The Best Places to Eat and Drink in Savannah
Just outside of Georgia's great capital, there are a ton of beautiful, great places to see. However, the most spectacular of them all could very well be Savannah. It's the oldest city in the state and, as such, is not lacking when it comes to historical sites, renowned cuisine, an alluring coastline, and more weeping willows than you can shake a branch at. So as you set out to explore the cobblestone streets, with a mind set on some serious eating and drinking, allow us to help you make the most of your time in The Hostess City of the South.
Set inside an 1858 building that’s been a warehouse and a shipping company, Vic's has lots of history on display, including a hand-drawn map of General Sherman’s march through Georgia made by Union soldiers in the main dining room, which was found during a 1901 renovation. Drink to the fire, whether you prefer a Sazerac, specialty cocktails like the pineapple margarita, fresh coffee from cold brew to Americanos, or pours of single malts from Laphroaig 10 Year to Lagavulin 16. They’ve also got amazing seafood, including the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with local blue crab; a lunch serving of wild Georgia shrimp & smoked cheddar grits; flounder po' boys; and even crawfish beignets with Tabasco syrup.
It’s a great sign when a subterranean bar prints its menu as a black-and-white newspaper. Said menu rag includes Alley Cat’s local craft beer offerings, classic Champagne cocktails like Old Cubans and French 75s, cocktails listed according to the types of spirits, tikis, 1oz flights, and more. You can also get a customizable punch bowl for your party at $14 per person, and read excerpts from books like The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson, or quotes from esteemed drinkers Ernest Hemingway, Maya Angelou, and Frank Sinatra.
They have a reputation for the best food in Savannah. And that accolade is completely deserved. The fully stocked bar and antebellum feel are just the start of an authentic Southern experience, which won't be complete until you try the best collard greens you’ll ever have, best complemented by one of our favorites: the appropriately named Shellfish Tower.
For the best sandwiches in the city, hit Joe's. The sandwiches at this laid-back deli are mostly Savannah-inspired, like The River Street albacore sandwich, or the pulled pork Ellis with Jo'Slaw. Our pick is the seasonally appropriate Silly Goose because it's actually made with turkey (and bacon and pimento cheese).
The couple behind this bar -- that was named after their old pickup -- are serving up what most people think is the best pub food in town. Everything's made with local ingredients, including the robust and juicy burgers made with premium beef and topped with bacon, cheese, olive tapenade, and more. And the beer list is long on bottles and rotating taps of local craft stuff you won’t see coming out of a draft anywhere else.
You didn’t think you'd wind up taking advantage of Savannah's relatively generous open container rules and blue laws until The Rail stepped in. The snack-heavy menu includes pickled pigs' feet and a “house-toasted hot dog on a slice of white bread." And they have recurring specials like Free Fried Chicken Fridays where you get wings without paying, discounted whiskey and beer, and four hours of live music that ranges from blues to punk. By the way, if you happen to enjoy savoring an ice-cold 40, stop by here; they serve ‘em daily, cold and wrapped in brown paper bags, the way the gods intended.
Set in a defunct bank that served the community for 50 years -- and still featuring the actual bank vault inside the restaurant (because nobody likes to eat and drink with liars, especially in a bank) -- this renovated, naturally lit landmark lets you deposit Asian cuisine into yourself until you can barely withdraw from your seat. Try the curry chicken claypot, Lao lemongrass pork sausage, or the grilled “Crying Tiger” steak with dry chili dipping sauce. They also have Korean BBQ tacos, classic and specialty sushi rolls like the tempura shrimp and salmon “Wild River,” and pour cocktails like the crafty green Benjamin with Green Chartreuse, green tea, gin, lemon juice, and cava.
When ordering from the small walk-up counter, your order should include oxtails, curried goat, and some escovitch fish. And so you’ll know what you’re talking about/putting in your face, escovitch is the traditional way of cooking meats in deeply pickled and marinated veggies for a supremely pungent meal. Tip: Bring gum.
With a beer menu that’s focused solely on Georgia brews and a food menu highlighting locally grown produce, Five Oaks beats expectations for hotel fare with apps like cinnamon, brown sugar, bacon lollipops; goat cheese flatbreads with sweet corn puree and chorizo; and main fare like pork belly with hoppin' John, and southern potato gnocchi. They also offer breakfast skillets of chorizo, buttermilk fried chicken biscuits, prosciutto bruschetta, and sandwiches on croissants made by Savannah’s Goose Feathers Bakery.
Public’s impressive craft beer, wine, and cocktail menu is only overshadowed by their colossal burgers and po’ boys, highlighted by the Coca-Cola BBQ sauce on their Carolina Burger, which is probably the perfect use of Atlanta's signature beverage -- and way better than anything you can get in the state it's named after, obviously.
The next level of soul food has arrived. And it’s got bacon in it. The rabbit ravioli uses applewood-smoked bacon and butternut squash... and even the locally caught shrimp & grits is laced with bacon. They also make some mean cocktails and, yes, they can feature bacon in them at your request. For a more seafood-centric supper, try the Forrest Gump-inspired “Peas and Carrots”, which is anchored by sea scallops but incorporates the orange-and-green tag team in its accompanying risotto, coulis, and ginger reduction.
Located in the American Prohibition Museum, this ‘20s-inspired speakeasy is open Thursday through Saturday, requests that guests are well dressed, and employs all the trappings of such establishments from period music to parquet floors and tin-punch ceilings. They offer cocktail classes if you’re interested in learning to make classic drinks like the Aviation, Pimms Cup, and Chatham Artillery Punch at home. It doesn’t hurt that their lead bartender Jason Graham -- former head mixologist at Savannah’s Historic District Hotel Indigo -- won the bartender’s challenge at the 2016 Savannah’s Food & Wine Festival. He's such a doppelgänger for Michael Fassbender that he created a gin cocktail named after the actor.
This South African-influenced takeout and catering restaurant (which also has Swiss, Dutch, and Italian influences) is famous for their hoagies, namely the Conquistador, which conquers all. It’s an immaculately spiced, marinated, double-sauced meaty sandwich, served on crunchy French bread. You can only get it during lunch hours, but at least it'll get you ready to spend the rest of the day/night on River Street. Also try the South African sausage sandwich with a little SA sweet tea.
It’s dessert and drinks... combined. Regular martini options include marshmallow rice treats, strawberry shortcake, pumpkins, s'mores, and some 300 other options, so put aside your thoughts about whatever you think masculinity is and go nuts with all the rims, garnishes, and ridiculous flavors.
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