There are many different influences that have shaped the cuisine of Savannah and, as a result, it is a rich mix of exotic flavors, coming from the spice trade and the more insidious slave trade. And because Savannah is both a part of the American South and the Low Country, the cuisine has been influenced by the slaves who settled here from the Savannah River, the Gullahs, and the Carolina Low Country, as well as from the settlers, who include the Scots, Moravians, Germans and French.
The dining scene in Savannah is as varied as the cuisine. From Southern haute cuisine to more down-home establishments to upscale New American, you will have a virtual smorgasbord of dining and food options here. So, without further ado, read on to discover the best places to eat in Savannah, Georgia!
1. The Olde Pink House
Start your culinary tour of Savannah at one of the best and most popular restaurants to enjoy a true Southern meal, in a sophisticated, 18th-century Georgian mansion, surrounded by portrait-lined walls, fireplaces and shimmering chandeliers. You’ll have your choice of Southern-influenced fish, beef, pork and chicken dishes, as well as Southern classics, such as shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, and bourbon molasses-glazed grilled pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes and collards.
The BLT salad, a twist on the traditional BLT sandwich, combines fried green tomatoes, crispy bacon and black pepper thyme buttermilk dressing and was featured on the Food Network Show, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” For a grand finale to your meal, indulge in the signature praline basket, filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with sweet berries. A good way to begin your Olde Pink House dinner is to enjoy drinks in the Arches Bar while munching on cheese straws stacked in one of the many mason jars.
The Olde Pink House
Address: 23 Abercorn St, Savannah, GA US 31401
Website: The Olde Pink House
2. Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room
Once you have dined in high Southern elegance, head to Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, for real Southern comfort food, located in the basement of a 19th century home. That’s where President Obama headed a few years ago when he visited Savannah and it was the only restaurant in which he chose to dine.
Opened in 1943, Mrs. Wilkes Dining room is a Southern staple, that has been serving family-style meals for decades. You may find yourself at a table with strangers at one of the 10-person communal tables. Along with good conversation, platters of fried chicken and dishes of butter beans, red rice, collard greens, mac and cheese, chicken, ham, beef stew, rice and gravy, and candied yams will be freely flowing.
The daily menu offers at least four meats and ten veggie dishes, so check their website to see what the daily options will be. Be prepared to queue outside during lunch hours. If you’re in the mood for “the real deal”, this is the place to go.
Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room
Address: 107 W Jones St, Savannah, GA US 31401
Website: Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room
3. Elizabeth on 37th
Considered the “Grand Dame” of Savannah dining, this romantic, award-winning restaurant is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Housed in a restored early 20th-century antique-filled mansion, in Savannah’s Thomas Square Streetcar neighborhood, Elizabeth on 37th’s Southern-influenced seasonal menu features fresh local produce, seafood and meat, along with an impressive wine list and innovative dishes, such as spicy Savannah red rice with Georgia shrimp.
Sapelo Island clams are a favorite appetizer and the Coastal Grouper Celeste, a sesame-almond crusted fish served with peanut sauce and roasted potatoes, is a best seller. Another standard entrée favorite is the double cut Berkshire pork chops with five cheese macaroni and apple-slaw cabbage.
If you have room for dessert, you’ll have your choice of indulgent treats, such as a pecan almond torte topped with praline ice cream and bourbon caramel sauce and the restaurant’s famous Savannah cream cake, an angel food and sherry-laced custard cake with berry and custard sauce.
Elizabeth on 37th
Address:105 E 37th St, Savannah, GA US 31401
Website: Elizabeth on 37th
4. Leopold's Ice Cream Parlor
Take a step back in time and stop by Leopold’s Ice Cream Parlor. No trip to Savannah would be complete without a visit to Leopold’s. You can’t miss it. It’s the place with people lined up outside, waiting to place their order to dine in or take out. The reason it is so popular is that their ice cream has been named the 5th best in the world.
Inside you’ll find a retro ice cream parlor, complete with an old-fashioned marble soda fountain and friendly soda jerks. Their ice cream is made in-house, one batch at a time, using family recipes handed down from the Leopold brothers. Leopold’s Ice Cream was founded in 1919 by three brothers from Greece. They learned the art of candy and dessert making from an uncle, who had already settled in America. George, Peter and Basil Leopold perfected their secret formulas and created the now world-famous Leopold’s Ice Cream.
Since then, generations of Savannahians and visitors can’t get enough of Leopold’s Ice Cream. Besides ice cream, their menu features milkshakes, sandwiches, soups, salads and homemade pastries.
Leopold's Ice Cream
Opening Hours:Sunday-Thursday: 11 am – 11 pm; Friday-Saturday 11 am-midnight. Fall and Winter hours may vary.
Address: 212 E Broughton St, Savannah, GA US 31401
Website: Leopold’s Ice Cream
5. Cafe M
Step inside Cafe M and you will be transported to an authentic Parisian Cafe. Cafe M isn’t just inspired by France, it is run by a Parisian couple, Amanda and Arthur Montplaisir. French ambiance permeates the cafe - artwork by French illustrator Sempe, French music in the background, and traditional Parisian cafe tables with marble tops and woven chairs. Sit inside or outside on their pet-friendly patio. The cafe is located in the heart of the Historic District, just off River Street, tucked into a corner where two bridges carried cotton factors to the different warehouses on the river in the 1800’s.
Their sweet and savory menu includes French pastries, colorful macarons, and signature baguette sandwiches, such as the “Provence” - their most popular, with mozzarella, prosciutto, ham, sundried tomatoes, mixed greens and pesto. There’s also the “Parisian”, with ham and Swiss. Fresh brewed coffee is served all day and they stock a selection of imported foods and French goods.
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday 8 am - 4:00 pm (kitchen closes at 3:00)
Address:128 E Bay St, Savannah, GA US 31401
Website: Cafe M
6. Holland House
If you’re in the mood for comfort food, Holland House is another establishment you’ll want to seek out. The unassuming Midtown restaurant has been serving soul food to residents and visitors to Savannah for 45 years. The menu is comprised of the daily meats and veggie sides on their buffet, for each day of the week.
You’ll have your choice of traditional Southern comfort food favorites, such as crispy fried chicken, beef stew, and chicken and dumplings, along with a selection of sides, such as okra and tomatoes, mac and cheese, sweet potato soufflé and collard greens. If it’s breakfast you are looking for, Holland House has custom-made breakfast available daily and includes favorites, such as pancakes, omelets, French toast, breakfast sandwiches, biscuits and gravy and hash browns.
Come as you are, the restaurant is located in an old house that has a laid-back vibe, friendly staff and reasonable prices.
Address: 601 E 68th St, Savannah, GA US 31405
Website: Holland House
There is a type of Southern cuisine that is regional, as opposed to the traditional Southern comfort food that is found in the greater South. It’s called Low Country and it’s a type of cuisine associated with the South Carolina Low Country and the Georgia coast. It has its origins in African cuisine, paired with the rich diversity of seafood from the coastal estuaries. Being positioned on the coast, Savannah offers a wide variety of seafood, such as grouper, snapper, and blue crab, which means the restaurant a.Lure does, too.
The seafood here is caught by Savannah fishermen and also comes from Florida and the Carolinas. Keeping it local is all part of their “from the farm” concept, as their seafood and produce comes straight from the Low Country. Located in the Historic District, a.Lure has a classy, upscale ambiance and offers an eclectic menu with their specialty seafood, but also their steak, pork and chicken.
One of their most famous Low Country dishes, the Low Country Boil, is a feast, with added crab cakes, fingerling potatoes, collards, and sweet corn souffle. There is also the classic shrimp and grits, with locally caught shrimp. And they may just have the most decadent dessert in Savannah: chocolate peanut butter s'mores - a chocolate torte with peanut butter ganache, homemade marshmallow and toasted marshmallow cream.
Address: 309 W Congress St, Savannah, GA US31401
8. The Grey
Occupying a 1938 Art Deco Greyhound bus terminal, (thus the name), the Grey restaurant has been described as “game-changing”. The building underwent a restoration to preserve the historical Art Deco architectural elements. Inside there is Art Deco paneling, a 60 seat dining room with banquettes, a central horseshoe-shaped bar, a skylight and a refurbished ticket booth, that serves as an open kitchen.
Chef Masham Bailey, a native of Savannah, pairs Southern staples, such as country captain (curried chicken and rice dish), pickled oysters, and smoked pork with pepper jelly with contemporary Italian inspired dishes, such as house-made pasta with shrimp, tomato and bottarga. No matter Southern or Southern with an Italian influence, regional produce and seafood are the ingredients. The Grey also stocks European wines and Atlantic Trade liquors.
Address: 109 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd Savannah, GA US 31401
Website: The Grey
9. Cotton and Rye
Set in a former 1950’s bank, Cotton and Rye is a Zagat rated upscale New American restaurant, that cooks up creative foods with a Southern slant. Just minutes from downtown Savannah, the former bank building was transformed into a sophisticated but relaxed atmosphere, with modern white brick and a sleek maple butcher block bar and table tops with soft accents of cotton. There is also an outdoor dining covered deck that overlooks a lounge with a seating area of sofas, lounge chairs and tables. If you want some privacy, you can request to be seated in the bank’s vault.
Influences come from New England, the Deep South, the Southwest and South Florida. Carefully sourced ingredients go into the preparation of their charcuterie, pickles, and bread, all made on the premises. The eponymous fresh-baked-daily rye slices are wrapped in a white cotton cloth. Side dishes, such as giant lima bean ragout and squash with sorghum and spiced pecans, are seasonal. The bar is 100% American stocked, with American wine, spirits and beer.
Cotton and Rye
Address: 1801 Habersham St, Savannah, GA US 31401
Website: Cotton and Rye
10. Grab some scrumptious pastries at the Back in the Day Bakery
Make your way into Back in the Day Bakery and taste the best pastries and bread at one of Savannah’s best bakeries. Try their signature buttermilk biscuit, or build your own biscuit. Some of their best pastries include scones, muffins, and cinnamon swirls. If you wish to have lunch, their curry chicken, and grilled cheese salad is a must-try. The best thing about this bakery is that they offer baking classes to diners as well. Book a class for December and learn the art and craft of southern baking with Cheryl Day. Avid bakers an cooks can also purchase cookbooks in the bakery as well for some memorabilia to take home from Savannah.
Back in the Day Bakery
Address: 2403 Bull Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401
Website: Back in the Day Bakery
Opening hours: 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, Thursdays to Sundays
11. Try Savannah's vegan cuisine at Fox and Fig Cafe
Visiting the southern part of the US can sometimes mean a lot of fried chicken and fried food, but lo and behold the south has made room for vegan cuisine. When in Savannah, try their plant-based food at the Fox and Fig Cafe, a premier vegan cafe that features locally roasted PERC coffee. Some of their best sellers include the American Drip Bottomless Cup, Plant Food Plank, and the Kale Pesto Pizza among many other crowd favorites. Experience Savannah’s southern take on fusion vegan food, and enjoy healthy food delivered with Southern hospitality and charm.
Fox and Fig Cafe
Address: 321 Habersham St., Savannah, GA 31401
Website: Fox and Fig Cafe
Opening hours: 8:00 am to 9:00 pm, Sundays to Mondays
Savannah's dining scene is as varied as the cuisine
Savannah is a historic city, with beautiful city squares lined with stately homes and filled and a canopy of trees. Savannah’s restaurant scene reflects the cultural influences that have shaped the menus of some of the best restaurants the city has to offer. Whether you choose to dine in an elegant house, in the basement of house, or in a sleek, contemporary setting, you can be certain you will enjoy the best of what Savannah has to offer.
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