Buon Appetito! Our Favorite Italian Restaurants in Charleston

Italian cuisine is the perfect blend of spicy and comfort foods, and Charleston has more than its share of excellent restaurants. Here are our top three picks and what they have to say about themselves on their websites, including a sampling of their food…

Mercato, 102 North Market Street

“Buona Sera! Your table is waiting. Settle into a plush leather booth downstairs or ascend an illuminated staircase to the serene elegance of seating upstairs under the dome. Or, join us at the long, European inspired marbled bar, bathed in the golden glow of deco chandeliers, where you can start the evening with Martinis, Bellinis and Italian-Inspired Handcrafted Cocktails while listening to the finest in live jazz.

Mercato provides the colorful setting for an intriguing blend of Italian regional culinary styles. The restaurant’s two levels are framed by richly-hued Venetian plaster walls, and the banquets and chairs are covered with Italian leather in the same browns and Tuscan reds. A 1950’s Italian chandelier hanging from the dramatically-domed second-floor ceiling illuminates a menu designed to appeal to those in the mood for specialties of the house including:

  • Local Shrimp and Blue Crab Risotto with Sautéed Leaks and Sweet Corn
  • Housemade Potato Gnocchi with Sausage & Fennel Ragu
  • Pork Osso Bucco over Anson Mills Creamy Polenta with a Citrus Gremolata & Natural Pork Jus
  • Pizza with delicious toppings such as Prosciutto and Arugula or Sausage & Peppers “

Bocci’s, 158 Church Street

“Bocci’s Italian Restaurant, located in the historical downtown market area of Charleston, is locally owned and has been in operation since 1990. Over 20 years of business has made Bocci’s a staple for locals and visitors alike. Upon entrance, guests are swept away by the classic Italian, open air trattoria style décor.

The menu provides the perfect balance of rustic, old world Italian favorites and creative, Mediterranean influenced specials. Featured items on the menu include the Tuscan Duck,

Traditional Parmesans, Grilled Salmon Insalata, Chicken Picatta and made to order, 9 inch thin crust pizzas.

The wine list has been hand selected to provide the perfect pairing for your meal. While the wine list has a heavy Italian influence, many other areas of the world are featured as well. Bocci’s wines cater to every guest, whether you are looking for a great value, or a reserve bottle for a special occasion.”

Indaco, 526 King Street

“Indaco, Italian for ‘indigo’, serves rustic Italian fare keeping the country’s tradition of caring at the restaurant’s core. Located on Charleston’s upper king street, executive chef Michael Perez is at the helm.

Indaco promises excellence from its kitchen, which boasts wood-fire grills, ovens and rotisseries. Rustic entrees, wood-fire pizzas, pastas, housemade salami and house-cured sausages and meats fill the restaurant’s menu. In addition to the a la carte menu, a family-style menu created by Chef Perez allows guests to enjoy the full spectrum of Indaco and partake in the dining customs of Italian cuisine.”

What’s your favorite Italian restaurant in Charleston?