Ella’s Eats: A Trip to Nico Mount Pleasant

Where Charleston’s seafood meets French cuisine in perfect harmony.


Located near Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant, Nico is a restaurant that specializes in french cuisine and features a notable raw oyster bar. Nico is an inviting establishment that is perfect for anyone looking for an innovative but classic french meal and an array of raw oysters on the side. Nico’s exterior features a combination of modern and coastal architecture and an outdoor patio that’s perfect for summer dining. Inside, the gorgeous wood paneling and immersive raw bar makes for an enjoyable and inviting atmosphere. With a compelling combination of good food, a beautiful setting and accommodating service, Nico makes for a must-visit dinner or brunch spot. 

Nico’s food is renowned in the Charleston area and for good reason. The only complaint that I have for Nico is the difficulty of choosing a dish. Each dish is executed well and features a complex but classic flavor profile. An interesting attribute of Nico is the process of ordering the entire meal at once, allowing the chef freedom to compose the dinner’s organization. This process of ordering ensures that the meal has a fine-dining and catered experience. The staff at Nico is incredibly accommodating and patient, removing the possible anxieties that dining at a restaurant can have. In fact, we received free champagne for my grandmother’s birthday, and since I obviously can’t indulge in champagne, the waitress brought me my own mocktail (awww.)

The component of Nico that I find the most interesting is the emphasis on oysters, which I wouldn’t first expect from a french-focused restaurant. The entire back wall bordering the kitchen is home to rows & rows of raw oysters. In fact, the shucker’s name is included on the menu & the in-house shucker features their favorite unique oysters this week, allowing patrons to order the “shucker’s choice.” Nico has about ten oyster options, allowing you to mix and match. I ordered the Bekah’s Bay, Orchard Point, and Olympra oysters. When the oysters come to the table, you’re bound to be blown away by the display.A large dish featuring oysters on a bed of ice is accompanied by large conch shells and house-made garnishes. Regarding appetizers, another dish that Nico blows out of the water is their french onion soup. This soup is hands down my newfound favorite throughout the Charleston area with the perfect ratio of components (cheese, bread, etc) and a flavor profile that you can’t quite find anywhere else. Another delicious choice is the baked cheese, which features fruit, honey, and almonds. The flavors in this dish were simply to die for and I would 100% recommend this dish. Finally, in the appetizer realm, the mussel dish was phenomenal, and this is coming from a girl who doesn’t normally enjoy eating mussels. Overall, you can’t go wrong with any of Nico’s appetizers. They all get a 10/10 every time. 

Although the appetizers are arguably some of the best french food I’ve ever had, the entrees at Nico are the real star of the show. I ordered the chicken cordon bleu which included gnocchi and a variety of vegetables, served over an orange gastrique sauce. This dish was a unique and delicious take on traditional chicken cordon bleu, with the orange sauce added a totally new dimension of flavor. The next dish that I tried was the lobster roll, which reflects highly onto Nico’s decision to incorporate seafood as a main aspect of their restaurant. The lobster roll was served on brioche and had a generous amount of lobster, being served with french fries & a camembert fondue dipping sauce. While I loved the taste/texture of the lobster roll, I didn’t enjoy the dipping sauce as much, but the french fries were cooked to perfection. I was also able to try their nightly special, which featured soft shell crab over succotash. This dish worked very well together and I hope that for your sake, readers, they bring it back to the menu for as long as soft shell crab season is around. Another delicious entree offered by Nico is the Bouillabaisse de Marseille. This dish consists of a variety of seafood (octopus, mussels, clams, fish, shrimp and scallops) placed in a broth. This dish was the embodiment of a perfectly executed french seafood dish and I would 100% recommend it.

Finally, the dessert served as the perfect finale to a delicious meal with a baked alaska and a chocolate molten cake. The baked alaska was brought to the table, followed by a live blowtorching of the dessert’s top. This was an exciting attribute to an absolutely hands-down delectable dessert. The baked alaska consisted of vanilla ice cream, a cake outer layer, and chocolate to finish the plate off. The second dessert was similar to a chocolate molten lava cake, with a freshly baked dark chocolate cake topped with chocolate ice cream.
While less composed, arguably, than the baked alaska, this cake was to die for and if you love chocolate, your life isn’t complete until you try this. Overall, Nico’s attention to detail, great menu, inviting atmosphere and incorporation of seafood makes for a restaurant that you won’t want to miss.