Reviews of Best Charleston Food Tours

This post reviews and compares the various Charleston culinary tours to help you decide which one is best for you. Recently rated as one of the top 10 foodie cities in the country, Charleston, SC is a mecca of delicious Lowcountry cuisine and experimental flavors. Visitors can choose from a wide selection of food tours, including traditional food tours and dessert tours to increasingly popular pub crawls and chef’s kitchen tours – the latter of which introduces guests to the chef’s behind some of the best cuisine in Charleston! Food tours are a great way to learn more about a city’s history and culture while also enjoying several delicious samples along the way!

There are several different companies that offer food tours in Charleston. Below, we’ve broken down the various types of food tours available in Charleston, and compared each by price and availability so that you can decide… which is the best food tour in Charleston?


Dessert Tours

Pub Crawls / Mixology Tours

Charleston Food Guides

 

General Culinary Tours

Chef’s Kitchen Tours

Deals and Discounts


 

GENERAL CULINARY TOURS

Food tours are a fun and informative way to learn more about a city. There are 3 different companies offering general culinary tours in Charleston. Each runs for 2-3 hours and includes stops at 3-6 popular restaurants. At each stop, guests are given samples of Lowcountry specialities and local favorites. Every tour is priced at approximately $60 per person, so guests must base their decision according to which food tour menu most piques their interest. 

As noted below, Bulldog Tours, Charleston Culinary Tours, and Chow-Down Charleston each offer food tours of downtown Charleston, while the former two also offer food tours of Upper King Street as well.  Guests hoping to take a food tour during their time in Charleston are really spoiled for choice, as all of these companies come very highly rated. Be advised that guests should bring extra cash with them in case they wish to purchase additional samples. Additionally, those foodies who want to make the most out of their time in Charleston should consider taking a food tour at the very start of their trip so that they will have the opportunity to go back to some of the restaurants that were visited. 

 


Bulldog Tours – Savor the Flavors of Charleston / Savor the Flavors of Upper King Street

Bulldog Tours offer 2 different types of traditional food tours: Savor the Flavors of Charleston Tour and Savor the Flavors of Upper King Street Tour. Both tours introduce guests to classic Lowcountry dishes such as grits, southern pralines, sweet tea, and collard greens. As Bulldog Tours really make an effort to promote local South Carolina culture, these tour are ideal for anyone interested in learning more about the city’s culinary history.

Cost + Hours:

  • Savor the Flavors of Charleston Tour – $60 per person for 2.5 hours
    • Daily at 9:30am & 2pm
  • Savor the Flavors of Upper King Street – $60 per person for 2.5 hours
    • Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 3pm
  • More info, calendar and to book.

Reviews of Bulldog Tours:

Bulldog Tours is a very popular tour company that offers several different types of tours. They have a 4 star rating on TripAdvisor. Though the reviews cover all of their tours on offer, their culinary tours are particularly highly rated. Guests refer to it as “absolutely fantastic” and “excellent”. Some guests complain that all of the samples were made with relatively cheap ingredients such as a rice and beans, however that’s largely the beauty of Lowcountry cooking – delicious food made with affordable ingredients! 

 


Charleston Culinary Tours – Downtown Charleston / Upper King Street 

Charleston Culinary Tours is a local tour company that exclusively offers food and drink tours around Charleston. Similar to Bulldog Tours, they have 2 standard food tours: Downtown Charleston and Upper King Street. Each visits 3-4 restaurants and promises enough samples to satisfy most appetites.

 


 
Cost + Hours:

Reviews of Charleston Culinary Tours:

Charleston Culinary Tours has an excellent reputation with a 5 star rating on TripAdvisor. Guests praise the guides for their passion and knowledge, particularly Hoon who is a bit of a local celebrity. The food itself is also highly recommended, and many commentators suggest that future guests do this tour on their first day in Charleston so that they will have the opportunity to return to some of the featured restaurants.

 


Chow-Down Charleston – Downtown’s Local Flavors

Chow-Down Charleston is a small food tour company that offer 1 standard culinary tour in the city. Their Downtown’s Local Flavors Tour specializes in Lowcountry cuisine and visits 6 different locations. This company does a particularly good job of introducing guests to a wide range of flavors. Additionally, a guide shares interesting details about the history and culture of Charleston.

Cost: 

  • $58 per person for 3 hours

Hours: 

  • 11AM on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays

Reviews of Chow-Down Charleston: 

Though this is a relatively new company, Chow-Down Charleston has already garnered a highly respected reputation. It boasts an impressive 5 star ranking on TripAdvisor. In fact, the company has no 1 or 2 star reviews, only one 3 star review, and the rest are all 4 or 5 star reviews. Guests describe the tour as “perfect” and a “wonderful experience”.

 


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CHEF’S KITCHEN TOURS

Aimed at serious foodies, chef’s kitchen tours are a popular alternative to traditional food tours. These introduce guests to the culinary masterminds running the kitchens at some of the most reputable restaurants in Charleston. Guests will have the opportunity to ask the chefs about their cooking methods, as well as about the history of their restaurant.

Bulldog Tours and Charleston Culinary Tours both regularly offer chef’s kitchen tours for $60 per person. Additionally, Charleston Culinary Tours also run their Chef’s Farm-to-Table Challenge, which is a seasonal tour in which a chef accompanies guests and a tour guide to the Charleston Market, and helps them select fresh ingredients before making everyone a delicious meal with them. Guests seem particularly impressed with the chefs featured on these types of tours, as they welcome several questions and provide lots of insider information. 

 


Bulldog Tours – Chef’s Kitchen

In addition to their general culinary tours, Bulldog Tours also offer Chef’s Kitchen Tour which is equally highly rated. This tour introduces guests to some of the best restaurants and chefs in Charleston. At each stop, chefs will share more about the history of the restaurants and how each he or she has developed their menu. Though guests are told to not expect any food on this tour, samples are often given at the various restaurants. This tour is ideal for people hoping to improve their culinary skills and get cooking tips from professional chefs.

Cost and Schedule: 

Reviews of Bulldog Tours:

As stated above, Bulldog Tours maintain an overall good rating of 4 stars on TripAdvisor. Though the reviews cover all of their tours on offer, their Chef’s Kitchen Tours are particularly highly rated. Several guests refer to this tour as the highlight of their time in Charleston and an absolute must for any foodie. If you are genuinely interested in improving your cooking skills, then this is the ideal food tour to take!

 


Charleston Culinary Tours – Chef’s Kitchen Tour

In addition to their standard food tours, Charleston Culinary Tours also offer 2 chef’s kitchen tours: Chef’s Farm-to-Table Challenge and Chef’s Kitchen Tour. The Chef’s Farm-to-Table Challenge is a unique experience in which guests explore the Charleston Market with their guide and chef, buying their favorite fresh ingredients from the different stalls. After their selection, the guests are then taken for a tour around the market with their guide while the chef prepares a unique and delicious meal for everyone to eat at the end of the tour. The Chef’s Kitchen Tour, on the other hand, is a more traditional Chef’s Tour as guests are brought to several restaurants, introduced to local chefs, and told about their professional cooking techniques.

Costs and Schedules:

Reviews:

Like their other tours, both of their chef’s table tours are also highly rated with a 5 star TripAdvisor rating. Guests seem particularly impressed with Coon, the company’s most popular tour guide. Many reviewers also praise the chefs, whom they guests are encouraged to question and engage. Highly recommended! 

 


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DESSERT TOURS

Similar to traditional food tours, dessert tours are a sweet way to see the city and learn more about the area’s culinary culture. Guests visit several restaurants and shops around Charleston, sampling a selection of treats. As past visitors note, be sure to eat at least a small lunch before the tour as all the sweets on an empty stomach can certainly give you a sugar rush. However, overall several reviewers offer high praise for the informative and delicious dessert tour. Currently, Bulldog Tours is the only company regularly offering a dessert tour in Charleston.


Bulldog Tours 

This Dessert Tour brings guests to some of the best dessert places that are frequented by Charleston locals. The tour includes samples of Huguenot tort, lemon bar, coconut cake, Southern pralines, chocolate truffles, and petit fours. 

Cost and Schedule:

Reviews of Bulldog Tours:

Like all of their tours, the Bulldog Tours’ dessert tour is also highly recommended. The company maintains an overall good rating of 4 stars. This is a relatively new tour and so there are fewer reviews of it, but commenters on their dessert tour call it amazing.

 


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CHARLESTON PUB CRAWLS/MIXOLOGY TOURS

Additionally, pub crawls and mixology tours are a great way for visitors to have a bit of grown-up fun while exploring the area. Though some pub crawls strictly aim to entertain and provide a wild night out, the tour listed below cater to people of all ages who are hoping to learn about the history and culture of an area by sampling 3 different craft cocktails from some of the nicest bars in the city.

Currently, Charleston Culinary Tours is the only company offering a mixology tour of Charleston. The tour runs every Friday and Saturday evening, and at $40 per person, it is actually much more affordable than any of the other food tours.

 


Charleston Culinary Tours – Mixology Tour

In addition to their several food tours, Charleston Culinary Tours also offer a mixology tour, which they refer to as a “mobile cocktail party in beautiful Charleston”. The tour is 1.5 hours and visits 3 different popular watering holes in the city. Guests learn about the methodology behind each mixologist’s favorite craft cocktail, and then sample their creation.

Cost:

Hours:

  • Fridays and Saturdays at 5:30 pm

Reviews of Charleston Culinary Tours:

Like all their other tours, the Mixology Tour offered by Charleston Culinary Tours is very highly rated. The company has an overall 5 star reputation on TripAdvisor. Some guests describe this tour as the highlight of their time in Charleston, saying it was “perfect” and a “must do”.


Bulldog Tours — Upper King Street Pub Tour 

In addition to their general culinary tours, Bulldog Tours also offer a pub crawl of Upper King Street. Guests will learn about prohibition laws, tales of piracy and the rum trade, and all about speakeasies and bootleggers. Furthermore, a cocktail will be included at each stop so that visitors can really have a taste of what Charleston’s finest taverns have to offer. 

Cost: 

  • $25 per person 

Hours: 

  • Fridays and Saturdays at 4pm

Reviews of Bulldog Tours: 

Bulldog Tours maintain an overall good rating of 4 stars on TripAdvisor. Though the reviews cover all of their tours on offer, theirBulldog Tours maintain an overall good rating of 4 stars on TripAdvisor. Previous guests have referred to the pub crawl tour as Guests refer to it as “absolutely fantastic” and “excellent”. 


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GUIDES TO FOODS OF CHARLESTON

Charleston is highly regarded for its incredible food culture and Lowcountry cuisine. There are several different dishes unique to Charleston that true foodies should seek to experience before leaving. 

Below is a list of several blog posts or articles that cover some of the best dishes to try, recipes to replicate, and places to eat. 

Lowcountry Foods to Try in Charleston

Everything You Need to Eat in Charleston  

Top 10 Must-Try Restaurants in Charleston

The 38 Charleston Restaurants

40 Very Charleston Dishes

Charleston Soul Food Recipes

 


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