Romance and 12-Layer Cake at Peninsula Grill in Charleston, SC

Walking through Charleston’s Historic District, you will find a wrought iron gate leading to a brick alleyway with flickering lanterns and dreamy [amazon_textlink asin=’B01FGOLESG’ text=’palmetto fronds’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’5f90776d-b1f0-11e7-b7b0-fb272574c59d’]. For a truly elegant evening, you will be glad you chose Peninsula Grill.  It is connected to Planters Inn (read reviews here), [amazon_textlink asin=’0756642825′ text=’Travel + Leisure’s’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a608a119-b1f0-11e7-af94-935202b24c65′] choice as the #1 Best Small Hotel in the U.S. 

Location: 112 North Market Street, Charleston, [amazon_textlink asin=’110187810X’ text=’South Carolina’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’b3adabcb-b1f0-11e7-aa96-836c30873fce’]

Menu: The menu at Peninsula Grill is a perfect reflection of its two outstanding executive chefs, Graham Dailey and Ramon Taimanglo. Chef Dailey has a passion for gardening and for seafood stemming from his work on shrimping boats and fishing boats. Local fishermen now call him from their boats to alert him about their day’s catch. That fish is then served that same evening. Chef Taimanglo grew up in a military family which provided him the advantage of living in and learning about cuisine from many parts of the world. He loves creating dishes from whatever is available on a given day and is a staunch proponent of fresh ingredients, sustainable seafood, and farm-to-table eating.

Three items are so popular they are likely to remain on the menu forever: Lobster 3-Way, A la carte Steak, and Ultimate Coconut Cake. Lobster 3-Way consists of Lobster Ravioli, Lobster Tempura, and Sauteed Lobster. And, the Ultimate Coconut Cake has twelve layers of goodness, topped with Anglaise sauce and strawberries. The serving size is huge, so two people can share it and STILL have some to take home for later.

Appetizers include three different preparations of oysters, [amazon_textlink asin=’B0061Q4N50′ text=’osetra caviar’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e7cc1bec-b1f0-11e7-8d45-39b3ec1e8561′] (which is offered for $190 per ounce!), raw octopus, beef carpaccio and foie gras. Among the first courses are several salads, plus a Lowcountry favorite, [amazon_textlink asin=’B001SB4X0I’ text=’she-crab soup’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’ffe75f17-b1f0-11e7-a2f8-a75fcc5b4fb8′]. Seasonal specialties appear on the menu alongside steaks, chops, and seafood. Roasted duck breast, pan-seared trout, and roasted lamb tempt diners in addition to seared salmon, seared grouper and ribeyes. The sauce menu is mouthwatering, too: blue cheese-balsamic glaze, ginger lime beurre blanc, and brandy peppercorn jus, among others.

Side dishes include both the expected items of several varieties of mashed potatoes and asparagus with unexpected, yet southern, choices such as field pea succotash and speck ham and hoop cheddar grits.

The wine list has more than 300 selections, so extensive that it regularly receives the [amazon_textlink asin=’B0742XTZCB’ text=’Wine Spectator’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’1e06188b-b1f1-11e7-89af-83b2d818448a’] Award of Excellence.

My husband and I were in Charleston to celebrate a special occasion and wanted a romantic place to dress up and savor an unforgettable dining experience. The Peninsula Grill was the top place on every list for “most romantic restaurant in Charleston.” With its quiet, attentive service, its gleaming linens and tableware and its soft lighting with flickering candles, the mood was just as we had hoped. The food exceeded our expectations. Our table was indoors, but on another visit, I would love to eat in the outdoor courtyard. The plants give it lushness and intimacy. Peninsula Grill deserves its place as a Mobil Four-Star, a AAA Four-Diamond, and a Relais & Chateaux property, and it is no wonder that [amazon_textlink asin=’B002PXVZO0′ text=’Food and Wine Magazine’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’39622f61-b1f1-11e7-81d7-0730b1620fdb’] calls it one of America’s Top 50 Hotel Restaurants.

Price Range: With the exception of the caviar for $190 per ounce, the other prices seem very reasonable for such a fine dining establishment. Starters range from $14 to $25. First courses are $9 to $18. Main courses are $26 to $52. All side dishes are $8 each. Desserts are $10 to $15. That amazing coconut cake is $12 per slice. Wines by the glass are $10 to $19. Half bottles are $25 to $70. In keeping with the large selections of large bottles, the price range is wide also, $40 to $1,245.

Chef Dailey is a graduate of [amazon_textlink asin=’0375413405′ text=’Le Cordon Bleu in Paris’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’57f5555a-b1f1-11e7-885b-33bfc38bd6c9′], thus explaining the menu description as “French cuisine with a southern flair.” Chef Ramon graduated from Johnson and Wales University right there in Charleston, which justifies his understanding of how to make Lowcountry dishes truly elegant. Diners who want to try their hand at recreating some of the dishes when they return home might want to order a copy of the cookbook [amazon_textlink asin=’0615696880′ text=’Peninsula Grill: Served with Style’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’732c588a-b1f1-11e7-bf57-8f798292967a’]

Charleston has many wonderful culinary choices. Peninsula Grill will make its way to your list of extraordinary evenings.

For Pinterest:

Wrought iron gates, 12-layer coconut cake and seared scallops at Peninsula Grill in Charleston, SC.

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Connie Pearson

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