Nothing spells romance like an intimate dinner for two, warmed by the glow of candlelight, tasty food and fine wine. As you might expect in a city enveloped by history, charm and gentility, Savannah offers many places in which to savor a delicious meal with your loved one, surrounded by all of the accoutrements of romance.
Choices range from a stunning 18th-century mansion such as The Olde Pink House and its exceptional cuisine, thoughtful service and inviting atmosphere, to an elegant 20th century mansion where Elizabeth on 37th dishes up southern hospitality along with a seasonal menu offering fine coastal cuisine and well-chosen wine pairings.
Indoor-outdoor seating and a wrap-around bar invite guests to view the Talmadge Memorial Bridge as ships glide past The Florence, one of the city's newest eateries. For a better view, head upstairs to the rooftop bar for signature cocktails.
If cozy underground nooks are more to your liking, Alligator Soul - tucked into a 19th century grain house - offers fresh, organic, natural fare, or try Circa 1875 Gastro Pub with French cuisine in an Old World bistro setting.
The options are many and selecting the right one is up to you.
Situated in the heart of Savannah's Historic District, a.Lure offers an upscale ambiance, blending historic and modern touches and classic southern fare - with a playful twist. The farm-to-fork blend of Low-Country fresh seafood is drawn from owner Daniel Berman's memories of home-cooked meals and his appreciation of freshly picked produce. The specialty is seafood but a wide range of meats from steak to pork and chicken is also available.The eclectic menu adds a lighthearted spin to local favorites. The fried green tomatoes appetizer with Cajun remoulade, pickled and grilled green salsa and balsamic vinegar is a winner. The Low Country Boil becomes a southern banquet with the addition of a crab cake, fingerling potatoes, collards, sweet corn soufflé and an Old Bay hollandaise sauce. The chocolate peanut butter s'more - a chocolate torte with peanut butter ganache, homemade marshmallow and toasted marshmallow cream - may just be the most decadent dessert in town. ((912) 233-2111)
Don't let the setting throw you. The Grey - one of Savannah's newest restaurants - has the distinction of serving tasty food backed by an ample wine list, along with Old World hospitality - in the restored comfort of a 1938 art deco Greyhound bus terminal. Owner Johno Morisano teamed up with Chef Mashama Bailey to offer regional produce, seafood and meats - with a touch of nostalgia - in a sleek, upscale setting. The former ticket booth has been converted into an oyster bar and the terminal's former 24-hour restaurant now houses the elegant Diner Bar. The menu is decidedly southern and is divided into four sections: starters, middles, mains and sides, offering an array of tempting options. Among the headliners: baby roasted beets, seafood boudin, clams and dumplings, roasted fish and smoked collards. Lighter fare is available on the Diner Bar menu. Not to be missed are their decadent desserts.
700 Drayton Restaurant
The award-winning 700 Drayton - one of Savannah's best restaurants - is located in the venerable Mansion on Forsyth Park, showcasing a lavish blend of high ceilings, notable Victorian antiques and striking architecture. Breakfast and Brunch offer a feast of traditional morning favorites along with some southern selections such as shrimp and grits and shellfish chowder. For lunch and dinner you'll find more southern recipes such as collard greens with white bean soup, rigatoni and pork belly, and okra fries. After dinner, climb the leopard-patterned stairway to Casimir Lounge to enjoy live entertainment and a signature cocktail on the rooftop terrace overlooking the park. (912-721-5002, 912-238-5158)
Old World elegance provides the perfect backdrop to this upscale Italian restaurant which has been a staple on the Savannah scene for more than 30 years. The romantic eatery - tucked into the 19th-century Germania Fire House - specializes in delicious Italian standard fare such as lasagna, spaghetti, chicken parmigiana and linguine primavera. Other favorites include a selection of seafood creations such as their signature crispy scored flounder with apricot shallot sauce, orzo and julienne vegetables, and stuffed salmon with lump crab in a rich cream sauce. A raw and steam bar offers a host of chilled seafood choices such as oysters, shrimp, Dungeness crab and lobster cocktail. (912-232-7118)
A farm to table, seasonally inspired menu is the basis of this romantic restaurant located in the basement of a former grain warehouse in the heart of Savannah's Historic District. Opened in 2003, Alligator Soul has quickly become one of the city's most elegant - and romantic - restaurants. The menu changes seasonally and often features "exotic" meat selections such as elk, antelope, pheasant, bison and camel. Oysters on the half shell stuffed with bacon, crawfish and scallions in a creamy sauce are the perfect start for a romantic dinner. Rounding out the menu are frosty cocktails, rich wines and tasty sweet treats. (912-232-7899, 912-232-8038)
Opened in June 2014, this trendy eatery - the brainchild of award-winning owner and Chef Hugh Acheson and Chef Kyle Jacovino - is one of Savannah's most popular restaurants. The ingredients are southern-grown but, from the freshly baked bread, cheeses and aperitifs to the cappuccino, the focus is definitely Italiano. Housed in a refurbished ice factory, the interior showcases marble table tops, high ceilings and reclaimed wood, lending a definite laid-back atmosphere, which in turn, makes it a very inviting place. Depending on the day, this popular café - restaurant can be positively boisterous, but that just adds to the fun. (912.234.5522)
Circa 1875 Gastropub
Savannah's unpretentious cozy French bistro is tucked into the site of a former Irish pub in the Historic District. Warm décor, rich wood and tiled floors pave the way to an exceptional dining experience. Bistro dining takes place on the main level or downstairs in the wine cellar, a dreamy brick-lined area offering the perfect spot for a rendezvous. As you would expect from such a cozy spot, the menu features escargots, pate and mussels along with a roster of delicacies such as crêpes aux crevettes (crepes with shrimp), cassoulet maison (casserole with white beans and sausage) and other flavorful dishes. An extensive wine list and craft beers provide the perfect accompaniment. (912-443-1875)
Olde Pink House
One of Savannah's most popular restaurants serves new southern cuisine in a sophisticated 18th-century Georgian mansion, adjacent to the historic Planter's Inn. According to legend, ghostly figures haunt the premises, but guests shouldn't be dissuaded from going there and depriving themselves of their excellent food. The large selection of fish, beef, pork and chicken offer an array of outstanding options. Start with the mac and cheese jalapeño poppers with red coulis and salsa verde to kick start your entrée. The crispy scored flounder with apricot shallot sauce - a menu mainstay - is one of the favorites. The "BLT" salad, a twist on the traditional sandwich incorporates fried green tomatoes, crispy bacon and black pepper thyme buttermilk dressing, landing it a spot on the Food Network Show's, "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." The signature praline basket filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with sweet berries is the perfect finale to your meal. (912-232-4286)
Elizabeth on 37th
Located in the Thomas Square neighborhood, Elizabeth on 37th's haute cuisine is served in an elegant 1900s mansion dotted with rich antiques, Old World trappings and marble fireplaces, leading to the perfect romantic tète-a-tète. Open since 1981, the seasonal menu features fresh local produce, seafood and meats, along with experienced wine stewards to suggest wine pairings. One of the standard entrée favorites is the double cut Berkshire pork chops with five cheese macaroni and apple-slaw cabbage. The fresh coastal grouper Celeste comes with a crisp sesame-almond crust with peanut sauce and roasted potatoes. Deicious desserts include a dense chocolate pecan torte with chocolate whipped cream; Savannah cream cake - angel food with a sherry-laced custard topped with a berry and custard sauce - and a pecan almond torte topped with praline ice cream and bourbon caramel sauce. (912-236-5547)
About Michelle da Silva Richmond
Michelle da Silva Richmond is an award-winning travel editor and member of the Society of American Travel Writers and other journalism organizations.
She has written hundreds of articles for newspapers, consumer and trade magazines and in-flight publications. In addition, she has co- authored and contributed to many guide books and was a weekly travel columnist for a metropolitan Connecticut daily newspaper.
Growing up abroad, combined with a colorful career as a Pan Am flight attendant fueled her wanderlust and passion for travel.
She lived in Mexico City for nearly 20 years and has visited nearly 100 countries. Her bags are always packed.
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