too hard to be charming. Overall ok place but doesn't match the reviews.

Dining Occasion:Special Occasion
Tags: Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service3
value3

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on June 15, 2017

Visiting Charleston again and as always, never missing the chance to eat at our favorite restaurant, the Cru Cafe! Thanks again for making us feel like locals and for the outstanding luncheon experience.

Dining Occasion:Everyday Dining
Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on June 15, 2017

Cru Cafe remains one of our favorite restaurants in Charleston. Everything on this dinner occasion was perfect - from the menu to the service to the wine recommendation, to the food itself. A wonderful experience in every sense.

Dining Occasion:Friends' Get-Together
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 14, 2017

A cute place and excellent service! Arrived early & was offered beverages immediately while we waited. Wonderful food & great dessert. Went here while on vacation & would recommend this to anyone traveling to Charleston South Carolina.

Dining Occasion:Friends' Get-Together
Tags: Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Western NC)·Dined on June 14, 2017

Always a favorite. Intimate dining, love the outside porch. The freshest ingredients. Always order the fish and it never disappoints.

Dining Occasion:Friends' Get-Together
Tags: Cozy, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on June 13, 2017

Fun and relaxing. Good service and laid back atmosphere.

Dining Occasion:Special Occasion
Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Authentic, Great for Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Good for Anniversaries, Healthy, Romantic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on June 10, 2017

WE have lived in Charleston for a year, and this restaurant provided the best food and service so far! Highly recommend! The Mac and cheese and muscles are a must!

Dining Occasion:Friends' Get-Together
Tags: Authentic, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charlotte)·Dined on June 10, 2017

We love this restaurant and have been going for several years. Every time we visit
Charleston we stop in and have never been disappointed. One of our favorites for sure!

Dining Occasion:Date
Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Authentic, Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on June 10, 2017

My family was visiting Charleston for site seeing. I checked out the menus for numerous places to find something for all in my party. Cru Cafe had the best menu options for all in my party. We all enjoyed our meals. We would highly recommend Cru Cafe.

Dining Occasion:Friends' Get-Together
Tags: Fit for Foodies, Quiet Conversation, Authentic, Good for Anniversaries, Comfort Food, Special Occasion, Cozy, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Great for Lunch, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (St. Louis)·Dined on June 9, 2017

Although the menu was somewhat limited (and definitely eclectic), we found a couple of entrees that we were comfortable with and which we thoroughly enjoyed. Great service, fun atmosphere. Suggest checking the menu online before going.

Dining Occasion:Everyday Dining
Tags: Worth the Drive, Good for Groups, Good for Anniversaries, Late-night Find, People Watching, Special Occasion, Fun, Good for Birthdays, Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine, Neighborhood Gem, Comfort Food
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on June 9, 2017

The food was good, and the ambiance is fairly charming. It was noisy and crowded, and the service only moderate. We never were brought one thing we had requested.
And I was quite put off initially by the host, who told us, in a serious way, that he had given away our table because we were exactly 9 minutes late. He was joking, but he thought he was funnier than we thought he was.

Dining Occasion:Friends' Get-Together
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service3
value3

 
 (Baltimore)·Dined on June 9, 2017

Great little restaurant. My friends and I were here for lunch-delicious. We sat on the veranda& I highly recommend that if the weather cooperates.

Dining Occasion:Friends' Get-Together
Tags: Casual, Great for Lunch, Great for Outdoor Dining
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Antonio)·Dined on June 9, 2017

Fabulous little cafe!
I don't want to say to much....
best kept secret in Charleston.
Hopefully they will keep it small!

Dining Occasion:Date
Tags: Comfort Food
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Columbus)·Dined on June 9, 2017

Great food & atmosphere

Dining Occasion:Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New England)·Dined on June 8, 2017

Very happy with both entrees - one a seafood stew and the other steak with fried oysters. Dined on the porch - fun atmosphere. Katie was a great server. Host was very welcoming. Altogether a happy place with great food!

Dining Occasion:Everyday Dining
Tags: Romantic, Neighborhood Gem, Casual, Fun, Authentic, Great for Outdoor Dining, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on June 8, 2017

We love to go to Cru when we visit Charleston. Have been going for the last 10 years. Love sitting at the chefs table to watch Rachel do her magic. Always order from what comes out of the kitchen that night. Highly recommend CRU.

Dining Occasion:Friends' Get-Together
Tags: Creative Cuisine, Neighborhood Gem, Fun, Quiet Conversation, Good for Birthdays, Fit for Foodies, Business Meals, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Great for Outdoor Dining, Authentic, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on June 8, 2017

Four of us ordered three different dishes, and all were fabulous. The dining room is a bit tight and got noisy. They have no liquor - just wine and beer. Still, the food was so outstanding that these small shortcomings will not keep us from returning. Great restaurant!

Dining Occasion:Friends' Get-Together
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on June 7, 2017

Due to the small size of the restaurant, it feels a bit crowded and is somewhat noisy, but overall, I enjoyed the experience very much.

Dining Occasion:Special Occasion
Tags: Fit for Foodies, Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine, Good Vegetarian Options
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on June 7, 2017

We originally went for Lunch and enjoyed our meal so much that we made reservations for dinner. We were offered the "Kitchen Table" and had a great experience. I highly recommend this restaurant.

Dining Occasion:Everyday Dining
Tags: Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine, Great for Lunch, Local Ingredients, Casual, Comfort Food, Good for Anniversaries, Authentic, Sunday Lunch, Organic, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Brunch, Fit for Foodies
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Savannah)·Dined on June 7, 2017

Had our usual, oyster salad and Mac n cheese on the porch. Tried out the peach and blueberry bread pudding.
Everything was wonderful!
Even heard an Elvis classic as we dined. Perfect!

Dining Occasion:Everyday Dining
Tags: People Watching, Cozy, Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on June 6, 2017

Great little place. You can see the kitchen from most seats. Very friendly staff. We were a little early for our reservation so had to stand for a while. They constantly advised us on how soon our table would be ready. It was worth the wait. Exceptional food. Had maybe one of the best appetizers I ever tasted - Fried Panko coated Brie. Super good. Our server, Nelia, was very great. Would highly recommend going there. Wish I lived closer. NJ is a bit to far to patronize this neat restaurant.

Dining Occasion:Special Occasion
Tags: Casual, Special Occasion, Good for Anniversaries, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on June 6, 2017

Visit Charleston 1x/year for Spoleto and Cru Cafe is always on our must list for places to dine. Consistently great food and staff.

Dining Occasion:Everyday Dining
Tags: Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on June 4, 2017

The rave reviews on Open Table did not steer us wrong! My husband and I were in Charleston for a "babymoon" and made dinner reservations at Cru Cafe. We had a late reservation and sat outside on the porch. We loved the cozy feel of sitting on the porch, surrounded by pretty window boxes of flowers. For appetizers, we had the fried green tomatoes with candied pork belly and goat cheese and the tomato bisque soup. The fried green tomatoes were probably the best bite of food I had all night. The flavors worked so well together and it did not feel like a greasy plate of food. The soup also was excellent--so much more flavor than just tomato and cream. For entrees, we had a ribeye with ramp butter and asparagus (a substitute for an 86ed item on the menu) and a basil grilled shrimp pasta dish with veggies and smoked kielbasa. We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals. Service was excellent--personable and helpful but not overbearing. We would highly recommend Cru Cafe to others, whether a local or visiting Charleston!

Dining Occasion:Special Occasion
Tags: Authentic, Hot Spot, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 3, 2017

We have enjoyed Cru on many occasions. It has always been wonderful!

Dining Occasion:Special Occasion
Tags: Fun, Bar Seating, Creative Cuisine, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on June 2, 2017

Friendly waitstaff. Nice array of choices on the menu - don't miss their fried green tomatoes!

Dining Occasion:Everyday Dining
Tags: Local Ingredients, Cozy, Seasonal
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Baltimore)·Dined on June 2, 2017

My favorite Charleston restaurant (so far)! Everything was fantastic but the short ribs with gnocchi was outstanding!

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

vip
 (New England)·Dined on June 2, 2017

A wonderful spot for authentic and creative Low Country lunch in a casual honey setting. A bit overbooked as we did not get seated quickly with our reservations but the staff is charming and made us feel welcomed despite the wait.Great food. Will return.

Dining Occasion:Everyday Dining
Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Local Ingredients, Kid-friendly, Casual, Hot Spot, Worth the Drive, Cozy, Quiet Conversation, Creative Cuisine, Fun, Authentic, Comfort Food, Great for Lunch, Great for Outdoor Dining, Great Beer, Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Good for Birthdays
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on June 2, 2017

Recommended by the concierge at the Double Tree.
Great food and great service. Worth the wait at lunch.

Dining Occasion:Special Occasion
Tags: Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value4

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