About The Darling Oyster Bar

513 King Street
Charleston, SC 29403
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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

The Darling Oyster Bar Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.5

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.3

service

4.5

ambience

4.4

value

4.0

noise

Moderate

87% would recommend it to a friend

Good for a Date (49)
Fun (34)
Local Ingredients (33)
See All
Bar Seating (29)
Modern Decor (26)
Fit for Foodies (25)
Special Occasion (24)
Neighborhood Gem (24)
Good for Anniversaries (22)
Hot Spot (21)
Romantic (19)
Good for Birthdays (19)
Handcrafted Cocktails (19)
Happy Hour (18)
Casual (18)
Good for Groups (17)
Vibrant Bar Scene (16)
People Watching (15)
Creative Cuisine (15)
Authentic (12)
Pre/post Theatre (11)
Worth the Drive (11)
Historic (10)
Cozy (9)
Healthy (7)
Sunday Lunch (7)
Open Kitchen (7)
Outstanding Value (6)
Great for Brunch (6)
Comfort Food (6)
Business Meals (5)
Great Beer (5)
Great for Lunch (5)
Seasonal (4)
Kid-friendly (4)
Tapas (4)
Gluten Free Options (4)
Notable Wine List (4)
Scenic View (3)
Late-night Find (3)
Tasting Menu (3)
Family Style (3)
Quiet Conversation (2)
Spicy (2)
Quick Bite (2)
Disabled Access (2)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Organic (1)
Private Room (1)
Good Vegetarian Options (1)
Dining Occasion:
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278 reviews
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 (Charleston)·Dined 7 days ago

Our Monday night dinner for 12 people was treated by the staff just like a Saturday night...exceptional food, drinks and service. Thank you for helping everyone in our party from their 80's to their teens enjoy a great night. I was happy to show our out of town family one of my husband and mine's favorite local restaurants. Thank you to everyone for a great meal and a great time.

Tags: Late-night Find, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Fun, Handcrafted Cocktails, Happy Hour, Local Ingredients, Good Vegetarian Options, Kid-friendly, Hot Spot, Tasting Menu, Romantic, Authentic, Gluten Free Options, Good for Groups, Bar Seating, Seasonal, Good for Anniversaries, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on February 19, 2017

Great brunch. Can't wait to return again. Loved the raw bar

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Worth the Drive, Hot Spot, Great for Brunch
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Chicago)·Dined on February 18, 2017

It is very noisy.If you are looking forward to a quiet dinner ,do not go here.Between the noise from all the people,And the very loud music that they were playing,you had to scream at each other.The fried clams were very good,as were the oysters.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Handcrafted Cocktails, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience1
service3
value2

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on February 12, 2017

Excellent- great food and fun atmosphere

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on February 12, 2017

Our server was great, but the place was noisy and the view isn't very pleasurable on the left side of the restaurant. I felt like I was in a hallway. The food was OK. Overpriced.

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food2
ambience2
service4
value2

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on February 12, 2017

This little place was amazing! The menu's not overwhelming and there's something for everyone. The collards and ham..best ever!! My husband enjoyed the fried seafood combo. he wasn't a fan of the kale slaw but devoured the seafood. The lobster and king crab roll is a must try. Meaty and filling.

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

vip
 (Charlotte)·Dined on February 12, 2017

Great fresh seafood, awesome bar and friendly, quick staff.

Tags: Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date, Vibrant Bar Scene, Handcrafted Cocktails, Great Beer, Modern Decor
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on February 11, 2017

Nice view from the oyster bar. Easy walk up before 6PM.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Bar Seating, People Watching
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on February 10, 2017

Great food and amazing service. I will definitely return for more of their delicious pasta and crabmeat combination.

Tags: Outstanding Value, Notable Wine List, Sunday Lunch, Great for Brunch, Spicy, People Watching, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Happy Hour
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on February 8, 2017

My date was terrible.... but, the food was great! 🙄

Tags: Good for Groups, Scenic View
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charlotte)·Dined on February 6, 2017

Excellent all around menu!! Oysters were fabulous!!house made hot sauce was fantastic!

Tags: Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on February 5, 2017

Server was incredible. Expensive but worth the treat for a downtown Charleston night out.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Indiana)·Dined on February 4, 2017

We enjoyed the oyster shooters and raw oysters for our appetizer. However, our entrees had us leaving disappointed. The lobster roll was pretty tasty but definitely not the best in town. But the blue crab tagliatelle was downright gross. It tasted like a ridiculously overpriced tuna noodle casserole. Super muddy flavors, way too many peas, and came out of the kitchen barely warm. Not the meal I expected after the server described it as amazing. After a $100+ bill, we both agreed we should have stuck to cocktails and oysters and then headed elsewhere for dinner.

Tags: Happy Hour
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food2
ambience4
service2
value2

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on February 4, 2017

The raw oysters were outstanding, but my vodka soda was very weak and their take on shrimp and grits left much to be desired. The shrimp tasted like it was on the brink of going bad and the slightly burnt flavor of the charred brussel sprouts dominated the entire dish, it really needed something to sweeten it up a bit.

Tags: Good for a Date
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food3
ambience3
service3
value3

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on February 4, 2017

Cant go wrong with the oysters and shrimp. Both amazing. Love the feel of the restaurant, and the vibe. This visit our server was not friendly, readily available, he just acted like he rather us not be there. The hushpuppies had no flavor and we did not enjoy the baked oysters. Cockatail and beer selection was nice and again the raw selection and steamed shrimp are worth the visit. This was a date night for us so we did not let the service bother us, we were just happy to be out.

Tags: Fun, Casual
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food4
ambience5
service2
value3

 
 (Orlando)·Dined on February 3, 2017

Way overpriced for mediocre (at best) seafood and $28 drinks was a rip off!!

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food2
ambience4
service4
value1

vip
 (Pittsburgh)·Dined on January 29, 2017

Our experience was mostly enjoyable-but our waiter Evan-didn't listen to us! I asked for an over-easy egg on my shrimp and grits-and he said he loved it sunny-side up. And that's how it came. I should have sent it back. Especially after he had strongly recommended the spiced vodka-"there's a little upcharge ", -in the Bloody Mary, and my husband said the regular vodka was fine in his bloody mary. So it came with the spicy vodka-and the upcharge was over twice the cost of the house Bloody Mary! Those two things really made the meal not as fun as it could have been. i usually let the waiter know if things are wrong-but it was early in the day-and didn't want to ruin it.

Tags: Modern Decor, Bar Seating, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience5
service3
value3

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on January 29, 2017

The oysters were delicious as was the New England clam chowder. Avoid the ceviche.

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food4
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on January 28, 2017

Bailey and Olivia are awesome servers. As well as the raw bar and absolutely everything on the menu!!!

Tags: Authentic, Fun, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Atlanta)·Dined on January 21, 2017

Liked the space and the location. Our server was not particularly friendly or attentive. I thought the menu was limited, and just didn't really find an entree that jumped out at me. I got the scallops, and they were good, but for 26 bucks, I thought I would get more than three scallops. I didn't hate it, but there are too many great restaurants in Charleston to go back here again.

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food4
ambience5
service3
value3

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on January 21, 2017

The Darling might be my new favorite restaurant in downtown Charleston! The king crab parfait was light and delicious and the shrimp creole and scallops with butternut squash puree are a must have for anyone visiting. The bar staff was extremely energetic and friendly. I definitely would recommend to anyone visiting or living in Charleston.

Tags: Bar Seating, Modern Decor, Good for a Date, Handcrafted Cocktails, Notable Wine List, Vibrant Bar Scene, Fun, Good for Groups, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Tampa)·Dined on January 20, 2017

The drinks were amazing! I got the Paloma which was absolutely delicious, so tasty even the grandma across the room was ordering it! Another good menu item was the cocktail shrimp. I'm not one to order cocktail shrimp because I believe there's more fun yummier food to try, but I will admit, this was by far the tastiest shrimp I've had in a long time. Lots of flavor. And you have to order the oysters. No if's and no buts. Just do it. You're at an oyster bar for goodness sakes, you'll regret it if you not. The ambiance was nice and romantic. Great place for a date or a get together with friends, you really can't go wrong.

Tags: Good for a Date, Tapas, Modern Decor, Quick Bite, Happy Hour, Romantic, Good for Birthdays, Fun
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on January 19, 2017

Amazing food and service! Would definitely go back!

Tags: Local Ingredients, Bar Seating, Cozy, Good for Birthdays, Hot Spot
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on January 19, 2017

This place is next door to some of the nicest restaurants, in a city known for being packed with exceptional restaurants. The Darling Oyster did not disappoint. The food and service were top-notch. We all had a great time, and I look forward to returnin

Tags: Good for a Date, Family Style, Modern Decor, Open Kitchen, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on January 16, 2017

Great service. Good was OK, nothing exceptional. They tried very hard. Limited menu. I would go back. I would not recommend the clam chowder over fries unless you really like fries with toppings.

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food3
ambience4
service5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on January 15, 2017

The Bloody Mary was amazing! Not a bad price, and really unique and tasty. I didn't get the captain, but added a hush puppy and crab leg onto my Bloody Mary. It was so good and worth the price! Definitely recommend.

Tags: Great for Brunch, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Las Vegas)·Dined on January 15, 2017

Our Server Evan was great

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on January 15, 2017

Having only had cocktails and a few pre-dinner oysters here, couldn't wait to come for dinner. The Darling didn't disappoint! Oysters on the half, shrimp dip and calamari to start; followed by a variety of plates. Calamari is often overlooked by our group, glad we tried it - probably the best preparation I've ever had!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on January 14, 2017

Very disappointing having been there previously. Made reservation and was placed at table next to kitchen. At my request, was then moved to another table closer to door which was cold with door opening frequently.

We stayed for a drink and oysters - then left and went to another King St restaurant. I wouldn't go there again.

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food5
ambience1
service4
value2

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on January 14, 2017

Had a very good seafood meal with my two adult daughters. Raw oysters were wonderful and my grouper special was great as well. Drinks were well made and they had a nice wine list as well. Service from Shady was excellent. Recommended

Tags: Local Ingredients, Bar Seating, Fit for Foodies, Vibrant Bar Scene, Neighborhood Gem, Healthy, Hot Spot, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine, People Watching
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food5
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on January 11, 2017

One of my new favorites in Charleston. Good all around, but the atmosphere was the best. Great for business dinner (formal, but fun) as well as a date. Will definitely recommend and be back.

Tags: Late-night Find, Good for Anniversaries, Fit for Foodies, Happy Hour, Romantic, Good for Groups, Fun, Good for a Date, Business Meals, Good for Birthdays, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on January 8, 2017

Went with friends for Sunday brunch. Greeted promptly, professional waitstaff and fabulous food.

Will definitely be back!

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Great for Lunch, Good for Birthdays, Good for a Date, Hot Spot, Modern Decor, Creative Cuisine, Great for Brunch, Good for Anniversaries, Bar Seating, Fun, People Watching, Good for Groups
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on January 7, 2017

We love this place. The food is always good and you can't beat the happy hour oysters.

Tags: Great Beer, Bar Seating, Good for Anniversaries, Tasting Menu, Casual, Fun, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (London)·Dined on January 7, 2017

Go for the oysters. It's by far what they do best. Very hip atmosphere.

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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Charlotte)·Dined on January 4, 2017

Good food and our waitress was nice.

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food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (Western NC)·Dined on January 1, 2017

Great atmosphere! The food wasn't out-of-this-world, and it is a little pricey for what you get. But I'd recommend checking this place out. The service was wonderful, and we really enjoyed our experience!

Tags: Scenic View, Sunday Lunch, Tapas, Good for a Date, Fun, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food3
ambience5
service5
value2

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on January 1, 2017

This was our third visit, and it is good to very good overall. The atmosphere is hip and lively, but not overly so. I don't eat Oysters, but this is one of my husband's three favorite places for them in the area. All four of us enjoyed our food, which included sea and land choices. The large banquette tables are good for groups up to six.

Tags: Open Kitchen, Local Ingredients, Bar Seating, Good for Groups, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 31, 2016

We had an excellent experience, our server Jill was Amazing!! The food recommendations she made were spot on. Will definitely be going back❤

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on December 31, 2016

Oyster spaghetti was unbelievable and oyster shooters so fun!

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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (Charleston)·Dined on December 30, 2016

Best house salad in the city! The baked oysters are always great. Clam strips were great first time, overlooked second time. Emily is a great server!!

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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Cleveland)·Dined on December 29, 2016

Loud. Fish sandwich was horrible. ..bad bread, soggy lettuce, and at best a frozen, overcooked fillet. Shrimp app was good. The clam app could have been any clam strip from the frozen food secton that was amped up with drizzle of sauce.

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food2
ambience2
service2
value2

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on December 28, 2016

Good food but felt rushed...

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food4
ambience4
service4

vip
 (Charlotte)·Dined on December 27, 2016

This was our first time dining at Darlings. The oysters were outstanding but a little pricey. We also ordered from the main menu. The clam chowder had no clams and was tasteless. The side salad had way too much dressing. The creole shrimp over crab cakes would have been better if it had not been drenched in so much sauce. The scallops were wonderful and tasty. Our waiter had an attitude once we sent back the clam chowder. With so many other fantastic restaurants in Charleston I will not be returning to this one.

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food4
ambience5
service3
value4

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on December 27, 2016

I had my husbands surprise 40th birthday dinner with a party of ten and we had an incredible experience all around! We started with apps and cocktails and worked our way to the entrees. None of us had ever been to Darling and throughout the night we couldn't stop talking about how great everything was. The oysters to the salty yet sweet oatmeal cookie blonde that was brought out with a candle for my husband was absolutely delicious! Thank you for making this a great celebration for us!

Tags: Romantic, Fun, Pre/post Theatre, Worth the Drive, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Groups, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, Good for Birthdays, Cozy, Good for Anniversaries, Business Meals, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on December 27, 2016

Everything was outstanding. We had oysters, oyster shooters, clam strips, lobster cocktail and the fried seafood basket. My cousin had the shrimp and grits and said it was the best she had ever eaten. I highly recommend this restaurant for all occassions.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on December 26, 2016

i've been here three times...every time with family...love the atmosphere and we had delicious oysters!!!

Tags: Local Ingredients, Seasonal, People Watching
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Charlotte)·Dined on December 25, 2016

I want to preface this review. Had I just been reviewing the oysters, my 'grades' would be different in terms of value and quality of food. My review is based on the total sum of the bill vs the quality of the other appetizers.

Having eaten at The Darling twice before, I was excited to bring my kids while they were in town for the holidays. We are all big oyster fans. My prior visits were strictly wine and oysters which were fabulous along with the ambiance and service. This visit we ordered several appetizers along with 2 dozen oysters and were very much disappointed with the quality of the food. Oysters were great but the ceviche, crab salad and tuna were tasteless. To be honest, had we not been so hungry, we would have sent all 3 back but it was Christmas Eve and we wanted to eat and get home.

In all fairness, I have never had one of their entrees but if you are looking for drinks and appetizers, my recommendation is to stick to the oysters and drinks.

DM

Travel Editor

Tags: Good for a Date, Good for Birthdays
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food2
ambience5
service5
value2

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on December 24, 2016

We booked a table for early on Christmas eve. The waitress was very attentive and friendly. I ordered a specialty cocktail that I was not thrilled with and she took it back without hesitating. The food was fantastic. I had the red fish special and my brother ordered the Shrimp and grits - both were outstanding. The building is a renovated historic storefront on a beautiful historic street. Highly recommend.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Casual, Handcrafted Cocktails, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Oklahoma City)·Dined on December 22, 2016

This ranks in the top 3 meals ever for me. Start to finish from drinks to food to service, just a wonderful experience. Get the seafood tower, great value and very indulgent. Fried clams were unexpected, and oysters were fresh and bright.

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
 (Charleston)·Dined on December 19, 2016

Atmosphere and décor good. Service good. Oysters good. Entrees limited and the special catch of the day was only okay. Priced high for what you got. There are way too many other restaurants in the downtown area that I would go to before going back here.

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food2
ambience3
service4
value2

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