Dine South 2021-22
This year, South magazine’s dining issue is back in full force. We know you missed Savannah's best compilation of the who, what and where of the hottest restaurants in the Lowcountry. From stunning sunset views to the swankiest spots downtown, here is who is serving the best plates around.
Photography by John Alexander, D. Paul Graham, Blake Crosby, Ian Santiago
Perry Lane Emporium
Bursting with vibrant energy, The Emporium Kitchen & Wine Market is a local gathering place boasting approachable, curated, and highly-diverse offerings.
The culinary experience at the Perry Lane Hotel is nothing short of absolutely incredible. Matthew Douzuk has recently been appointed as the new General Manager of the Perry Lane Hotel and has hit the ground running. With plans of invigorating employee culture and encouraging creativity, the team has worked to make the guest experience nothing short of absolutely amazing. The Emporium Kitchen & Wine Market is the main dining experience, which offers an elevated-yet-welcoming ambiance, boasting approachable and highly curated offerings. From fresh fish to wild foraged mushrooms, Perry Lane is committed to using locally sourced items and quality ingredients. Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Peregrin, Perry Lane’s esteemed rooftop bar, or The Wayward, the perfect punchy place for a nightcap. But what really sets the Perry Lane’s dining experience apart is the emphasis on hospitality and service. The offerings at these community hotspots encapsulates that European essence of leisure — with dining being a treasured experience. Ranked in Travel & Leisure’s Top 500 Hotels in the world, Perry Lane has the unparalleled ability to make anyone who walks through their doors feel at home. •
254 E Perry St.
The Perry Lane Hotel / Savannah, GA
The Kessler Experience
Richard Kessler has not only curated exceptional hotels, but has also amassed a repertoire of culinary gems. Kessler dining covers all the bases, from an upscale steakhouse to walk-up BBQ to biergartens to tacos and tequila.
Stone & Webster / Plant Riverside District
This upscale steak and seafood restaurant serves high-end cuts and local catches in a jazzy, sultry setting. The restaurant is named after the original architects of the power plant building and is situated riverside with views of the smokestacks, the signature feature of the Plant Riverside District.
District Seafood / District Smokehouse / Plant Riverside District
Walk-up dining with District Seafood and District Smokehouse. Enjoy all your fresh and flaky favorites, or Southern style melt-in-your-mouth creations with open-air seating and iconic views of the river. Seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The Baobab Lounge / Plant Riverside District
Transport to a different continent by dining at the Baobab Lounge. Discover and sample a curated selection of wine, cocktails, and small plates, as well as modern and traditional artwork from different regions throughout Africa in this one-of-a-kind Savannah lounge.
Graffito Pizza / Plant Riverside district
Graffito brings an avant-garde approach to authentic Neapolitan-style pizza. Boasting some of the best pizza in Ga., this colorful and eclectic space is a high-energy space to gather with friends. One taste and you’ll know — this is some of the best pizza Savannah offers.
700 Drayton / The Mansion on Forsyth Park
Executive Chef Daniel Hergert elevates every detail at 700 Drayton, utilizing locally sourced Coastal Georgia cuisine like you’ve never tasted before. Enjoy an extensive wine list or indulge in a crafted cocktail for a date night or special occasion.
Savannah Tequila Co. / Plant Riverside District
This recent addition to the Plant Riverside District’s culinary scene offers some of the city’s best and most authentic Mexican cuisine — not to mention the region’s most extensive selection of premium tequila, mezcal and agave spirits. Dine indoors or outdoors, or order to-go. Come for the tequila and stay for the tacos… or come for the tacos and stay for the tequila.
A combination of Lowcountry gourmet, fresh seafood, and a farm-to-fork concept.
a.Lure, located in downtown Savannah, is a farm-to-fork concept with a contemporary twist on traditional Southern recipes. Owner Daniel Berman’s inspiration for a.Lure came from his love of fresh seafood, memories of home cooked meals, and his appreciation for produce straight from the farm. Specializing in seafood, a.Lure’s menu has a refined take on the home-cooked meals we’re all familiar with — crab cakes, Lowcountry boil and shrimp and grits. While a.Lure strives to include traditional elements, innovation and creativity are at the center of each dish.
Situated in a historic building in downtown Savannah, a.Lure’s ambiance is the perfect balance of contemporary and classic for an aesthetic that radiates lightheartedness and sophistication. Sip on elevated libations garnished with aromatic florals, or smoldering, smoky concoctions. Each element at a.Lure is tailored to make any night out or occasion special.
309 W Congress St.
Distinctive downtown restaurant and events venue known for its creative culinary and cocktail programs.
From the same team that brought The Ordinary Pub to life, the Common Restaurant continues to serve top-notch food with an adult-oriented atmosphere. Cocktails flow from brunch through close every day the Common Restaurant’s doors are open. The brunch and dinner drink menus are robust and sure to impress even the most seasoned reveler.
As for the food component, the Common knows how to satisfy both hungry locals and guests of the hostess city, alike. The tenured culinary team draws inspiration from a wealth of sources, including coveted family recipes, southern comfort staples, and French classics. Plates like country fried chicken and waffles, short rib hot plate, lobster white gumbo, curry shrimp & grits, champagne butter mussels, southern fried lamb pops, and oysters prepared any way, are what bring diners back for more, over and over again. Enjoy the lively dining room, beautiful private dining spaces, or stretch out on the patio and take in the sights and sounds of Savannah’s historic downtown.
118 E Broughton St.
The Alida Hotel
The Alida joins modern life with the timeless charm of Savannah’s revitalized riverfront and new entertainment district.
The Alida’s quartet of restaurants and bars showcases their culinary range in offering honest, traditional Southern fare with a modern, whimsical twist. The hospitality demonstrated by the staff throughout The Alida contributes to the overall quality of authenticity that radiates through every aspect of the hotel, including the dining options.
The Alida is perhaps most known for their rooftop bar, The Lost Square, and their feature restaurant, Rhett. Rhett is carefully balanced between rustic and modern vibes, much like the menu. Dining is a lighthearted, but ultimately satisfying experience. The dinner menu balances small plates and large plates with an emphasis on local and regional recipes and ingredients. Don’t pass up the dessert menu! Brunch is also offered daily, with the same essence of local favorites and crowd-pleasers. But start or end your night at The Trade Room — the only whiskey bar in town with over 60 different bottles of whiskey — a place to laugh, a living space, or a place to meet while traveling from port to port.
412 Williamson St.
With an ever changing and evolving food and drink menu, this neighborhood bar will never go out of style!
Bar.Food is the best spot to grab drinks and bites — all day and late night — without the hassle of navigating downtown Savannah. Located in Habersham Village, Bar.Food is known for executing the perfect bar essentials with a cozy-chic atmosphere.
Recently, Bar.Food has stepped up their game with several new features, including a sports bar and expanded menu.
Bar.Food Sports is an addition to the original Bar.Food bar and offers a variety of sports-themed cocktails in addition to the extensive beer and wine selections. Guests can enjoy pool tables, darts, karaoke, trivia night, and 12 big-screen TVs with all the games. The expanded menu now features more than just bites, but lunch and dinner, too. Categories include apps, salads, wraps, sandwiches, bowls and plates. Be sure to check out Sunday brunch and dine indoors or out on the patio with mimosa towers and delicious menu options.
523 Habersham St.
Authentic Mexican cuisine! Renowned for their fried fish taco, pollo burrito and carne asada quesadillas!
Looking for the best homemade guac in Savannah? Take it from the countless local reviews — Orale Tacos+ has the good stuff. It’s that fresh, vibrant flavor without the added spice that often masks the real essence of delicious guac. While unmatched guacamole is certainly a draw, the rest of the menu is equally as delectable, and the tacos can’t be beat.
Located in the heart of downtown Savannah, Orale Tacos+ is a festive reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the streets. This casual, family-friendly establishment serves modern Mexican cuisine for dine in, patio and carry-out options. All the bases are covered: nachos, tacos, burritos, quesadilla. However, the Orales special dishes are where the heart is — and guests rave about the vegan and vegetarian options. Top any authentic dish with one of the impressive dessert options, from blueberry flapjack cakes, to churros, to sopapillas. And naturally, the margaritas are always on point. •
111 W Congress St.
Jazz’d Tapas Bar
Enjoy a night out at Jazz’d, a cool and contemporary getaway. A sultry underground hot spot unique to anything else in Savannah. Things are just a little bit spicier below street level. Tucked away under Barnard Street on the fringe on Ellis Square is one of Savannah’s hidden gems: Jazz’d Tapas Bar.
Born in the era of the “small plate revolution,” Jazz’d Tapas Bar’s menu evokes a sense of freedom in their “Americanized” small plate offerings. Guests will never suffer from food-envy in this upscale-metro establishment with choices from oysters Rockefeller to truffle mac & cheese, blackened salmon, grilled flank steak and lamb chops with garlic & rosemary — all in mix-and-match portions. Along with the savory bites comes the sultry libations. With an array of craft martinis, mojitos and other cocktails, Jazz’d never fails to thrill when it comes to mixing a drink. They also offer an extensive and exceptional wine list. Moreover, along with the savory and sultry, Jazz’d also does swanky vibes. Find live music Thursday through Saturday and good vibes anytime. •
52 Barnard St.
John McGraw’s Irish Pub
Elevated pub fare, fresh ingredients, Irish flare.
John McGraw’s Irish Pub is the newest installment on River Street, brought to Savannah by those who brought local-favorite CoCo’s Sunset Bar and Grille to Tybee Island. John McGraw’s will inherit the space previously occupied by River Street’s legendary Bayou Café. The new Irish pub will replace the Cajun flare with another Savannah tradition, honoring the city’s Irish heritage, as it is a strong part of the fabric of the local community.
While John McGraw’s is a new stop on River Street, it is building upon old traditions, contributing to the new age of growth in Savannah. Guests can expect a lively atmosphere and friendly faces, as well as an authentic feel. Enjoy typical pub fare, elevated with fresh ingredients. Be sure to stop in and raise a glass, as John McGraw’s expects to open its doors later this year. Sláinte! •
14 N Abercorn Ramp
Phone, Web and restaurant coming soon!
Wiley’s Championship BBQ
All the best BBQ has a history and Wiley’s is no different. Current owner, Nate Shaffer, took the reins from Wiley himself, carrying on the tradition of “fine swine dining” in Savannah. Guests can dine like champions when indulging in Wiley’s award-winning barbecue, from mouth-watering plates, savory sandwiches, smoked wings and more. This St. Louis-style barbecue recipe was honed and perfected through the years, racking up awards in national circuits as fans sing its praises far and wide.
As an established testament to Southern soul food, the restaurant celebrates its worldwide patronage with a pushpin map and highlights the luxury and exotic cars that swing through, and is frequented by professional athletes and actors alike. Tucked away in an unassuming storefront off US Highway 80, an unknowing passerby would never guess a nationally (and internationally) acclaimed barbecue joint (a Travelers’ Choice 2021) was whipping up some mean plates for the lunch and dinner rush. Once inside, Wiley’s exudes authentic Southern hospitality and tradition, along with their ever-impressive food.
4700 Highway 80, E.
CoCo’s Sunset Grille
Nestled in the marsh behind Tybee Island, on the shores of Lazaretto Creek seafood simply doesn’t get any fresher than this.
If you’ve heard of CoCo’s Sunset Grille, you’ve surely heard of their friendly mascot, CoCo the monkey. As the story has it, the restaurant local Savannahians and Tybee residents adore was founded when a curious CoCo discovered the western side of the island — and its beautiful sunset vantage point. This family-friendly atmosphere is great for the whole crew, family and friends. South declared CoCo’s as one of the region’s best “Beach Dining” restaurants due to its spectacular location and views. However, there’s much more to CoCo’s than meets the eye — it’s also all about what meets the stomach! From the dock, through the kitchen and straight to the table, guests can enjoy local Southern seafood preparations. The menu includes all the favorites — seafood and fried pickins alike — along with refreshing cocktails. Want to check out some of the dishes beforehand? Visit CoCo’s on Instagram @cocostybee to see what food and drinks CoCo is showing off! •
Lazaretto Creek Marina, 1A Old US Highway 80
Tybee Island, GA
South’s “Face of Tacos and Tequila”, authentic Mexican food and traditional recipes with and upbeat dining experience.
Hailing from Morelia, Michoacán, a team of brothers and “compadres” built Tequila’s Town — a local favorite that combines authentic, traditional Mexican fare with a modern interpretation. While the vision for Tequila’s Town is “a place for great tequila and a good taco,” guests will discover an extensive-yet-thoughtful menu with a bit of something for everyone. The full menu includes all the essentials crafted to perfection, plus exquisite salads, savory Tex-Mex bowls, seafood selections, and of course, endless taco creations. Vegans and vegetarians rejoice, because Tequila’s Town is committed to accommodating all diners. Don’t forget to pair one of their over 100 world-class tequilas with any meal. Salud!
Savannahians can visit any of Tequila’s Town’s three locations: Downtown, Sandfly, and Tacos+Tequila on Habersham Street. Jacksonville residents can now visit their own local Tequila’s Town as well. Enjoy weekly specials such as Taco Tuesday and Thursday drafts specials. •
109 Whitaker St.
Friendship Coffee Co.
Great coffee. Delicious food. Community.
There are two important factors that comprise the perfect coffee shop experience: good friends and great coffee! At its heart, Friendship Coffee Co. is all about community. With regular events and a cozy, homey atmosphere, it’s the best place to gather with guests or make new friends. Their premium Arabica Coffee Beans are roasted in small batches to order by a local artisan roaster to ensure a fresh, delightful coffee experience — because great coffee makes the world go ‘round. Friendship Coffee Co.’s homegrown recipes are made from scratch daily to bring the perfect blend of coffee, pastries, and entree items to friends from far and near. In addition to their food and beverage options, they boast a variety of packaged goods from local vendors and artisans in the Greater Savannah Area. •
205 Johnny Mercer Blvd Suite I
We love to show our friends, family, our guests as well as unknown strangers a good time. That’s what hospitality is all about!
On the way to Skidaway sits a casual coastal cuisine gem: Driftaway Cafe. This dining oasis is the perfect catch-all for those seeking fresh, coastal flavors in a charming, relaxed atmosphere. Outfitted with vibrant blue paint, stained glass windows and nautical decor, dining at Driftaway Café is truly a delightful experience. Moreover, the porch seating, adorned with lush plants, is the perfect setting to a sunset meal. Guests can enjoy live music on Wednesdays by local performers.
But more about the cuisine! Co-owner Michelle Quattlebaum spent many summers off the east end of Grand Bahama, immersed in Caribbean flavors. These influences have made their way to the Driftaway Café menu in dishes like Jerk salmon and Jamaican French toast. For those who appreciate seafood, dishes like diver scallops, Sandfly seafood platter, Tybee tuna and classic shrimp and grits are sure to send hearts racing. Enjoy a choice of over 22 craft beers on tap, brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and half-price wine bottles on Tuesdays.
7400 Skidaway Rd.
“When I found out the location was right near where I grew up on the beautiful Isle of Hope, I knew it was right. It was a little rundown place in a rundown set of duplex apartments that had been moved to where they sat from where Candler hospital sits on Derenne Avenue today. Two women that had never been in the restaurant business had opened a steamed seafood place and named it ‘Island Girls.’ I have been blessed with an awesome crew at Driftaway the last few years. Some of my team have been with me for ten years or more. A few for almost twenty. One in particular for almost twenty three years!”
~ Owner Robyn Quattlebaum
Stop in and try a refreshing fruit smoothie, a chocolate dipped fruit cone, donuts, and more!
You may know of Edible Arrangements by their crowd-pleasing food creations for any occasion. These delightful displays add a touch of sweetness to any gathering and can also be delivered nation-wide with same-day delivery. The local Savannah store is located on Abercorn Street, creating easy-access for local residents to stop by in person!
What some may not know about Edible Arrangement is that they do not only cater to occasions and delivery, but they also offer fresh treats in store! Stop in and try a refreshing fruit smoothie, a chocolate dipped fruit cone, donuts, and more. Edible Arrangements is the perfect way to satisfy any sweet tooth with real fruit… and sometimes a touch of chocolate, too. Savannahians don’t need a momentous event to add a special something to any day. Pick up a treat for a picnic, lunch break snack, or just because.
10010 Abercorn St.
This restaurant and bar is the perfect place for date night or dinner with friends for an undercurrent of thrill.
Stepping into Repeal 33 feels like transporting back in time to an era of edginess, style, and mystery — all traits of a prohibition-era speakeasy. The exposed brick, grand bar, red leather booths, pressed tin ceiling, iron details and wall of luminescent liquor are the defining details of this effortlessly cool space. This restaurant and bar is the perfect place for date night or dinner with friends for an undercurrent of thrill. The menu features elevated fare from ribeye to seared scallops, along with a raw bar section. Repeal 33 also offers brunch and — you guessed it — endless drink selections. The drink menu features a new cocktail program with emphasis on the classic, with a flair. Those who partake in now-legal libations can enjoy a whiskey menu that does not quit and bring countless whiskeys from around the world straight to your lips.
125 MLK Blvd.
Family-owned since 1997, Jalapeno’s has been serving fresh, authentic Mexican food in an atmosphere as festive as a fiesta for more than 20 years. Managed by brothers Fernando and Arnold Castellanos, they expanded from one restaurant into a Savannah franchise with seven locations in Savannah, Pooler, Richmond Hill, Rincon, Southside, Godley Station, and the Islands. In each of their locations, they have come to serve as a neighborhood home for fun-filled family celebrations featuring authentic Mexican flavors. Find handcrafted Mexican and Mexican-fusion dishes made with locally sourced ingredients on their menu alongside creatively mixed cocktails like the Paloma Margarita: a blend of two beloved and well-known tropical refreshers. And don’t forget to order the traditional churros or a delicate flan for dessert to top any meal.
7 E Broughton St.
Two Cracked Eggs
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Two Cracked Eggs takes its role seriously. Breakfast is a culmination of some of the best food the South has to offer, from farm-fresh eggs, fluffy, buttery biscuits, and breakfast shrimp and grits. With breakfast and lunch served all day long, you can also take your sweet time making your way downtown to their two locations: River Street and Bay Street. There’s something for everyone: if you’re the DIY type, build your own omelet or crepe and enjoy a custom-crafted creation with a steaming mug of authentic Cuban coffee. Make it a little more midday with their lunch menu, a bounty of salads, sandwiches and wraps for every taste. Naturally it wouldn’t be brunch without an adult beverage, and Two Cracked Eggs delivers with mimosas and its signature Blue Cheese Bloody Mary. It’s a little bit breakfast and a little bit lunch, filled with mouthwatering flavor and served up fresh.
202 E Bay St.
301 W River St.
Erica Davis Lowcountry
Hardly any other meal celebrates the South’s culinary heritage and natural resources quite like a quintessential lowcountry boil. True Southern style is what businesswoman Erica Davis’ enterprise boils down to, as her restaurant and catering company offers the highest quality Coastal Southern cuisine. As the granddaughter of Charles J. Russo Sr. Seafood founders, Davis’ roots in the Savannah community run deep. She’s served the Lowcountry for over 20 years, catering events with attendances anywhere from 50 to 3000. From fresh seafood to barbecue, and more — Erica Davis Catering leaves nothing to be desired. •
3209 E Victory Dr.,
Bluffton, South Carolina
Burnt Church Distillery
Founded by brothers, Billy and Sean Watterson, the mission of Burnt Church Distillery is to craft authentic, Lowcountry spirits that honor local history while giving back to the community that it serves.
Crafting new spirits and telling old tales, the distillery serves as a local communal historian for residents and visitors and claims to have solved the mystery of Burnt Church Road. Located right in the heart of Old Town Bluffton, S.C., the 20,000-square-foot distillery serves up craft whiskey, gin, vodka, and moonshine, as well as hand-crafted cocktails, craft beer and wine. And in the spirit of inclusion, Burnt Church Distillery has also created a non-alcoholic spirit; Amethyst, for those who choose not to drink.
The Burnt Church Distillery campus includes “The Sanctuary,” a 7,000-square-foot tasting room, “The Study,” to discover the area’s unique history, a VIP area, event spaces, the production room, “The Mercantile,” where merchandise can be purchased, a cigar humidor, as well as a rickhouse where whiskey barrels are stored and aged. Burnt Church Distillery is very much an adult playground and spiritual sanctuary rolled into one.
In addition to premium tastings and tours of the campus, “The Sanctuary” offers a variety of food to satisfy every palette, or adjoined to the distillery is Pizza Co., a family-friendly, casual pizza shop offering specialty pies at a fast pace.
Visitors can also enjoy a variety of entertainment offerings; including an artisan market and live music every weekend. This includes a monthly concert series that benefits a different local charity every month.
It was important to the Wattersons that Burnt Church Distillery was about more than just spirits. They made it their mission to give back to their local community every step of the way.
120 Bluffton Road
“The good news is we solved the Burnt Church Road mystery. And it’s like nothing anyone’s heard before.” – Billy Watterson
The three-time voted best sandwich of Bluffton belongs to Alvin Ord’s. Why settle for less, when you can rock with the best? Alvin Ord’s is steeped in rich sandwich tradition. The legend of the Alvin Ord’s sandwich predates their current award-winning legacy, back to 1970 when Alvin Ord Johnson of Longview, Texas, invented the “Salvation” sandwich. Like pure redemption on bread, this sandwich launched a four-decade-long tradition of excellence.
Alvin Ord’s of Bluffton is family-owned by Chris and Corri Lunde, who brought the sandwich tradition to the Lowcountry and ran with it. Corri has lived in Bluffton her whole life, and her sandwich shop feeds the heart of the May River town. What sets the award-winning sandwiches apart are the ingredients. Alvin Ord’s only uses the freshest produce, meats, fixins, and bread. Adherence to their special formula is nearly a religious practice for the sandwich shop — so much so that the original Alvin Ord Johnson actually picked up and joined the ranks of Trappist Monks in Washington State. Hence, the shop’s logo: a monk holding a sandwich.
1230 May River Rd
The Pearl Kitchen and Bar
Southern comfort at its finest in the heart of Old Town Bluffton.
At the center of Calhoun Street — the heart of Old Town Bluffton, since the days when the packet ships brought news from the outside world to the dock at its southern end — is the Pearl Kitchen & Bar. At this central location, The Pearl is situated in the best place to explore what makes Bluffton special, both on the plate and off. Old Town’s favorite spot for elevated cuisine, The Pearl offers a full sensory experience, with a menu of inspired steak and seafood dishes complemented by an expertly curated wine list, served amid contemporary Lowcountry splendor that is a feast for the eyes. Between the intimate dining room, the stylish bar and the wide front porch, home to some of the best people watching in the world, there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
55 Calhoun St