West Virginia’s capital city has several local eateries to choose from. Many of these are long-standing restaurants that have been in the Kanawha Valley for decades. Whether you are looking for international eats or chef-inspired dishes, beautiful charcuterie boards or the best Chicken Tikka Masala on the planet, here are my best restaurants in Charleston WV, for a palate-pleasing meal.
(UPDATED MAY 2023)
1010 Bridge Restaurant
1010 Bridge Restaurant in South Hills is versatile in being upscale enough for date night or celebrations, but casual enough to enjoy cocktails and appetizers at the bar with friends. The list of craft cocktails is extensive, and the menu is sensational.
Expect farm-to-table fresh, with creative chef-inspired magic. The White Cheddar Pimento Cheese appetizer is to die for, and the Filet Mignon and Dijon & Dill Crusted Chilean Salmon are both delicious entree choices.
Save room for 1010 Bridge’s Molten White Chocolate Beet Cake, with buttermilk sorghum glaze and cream cheese buttercrème, was truly one of the most spectacular desserts of my life.
Adelphia Sports Bar & Grille
Located in downtown Charleston’s historic district is Adelphia Sports Bar & Grille, an authentic Greek eatery also offering American fare. This is a hot spot for weekend nightlife and during any sporting events as they are broadcast on the TVs.
You simply cannot miss out on Adelphia’s mouth-watering gyros and kebabs. You’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t also indulge in their delectable hummus and warm pita bread.
Wash it all down with a cold beer from their amazing selection of nearly 25 tap beers, including many local brews. And the best part? Enjoy a generous double pour for the price of a single drink every day of the week.
Barkadas is an unassuming property at the base of Fort Hill with a top-notch Filipino inspired menu and the best brunch in town. Starters like lumpia and menu staples like Bao buns are new to the Charleston food scene, and Barkadas does them exceptionally well.
The regular menu has items like burgers, handhelds, salads, and hand-rolled burritos stuffed with crispy avocado or spam, chicken adobo, or glazed pork belly. My favorite is the weekend brunch, 10 AM to 2 PM, with the breakfast bowl being the star. This decadent dish starts with coconut jasmine rice and is topped with scrambled eggs, Karne norte (Filipino corned-beef hash), fried spam, pork belly, and a luscious queso.
Barkadas is closed Tuesdays.
Black Sheep Burrito
I love everything about Black Sheep Burrito: the craft beer, stylish decor, tasty eats, and stellar brunch. One of the stars of the menu is the Sunday brunch O.G. Chicken and Waffles, with crispy honey-nut breaded fried chicken, candied pecans and jalapeños, and fried onion straws.
Then, the stack is topped with sage-infused maple syrup–yum! This is the best Chicken and Waffles I’ve eaten in the country, and eating is my job. They have literally put thought and expertise into each ingredient. Brunch is served Sundays 11 AM to 3 PM.
Black Sheep’s Vindaloo Curry Breakfast (mango chutney, cashews, eggs over easy) and Cee-Bee-Gee (house-made biscuit, fried chicken, and sausage gravy) are both delicious, too. For a terrific starter, Black Sheep Burrito’s wings (bone-in or boneless tenders) are off the hook!
Fun Fact: There is a second Black Sheep Burrito location in Huntington.
Bricks & Barrels
Discover one of downtown Charleston’s most romantic restaurants, Bricks & Barrels, behind Appalachian Power Park. Start your dining experience with a swanky Charcuterie Grazing Board with three types of meat, cheeses, olives, grapes, crackers, and spreads.
Or, jump right to Brick & Barrels’ Fried Green Tomato Napoleon. This layered dish is stacked fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, topped with a petite Filet Mignon and tomato jam, then drizzled with balsamic reduction. The taste is sheer umami.
For your next course, the Wedge Salad (blue cheese crumbles, bacon, and peppercorn ranch dressing) and Lobster Bisque are both excellent choices.
Pro Tip: If you want a special experience, reserve one of the alcoves that make you feel like you are sitting in a huge wine barrel.
Bricks & Barrels is closed on Mondays.
Bridge Road Bistro
Bridge Road Bistro – the beloved South Hills neighborhood spot that’s been wowing Kanawha Valley locals for years, is perfect whether you’re in the mood for a light bite or a hearty meal.
Try a glass of wine and appetizers at the bar, or indulge in one of their delicious lunch or dinner options. And don’t worry – whatever you choose, the food is guaranteed to be amazing. Personally, I can’t get enough of their classic Caesar salad and French onion soup.
For something heartier, I recommend the Baked Bistro Crab Cake (served with a dill lemon hollandaise) or the Grecian Chicken Penne Pasta (featuring asparagus, Kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, feta, and a Parmesan cream sauce).
No meal at Bridge Road Bistro is complete without treating yourself to one of their decadent desserts. But hurry – they’re closed on Sundays, so plan your visit accordingly!
Pro Tip: Have your gourmet meal delivered to your door via DoorDash or Uber Eats.
In neighboring South Charleston, you’ll want to check out Cafe Appalachia, serving a greater purpose with every meal. This unique eatery has indoor and outdoor seating, a beautiful garden, and health-inspired menu.
I took my dad and we were pleasantly surprised with the great selections and friendly staff. Breakfast is served 7:30 AM -2 PM, with lunch offerings available starting at 10 AM. Waffles, omelets, oats, breakfast sandwiches, and quiche make up the majority of the menu.
My dad had a custom made omelet that was big enough to share, while I had a rosemary cheddar biscuit topped with creamy sausage gravy. Nom!
The Chop House
I’m big on classic steakhouses, and The Chop House at the downtown Charleston Town Center Mall is hard to beat. When you want a perfectly cooked steak (USDA prime), fancied up with luscious crab meat or a delicate béarnaise sauce, Chop House has got you covered. And it will be served on signature dishes, tables with white tablecloths, and in a dimly lit romantic restaurant that is gourmet to the hilt.
Pro Tip: For a more casual vibe, consider sitting at the bar or one of the cocktail bar tables in the lounge area.
One of the most amazing dishes at The Chop House is the luscious and picture-perfect Seafood Platter, that has the best Crab Louie you’ll ever eat. It also has succulent shrimp, fresh lobster meat, and oysters.
If you aren’t that hungry, how about a bowl of either Baked French Onion Soup or Lobster Bisque with a sherry cream, paired with a perfectly made Caesar salad? I’d have to say that Chop House has the best Lobster Bisque I’ve ever tried, and the presentation alone is fancy schmancy.
After you meal, enjoy the beautiful Cigar Lounge.
FYI: Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 PM in the lounge area.
Cozumel Mexican Restaurant
Charleston has a variety of Mexican restaurants, but only one can be the best, and it is, hands down, Cozumel at Ashton Place. Chances are, you can’t eat just one basket of chips and salsa, and it’s doubtful anyone enters the door without an order of Cozumel’s creamy Queso.
From the warm chips and spicy salsa to the tender and creamy Pollo Con Arroz (grilled chicken over a bed of rice with onions, peppers, and tomatoes, drizzled in queso), you’ll enjoy finger-lickin’ good eats at this town favorite.
Vegetarian? No worries, try Cozumel’s Vegetarian Nachos, with steamed broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and mushrooms. Nom! Cozumel’s fajitas are an excellent choice, too, available in beef, chicken, shrimp, or a mix of them all. Come at lunchtime for discounted menu selections.
In Charleston’s up and coming Elk City District lies Dancing Dog Ice Cream Cafe, which is way more than what meets the eye. Inside this cute little space with great people-watching opportunity is a restaurant with a limited menu, and hand-dipped super premium ice cream treats.
I had the four-cheese grilled cheese, which was spot on, but the West Virginia hot dogs, served on a toasted English bun, looked amazing! I definitely need to go back and try one. Other food items included smash burgers, fish sandwiches, chicken salad, and chicken tenders.
I had a basic vanilla milkshake, and it was so satisfying. Popular ice cream flavors that day were espresso, lemon chiffon, and snickerdoodle.
Diehl’s Restaurant is a family-style eatery in Nitro, West Virginia, with every kind of comfort food you can imagine. The menu is vast, and the food is really tasty, but the star attraction at Diehl’s is the billowy rolls, just like Grandma used to make them.
I love the stuffed chicken and meatloaf that come with two sides of your choice. The green beans and potatoes au gratin are both excellent. Spaghetti, fresh salads, and roast beef & gravy are other popular choices for main courses at Diehl’s.
And let’s not forget the incredible homemade pies, cobbler, and cakes! The selections are enormous and priced just right. If they have graham cracker pie, my fave, take a slice home to enjoy when you aren’t so full.
I tend to forget about Hale House when I visit Charleston, mainly because it is tucked away on a street I don’t frequent other than going here to eat. Put it on your schedule, Hale House is an excellent bistro-style eatery with the town’s best drink menu and delicious quality dishes, plus the restaurant is chic and lovely.
I’ve only experienced appetizers there, but I have friends who eat here regularly.
Buffalo Chicken Wontons are a must, enhanced to the next level with the restaurant’s own chunky homemade blue cheese sauce and buffalo sauce. So good, I’ll bet you can’t eat just one.
Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse
You’ll find part sushi, part hibachi menu at Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse in the Dudley Farms Plaza of Corridor G. Hibachi prepares meals table-side for you and your guests using fresh veggies, meat, cabbage, and white or fried rice.
The meal starts with a cup of soup and a bowl of salad with an amazing ginger dressing. I ask for a side of it to dip my chicken teriyaki in later. Choose your protein (steak, Filet, shrimp, tofu, or chicken), style of rice (white or fried), and watch it and the medley of onions, mushrooms, and broccoli cook on the flat-top grill in front of you.
If you’ve never seen the chef’s show, it is highly entertaining. If you have, encourage group participation to make lively of the situation.
Pro Tip: If you have small children, be sure they are prepared for the grill to light up with a huge flame when the show starts.
I’ve eaten at a lot of hibachi-style places around the country, and seldom do they ever surpass Charleston’s Hibachi in terms of taste.
Pro Tip: You can choose to sit at a hibachi table for the fun show, or in the restaurant for them to cook your meal and just serve you as in a typical restaurant.
Located on Charleston’s East End, Leonoro’s Spaghetti House is one of the oldest restaurants in town. They have been serving Charlestonians a delicious plate of spaghetti with meat sauce and other classic Italian dishes since 1915.
Another noteworthy mention is that they have excellent lunch specials until 4 PM Monday through Friday.
Leonoro’s menu has all your pasta favorites: linguine, spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna, manicotti, stuffed shells, and rigatoni, plus a slew of dinners. My go-to is the spaghetti with meatballs, which also comes with a garden salad and bread. It is always pasta perfection, affordable, and served by an experienced waitstaff. Ask for Kevin if he is available.
Pro Tip: There is free parking in back of the restaurant.
Sink your teeth into Neopolitan-style pizzas from Lola’s, situated in a cute little house on Bridge Road at South Hills. Lola’s is known for being a great neighborhood restaurant with fantastic sangria, tasty pizza, and fresh ingredients—pretty tall reasons for making it one of the best restaurants in Charleston, West Virginia.
I always start my Lola’s dining experience with the Panko-Crusted Mozzarella, but the Lemon and Herb Hummus, served with sliced Charleston Bread Company Co. baguette, is a great starter, too.
I’ve been ordering Lola’s Goat Cheese Salad for as long as I can remember, so it thrills me to see it still on the menu, and I’m pretty sure the price has not increased in years.
As far as Lola’s pizzas go, my top pick is the Steak & Cheese, with Swift Level Farm flank steak, white cheddar, red onions, jalapeños, and lots of fresh garlic. It is so tasty!
Spicy Shrimp and Sausage is another crowd pleaser. The menu also has a couple of sandwiches. Brunch is available Saturday and Sunday 11 AM to 4 PM.
Pro Tip: Order a large pizza and you can choose two different recipe creations. Perfect for sharing with a friend.
Olive Tree Cafe and Catering
Come to Olive Tree Cafe in South Charleston for a taste of the Mediterranean that will not disappoint! With both indoor and outdoor seating, plus a catering business to accommodate all your needs, Olive Tree will satisfy your cravings.
I recommend trying the Olive Tree Chicken Shawarma, with marinated steak, shredded pickles, onion, and tahini in a warm pita. But if that’s not your style, don’t worry! Olive Tree has a variety of delicious options to choose from, including sandwiches made with Boar’s Head meats and amazing salads like the Greek Salad.
And don’t forget about the appetizers! The Fried Feta with peppered apricot preserves and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (with the option to add veggies) are both fantastic. For an even heartier appetizer, give the Mediterranean Nachos a try with your choice of gyro meat, shawarma, or chicken.
After 4 PM, Olive Tree adds dinner entrees to their already impressive menu. You won’t want to miss out on the loin cut lamb chops, fire-roasted chicken breast, and Mediterranean Sea scallops.
Pies & Pints
Pies & Pints, on Charleston’s busy Capitol Street, is a spectacular place for award-winning pizza, great tap beer, and an arsenal of tasty appetizers. I love the Pork & Pepper Nachos, with scallions, black beans, jalapeños, and chipotle crema, which pair wonderfully with a cold beer.
Steak & Mushroom, Chicken Gouda, and Thai pizzas are all excellent and made with creative recipes, but the Grape and Gorgonzola pizza is a true original that Pies and Pints does better than anywhere. Split your pizza and enjoy two combinations for no additional charge.
Pies & Pints was franchised about the day they opened their Charleston location, so you will see them all over the country, from Pennsylvania to Alabama.
Pitch Sports Bar and Grill
Looking for a lively sports bar-style restaurant in Charleston? Look no further than The Pitch Sports Bar & Grill! With locations in Kanawha City and Dunbar, you can enjoy delicious meals while overlooking the golf course.
Bite into palate-pleasing dishes like our famous Chips and Queso or try the star item, “Cornfused,” a delectable mix of sweet corn fritters, sweet potato tots, pulled pork, scallions, and scallion crème, drizzled with a generous side of hot honey. Don’t forget to wash it down with one of our creative cocktails, cold beer, or wine.
I also had the Sterling Salad, a great reminder for those old enough to remember the sensational Sterling restaurant in downtown Charleston, with a tangy Russian-style dressing and chunky bleu cheese crumbles. Well done, I must say. Burgers, salads, thick-cut hot bologna, and pizzas are on the menu, too.
Come experience what everyone is talking about at The Pitch Sports Bar & Grill.
Plaza Maya, on Charleston’s Chesterfield Avenue, is another tasty Mexican restaurant. In the former Chesterfield House location, there is ample parking, and it’s in a great location near the CAMC Memorial Hospital and between Kanawha City and downtown Charleston.
Plaza Maya has the best queso dip in town, along with crispy tortilla chips that are just perfect. You can’t go wrong with the fajitas or nachos, but honestly, I haven’t had anything from Plaza Maya that wasn’t 10/10 delicious.
Vegetarians have a lot of items to choose from at this local eatery.
Located at the GoMart Ballpark in downtown Charleston, Ristorante Abruzzi is a high-end Italian restaurant with handcrafted pasta (by Charleston Bread), beautiful dishes and silverware, a professional waitstaff, and an aesthetically pleasing decor.
The tea and complimentary bread with olive oil was so good, I knew right away I would be back for a repeat visit. Then the Caesar salad solidified that with a fantastic dressing, right amount of cheese, fresh cracked pepper, and homemade croutons. They also have a goat cheese fig salad…ooh, la la.
For my main course, I chose the Bolognese Pappardelle with a lip-smacking good dollop of whipped garlic and herb ricotta, which ranked 10/10 delicious. I would go to Ristorante Abruzzi with friends, for a special occasion, date night, or to sit at the bar and nurse a cocktail and enjoy an Arancini or Caprese salad. It is perfect all the way around.
Sitar of India
Did you know that sitting in Charleston, West Virginia, is one of the best Indian restaurants you’ll find in the country? That’s my take on Sitar of India, and I’ve been to dozens.
The Monday through Friday lunch buffet (11:30 AM to 2:30 PM) is a great way to try many different Indian dishes to see what you like (if you are unfamiliar). The buffet also includes dessert and drinks. Like most, the Chicken Tikka Masala is my favorite, with a creamy, velvety tomato-based cream sauce that is so fragrant and tasty.
I’ve introduced many friends to Indian food from Sitar of India, and they are always impressed and ready to revisit.
Pro Tip: There is free parking across the street. Bring your ticket in for validation.
Found at the ever-popular Capitol Market is Soho’s, serving gourmet entrées and pizza since 2002 in a renovated train depot from the 1800s. Soho’s has lunch and dinner menus, and is one of the more popular restaurants in town. With that being said, try to skip around prime dining times to avoid the wait.
I like Soho’s for lunch, dining inside, or when weather permitting, enjoying the Beer Garden with friends of the evening. And there is a Sunday brunch from 11 AM to 4 PM. For a lighter appetite, the side Caesar salad and Escarole e Fagioli are great, and come right in at the $10 price point.
For a heartier meal, the Lasagna or Pasta Carbonara are both excellent choices. Vegetarians will go ga-ga over Soho’s Walnut Zucchini lasagna. Save room for Soho’s Brownie dessert, which my friends raved about, or the best tiramisu in town.
Across from the hospital in Spring Hill is one of the best-kept secrets in the Kanawha Valley. Sokolata is a diamond in the rough, serving a hearty menu with both Italian and Greek favorites and some of the most impressive desserts you’ll find in Charleston.
The lamb and beef gyros are the best in town (I’ve researched this topic enough to be the judge), and the hummus is sublime. I found an equal mix of dine-in customers eating Mediterranean and Italian; a great testament to their ability to juggle both cuisines equally.
Save room for silky smooth gelato or one of the gourmet dessert cups, all guaranteed to please. Kudos for having some of the best customer service around. It was much appreciated.
It is not often that a chain restaurant, and one on the higher scale for the town, can withstand the restaurant business for 30+ years, but Tidewater Grill at the Charleston Town Center has done that. The delicious food and professional service may be two of the reasons.
Locals are thankful for the delicious hot homemade poppy seed rolls (unlike anywhere else), and the flavorful Greek salads, complete with Kalamata olives, feta, and beets.
For dinner, the Fettuccine St. Tropez pasta meal (chicken breast, garlic, herbs, and a tomato cream sauce) is a Charleston mainstay, but the Crab Cakes are a close runner-up. My favorite Tidewater dish is Chicken Nicole with artichoke hearts and mushrooms, which isn’t listed, but they can sometimes make it.
Dinner entrees come with a side of creamy coleslaw, house, or Caesar salad. You can substitute a Greek salad for a few dollars more.
Pro Tip: Tidewater Grill has a popular bar presence. Sit in the bar area Monday through Friday to take advantage of Happy Hour drink pricing and special app discounts, like $7 jumbo Gulf shrimp cocktail or fried oysters.
Another tasty treat in the South Hills neighborhood of Charleston is Wheelhouse, a sandwich shop with the likes of tuna salad, burgers, pimento cheese, soup, gourmet salads, and sandwiches. The space is decorated in a nautical theme and offers counter service, to-go options, and delivery. Breakfast is available on weekdays starting at 7:30.
My favorite menu item is the Pimento Cheese Bacon Burger, oozing with comfort food qualities. Burgers are served with chips.
Craving sweets? Wheelhouse has ice cream, homemade cookies. root beer floats, and thick milkshakes.
Pro Tip: Check Wheelhouse’s FB page for daily specials, such as soup and panini of the day.
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