10 Best Restaurants in the North Georgia Mountains

10 Best Restaurants in the North Georgia Mountains: Some travel to see the world. Others, like Gayle and me, find their world on a plate with a knife and fork. We often take the gastronomic route to understanding cultures and civilizations through their foods and wines. We typically bend our trip to veer in the direction of a new culinary experience.

10 Best Restaurants in the North Georgia Mountains

Photo of Beautiful Lamb Rack10 Best Restaurants in the North Georgia Mountains:  Some travel to see the world. Others, like Gayle and I, find their world on a plate with a knife and fork. We often take the gastronomic route to understanding cultures and civilizations through their foods and wines. We typically bend our trip to veer in the direction of a new culinary experience.

But we are not alone, an astounding 95 percent of American travelers are interested in some kind of unique food experience when they travel, according to the 2016 Food Travel Monitor. So we can basically say, that almost everyone now is interested in food and drink when they’re traveling. Just think of all the television shows that are now based on food and travel.

For some travelers, the food and drink is not only an interest to be incorporated into a travel experience, but a major factor that actually drives travel decisions.

Not only is today’s foodie more likely to base their travel decisions on culinary options and opportunities, but they’re looking for a different kind of culinary experience than in years past. “Anthony Bourdain (God rest his soul in peace) has single-handedly changed the landscape of travel,” says Charles Wolfe, senior travel advisor at Direct Travel Vacations. “Before him, travelers were looking at Michelin guides to find the best of the best. But now people are asking to go deeper, to experience the local culture through the cuisine.” So here are our choices of the 10 Best Restaurants in the North Georgia Mountains in which to not only have a wonderful dining experience, but also maybe to gain some insight into our local mountain culture.

Fortify Kitchen and Bar, Clayton, GA: Fortify is located in Historic Downtown Clayton, one of our hippest mountain towns. It’s the best restaurant in Northeast Georgia for upscale Southern-Style Farm to Table Cuisine and also specializes in Farm to Table craft cocktails. Chef Jamie Allred focuses on elevated favorites such as veal tenderloin, filet mignon, trout, and crab cakes. The best part about Fortify Kitchen and Bar is that much of the food is locally sourced and Chef honors the farms and farmers with a weekly “Meet our Farmers” Dinner. http://fortifyclayton.com/

Beechwood Inn, Clayton GA: We don’t want to toot our own horn so here is a review by Travel Writer Meagan Martz “Afriendafar:” Yes, let’s talk about the food! . . . This was quite possibly the best meal that we have ever had. It was, by far, the most well thought out meal that we have ever been served. Between each course, Chef David Darugh walked us all through the ingredients. We learned about the local farmers who grew the micro-greens in our salad and raised the pigs for the house-made fennel sausage; we even learned the history of Laurel-Aged Charleston Gold Rice. Each wine pairing was excellent . . . We shared a table with another couple, and they were equally impressed with such a fine dining experience outside of the City.  http://www.afriendafar.com/2016/02/09/georgia-mountain-bed-breakfast/ https://beechwoodinn.ws/

Harvest Habersham, Clarkesville, GA: Headquartered in a modest old store front in downtown Clarkesville, Chef Chris Bolton and partner Laura Farrelly offer local upscale cuisine and deliver delicious meals with conscientious friendly service. In this partnership Laura manages the front of the house and is one of North Georgia’s few sommeliers, providing Harvest Habersham with a great wine selection and wine education for its diners. Together they provide innovative entrees, unique cocktails, great wines, imaginative desserts, and consistent service to the diner. Chef Bolton’s cuisine offers a wonderful experience in creativity and beautiful plating. It is always a memorable experience to dine at Harvest Habersham. http://www.harvesthabersham.com/

Glen Ella Springs, Clarkesville GA: Just getting there is part of the experience. Located down a meandering country road and situated on acres of mountain pasture, you feel like you have gone back in time to the 1920’s. The meticulously restored buildings offer rustic elegance, and the dining experience is always exceptional.  We love owners Ed and Lucy and look forward to visiting with them whenever we dine there. You can tell they love what they do, and so does their staff. And, it is also a wonderful inn, so book a room and stay the weekend. https://glenella.com/

Lake Rabun Hotel, Lakemont, GA: Since its renovation the Lake Rabun Hotel has employed a series of exceptional farm to table product oriented chefs, including Chef Chris Bolton (Harvest Habersham), James Beard Award Winner Chef Louis Osteen and Chef Jamie Allred (Fortify Kitchen and Bar). Cuisine prepared here is American, brushed by world influences that range from French and Middle Eastern to down-home Southern. It is an exceptionally authentic log and beam lake house from the early 20th century with nicely done modern improvements. https://lakerabunhotel.com/

Harvest on Main, Blue Ridge, GA: Located on Main Street in the historic area of Blue Ridge, this wonderful log, post and beam building with stone fireplaces, moose heads and twig furniture and offers rustic high country elegance, and a wonderful farm fresh dining experience in our North Georgia Mountains. The restaurant is the dream of Executive Chef Danny Mellman and partner writer/farm director Michelle Moran. On their nearby farm they raise many of the items featured on the menu. http://harvestonmain.com/

Closed – Farmhouse at Waterfall Club (Formerly Farmhouse at Persimmon), Clayton GA: Chef Vince Scafiti brings his talents and experience to a new venue at the old Waterfall Country Club facility. I gained much respect for Chef Scafiti at the recent Foodbank of Northeast Georgia “Chef’s Throw-down Competition” where Gayle and I served as judges.  Under crowd and competitive pressure Chef Scafiti produced the most beautiful plates and finest tasting food, amongst a talented field of North Georgia Chefs. Dining with Chef Scafiti at this new venue should be a great experience, but we will miss the open kitchen at Persimmon. https://www.facebook.com/thefarmhouseatwc/

Caffé Rel, Franklin NC: Hold it, the article title says Georgia. Yes, I know, it’s 8 miles North of the Georgia state-line, but an easy drive. And, talk about quirky memorable restaurants, this one is located in an old gas station. It offers polite but slightly hurried service, and does not take reservations, so get there early or stand outside in the cold or heat to await a table. They offer inexpensive wine by the glass from big jugs and they don’t take credit cards, but the food is pretty amazing and moderately priced as well. They have regulars that return time after time. Yes, this place is an experience you will not soon forget – yes a truly memorable experience. https://www.facebook.com/CaffeRel/

Chattooga Belle Farm, Long Creek, SC: Okay, this one’s not in Georgia either, but again just barely over the state-line to the East. Having lunch is an experience you will never forget (open for dinner on occasion). The “Farm” offers fresh cuisine from their expansive orchards and culinary gardens, but the view is what will create a memory – forever. Gayle claims the view will heal your soul at the molecular level. Sitting on a knoll with a long range view of the Southern Appalachian front-range; add some clouds and you will stay for a three hour lunch.  Also enjoy their farm store and their on-site distillery using many of their local fruits. http://www.chattoogabellefarm.com/

Fortify Pi, Clayton, GA: Chef Jamie Allred’s casual pizza and sandwich restaurant right next to Fortify Kitchen and Bar, and also offers Farm to Table ingredients. So yes, you can get a Little Caesars  “Hot and Ready Pizza” for $8.00 or you can wait 15 minutes for a freshly crafted pizza with high quality local ingredients for $15.00. I’ll pay the latter, plus enjoy a quirky hole-in-the-wall place featuring local craft beers, dining bar, and that sports a massive window that on nice days can open onto lively Main Street in Historic Clayton, GA. We love this place. http://fortifyclayton.com/


Photo of Galatoboureko Dessert at Beechwood Inn10 Best Restaurants in the North Georgia Mountains

No matter where the day takes you as you enjoy one or more of the 10 Best Restaurants in the North Georgia Mountains you’re guaranteed a fun, relaxing, and memorable vacation when you visit our corner of Georgia. After an exciting day or evening, head back to Beechwood Inn and unwind in one of our beautiful rooms, suites or cabins. You can also enjoy a delicious farm-to-table meal at our own restaurant. If you would like something a little more personalized, we also offer cooking classes and private chef dinners.

Ready for a wonderful lodging experience? Check our availability. And check out our upcoming menus for dinner.

10 Best Restaurants in the North Georgia Mountains by

David and Gayle Darugh