Savannah's ivy-draped historic homes, picturesque parks, cobblestones streets, and Southern hospitality make this Georgia coastal city a must-visit.
But there's another reason to visit Savannah: the food. From traditional Southern fare like fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits to seafood classics like oysters and shrimp and grits to global fare like South African-inspired sandwiches and a can't miss Australia breakfast, the city offers a variety of culinary experiences to feel your adventures. Whether you're on a day trip from nearby Charleston or visiting for a while, here are the nine best foods to try in Savannah.
Fried Chicken at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room
The wait is worth it for this historic downtown restaurant's home style cooking, including its perfect combination of tender yet crispy fried chicken, served family style along with hearty platters of biscuits, gumbo, okra, black-eyed peas, macaroni salads and other Southern staples at communal tables. The doors open at 11 a.m., and note the restaurant doesn't take reservations and is cash only.
Shrimp and Grits at the Olde Pink House
The seafood is plentiful at this Savannah institution, located inside the blush-hued the Plantars Inn and the city's only surviving 18th century mansion. Don't let the fancy trappings like crystal chandeliers and antique furniture distract you from your mission: the shrimp and grits, a generous portion of fresh-caught jumbo shrimp perched above fried grits cakes, smothered in bacon sauce.
Biscuits at Back in the Day Bakery
This whimsical Bull Street cafe housed in a former gas station serves a variety of baked goods ranging from seasonal pies like chocolate pecan to decadent brownies, cookies, and cupcakes, but the real draw here is the biscuits: buttery, flaky, made-from-scratch perfection. Order the buttermilk biscuit and eat it with a generous smear of butter or honey, or build your own biscuit sandwich choosing from add-ons like apple smoked bacon, pimento cheese, ham, eggs, and pepper jelly. And come early and hungry. The bakery opens at 8 a.m. and makes a limited number of biscuits a day.
A Scoop of Tutti Frutti at Leopold's Ice Cream
While this beloved ice cream shop moved to a new storefront on East Broughton Street in 2004, many of its century-old traditions remain intact. That includes several of the shop's original flavors, including the "tutti frutti," rum ice cream mixed with fresh roasted Georgia pecans, and candied fruits like cherries. Get a single scoop in a cone, or build your own float or sundae. The shop also has two outposts at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport.
Burger at Green Truck Neighborhood Pub
Whether you're a happy carnivore or prefer plant-based burgers, the Green Truck Neighborhood Pub has you covered. Get the Green Truck classic: your choice of an all-natural, grass-fed beef, grilled chicken, or housemade veggie patty topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and a pickle.
Oysters at Sorry Charlie's Oyster Bar
It's not a trip to the coast without some oysters, and the city's best are at Sorry Charlie's Oyster Bar, located in one of the state's oldest commercial buildings overlooking Ellis Square. Get oysters on the half shell, Rockefeller style, or with butter garlic and Parmesan. And don't miss the restaurant's happy hour, which offers $1 house oysters, $5 glasses of bubbly, and half off select Georgia and South Carolina beers from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays only.
Double-cut Berkshire Pork Chop at Elizabeth On 37th
You can't go wrong with anything on the menu at this modern Southern coastal spot housed in a Victorian mansion. But why not go all-in with the double-cut Berkshire pork chop, brined for 36 hours, grilled, and served with a five-cheese macaroni and apple-cabbage slaw.
Chicken Conquistador at Zunzi's
Yes, a South African-inspired sandwich shop is serving up some of Savannah's best food. The Chicken Conquistador, with a generous portion of baked chicken topped with lettuce, tomato, and doused in Zunzi's secret sauce all on perfectly crusty French bread, is simple yet satisfying after a day of exploring the city.
Leo's Big Breakfast at The Collins Quarter
No one does breakfast better than this all-day Aussie-inspired Bull Street cafe. Your order: Leo's Big Breakfast, with Italian sausage, applewood smoked bacon, and an Asian spiced pork sausage patty served alongside baked beans, eggs, sautéed mushrooms, and thick slices of French toast.