When in Augusta...
Can anyone recommend a few good spots in Augusta? I'm looking for really great food - and the place could be casual or more upscale. (Quality is more a concern than whether or not a jacket is required.)
Augusta has a great deal to offer - a thriving medical community, a nice greenway, a pretty notable golf tournament in the spring - but unfortunately, "really great food" is not what you'd call "bountiful" in the Garden City.
That said, Bistro 491 is one of the real jewels of Augusta; It's my favorite place to eat here. I've not been in several months, but I have never been disappointed with their food. Do try the bread pudding for dessert. It is both large and rich enough to satisfy 4 hungry coeds. The restaurant is located in Surrey Center at 491 Highland Ave. Entrees are $15-25 or so. Dress is business-casual, but I wouldn't feel uncomfortable in a jacket.
For lunch, I recommend Very Vera at 3113 Washington Rd. Vera makes simple, elegant sandwiches and soups. It may be a little-old-lady lunch, but it's friendly, refreshing, and just downright tasty.
For a heavier lunch (or a second dinner), French Market is good. There are two locations, one of which is in the same shopping center as Bistro.
If you just need dessert, hit Boll Weevil, which is downtown on 10 9th St. They have the best cake/pie/cheesecake selection in town. They also offer lunch and dinner.
Whether or not you are a BBQ aficionado, don't go out of your way to visit Sconyers'. It has hype up the wazoo, but I think there is much better 'cue to be had elsewhere. Then again, I'm biased because I grew up on good, chunky, south-Georgian Brunswick stew - not the tomato-beef puree that they call hash up in NE Georgia.
Check out other posts on restaurants in Aiken, SC. It is about 20 minutes up the road and has some good places, but I don't make it up there often enough to offer suggestions. I have heard reviews of Cuizine (http://www.cuizinerestaurant.com/) that range from "pretty good" to "spectacular", and I do know that its chef's previous restaurant in Augusta, Bambu, was very good.
In my limited time as a student here, I've not tried Calvert's or Cadwalader's, though I've heard that the latter is better than the former - and at a more reasonable price.
Hope this helps!
Two others that I recommend:
Pizza: The Pizza Joint, with locations in Evans and Downtown is the best. They sell pizza by teh slice, which is the size of 1.5 slices of a large pizza, perfect for one person. The Greek salad is laden with excellent feta cheese. The Big Mike sandwich is a unique blend of vegetable and filling. The Evans location has 56 beers on tap, for the beer aficiando. Downtown is expanding their beer list, but is behind Evans. What downtown does have is a great al fresco area where dog lovers can bring Fido and eat outside especially on the weekends. Road bicyclers are always around on Saturday at noon. Prices are excellent. A slice and a domestic beer is $5-6 without gratuity. Service is generally good. I have had more experience with downtown than Evans.
Tapas is the specialty of The Bee's Knees downtown at 10th at Broad. Excellent entrees, and the tapas are generally goodl. If you want something light, or a variety of things to sample, this is your place.
OK I said two, but this one is a sleeper, La Cantina. It is a quirky place out of town a bit in SC. Reservations are required. The food is supposed to be eclectic. Rumor has it that this is the place that Bill Gates goes when he is in town, so it must have something, maybe privacy. Worth a shot.
I can heartily recommend Cadwalader's. I've had some wonderful lamb there as well as steaks. If I'm taking someone from out of town there I know I can enjoy the quiet ambiance and impress them with the quality of food. The waitstaff have always been very helpful with wine suggestions which I appreciate since I'm no expert.