Crab cakes are popular in the Lowcountry, as blue crabs are abundant off the Carolina coast. While there’s nothing highly unusual about the way crab cakes are done here—the name is really to distinguish them from Maryland crab cakes, which are (presumably) sourced from the Chesapeake Bay and tend to use Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard in their preparation—the typical way of doing these in Charleston is with lots and lots of fresh lump crab meat (and very little filler), some mayo, herbs like parsley, dill, or tarragon, and often a dash of hot sauce or cayenne for a little kick; then they’re almost always pan-fried/seared.

Of course, none of this is hard-and-fast; exactly how a “Carolina crab cake” is served here depends a lot upon the particular chef. But there are enough crab cakes around to warrant at least one during a visit to the area—and you might as well make it a great one.

Where: We loved the meaty specimen at 82 Queen (82 Queen St., map), an elegant restaurant with a leafy garden out back. The restaurant is celebrated for its she-crab soup, so we figured the kitchen knows its way around a crab (we were right).

When: Lunch: Mon-Fri, 11:30am-3pm. Dinner: Mon-Thurs, 5pm-10pm; Fri & Sat, 5pm-10:30pm. Brunch: Sat & Sun, 11am-3pm (this dish is offered at all times)

Order: The Carolina crab cake is presented as an appetizer ($14) or a full meal here ($19/$32 at lunch and brunch/dinner); we opted for the former: one perfect pan-fried round of crab meat (it’s 95% crab, according to our server). We loved the soft, sweet crabby innards, but we also adored the extra-crispy, golden-brown crust, adding great textural contrast to every bite. At the time of our visit it was served with lemon aioli and a dusting of chives, both light enough to not distract too much from the crab.

Definitely try the she-crab soup, too—and try not to fill up on the ridiculously good, hot biscuits that are brought to your table.

Alternatively: We’ve been advised by locals that the crab cake at (dinner-only) Charleston Grill (224 King St., map) is fantastic, if a bit pricey at $19; Slightly North of Broad (a.k.a. S.N.O.B.; 192 East Bay St., map); and Hank’s Seafood (dinner only; 10 Hayne St., map), in the heart of downtown, are other spots particularly popular for this dish. The crab cake recipe from Magnolias (185 East Bay St., map) is the one most cited online; if you head there you can try it as a platter or in sandwich form (at lunch).