Savannah is a history infused destination on the Georgia coast and is rich with southern culture and food. The culinary scene has been further crafted by highly trained chefs, fresh health-conscious foodies and of course, tried and true country cooks. Together these elements have made a diverse, vibrant, exciting food scene with establishments serving up creative and staple variations of native flavors. Seafood, fried chicken, vegan burgers or slow cooked greens with cornbread—Savannah’s got it. It would take forever to sift through all the great restaurants, so get started by trying out our top picks.
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The Olde Pink House
The Olde Pink House is a Savannah icon that once served as a mansion in the 18th century. This is the place to come if wanting to try real, southern food native to the area. However, you’ll get the added perk of upscale twists to the dishes. Cornbread fried oysters, Mac and cheese jalapeño poppers, fried lobster tails, grits—everything is drool-worthy and so much fun to enjoy in the elegant, southern atmosphere. If you arrive before your reservation, head to the downstairs tavern for one of the signature drinks, like The Pink Lady, which is made with fresh lemonade and raspberry vodka.
Zunzi’s is just a little historic hole in the wall, but the crew serves up big flavors with South African, Swiss, Italian, and Dutch ingredients which are mashed into ginormous sandwiches. The ever-popular Conquistador comes on French bread with chicken, romaine lettuce, tomato, the fittingly named “Shit Yeah Sauce” and Zunzi’s dressing, and the hearty Godfather is draped with chicken, smoked sausage, Boerewors, Provolone, romaine lettuce, tomato, marinara sauce, Parmesan and the same zingy dressing. Pita bread, healthful wraps and even gluten-free options are available at the quick takeout joint. FYI—there’s a Zunzi’s in Atlanta, too.
Alligator Soul Restaurant
First of all, the dungeon chic flare of Alligator Soul Restaurant, complete with dark toned wood and stone walls, is interesting and ambient. Since this was actually the basement of a grain mill, a lot of the cool aesthetic was already in place. Dishes feature only local and organic ingredients, which makes for an authentic Savannah meal. Try the killer Boudin with local Parmesan purple grits infused with alligator tail, Savannah River Farms pork belly, caramelized onions, blueberry barbecue sauce and garnished with smoked rosemary. Hungry yet?
Joe’s Homemade Cafe
Joe’s Homemade Cafe executes sandwiches, soups and dessert with a slightly upscale twist. Try a gooey panini with melted mozzarella and a layer of perfectly salty prosciutto served with root veggie chips, and the zucchini bread can be enjoyed solo because it’s probably the best you’ll ever taste. Soups are truly inventive with combos like Thai green curry pea, but the tomato basil might be the most famed. A croissant loaded bread pudding and seasonal cheesecakes from pumpkin, almond, to lemon make for the perfect finish.
You can have pie for a meal at Pie Society’s bakery because they also serve up tradition British pasties, or basically pastries, filled with savory ingredients like cheese, onion and potatoes, steak and ale or sausage egg and cheese. Of course, sweet options are abundant to round out the hearty meal, and the apple pie, coconut cream slices, shortbread and the legendary Millionare shortcake fit the bill. Relax with a cup of English tea and soak in the simple surroundings.
Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room
Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room fills the void for true, down to earth southern cooking without the frills. Dishes of crispy fried chicken, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, perfected creamed corn, collard greens and a list of other traditionally south goodies start flooding to your table until everyone is full. But saving room for the banana pudding or peach cobbler is an absolute must. Guests love the family style seating, which sits you at a table with other groups, as it’s a reflection of the friendship and tight roots of the area. Be prepared to wait in a line before being seated, but we’ll go ahead and tell you it’s worth it.
Goose Feathers Cafe
Goose Feathers Cafe is that eclectic little spot to stop for a quick affordable brunch. Opt for savory options like the Birds Nest, consisting of a plate of grits rounded off with two poached eggs and salsa, or the beloved breakfast burrito and quiche. However, the house-made chocolate croissant, all the croissants, in fact, take the cake. Almond, apple, blueberry, cream cheese, strawberry and raspberry cream fill the buttery, flakey pastries, while the option for savory fillings is there too. If you get a croissant and coffee, you’ll be happy.
Leopold's Ice Cream
Can ice cream be a meal? We think so. At Leopold’s 1950s style ice cream shop, nearly every icy favorite imaginable is on the menu. Presented in old school glass dishes, while sitting next to an old jukebox, are classic favorites like banana splits, complete with vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream, strawberry and pineapple topping, chocolate syrup, local pecans, whipped cream and a bright red cherry. It’s a masterpiece, as are the decadent hot fudge sundaes and bubbly floats. No worries if you’re sweet tooth isn’t calling, Leopold’s makes delicious sandwiches with house-smoked meats or other era classics like tuna or egg salad, and Pimento cheese.
Fox and Fig
Fox and Fig, if you couldn’t tell from the name, is one of those trendy spots where typical dishes get a fun twist. Sweet potato filled breakfast tacos, brambleberry pancakes, smoky mac and cheese, hearty vegan burgers and eggless quiche are highlights on the vegan oriented menu with a side focus on food allergies. Always be sure to ask about menu items if you have an allergy. From the decor to the plant-based menu, Fox and Fig is a welcomed refreshment after noshing on heavier foods elsewhere.