In our quest to become a true food destination, Savannah has reached its share of milestones. Compiled by Annabelle Carr . Photography by Teresa Earnest.
The Rapture Sundae at Lulu’s Chocolate Bar
Lulu’s ladies start things off right by hand-making an edible chocolate bowl. Three scoops of frozen mousse or ice cream later, they layer on the fresh berries and line up pitchers of dark chocolate, white chocolate and caramel sauces, along with sides of Chambord, Amarula and Meletti Cioccolato liqueur. Save room for the chocolate bowl.
Date night, Historic District, luluschocolate bar.com
Cheesecake from Yia Yia’s Kitchen
The flaky, gooey baklava is a no-brainer after a hefty helping of moussaka from this neighborhood takeout joint—but have you tried Greek cheesecake? These creamy little slices of sweet subtlety are a richly satisfying finish to any meal—and a great take-along to the classic Ardsley dinner party.
Hostess gift, Ardsley Park, yiayiasav.com
The Monte Cristo Sandwich at Soho South Café
How can a ham and cheese sandwich sate your sweet tooth? Bear with us. Soho’s take on the French classic is dusted with confectioner’s sugar and served with a strawberry dipping sauce. This decadent treat is Willy Wonka’s dream: a multicourse meal in one satisfying serving.
Lazy lunch, Historic District, sohosouth cafe.com
Red Velvet Pancakes at the Collins Quarter
Wonderful things happen at the corner of Bull and Oglethorpe streets—and this signature Southern dessert, reinvented as breakfast, is among the best. Served with cream cheese mousse, balsamic macerated strawberries and shaved dark chocolate, these fluffy crimson circles will erase your memory of all that’s wrong with the world.
Sunday brunch, Historic District, thecollinsquarter.com
Churros con Chocolateat Tequila’s Town
Dipped in thick, warm Abuelita chocolate, these traditional sticks of cinnamon-dusted fried dough are a hangover cure that dates back to the Spanish-American conquest. Use them to soak up some of the top-notch tequila you’re sure to indulge in at this beloved, bustling taco joint.
After dinner and drinks, Historic District and Sandfly, tequilastown.com
Soda Floats at Betty Bombers
We’ve waxed poetic about the curative powers of a Betty burger before, but nothing befits the nostalgic décor of this late-night fave quite like a scoop of vanilla ice cream, topped with a fizzy pour of your chosen glass-bottled soda. Coke, root beer, strawberry, orange or grape? Use this frothy concoction to wash down your Swiss-cheesy Armed Neutrality burger or the spicy Fire in the Hole.
Late-night snack, Victorian District, bettybombers.com
Honey Saison at Service Brewing Co.
Step off the beaten path and take a tour of duty through this hometown craft brewery where the frothy suds are concocted by bona fide veterans. One of the company’s research and development brainstorms is kissed by the golden nectar of local bees and drafted through a nozzle festooned with an original work of art. Salute!
When guests come to town, Historic District, servicebrewing.com
Salumi “Grinder” on The Florence’s New Lunch Menu
Don’t worry; it’s got nothing to do with the hookup app—a “grinder” is what they call a sub sandwich in the frosty hinterlands. And this one is a flavorful treat: layers of housemade mortadella, pepperoni, salami cotto, asiago cheese, Calabrian chili relish, olive spread, mustard and mayo—along with a crisp side salad. We’re so glad The Florence’s Kyle Jacovino is embracing daylight now.
Lunch meeting with the boss, Victorian District, theflorencesavannah.com
Pimento Cheese and Spiced Georgia Nuts at Green Truck Pub
This is pimento cheese like it’s supposed to be: a sharp, tangy and creamy family recipe, served with house-made pickles. Pair it with a bowl of the rosemary-spiced pecans and walnuts, and wash it all down with a crisp, citrusy Scattered Sun Belgian Wit, made locally at Southbound Brewery.
After-office snack, Baldwin Park, greentruckpub.com
Boiled Peanuts from Davis Produce
The “home of the killer tomato” is our love shack for the Southland’s signature snack. We like our luscious legumes salty, soft and freshly boiled—preferably spicy and still piping hot. They’ll cool as the day warms up on Tybee’s summer sands.
Beach-bound treat, Wilmington Island, On Facebook
Lowcountry Mac ’n’ Cheese at The Ordinary Pub
No list of cravings is complete without this soul-food staple, but why stop at the basic ingredients? This subterranean Broughton Street lair treats us to a creamy blend of cheddar, mozzarella and gouda, tossed with sauteed shrimp and andouille sausage for a filling feast.
When happy hour becomes dinner, Historic District, theordinarypub.com
Oreganata at Cotton and Rye
When you want a cozy date close to home, this culinary oasis has your taste buds covered. Try the oreganata: a light fish baked to Italian perfection in lemon-butter-wine-garlicy goodness and served with a giant, crispy tater tot. If your significant other saves you the tot, it must be true love.
Third date, Victorian District, cottonandrye.com
Egg in a Nest at The Grey’s New Lunch
It doesn’t get cuter—or more comforting—than the marvelous Mashama Bailey’s latest creation, listed under “hot things” on The Grey’s lunch menu. The “nest” is composed of spaghetti squash, brown butter, pecans and breadcrumbs. Pair it with the kale salad to totally veg out—and enjoy the celebrated scenery.
Mid-week pick-me-up, Historic District, thegreyrestaurant.com
Pad Thai-Bee at Bo Bien Hut
“Everything on the small but well-chosen menu is a winner,” says one of our talented tasters. “Most house pad Thai is boring, bland and generally underwhelming, but not here. The fresh ginger, miso butter, sprouts, basil and cabbage make it a must-eat.” And it doesn’t hurt that the Hut is adorable—and moments from the beach.
Alfresco escape, Tybee Island, bobienhut.com
Sweet Potato and Herb Hand Pie at Back in the Day Bakery
Until we tasted this fragrant, top-shelf hot pocket, we were devotees of the savory ham and cheese pastry. But this succulent square, packaged in a buttery pie crust, has divided our loyalties. It fits perfectly in your palm, leaving your other hand free to hoist a large latte as you make your way to a quick business meeting.
Breakfast on the go, Starland, backinthedaybakery.com
Ghost Pepper Sea Salt from the Salt Table
Otherwise known as the king cobra chili, the searing ghost pepper is the subject of spicy food challenges the world over. Look it up on YouTube for a little context. That’s right, it’s 300 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. For a more manageable experience, Dave and Carol Lagasse have brought us a ghost-infused sea salt. Use with caution.
When you need to drink more water, Historic District, salttable.com
Spicy Butter Chicken at Naan Appetit
How can something be so creamy and so tangy at the same time? We’re talking oven-roasted chicken in rich and tangy tomato and fenugreek gravy. Go ahead, request the fiery version. You can always cool your tongue with a yummy yogurt concoction, such as cucumber raita dip or a slurpably sweet mango lassi.
Dinner and an Imax, Pooler, naanappetit.com
Dan Dan Noodles at Wang’s II
You won’t find this complex dish on the American takeout menu—all the more reason to cozy up to your delivery man. We’re talking spicy peanut noodles with basil, minced pork and chili vinaigrette. After too many pupu platters, this aromatic appetizer is sure to wake up your taste buds. (BTW, let us know if you ever find Wang’s I.)
Rainy night, Midtown or delivery, On Facebook
Habanero Caramel Truffle at Chocolat by Adam Turoni
The adorable Adam Turoni is much more than eye candy. The talented young chocolatier’s hot caramels in dark chocolate make our hearts skip a beat—and that loving touch of Cypress sea salt sends the flavors singing. And yes, these truffles are gluten-free.
New love or big anniversary, Historic District, chocolatat.com
Verdant Kitchen Crystallized Ginger
Savannah’s own Lebanon Plantation is taking us back to our roots with a ginger Renaissance. Warm yourself from the inside with this fiery treat, preserved in cane sugar for extra sweetness. Eat it like candy or toss it into a salad for extra bite. Use it as a digestive aid or as a bribe. No one’s judging. We can’t; our mouths are full.
Between meals, multiple retail locations, verdantkitchen.com
Infrared Sriracha Custard from Exit Strategy IceCreamists at Lucky’s Market
As hot as it is cold, this locally made gourmet ice cream is a mesmerizing paradox. With the color and flavor of pure flame, it simultaneously administers brain freeze and mouth heat—and we can’t get enough. Thank you, Lisa Smith and Grafton Kent, for inspiring our palates.
Request it while it lasts (sold seasonly), Midtown, luckysmarket.com
Trinidad Sour Cocktail from 22 Square Bar and Restaurant
The lovely Jane Fishel and her talented team keep us shaken and stirred with their expertly mixed cocktails. This tart taste of lemon, rye, Angostura bitters and aromatic Orgeat syrup keeps us coming back to the Andaz hotel bar for more.
Happy hour, Historic District, savannah.andaz.hyatt.com
Kimchi at Han Me Oriental Foods and Gifts
Who knew fermented cabbage could taste so good? Kim Yoo, the owner of Han Me, that’s who. Pick up the house-made kimchi and use it as a spicy-sour garnish for all your favorite dishes—or eat it with steamed rice as a Korean breakfast. Bonus points: it’s a tummy-friendly probiotic, and it’s rich in vitamins A and C.
Breakfast of culinary champions, Midtown, On Facebook
Phickles Pickled Okies at Smith Brothers Butcher Shop
Smith Brothers is full of surprise and delight, but these brightly flavored gems are a mainstay—and a Savannah magazine staff favorite. Small-batched by a family in Athens, okra is just one of a range of colorful veggies that meet their match in a cheerful Phickles Mason jar. Add it to your salad, bloody Mary or charcuterie tray.
In a “crunch,” Historic District, smithbrothersbutchershop.com
Limeade at Leopold’s Ice Cream
Leopold’s is Savannah’s celebrated home of sweetness, but this picturesque parlor has a secret sour weapon: grass-green citrus, just begging to be squeezed into a thirst-quenching, old-fashioned “ade.” One day, when it’s just too hot for the heaviness of ice cream—it happens—remember these words, and discover for yourself the fresh, crisp joys of this limey libation.
A parched summer afternoon, Historic District, leopoldsicecream.com
The Citrique at Local 11 Ten
What can we say? Sour drinks are refreshing. The bitters of every citrus fruit known to man combine with Hangar mandarin vodka, Giffard grapefruit liqueur and a splash of St. Germain to make the palate-cleansing Citrique. In the heat of summer, this dust-cutter makes our nights upstairs at Perch possible—even downright pleasant.
Drinks with friends, Victorian District, local11ten.com
The Jerk Store Slider at Sly’s Slider’s and Fries
We’ve sung the praises of Sly’s Pawful of Falafel and garlic fries in the past, but this hip little hole in the wall has so much more to offer. “I love that juicy chicken with the sour-and-sweet grilled pineapple,” one of our trusted tasters reveals. “It feels summery to me all year round—and not too heavy since it’s just a slider.”
Power lunch, Victorian District, slysslidersandfries.com
Natasha Gaskill’s Minted Grapefruit Pie at Smith Brothers Butcher Shop
We’re buying whatever Natasha’s selling at Smith Brothers—the A Squad Bake Shop proprietor is just that good at what she does—but this smart tart makes us smile with our mouths full. If the crisp notes of the bitter grapefruit and the sweet mint were a perfume, we’d be wearing it right now. Instead, we’re just wearing a few crust crumbs.
On a whim, Historic District, smithbrothersbutchershop.com
Pitaya Bowls at Beetnix Superfood and Juice Bar
We’re so proud of Savannah native and Dancing Dogs yogi Shelley Lowther for bringing us Beetnix: a relatively affordable, incredibly delicious superfood cafe right in the middle of downtown. Without her vision, we might never have discovered pitaya, a brilliant magenta fruit with the flavor of berries and the consistency of sherbet. Try it in the Warrior Two bowl for a crisp, sweet, all-natural treat.
When on Broughton Street, Historic District, beetnixbar.com
The Salad Specials at Circa 1875 Gastropub
Widely known as one of Savannah’s most consistently tasty restaurants, this après-event gathering spot takes its specials seriously. Case in point: Jesse Stone’s delicate spinach-and-endive salad, which expertly balances the flavors of poached pears, spiced pecans, gently lemony poppy seed dressing and creamy soft-rind cheese. You won’t read about it on the menu, so be sure to listen closely when you hear the specials. This is salad at its best: a cooling treat, not a chore to eat.
Night on the town, Historic District, circa1875.com
The Co-Worker Cleanse at Savannah Squeeze
Juice cleanses not only taste fresh; they can help us rejuvenate and cleanse from the inside out. Too bad our fellow staffers keep baking brownies and bringing in breakfast biscuits. Savannah Squeeze has a solution: safety in numbers. Sign up with three or more co-workers, and you’ll all get 15 percent off your cleanse. It’s a great way to save money—and save yourself from temptation.
Turning over a new leaf, Midtown, savannahsqueeze.com
Cold Soups at Butterhead Greens Café
Keep an eye on the specials menu at this green-and-black Bull Street landmark, where crisp, creative cold soups make their seasonal appearance. The farm-to-table chefs behind Butterhead have been known to craft fresh flavors from melons, avocados, herbs—whatever’s ripe and in-season. But hurry; when SCAD shuts down for the summer, these Butterheads often abandon us for weeks at a time.
Too hot for lunch, Victorian District, butterheadgreens.com
Watermelon Juice at the Forsyth Farmers’ Market
Brought to us by the Southern African-American Farmers’ Organic Network (SAFFON), this cooling beverage is available fresh-pressed on Saturdays at the south end of Forsyth Park. It’s pretty much the essence of fresh and more effective than sugared drinks when it comes to beating the heat. Oh, and it benefits a great cause.
High noon on Saturday, Victorian District, forsythfarmersmarket.com
The Seasonal Spritz at The Florence
It takes a special flavor to taste fresh week after week, but one of our tasters claims to have found it in her favorite cocktail: a roomy wine glass filled with Cappelletti, sparkling wine and a few fresh flavors that change with the season. (For example, winter brings us festive blood orange and vermouth.) “The Florence has mastered the aperetivo to prosecco ratio,” says the taster. “The bitterness and bubbles feel like a refreshing alcoholic dance in my mouth.”
Every Tuesday night, Victorian District, theflorencesavannah.com
Homemade Fried Bread at the Flying Monk Noodle Bar
If you’re like us, you hit the Monk to slurp noodles, just as the name suggests. So, when one of our tasters suggested the fried bread side, we were perplexed. Five piping hot, pillowy pieces later, we’re convinced that this simple staple is fried goodness in its purest form. If only bok choy was this tasty.
The night before your diet, Historic District, flywiththemonk.com
Tempura Lobster Tail Sushi Roll at Ele Fine Fusion
What could be more decadent and special than sushi? A juicy, deep-fried lobster tail rolled up in a pristine roll with avocado and masago, of course. We have Ele Tran and Sean Thongsiri to thank for this filling delicacy, served up at their sleek, L.A.-style mothership. Wash it down with sparkling sake for the fusion paradox.
Second date, Islands, elesavannah.com
The Sizzlers of Catan and the Lord of the Wings at The Chromatic Dragon
It’s not just the clever names or the playful atmosphere; this gamer pub just gets fried food. The Sizzlers of Catan are beer-battered, smoked cocktail links served with your choice of Guinness cheese sauce or maple Dijon. The “ten wings to rule them all” come perfectly crisped in one of eight diverse flavors. Share them with your whole adventuring party.
When you roll bad stats in D and D, Historic District, chromaticdragon.com
Benne Speckled Calamari at Sapphire Grill
Q: What has eight arms and can’t be touched? A: Chris Nason’s sesame-infused Southern take on this Mediterranean staple. It’s crispy and tender in all the right places, it’s served with tangy toasted coriander pesto, and it’s garnished with pickled yam, fresh horseradish and roasted macadamia nuts. Go ahead: try to share it.
Birthday dinner, Historic District, sapphiregrill.com
Fried Fish and Hush Puppies at Russo’s Seafood Restaurant
The Russo family has been leading the surf-to-table movement for 70 years now, but they still manage to make a meal at their little lunch spot feel like a treat. We like to take home the family-recipe crab cakes and deviled crab, but our tasters swear by the freshness of the crispy coastal comfort foods served at this bare-bones mom-and-pop off Abercorn.
Lunch date, Victorian District, russoseafood.com
PB and J Chicken Wings at Treylor Park
The staff at this Bay Street hangout has a tendency to play with their food—with favorable results. One taster makes a point of stopping in for chicken wings inspired by a childhood lunch staple. Don’t be alarmed; these crispy chicks are tossed in a sophisticated pecan butter and peach jelly glaze. “They’re special, and they make you feel like a kid—but a kid with awesome food in your mouth.”
Pre-gaming for a wild night, Historic District, treylorpark.com
Local Fried Oysters and Crawfish Beignets at Vic’s on the River
When we want to impress someone over lunch, we like to take them down to Vic’s, where the classic, light-filled dining room overlooks the waterfront and the elegant tinkling of dishes makes us all sit up a little straighter. Then we forget ourselves and totally mow down on lightly fried seafood with flawless consistency and flavor. After all, we have our priorities straight.
Christening the corporate spending card, Historic District, vicsontheriver.com