Augusta Eats During the Masters
I'm originally from Augusta and have attended the Masters for over 25 years. The best advice that I can give is to enjoy the tournament! Last year they added sausage biscuits in the mornings (much better than fast food). I have friends who insist that the best breakfast is an egg salad sandwich and a cup of coffee as soon as you get to the course.
A good idea is to leave the course right before 5 o'clock and head up Berkmans Road to Surrey Center and The French Market (you'll be ahead of the crowd and they'll have the tournament on TV). Good oysters on the half shell, steamed shrimp and cold beer.
I'm going to reiterate what others have said, you won't get any restaurant's "best" during the Masters simply because of the volume they have to handle. Also, a number of the good restaurants have catering gigs that week as well. Go ahead and decide that this is a golf trip, not a food trip.
1- French Market Grille- Surrey Center or toward Jones Creek (there are 2 of them)-
IMHO, overall best in Augusta.
2- La Maison (very near Downtown)
3- Carolina BBQ (New Ellenton, SC (near Aiken- hardcore S.C. styled BBQ)
4- Villa Europa- German, Italian- good bar, unpretentious, killer deserts
5- La Cantina- Out a ways, make reservations, small, hard to find, great steak
6- Malias- Downtown Aiken- really good, small, make reservations
7- Cuzine- Downtown Aiken- Sharp new southern / fusion food.
I'm green with envy, and I'll make ya a deal. It is not my nature to grovel shamelessly, but for the Masters, I would eat dirt. If you have an extra ticket, I'll drive up from Florida with a giant cooler filled with ultra-fresh jumbo/colossal stone crabs. Plus the box of Cuban Cohiba Siglo IV' s I procured for an unnamed Chowhounder, who subsequently weasled out :) If there's a chance, pleeeaaassse e-mail me at my profile adress.
Completely agree with Sarge's assessment. I grew up in Augusta (and worked at the tournament in high school), and in addition to the infrastructure being overwhelmed that week, Augusta is a pretty bad town for food. I live there for 25 years and don't really miss a single restaurant. That said, Sconyers IS good, but the wait there for Masters week will probably be lengthy. Aiken does have some nice restaurants if you want to drive.
If you stay out in Columbia County (Evans), and you're too tired to go out, there's a nice little Thai place that does very good take out in the Kroger shopping center. They do have a few tables, but there's no ambiance at all.
If you have a little time, about a 20 mile drive to the middle of nowhere, a very interesting place to eat is La Cantina. The best way to describe it is a hippie built a restaurant out in the woods. (And I don't mean that in a bad way.) This guy built his own clay oven and grows his own herbs (most of them) and cooks the meat at about 1500 degrees. The steaks and meat turn out really, really nice. He's done this for so long now, he's got this down to an art. At those temperatures, steaks will cook in seconds. Good place to tell your friends, "Oh my God you can't believe where we actually ate...." kind of a thing. (Note:this place is so "rustic" I think it's cash and checks only.)
You should realize Augusta is not a very large city, but during the week of the Master's hundreds of thousands of people all of a sudden descend on it and they eat all of their meals out. The City really doesn't have the infrastructure to accomodate this crowd. Every Restaurant worth eating in will have a multiple hour wait and be packed to the gills. You cannot expect very good food or service in these conditions.
That said, you might have a decent experience at Sconyers BBQ if you time it right, it's the Augusta Gold Standard for BBQ. You'll find some decent places and avoid the crowds if you drive to Aiken S.C. It's only about a half hour if you go the back way
Have you been to Augusta National before? If not, one of the most surprising things is how inexpensive it is to eat there. Last time I went, a couple of years ago, it was less that $5 for two sandwiches and two beers.
Since they allow no advertising inside the grounds, you will not know what brand just what flavor..