Best Burger: The Collins Quarter, 151 Bull Street, Savannah, GA 31401
There are a handful of categories that can create violent reactions and arm wrestling showdowns in the middle of the street. Burgers are one of the most debated topics in America. In Savannah, the best is at The Collins Quarter. A perfect blend of Chuck, Brisket and….Pork Fat? Yep. Amazing.
Runner-Up/ People’s Choice: Green Truck Pub
Best Fried Chicken You Don’t Have to Wait in Line For: Sisters, 2605 Skidaway Road, Savannah, GA 31404
In a city where bad fried chicken can get you run out of town, the Brown family delivers consistently and wonderfully. The fried chicken at Sisters is as good as any out there.
Runner-Up: Li’l Chick
People’s Choice: Sisters
Best Wings: 520 Wings, 2705 Bull Street, Savannah, GA 31401
A two-time winner, owner Gary Gordon upped the ante a little with a 2nd location on Whitaker Street. Everybody has a favorite in this area. Ours are at 520 Wings. The hot wings are great, but the garlic parmesean are legendary.
Runner-Up: One Hot Mama’s
People’s Choice: 520 Wings
Best BBQ: Sandfly BBQ, 8413 Ferguson Avenue, Savannah, GA 31406
Another spot with a new second location to make it easier to enjoy all the time. Keith Lature gets it done regularly with wonderful lip smackin’ BBQ. If you know, then you know. Sandfly is outstanding. If you don’t? You need to try it.
Runner-Up: Bluffton BBQ
People’s Choice: Sandfly BBQ
Best Breakfast: Tybee Island Breakfast Club, 1500 Butler Avenue, Tybee Island, GA 31328
If there was an award for “Best Character”, Jodee Sadowsky would likely run away with that one as well. The lines out at the beach tell the story. The “Breakfast Club” is worth the wait and hands down the best breakfast for miles.
Runner-Up: Sunny Side Up
Best Brunch: Aqua Star at The Westin Savannah Harbor Resort, 1 Resort Drive, Savannah, GA 31421
Chef Roger Michel retired last year, but left behind a reputation for Sunday Brunch Buffet at The Westin that none have been able to come close to duplicating. Simply over the top excellent. Champagne at 12:30? Indeed.
Runner-Up: Tybee Island Social Club
Best Italian: Ombra Cucina Rustica, 1000 William Hill Parkway #G-2, Village Clippers Ltd, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
Not only is this the best traditional Italian in the area, but a good number of islanders believe this is the best overall restaurant on Hilton Head Island and that is saying something. Yes, it is that good. The wine list just as good. Executive Chef/Owner Michael Cirafesi is the ultimate host as well. A true gem on the food scene.
Best Steak: HH Prime at the Omni Hilton Head Resort, 23 Ocean Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
Last year’s winner (Noble Fare) is still very much in the highest regard with us. But HH Prime is a true steakhouse. Multiple cuts, classic side dishes, and about 50 yards from the Atlantic Ocean with amazing set of windows to prove it. Ask for their special cuts that aren’t on the menu. They can easily rival anything you will find in the big city. Yes, I said it.
Runner-Up: Noble Fare
Best Salad: Starland Café, 11 East 41st Street, Savannah, GA 31401
Two-time winners here. Starland Café is one of those spots you would never know where to look if you didn’t know exactly where you are going. No real sign out front and only open for lunch. That said, the salads are about 4-5 steps ahead of our runner up, which are excellent as well.
Runner-Up: Kayak Café
Best Sushi: OKKO, 95 Mathews Drive, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
There isn’t a lot of competition for excellent sushi in the area. Only a handful can claim they deliver. OKKO does in an atmosphere that takes you very, very far away from the strip mall they share with Sam’s Club. Excellent scene, quality sushi.
Runner-Up: Ele Fine Fusion
Best Drunk Food: Treylor Park, 115 East Bay Street, Savannah, GA 31401
Trey Wilder and Hunter Satterwhite set out to do something different on Bay Street. #nailed it. You can have a great lunch or dinner at Treylor Park, but you can also find a cure for the late night “whattheheckhappened” as well. Let us remember that Betty Bombers spent the better part of the year closed after a fire. Looking forward to a drunk food battle royale in year three.
Runner-Up: Parker’s Gourmet Market
Best Mexican: La Xalapena, 2308 Skidaway Road, Savannah, GA 31404
Not the place to go for your Friday happy hour office party. But, trust us, this is the closet you will get to Mexico without buying a plane ticket. Beer and Wine only and the food is just spot on. Just ask the construction workers in there at lunch time.
Runner-Up: Tequila’s Town
Best Thai: Chiriyas, 3017 East Victory Drive, Thunderbolt, GA 31404
She was a favorite when she was on Savannah’s Southside a couple of years ago but couldn’t get the votes last year. This year she did and deserves the nod as one of Savannah’s local secrets.
Runner-Up: King and I
Best Fried Shrimp: Gerald’s Pig and Shrimp, 1115 East Hwy 80, Tybee Island, GA 31328
Pull up a chair and talk to Gerald about his shrimp. Where he gets them and how he fries them. The man is nothing if not passionate about many things including how his shrimp are handled. The lightest of coatings before they are essentially flash fried. Excellent.
Runner-Up: AJ’s Dockside
Best Date Spot: Noble Fare, 321 Jefferson Street, Savannah, GA 31401
We arm wrestled over this one. Ultimately, it was hard to argue with the intimacy and attention to detail Chef Patty Mac and Jenny put into their space, their food and their service. Wonderful across the board.
Runner-Up: The Grey
Best Locally Sourced: 22 Square in the Andaz Hotel, 14 Barnard Street, Savannah, GA 31401
I get asked all the time. I mean ALL the time for spots that source locally. It’s something we really try to pay attention to. Chef Lauren Teague has an herb garden on the 3rd floor terrace. She has a rule of trying to source everything from within 75 miles and most recently started buying a few things from the garden they have at the Broad Street YMCA (which is on May Street). She talks the talk and walks the walk. Yet she works for the Hyatt Corporation. Give that some thought.
Runner-Up: Green Truck Pub
Best Wine List: Vic’s on the River, 26 East Bay Street, Savannah, GA 31401
Wine connoisseurs look at a list and know if the creator knows what he or she is doing. Vic’s has it down pat. I’ve listened to the wine geeks among us debate this topic for a while. Just open the bottle and shut up. It should be noted that corporate restaurants aren’t eligible to win a Foodie Award, but the list at Ruth’s Chris is exceptional.
Best Wines by the Glass: Circa 1875, 48 Whitaker Street, Savannah, GA 31401
Two-time winner here. There are a couple of very good ones in the area, but this is a list for wine drinkers.
Runner-Up: The Olde Pink House
Best Craft Brewery: Southbound Brewing Company, 107 East Lathrop Avenue, Savannah, GA 31415
The beer scene is growing in the area. As I write this another brewery is coming on-line in Bluffton. We have a number to choose from and frankly, they are all very, very good. Good problem to have.
Runner-Up: Service Brewing Company
People’s Choice: Moon River Brewing Company
Best Coffee Shop: Corner Perk, 1297 May River Road, Bluffton, SC 299210
Corner Perk started with a hot plate, some chicken salad sandwiches and tiny bean roaster. A few years later, they recruited a chef from a nearby country club and are rocking Old Town Bluffton with great food and excellent coffees.
Runner-Up: Savannah Coffee Roasters
Best Craft Cocktail: 22 Square at the Andaz Hotel, 14 Barnard Street, Savannah, GA 31401
About 2-3 years ago, I sat at the old Avia Hotel bar and had a long talk about the craft cocktail scene in Savannah. Frankly, it left a lot to be desired. The Food and Beverage director at the time set the property on a course to fix that. He’s gone, but the blueprint was in place. Walk in and ask for anything. Sweet, tart, refreshing, strong, all of it. They will get it done. Very well at that.
Runner-Up: The Grey
Best Female Chef: Mashama Bailey at The Grey, 109 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Savannah, GA 31401
Chef Mashama has without question stirred things up on Savannah’s restaurant scene. The attention she has drawn nationally is well deserved. Saturday afternoon lunches on the patio or multiple course meal in the dining room, the menu is diverse and solid.
Runner-Up: Kelly Yambor at Elizabeth on 37th
Best Pizza you can’t find in City Market: The Florence, 1 West Victory Drive #B, Savannah, GA 31401
For my money, the pizza Executive Chef Kyle Jacovino is serving up at The Florence is hands down the best in town. In fact, I’m looking forward to taking my daughter to Italy one day and hearing her say “this pizza tastes like The Florence” because she will.
Runner-Up: Screamin’ Mimi’s
People’s Choice: Roma Pizza
Best Gourmet to Go: K’Bella Gourmet To Go, 119 Charlotte Road #H, Savannah, GA 31410
Two time winner Kristen Sicilia very quietly does her thing on Whitemarsh Island. The cases are colorful, flavorful and excellent for any night you don’t feel like cooking. Frankly, I have never gotten more high fives for a recommendation than I get after sending people here.
Runner-Up: Joe’s Homemade
Best Sandwich: Sandfly BBQ “The Wally”, 8413 Ferguson Avenue, Savannah, GA 31406
A breaded chicken breast fried in duck fat with housemade slaw and a pickle? As soon as you are done reading this, make plans to go get yourself one. Downtown location only. You will not find this sandwich at their original spot in Sandfly.
Runner-Up: Triple Decker Turkey Club at Crystal Beer Parlor
Best Caterer: Paul Kennedy Catering, 1370 US 80, Pooler, GA 31322
Every successful caterer works incredibly hard to make it all work. Doesn’t matter if it’s one event for 25 or six events for 700 over a typical “wedding Saturday”, they deliver and are tremendous ambassadors for this area among the destination wedding crowd.
Runner-Up: Nick Mueller & Co.
Best Restaurant Group: Ele and The Chef, which runs Ele, Flying Monk, Chive, Tangerine, King & I
People regularly wonder how they do it. Seven locations (and one more to come) and they are all beautiful and doing great food.
Runner-Up: Serg Restaurant Group, which runs One Hot Mama’s, Black Marlin, Skull Creek Boathouse, Frankie Bones
The “Leopold’s Ice Cream” Best Ice Cream Award: Leopold’s
Mocha Chip please.
Best Bakery: Midnight Baker, 14 Promenade Street, Bluffton, SC 29910
Robert Plantadis lives above the shop in Old Town Bluffton, which means he is always there. I mean, always there. Step in and you will instantly feel like you’ve stepped into a bakery in Paris. Yes, it’s that good.
Runner-Up: Back in the Day Bakery
People’s Choice: Back in the Day Bakery
Best Chinese: Fire Wok, 20 East DeRenne Avenue, Savannah, GA 31405
This spot on Derenne is easily doing great Chinese food but frankly, I got out voted here. Asian Bistro is flat-out the best Chinese Food between Charleston and Jacksonville. Trust me, I’ve eaten a lot of bad stuff in order to claim that. I never pass up an opportunity to grab something from our runner up whenever I’m in the Low Country.
Runner-Up: Asian Bistro on Hilton Head Island
Best New Restaurant: The Grey, 109 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Savannah, GA 31401
It says something about the area’s food scene when we went from not having a category to a discussion about who should win. This is a win/win for everyone reading this, but The Grey is simply a cut above the others.
Runner-Up: The Florence
People’s Choice: Lili’s Restaurant and Bar
Best Food with a View: Old Fort Pub, 65 Skull Creek Drive, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
Exceptional food with a view that none can match. You need to see if to believe it.
Runner-Up: AJ’s Dockside
Best Dessert: Bananas Foster at The Bluffton Room, 15 Promenade Street, Bluffton, SC 299210
The cart rolls out to your table. Ingredients Mise en Place and they go to work. Truthfully, they win the award because I finally got to use mise en place in a sentence. Not really. The flames are sky high, the flavors are perfectly blended. It’s a wonderful tableside capper to one of the area’s most beautiful venues.
Runner-Up: Chocolate Parfait at The Grey
Best Bartender: Scott Marshall – 22 Square at Andaz Hotel, 14 Barnard Street, Savannah, GA 31401
Let’s just say we enjoyed the research on this one. So many deserving candidates. It takes a special kind of talent to anticipate a guests needs and deliver perfectly every single time. So many in Savannah do. But Scott does it with a demeanor and grace that few others can match.
Runner-Up: Charlie Wentway – Garibaldi’s
Best Oysters: The Grey, 109 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Savannah, GA 31401
Owner John Morisano will tell you he is particular about pretty much everything in his place, but he is particularly particular about his oysters. A runaway winner.
Runner-Up: Chive Sea Bar and Lounge