Savannah Eats: Where to Dine in Savannah

How did I not realize Savannah is only a four and a half hour drive from Atlanta? Had I known that, I’d surely have visited more often. Plus, Savannah was just included in Travel + Leisure’s list of most affordable getaways. Luckily, a friend convinced me to visit for a girls weekend getaway. We had a blast on our 3-day jaunt and I wanted to share with you the ups and downs of our trip.

Making the most out of the weekend, we decided to spend one night in historic Savannah and one night on Tybee Island. To be honest, neither hotel would I recommend staying. We booked the Westin for the first night. While it is a beautiful hotel, it is definitely NOT in the historic district as Hotwire would have you believe. We had to take a ferry across the water to get to the historic district. Waiting twenty minutes for the ferry definitely puts a damper on the fun.

B. Matthews Savannah restaurant B. Matthews Savannah Dining
But downtown Savannah is a lot of fun. I’d love to go back and stay at one of the boutique hotels there. Our first night, we dined at a restaurant called B. Matthews Eatery. This is a trendy spot that features live music on the weekends. Start with one of their creative cocktails. I chose the B. Matthews Margarita. It is slightly spicy with habanero infused tequila and refreshing with fresh plum puree. Other highlights are the Lemongrass Pear Martini and the Bootlegger 5 Spice Mule.

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Although Gnocchi is a small plate, order it as an appetizer as it comes with broccoli and mushrooms in a red sauce, perfect for sharing. The crab, another hit, is so fresh it tastes like it came out of the ocean minutes before it hits your plate. There’s also a lamb shank, not to be missed.

Our cabbie had suggested a couple places to visit after dinner: Rocks on the Roof (top of the Bohemian Hotel) and Savannah Smiles. These tourist traps were a major disappointment. Rocks on Roof may have a terrific view of the river, but that’s all it has going for it. The drinks were expensive and watered down. As for Savannah Smiles, we were told it was dueling pianos but it sounded horrible before we even got inside and looked like a total dive so we bailed before paying any cover.

We came to the realization that stumbling upon an upscale lounge wasn’t going to happen and settled for The Bar Bar. It has several rooms – one with a large bar, one with pool tables and another for dancing. It was definitely a place I’d have found myself about a decade ago. But on a girls weekend away, being hit on by young guys, it did just fine.

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After a night of debauchery, we took is easy the next day, sleeping in and walking along River Street. The one redeeming factor our hotel did offer was late checkout of 3pm and we took full advantage of it before heading to Tybee island. I did some research for lunch spots and had we not slept quite so late we would have had a leisurely lunch at Green Truck Pub or Zunzis. I don’t know quite what I expected at Tybee island, but air brushed t-shirts and tacky souvenir shops weren’t it. I’m not inclined to go back. In fact we went back to Savannah for dinner even though it is a 30 minute drive.

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This time, we had a lovely meal at a charming newish restaurant called Maxwell’s. If you are looking for a romantic spot to enjoy dinner in Savannah, this is the place to go. It was packed on this Saturday night with lots of locals, but the tables still are separate enough to provide and intimate dining experience. Also, they have the most fantastic singer there. He knew some great hits from the likes of Billy Joel, Elton John and more.

Like B. Matthews the night before, Maxwells offers their own cocktails. I had their version of a Long Island Tea, the Southern Tea, sweet but not overly sugary. If you like Manhattans, order the Savannhattan. My dinner date had the Ruby Red slipper, with Grapefruit juice and champagne, which she was rather pleased with.

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Our server highly touted the avocado eggrolls, so we obliged, plus an order of the crabtini appetizer. The eggrolls, with creamy avocado and sun dried tomatoes, really didn’t need the dipping sauce. And the crabtini with a touch of mayo and onions, was divine.

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The menu at Maxwells is pretty small with only a few choices. This is because they like to offer nightly specials as well. I was intrigued by all of the specials – a stuffed quail, double cut Madeira pork chop and lightly fried whole seabass. Being a sucker for seabass, I couldn’t resist. It was a lot of work, working my way around the bones, but definitely worth it. If you visit Savannah, you’ll definitely want to put Maxwell”s on your list of must visits.

It didn’t take much prodding from the friendly proprietor, Catherine, to order two desserts: Key Lime cheesecake and the white chocolate panna cotta (see picture above). Both were sensational and we made short work of cleaning our plates.

Had we not had such a sumptuous dessert, we may have headed to Lulu’s Chocolate Bar for dessert. It was quite busy on Saturday night and looked like a fun spot to hit up. We headed back to Tybee and settled in for an early night. I heard good things about the Breakfast Club, located steps from our hotel, but not in the mood for a long wait, we skipped it. I kind of wish we hadn’t as the parmesan eggs and chorizo breakfast buritto had some excellent reviews. We had a quick stop at the lighthouse (not worth 178 steps of climbing or $9) before beginning our journey home.

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!