When you think of a stay in Savannah, what comes to mind? Historic downtown, picturesque squares, and coastal vistas are all probably at the top of your list. But the number-one must try for most people is: the food! There, I said it. It’s true of most any travel destination, really, isn’t it? Experiencing the many tastes of a new place is part of what makes for a memorable getaway. And did you know that Savannah cuisine extends far beyond Southern fare and fresh seafood? It’s true! You can take a virtual trip around the world when you experience the many international tastes available to you in historic Savannah – no passport required!
Let’s start in the Mediterranean and awaken our taste buds with a visit to Olympia Café. In 1992, Nick Pappas and Vasilis Varlagas, both natives of Greece, renovated the storage floor of an 1892 building on River Street into a beautiful Greek taverna. Relying on recipes that have been handed down for generations by their relatives in Greece, the two owners continue to take a hands-on approach to every aspect of the restaurant.
“Customers are always surprised at how much care the owners take with the preparation of the food and with how much they love coming from the kitchen to greet customers,” stated Frannie with Olympia Café.
With so many mouth-watering and authentic options, what should you try? Frannie suggests the kalamari: “The secret to our fried kalamari is one that Nick keeps to himself and it’s one of our most popular items.” Olympia also serves a whole red snapper that is filleted tableside along with freshly made spanakopita, moussaka, and the house specialty, sautéed grouper. With its wonderful menu and lively atmosphere, you’re sure to be saying “opa!” before your meal is complete!
Next up, we’re going to Mexico! I mean, come on, who doesn’t love starting out a meal with chips and salsa, right? Well when you’re at Tequila’s Town, that is – literally – just the beginning. Located on Whitaker Street in downtown Savannah (with a second location on the city’s south side), Tequila’s Town is a family-owned business whose roots go back to Morelia, Michoacan in central Mexico.
“We refer to our concept as ‘up-a-notch Mexican’ because we are elevated casual and focus on fresh food and well-trained service,” explained Melody Rodriguez, spokesperson for the restaurant. You’ll realize they mean what they say when you order their tableside guacamole. “It’s a foodie experience,” said Melody. “We prepare it next to your table and only plant-based ingredients go into the recipe.” Even better, because it’s made on the spot, you can customize your guacamole to your liking.
If you’re more of a “some like it hot” kinda customer, then you’ll definitely want to try the lava rock Molcajete with its simmering veggie sauce and melted Oaxaca cheese and meats. And that’s just the food! Tequila’s Town also carries over 100 agave spirits and stocks artisan and premium tequilas as well as mezcal and sotol for a variety of surprising cocktails and specialty margaritas. Pair your beverage with a house-made mole recipe crafted from 28 ingredients, or a California-inspired chimichanga plate for one well-rounded, mouthwatering experience!
Okay, this next one might come as a bit of a surprise, but aren’t those the best kind? The name of this spot is Boomys – and the surprising part is that it’s a bar. Before you jump to the conclusion of “pub food” do me a favor and click here first. Did you go to the website? Because if you did, you’d see the following food categories: noodle salads, rice plates, pho-noodle soups, curry bowls, stir-fry noodles – does that sound like any bar you know?
For most of us, we go to a restaurant to eat and then we head to the bar, but Boomys is out to change that one amazing dish at a time. Located near Franklin Square just off Congress Street, Boomys has carved out a name for itself as “a bar with great food.” Just ask one of the owners of Boomys, Keith Berger. “Boomys was inspired and created six years ago to pair our love of a great, friendly bar with great food,” said Keith.
So what international taste will you find here? As you may have guessed, primarily Thai and Vietnamese. “We are known for everything, from starting off with pot stickers to ending with one of our stir frys.” Keith said. Boomys is also known to have one of the best steaks in Savannah. Of course, with its fully stocked bar, you know you’ll have your choice of libations as well, and Boomys famous frozen slushees will not disappoint.
Let’s see, we’ve gone to Greece, Mexico, and even Thailand. The good news is, that only begins to scratch the surface of international cuisine you’ll find in Savannah. Namaste Savannah is a restaurant on Broughton Street that brings “cuisine from the foothills of the Himalayas to historic Savannah.” Flock to the Wok, located just off of Broughton Street, offers a “modern twist on Chinese cuisine” and delights diners with its grand brass birdcage interior design. If a taste of fine French cuisine is what you’re after, look to Circa 1875, where you’ll delight in an “unpretentious Parisian bistro and pub with delicious French cuisine in an authentic old-world bistro setting.” Then there’s the Cuban flavors of Savannah favorite, Rancho Alegre; the South African flair of Zunzi’s; beloved Italian classics and original dishes at Garibaldi; and even a glimpse of jolly old England at Pie Society.
Clearly the hardest part of international dining in Savannah is deciding where to go. Just think of it this way: if you don’t get to try them all this trip, it simply means that a return trip is in order (or two or three). So pack your bags and be sure to bring your taste for the exotic. We’ll see you during your stay in Savannah!