I’m only slightly embarrassed to say, that I first found out about Bowen’s Island Restaurant from the Bravo TV show Southern Charm. I always thought it looked like a really cool place to eat since it was right on the water, but I didn’t even know what it’s name was until I came across a review for Bowen’s Island Restaurant that included a few pictures. After reading the review, I knew this place was definitely on our list of places to eat while in Charleston. I mean how many places can you shuck your own freshly steamed oysters which came out of the water only a few hours ago?
We read as many reviews as we could find (they don’t have a website) and determined that arriving right when they opened at 5pm would be key to avoiding a long wait. After winding our way down a long residential dirt & stone road, we finally found the restaurant. We arrived a little earlier than planned, but around 4:45pm we noticed the parking lot starting to fill up and figured we better get in line. We ended up being second in a line that grew to about 40 people by the time 5pm rolled around. Other than steamed oysters, their menu mostly consists of fried and boiled seafood. We decided to split the half tray of oysters and the seafood platter so we could try a little bit of everything. We paired our food with two delicious craft brews from local breweries. Once we placed our order and got our beers and shucking knives, I headed down to the lower level with the ticket for our oysters while Tori grabbed a table (if you sit outside, don’t worry they will come out to call your name when your food from the kitchen is ready).
After entering a dungeon like room, I found my way into the line for oysters. It was hard to see out the back door, but it definitely looked like they were pulling them fresh off the boat before shoveling them into three large kettles to steam. Since it was the beginning of the night, I had to wait for about 5 minutes before I was handed my bucket of oysters. The wait was well worth it though, after a few tries Tori and I were successfully able to pry open the shells and eat the perfectly cooked oysters. We were only about halfway through our bucket when our seafood platter came out. While the boiled shrimp were good, the crab cake was our favorite item on the plate.
Next time we’re in Charleston, we’ll probably head out to Bowen’s Island early and rent kayaks at the place next door to the restaurant. After working up an appetite on the water, we’ll go with a full tray of oysters and then split an order of crab cakes.
If you’re heading to Charleston and interested in trying something off the beaten path, you should definitely check out Bowen’s Island Restaurant. We had a great time watching the sunset over the water while shucking our oysters. It definitely gave us a chance to slow down and really enjoy the experience.
Ratings: Atmosphere: A ♦ Service: A+ ♦ Food: A ♦ Drinks: A