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“Terrible service, poor atmosphere”
Review of The Palmetto Cafe

The Palmetto Cafe
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Ranked #70 of 936 Restaurants in Charleston
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $31 - $50
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cross street: Hassel Street
Description: The AAA Four-Diamond Palmetto Cafe offers a tranquil, garden-like setting perfect for breakfast, lunch or weekend brunch. This casual, yet elegant restaurant features a lush courtyard complete with circular bronze fountain and impeccably kept gardens, perfect for enjoying nice weather.
Reviewed May 25, 2013

I booked Palmetto Cafe for a late lunch on my birthday, as my wife and I were in Charleston for the Spoleto festival and we had tickets for a concert at noon that day. Despite the mixed reviews, I selected this restaurant because it seemed to be the only top-rated fine dining establishment that was open for lunch at 3:00 PM. We arrived just before 3:00 and were greeted by a young woman with a scowl on her face. She did not welcome us to the restaurant and seemed surprised that we had reservations. The restaurant was almost empty. She asked if we wanted to sit inside or outside in the courtyard. Initially we asked for a table inside and my wife told her that it was my birthday. She showed us to a table next to a wall, although there were plenty of vacant tables in much nicer positions. We then opted to sit outside. The outside tables did not even have tablecloths and most people seemed to have ordered the buffet. The atmosphere was more like a cafeteria than a fine dining restaurant. A waiter came and introduced himself, then brought us menus and some water. He then disappeared. After waiting about 15 minutes, we got up and left. Having received very poor service at expensive restaurants in the past, we decided not to stay and run the risk of an unpleasant and humiliating experience. Judging by the patronizing smirks on the faces of the staff as we walked out, we made the correct decision. We first came to Charleston in 1996 and we come back every couple of years for the Spoleto festival. There are many wonderful restaurants in Charleston but Palmetto Cafe is not one of them. I wonder how the same hotel that runs the fabulous Charleston Grill has the gall to expose diners to a place like this. The menu looked inviting and the food may very well be wonderful but any competent restauranteur should know that service and atmosphere are equally important aspects of a fine dining experience.

    • Atmosphere
    • Service
2  Thank diablodetasmania
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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246 - 250 of 292 reviews

Reviewed May 25, 2013

I had the Palmetto Sampler for lunch that came with Crab Cake, She Crab Soup, Crab Salad, ‘21’ Burger and Fries. The She Crab soup was the best I had anywhere in Charleston hands down. Unfortunately the same couldn't be said of their famous '21' burger - it was overcooked and dry. The ambience is light and bright and very nice, but for the price it isn't worth it. I would only come back for the She Crab soup but not much else.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank kiwikobe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2013

This place was more of a convenience store than a cafe. It was cluttered and the tables were not clean.

Thank tjcb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2013

The waiter that we had was outstanding! Fresh fruit, smoked salmon, crossiants and eggs benedict with a dark roast "Aztec" coffee, give it a try excellent.

Thank smervin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2013

My sister and I had lunch here last Thursday. Our server was a gentleman who was truly concerned about our experience and the taste of our food. I do hate that I cannot remember his name. He was truly wonderful!!!!! The only complaint that I have is that the hostess was not friendly and had the personality of a rock. Hate to say that bc the atmosphere, the food and everyone else we encountered was top quality!!!

Thank cleanfreak56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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