Ella’s Eats: Discovering a Hidden IOP Gem

Long Island Cafe on IOP offers various seafood & comfort food options in a casual and inviting atmosphere.


Tucked away into a shopping center off of the Isle of Palms Connector, Long Island Cafe is a great choice for oysters and comfort foods. The ambience of the restaurant is casual and perfect for a relaxed dinner or a quick bite after going to the beach. I’ve been to Long Island Cafe twice, once for brunch and once for dinner, and both were enjoyable dining experiences. For brunch, the restaurant is cheery and the natural lighting adds to the beachy vibe. The brunch food is also delicious and homely, with choices ranging from seafood (the shrimp and grits is a must-have item) to various innovative benedicts, including oyster and crab cake benedicts. Today, I will be focusing on their dinner menu, which offers a wider variety of seafood options and delicious entrees. 

For starters, I ordered the hushpuppies which are a classic Southern staple. These hushpuppies were cooked to perfection, with a light breading and smooth honey butter that really makes or breaks a hushpuppy. The order came with around ten hushpuppies, which was a considerable value for the price. With any restaurant that serves seafood in the greater Charleston area, I always make an effort to try their oysters. These oysters offered at Long Island Cafe did not disappoint. My favorite part of indulging in oysters is the aspect of trying oysters from different locations and choosing the best one. Long Island Cafe has an adjourning raw bar next door, which allows patrons in the main restaurant to order seafood, specific to the raw bar, to their table. My favorite oysters that this restaurant has to offer are the Privateer oysters from John’s Island, South Carolina. They had great flavor and weren’t too salty. Overall, Long Island Cafe had great options for oysters and the addition of a raw bar makes this restaurant a multi-dimensional dining experience. 

For my entree, I opted for the “Local handmade seafood pasta special.” This pasta was advertised as having shrimp, sausage, bell pepper, and an array of other vegetables. The main feature of this dish was the aspect of local pasta, which to be honest, I couldn’t really taste a difference but it did have a decadent texture. The shrimp was slightly bland and possibly needed more seasoning, but the sausage brought the flavor to this dish. The vegetables were also a great addition to the dish and overall, I really enjoyed this pasta. Another dish that I tried was the daily vegetable, which featured green beans. These green beans were cooked perfectly and were seasoned really well. Another delicious side option is the brussel sprouts which were offered as a special at the raw bar. These brussel sprouts were also very flavorful and made for an enjoyable addition to the menu.  Next, I tried the shrimp and grits dish, which consisted of locally sourced grits, shrimp, and was topped off with fried leeks. Long Island Cafe offers both an appetizer and entree sized portion. In my opinion, their shrimp and grits are some of the best (and best value) that I’ve had thus far in Charleston. I opted again for oysters by trying the Fried Oyster salad. This dish was really a baby spinach salad with fried oysters added on top. The oysters had a light breading, perfect seasoning, and had a texture that I imagine is sufficient in the fried oyster department. This salad was really delicious and over the length of my current food/restaurant reviewing journey, I’ve become very accustomed to fried oysters. 10/10. Finally, another solid salad choice at Long Island Cafe is their chicken caesar salad, with a delicious base of traditional cesar salad and a grilled-to-perfection chicken on top. 

Overall, Long Island Cafe is quite the hidden gem and a strong option for comfort food and seafood choices. The prices are in a comparable range, if not better, to surrounding Charleston restaurants and the casual setting makes for an easily accessible and delicious place to visit. You can’t go wrong with visiting for either brunch or dinner, and the raw bar next door adds an inviting atmosphere to the restaurant as a whole.