Some of the best cities in the US for foodies lie along the arc of the southern Atlantic coast. Low country cuisine, a combination of local products like seafood, rice and fresh vegetables, including the famous Vidalia onions, combine with West Indian heat and African specialty such as okra and sesame seeds to yield a unique dining experience.
Traditional low country cuisine abounds in Savannah, perched at the center of the coastal arc on the river that gave it its name. Enjoy Savannah’s specialties at any of these palate-worthy establishments:
Belford’s Savannah Seafood & Steaks
An award winning restaurant located in a century-old building in the City Market, Belford’s has a handle on all things lowcountry. Try their famous crab cakes and red rice, or for something a little different bite into a salmon BLT served on a croissant.
17 Hundred 90 Restaurant and Inn
In the basement of the hotel of the same name one finds another Savannah tradition, 17 Hundred 90. Their She Crab Stew is deservedly famous, and the pork tenderloin is practically and institution.
Find out more at www.17hundred90.com.
Lying on the St. John’s River and the Atlantic Coast at the southern end of the arc, Jacksonville has access to all the ingredients for great low country cooking with a distinct Florida flavor, and some great restaurants to serve them up.
Jacksonville’s go-to venue for special occasions is Azurea, located on the beach in the One Ocean resort. Their jumbo blue crab cake is a classic, as is the battered fish in a Vidalia onion remoulade.
Learn more at www.oneoceanresort.com.
The Crabcake Factory
Jacksonville Beach is the home of The Crabcake Factory, featuring low country, cajun and American options. In addition to their signature specialty, try the oysters on the half shell, the “pirate” pork chops with Caribbean seasoning and the sauteed sea scallops. Save room for the chocolate “moose,” which is a dining experience all by itself.
Find further information at www.crabcakefactoryjax.com.
Charleston, South Carolina
There’s a new take on low country dining in Charleston, the northern anchor of the coastal arc. Old fashioned specialties get a new, healthy twist in the city’s fine dining establishments: a little less dairy, a little more whole grain, but still the same emphasis on fresh local ingredients.
An elegant atmosphere and attentive service are the extras at Circa 1886. The premiere attraction is its original take on low country food. Try the shrimp and grits gnocchi, for example, or the blackened pompano with watermelon and feta salad. Don’t forget the Key lime bavarois!
Find details at http://circa1886.com/menu/
The Peninsula Grill
When you go to the Peninsula Grill, you have to have the coconut cake. What you eat before that is up to you: oyster stew, shrimp with a golden peach glaze or just a perfectly cooked steak with brandy-peppercorn sauce. Don’t eat to much of it, though, because the Peninsula’s coconut cake is what dessert is all about.
Get more information at www.peninsulagrill.com.
From South Carolina to north Florida, the low country arc provides dining experiences to thrill the palate and cheer the soul. The cities along I-95 in this area provide some of the best dining in America. Come try it and see!