Skip Paula Deen’s tourist trap and instead experience the best of the culinary scene at Elizabeth on 37th, where chef Kelly Yambor takes Southern standbys in bold new directions. Make reservations for the seven-course seasonal tasting menu ($90), which may include dishes such as Parmesan-crusted local black sea bass with South Carolina quail hash and grilled venison tenderloin with balsamic butter sauce okra and cauliflower flan.
Wait on line for old-school Southern grub at Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room ($16, cash only), a Savannah institution that’s been serving family-style meals since 1943. Fried chicken is always on the set menu, while beef stew, meatloaf, and sausage make appearances throughout the week next to sides including collard greens, snap beans, okra and tomatoes, and candied yams.
Taste an international spin on comfort food at 700 Drayton, where chef Michael Semancik (formerly of Blue Ribbon) serves cashew-crusted salmon kicked up with spicy Sriracha sauce along with baby bok choy and basmati rice ($26). Fried chicken gets a twist, too, with blueberries in the crust and Gruyère red-potato gratin and pole beans served on the side ($24).