Last Updated on September 25, 2023
Nestled on the banks of the Savannah River in the state of Georgia, Savannah is a city steeped in history, charm, and a rich culinary tradition. The gastronomic scene in this picturesque Southern city is a testament to its diverse heritage and the creative spirit of its chefs.
From classic Southern comfort food to innovative fusion cuisine, Savannah offers a culinary journey that’s as delightful as the city’s cobblestone streets and historic squares.
In this article, we will take you through a Savannah food tour in order to explore the city´s gastronomic scene; contemplating its culinary traditions, iconic dishes, and the emerging trends that make it a food lover’s paradise.
A taste of tradition
No culinary exploration of Savannah is complete without indulging in the city’s Southern comfort food. Savannah’s culinary roots run deep, and you can experience the warmth and nostalgia of Southern cuisine in every bite. From shrimp and grits to fried chicken and collard greens, the flavors of the South are on full display.
Shrimp and grits: This classic Southern dish is a must-try while engaging a Savannah food tour. Succulent shrimp, often sourced locally, are served over a bed of creamy, stone-ground grits. The dish is often finished with a flavorful sauce, which can range from a simple butter and garlic sauce to a more complex Creole-inspired gravy. Many restaurants add their unique twist to this beloved dish, making it a delightful culinary adventure.
Fried chicken: When it comes to fried chicken, Savannah knows how to do it right. Crispy, golden-brown, and bursting with flavor, the fried chicken here is a true Southern comfort. Some places even offer “chicken and waffles,” a delightful combination of crispy chicken and fluffy waffles drizzled with syrup.
Lowcountry boil: Savannah’s coastal location means it’s a seafood lover’s dream. The Lowcountry boil, also known as a “frogmore stew,” is a communal dish featuring shrimp, crab, corn, potatoes, and sausage, all boiled together in a flavorful broth. It’s often poured out onto newspaper-covered picnic tables, creating a festive and delicious mess.
Savannah’s Farm-to-Table movement
The Grey: Housed in a restored Greyhound bus terminal, The Grey is a beacon of the farm-to-table movement in Savannah. Chef Mashama Bailey, a James Beard Award winner, creates dishes that reflect her commitment to local sourcing. The menu changes with the seasons, ensuring that diners experience the freshest ingredients Savannah has to offer.
The Collins Quarter: This charming eatery is a testament to Savannah’s love for local ingredients and Australian-inspired cuisine. The Collins Quarter’s menu features dishes like avocado smash, which combines locally sourced avocados with poached eggs and artisanal bread. Pair your meal with their signature coffee or a craft cocktail for the perfect culinary experience.
Savannah’s haunted dining
Savannah is known for its rich history and reputation as one of America’s most haunted cities. What better way to combine culinary indulgence with a touch of the supernatural than by dining in one of Savannah’s haunted restaurants?
The Pirates’ House: Located in one of Savannah’s oldest buildings, The Pirates’ House has a storied past as a hangout point for pirates and sailors. Today, it’s a charming restaurant that serves Southern classics. Some say it’s haunted by the ghost of Captain Flint, adding a spooky allure to your dining experience.
Moon River Brewing Company: Enjoy craft beers and Southern-inspired cuisine in this historic building that dates back to 1821. The brewery is known for its ghostly encounters, with visitors reporting strange occurrences throughout the years. While savoring your meal, keep an eye out for spirits from the past.
The rise of fusion cuisine
The city has embraced fusion cuisine, with chefs blending Southern flavors with international influences to create innovative and exciting dishes.
Cotton & Rye: This restaurant effortlessly combines Southern and Lowcountry traditions with a modern twist. Their menu features dishes like duck breast with kimchi and sweet potato puree, showcasing the fusion of Southern and Asian flavors.
Husk: With its roots in Charleston and a reputation for reimagining Southern classics, Husk’s Savannah outpost is a culinary gem. Here, you’ll find dishes like cornmeal-dusted catfish with Carolina gold rice and charred okra, a perfect example of the restaurant’s inventive take on Southern cuisine.
No culinary journey in Savannah would be complete without indulging in its sweet offerings. The city’s dessert scene is as rich and diverse as its main courses.
Pralines: Savannah is famous for its pralines (sweet, nutty confections that melt in your mouth). Stroll along River Street, and you’ll find shops offering these delectable treats in various flavors, from classic pecan to pralines infused with chocolate or rum.
Leopold’s Ice Cream: Step into this old-school ice cream lounge, and you’ll be transported back in time. Leopold’s, which has been serving ice cream since 1919, offers a nostalgic experience with its classic soda fountain, milkshakes, and banana splits.
Savannah’s love for food is not limited to restaurants and cafes; it’s also celebrated through various culinary festivals throughout the year.
Savannah Food & Wine Festival: This annual event brings together renowned chefs, winemakers, and food enthusiasts for a week of culinary delights. One can enjoy tastings, cooking demonstrations, and wine pairings, all set against the backdrop of Savannah’s historic charm.
Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival: This festival showcases the rich Jewish culinary heritage with a variety of traditional dishes like pastrami sandwiches, knishes, and rugelach. It’s a testament to the city’s diverse and inclusive culinary scene.
Savannah’s gastronomic scene is a captivating blend of tradition and innovation, where every type of palate finds a place at the table. Whether you’re savoring the classics or exploring the latest culinary trends, Savannah’s restaurants and eateries offer a delightful journey for your taste buds.
With each bite, you’ll not only experience the flavors of the South but also the rich history and vibrant spirit of this charming city. Therefore, come hungry, leave satisfied, and carry with you the memories of a culinary adventure through the heart of the South in Savannah.