Facade at 45 Bistro, Savannah, American South

45 Bistro

This bistro in the Marshall House hotel serves appetizers like jumbo lump local blue-crab cake with whole-grain mustard aioli and citrus-scented frisée, a bento box of sushi, dumplings and tempura vegetables, and tuna carpaccio with onion relish. There are also wood-fired pizzas, salads and such entrées as lobster omelets and quinoa-crusted black grouper served with goat-cheese creamed spinach.


Husk, led by James Beard Award–winning chef Sean Brock, opened to much fanfare in 2018. Like its popular sister restaurant in Charleston, this Savannah outpost—housed in an elegantly restored home in the Historic District and serving elevated regional fare—sources all its ingredients from the South.
Ice Cream at Leopold’s Ice Cream, Savannah, American South

Leopold’s Ice Cream

Leopold’s Ice Cream was founded in 1919 by three Greek brothers and resurrected by one of their sons, a local-turned-Hollywood success story. (Stratton Leopold left Savannah to become a major movie producer. His blockbusters have included Mission Impossible 3, The Sum of All Fears and The Big Chill.) But in 2004 he and his wife returned to reopen Leopold’s with the original black-marble soda fountain and banana-split holders as well as all the original family recipes. An Academy Award-winning designer helped pull together period details from the ’50s and movie memorabilia to create a fantasy soda fountain. Burgers, sandwiches and salads are served, but the real draw is the homemade ice cream, in such flavors as rose-petal cream, strawberry shortcake, tutti-frutti (apparently Johnny Mercer’s favorite) and Girl Scouts thin mints ’n’ cream.

Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room

In a former boarding house that was run in the 1940s by Selma Wilkes, Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room is still owned and run by the Wilkes family, who dish up their family recipes in period rooms (but no longer take boarders in the upstairs rooms). When Jim Williams, of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil fame, was in jail awaiting trial, he had his meals sent to him from here every day. Lunch is served family style Mondays through Fridays only, and there is always a line outside before noon, as it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city and noted in every guidebook. President Obama ate here when he visited Savannah. Visitors are seated together at tables of ten where they help themselves from passed platters of such Southern favorites as okra gumbo, fried chicken, cornbread biscuits, collard greens and beef stew. Even locals confess to loving the food, if not the crowds, so consider doing what they do and get takeout. You’ll miss the family-style experience, but will avoid the wait and can head instead to Forsyth Park or one of the nearby squares to eat on a bench. Closed weekends; cash only.

Entrance at Olde Pink House, Savannah, American South

Olde Pink House

This has been considered one of Savannah’s best restaurants for so long that it has turned into a bit of a tourist trap. The tour buses point it out, and many of your fellow diners may have cameras hanging around their necks and fanny packs at their waists. However, if you can get past those distractions, you may discover that the setting and the food deliver a fine taste of Savannah.

Set in a wonderful pink house built in the late 1700s on Reynolds Square, the restaurant seats guests in a series of restored rooms on two floors. The second-floor rooms are the most popular, but if those are booked, ask for a table in the blue room or wood-paneled library on the main floor. The least appealing room is the main parlor to the left of the reception, because you have to watch the crowds stream in. Order the she-crab soup, but skip the lemonade, which isn’t fresh, and brace yourself for inconsistent service.

Olde Pink House is now open for lunch, and while the food is not as great as it is at Elizabeth on 37th, Local 11 Ten or Noble Fare, the restaurant does deliver the historic house experience with tasty traditional Southern fare. If you cannot get into the main restaurant, consider eating in the bar.

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