Like many Southern cities, as Savannah continues to undergo an impressive cultural renaissance, the food and drink scene stay neck-and-neck with the development. And if you plan on visiting the Hostess City of the South any time soon, you’ll want to put these best places to eat in Savannah on your to-dine list.
This post is part of a collaborative project with Visit Savannah. All opinions are our own.
Note on dining in Savannah: Savannah is a beloved tourist hub, which means weekends can be crowded with visitors. What does that mean for you? Make your reservations a few weeks in advance! That said, we’re big fans of mid-week travel, and had no trouble getting into the best restaurants in Savannah on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night without ressies.
If there’s one restaurant in Savannah I dine in on every single visit, it’s Collins Quarter. Not only do I love their signature spiced lavender mocha, but I love every item on their breakfast, lunch and brunch menus. Even more exciting? Collins Quarter has a new location on Forsyth Park, so you now have two options for getting a table at this fabulous Australian-style bistro.
Best for: brunch any day of the week
Cotton & Rye
In terms of the best places to eat in Savannah, Cotton & Rye wins it for us every single time. The sleek interior of this remodeled, mid-century modern bank is the perfect canvas for the chef’s sausage-, pâté- and bread-making, as well as meat-grinding, which the restaurant does on site. The menu ranges from market fish like a black cod affair to the house-ground cheeseburger and fries, which were a slam dunk. To top it all off? A homemade candy bar with actual gold leaf.
While the restaurant takes reservations via its website, we have been able to drop in and get a table on multiple occasions.
Best for: dinner, any occasion
On our most recent trip to Savannah, every foodie I talked to responded with one dining recommendation: Common Thread. A classic French restaurant in an old Victorian with a Michelin-rated vibe, Common Thread takes its elevated cuisine and serves up oysters, fresh fish and vegetarian dishes in addition to aged beef and pasta. The ambitious preparation of the meals—think: fennel salsa verde, parmesan foam and Middle Eastern spices—kicked this dining spot to the top of our best places to eat in Savannah favorites list.
Best for: the trendiest table in town
This award winner has put Savannah on every foodie’s travel list since opening in 2014, and rightfully so: Not only is the design on point, but the creations by co-owner and chef Mashama Bailey, this year’s James Beard Outstanding Chef, constantly push the boundaries. The Grey specializes in being nimble with the season’s ingredients and has a compact yet inconceivably divine menu. The restaurant’s brunch is also a must-try; for example, the crab beignets, pork pastrami and fried chicken with hoe cakes dancing alongside a nice breakfast cocktail or mimosa. Can’t get into the restaurant? You can sidle up to the Diner Bar—or grab a quick meal from the Grey Market—instead.
Best for: fans of buzzy cuisine and celebrity chefs
The Public Kitchen & Bar
Located in a stately building right on bustling Liberty Street, the Public Kitchen & Bar has an extensive wine and local beer list in addition to a far- ranging menu that skips across the world’s cuisines. The Public’s plates are large, the cocktails strong, and the vibe is elevated casual, so arrive hungry.
Best for: lunch on a weekday when you’re real hungry
Treylor Park & Double Wide Diner
Treylor Park has two restaurants in Savannah that dish up sharable plates, flatbreads and scrumptious lunch-ables like fried bologna, sloppy Joes, tacos and a wide selection of alcoholic beverages to keep your mood in vibe with the rest of the city. Treylor Park really shines during brunch and lunch, so plan your day accordingly. A few blocks over, it’s sister Double Wide Diner offers a blast-from-the-past dining experience just a few blocks from its sister joint, Treylor Park, with unique lunch dishes and flavorful mimosas.
Best for: a casual bite or weekday brunch
Located in the new Thompson Hotel Savannah, Fleeting uses hyper-local ingredients to create a hip and diverse selection of food. Spring rolls, oysters, tartines, banana leaf grouper and bootleg chicken bracket the menu of this restaurant on the rapidly expanding stretch of new river developments. It’s the perfect place to grab a bite when you’re wandering the riverfront and haven’t made dinner plans as it’s a bit off the main thoroughfare and, thus, less crowded on your average weeknight.
Best for: power dinners and date nights
The Alida Hotel’s signature restaurant, the Rhett, is open seven days a week and serves up Lowcountry cuisine by the spoonful. Rich in the estuary foods that this area is known for— oysters, shrimp, fish—this decidedly American genre has roots in African comfort food, and if you come to this region without getting a sampling, you’re missing out on a key ingredient to Savannah’s history and way of life. Cheddar drop biscuits, raw ceviche and oysters, shrimp dip, grits and fried okra are all delicious samplers from this casual restaurant.
Best for: when you’re looking for somewhere nice to eat along the riverfront
Not every meal has to be a lengthy affair, which is why I appreciate this new grab-and-go spot on Liberty Street. With a direct walk-through to the Public, Franklin’s serves the most decadent coffee and plenty of small bites for when you’re in a rush or simply need a jolt of caffeine after the Public’s filling burger.
Best for: when you’re jonesing for a grilled-cheese-and-tomato-bisque combo or a delicious takeaway latte
The Coffee Fox
What did the fox say? Two words: horchata latte. That’s all you need to know to make your decision on getting your morning coffee from Broughton Street’s finest, the Coffee Fox.
Best for: your first stop of the day
While the Fitzroy bills itself as “an elevated pub,” I don’t think that’s doing justice to the sleek design and deep well of bar offerings this downtown bar and restaurant offers. It’s simply one of the best places for brunch in Savannah, and I’m sure the lunch and dinner are equally drool-worthy.
Best for: weekend brunch
Little Duck Diner
Little Duck Diner is a retro diner downtown that specializes in whimsy (rubber duckies in the Bloody Marys? why not!) crossed with baked goods galore and a wide range of brunch and lunch offerings from gourmet grilled cheeses to tacos, crab omelettes to shrimp and grits.
Best for: lunch just off the plane
Related Article: Where to Drink in Savannah, Georgia
Back in the Day Bakery
If you read magazines, you’ve likely heard of Back in the Day Bakery. It was famous before Savannah became the foodie season, and it seems every travel or food publication ever to write about Savannah has at least mentioned it—with good reason. As its name implies, Back in the Day exudes a sense of retro nostalgia, and even the servers dress the part. The place is the epitome of cute and decked out in mismatched shabby chic decor, but the owners don’t compromise quality for the sake of aesthetics: Everything is on point—order a sandwich for lunch, and be sure and add on a coffee specialty and grabbed a baked good (or seven) to go. I’m always partial to their cupcakes; then again, I’m partial to any cupcakes!
Best for: lunch or snack time
Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room
Mrs. Wilkes is so popular that you pretty much have to get there an hour before it opens to claim your place in line. This boarding house with a mishmash of meat-and-threes and Southern comfort food served up family style charges a flat rate of $30 a person; however, they don’t take reservations, so you really must arrive early—say, 10am for the first seating at 11—to claim your spot (or plan on waiting a long time). This is an instance when you’re going to want to forgo breakfast and wear your roomiest fat pants; it’s that filling (and good).
Best for: a hearty lunch, followed by a nap
The Olde Pink House
Let me start by saying: If you’ve never been to Savannah, this is where everyone will recommend you spend your fancy dinner. Located inside an 18th century mansion, the Olde Pink House occupies prime real estate on Reynolds Square in the downtown historic district. From BLT salad to mac and cheese jalapeno poppers to Vidalia onion and sweet potato ravioli in a pecan cream sauce, everything is a journey through traditional Southern flavors. Don’t have a dinner open? No worries; Old Pink House is also open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday.
Best for: traditional Southern food in a stunning setting
Related Article: 21 Iconic Things to Do in Savannah No Matter the Season
B. Matthew’s Eatery
With brunch seven days a week, B. Matthew’s has been one of my go-tos since I first started frequenting Savannah. It doesn’t get more Southern than fried green tomato and crab cake Benedict. Eggs Benny always has a spot in my heart (and stomach), and the more creative the dish, the higher a rating the restaurant gets from me. B. Matthew’s has never been anything but a five-star experience.
Best for: Sunday Brunch
You wouldn’t necessarily stumble upon this under-the-radar, subterranean restaurant unless you set out looking for it. Alligator Soul is tucked away on an unassuming side street and doesn’t get as much love as, say, the Olde Pink House. That doesn’t mean you should discount it, not for a second. It’s a hodgepodge of American, Southern and Cajun/Creole cuisine, heavy on game (kangaroo! antelope! ostrich! camel!) and seafood (shrimp and grits? breaded fried oysters anyone?).
Best for: when you want to splurge on a six-course tasting menu (with wine pairings, obviously)
Related Article: Your Ultimate Guide to Planning a Weekend in Savannah, Georgia
If you’ve heard of one place to eat in Savannah it’s likely Leopold’s Ice Cream, a family-owned business and local institution since 1919. I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Stratton Leopold, who was behind the counter scooping on one of my visits, and not only are his stories great, but this old-fashioned ice cream parlor is one of my favorite of anywhere I’ve been thanks to the ambiance and the dozens of flavors like the Girl Scout cookies specials.
Don’t have the time to wait in line? Leopold’s now has multiple locations at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, providing the perfect post-flight treat while you wait to take off.
Best for: any occasion or hour of the day!
Want to know where all the Millennials hang out? Look no further than food truck park Starland Yard, made out of shipping containers with multiple food options, splashy art, live music and plenty of places to hang with little ones. It’s truly a something-for-everyone kind of spot.
Best for: a casual evening with no agenda
Vinnie Van Go Go’s
Sometimes you just want to order takeout and eat in your hotel room, which is why Vinnie Van Go Go’s is one of my go-tos. The pizzas are huge, and they’re perfect for feeding a family or groups traveling together.
Best for: takeout
Gryphon Tea Room
Savannah has several places to get afternoon tea, including the Tea Room on Broughton Street, but Gryphon is perhaps the most well-known. With a dreamy location among the weeping Spanish moss of Madison Square tucked among the buildings of the SCAD campus, Gryphon Tea Room boasts a wide range of lunch items from fancy salads to quiches, baguettes to brunch items like poached eggs and Challah bread crème brûlée French toast.
Best for: fancy lunch
Other restaurants in Savannah
The best places to eat in Savannah list grows and expand with the city, and I’m sure there are plenty that should be on the list that I’ve yet to discover, particularly along the Plant Riverside District. A few other Savannah restaurants you might want to check out include:
- Elizabeth’s on 37th
- Two Cracked Eggs
- Big Bon Bodega
- Java Burrito
- Bull Street Taco
- Bella Napoli
- Circa 1875
- District Seafood
- District Smokehouse
- Savannah Tequila Co
- Stone & Webster Chophouse
- St. Neo’s Brasserie
- Ardsley Station
Do you agree that these are the best places to eat in Savannah? What restaurants did I leave off the list?