Since moving to southern Florida, I’ve longed to visit southern states like Georgia and its surroundings. Even though it’s only a six-hour drive from Ft. Lauderdale, we switched from our bikinis and flip flops to winter jackets and Uggs. The temperature dropped drastically from mid 80s to low 50s.
Savannah was such a breath of fresh air; it’s a fascinating colonial town with cooler weather and heavy European and African influences. It’s named after the Savannah River, most likely derived from names for the Shawnee people who migrated to the river in the 1680s. After being named the 13th and final American colony, the plan was to offer new start for England’s working port and to strengthen the colonies by increasing trade. The colony of Georgia was also chartered as a buffer zone for South Carolina, protecting it from the advance of the Spanish in Florida.
Savannah is known as America’s first planned city. General James Oglethorpe laid the city out in a series of grids that allowed for wide open streets intertwined with shady public squares and parks that served as town meeting places and centers of business. It contributed to evening walks with my family, seeing one architectural style to another, and are now part of my cherished memories here in the U.S.
The rich, diverse and delectable culinary identity of this beautiful low country city is something to sink your teeth into.
Here are my culinary weekend getaway tips:
Sisters of the New South | My favorite out of the list. If you want real soul food and don’t mind a 5-10 minute drive out of town and away from the tourists, then Sisters of the New South is legit. Located in an strip mall called Sweet Potatoes, this place may have the best fried chicken in town. It’s the real deal. http://www.thesistersofthenewsouth.com
Sapphire Grill | Chef Christopher J.Nason opened this spot in early 1998 featuring Nason’s eclectic interpretation of Savannah’s antebellum culinary heritage. It centers around local and regional day-gathered, organic ingredients. In 1996, The New York Times gave Chef Nason a glowing review for his work in this field. He later expanded the Fresh Market Cuisine concept in its entirety at the Sapphire Grill. Serving new southern cuisine. http://www.saphiregrill.com
Elizabeth on 37th | Executive Chef, Kelly Yambor, makes full use of fresh coastal seafood, local produce, and the restaurant’s own house grown herbs and edible flowers. Yambor is committed to giving our guests a culinary experience which reflects the South’s rich heritage. The simple elegance of the 1900’s Southern Mansion sets the perfect tone for our wonderful Southern Coastal menu. It’s elegant and amazing, probably the best overall restaurant in the city. http://www.elizabethon37th.net
Local 11ten | Situated a block south of Savannah’s Forsyth Park in Historic Downtown Savannah, Local 11ten creates a nightly dining experience complete with intelligent cuisine, a welcoming personality and modern design. The restored 1950’s-era downtown bank houses a casual, elegant restaurant devoted to popular southern flavors using local and seasonal ingredients such as fresh seafood caught from Georgia’s coast and fresh vegetables and herbs from Savannah’s own local farmers. With a contemporary atmosphere, foodies, tourists, and locals alike gather to enjoy a unique expression on familiar southern flavors. Serving new southern cuisine. http://www.local11ten.com
Circa 1875 | A French Gastro pub that’s relaxed and unpretentious – fine dining made comfortable for all. With a menu that boasts both traditional French food and southern ingredients, Circa has a wide assortment of dishes to please any palate. Jarret d’agneau braise (braised lamb shank), salade niçoise, and cassoulet maison are a few of the more classic French offerings, but they also serve items such as Steak Frites and Moules Mariniere – dishes that might be found in American kitchens as well. The restaurant’s interior feels both French and sophisticated American, with its tall ceilings, gold accents and jazz music playing in the background harkening to a New York City brownstone, and its vintage artwork and eclectic decor reminiscent of Old World European design. It’s also very convenient that Circa is located next door to The Paris Market, one of Savannah’s premiere vintage and home design stores. http://www.circa1875.com
Rocks on River | An amazing rooftop bar at the Bohemian Hotel on the river. Surrounded by custom, river-inspired design elements of driftwood, brick and rough wood, Rocks on the River offers a menu of delicious American comfort food with a Southern contemporary approach that includes hamburgers, steak, fish and mussels. Featuring a cozy fire pit, live entertainment, and an engaging tapas-style menu with extensive drink and martini choices, Rocks on the Roof is Savannah’s newest hotspot. Perfect place to relax and unwind while enjoying fantastic views of Savannah River and the historic district from this rooftop lounge. http://www.bohemianhotelsavannah.com
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