Mention “Savannah, GA” and most people talk about the city’s beautiful historic district with its 22 squares, its place in Civil War history as the end destination of Sherman’s March to the Sea, or the shopping and dining available on River Street alongside the Savannah River. But the city also has quite the reputation for delectable cuisine, some of which I sampled during a recent visit to Savannah.
When it comes to Southern cooking, you can’t go wrong with a stop in at The Lady & Sons, Paula Deen’s restaurant with her sons, Jamie and Bobby. As a girl born in Mississippi and raised in Georgia, I was ready for the full-on Southern cuisine experience and I wasn’t disappointed. When the waitress came to take our drink order, I asked for sweet tea, and she responded, “Would you like lemon and fresh mint with that?” Fresh mint? Yes, please! It’s rare to ﬁnd restaurants that offer fresh mint with their tea, and, wow, what a difference it makes!
The next unexpected pleasure came shortly thereafter with the delivery of fresh biscuits and hoecakes. These buttery biscuits were light and just melted on my tongue. Not a fan of cornbread or its relatives like hoecakes, I passed on mine, but my dining companions said they were quite good, especially with a dollop of syrup.
Finally, it came time to order. One of the restaurant’s most popular selections, Paula’s Southern Buffet features an array of Southern favorites, including Paula’s famous fried chicken and homemade sides like collard greens, macaroni and cheese, and lima beans. However, I couldn’t say no to the chicken potpie, nor could most of the others at my table. And, again, we were not disappointed. In fact, this was the best chicken potpie I have ever had!
It started with a very light puff pastry crust that was woven together similar to a pie crust topping. Once you made it past this mouthwatering opening statement, you were rewarded with chunks of chicken, peas, carrots and other vegetables in a rich, creamy broth. It was so good I almost cried when it was gone. We wrapped up the meal with a small serving of Paula’s Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake, which, like everything else, melted in my mouth. All in all, this is a “must see, must eat” restaurant destination on every visit to Savannah.
Another Savannah favorite, B&D Burgers Bar & Grill offers 18 different burgers in addition to a “build your own burger” option. There are other menu items, but you can’t come here without ordering a burger. My choice was a 1/3-pound, 100-percent Angus beef burger topped with blue cheese crumbles and apple smoked bacon and served on a fresh-baked Kaiser bun with hand-cut fries. This was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had, and I made sure to eat every bite. I’m already looking forward to the day I return to Savannah and can have another one.
Of course, you can’t come to the Georgia coast and not eat seafood, so head out to Tybee Island and The Crab Shack. With a menu that includes a low-country boil, Capt’n Crab’s Sampler and, yes, a selection of crab that includes blue crabs, stone crab, Dungeness crab, Alaskan king crab and snow crab, there’s deﬁnitely enough offerings to satisfy your seafood craving. For me, it came in the form of snow crab legs. I know it’s getting old hearing me say that everything I’ve eaten in Savannah is the best I’ve had, but, hey, it’s true. These are some of the best crab legs I’ve ever had. They were so moist and juicy, the meat practically slid out of the shells. It took a lot of the work out of eating crab legs, giving me time to really savor the sweet crab meat.
Finally, you have to complete your meal with a cool treat at Leopold’s Ice Cream. A Savannah mainstay since 1919, Leopold’s features an old-fashioned ice cream counter where servers scoop up your favorite ﬂavors to top a cone or create a ﬂoat or sundae. There are 24 regular ﬂavors accompanied by a number of seasonal and special ﬂavors. For me, a former Girl Scout (Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low was from Savannah), I had to have the Thin Mints & Cream, which was a mint ice cream featuring pieces of Thin Mints (my favorite!) cookies. It was so creamy and delicious and, unfortunately, gone in just a matter of minutes. On my next visit to Savannah, I plan to get some more, and hopefully, will have my daughter (also a Girl Scout) with me so she can try it too. The shop even offers a special Girl Scout fun patch for sale that I just know my daughter will want!
Yes, Savannah is home to many fantastic restaurants, but if you are new to the city, these are a great way to start your culinary exploration. If you do check them out, let us know what you think and what your favorite food is.
Note: Karon visited Savannah and enjoyed meals at The Lady & Sons, The Crab Shack, and Leopold’s Ice Cream as a guest of the Georgia Department of Economic Tourism. She visited B&D Burgers Bar & Grill and Leopold’s Ice Cream on a separate visit, during which she paid for her own meals. All opinions are her own.