You don’t have to know how to pronounce “Jarret D’Agneau Braise” to eat at Circa 1875. Though a French restaurant, Circa is unpretentious and relaxed – fine dining made comfortable for all.
With a menu that boasts both traditional French food and southern ingredients, Circa has a wide assortment of dishes to please any palate. Jarret D’Agneau Braise (braised lamb shank), Salade Niçoise, and Cassoulet Maison are a few of the more classic French offerings, but they also serve items such as Steak Frites and Moules Mariniere – dishes that might be found (albeit under different names) in American kitchens as well. Similarly, the restaurant’s interior feels both French and sophisticated American, with its tall ceilings, gold accents and jazz music playing in the background harkening to a New York City brownstone, and its vintage artwork and eclectic decor reminiscent of Old World European design. It’s coincidental and convenient that Circa is located next door to The Paris Market, one of Savannah’s premiere vintage and home design stores.
A gastropub, the restaurant is split with a bar on one side and the dining room on the other. Both sides serve the full menu, yet each has its own feel, with the bar a bit darker and sociable and the dining room more geared toward intimate dinners. You can’t go wrong with either.
The Dishes: Coquilles St Jacques (Baked Scallops in a Mornay Sauce), Truite de Ruisseau Poele (Pan-Dressed Carolina Brook Trout), Steak Frites
What’s Special About It?
Eleanor: “I have mentioned before that French food (while I admire many other parts of the culture) is not my favorite cuisine. But I could eat at Circa 1875 every night! Neither the food nor the decor was stuffy, and the dishes were far from too rich – or too small!”
Kenda: “I was originally introduced to Circa 1875 for its cozy bar – the site of many fun evenings spent with dear friends. This was my first time to sample its cuisine on the dining room side, and it did not disappoint. Like the bar, it is very comfortable, and the food was exquisite.”
What Does It Taste Like?
Kenda: “The Coquilles St Jacques, or baked scallops in a mornay sauce, contained three large scallops accompanied by mushrooms, scallions, and gruyere. The scallops were smoky and melt-in-your-mouth, with an earthy undertone from the sauce, cheese and mushrooms. For my main course, I ordered the Steak Frites, which was a 10 ounce N.Y. strip steak finished with red wine and herb compound butter. It was served with a mound of truffle frites and ketchup on the side. The steak was juicy, tender and mouth-watering and went perfectly with the truffle frites. I’m a sucker for truffle oil on just about anything, and the steak and truffle frites together was perfection!”
Eleanor: “The Truite de Ruisseau Poele, or pan-dressed brook trout, was a whole fish butterflied and dressed with glazed carrots and a lemon caper brown butter sauce. The trout was fresh and not at all “fishy” in taste, and the carrots and sauce added complementary (but not overpowering) flavors of sweet and salty, respectively. The chardonnay was crisp, refreshing, and simple, with a floral aroma and flavors of apple and just a slight mineral hint that paired well with both the trout and the scallop appetizer.”
What Did We Say About It?
Kenda: “C’était délicieux! Or, how we say it in Savannah: It was delicious, y’all!”
48 Whitaker St
Hours — Monday-Thursday: 6-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday: 6-11 p.m.; Sunday: Closed