This week, Augusta plays host to travelers around the world for a golf event that locals fondly refer to as “the tournament.” So, what better way to welcome our international visitors than with a roundup of our local restaurants with cuisines from around the world?
Chinese food means a lot of different things to different people. Augusta is home to plenty of the comforting, Americanized Chinese food most of us are used to—I recently enjoyed an old favorite, New Ming Wah, for example, which has updated its interior with a gorgeous new bar area. The area’s only dim sum experience is also available at Grovetown’s Meimei’s Dim Sum House, with all the siu mai and char siu bao your heart could desire, plus plenty of other Chinese entrees.
Owner Allan Soto relaunched Pineapple Ink Tavern last year with a new Cuban theme inspired by his heritage. The colorful and stylish new restaurant is a great blend of modern and traditional. His favorite dish is the Cuban ropa vieja, a Waygu skirt steak. Mine is the lechon asado, the braised shredded pork. But I also love seeing the specials posted on Instagram that inspire their chef from week to week—this week, it’s a filet mignon atop cauliflower puree with charred tomatoes and scallion chimchurri.
Now, I was really excited about this: Gordon Highway’s longstanding Hawaiian Style BBQ restaurant just opened its second location on Washington Road in the Kroger plaza. (And kudos for timing that perfectly just before Masters Week!) Stop in for a plate full of their delicious marinated meats, a scoop of white rice, and a scoop of macaroni salad—what Hawaiians call a plate lunch and what I just call give me more.
When it comes to Indian, my two favorites each offer a completely different feel, but both have amazing food. Namaste Indian Street Food in Evans is casual and quick, a place for an easy, flavorful meal when you’re tired after a long day at the course. Or Persis Biryani Indian Grill features more of a dining experience. There’s a long bar; a full, multipage menu with dishes from all over India; and long tables for kicking back and sharing stories into the evening.
I’ve recently talked about my love for Cucina 503, Chef Edward Mendoza’s fresh Italian eatery on Fury’s Ferry Road (I’m still thinking about that carbonara). DiVino Ristorante Italiano in North Augusta’s Hammonds Ferry neighborhood is another favorite, which was opened by a husband-and-wife team who moved to this area from Florence, Italy. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram to get a sneak peek at some of their features, which have included blue pasta.
I recently rediscovered Kinja Sushi Express, tucked way back in a shopping center behind Applebee’s on Washington Road. The interior is dark, the wait staff a bit solemn, but once you tasted their food and compliment them, their smiles light up the room. The sushi was just perfectly balanced—the rice was seasoned properly, the wasabi added a hit of spice, and of course, the fresh fish was so fresh and flavorful. Hands down, it’s now my favorite sushi restaurant in this area—and I’ve tried them all.
For incredible Mexican, with a great mix of authentic and gringo dishes, you can’t go wrong with Taqueria El Rey or Lokas Tacos. But for truly authentic, off-the-beaten path Mexican, visitors can go across the river to La Jalisciense in North Augusta. It’s tiny and utilitarian and opens into a shop, but it’s worth it for the fresh food and unusual ingredients (tongue, anyone?).
I have not had the good fortune of dining at Inicio yet, but the otherworldly images of its immersive tasting menu have me swooning. Reservations are required for a maximum of 10 guests at a seating, and the tasting menu experience starts at $150 per person, with a special wine dinner available only during Masters Week for $725 per person.
For true Southern cuisine, I’m so excited that Goolsby’s has finally opened a location in Augusta proper on Wrightsboro Road across from Forest Hills Golf Course. If you’re hungry for good ol’ Southern cooking, Goolsby’s has it all: fried chicken, fried shrimp, barbecue, fried pork loin steak, collard greens, black-eyed peas, sweet potato souffle, broccoli and cheese casserole, and more. My other favorite? The Chef’s House, the iconic little pink house across from Wendy’s on Walton Way. The buffet features a beautifully edited selection of Southern meats and vegetables, plus its daily salad bar, peach cobbler and hot cornbread.
I really like 2 Boys for casual Italian.