Just back from long, hot weekend in Savannah. Skipped the older, more established, & touristy spots like Paula Dean, Mrs Wilkes, Elizabeths on 37th, Olde Pink House, Pirate House, etc. That said, can sum up Savannah dining with one huge recommendation: the Grey. Would have eaten every meal here if possible, its just that good.
But to be fair, did sample other joints for comparison. Tried to hit Alligator Soul but it was temporarily closed due to a "natural disaster". Had a wonderful brunch of chicken schnitzel & smashed avocado at Collins Quarter. Jazz'd Tapas Bar was good for "Americanized tapas" and drinks. B Matthews Eatery was crowded but had a good brunch. Had a difficult dinner choice between Florence (menu seemed to tilt toward pizzas) vrs Cotton & Rye; probably picked wrong with Cotton & Rye where the pork chop was massive and the sausage/cheese board good but everything else was oversalted. The waiter at C&R could not multi-task hence slow, plus he seemed to be from another planet. Had a good lunch of miso salmon at the Vault which is a SE Asia bistro with sushi.
The best bakery was Back in the Day down in the upcoming Starland District. Nearby Foxy Loxy had good coffee.
For dessert, tried both Leopold's Ice Cream parlor (traditional but good) and Lulu's Chocolate Bar where they had an amazing decadent concoction called "the Rapture Sundae with 3 scoops of ice cream in a hand-made chocolate bowl, covered in fresh berries, and accompanied by pitchers of dark, white chocolate and caramel sauces, plus served on the side are Chambord, Amarula, and Meletti Cioccolato liqueurs".
For good beer bars, hit the Distillery Beer Pub which had a good selection of microbrews and the motto of “No crap, just craft”, meaning no Bud or Lite. And the Crystal Beer Parlor, which advertises itself as Savannah's 2nd oldest restaurant (1933) had decent comfort & pub food plus many good drafts. Moon River Brewing was nothing special. Avoid the Top Sail bar atop the Cotton Sail hotel - it had a good river view but was packed with preppy yuppies. Savannah is progressive in that at most downtown watering holes in the historic district, you can get your drink in a "to go" cup to finish on your way to your next destination. And Watermelon Coolers (with alcohol) were an excellent & popular drink at several establishments.
But back to the Grey. Executive chef & co-owner Mashama Bailey was cooking and dinner was amazing. Everything was excellent. Even the succotash. There was a huge Charcuterie platter with cheese that was not on the menu and delicious. The Fish Tangine was perfectly cooked & spiced. Do not miss the Grey.
Side notes: very hot in July, near 100 degrees everyday. Spring probably the best time to visit as everything is blooming in the 22 squares downtown, however, its also the most crowded time with tourists. Bird Girl statue has been been moved from Bonaventure Cemetery to Telfair/Jepson Art Museum. And there was an article in the local paper concerning how there is currently a spike in crime, so use your street smarts while visiting.