About The Darling Oyster Bar

513 King Street
Charleston, SC 29403
View Larger Map

The Darling Oyster Bar is a casual seafood restaurant and raw bar. The Darling's menu features fresh seafood and creative ingredients, served with an approachable style. The Darling Oyster Bar’s atmosphere promotes comfortable hospitality; with a lively, neighborhood feel.

Anchoring The Darling Oyster Bar is a stunning raw bar showcasing fresh, made-to-order seafood. Guests can enjoy the lively raw bar scene while overlooking historic King Street from The Darling’s iconic storefront. The Darling raw bar also offers full service dining.

Located in the heart of Upper King Street, The Darling Oyster Bar is housed in a 115-year old historic building that enjoys a storied past. A mix of the original 1900’s reclaimed wood, whole exposed brick walls, classic tile, antique molding, and nautical theme combine to create a setting that is all at once convivial, charming, and comfortable.

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Seafood

Hours of Operation:
Monday- Thursday, 4pm to 10pm; Bar open late
Friday- Saturday, 4pm to 11pm; Bar to 2am
Sunday, 11am to 10pm; Bar open late

Cross Street:
Morris Street

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(843) 641-0821

Website:
http://www.thedarling.com/

Parking Details:
There is a private lot for our customers

Executive Chef:
Joe Dimaio

Additional:
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Weekend Brunch, Wine

Restaurant Photos

  • The Darling Oyster Bar - The Darling Oyster Bar, Charleston, SC
The Darling Oyster Bar - The Darling Oyster Bar, Charleston, SC

The Darling Oyster Bar Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.5

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.4

service

4.4

ambience

4.4

value

4.1

noise

Moderate

93% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Seafood
South Carolina
Seafood
Charleston
Best Restaurants in Downtown Charleston ›

Good for a Date (45)
Fit for Foodies (35)
Special Occasion (28)
See All
Fun (27)
Hot Spot (24)
Local Ingredients (23)
Neighborhood Gem (23)
Good for Groups (22)
Bar Seating (20)
Vibrant Bar Scene (20)
Romantic (17)
Casual (16)
Authentic (16)
People Watching (15)
Handcrafted Cocktails (14)
Creative Cuisine (14)
Good for Birthdays (13)
Good for Anniversaries (13)
Modern Decor (12)
Great for Lunch (9)
Cozy (8)
Great for Brunch (8)
Happy Hour (8)
Worth the Drive (7)
Outstanding Value (7)
Comfort Food (6)
Pre/post Theatre (6)
Open Kitchen (6)
Great Beer (6)
Gluten Free Options (6)
Historic (5)
Scenic View (5)
Healthy (5)
Quiet Conversation (4)
Business Meals (4)
Spicy (3)
Family Style (3)
Seasonal (3)
Sunday Lunch (3)
Late-night Find (3)
Tapas (2)
Notable Wine List (2)
Paleo Friendly (2)
Tasting Menu (1)
Disabled Access (1)
Molecular Gastronomy (1)
Organic (1)
Kid-friendly (1)
Sort By:
S
205 reviews
Loading Reviews ...

We came on a week night during our honey ...

 
 (Austin)·Dined 5 days ago

We came on a week night during our honeymoon & had a wonderful time! It was nice & quiet during our dinner, but I can imagine it could get pretty busy during the weekends! We saw the raw bar while we were walking by and actually cancelled a reservation at another restaurant so we could check out that raw bar. So so yummy!! So glad we came.

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

Service was great at The Darling, althou ...

 
 (New York Area)·Dined 6 days ago

Service was great at The Darling, although, we were seated at the worst table, in a hallway to the side of the main dining room, even though the restaurant started to empty out shortly after we arrived. Unfortunately, as first time diners at The Darling, this didn't leave a great impression and I would recommend diners request seating in the main room as the ambience looks much better there. It would make much more sense for the restaurant to seat diners at the best tables first. I thought the food was mostly disappointing: the crab parfait was lacking in seasoning and avocado (absent), and, was overpowered by the grapefruit; the ceviche was bland and had been sitting in acidic juices for too long and was 'overcooked' and the fries were not quite crisp. I enjoyed the raw oysters and the lobster cocktail which contained a generous amount of sweet lobster.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience2
service4
value2

Food is fair at best. Disappointed .

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on November 26, 2016

Food is fair at best. Disappointed .

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food1
ambience3
service3
value2

Had a res for two which was ready when w ...

 
 (Miami)·Dined on November 21, 2016

Had a res for two which was ready when we arrived. Friendly hostes took us back to a duce in a back hallway. Not particularly attractive. Sat at the raw bar in front, looking out at King St. which was great.

Our server and oyster shucker were both great.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Local Ingredients, Good for a Date, Hot Spot
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value4

The Darling Oyster bar is just that... d ...

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on November 20, 2016

The Darling Oyster bar is just that... darling. And Delicious. Creative presentations and recipes using local and seasonal fresh food. Great ambiance. Perfect for date night dinner or a special occassion or just your "regular" spot to meet friends. Our new go to place in Charleston!! Can't wait to return!

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Good for Anniversaries, Historic, Good for Birthdays, Worth the Drive, Great for Lunch, Special Occasion, Gluten Free Options, Good for Groups, Bar Seating, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Brunch, Creative Cuisine, Fun, Fit for Foodies, Happy Hour, Good for a Date, Romantic, Authentic, Pre/post Theatre, Local Ingredients, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value5

The restaurant is lively, the menu is si ...

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on November 20, 2016

The restaurant is lively, the menu is simple and easy to navigate, the oysters (got them three ways and with spaghetti) were fabulous and our server, Olivia, was a delight. The manager, Philip, stopped by our table as well and it was, well, outstanding. My only criticism is the space itself. It is attractive, but our table for two was up against an interior wall and it felt like we were eating in a hallway. Some of the seating looks great, but ours was less than desirable. Creative cocktails as well, but would recommend asking for a table not against the wall. Will definitely go back and will be thinking of those yummy oysters in the meantime! ps my husband thought the fried chicken was sublime.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Love the vibe of this restaurant. The me ...

 
 (Charlotte)·Dined on November 18, 2016

Love the vibe of this restaurant. The menu has lots of options without being overwhelming. The local oysters were delicious, the scallops, catch of the day and chicken were all excellent as well. The clam strips were sweeter than I anticipated and are a very generous portion - I didn't end up finishing them. We dined early and the service was great. I would definitely recommend checking out this excellent restaurant.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

We came here for my birthday with some f ...

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on November 17, 2016

We came here for my birthday with some friends. The food was amazing and the vibe of the restaurant is really cool.

Tags: Special Occasion, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Groups, Open Kitchen, People Watching, Bar Seating
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value3

Darling Oyster Bar should be a must visi ...

vip
 (Miami)·Dined on November 15, 2016

Darling Oyster Bar should be a must visit. Try the oyster spaghetti, which sounds odd but is just full of rich flavor. We could each this every day! The fried clams appetizer is unlike any fried clams you'v had. The clams are cooked with cabbage, cilantro, carrots, sweet chili, avocado mayo and each bite is full of flavor. This was a real find. We had not heard of this restaurant before, but Open Table seldom lets us down.

Service was perfect

Tags: Good for Birthdays, People Watching, Worth the Drive, Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, Authentic, Good for Groups, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Absolutely loved it. Service was excelle ...

 
 (Miami)·Dined on November 14, 2016

Absolutely loved it. Service was excellent. But the food was extremely fresh and outstanding. Very impressed with the Resturant. Can't wait to return

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

For two people who don't actually eat oy ...

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on November 14, 2016

For two people who don't actually eat oysters (sorry!) we had no trouble finding plenty of options on the menu and everything from appetizer to dessert was AMAZING. Really inventive, different flavor combinations that work very well. I loved the scallops and my husband loved the shrimp and grits.

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value5

The restaurant looks vibrant and interes ...

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on November 12, 2016

The restaurant looks vibrant and interesting from outside,however there are two dining areas,one is more like a bar than the other dining area.The menu was a bit limited,however most people will probably have oysters.We felt that the meal was ordinary and would not rush to return.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service4
value3

The Darling offers not just fantastic fr ...

vip
 (Chicago)·Dined on November 11, 2016

The Darling offers not just fantastic fresh seafood and fish -- it may have the best fry-cooks in Charleston. We are talking friend oysters, shrimp and perfectly french fried potatoes. Try the oysters in every form imaginable, go for the shrimp likewise. Service is professional and available even when the kitchen is slammed -- as it so often is. The wine list could use greater depth in the whites and a selection of 1/2 bottles. Desserts -- ok.

Darling is "darling" alright.

Tags: Fun, Great Beer, Hot Spot, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service4
value3

The table we sat at had a really horribl ...

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on November 8, 2016

The table we sat at had a really horrible location. The food was good, but the drinks were better. Overall, not impressed and underwhelming

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service3
value2

We had a fun time, brought another coupl ...

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on November 7, 2016

We had a fun time, brought another couple visiting Charleston for some Oysters. They are seasoned raw bar enthusiasts and enjoyed the Darling's selection. We ordered about 24 oysters, all different kinds, they each ordered an entree, two bottles of wine and I split a fried seafood sampler with my boyfriend. Our bill was about $200 before tip.

Tags: Romantic, Handcrafted Cocktails, Bar Seating, Spicy, Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays, Pre/post Theatre, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value3

Between the music and the acoustics in t ...

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on November 5, 2016

Between the music and the acoustics in the room it was incredibly loud. Not as romantic as I would have hoped.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service4

Nice atmosphere, and the oysters were fa ...

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on November 4, 2016

Nice atmosphere, and the oysters were fantastic. Oysters were very reasonably priced. Dinner was good, but not great.

Tags: Fun, Local Ingredients
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service5
value4

Sit on the bar side. The restaurant side ...

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on November 3, 2016

Sit on the bar side. The restaurant side was too tight (claustrophobic) and dark. Food was good. Bar service was attentive and friendly. Front staff was abysmal.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service2
value3

After 3 dinners in Charleston, I vote th ...

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on November 1, 2016

After 3 dinners in Charleston, I vote that Darling offered the best nouvelle cuisine by far. Other places made lame attempts at fresh and innovative offerings in comparison to Darling's fantastic plates. Recommended for business or date without hesitation. Looking forward to my next meeting in Charleston.

Tags: Good for a Date, Romantic, Historic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Still love it! Took a first timer. She ...

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 30, 2016

Still love it! Took a first timer. She adored it and looking forward to returning too.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Great for Brunch, Bar Seating, Outstanding Value, Fun
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Went for a date night and it was fantast ...

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 30, 2016

Went for a date night and it was fantastic. Great food, drinks, decor and ambiance.

Tags: People Watching, Hot Spot, Pre/post Theatre, Bar Seating, Good for a Date, Good for Groups
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

My wife and I had a blast at The Darling ...

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 29, 2016

My wife and I had a blast at The Darling. It was our favorite meal during our stay in Charleston! We will definitely be back. Our entire meal was amazing, we had raw and baked oysters, the ceviche and some sides. Sophie was amazing ! She was so helpful and kind. When we come back we will most definitely request her again.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

High quality food at a reasonable price. ...

vip
 (New England)·Dined on October 27, 2016

High quality food at a reasonable price. Great atmosphere. Great prices. Great quality.

Tags: Healthy, Local Ingredients
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Very pleasant evening. Lively , tasteful ...

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 26, 2016

Very pleasant evening. Lively , tastefully decorated restaurant. Excellent service. Our waiter , Justin , was very knowledgeable and helpful . Wonderful assortment of fresh oysters and king crab and shrimp . Restaurant located in lively upper King Street area near College of Charleston and much less "touristy" than the crowded and loud eateries further down the road.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5

delicious food...great atmosphere..fanta ...

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 24, 2016

delicious food...great atmosphere..fantastic service

Tags: Bar Seating, Molecular Gastronomy, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great setup. The food was excellent. The ...

 
 (Denver)·Dined on October 24, 2016

Great setup. The food was excellent. The service was complete and we never felt rushed.

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

Wait person needed more training. Food t ...

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 24, 2016

Wait person needed more training. Food took long time and was like warm. Wait person acknowledged problems and we were comped for a portion.

Tags: Casual, Good for Groups
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience4
service2
value3

I knew we were in for a great evening wh ...

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 22, 2016

I knew we were in for a great evening when the reservationist called to discuss the seating preference we'd indicated while booking. She found the perfect table for our special occasion date. The service was outstanding--very attentive, friendly, and helpful with suggestions. The food was delicious and so fresh--especially the $1 happy hour oysters. My husband had the oyster spaghetti (rich and delicious) while I ordered the ceviche and hush puppies (both very good). Compared to other restaurants serving oysters in Charleston on King St. (the Ordinary and Leon's come to mind) we found The Darling Oyster Bar to be the best value by far.

Overall, I had expected a much more expensive meal for the level of quality of ingredients, attentive service, and the beautiful decor. We will definitely be back!

Tags: Happy Hour, Local Ingredients, Fun, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

The food here was not bad, I have no maj ...

vip
 (Miami)·Dined on October 17, 2016

The food here was not bad, I have no major complaints, but it was not nearly up to the level suggested by so many lofty reviews.

From the raw bar we ordered a sampling of 4 of the 5 kinds of oysters available that evening along with some local clams. The oysters were good, fresh and reasonably well shucked. The (very little) little neck clams were delicious. The clam chowder was a bit odd, not precisely what you imagine with this classic, and suffered by comparison. The fried shrimp and flounder plate was just ok. The flounder was too dry -- a bit over cooked -- the shrimp were fine (but not nearly as good as Hank's version) but the best item on the plate was the french fries.

Service was welcoming and amiable. No issues here.

The ambiance is peculiar. There are two very distinct dining areas: a large, light main room housing the raw bars and a dark, narrow room off to the side with tiny tables for two along one wall and booths on the other. We were in the latter and found it just this side of unpleasant. If we return we'll definitely opt for the main room.

It's unfortunate that Darling's operates in the intensely competitive Charleston market where there are seemingly an infinite number of restaurants serving exceptional food. In my home town of Vero Beach, where the environment (unfortunately) is very different, I'd be tempted to give a four rating; but in Charleston, it's a three.

Tags: Casual, Neighborhood Gem, Bar Seating
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service4
value4

Did not live up to the hype.

vip
 (Raleigh)·Dined on October 15, 2016

Did not live up to the hype.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience3
service3
value2

Had dinner there with a group of friends ...

 
 (Wilmington)·Dined on October 15, 2016

Had dinner there with a group of friends, great food (and reasonably priced) with an upbeat atmosphere. Oysters were yummy!

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, People Watching, Bar Seating, Modern Decor
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

We sat at the oyster bar for lunch. My b ...

 
 (Charlotte)·Dined on October 14, 2016

We sat at the oyster bar for lunch. My boyfriend sampled the various oysters they offer and really enjoyed it. Thank you!!

Tags: Great for Lunch, People Watching
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service3
value4

As a local Charlestonian I am very picky ...

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 4, 2016

As a local Charlestonian I am very picky about my seafood. The Darling's food is always fresh and authentic. This restaurant has become our families favorite dining spots downtown.

Tags: Authentic, Healthy, Vibrant Bar Scene, Fun
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Delicious flavors, across the board.

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on October 2, 2016

Delicious flavors, across the board.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service3

I was disappointed with the meal and exp ...

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on September 30, 2016

I was disappointed with the meal and expected a higher level of quality and flavor. The hype about the restaurant is truly overrated.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service4
value3

The Darling Oyster Bar was recommended t ...

 
 (New Orleans)·Dined on September 26, 2016

The Darling Oyster Bar was recommended to us by the airbnb host that we stayed with and it was outstanding! Excellent choice of oysters from salty and large to small and sweet. The ambiance was perfect for dining and conversation. Good selection of beer on tap from local to surrounding breweries, good wines and crafted cocktails. Will go again when we are in Charleston.

Tags: Great Beer, Creative Cuisine, Quiet Conversation, Good for a Date, Authentic, Gluten Free Options, Notable Wine List, Modern Decor
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Ben was the best server ! Such a doll. P ...

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on September 25, 2016

Ben was the best server ! Such a doll. Perfect ending to a fun bachelorette weekend !

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

I was dying to LOVE The Darling. And the ...

 
 (Charlotte)·Dined on September 24, 2016

I was dying to LOVE The Darling. And the food was good, but it was just, 'good'. Maybe there was too much hype and my expectations were too high. I would return to sit at the bar and have oysters, not sure if I'd come for dinner again.

Tags: Fun, Vibrant Bar Scene
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service4
value3

Good value. Good food for the price. Sta ...

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on September 24, 2016

Good value. Good food for the price. Staff very knowledgeable about the food and made recommendations

Will go back.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Bar Seating, Authentic, Worth the Drive
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value5

Jill, our server several times, is fanta ...

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on September 24, 2016

Jill, our server several times, is fantastic. Very good knowledge / suggestions and extremely personable. Excellent!

Fantastic Raw Bar and Ambiance if you enjoy either Raw Bars or People Watching. The street view is quite remarkable and fairly unique to Darling.

Tags: Outstanding Value, Happy Hour, Cozy, Good for a Date, Scenic View, Comfort Food, Bar Seating, Handcrafted Cocktails, Neighborhood Gem, People Watching, Vibrant Bar Scene, Great Beer
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Report this review as inappropriate?

If you believe this review should be removed from OpenTable, please let us know and someone will investigate.