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Jestine’s Kitchen, Charleston, South Carolina

06 Jestine’s. Okra gumbo

In the past decade or so, Charleston has emerged as a food/foodie travel destination.  On an extended weekend visit to Charleston, we enjoyed superb food every single meal.  Most everything is fried and a little “heavier” than we’re used to, as you’d expect in the south, but we ate well and I’m sure we got onto our planes as we departed somewhat heavier than when we arrived.

One of the more memorable meals we enjoyed in Charleston was at Jestine’s Kitchen, named in honor of Jestine Matthews (a great southern cook).  This restaurant was recommended by the hosts of our B&B accommodation, and also is a recommended by the best online source of great “American food,” roadfood.com.  Jestine’s doesn’t take reservations, so it’s first come, first serve (you’re never sure what the wait will be).  I’m told the lines can be quite long during peak periods, but fortunately a table was available when we arrived so we got right in.  The restaurant isn’t large and it seemed that most people dining there were locals — always a good sign.

You can see Jestine’s menu here.  Very reasonably priced items and a broad selection of traditional Southern food.  Every table gets a serving of “pickles” as a starter, which were great.  We ordered some steamed shrimp as an appetizer, which we shared at our table.  Everyone enjoyed these — fresh and sweet.

Jestine’s is known for it’s excellent pastries and we were hoping they would have some buttermilk pie left, but no such luck.   We discussed getting some of their Coca-Cola cake (which Jestine’s is famous for), but everyone was too full, so we waddled out of the restaurant for a pleasant fall evening stroll.

A highly recommended restaurant if you’re interested in home-style low-country Southern cuisine.  Be sure you stop by when in Charleston.

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