You’ve come to Savannah to see the sites, soak in the history and eat like a king. Fortunately, your agenda doesn’t have to change just because you’re on a gluten-free diet. Many of the city’s best restaurants have gluten-free menus or menu items.
Vic’s on the River, an outstanding eatery on River Street, has a gluten-free menu that’s just as long–and mouthwatering–as its regular menu. Other fine restaurants with menus created exclusively for those eating gluten free include Historic District favorites the Chart House and the Olde Pink House.
If you have a hankering for down-home Southern cooking, you may want to consider stopping by The Lady & Sons, which offers a number of gluten-free choices including sautéed local black grouper and shrimp and grits.
Those craving carbs will appreciate the gluten-free pasta at Leoci’s Trattoria, an upscale Italian eatery, and the gluten-free pizza crust at Your Pie, a regional chain that features customizable, 10-inch pizzas.
The Blue Turtle Bistro and The 5 Spot, two Midtown restaurants, have several dishes on their respective menus labeled gluten free. Other Savannah eateries offering gluten-free options include Papillote, the Sentient Bean and Foxy Loxy Print Gallery and Café.
All of the restaurants mentioned here are great choices for gluten-free food; however, it’s always a good idea to call ahead and confirm menu options and to inquire about cross-contamination if gluten intolerance is severe.
This regional chain that was started in Athens, Georgia, is well located on Ellis Square in the Historic District, with a second location in the Sandfly neighborhood near Isle of Hope. The concept is simple: choose your crust, sauce, cheese and toppings or select from one of the restaurant's own unique creations. Your Pie is perfect for those watching their waistlines (whole wheat crust and low-fat cheese are available) and for those with eclectic palates (it's the only place in town where you'll find a spicy Thai chicken pizza). Diners may also choose from several salads, which are served in bread bowls, and customized paninis and calzones. For those wanting a full-on Italian dining experience, the restaurant offers several flavors of gelato, the famous Italian ice cream-like dessert. ((912) 234-2433)
The 5 Spot
Located in Midtown Savannah's popular Habersham Village, The 5 Spot has quickly garnered a loyal following thanks to good food, reasonable prices and a sleek, modern atmosphere. Breakfast is served daily and is one of the eatery's most popular meals. The menu features classics such as buttermilk pancakes and eggs Benedict, plus fancier fare like grilled salmon served with tomatoes, spinach, hollandaise and poached eggs. Lunch and dinner share the same menu, meaning patrons can keep it simple even at night or splurge during the day. The extensive menu includes a good selection of salads and sandwiches, plus entrees ranging from shrimp and grits to grilled bratwurst. Prices are reasonable. (912-777-3021)
The Sentient Bean
This hip coffee house, which is adjacent to Forsyth Park, serves vegetarian and vegan breakfast fare seven mornings a week, along with an outstanding brunch on Sundays. Coffee aficionados will appreciate the Bean's great selection of coffee, which usually includes freshly brewed single origin roasts from Africa and South America, along with an array of made-to-order espresso drinks. The breakfast menu features a vegetarian breakfast burrito with eggs and a vegan breakfast burrito with scrambled tofu, along with quiche, egg and cheese sandwiches, omelets and frittatas. The brunch menu boasts a rotating selection of specialties, among them tofu scramble loaded with fresh, seasonal vegetables and an outstanding breakfast burrito with spicy, homemade vegan sausage. (912-232-4447)
The Lady & Sons
Paula Deen's restaurant remains packed despite recent controversies that have tarnished the celebrity chef's reputation. The popular buffet features an array of classic Deen dishes, including Southern fried chicken, collard greens and gooey butter cakes--items made famous on Paula's now-canceled Food Network shows. Diners who want something a little fancier can order from the menu, which includes a variety of appetizer and main-course selections such as fried green tomatoes, crab cakes and peach barbeque grouper. Die-hard fans may want to consider picking up some Paula-themed items at the adjoining gift shop. After all, the gift shop's wares, including cookbooks signed by the lady herself, jams, sauces and more, may be harder to come by now that the Queen of Southern Cooking's reign has come to an end. (912-233-2600)
This reputable restaurant, which has several locations across the U.S., occupies a historic 18th-century stone warehouse and offers a beautiful view of the Savannah River. It does offer exemplary steaks, including a succulent prime rib, but the Chart House specializes in seafood. Among its popular options are macadamia-crusted shrimp, tilapia topped with crabmeat and pan-seared sea scallops. Crab legs and lobster tail are also constant hits. For dessert, the hot chocolate lava cake made with Godiva liqueur and served with Heath bar crunch and vanilla ice cream is a must, and an ample selection of wines and whiskey adds to the appeal. (912-234-6686)
Olde Pink House
Legend has it that several ghosts haunt the 18th-century Georgian mansion that is home to the Olde Pink House. While it may be tempting to be on the lookout for those rumored spirits, diners will undoubtedly be distracted by the excellent food and cozy ambience that have made this one of the city's most popular restaurants. The Southern-influenced cuisine is always flavorful and features a large selection of fish, beef, pork and chicken dishes. Among the standout seafood entrees is the crispy scored flounder with apricot shallot sauce, which has been a mainstay on the menu for years. The "BLT" salad, a twist on the traditional BLT sandwich that incorporates fried green tomatoes, crispy bacon and black pepper thyme buttermilk dressing, was featured on the Food Network Show "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." The restaurant's signature praline basket filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with berries is the perfect way to end the meal. (912-232-4286)
Vic's on the River
Lovely views of the Savannah River and the best fried green tomatoes in town--what could be better? Vic's on the River, located in a restored cotton warehouse that served as a hub for General Sherman's army during the Civil War, features a nice selection of Southern favorites, including pan fried chicken livers, pecan-crusted local flounder, Southern meatloaf and wild Georgia shrimp with smoked cheddar stone ground grits. Traditional Southern sides such as mac and cheese, Andouille potato hash, collard greens and roasted fingerling sweet potatoes are available ala carte. For the ultimate Southern dining experience, order a mint julep from the bar and ask to be seated outside on Vic's Bay Street deck. (912-721-1000)
About Amy Pine
Amy's thrilled to have the opportunity to share her love of Savannah with the world. A Savannah native, Amy has more than 15 years of experience as a writer and editor, and her work has appeared in numerous local, regional and national publications. Prior to launching a freelance career, she was executive editor at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she served as editor of the college’s alumni magazine. Amy received a B.A. in English and communications from the University of Pennsylvania. She's currently putting the finishing touches on her young adult novel, The Girl in a Picture Frame.
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