The Queen of New Southern Cooking
Elizabeth (a.k.a. “Miz Terry’s place”) has been Savannah’s most famous restaurant since it opened in 1981. Housed in an elegant turn-of-the-century Beaux Arts mansion on the periphery of the Historic District, the tastefully decorated restaurant blends in with its Victorian neighbors, as impressive visually as its dining experience is gastronomically. In 1995, executive chef Elizabeth Terry was voted as the best chef in the Southeast by the James Beard Foundation, and in the years since she’s continued to thrill loyalists with her refined interpretation of classic, old-fashioned Southern recipes, favoring fresh seafood from along the coast and herbs from her own garden. She modestly calls her creations “comfort food,” something of an understatement for dishes such as grouper Celeste with a crisp sesame-almond crust served with peanut sauce, and Savannah red rice with local shrimp and clams, spicy sausage, and grilled okra.
If by some error in judgment you don’t make it to Elizabeth’s for dinner, join those who stop by just for the sumptuous and imposing desserts. Savannah cream cake is Elizabeth’s version of trifle—angel food cake, sherry, and cream with berry sauce. There’s also a wonderful peach and blueberry cobbler topped with shortbread. The dessert-and-coffee scene is Savannah’s very own dolce vita. Elizabeth’s husband, Michael Terry (who will also answer to “Mr. Elizabeth”), long ago gave up a challenging legal career to help navigate his wife’s talent and fame, while happily nurturing his own passion for the grape. In 1998, the couple took on brothers Gary and Greg Butch (both longtime employees) as business partners; ask either for an unerring wine recommendation.