Savannah, Georgia, epitomizes easy, breezy Southern hospitality.

By Zoe Denenberg
March 10, 2020
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Robbie Caponetto

For a city so marked by its breezy, escapist coastal culture, Savannah, Georgia, takes food quite seriously. The city’s Antebellum architecture and pristine parks, complete with drooping Live Oak trees that cast a kaleidoscope of shadows over the walkways, provide an idyllic backdrop for a culinary scene that’s deeply rooted in the local land. At each of these Savannah haunts (take this word both figuratively and literally), you’ll find farm-to-table cooking of some form, with chefs highlighting the fresh, seasonal ingredients that define the Georgia city’s coastal terroir.

The city’s hot spots may range from farm-to-table Southern to Australian café fare, but all of our favorite Savannah joints share a common tenet of true Southern hospitality. Even in white tablecloth restaurants nestled inside crumbling mansions, Savannah’s restauranteurs don’t take themselves too seriously, and they remain committed to making you feel at home. So whether you choose to enjoy your fresh seafood dockside or in an old Greyhound Bus Terminal, know that Savannah’s approachable, down-to-earth restaurants are ready and eager to welcome you.

The Grey

The unquestioned reigning culinary force in Savannah, Georgia (and quite possibly in the South as a whole), The Grey has shaken up the way we understand farm-to-table Southern cooking. Located in a former segregated Greyhound Bus Terminal, The Grey grapples with the South’s complex history, using food as a vehicle for intentional storytelling. From the locally rooted, often nostalgic menu to the restaurant’s storied space, Mashama Bailey’s critically acclaimed restaurant carries layered threads of history and legacy. It also happens to be one of our South’s Best Local Favorites.

The Grey

The Collins Quarter

Channeling the breezy spirit of an Australian café in the fittingly coastal town of Savannah, café and bar Collins Quarter is known for its health-forward, all-day brunch. Sip on a signature Spiced Lavender Mocha or an Iced Mint Julep and stay awhile.

The Olde Pink House

Built in 1771, the charming pink house on Abercorn Street has been a landmark for most of American history—and it has the ghosts to prove it. Now, you can dine by candlelight in the old Georgian mansion; split a dozen oysters and try a few of the protein-centric, Southern-inspired entrées, like Sautéed Shrimp and Scallops or Pecan-Crusted Chicken Breast with Blackberry Bourbon Glaze.

Richard Cummins/Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

The Wyld Dock Bar

A dockside retreat with clear ties to Savannah’s costal locale, the off-the-beaten-path Wyld Dock Bar feels like a vacation all its own. House-made pasta complements the catch of the day, and an expertly mixed cocktail or refreshing glass of sangria helps you wash it all down.

Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room

When they say family style, they really mean it. Pull up a chair and get to know your neighbors at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, where guests gather at tables for 10 to share a home-style meal. While the menu changes daily, you can expect to find the likes of fried chicken, black eyed peas, and sweet potato soufflé. Don't miss a meal at this legendary Savannah eatery.

Left: Photo: Courtesy Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room
Right: Photo: Jeff Gentner/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Elizabeth on 37th

Located in a stately 1900 mansion, Elizabeth on 37th epitomizes classic coastal cooking, especially prizing great service and Southern hospitality. First opened by Chef Elizabeth Terry and her husband Michael, Elizabeth on 37th is now helmed by partners Greg and Gary Butch as well as Executive Chef Kelly Yambor, who remain committed to carrying on Elizabeth's unwavering hospitality standard. The menu includes local, seasonal specialties like Spicy Savannah Red Rice with Georgia Shrimp and Parmesan Dusted Local Flounder.

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Sisters of the New South

Visit Savannah declares Sisters of the New South to be the spot where locals actually go to eat—and we can’t think of any higher praise. The at-home soul food joint is your destination for Southern comfort: Think fried chicken, oxtail soup, and a notorious peach cobbler. Bring your appetite—all dinners come with 3 sides.

Other spots not to miss: Atlantic for vegetarian or vegan cuisine, The Fat Radish for NYC-transplanted ambiance, 700 Drayton for high-end American in fire-lit digs, Local 11ten for rooftop drinking and dining, Crystal Beer Parlor for burgers and brews, and Leopold’s Ice Cream for classic scoops.