What a difference in Savannah the last few years. Last time we were there, maybe 10 years ago, the shopping on Broughton Street was mediocre with a couple of mid level chains. The restaurants were either country, old folky, or touristy. The River area had just been redeveloped but as with every decent size city
it was definitely their tourist trap.
But now! The shopping is great, lots of great chains like Anthropology, J Crew, and Banana Republic with more coming and even more cool smaller shops like Chocolate by Adam Turoni on Broughton and a new location on Bull (ridiculous and he has fake grass as carpet in an all white store so perfect) 24e (a very cool furniture and housewares store) on Broughton and also on Broughton…
The Paris Market
This beautiful shop has unique new and antique items. Their coffee shop has pastries and sandwiches from local bakeries. We went there every day. If I lived in Savannah I would be there all the time. Brought home a long mirror and old wooden box that the sales lady was kind enough to finagle out of the display and call the manager to find out how much to sell them to me for because they were just display pieces. I bought a damn sandwich every day! They were just so delicious. The St Germaine was the best with chicken. They were out of them the other 2 days so I got the charcuterie sandwich with salami – also really really good. The bread was just a perfect baguette.
and the restaurant options, although still limited have grown enough that we ate in an amazing restaurant each day we were there.
I highly recommend visiting eater.com when you are visiting somewhere. They have tons of articles and lists about the local food scene. I found an article from a food writer about Savannah who felt the same way I did about most of the restaurants in Savannah but mentioned 3 new places that were changing everything.
Plus a friend recommended 2 more.
Where to eat…
This place is a short 15 min drive over to the river, Google Maps will take you on the highway but on our way back it was just as easy and way more scenic to take Derenne to Bull. First of all the atmosphere was just stupid. It was a beautiful crisp winter day the sky was perfect blue, you’re sitting out on a
cool slightly hipster dock with a southern flair.
The waitresses know the food and were super friendly. The owner is there cleaning tables and greeting people. As we walked up the chef was at the back door scaling a fish. That’s fresh! So we ordered as much as we could. Hemingway Daiquiris – which aren’t anything like the daiquiris you’re used to.
Good White Rum
Maraschino cherry liquor
Garnished with a brandied cherry
We ordered the housemade wild boar sausage on toast with truffle butter – don’t get scared, that’s the fanciest thing they had. And it was so good. The toast was crispy and the sausage had a loose texture with tons of flavor and none of it was gamey. In fact we made such a big deal over it that the chef dropped off an extra tray of it.
The details matter too – everything was served on real trays or plates, no plastic or paper. They used cheap trays you get from the restaurant/kitchen stores and it makes a huge difference.
Fresh grilled fish with a beautifully toasted bun (again, details) radish, pickled red onion and arugula. Crispy fish with creamy, slow cooked, high quality grits. Succotash, roasted potatoes and green beans, and of course collards. The best collards I’ve ever had. Tender and slightly sweet with a little kick.
And we tried one of everything for dessert! All housemade from scratch. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be made with great fresh ingredients and maybe put a little interesting twist on it.
Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Chip Cookie and Ice Cream sandwich, and Bruleed Bananas with Cookie Crumble and Ice Cream
We didn’t go see it, next time, but while you are out there it’s a short drive to the Bonaventure Cemetery – can’t wait to go next time.
They gutted the front of the old building and left the shell so you are sitting at street level but you can see the walls of the old basement and where the first floor used to be. The architecture was really interesting. Collins is on Bull Street center of Savannah’s historic district. Very hip crowd hanging out there
and very crowded on the weekend.
At Collins Quarter they have a lavender mocha that was velvety and rich. Fresh pastries every day. We had the brown sugar banana bread with a mixed berry compote and mascarpone. I know shut up!
Watch out for the biscuits and gravy, way way too spicy for me. As delicious as they look I couldn’t eat it.
But if you like spicy you’ll love this.
The waitress recommended the eggs benedict, which is what I should have gotten. Fortunately my friend shared his. And as simple as it was the oatmeal with fig and apricot compote and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts was so good I made it at home.
For lunch we split the smashed avocado with feta, tomatoes, micro herbs, and a poached egg all on fresh toasted bread and the sandwich of the day which was grilled gruyere with ham and mushroom.
At the end of Whitaker Street on Victory Drive. It’s a converted Ice Factory. Again, details details. They have a little bakery and coffee shop that’s open for breakfast and a main restaurant open for dinner and brunch. We of course visited for all of the above.
The coffee shop is serious. The make their own mocha syrup, in fact he was out when we stopped in so he made some fresh for me. Their baker was trying out bagels for the first time and she nailed it. Perfect crust and not too chewy inside. They also have various croissants and pastries, all buttery and flakey. We had the gruyere and ham croissant and the cranberry danish and Blake tried the bagel. They also sell their croissants at The Paris Market’s coffee shop.
Dinner. Shared the Florence Bread Plate with apple butter and sea salt olive oil and fresh butter. Various types of fresh baked bread. Ate it all. Followed with the bruschetta topped with smoked trout crème fraiche and potato chips and pork belly with romesco and escabeche
I had the Egg Yolk Ravioli with ricotta, mushrooms, brussels, butternut squash, radish, puffed parm, and ham and kale broth. Sorry the pictures are so dark.
Tommy and Blake each had the Painted Hills Sirloin, root veg gratin which was rich and creamy, oyster mushrooms, celery root, and braised collards. Melt in your mouth good.
On Jefferson Street a few blocks off Bay was converted from an old Greyhound Bus Station. They kept 90% of the bus station intact. They did a beautiful job restoring this old building and gave it a really hip new vibe. Of all of the places we ate though this one had a little hint of pretentiousness. It was a little too hipster for me. Lots of buzzing about but the waiter wasn’t that attentive and it took 3 hours for us to eat. The food was delicious and the atmosphere beautiful, the servers are friendly, but.. I don’t know just not quiet my thing.
Again, I apologize for the dark photos but I figured they’d frown on me turning up the lights.
We ordered – roasted beets with buttermilk yogurt and greens. Rainbow carrots with cream cheese, rye, and caraway. Pork shank with greens and a johnny cake.
Smoked collards, leek, onion, and shallot.
Dessert we had the Pot de Crème with vanilla, molasses, and candied peanuts. Chocolate Parfait with chocolate pudding, spicy peanuts, peanut butter whipped cream, and chocolate wafer. Sweet Potato Pie with toasted oats, honey, caramel, whipped cream.
The Pink House Tavern
The restaurant is pretty touristy. But the tavern in the basement, not the bar at the back of the building but the one in the basement was warm and inviting. Standing in front of the building go down the stairs to the left of the front door. The tavern has this great English tavern vibe in the original basement of this old mansion.
Drinks and atmosphere were great.
22 Square Bar
The 22 Square Bar at the The Andaz Hotel
We had a couple of drinks here. The bartenders were great. Gave us samples of things they were mixing for other people and the menu was fancy but not over the top. The restaurant also called 22 Square looked delicious. Blake had eaten there before. We didn’t get a chance this time but it looks like the perfect place to go for drinks and snacks.
Aside from just walking around, because the homes and gardens are ridiculous. They are inspiring and so well restored. I usually take tons of pictures for ideas for my own yard or home. There are lots of tours of the historic homes. I highly recommend doing that. We toured the Mercer-Williams House, its the house from the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. You only get to see the garden and the first floor. It’s still set up the way Williams restored it in the 1970s and looks lovely but the furnishings aren’t historic and you only see the first floor because the family lives in the rest of the house. The garden was neglected too. I haven’t been on other historic home tours in Savannah so I can’t compare but click here for a list of all the homes you can see.
Tours Shopping and Sites
Historic Home Tours of Savannah
The River front area is really touristy. We walked along it one night didn’t go in anywhere. The bars were either dirty or very touristy and the shops all sell crap. It’s worth walking down there but there’s nothing really worth staying for.
I always like taking a historic tour of some kind, preferably as soon as we get there. It helps you understand the area and all the buildings you are walking by. There are always walking tours, carriage rides, and bus or trolley tours. Just pick the kind you like the best. Here’s a link for Historic Tours
Some other places to visit
Wormsloe Plantation Historic Site
There are so many options for places to stay. You can book a whole house on AirBNB or VRBO or check into a beautiful Inn or Bed and Breakfast. I would try to get something in the historic area and something that’s close to everything. The historic area isn’t very big so it’s very easy to walk to almost everything. But parking is terrible. So you don’t want to have to constantly be trying to find a parking space. Trust me, walk.
And be aware if you park on the street overnight they have signs for what day the streets will be swept but it’s a little confusing. The sign will say Street Sweeping Sat 12am – 4am which means don’t leave your car there Friday night. I know that doesn’t sound confusing now but when you just glance at it you see Saturday but it means Friday. Fortunately, they don’t tow your car they just give you a
$25 ticket you can pay online.
When you are looking for a place, look at the rooms. If they only show you the living room or the lobby skip it. You want to see the rooms. Some places will put all the money in the lobby area and the rooms suck. Make sure there’s a picture of the bathroom too. With a house rental sometimes you get an amazing deal and a beautiful home and sometimes its just a regular old house. You have to prioritize what matters to you. Location (do you want to be in the middle of everything or on the water)? Price (the rental homes are usually a great deal a whole house that sleep 8 people – $350 a night / $87.50 per couple)? Size (do you want all your friends or family together)?
Figure out what matters the most and start there. If you want to be close to everything, only need a room for 2 people, and don’t care about the price – go for a 4+ star hotel. If you have a big group with varying budgets and still want to be in the middle of everything go for a rental home. If you want the experience of a historic home go for the rentals, inn or bed and breakfast.
Last little note, the week days were much less crowed. We could get in almost anywhere and had less trouble parking. They clearly have a lot of people who visit for the weekend. It was night and day and we weren’t there during any particular holiday. Plus hotels etc. are usually cheaper during the week.