Best Greenville restaurants for Christmas and New Year's dinner

2021-12-23 07:34:13 By : Mr. Lai Owen

Greenville’s restaurant scene has captured national attention and garnered accolades that include “#1 Under-the-Radar Southern Food Destination” by Zagat and one of the "Top New Foodie Cities in America" by People magazine.

Greenville’s off-the-beaten-path charm leads to more soulful dining experiences from traditional meals of smoked meats and sweet tea to dynamic new takes on ethnic foods. Greenville offers diners the opportunity to eat their way around the globe without buying a plane ticket.

With more than 100 restaurants in downtown Greenville and more than 1,000 throughout the county, there’s plenty of places to discover your new favorite restaurant. 

Sometimes what we need is to come together for a meal. If you need a dining suggestion this holiday season, check out these restaurants that are doing things better than the rest, according to voters in the 2021 Best of the Upstate Awards. All the restaurants below were winners in their respective categories. Congratulations and happy eating! 

1149 Woodruff Road, Greenville, S.C. 29607

Since opening its present location in September 2003, Lieu's Chinese Bistro has become a popular dining destination for traditional and authentic Asian cuisine. An upscale atmosphere, pleasant service and professional staff make dining an enjoyable experience. For a tasty lunch or dinner start with vegetarian lettuce wraps, spring rolls, crab wontons, Peking dumplings and seared ahi tuna. Specialties include Mongolian beef, spicy shredded pork, curry chicken, salt and pepper calamari, pineapple duck and mandarin scallops. A range of beers are served as well as desserts such as banana spring rolls drizzled with Kahlua-coffee syrup and served with a side of vanilla ice cream.

101 Verdae Blvd. suite 180, Greenville, S.C. 29607

The only kosher style deli in the upstate area, Greenfield's Bagels & Deli is known for their delicious freshly baked bagels, which are boiled before they are baked and created with the finest quality of ingredients. The bagels that are made with whole wheat flour are available in more than 25 varieties from egg, rye and jalapeno to blueberry brown sugar, cranberry orange and black Russian. The bagel sandwiches are outstanding. They’re famous for their Ruebens and Rachels and also for their smoked salmon. The breakfast sandwiches are a delight any time of day.

21 Roper Mountain Road, Greenville, S.C. 29607

Any time of year Strossner's is like a slice of heaven, but the sweet treats are really miraculous during the holiday season. The cakes, pies, tarts, cookies, pastries, cupcakes and other desserts arlook almost too good to eat. Their wedding cakes are over the top. A Greenville tradition for over 60 years, Strossner’s has been making delectable memories for generations of locals. Half the building is a traditional bakery and the other half is a cafe, which offers soup, sandwiches, salads, breakfast and more. Ordering is fast and service is friendly. Owner Tapley Strossner is the third generation of Strossner to own the bakery.

1842 Woodruff Road, Greenville, S.C. / 864-213-9770 

240 Wade Hampton Blvd., Greenville, S.C. / 864-232-7237

Pull up a chair, roll up your sleeves and dig into the best Southern BBQ at Henry’s Smokehouse Barbecue & Catering. At Henry’s the BBQ is cooked the old-fashioned way: low and slow in open BBQ pits with hickory logs. Hand-pulled and chopped, the BBQ pork is fall-off-the-bone tender with a distinctive hickory flavor. In addition to the leanest butt in town, Henry’s serves BBQ ribs and boneless skinless chicken breast and tasty sides. Their spicy mustard sauce is outstanding. From the BBQ sauce to the peach cobbler, everything is done by hand.

Serving up the most important meal of the day, Eggs Up Grill is known for its great-tasting, freshly prepared meals, friendly service and inviting atmosphere. The light and bright morning spot is a gathering place where family and friends can come together to enjoy breakfast classics such as eggs, grits, home fries, biscuits and gravy and muffins. Salads, sandwiches and wraps are available, too. Stop in for freshly brewed coffee, savory bacon, farm-fresh eggs or a tasty grilled burger. Open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Eggs Up Grill is available for dine-in, carry-out, catering and delivery. Online ordering is available. 

101 West Road, Greer, S.C. 29650

Southern food is comfort food, and Mutt’s BBQ serves classics that will make you feel like you’ve found home. From pulled pork and ribs to fried chicken and macaroni and cheese, the all-you-can-eat buffet is consistently pleasing. It features an unchanging base menu —  fried chicken, vegetables and pasta salad — and special meats on different nights such as ribs, shrimp, fish or meatloaf. The hush puppies, sweet potato crunch and peach cobbler are not to be missed. In between checking in on diners, the friendly wait staff keeps the buffet clean wiping down any drips or spills.

209 S. Main St., Greenville, S.C. 29601

A sophisticated burger place, Grill Marks serves up thick and juicy burgers made from a house blend of certified angus beef chuck, brisket and short ribs. Packed with flavor, the burgers are cooked to order. The menu sports more than a dozen specialty burgers, build-your-own options and “unburgers “ such as honey hot chicken and grilled salmon sandwiches. Their famous corn chowder is chock full of chicken and veggies, and the cobb salad is a real pleaser. There’s a full bar and even alcoholic milkshakes. If it’s a nice day, grab an outside table and take a moment to appreciate beautiful downtown Greenville.

1 E. Coffee St., Greenville, S.C. 29601

For hot coffee with a cool vibe, take a few stops down — just 12 — to visit Coffee Underground, a locally-owned coffee house and cafe that specializes in homemade desserts and delicious coffees. The Seattle-style coffee experience is enhanced by in-house roasted coffee beans. The downtown staple offers coffee drinks, all-day breakfast, sandwiches, burgers and salads, Sunday brunch and a full bar. The cozy space filled with comfy couches and lots of character is a thriving cultural hotspot and great alternative to local bars. Live performances in the theater room feature stand up comedy, local songwriters and poetry.

318 S. Main St., Greenville, S.C. 29601

Whether you’re planning a business lunch, social gathering or your dream wedding, Larkin's award-winning restaurants will create an exquisite personalized event to suit your needs.

Partner with a member of their catering team to plan the menu. Their Holiday Essentials Kit is a prime rib dinner that also includes ginger-honey glazed ham, roasted potatoes, creamed spinach, their signature lobster mac and cheese and a winter salad. Save room for chocolate-dipped strawberries and mini cheesecakes. The $399 meal serves four to six.

116 N. Markley St. suite 102, Greenville, S.C. 29601

He may have paid his dues working in country club kitchens, but Urban Wren chef Taylor Montgomery developed his creative style of cooking through his love of travel. His take on global cuisine is fun and interesting and easily enjoyed at the relaxed, upbeat Urban Wren. The menu is a mix of world flavors and local ingredients. The provisions include rye whiskey beef short ribs as an appetizer and lobster-chorizo corn dogs as a shareable. Mains range from flat iron steak to arctic char, braised pork shoulder to grilled tuna with pork belly. For a real treat, book a chef’s table event to see Chef Montgomery work from a front-row seat.

1564 Laurens Road, Greenville, S.C. 29607

Chick-fil-A is a family business known for its exemplary customer service, and the Greenville location is no exception. The establishment runs like a well-oiled machine. The staff is amicable and accommodating so it’s no surprise they hustle your order out to your car for curbside pickup. Use the app to make things even easier. The employees go the extra mile to offer fast, friendly service. Santa was recently on location handing out orders and posing for photos. Find the Greenville location on Facebook.

101 Verdae Blvd. suite 180, Greenville, S.C. 29607

The only kosher style deli in the upstate area, Greenfield's Bagels & Deli is known for their delicious freshly baked bagels, which are boiled before being baked and created with top quality ingredients. Customers love their homemade creese cheeses, deli sandwiches and vegetarian specials. Favorite bagel sandwiches include Ruebens and Rachels. The Nova bagels are layered with smoked salmon, cream cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and capers. The family-owned business also serves smoked fish, sweets and a variety of breakfast sandwiches. 

315 Augusta St., Greenville, S.C. 29601

Friendly old-fashioned Southern service is the most important ingredient in Brick Street Cafe. The bistro serves a delightful lunch, but is best known for its rich and creamy sweet potato cake. The German chocolate cake is four layers of goodness. The rich and moist 24 Karat cake is topped with a cream cheese icing. There’s also a peanut butter cake with four layers of chocolate cake and peanut butter cream cheese icing. Coconut and chocolate cakes, a sweet potato pie and cupcakes round out the dessert menu.

74 Orchard Park Drive, Greenville, S.C. 29615

The traditional and family-friendly Stax Omega Diner & Bakery is an inviting eatery with a diverse 16-page menu. Stax Omega seems to serve everything including burgers, salads, wraps, crepes, omelets, skillets, pasta, steaks, seafood and chops plus vegetarian and gluten-free options. The diner incorporates fresh, quality ingredients to maintain the level of excellence required by owner George Koumoustioti. Finish off your visit with a vast selection of homemade desserts, milkshakes and ice cream. You may have to wait at the busiest times, but the staff goes to great lengths to make customers feel at home.

791 E Butler Road, Mauldin, S.C. 29662

HipBurger started out as a food truck, but the community loved it so much it grew into a restaurant. Born from the motto, "Life is better with a Burger," HipBurger offers a smashed, griddled burger a la Shake Shack. It’s a cheese burger with lettuce, tomato, grilled onions and “HipSauce.” The HipChicken is hand breaded and served crispy on the outside but juicy inside. Fries are available with garlic parmesan, cheese or bacon and cheese toppings. Hosting an event, birthday, fundraiser or party? Book the HipTruck to bring people together for a yummy meal.

Frozen Treats (Ice Cream, Yogurt, Gelato)

123 S. Main St., Greenville, S.C. 29601

Family-owned and operated, Luna Rosa Gelato Café wows guests with its authentic artisan gelato, sorbetto and other treats. All are made fresh daily. Their signature is the chocolate velvet gelato with triple dark and semi-sweet chocolates. It can be hard to choose between classics like hazelnut, stracciatella and French vanilla or more novel flavors like Jamaican lime frost, s’more and Guinness stout. Lighter choices include electric lemonade, pink grapefruit and sugar-free raspberry. From scratch cake and pie are served by the slice and tiramisu is also on the menu.

495 S. Pleasantburg Drive, Greenville, S.C. 29607 

It’s no surprise Pita House is a local favorite. The cute little restaurant offers authentic and delicious Lebanese food with excellent service and reasonable prices. The gyro plate draws customers in, but try some of their other Middle Eastern fare such as falafel with hummus,  baba ganoush and a variety of kebabs. The baklava pastries are made with strudel dough, sugar, syrup and rose water for flavor. They’re fresh and delicious. The courteous staff puts much pride into their dishes, which are all made fresh daily. If you have the time, take a stroll through the attached grocery and pick up some homemade pita, Jordanian sage ta or olives by the pound.

203 Hudgens St., Anderson, S.C. 29625 

If you’re looking for a fancy hot dog with gourmet toppings, head somewhere else. Skins serves up an old-fashioned quality Southern hot dog in a family-friendly dining experience. Serving Greenville since 1946, Skins keeps it simple with great dogs, friendly service and reasonable prices. Toppings are basic: hot sauce, mustard, ketchup, mayo, onions and chili. Sides are limited to chips, slaw, pickles and cheese, but you don’t need anything more than that. A culinary classic, Skins celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2021. Come by one of their 11 locations. Closed Sunday and Monday.

1178 Woodruff Road, suite 16, Greenville, S.C. 29607

Offering a unique and upscale dining experience, Saffron Indian Cuisine transports diners across the world with dishes that range from traditional curries that are the embodiment of Indian food to more exotic dishes for those who appreciate innovation. With options from mild to spicy, Saffron offers up delicate flavors that are blended just right. Sauce options include  tikka masala, korma, saag, mango, kadai and curry. The naan is soft and pillowy with crunchy brown blisters. Some favorites include tandoori chicken, palak paneer, biryani and vegetable samosas. The staff is happy to help novices when they want to try new dishes.

30 Orchard Park Drive, Greenville, S.C. 29615

A great place to wine and dine, Portofino's Italian makes diners feel like they are eating in Italy. Customers come for their Italian comfort foods like chicken parmigiana, veal saltimbocca, shrimp fra diavolo and scarpariello with grilled chicken and Italian sausage. The bar opens at 4 pm, and starters include bruschetta, fried ravioli and stuffed artichoke appetizers. A dozen class pastas range from linguini with clams to a vegetable-based pasta-free lasagna. The signature a la carte salad is served with a homemade red wine vinaigrette. Servers are attentive, and the food is reasonably priced.

700 Haywood Road, suite 2037, Greenville, S.C. 29607

The Beef Jerky Outlet is the to-go place for all kinds of beef jerky from original to blazing hot and over 200 other varieties. Stop in and the friendly staff will let you try some samples and help you make your choice whether it is a classic beef teriyaki or something more exotic like “boiled crayfish” with hot cajun seasoning. Options include beef, pork, turkey, wild game, salmon, biltong and alternative jerkies with flavors from smoked to sweet to BBQ. The shop also sells snacks, seasonings and rubs, jams and jellies, pickles, pet treats and more. Pick up a jerky making kit and try your luck at home.

The 24-hour Southern diner is open when you need delicious fast food and don’t want to overspend.The cultural icon fits the bill whether for breakfast or a late-night meal. Choose from the incredible hash browns and delicious waffles to steak and eggs, soups and chili, hamburgers and melts and breakfast all day long. Feel free to customize your order; your server will smile and call you honey. The humble hotspot appeals to both families and late night revelers who can’t get enough of the classic breakfast combos and Southern staples.

155 N. Buncombe Road, Greenville, S.C. 29651

With a fantastic beer selection and a friendly staff, the Southern Growl is a great place to meet up with friends. The craft beer bar and growler filling station is housed in a modern restored farmhouse with an oversized heated patio plus an enormous lawn. The bar features 60 constantly rotating taps pouring a variety of craft beers (25-plus brewed in house), ciders, house cocktails, sodas and wine. A well curated food menu was designed specifically to pair well with beer. Elevated bar basics include pork belly pastrami sandwich and seitan carne asada tacos. Each Wednesday a special burger and chicken sandwich of the week is unveiled.

907 Pendleton St., Greenville, S.C. 29601

Specializing in traditional Southern cuisine, OJ’s Diner is well-known for their tasty fried chicken, turnip greens and baked mac and cheese. This Black-owned restaurant serves food cafeteria style so grab a tray and head down the line for a down-home dining experience. Its flavorful daily specials include turkey with giblet gravy and meatloaf on Tuesdays and BBQ baby back ribs and fried fish on Fridays. Chicken and tilapia are available fried or baked everyday as are chicken strips. Rice and gravy, fried okra, cream corn and green beans round out the sides. The caring dining room staff takes the time to check in on customers to be sure they have everything they need.

The popular eatery delivers a twist on Tex-Mex dining with fresh takes on classic tacos, quesadillas, burritos and more. Taco fans will not be disappointed. Try something different like a Greek or Philly taco or opt for al pastor, fish tacos or the classic ground beef. lettuce and cheddar taco. The carne asada flank steak taco comes with feta cheese, lettuce, spiced avocado ranch and pico de gallo. Vegetarian options include a portobello mushroom taco with corn, poblano, avocado and chipotle aioli. All dishes are made from scratch in the kitchen and served in a lively atmosphere.

420 Laurens Road, Greenville, S.C. 29607

Paying homage to Nashville-style hot chicken and Southern soul food, Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack serves up classic American recipes made from scratch daily. Come hungry for a lip-smacking meal of fried chicken that is crispy on the outside and juicy inside. The fries are a must order, but healthy eaters can also opt for salads and sides including fried okra, cole slaw, corn pudding, mac and cheese and collard greens. Additional choices include coconut shrimp, pimento cheese dip and chicken and waffles. The locally owned, independent restaurant offers weekly specials such as 10% off for teachers on Tuesdays. 

3598 Pelham Road, Greenville, S.C. 29615

Whether you're looking to dine in or carry out, Sidewall Pizza Company serves memorable pie baked in a 900 degree oven. The trendy spot has a great vibe, and the staff is friendly and quick with service. From classic thin crust to deep dish, chicken pizzas, special sauces like roasted garlic and basil pesto and build-your-own options, Sidewall has something for everyone. In addition to handcrafted pizzas, appetizers, salads and dessert, the restaurant also offers craft beer, wine, craft sodas and homemade ice cream. Every time you dine with Sidewall, a portion of the proceeds go to the Sidewall Pizza Community Fund, an ongoing fund that benefits individuals, families and organizations in need in the Greenville community.

550 S. Main St., Greenville, S.C. 29601

Family-owned and operated, Halls Chophouse is a refined steakhouse known for their exceptional hospitality and steaks that are hand selected, meticulously aged and cooked to perfection. Greenville’s premier steakhouse offers wet and dry-aged prime and choice beef as well as locally-sourced fish, poultry, vegetarian and gluten-free options. From the kitchens to the dining rooms, the experienced teams offer superior dishes, service and an atmosphere that entices guests to stay and enjoy their time together. The founding Hall family has a regular presence in the Greenville location, offering personalized experiences and attentive care to ensure guest's expectations are met. 

200 Smith Hines Road, Greenville, S.C. 29607

A healthy alternative to fast food, Tropical Grille is a fast casual restaurant with a menu that includes bowls, wraps and sandwiches, salads and sides. Their tropical bowls combine any number of ingredients from chopped chicken breast and thinly sliced sirloin to plantains and red beans. Every bite is bursting with flavor and texture. Add one of their signature sauces: garlic cilantro, sweet mustard curry, guava BBQ and jalapeno garlic. Cuban sandwiches and South of the Border wraps are popular. The staff is happy to share their favorites with customers trying to decide what to order. 

495 S. Pleasantburg Drive, Greenville, S.C. 29607 

Serving up Middle Eastern delicacies, Pita House is a local gem that was started by three brothers, Zuhair, Nazih and Ziad Namouz, who wanted to live out the American dream. The restaurant is a delight. Everything is freshly made and tasty including hummus, gyros, falafel, baba ganoush and kabobs of beef, lamb and chicken.  The homemade pita is soft and delicious. Their gourmet pastries are homemade and delicious. The baklava is made with strudel dough, sugar, syrup and rose water for flavor. The staff is courteous. If you have the time, take a stroll through the attached grocery and pick up some homemade pita, Jordanian sage tea or olives by the pound.

The Peddler Steak House is a Greenville landmark well known for it’s delicious food, cozy atmosphere and outstanding service. Housed in a nearly 100-year-old stone building and nestled in the woods on the north side of town, the Peddler has been described as “Greenville’s most unique eating place.” Among the assortment of grilled specialties the slow roasted prime rib is a favorite of many Peddler regulars. The menu also features chicken, fish and whole pork tenderloin. Everything is grilled to your specification, and all entrees include the salad bar. At least 20 wines by the glass are available to pair with your meal. Service is attentive at this classic Greenville restaurant.

40 W Broad St., Greenville, S.C. 29601

Perfect for a special celebration, a romantic date or a family dinner, Rick Erwin's Nantucket Seafood makes diners feel like they are sitting near the ocean in New England. Located in the heart of downtown Greenville, Nantucket Seafood is a classy place with impeccable service that focuses on fresh, dayboat seafood. Customers rave that the grouper is moist and flavorful, the potato cakes divine and the pear martini superb. Crab soup, clam chowder, crab cakes, lobster, scallops, halibut, salmon, tuna and more are on the menu, which also includes chicken and steak options for the seafood-adverse diners.

112 Trade St., Greer, S.C. 29651

The philosophy behind the Select is about carefully choosing the best or most valuable ingredients to make the food something you can't find anywhere else. It’s a casually fine dining experience where diners have a choice. They can personalize their meal by choosing an appetizer, entree, seasonings and sides, or choose from an array of special courses designed by the chef for a more signature experience. The upscale bistro serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner every day with fresh delicious ingredients and great wine and bourbons. The shrimp and grits are absolutely amazing, rich and decadent.

30 Orchard Park Drive, suite 7, Greenville, S.C. 29615

Come in to Local Cue to experience phenomenal chicken wings coupled with BBQ, beer, games and sports. Local Cue is a 21-plus sports bar with an extensive draft list, which happens to have a family-friendly restaurant right next door. With pennants and neon signs, plenty of seating and space to chat with friends, the neighborhood sports bar is a fun place where the community gathers. Traditional bar amusements liven up the mood. The bar houses a pool table, darts, shuffleboard and arcade games and many classic board games like Jenga. Local Cue is known for their smoked meats, tasty barbecue, snacks and sides.

112 Trade St., Greer, S.C. 29651

Wake up your tastebuds with a steak from Select Restaurant. The Uptown center cut sirloin is carved into petite medallions and comes with a fresh chimichurri, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus spears. Filet mignon is available in two preparations, in a Tuscan style with a marsala reduction and a portobello mushroom and the Berry Blue filet with a fresh tuile and drotzels of blueberry coulis. The staff is courteous and welcoming, encouraging diners to relax and have a great time. The decor is pleasant, and enjoyable music plays lightly through the restaurant creating an amicable vibe.

116 N. Markley St. suite 102, Greenville, S.C. 29601

No weekend is complete without brunch at Urban Wren, a restaurant and bar located in the historic Markley Station in Greenville. One of their newest brunch items is Madame Chicken that features smoked ham and gruyere grilled cheese, buttermilk fried chicken,

sunnyside eggs and honeycup mustard. At Urban Wren, wine guides everything — from the seasonal plates to the weekly prix fixe chef's table events. The upscale yet casual restaurant is a foodie haven where diners can escape from the business of life. From the talented sommelier and top-rated chef to the hospitable wait staff, the team is composed of experienced professionals who provide exceptional service. The restaurant offers small plates, shareable dishes and delicious entrees featuring global flavors.

106 E. North St., Greenville S.C. 29650

The freshest ingredients ensure delectable sushi at Tsunami. Whether on a date or with a group of friends, Tsunami offers a new approach to hip, sophisticated Asian cuisine. Chefs slice the fish to order and create artful presentations to please both the eye and palate. Some favorites include the Red Dragon with spicy tuna topped with deep fried fresh tuna, a special sauce and sesame seeds and the Centipede with tempura shrimp, avocado, tuna, eel sauce and spicy mayo. Take a seat at the sushi bar to absorb the creative atmosphere or be seated in more intimate tabletop dining among the exotic interiors. Tsunami also offers Japanese tempura, pot stickers, tataki, hibachi and other Asian dishes as well as a full bar.

112 Trade St., Greer, S.C. 29651

The smart wait staff at the Select Restaurant does an exceptional job tailoring their service approach to each individual table’s needs and desires. They are experts in reading a group’s dynamics to determine what service style best fits whether it’s attentive and chatty or more reserved and out of sight. Guests are made to feel welcome when they arrive and cared for while dining. The staff is competent in the basics delivering food and drinks efficiently and able to answer questions about the menu, ingredients and drinks. The Select is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and their flexible dining area can accommodate both large and small groups.