Gnat’s Landing restaurant is nestled in the midst of Red Fern Village in St. Simons Island, Georgia. It is surrounded by local shops and photogenic mossy live-oak trees. At Gnat’s Landing, you will find delectable fare in a laid-back and fun atmosphere with indoor and outdoor dining plus festive island decor. While Gnat’s Landing appears super casual, their food is elevated to a higher level.
On my visit, I accompanied 14 other journalists to Gnat’s Landing for lunch. We sat at a large picnic table on the patio, enjoying the breeze and beautiful views. The best part of dining with such a big party is that we get to sample from each others plates and really have a thorough knowledge of the restaurant’s food options.
Gnat’s Landing offers a wide array of appetizers with favorites such as Crab Balls, Fried Dill Pickles, or Jumbo Wings, double fried or grilled. I could make an entire meal these appetizers alone. The Fried Pickles must be incredible because nearly every table around us ordered them.
Visalia Onion Pie is the appetizer that I recommend most. This ooey-gooey cheesy, oniony concoction is served with tortilla chips and eaten like a dip. Each bite had me “Mmmmm’ing” out loud. The rich combination was like heaven on a plate. I cannot stress how wonderful this dip was.
Delicious Southern Lunch and Dinner Choices
The food at Gnat’s Landing appeals to all palates. They serve hot and cold sandwiches, salads, and loads of fresh seafood items. Their Fried Green Tomato Club is pleasantly seasoned and perfectly fried. Are you more of a Tuna Melt (topped with tomato and melted Swiss cheese) fan? Gnat’s Landing has incredible tuna salad, with just the right amount of mayo, onion, and celery. Their Tarragon Chicken Salad is a big draw; with one taste, I understood why. The tangy dressing and delicate tarragon herb perked the chicken up to a high comfort level.
Seafood lovers may prefer the Shrimp Platter or Catch of the Day, while those counting calories might opt for the Spinach Salad or Mad’s Shrimp Salad. All of the salad dressings at Gnat’s Landing are homemade, which gets kudos in my book. The Wild Georgia Shrimp Autumn Salad (caramelized pecans, fresh pears, and bleu cheese crumbles) got a big round of approval from our entire party. The poor girl who ordered it hardly had any leftover to enjoy after sharing bites with all of us. The blend of flavors was really well done; sweetness of the pears and zest from the bleu cheese.
Gnat’s Landing: A Local’s Favorite
Gnat’s Landing offers plenty of cold beer and a full bar to whet your whistle. Big screen TV’s provide entertainment for the patio diners. Delicious food, spectacular service, and an inviting restaurant makes this one of St. Simons Island’s favorite dining spots. If I lived there, it would be my go-to eatery.
For a list of events taking place at Gnat’s Landing, visit their Facebook page. Gnat’s Landing is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. They also have a kids menu for the little ones.
A Word from Jamie Lowe, Associate Editor, Where Traveler
“Gnat’s Landing is about as down-home, coastal casual as it gets. While the setting was ideal, the food was thoughtfully prepared and presented, a much higher level of detail than you’d expect from a casual eatery. The fried pickles could make a believer out of the most astringent of vinegar-avoiders, consistently melding crisp, fried batter on tangy pickle slices sided up with creamy ranch dip. That’s just the appetizers. Gnat’s Landing is a Win-Win for Everybody. “
310 Red Fern Village
Saint Simons Island, GA 31522
A special thanks to Gnat’s Landing for hosting our lunch. As with all of my reviews, opinions are 100% mine and unbiased.
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