Courtyard at Crane Restaurant: Best Kept Jekyll Island Dining Secret

Dining at the Courtyard at Crane restaurant is a step back in time to the Italian Renaissance era. A great place for lunch or dinner, the restaurant is located in the historic Crane Cottage, which is part of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.

A short walk from the hotel across lush lawns and through vibrant gardens resplendent with bubbling fountains gets you to the cottage. Richard Crane, plumbing tycoon, built it as his "home-away-from-home" on Jekyll Island in 1917. It was the most lavish cottage built on Jekyll during the island's heyday as a millionaire's haven.

Martha and I tried out Courtyard at Crane for the first time years ago, when our boys were still little. Make no mistake. The restaurant's food is excellent, with a distinct flavor all its own. But for two youngsters used to hotdogs, hamburgers and mac-and-cheese, the fare was too rich, spicy and exotic. They hardly touched their meals.  

Courtyard at Crane RestaurantThe Courtyard at Crane Restaurant

Mom and Dad, however, made up for it. We enjoyed ours just fine. Back then, the restaurant's offerings were delicious. And the same can be said for the present day dining experience. The Courtyard at Crane puts on one heck of a feast!

Ambiance of Place

The Crane Cottage is one of the most beautiful sites for a restaurant you can imagine. It's close to the historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel, not far from the Jekyll River (Intra-coastal Waterway).

The wonderful ambiance surrounding Crane Cottage comes from the contrast of the white cottage walls with the surrounding greenery, along with that Italian design motif.

Outside, the cottage is wrapped by arcaded loggias and nestled within a quaint garden setting that includes three water features, a sunken garden, and an interior courtyard garden. The Courtyard at Crane restaurant utilizes the interior courtyard for al fresco dining.

Imagine. You and your family (or your lover if you have a more romantic imagination) strolling into the Courtyard at Crane one fine spring evening. A white-clad waiter seats you in wrought iron chairs at your table in the courtyard. You catch the scent of Confederate Jasmine blooming somewhere nearby. Roses sway in the slight breeze. The lawn shimmers emerald green, and the central fountain relaxes you with its soft burbling.

The Courtyard Fountain Beckons!The Courtyard Fountain Beckons!

Courtyard at Crane restaurant is one of the premier eateries on Jekyll Island. It's no wonder that many Jekyll Island visitors plan anniversary, birthday, or other special occasion diners here. (We had an anniversary dinner here once, as did my brother and his wife).

Too cool, hot or humid to dine outdoors? You can also eat inside, within a spacious dining area. Enjoy the cottage's period floors made from oak and tile, with ceiling beams of cypress, and huge fireplaces (which no doubt feel fine on a cold winter's eve).

Being a renovated historic cottage, Crane Cottage has the perfect ambiance for family gatherings, business dinners, and wedding ceremonies, also.

For reservations, call 912-635-5200.

Fountains, Greenery and Shade Invite You InFountains, Greenery and Shade Invite You In

Indeed, the cottage, as part of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, is really a bed-&-breakfast type facility, offering suites adjacent to the restaurant. Just finish dinner, stroll across the lobby, and slip into your room for the night.

Your Dining Adventure Awaits!

Okay, enough with the preliminaries. It's time to eat!

Courtyard at Crane restaurant serves both lunch and dinner. Be sure to call ahead for current serving times. As of this writing, lunch is served

  • Sunday through Friday from 11:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m.
  • Saturday from 11:00a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Dinner runs Sunday through

  • Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

When you arrive at the restaurant, the wait staff will bring out a real treat—genuine home made bread, warm and delicious, straight from the over. They serve their famous bread at both lunch and dinner.

The lunch menu includes a fine selection of delectable salads including

  • Mediterranean Shrimp
  • Chicken
  • Sesame Crusted Tuna

as well as

  • Chicken
  • Shrimp
  • Crab Croissants
  • Gyros
  • Ruebens
  • Grilled Turkey and Avocado
  • and their famous Fried Green Tomato Sandwich.

Or sample their specialties such as

  • Deep Dish Quiche
  • Artichoke Shrimp
  • or Georgia Shrimp Tacos, among others.

For dinner, start off with an appetizer of

  • Crab Cakes
  • Vegetable Spring Rolls
  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Lobster Fritters
  • or Grilled Oyster.

Then add an entree—

  • Stuffed Summer Squash
  • Marinated Grilled Tempeh
  • Artichoke and Chicken Stuffed Shells
  • Pan Seared Duck Breast
  • Veal Saltimbocca, Grilled Pork Chop
  • Grilled Filet Mignon, and more.

They also provide an extensive wine list.

Menu prices are a little on the high side, especially if you have picky youngsters who may not appreciate finer culinary experiences and decide not to clean their plates. We usually only eat there for special occasions now, even though we've come up in the world since our boys were tykes.

The restaurant is also a pretty classy joint. You don't have to play dress-up to dine here, but you might consider it. I've eaten lunch in shorts and a t-shirt, but wore nothing less than slacks and a sports shirt for dinner. Your choice.

The Restaurant Lies Within Crane CottageThe Restaurant Lies Within Crane Cottage

Courtyard at Crane is one of two fine-dining restaurants on Jekyll Island, the other being the Grand Dining Room at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. On your next visit to paradise, give the Courtyard at Crane restaurant a try, either for a special dinner on a special day, or for casual dining. You'll be glad you did.

But you might just want to leave the little ones at home. With hotdogs.

Jekyll Island Family Adventures "Wow!" Rating:

  • Ambiance: 9.5
  • Service: 9.0
  • Cleanliness: 9.0
  • Food Quality: 9.0 (though portions could be larger)

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