When it comes to exploring a new destination, one of the most exciting aspects for me is savoring the local cuisine. I’ve come to realize that every city has its own unique flavor and dining experience. Savannah, Georgia, is no exception. This charming city has a vibrant culinary scene that will delight your taste buds and leave you craving for more. Join me on a gastronomic journey through the heart of Savannah as I share my favorite restaurants, signature dishes, prices, and personal experiences.
The Grey – A Taste of History
Located in the heart of Savannah, The Grey is a culinary gem that showcases a marriage of history and modern creativity. Housed in a restored Greyhound bus terminal, this restaurant is a testament to Chef Mashama Bailey’s dedication to preserving the city’s culinary traditions while infusing contemporary elements.
The Grey is known for its impeccable service, elegant decor, and an innovative menu that celebrates Southern cuisine. On a recent visit, I opted for their famed She-Crab Soup, a creamy bowl of heaven that seamlessly combines the rich flavor of blue crab with the gentle heat of sherry. Priced at $10, it was a promising start to my culinary adventure.
For the main course, I couldn’t resist the Crispy Fried Chicken. Priced at $26, it’s a true Southern classic. The perfectly seasoned chicken was crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and served with a side of collard greens and cornbread. The contrasting textures and flavors made for an unforgettable meal.
One of the most delightful aspects of dining at The Grey is the knowledgeable and friendly staff. They are more than happy to explain the menu, provide wine pairing suggestions, and even share a bit of the restaurant’s fascinating history. The Grey truly offers an immersive culinary experience that combines the past and present in a harmonious way.
The Grey Market – Southern Eats To-Go
If you’re looking for a quick bite or picnic essentials, The Grey Market, an extension of The Grey, is just around the corner. The market offers an array of gourmet sandwiches, freshly baked pastries, and artisanal products.
I indulged in their Fried Green Tomato Sandwich for $12. Crispy green tomatoes were stacked with pimento cheese, lettuce, and bacon, all nestled in a flaky croissant. It’s the perfect grab-and-go option to savor while exploring Savannah’s historic streets.
Leopold’s Ice Cream – A Step Back in Time
Leopold’s Ice Cream, a beloved Savannah institution since 1919, is a delightful blast from the past. From the moment you step through the door, you’ll be transported to the golden era of soda fountains and vintage decor.
Their renowned Signature Black and White Sundae, priced at $9, is a heavenly combination of rich, velvety chocolate and creamy vanilla ice cream, adorned with whipped cream, candied pecans, and a cherry on top. The indulgent treat is a throwback to simpler times and a perfect way to escape the Savannah heat.
The Greyfield Inn – An Island Retreat
For a truly unforgettable dining experience, take a short ferry ride to Cumberland Island and discover The Greyfield Inn. This charming inn, with its rich history and secluded location, offers a unique culinary experience. It’s an ideal destination for a day trip or a romantic getaway.
I enjoyed a splendid lunch on their veranda, overlooking the lush gardens. Their Lobster Roll, priced at $30, was a masterpiece. Succulent lobster chunks were nestled in a toasted roll, accompanied by a fresh garden salad. It was a dish that epitomized the inn’s commitment to serving farm-to-table, Southern-inspired cuisine.
The Greyfield Inn provides a serene atmosphere and a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Be sure to check their schedule for availability and make a reservation in advance.
The Olde Pink House – A Taste of Savannah’s History
When it comes to experiencing Savannah’s history and flavors in one place, The Olde Pink House is a must-visit. This historic restaurant, housed in an 18th-century mansion, offers a unique combination of Southern cuisine and Southern charm.
As I entered the elegant dining room, I was greeted by the warm ambiance of dimly lit chandeliers and antique furnishings. To start, I couldn’t resist the Shrimp and Grits, a Southern classic priced at $28. The creamy grits were topped with plump shrimp, sautéed in a savory sauce that had a hint of smokiness.
For the main course, I opted for the Plantation Fried Chicken, a tantalizing dish priced at $25. The chicken was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, served with a side of collard greens and red rice. The flavors were reminiscent of traditional Southern cooking, and the portion was generous.
One of the Olde Pink House’s claims to fame is its infamous Rum Cellar, located in the basement. This hidden gem offers a wide selection of rum-based cocktails and a cozy, atmospheric setting that feels like a journey back in time.
Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room – A Family-Style Feast
For an authentic, family-style dining experience, Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room is the place to be. This beloved establishment, located on Jones Street, has been serving classic Southern dishes for generations.
Upon arrival, I was welcomed by the friendly staff, who explained the concept of communal dining. You’ll share a table with fellow diners, passing around heaping platters of Southern comfort food.
The must-try dish at Mrs. Wilkes’ is undoubtedly the Fried Chicken, a southern icon priced at $25. The chicken was seasoned to perfection, with a crispy exterior that gave way to tender, succulent meat. It was served alongside a mouthwatering array of side dishes, including collard greens, cornbread, macaroni and cheese, and more.
The communal experience at Mrs. Wilkes’ is something truly special. It’s a chance to connect with fellow travelers and savor an authentic, home-cooked Southern meal that’s full of love and tradition.
The Collins Quarter – A Taste of Australia in Savannah
If you’re looking for a unique culinary fusion, The Collins Quarter brings a touch of Australian flair to Savannah. This chic café, located on Bull Street, seamlessly blends the best of Australian and Southern cuisines.
During my visit, I tried their signature dish, the “Brekky Board,” priced at $15. This delightful breakfast platter included avocado, poached eggs, bacon, roasted tomatoes, and toast. The combination of flavors and textures was a pleasant surprise, and it made for a hearty and satisfying breakfast.
The Collins Quarter is also known for its specialty coffee and inventive cocktails. I couldn’t resist ordering their Lavender Mocha, a fragrant and beautifully presented coffee infused with lavender syrup and topped with latte art.
The Grey Poupon Bistro – A French Delight in Savannah
Nestled in the heart of Savannah, The Grey Poupon Bistro is a hidden gem that captures the essence of French cuisine while maintaining a touch of Southern warmth. As a travel consultant with a penchant for culinary exploration, I was pleasantly surprised by the rich, savory flavors that unfolded on my plate during a recent visit.
For a true taste of France in Savannah, I recommend starting with their Escargot Bourguignon, priced at $15. The tender, garlicky snails served in a fragrant herb-infused butter sauce were a delightful introduction to the meal. The experience was elevated by the crisp, freshly baked baguette that accompanied it, perfect for soaking up every last drop of the exquisite sauce.
For the main course, I couldn’t resist the Coq au Vin, a classic French dish that was beautifully executed at The Grey Poupon Bistro. Priced at $28, the dish featured succulent chicken slow-cooked in a luscious red wine sauce. The tender meat practically melted in my mouth, and the dish was accompanied by buttery mashed potatoes and perfectly steamed green beans. It was a comforting yet elegant meal that left me wanting more.
The ambiance at The Grey Poupon Bistro is cozy and intimate, with dimmed lighting, rustic wooden tables, and a wine list that complements the French-inspired menu. The attentive staff added to the overall experience, providing wine recommendations and ensuring a memorable evening.
The Southern Shrimp Shack – Seafood Paradise
For a more laid-back and quintessentially Southern dining experience, I highly recommend The Southern Shrimp Shack. This casual seafood joint, located on River Street, offers an unpretentious yet mouthwatering menu that celebrates the coastal flavors of Savannah.
During my visit, I couldn’t resist trying their signature dish, the Low Country Boil, priced at $20. This hearty platter is a seafood lover’s dream, featuring succulent shrimp, sweet corn, tender potatoes, and spicy sausage, all seasoned with a blend of spices that capture the essence of Southern cuisine. Served with a side of cornbread, it’s a finger-licking, messy, and utterly satisfying meal.
The outdoor seating at The Southern Shrimp Shack provides a fantastic view of the Savannah River, making it an ideal spot for a relaxed, waterfront dining experience. It’s the kind of place where you can savor delicious food while watching boats go by and taking in the charming atmosphere of River Street.
A Note on Reservations and Tips
Savannah’s dining scene is in high demand, so making reservations well in advance is strongly recommended, especially for popular restaurants like The Grey, The Greyfield Inn, The Olde Pink House, and Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room. In addition, it’s customary to leave a 20% tip for your servers, who often go above and beyond to enhance your dining experience.
Savannah, with its unique blend of history, culture, and cuisine, is a culinary haven waiting to be explored. From the upscale elegance of The Grey to the nostalgic charm of Leopold’s Ice Cream, and the historic flavors of The Olde Pink House, Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room, and the fusion of Australian and Southern cuisine at The Collins Quarter, each restaurant offers a distinct experience that will leave you with a taste of the South you won’t soon forget.
I hope this helps you get the most out of your visit to this amazing city. So, pack your appetite, book your reservations, and get ready to savor the flavors of the South in this historic gem of a city. Happy dining.