Seafood boudin at The Grey in Savannah, Georgia
Quentin Bacon

Our Favorite Restaurants in Charleston and Savannah

April 8, 2019

An influx of imaginative young chefs, plus talented native cooks and a distinctive cooking style to inspire and anchor culinary innovation, has made Charleston and Savannah two of the leading food cities in the United States over the past 10 years. Here’s a selection of our favorite restaurants in each city.

Chubby Fish

Beeliner snapper with a ginger-scallion sauce at Chubby Fish Mira Adwell

Chef James London’s menu at this stylish but relaxed new seafood restaurant changes with the local catch of the day. On a recent visit, a selection of crudos, oysters and small plates, including grilled oysters, blowfish tail tempura and chicken-fried bass collars, headlined the menu. Main courses ran to smoked-wahoo curry, a fried-oyster roll and rainbow trout in a ginger-scallion sauce. The service is notably friendly.

Chubby Fish
252 Coming Street, Charleston. Tel. (854) 222-3949

The Establishment

Cornmeal-dusted flounder with brown butter, white acre peas and salsa verde at The Establishment in Charleston, South Carolina Photo by Hideaway Report editor

Seafood is the star at this good-looking new restaurant with a great cocktail menu as well as a fine wine list to accompany dishes like boudin de mer (seafood sausage); snapper with brown butter, peas and salsa verde; and olive oil-poached grouper with blistered snap beans and country ham-mushroom broth. Try the Key lime tart, or the chocolate-olive oil cake for dessert. Note: This restaurant is dinner-only aside from Sunday brunch.

The Establishment
28 Broad Street, Charleston. Tel. (843) 789-4028

The Glass Onion

Fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese at The Glass Onion in Charleston Photo by Hideaway Report editor

Just outside Charleston, this relaxed, friendly, good-value restaurant is a perfect place for lunch. The menu leads off with starters like red bean soup with golden raisins, fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, and beet salad with goat cheese and pecans, and then runs to sandwiches — the fried-shrimp po’boy and fried-pork chop sandwich are huge and delicious — or mains like tomato-braised pork meatballs with grits and cornmeal-dredged fried catfish with fries and slaw. Excellent desserts might include buttermilk custard with orange marmalade and lemon icebox tart.

The Glass Onion
1219 Savannah Highway, Charleston. Tel. (843) 225-1717


A variety of dishes at Tradd's in Charleston Andrew Cebulka

This sophisticated new restaurant has exposed brick walls and contemporary art and offers an appealing menu of modern American dishes made with local seasonal ingredients. Try the lump-crab cocktail or carrot-ginger bisque to start, and then the seared halibut with sweet pea purée and carrot flan or pan-roasted duck with turnips, spätzle and micro-mustard greens. Finish up with the chocolate cake or caramel tart.

167 East Bay Street, Charleston. Tel. (843) 414-7661

The Grey

The Sizzlin Smoky Pig at The Grey in Savannah, Georgia Quentin Bacon

If there’s a restaurant not to be missed in the Lowcountry, it is this superb modern American restaurant in Savannah’s former Greyhound bus station. Although this may sound like an unlikely setting, The Grey has terrazzo floors, low lighting and original 1938 art deco fixtures. Chef Mashama Bailey previously cooked at Prune in New York City but has family roots in Georgia and so brings a deep knowledge of local produce and recipes to her brilliant contemporary cooking. She’s won multiple awards for dishes like king mackerel with turmeric, purple ribbon cane syrup and serrano chile, and bacon-stuffed quail with sourdough bread crumbs and muscadine. On no account miss the beignets with ginger cream and chocolate sauce for dessert.

The Grey
109 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Savannah. Tel. (912) 662-5999


Grouper with heirloom tomatoes at Husk in Savannah Photo by Hideaway Report editor

This beautiful restaurant in a historic mansion features the contemporary Southern cooking of Atlanta-born, Savannah-raised chef Christopher Hathcock. The menu changes with the seasons, and Hathcock takes real pride in sourcing his produce from local farms. A recent dinner began with starters of grouper tartare with cauliflower, brown butter and caviar bottarga, and warm octopus with fingerling potatoes, black garlic and harissa. It continued with smoked duck breast with persimmon and apple, and trout with collards, rice grits, red pepper and kabocha squash. The green-tea panna cotta was a refreshing and unusual conclusion to a fine meal.

12 West Oglethorpe Avenue, Savannah. Tel. (912) 349-2600

The Olde Pink House

Shrimp and grits with collard greens at The Olde Pink House in Savannah Photo by Hideaway Report editor

Originally built in 1771 as the home of James Habersham Jr., a prominent figure in the Revolution, this National Historic Landmark overlooking Reynolds Square has won numerous awards for the cooking of chef Vincent Burns. The menu switches from inventive new Southern dishes like caramelized-Vidalia-onion-and-sweet-potato ravioli with oyster mushrooms and pecan cream sauce to traditional ones like Lowcountry she-crab soup, and fried chicken with macaroni and cheese. This is a good choice for lunch. Note: The restaurant recently suffered a fire in the second-floor ballroom; the reopening is scheduled for April 8.

The Olde Pink House
23 Abercorn Street, Savannah. Tel. (912) 232-4286

By Hideaway Report Editor Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who they are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.
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