Florence, arguably the second most famous city of that name, is a vibrant hub of culture in South Carolina. It has a charming small-town feel, though with recent growth, it’s received a revitalization that now offers plenty of big-city amenities, and there are plenty of things to do in Florence.
Once covered in farmland and railroads, today it’s a hotspot for authentic low country cooking with visitors flocking from all over to chow down. There are dozens of eateries to choose from, including everything from fried seafood and barbecue to contemporary farm-to-table fare.
Keep your eyes peeled for plates highlighting the pecan, a beloved local delicacy. Find all your favorite foods at these best restaurants in Florence, SC.
The Best Restaurants in Florence, SC
- Price: $$$
- Cuisine: Farm to table Southern cuisine
- Address: 101 W Evans St, Florence (GPS)
- Website: See menu
Farm driven and Southern-inspired, Town Hall is an all-round delightful dining destination to visit and one of the best restaurants in Florence, SC. The menu changes with the seasons, so there’s a new creative concoction to try here, using both familiar and unexpected ingredients. Everything is sourced locally and responsibly from nearby farms.
The open wood-fired grill highlights the flavors of each ingredient and all the savory sides are served family-style. The Homemade Sausage is a standout of all of their simple yet superb selections. Local beer, fine wine, and well-crafted cocktails are all on deck for drinks as well.
Tubb’s Shrimp and Fish Co.
Tubb’s Shrimp and Fish Co. is famous for soulful Southern seafood in Florence. It began as a pop up market about ten years ago and has since blossomed into a full-service restaurant with a reputation for all the freshest fare straight out of the Atlantic.
The platters are made in classic regional styles, though some international influences can be found sprinkled here and there throughout the extensive menu. They have sandwiches, steam buckets, and other familiar favorites like Catch of the Day, Crab Cakes, Shrimp and Grits, and Truffled Seafood Mac and Cheese.
Victors has been a staple of the Florence foodie scene for many years. They offer a fine dining experience, serving steak and seafood alongside a well-curated selection of wines. The ambiance is comfortable and stylish and the plates are upscale. It’s located inside Hotel Florence in the historic downtown and both the bar and the patio make for lovely additional seating.
The weekend brunch is a wonderful experience out on the town. The Petite Salmon and Angus Tenderloin Kebab have rave reviews, though the sandwiches are tasty as well for something a little more lowkey.
Wholly Smokin’ in downtown Florence strikes that perfect balance between upscale and casual. The food here is a celebration of Southern smoked meat culture while bringing innovative techniques to the table. They’re always involved in the local community events and efforts.
You can order in bulk or in family style packages. Otherwise, they’ve got sandwiches, baskets, and platters, and be sure not to skimp on the sides here. If you’re hungry enough, we like to get the Little Bit of All of It to split, just to try as many tender and juicy meats as possible.
Red Bone Alley
Red Bone Alley is the place to go for classic American fare in Florence. It also happens to be one of the best happy hours to hit up in the city and the weekends often feature live entertainment. The menu has an extensive array of gourmet pub grub with something for everyone to enjoy.
There’s an old school charm to the ambiance, featuring plenty of candy colored walls and string lights. It’s two floors and is actually made to be a recreation of a Charleston neighborhood.
Start your feast off right with some Trash Can Nachos before digging into an artisan sandwich or aged steak. The Slow Braised Meatless Meatballs are a delectable vegetarian choice as well.
This down-home eatery serves up smoked meats family style and is one of those well known restaurants in Florence, SC. You can order by the pound to take home or sit in and enjoy a platter full of perfectly cooked barbecue. It’s been family-owned and operated for over 50 years, and is still a local legend for homemade fare using secret recipes that have been passed down for generations.
The Old Fashioned Chicken Bog, Southern Fried Chicken, and Barbecue Pork are the most iconic orders here. Every fourth Friday they host a bluegrass night as well, which is such a fun community tradition to attend.
Aptly named, this haunt feels like the original retro drive-in diner. They’ve been serving the best hot dogs, burgers, and shakes in the city since the 1950s and still have managed to maintain all that same old-school charm. The floors are checkered, the booths are vinyl, and the walls are adorned with nostalgic memorabilia, like black and white photographs and newspaper clippings.
This counter-service spot serves up all the classics, a true smattering of fast-casual American eats. The Chicken Dinner and Big Boy Sandwich come highly recommended but go for the Chicken Livers and Gizzards if you’re feeling a little more adventurous.
It’s always important to know where to get the best slice in town, and Rebel Pie fits the bill. The focus is wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, with various craft beers to pair them with. All ingredients used are fresh and high quality, and the dough is handmade daily using the slow-rise method, which makes all the difference.
Each month, they have a new unique creation that is often worth an order. Otherwise, the Lombardi, De Chevre, and Shrimp Marinara are top-notch choices; you can also build your own custom creation!
Julia Belle’s offers home-cooked low country classics served in a rustic setting. It’s located inside a red barn with indoor and outdoor seating that has a kitschy country cabin feel. It’s a local treasure that’s been family-owned and operated for a long time.
Everything is farm fresh with a heaping side of Southern hospitality. The BBQ Egg Rolls, Low Country Boil, Crab Cake Sandwich, and Fried Green Tomatoes have all earned rave reviews. Be sure to save room for their freshly baked daily desserts as well!
Stefano’s is the staple spot for authentic Italian eats in Florence. The digs are cozy and the plates are a transportive taste of the old country. They’ve been cooking in the traditional styles using the finest imported ingredients for over 30 years. It’s pizzas, subs, and pastas galore here.
You can create your own pasta concoction, but there are certainly enough ready-made options to cure cravings. We especially love the Gnocchi Riscoprita and the Smoked Gouda and Sundried Ravioli.
Florence Tasty Crab House
Tasty Crab House is a small chain that’s known for its Cajun-style cuisine. Their secret seasoning recipe packs fresh seafood with so much flavor they’ve become famous for it. They’ve got one of the best low country boils anywhere, making it a Florence favorite of course.
They offer everything from shrimp and crawfish to oysters and a wealth of different kinds of crabs. The Fry Baskets are delicious here, otherwise pick your seafood, your flavor, and your spice level, and get ready to dig in.
Da Massimo Ristorante
This quaint little spot is tucked away in Florence, making it a hidden gem among the many restaurants. They’re cooking up classic Italian fares and the menu is small, but everything is cooked so incredibly fresh. The portions are generous, so come hungry or share a plate with someone!
The bread and seasoned olive oil to start is almost reason enough to go. The wine cellar is well stocked and the pasta is handmade from scratch and cooked to traditional perfection, especially the Spaghetti allo Scoglio.
1720 Burger Bar
- Price: $$
- Cuisine: American eatery, burgers
- Address: 850 Woody Jones Blvd, Florence (GPS)
- Website: See menu
This American pub cooks up creative burgers in a laid-back atmosphere and is easily one of the best restaurants in Florence. There are plenty of big screens for watching sports while kicking back with a cold craft beer here.
Those looking for a challenge will certainly find one in the infamous Cobra Commander Burger, made with four patties, half a pound of chili, six pieces of thick-cut bacon, all held between two hot ham and cheese sandwiches.
We love starting off with the TaterBombs and completing the meal with really any of their more outrageous offerings like the Optimus or the Homer as that’s all part of the fun of 1720 Burger Bar.
King Jefe Taco Bar
- Price: $$
- Cuisine: Mexican restaurant
- Address: 134 S Irby St, Florence (GPS)
- Website: See menu
King Jefe is a hip cantina in downtown Florence. They offer all the traditional Mexican cuisines from tortas to tacos, though the menu gets more eclectic than that. There are a lot of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan bites to try here. They’re even serving up sushi these days, and while it may sound suspect all the eats here are equally enticing.
The tequila selection is impressive and there are plenty of craft beers on tap as well. It’s one of the most fun spots to go for a mouthwatering meal while in town. The Slow Poke Rodriguez Taco is one of the best fusion fares in Florence.
Farmer’s Market Barn and Grill
Conveniently located at the Pee Dee Farmers Market, this bar and grill is the epitome of fresh farm-to-table food in the form of local low-country delicacies. A secret gem of the city, many only stumble upon this adorable eatery after browsing stalls of produce and handicrafts.
The Southern-style eats are all to die for here, from the fried green tomatoes to the pecan chicken breast sandwich. It’s actually set inside of a hundred-year-old barn, which only adds to its already rustic charm. It’s sometimes open seasonally, so be sure to check before heading over.
Afterward head over to Hyman Vineyards stand, they are one of the best wineries in South Carolina!
A small Southern chain, Fatz Cat serves casual classic eats in a cute environment with warm woods, stone walls, and best of all – a full bar. Everything here is made by hand using regional ingredients. They aim to be a space for the community to gather and share good food.
The World Famous Calabash Chicken and Seafood are as solid an order as any here, though the Build Your Own Meat Option with three sides is an amazing deal as well.
Miyami Japanese Steakhouse
It doesn’t get better than Miyami Japanese Steakhouse in Florence for a fun night filled with hibachi. The environment is vibrant and relaxed, with performing chefs and authentic decor. They have traditional mains as well as sushi rolls.
The Special Seafood Dishes are amazing, as are the Sashimi Platters. You can, of course, order a la carte as well if you wish to pick and choose your plate to your preference.
- Cuisine: Italian
- Address: 1270 Celebration Blvd, Florence (GPS)
- Website: See menu
Cibo by Stefanos is another Florence staple for a mouthwatering Italian meal. It’s more of a fast-casual experience than its fancier counterpart. There’s even a drive-thru option for ultimate convenience! The same family has been feeding authentic cuisine to the hungry masses of this South Carolina city for more than 20 years.
Cold subs, hot subs, New York-style pizzas, calzones, pasta entrees, and more grace the menu here. The quality is just as high as you’d expect from this all-star team. We recommend going for the Meatball (or Eggplant) Parmesan.
Bird’s Nest Eats and Ales is a local gem for gourmet pub grub and is one of the best laid back Florence, SC restaurants. Half bar, half restaurant, the vibe here is very relaxed without sacrificing aesthetics and is conveniently located downtown.
There are vegetarian options and the apps are all amazing. You can enjoy a beverage and a bite out on the deck.
There’s even a huge window that allows you to sit outside in the sunshine sipping a cold beer, while still feeling inside enough to watch any game that’s on. The variety of beers and the burgers seem to be the main draws here, and really what more could you want?
Long Grain Cafe
Long Grain Cafe is a down-to-earth local joint for classic American (and surprisingly Chinese) cuisine. The interior is no-frills, a simple ambiance with a few pictures and plants dotted about. It’s super affordable for any meal and is a great go-to for a lovely lunch in Florence. The Eastern side of the menu may come as a shock, but the Curry Chicken and Egg Rolls are super tasty.
You can also start your day off here, as they have a breakfast menu featuring all the classic culprits from omelets and pancakes to biscuits and skillets. The Shrimp and Grits have had rave reviews, which says a lot for any South Carolina spot.
The Best Things to do in Florence SC
- Visit Dooley Planetarium, they even have a special projector to access live feeds from NASA; an out of this world experience to be sure.
- Go Strawberry picking at Cottle Farms
- See Mars Bluff, the atomic bomb impact crater