Foodies are fickle folks. They take the quality of local restaurants into account as their top priority for business trips, vacations or any travel decision. I once knew a Foodie who, on his way to a funeral in St. Augustine, chose which direction on the Jacksonville bypass to take by where he could stop off and get the best oysters.

It’s not hard in a big city to find cuisine suitable for the refined palates of the above-average Foodie, but vacation destinations can be hit or miss at times. And that’s why many are pleasantly surprised to find that at Lake Oconee, tucked away in rural middle Georgia, you’ll find some of the finest dining anywhere in the southeast.

Perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit, though. There’s a Ritz-Carlton at Lake Oconee so, armed with that information, no Foodie worth his or her sea salt would really be that surprised to find great cuisine.

New Zealand native Andy Litherland, Executive Chef at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee considers it a privilege to get to execute his craft in such a picturesque environment. “For a culinarian or an executive chef, it’s a playground. All of our chefs at each of our three restaurants are very talented and quite passionate about what food they put into their restaurants.”

Chef Litherland oversees three restaurants at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee including Gaby’s on the Lake, known for its stunning lakeside view and casual pool-side menu; Linger-Longer Steakhouse specializing in classic, refined ingredients; and Georgia’s Bistro, recognized for its contemporary cuisine highlighting local & regional farmers and food artisans.

Georgia’s Chef de Cuisine Aaron Baxendale appreciates his restaurant’s farm-to-table approach. “One of my favorite first course dishes is our Vidalia Onion Soup. Obviously Vidalia onions are sweet so it’s got a little more depth than a normal white onion. We serve it with some sautéed hen-of-the-woods mushrooms and Benton’s country ham and it’s finished off with a little herb oil that we make from herbs right out of our own garden.”

Fantastic dining options in Lake Oconee aren’t limited just to The Ritz’s three restaurants. Lake Oconee visitors rave about restaurants such as Blu Culina, Da Corrado and The National Tavern at Reynolds Lake Oconee. Just up the street in Greensboro - Lake Oconee’s Home Town - the Yesterday Cafe serves up amazing home-cooking as well as their world famous buttermilk pie.

For more information about the various dining options around the Lake Oconee area, visit our dining section.