Saturday, January 5, 2013

Savannah/Hilton Head - New Restaurants, Choices

We're spending some time in the beautiful Savannah/Hilton Head Island area and we want to tell you about some of the restaurants and attractions we've visited -- for the most part places that we have not reported on before.
This is unquestionably one of the loveliest, most charming areas of the country and every time we return we find ourselves enchanting by the timeless beauty of the low country. In January and February the weather here is relatively mild with temperatures in the 50s to the 70s and we have been treated to blue skies, bright sunlight and a generally temperate climate.
Perhaps we can best tell you about the places and the dining spots we've visited and the food we've enjoyed so far by simply showing you and explaining it that way.
So, here goes:

Above and below:
Soho South Cafe on Liberty Street in Savannah describes itself as a place "where food is an art" and that is certainly an apt description. This bright, airy eatery in a converted garage epitomizes shabby chic. Here you will find wonderful brunch and lunch choices as well as local art and assorted curiosities. The unique down home l flavor will envelop you and you will quickly learn how to relax southern style. Plus, everything is moderately priced.
We highly recommend mom's meatloaf sandwich (shown below). It's full, warm and zesty. We ordered ours with homemade potato salad. You'll understand why this place was voted Best of Savannah. Then head on over to River Street for those fresh pralines (made right in front of you) at River Street Sweets (below right). They're still the best we've found anywhere!


At one time or another just about everyone who comes to Savannah dines at the legendary Olde Pink House on Reynolds Square.  We enjoyed the grouper stuffed with crabmeat (above) and the plump, fresh scallops (below) This eatery is set in an 18th-century mansion in Savannah’s Historic District and is known for its no-frills New American fare and no-attitude service. Everyone here is very friendly and helpful. And then there's also the chance to step back in time. It's all very authentic. In fact, the room we ate in (see below) was part of an addition to the house designed by Thomas Jefferson.
And yes, the house really is pink and all of the rooms are lovely and memorable.

We then drove a few miles from downtown Savannah to a place we've always wanted to visit -- historic (and reportedly spooky) Bonaventure Cemetery. Bonaventure figured prominently in the book and the movie Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil -- one of our very favorite flicks, directed by Clint Eastwood. You may recall that the Mercer House was also a part of the story (or The Book as it is known in Savannah). Well, at Bonaventure Cemetery you'll not only find blooms like the one below (even in January) but you'll also find the grave of four-time Academy Award winning songwriter Johnny Mercer and novelist Conrad Aiken, among others.
The lush grounds of the cemetery will beguile you -- especially the mammoth live oaks and the gorgeous waterfront views.
This is a not-to-be-missed attraction.

Thanks to TV's hugely successful Restaurant Impossible on the Food Network, Robert Irvine is one of America's most famous dining experts. Irvine's restaurant Eat! on Hilton Head Island has long been a favorite of ours. But now Irvine has opened another, slightly more casual dining spot just off the island in the Tanger Outlet Center in Blufton.
Dubbed Robert Irvine's Nosh (shown below) this place is delightful.
As you can see from the photos below we lunched at Nosh and enjoyed the chef's salad (without the ham) and the roasted chicken sandwich with tomato, mozzarella and spinach (with the pesto on the side). The turkey was freshly sliced and the chicken was tender, succulent and juicy. And those fries? Well, they were fresh cut and rich in potato-ey taste and aroma. Heavenly.
BTW: Right now Nosh is featuring a winter pre-fix dinner menu for $30 for TWO that includes appetizer, entree and dessert. Add a glass of house chardonnay for three bucks!
Great rustic atmosphere. Delicious food. Friendly service. Incredible value!

After strolling the beach at Hilton Head we were in the mood for pizza and that brought us to a reliable standby -- Paulie's Coal Fired Pizza (below) on William Hilton Parkway near the Sea Pines Circle.
We've always said that the real test of any pizza is the basic red sauce and mozzarella pie just as the real test of any ice cream is vanilla.
Well, Paulie's "basic" pie is fresh and fragrant with a thin crust and their own homemade cheese. We discovered Paulie's last year and have returned several times. Each time we get what we came for -- fine food and drink, friendly service and a warm atmosphere.
This ain't no pizza joint.
This is civilized pizza in a spacious, efficient, up-to-trhe minute eatery that you and your family will thoroughly enjoy!
All photos copyright 2013 by Dan Cirucci.

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