Celebrate the Holidays in Charleston's Best Restaurants

Betsey Geier

Thanks to Lillie Montgomery for doing a lot of research on this article. 

We all know Christmas is about spending time with family and friends, giving and getting presents, and eating a delicious meal together. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cook it yourself though. Maybe you don’t have the time or the energy? Or maybe you just shouldn’t be allowed to prepare food for others? If you are among one of these categories, we have the solution. Local restaurants will do all of the meal prep, cooking and all you have to do is relax and enjoy.

First, you'll want to celebrate in advance of the big day with those that you love, but also those that you don't want to introduce to Grampa Joe and his tobacco-stained teeth and terrible breath. He's a close talker too, and everyone has one in their family. Thus, we have a solution. It's like "Friendsgiving," but Christmasy. There's more red and green and gold tinsel. 

Celebrate with your friends at Minero. We recommend the Queso Fundido and the Guacamole for the table, we love the Taco al Pastor and the Pork Carnitas tacos, and a bag of churros for dessert. For drinks, we love the Margaritas and the Mexican Mule. It's a busy - and expensive - time of year, so maybe invite your besties to a happy hour Monday through Friday from 3:30 - 6:30 pm. 

For your SO, we recommend Pane e Vino. Have a romantic night out with wine and bruschetta or scamorza grigliata (smoked mozzarella, topped with wild mushrooms and truffle oil). Choose pasta or carni (or both), and save room for dessert. The dolci menu includes Gelato, Tartufo al Cioccolato, or Tiramisu’. 

If you're looking for a cozy, casual evening with an intimate group of your closest friends, look no further than Harold's Cabin. Order the forage and cheese board for the table and try the bison burger for your main course. Their happy hour runs from Monday through Friday from 4-7, so be sure to get there early for the best discounts. 

Now, if you're looking to get a meal for the family on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day without all the hassle of cooking up a feast (and doing the dishes), then check out one of these restaurants that have dinners to go. 

Halls has a family meal with two main course options. Choose the prime rib or the turkey and get family-style sides like stuffing, creamed corn casserole, roasted root vegetables, mashed Yukon gold potatoes, sauteed green beans, and parker house rolls. Add on chocolate chess pie, pecan pie, or apple crumble pie to complete the meal. Pick up is available on Monday, Dec. 24 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and on Christmas Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

If you're feeling cooped up and want to get out of the house, head over to 5 Church for a family night out. They've got a set menu ($48 per person/ $20 for children under 12) with three courses. You don't have to plan at all! The main course features items like spinach gnocchi, Joyce farm poussin, prime NY strop, or Fig glazed Keegan Fillion pork chop. And, save room for dessert because 5 Church is offering a praline and chocolate yule log... and some other desserts, but this is our choice. 

If you're not feeling a set menu, stop over on Christmas Day of a buffet of shrimp cocktail, salmon lox, braised short ribs, whipped Yukon, brown sugar roasted carrots, and more. 

The Watch Rooftop is also hosting friends and family on Christmas for a Christmas Day brunch (11 a.m.) or a Christmas Day Dinner. Make your reservations now if you'd like to impress the family by taking them to spot with one of the best views of downtown Charleston. (The best view, in my opinion). 

On Christmas Eve, cozy up to Basic Kitchen for a pre-present opening feast. The healthy hot spot will offer a family-style menu, featuring traditional fare perfect for warming you up and putting you in the holiday spirit. Highlights include main dishes prepared for two people like Herb Crusted Lamb ($20) and Mushroom and Leek Pie ($15), and veggies, $8 per side, like Yorkshire pudding, Hasselback Potatoes, Braised Southern Peas & Beans; and Miso Collards. Don't forget about dessert - the best part of the meal! Sweet treats include a ginger cake and “Mom’s Xmas Cookies” (pro tip - order a second helping to take home to old Saint Nick!). Top it all off with mulled wine, spiked cider, and special wines and you’ve got yourself a Christmas Eve party!

Whether you're sick of your relatives or you're trying to impress them, there is a holiday spot for every mood. Grab your best ugly Christmas sweater and head out on the town to do something festive this holiday season.