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Jun 25, 2007 10:09 PM

St. Simons, GA - Help!

I'm off to St. Simons/Sea Island, GA for a few days to work, and I'm looking for one or two chow worthy but not super $$ places to eat dinner. Any suggestions? I leave in two days! Thanks in advance.

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  1. It has been over a year, but the last time I was in the area a local highly recommended Georgia Sea Grill and told us we would need reservations as it was very popular with residents of St. Simons Island. This is a wonderful quaint restaurant with an inspired husband and wife team behind the scenes...moderate prices...friendly waitstaff...great food in a lovely setting. For the life of me, I can't tell you what we ordered. I can tell you that it was one of the best dining experiences we have had in years.

    I seem to recall that they kept one or two tables near the entrance for walk-ins.

    Make reservations and make sure to ask how to find the place. It is in a convenient location in the midst other restaurants, but the entrance is down an alley behind all of those tiny row shops, so it would be easy to miss unless you knew how to get there.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Windsor

      Bennies Red Barn has been around for over 50 years great steaks cooked over oak pit & seafood, save room for a racoon, a high octane milkshake for dessert. Frederica house is similar, but has only been around for 25 years. Brogens North has the best burgers. Gnats Landing is a fun bar/restaurent. The most chow worthy experience in the area would be a pork chop sandwich with grilled onions from Willies Weenee Wagon in Brunswick. Monn Doggies has the best Pizza. The Peppered shrimp app at Mullett Bay was originally on the raw bar menu at Emmelines. You did not mention fine dining, but Chrisites in Brunswick was recently listed in Ga Trend as one of the top 10 in the State it has passed Cargo & downtown Brunswick is becoming a dining destination. The best Sushi is Pearl. Juststick to sushi & you are safe there, the kitchen is weak.

      1. re: beteez

        I can't recomend Bennie's Red Barn. Fifty years ago, it may have been cutting edge, but it hasn't kepyt up with the times. It is a poster child of past its time mediocrity.

        1. re: sarge

          Like any place Bnnies has had its ups & downs, but the last few times I have been there, the last which was 2 weeks ago, I have had no complaints. It definitely beats waiting in line at Outback. The seafood is cheaper & the shrimp & Oysters are superior to the Old School Diner at Harris Neck which has gotten rave reviews on this board.

          1. re: BRB 1954

            " Stay away from Bennie's Red Barn. Some people like it and some don't. My wife wanted to go there wanting a really good steak. Well, they brought it but not medium well. It was pratically raw. When she sent it back they brought it back missing the filet!! They said it had fallen off in the coals!! She refused an offer of something else as she was not feeling very well after eating the nearly raw steak. The place does not have a normal menu, but someone tells you what they have and then they bring you a salad so saturated in vinagrette as to make the leaves limp!! The service is very slow, especially when they are busy. The place is very dark and has an almost dingy feel to it. If you want a decent steak and service either go to the Outback Steakhouse or somewhere else, where you even get a real menu."

            Bennie's Red Barn
            5514 Frederica Rd, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522

        2. re: Windsor

          Haven't heard much about Georgia Sea Grill since it changed ownership. JMac's has a new chef and the new menu is a huge improvement. Things were a tad slow coming out of the kitchen, but we were on island time and it didn't much matter.

          1. re: dinner belle

            Too bad about Mac's house. About a month ago when I was picking up from Moondoggies on a Fri night JMacs was closed. It is open again. We havn't been in almost 2 years. Better places for the price IMHO. Mac seems to change chefs on a regular baisis.

            1. re: beteez

              I think the new chef -- Connor somebody -- will be around for a while. Better food than I've had there in a long time. Not cheap, but no more than Delaney's and I won't go to Halyards anymore.

              At least they got the couple who torched Mac & Beverly's.

                1. re: Dax

                  Halyard's is still here they moved to a building in the movie theater parking lot. For that price point I prefer Delaney's. You never go there that Tom isnt in the kitchen. & I think he is the best cheh on SSI.

                    1. re: Dax

                      On Frederica across from the fire station. Robert Redford came in every night after they closed for dinner when he filmed Bagger Vance on Jekyll. Tom is a great guy also.

          2. Barbara Jean's and the Fourth of May, both located in the Village are good choices for lunch and dinner. Both feature southern cooking. Crabdaddy's has excellent seafood and is close by the village. In my opinion, Frederica House has a far better steak than Benny's. And better service.

            1. Since you're coming from Durham/Chapel Hill, most of the non-seafood offerings on St. Simon's will not likely be any better than those in NC. With that said, sometimes St. Simon's can surprise.

              Crab Daddy's is nothing to wow you, but it's definitely solid and a decent value. My standard order is blackened mahi with the red beans and rice and usually some green, plus the salad for under $20. The bar is really nice since the redo.

              I like the pulled pork at the newish place in the Village, but wouldn't recommend to someone with an Allen & Sons nearby. Brisket there is too lean. Also, coming from NC, I won't recommend the local meat and threes. While not bad at all, the offerrings are not likely to be much better than near your home.

              I liked Halyard's my one trip there, not sure if it's still around.

              Drinks at Mullet are fun but the food is forgetable.

              The prices for Happy Hour drink and raw bar (and steamed) selections at Rafter's are good. Caveat per chowhound rules: my brother is a bartender there but has no ownership interest.

              Can't wait to try the re-opened JMac's on my next visit.

              I haven't really tried many of the Brunswick offerings.

              1. my parents live on SSI and so did i for a while - we love Barbara Jean's (try the crabcakes or the fried whitefish) in the Village and Fourth of May is good, too. If you have a sense of adventure and want some really fresh shrimp, there is a place on 17 toward Darien from Brunswick called Catfish Charlie's - it's a fishing camp so your dinner was swimming a few hours ago.

                3 Replies
                1. re: nklilly

                  That would be Mudcat Charlies, in Two Way Fish Camp. Excellent place for lunch or dinner with views of the marina.

                  1. re: LesinGa

                    I like that place but have only been once. Catfish was good. Whatever bisque I had was horrible. Paper plate and plastic utensils kind of place.

                    1. re: Dax

                      For less money & tons less atmosphere go a little further up 17 to B&J's in Darien. The sign says pizza, but they have excellent shrimp & prime rib. & a fri night buffet if you are a glutton. Best deal on the coast.

                2. After looking through recent posts for a good dinner out on St Simons, we settled on Georgia Sea Grill. It was completely uninspired and left the four of us disappointed. Nothing was memorable. The salad, seafood, steaks and desserts were so predictable and mediocre at best. The atmosphere was cozy, with a kind of homespun small town atmosphere, but the food was a real let down. We had a drink at Delaney's prior to our reservation at Georgia Sea Grill and were wishing we would have stayed.

                  Georgia Sea Grill
                  310 Mallery St, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: kc2009

                    Hello. Wanted to chime in here and let everyone know how dissapointed I was at our last dining experiences in St Simons and see if anyone has suggestions for this go round. We are frequenters of the island. We were last there in February. First we tried the Italian spot next to Halyards. I had high hopes as I always do when somewhere has a brick oven. I found the pizza boardering on cardboard and the lasagna was nothing to write home about. We went to Halyards the next night (which we loved at the old location food/feel). I was okay with the somewhat stuffy atmosphere, but the food was some of the owrst I have had in a long time. We had a salad with crab that tased off and a fish dish that had never seen a grain of salt in any aspect of preparation. We really used to love everything at this place. Finally, even our old casual standby crab trap was not up to snuff.
                    We are headed to St Simons again in a few weeks and would love an up to the minute account of what is good right now or anything new worth trying. Thanks in advance for any advice.

                    1. re: jsa7405

                      Nothing really new on the scene, as earlier Delaney's or Cargo< which has been sold to Jayson & Christie from Christie's for a nice dinner. Southern Soul is great for pizza try CJ's the old Moon Doggies in the village, no cc cash only. The only new place would be Doug Harris' which has a cood ham biscuit for breakfast and burger's at lunch. B&J's is still a favorite for shrimp and worth the 30 min ride from SSI in my opinion if you are looking for great local shrimp with no atmosphere. Pearl no longer serves sushi and the sushi on SSI is average, if you have good sushi at home do not waste your time.

                      1. re: beteez

                        Rafters serves Southern Soul barbecue et al now'; it's no longer a raw bar.