Friday, August 28, 2009

Road Trip: Gryphon Tea Room - Savannah, GA

337 Bull St., Savannah, GA 912/525-5880

Our second foodie stop in Savannah was the Gryphon Tea Room, where we had lunch last Saturday. I have been to the Tea Room one other time, almost two years ago with my sister Sabrina. Back then I was impressed with the restaurant's beautiful space, which was formerly pharmacy and still maintains some of the old, charming decor. There are stained glass windows inside, as well as cheerful, bright orange chairs and lots of light. The restaurant is connected to the nearby Savannah College of Art and Design, which has done wonders for many local businesses through restoring their buildings and supplying them with student workers.

I ordered the Frenchman sandwich ($9.95), which is very similar to a Monte Cristo and equally delicious. It featured good, flavorful ham and warm caramelized onions. It was served with a mixed greens salad, which was very fresh, and a raspberry vinaigrette, which I found to be a little too sweet. Ben and Kyle both selected the Havana ($10.50), a nice Cuban sandwich with pickles. It was paired with a bowl of black beans and yellow rice, a common side to Cuban sandwiches in Georgia that my Cuban friend Carlos emphatically informed me is NOT an authentic Cuban staple. I tasted it and thought it could benefit from a few teaspoons of salt. Portion sizes were all very good.

We ended our meal by sharing a generously sized slice of Italian cream cake, a very sweet treat. That day the Tea Room also featured several other cakes, such as Oreo and the quintessentially Southern red velvet.

True to its name, the Gryphon's tea selection is also very good, featuring a number of black, white, green and herbal teas. I selected the apricot, which was perfect for summer. At $5.25 it wasn't cheap, but I was served a full pot of hot water as well as given a small white porcelain creamer and bowl of sugar, providing me with several cups of tea with my lunch.

The service was very good both times I dined at the Tea Room. You'll spend about the same amount you would on a lunch at O'Charley's, but you'll be treated to the beautiful decor, better food, and some soothing tea right in a very central location of downtown Savannah.

Verdict: A great stop for either a full lunch or afternoon tea. Include it in your plans to visit Savannah, GA.

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