Charleston South Carolina Restaurant – Circa 1886

If you are looking for an elegant dinner option in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, then you need to dine at Circa 1886. The food is top-notch and the atmosphere is perfect for a special evening out. You’ll definitely want to add this experience to your bucket list!

Red brick house with green fence.

Circa 1886 Location

Circa 1886 is located at 149 Wentworth Street in the original carriage house at Wentworth Mansion. The restaurant retains old-world charm and character from yesteryear, yet has all the modern amenities to make your dining experience truly memorable.

Flower arrangement in front of a large fireplace.

Circa 1886 Menu

The menu at Circa 1886 includes Appetizers, the Main Course, and a Sweet Finish, as well as Cocktails and Wine. Diners can order a la carte or opt for the five-course Chef’s Tasting Menu ($115, with wine pairings $165).  

Circa 1886 restaurant menu.

The appetizer menu features dishes such as Butternut Squash and Peanut Soup (with grilled scallion lacquer and dried mango), Foie Gras (cassava pudding, pomegranate strawberry jam, hazelnuts, lime basil oil), and Shrimp N’ Rice Grits (Cabbage Leaves, Burden Creek Dairy Goat Cheese, Smoked Ham Hock Gravy).

Grilled cheese covered with thinly sliced ham.
Southern Grilled Cheese with Pimento Cheese Mousse, Grilled Brioche, Surryano Ham, Paddlefish Caviar, Cured Yolk Powder

Among the main course options, you’ll find Peri-Peri Pork Belly (coconut red rice, collard greens, red onion piccalilli, guava puree), Rainbow Trout (sunflower sumac crust, wild rice porridge, corn sauce, arugula, cranberry paint), and Broken Arrow Venison (roasted onion, parsnip potato puree, acorn squash, juniper chestnut sauce).

You simply cannot dine at Circa 1886 without experiencing one of their four luscious desserts: West African Milk Tart, Bittersweet Chocolate Crémeux, Spiced Pear Cake, and Apple Rum Souffle.

Menu Highlights

Circa 1886 has carefully curated items into four collections that showcase the multinational influence on South Carolina Cuisine. Those collections are Taste of Native Tribes, Influences from Europe, Flavors Brought from Africa, and South Carolina Today.

Guests of Charming Inns (Wentworth Mansion®, John Rutledge House Inn®, Fulton Lane Inn, and Kings Courtyard Inn) have an exclusive offer available just to them – a 3-course menu for $60 ($90 including wine pairing). Another great feature available to Charming Inn guests is that they can mix and match items from the four collections.

For instance, when I dined there as a guest from the John Rutledge House Inn® , I had the Green Goddess Caesar Salad from the South Carolina Today selection, the Paprika Grouper from the Influences of Europe, and I circled back to the South Carolina Today menu and had the Apple Rum Souffle.

Beef Tenderloin with Heart of Palm Puree, King Trumpet Mushroom, Asparagus, Roasted Potato, Sauce Espagnole.
“1855” Beef Tenderloin with Heart of Palm Puree, King Trumpet Mushroom, Asparagus, Roasted Potato, Sauce Espagnole

My husband had the Preserved Rabbit as a starter from the Taste of Native Tribes, the “1855” Beef Tenderloin from the Influences of Europe, and the Apple Rum Souffle from South Carolina Today.

Chef Marc Collins

Chef wearing a blue shirt sitting at a table.

Marc Collins has been the executive chef at Circa 1886 for more than two decades. In addition to creating amazing meals at Circa 1886, he is also a food champion in Charleston and beyond. For over a decade, he has worked with a network of local farmers and fishermen sourcing the freshest ingredients to use in his culinary masterpieces.

In 2019, Chef Collins became a South Carolina Chef Ambassador and was able to showcase the culinary history of South Carolina. On top of all of that, he has volunteered for organizations including Louie’s Kids, Feed the Need, and the Lowcountry Food Bank.

Notes About Circa 1886

  • Be sure to make reservations in advance. Circa 1886 is rated #3 out of 563 restaurants in Charleston on TripAdvisor.com. You don’t want to miss out on an incredible dining experience while you are in Charleston.
  • Circa 1886 is also the recipient of the Best Fine Dining Restaurants in the US (2014 – 2017) at TripAdvisor, named the Most Romantic Restaurants in the World in 2017 by Architectural Digest, won the Best of Award of Excellence in 2017 from Wine Spectator, has been awarded Four Diamonds from AAA for 16 consecutive years, and has been included in the Forbes Travel Guide for 16 consecutive years.
  • There is limited onsite parking at the restaurant. There is a parking garage at 81 Wentworth Street. You might be able to find a parking spot on surrounding neighborhood streets.
  • Dress etiquette is business casual. They “strive to provide an environment that all guests feel comfortable in their personal style of dress.”
  • Circa 1886 is open for dinner Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM.
Glass of white wine.

Whether you are looking for a modern spin on Southern cuisine or something with an international flair, Circa 1886 has something to offer. The food is incredible, the wine list is excellent, and the service is impeccable. If you are looking for a truly special dining experience, Circa 1886 is the place to go.

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