Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room
107 W. Jones St., Historic District
In 1943, a young woman named Selma Wilkes opened a traditional Southern boarding house (lodging upstairs, a few hearty meals downstairs). Still a family-run business today, Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room is where you head for real-deal Southern home cooking, although the upper part of the boarding house can actually be rented. It’s open every day for lunch (but closed in January), and everything is served family-style: fried chicken, sweet potato souffle, beef stew, collard greens, black-eyed peas, okra gumbo, corn muffins, and biscuits. It’s cash only and takes no reservations, so expect a line of people waiting to get in. After lunch, take a walk around beautiful Jones Street, which is lined with historic Southern homes and arched, weeping trees.
404 Abercorn St., Historic District
You might recognize Clary’s from Clint Eastwood’s film adaptation of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It’s long been a Savannah staple, serving up eggs, biscuits, and gravy for breakfast; black bean soup, jumbo fish sandwiches, and the like for lunch and dinner. Formerly a drugstore, Clary’s is decorated today with nostalgic knickknacks, family photos, and memorabilia—though you’re not coming here for the decor.
The Pink House
23 Abercorn St., Historic District
Located on Reynolds Square, this is a beloved local restaurant in an 18th-century (pink) mansion. The cuisine here is distinctly Southern: fried green tomatoes, local shrimp and grits, ravioli stuffed with Vidalia onions, corn bread with fried oysters—the kind of food you have to eat at least once while in Savannah.
The Florence (Closed)
1B W. Victory Dr., Bingville
The Florence’s menu is, not surprisingly, Italian-focused, with an emphasis on Southern-grown, locally harvested ingredients (e.g., the seafood stew comes from coastal Georgia and the bacon in Florence’s carbonara is house-cured). The crowd-pleaser? Hands down the pizza. Florence is closed on Mondays, but otherwise open for dinner and lunch Tuesday through Saturday, and they have a special Sunday brunch menu. Also, in addition to being an Italian restaurant, The Florence also functions as a coffee shop—good for a mid-day pick-me-up.