Content Produced in Partnership with Golden Isles
In the Golden Isles, we don’t just eat to live, we live to eat. Any true Southerner will wholeheartedly agree that food is more than just a meal; it’s a way of life. And with our prime location on the Georgia coast, many of our restaurants and festivals feature locally-caught and harvested ingredients that were in the ocean or garden just hours before finding their way onto your dinner plate. When you’re in town, make sure to try these coastal Georgian delicacies, or plan your trip around one of our can’t-miss festivals and events held annually in celebration of our favorite dishes!
1. Brunswick Stew
You can’t get much more local than Brunswick Stew in the Golden Isles. This dish is an art; there are so many ways it can be made that it’s up to the chef to decide how it ultimately tastes. Made with chicken, beef, pork or a combination of the three, this hearty stew is a great side dish to go along with a plate of Golden Isles' famous fresh seafood.
Find It: It won’t be hard to find Brunswick Stew at one of our local establishments on your next visit, but one of our favorite places to try it is Gnat’s Landing on St. Simons Island. Try their twist on this local dish that they call “St. Simons Stew.”
Make It: Want to try to make the dish at home with your own flair? Try our base recipe at home, and adjust to your particular taste. Try it alongside some Southern-style barbecue for the perfect pairing.
Celebrate It: Want to see how the locals celebrate this dish? Visit in November, and attend the Brunswick Rockin’ Stewbilee, an annual food festival where local and regional teams go head-to-head, or stew pot-to-stew pot if you will, each year in an all-out competition for the coveted title of Brunswick Stewmaster. At this quintessential Southern small town festival, attendees have the honor of helping decide who will win the People’s Choice awards. Learn more.
2. Fresh Oysters
Oysters can be found in many coastal regions across the country, but none are quite the same as those found in the Golden Isles marshlands. Harvest your own or find some fresh shells at a local restaurant — either way, you won’t be disappointed.
Find Them: The best way to try a variety of coastal Georgian oysters? Stop by Catch 228 Oyster Bar & Grill on St. Simons Island. Catch 228 features oysters any way you want them: raw, steamed or baked, with a variety of specialty toppings and sauces including horseradish, “228 Vinegar Sauce,” bacon, mushrooms, onions and bleu cheese crumbles, jalapeno, hot sauce, bacon and cheese and more.
Harvest Them: With the correct licenses, you can harvest your own oysters during recreational harvest season. Check with the Georgia Department of National Resources for Glynn County licensing and harvest season details to pick your own oysters on your next visit.
Celebrate Them: Visit this October to sip, sample and savor your way through St. Simons Island at the annual St. Simons Island Food & Spirits Festival. There’s no shortage of unique events, flavorful dishes or sumptuous cocktails at this five-day festival. But the best part of this event is the annual Oyster Fest and After Party that closes out this can’t-miss festival.
3. Snapper and Grouper
Snapper and Grouper are plentiful off the Georgia coast in the cool Atlantic. Because of this, many restaurants around town have these fresh fish available, caught daily.
Find Them: Because snapper and grouper are so plentiful off of our coast, visitors and locals can find each in restaurants across our four islands and port city pretty readily. You really can’t go wrong.
Catch Them: With the Atlantic Ocean and many marsh rivers available for anglers and visitors alike, fishing is a very popular pastime in the Golden Isles. Better yet? You can charter a fishing boat to fish for your own snapper or grouper deep at sea. Hire one of our local professional captains to work for your next fresh Georgian seafood meal – trust us, the reward is well worth it.
Celebrate Them: One of our most inclusive celebrations of all things Southern is Sea Island’s Southern Grown Festival, held each year in September. Led by award-winning chefs and musical talent from across the South, the three-day Southern Grown Festival is sure to feature these popular fish alongside other Golden Isles delicacies. Learn more.
4. Wild Georgia Shrimp
There’s nothing quite like fresh, sweet Georgian shrimp! With a thriving shrimping industry, the Golden Isles has always been a prime place to eat shrimp to your heart’s content.
Find It: You can find shrimp almost everywhere in the Golden Isles, but some of the locals’ favorites include Brogen’s South or Georgia Sea Grill on St. Simons Island, or Driftwood Bistro on Jekyll Island.
Catch It: There is a one-of-a-kind shrimp boat in the Golden Isles that takes locals and visitors out to experience shrimping: The Lady Jane. This “Shrimpin’ Cruise” allows visitors to join in and help the on-board marine biologists sort the shrimp, or passengers can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the gorgeous open air decks and take in the shrimping experience.
Celebrate It: The Golden Isles is home to one of the largest local celebrations of one of our favorite shrimp dishes: shrimp and grits! At the annual Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival held in September, make your way from booth to booth as you sample and judge local chefs’ and restaurants’ spin on the low country classic dish Shrimp & Grits. All dishes feature fresh Wild Georgia Shrimp, which are sustainably harvested in our local waters. Other highlights include arts and crafts vendors, a craft brew tasting, live music, kids’ activities and more – all in a beautiful and enchanting setting.