Answers from Our Experts (3)
The Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Georgian Room restaurant, located inside Five-Star The Cloister, is opulent and grand, with gilded chandeliers and a carved stone fireplace — and it's the only Five-Star restaurant in Georgia. Tables are set with crisp white linens, hand-painted china and sterling silver flatware, and the cuisine here focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients. Chef Daniel Zeal has been at the helm since 2006, creating specialties like his deconstructed Caesar salad (a torpedo of lettuce wrapped in a ring-like crouton) and the Fiscalini cheddar grits soufflé served with blue prawns and a Lowcountry oyster gumbo.
The Cloister's siser hotel, Five-Star The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club, is home to Colt & Alison, an excellent choice if it's steak you crave. USDA prime wet-aged beef is the draw at this club-like, mahogony-paneled restaurant, but the seafood — such as Maine lobster, Atlantic salmon and cobia — is excellent too. End your meal on a dramatic note with the bananas foster ignited tableside.
Not only is Georgian Room the best restaurant on Sea Island, it’s one of the best in the country. It’s the sole eatery in Georgia to nab the coveted Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star award. Chef Daniel Zeal makes sophisticated Southern cuisine that shines in dishes like foie gras torchon with smoked squab, grapefruit and honeycomb, and Carolina brook trout with violet yam, saffron, turnips and fava beans. The sumptuous Old South dining room impresses with glittering crystal and gold chandeliers hanging from coffered ceilings, a muted sage floral print covering chairs and white cloth hugging the tables. Touches like the cream columns and carved stone fireplace give it the Mediterranean flavor you’ll find elsewhere in The Cloister, which houses the restaurant. Despite the dining room’s lavish décor, the best seat in the house is actually in an alcove in the kitchen. At the chef’s table, peer out of the large window to see how Zeal and his team work their culinary magic.
For a less formal option in the Five-Star hotel, head to Tavola. In the Tuscan trattoria, chef Paola Bugli whips up classic dishes based on her family’s recipes. Start with the house-cured prosciutto and the caprese salad, which includes a ball of burrata stuffed with olive tapenade. For the entrée, the gnudi is heavenly — thin-shelled, ricotta-filled nuggets showered with pecorino flakes sit on top of tomato sauce. But the wood-fired pizzas make a tempting alternative; try the signature Tavola pie topped with housemade sausage, rapini and aged Gouda that is served on a wooden pizza peel.
Another top-notch eatery on Sea Island can be found in The Cloister’s sister hotel, The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club. Colt & Alison is a dark, intimate spot with burgundy and mahogany-paneled walls and a wood-burning fireplace. (Try to snag a table along the window bank that overlooks the 18th hole of the Plantation Golf Course.) The steakhouse, of course, excels at meat. But those in the know go for the dishes with a tableside presentation. Order the peppery, tender filet mignon au poivre and the chef will come out and sear it tableside (and request the delicious cabernet-shallot sauce). The Caesar salad and bananas foster also have showy tableside presentations. But don’t overlook the other sweets; the chef’s daily rotating dessert soufflés are a crowd favorite. And try to save room for the mignardises cart, which carries classic treats, such as fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies, colorful macarons, chocolate-covered almonds and jellybeans.
Tip: No matter which restaurant you choose at the hotels, be sure to ask for the corn muffins. The kitchens keep the batter at the ready upon request. Made with cheddar and creamed corn, the addictive bacon-studded muffins are a Sea Island classic.
We’ve tried to appeal to a wide variety of tastes. We start with the Georgian Room which is our most refined and awarded restaurant. We also feature great rustic Italian at Tavola, Southern Seafood at Southern Tide, great steaks in sophisticated setting at Colt and Allison, the Oak Room which is a classic American Bar and Grill, the River Bar which is a casual brasserie and the Davis Love Grill which is our Sports Bar. We also have great food at the Snack Shack at the pool and an eclectic menu with strong international influences at the Flip Flop Bistro at the Beach. So it all depends on what you’re in the mood for!