The Chart House: Classic Savannah Charm

the outside of Chart House Savannah

The Chart House is a well known fine dining venue in the enchanting, oak-tree shaded river-side city of Savannah, a historic coastal American town in the state of Georgia. The restaurant itself is ideally situated in the downtown historic district on River Street, the city’s most famous avenue that sits right on the Savannah river and boasts original cobblestone streets from the city’s founding in 1733, as well as a number of quaint shops, cafes and southern-style seafood restaurants. Due to its proximity to the well-known beaches of Tybee Island, Savannah’s atmosphere is charmingly breezy, beachy and historic all at once. The Chart HouseĀ  does not stray from Savannah’s relaxed character by managing to be at once both exclusive and welcoming.

While The Chart House (as it is denoted by locals, though it is officially part of the Chart House, a select chain in the U.S.) is a popular venue, it is not difficult to secure a reservation. I myself was able to make one easily only half an hour before my desired time (6:30 pm) on a Saturday evening for a party of four, the weekend before New Year’s Eve. Attire need only be smart casual, and the cuisine ranges from southern comfort to impressively elegant and unique combinations.

View from the river room

Whilst the main entrance in situated on River Street and entry here will bring you to a classy yet casual bar excellent for pre-dinner whistle-wetters, moss-laden oak trees characteristic of the area greet you on the southern Bay Street top-floor entrance. If you enter here early in the evening, you have a nice chance of being seated in the desirable River Room, where many executive and celebratory functions are hosted, as well as young, exuberant dinner parties dressed to the nines for the iconic American Prom. This room grants an excellent view of the river, down the cobblestones of the streets and across the river of the elegant and impressive Westin hotel. During warmer months, do consider asking for a seat on the patio for even better views and to catch lovely balmy breezes off the river.

Bronzed georgia peach

Dinner begins with fresh southern bread and butter, and my party selected the refreshing hummus trio (from experience) as an appetizer. We also ordered a bottle of a modest red – Estancia’s Pinot Noir. Upon the waiter’s recommendation, I indulged in the Bronzed Georgia Peach Mahi, the restaurant’s signature dish, which consisted of a generously portioned glazed mahi mahi fillet topped with jumbo lump crab, caramelized onions, sliced Georgia peaches and mango coulis served on a heaping, steaming bed of creamy golden mashed Yukon potatoes. The dish is pictured above, but please don’t judge the presentation, as I could not resist delving in to a few bites out of curiosity (and appetite)! I recommend ordering an additional green side to ease your conscience.

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The other diners in my party ordered the Smothered Shrimp, Baked Redfish with Andouille Gratin and the Snapper Hemminway, all of which were colorful and delicious dishes that arrived beautifully arranged, steaming hot and in good time. Most dishes are between $25-35 and are extremely generously portioned. Sadly, we had neither the room nor the time for the molten chocolate cake, the signature dessert, which takes 30 minutes to prepare.

A couple in my party were Landry’s Select Club members, which grants a special discount and extra consideration. (This particular couple was also happily engaged at The Chart House some 25 years ago.)

Overall, it was a wonderful evening dining experience and is certainly worth a dinner reservation on your itinerary when visiting Savannah. My only criticism would be of the music selection, which was an odd mix of electro-dance and funk, perhaps due to it being a Saturday… Post dinner, there is a wide selection of bars in the area for after-dinner drinks, including the Social Club in the City Market area or a few pubs on River Street. While in the area, be sure to take a trolley or horse-drawn carriage tour, have lunch at Mrs. Wilkes (rather than the better-known Lady & Sons of Paula Deen) and ride out to the sandy dunes and shark-surrounded pier of Tybee Island (though I myself much prefer St. Simons Island, a farther drive south towards the city of Brunswick).

Review the Chart House dinner menu here before being seated so you don’t find yourself asking the waiter for another few minutes 3 times. The Chart House is located at 202 West Bay Street in Georgia’s oldest masonry building, but the interior is tastefully modern. Call 912-234-6686 for information and reservations.

Have you dined at The Chart House? Please share your experience below in our comments!

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