My husband and I stopped in on a slow Thursday night this week. We'd been anticipating dining at this restaurant and were ready for a wonderful fine dining experience. What we got was a mixed bag. Service was great, probably due to the fact that there weren't a lot of customers, decor is wonderful, beautifully done, but the food was a letdown for me and a win for my husband. I ordered the $12 scallop appetizer which consisted of exactly three scallops and some pineapple salsa. Tasty but hello? Three scallops for twelve dollars? My husband had the tuna tartare which I tried to eat half of it was so very very good. An excellent dish. For dinner I had the southwestern chicken which was obviously left in the oven a bit too long as it was a little dry, and the haricots verts were a little wrinkly which lets me know they'd been in the cooler for a bit. My husband had the brisket which was melt in your mouth good, flavorful, with collard greens and fried polenta squares. Mmm mmm great! The wines were very nicely paired with the meal.
All in all a mixed bag. I guess it depends on what you order. I have some friends who want to have lunch so I'll see if I like that better. And there was plenty of traffic at the bar to pay $7 for a glass of wine and hang about.
Favorite Dish: The tuna tartare. Peppery, crunchy fresh and light.
Husband and I stopped by for lunch after hearing about it from a friend. Friendly waitress, was prompt in checking after us and making sure our tea glasses stayed filled. Husband ordered the roast beef panini with a side of blue cheese coleslaw and I had the house special, a turkey, brie, spinach panini with strawberry basil compote with pasta salad. We weren't overly impressed by either. Although we finished our lunches the food was bland. Seasoning is a necessary and needed addition. I realize it's on the table but when the first bite you take of something is bland it tends to stick with you. Food should come to the table already seasoned. The turkey panini seems like a good idea in theory and is obviously well liked by the owner and staff but all I could taste was the sweetness of the strawberries which the waitress likened to a jam. Jam on this panini isn't a good idea. It melts and runs out and was just too sweet. The brie completely disappeared and I couldn't taste the basil in the compote. It's a shame because the descriptions all sound good. Hopefully they'll start seasoning their food and cutting back on the amount of dressing in the side salads and coleslaw, they were swimming in it. I liked the style of the place and I don't know if all the food is like this, I've only been once and will probably go again to see if there's something that I like better. I will say that the pickle on the plate was absolutely delicious and I'm not trying to be funny. It hits your palate with sweetness and cinnamon first, followed by salt and tart, and finishes with a savory garlic taste that's left in your mouth. Very pleasant. If all the food was as complex, well thought out and as good as the pickle this place would be a winner.
Husband and I went here for our 10th wedding anniversary, looking forward to a fine dining experience. O'liva definitely did not disappoint. Prices were reasonable, wine was very good, server was knowledgeable, discreet, helpful and polite, and the food was absolutely wonderful. Having been to Italy twice and looking forward to a third time we're always skeptical when a restaurant advertises as authentic Italian but it was apparent from the beginning that Chef Bradley and his wife Stacie take their Italian food very seriously. I had the $8 calamari for an appetizer which was heaped up on a plate and mixed in with fresh peeled tomatoes, olives, and I believe red pepper, a presentation I had not had before (it usually comes with some sort of icky sticky sauce) and it was wonderful, perfectly tender yet light and fresh tasting. Husband had the buffalo carpaccio which was featured with an arugula salad, shaved parmesan and capers. It too was excellent. For dinner I had the lobster ravioli which was al dente as pasta should be, rich yet not heavy. But the husband hit the jackpot with the wild boar ragu and potato gnocchi. It was just flat out delicious. The gnocchi were obviously homemade and had a bit of a citrus tang which beautifully complemented the rich meaty ragu. For dessert we had a hazelnut gelato and I was instantly transported back to the streets of Perugia.
We will visit this restaurant again and again. Their passion for Italian food is evident, we actually met the chef, and were given two semifreddo to take home as an anniversary gift. I cannot recommend this restaurant highly enough. I wish them all the success in the world.
Favorite Dish: The calamari for the above reasons.
A girlfriend recommended this restaurant for my Ladies Who Lunch gang. It's located at 4 8th Street (I think) which is a little difficult to find so you might consider it something only the locals know about. The nearest parking lot unless you are intimately familiar with Augusta is for the Cotton Patch. Look to the left and you'll see a long red brick building. Enter and be prepared for a leisurely lunch or dinner of astoundingly good Southern soul food. I had the smothered pork chop which was one pork chop in brown gravy with collard greens and macaroni and cheese for $7.99. In case you don't get it, that is a serious bargain for this quality food. Our waitress was perfectly nice, brought us huge glasses of sweet tea, water and Sprite, and we waited for our meals. Just like everybody else. The place was packed from the time that we sat down and we figured out why once the food arrived, but it did take 30 minutes. The pork chop was nicely fried yet still juicy, and the collards were actually seasoned, not just boiled to mush like in some other restaurants. Somebody put their foot in those greens, and if you don't know what that means you don't know soul food. The mac and cheese was full of cheese melted down, and the girlfriends that had smothered steak, spicy okra and tomatoes and mashed potatoes ate it all, including the corn muffins. They have different specials for different days of the week but your head will be spinning at all the different choices possible with their menu. Now I will say it again: be prepared to spend time. Complaining, grousing, demanding and having a bad attitude is just so out of character with this place. There is a caveat at the bottom of the menu that states that your order is prepared to order and fresh and that it's not fast food (hallelujah!) so grab a Metro Spirit from outside and RELAX. We did manage to get our tickets from our waitress after 20 minutes because one of the ladies had to get back to work and we just left tabs and tip on the table since we didn't want to track our waitress down again. But for food this good it's ridiculous to complain about what some might consider to be slow service when I saw our waitress running from one end of the restaurant to the other. Cost for lunch was $10 including sweet tea not including tip for some of the best soul food I've had since Savannah. You might want to call if you're from out of town and ask them where to park. We didn't have any problems but...
Favorite Dish: I haven't had a favorite dish yet but that split chicken breast had me drooling from across the room and since I didn't eat anything I didn't like I don't yet have a favorite.
To finish our story we had a great Brunch in a pleasant atmosphere with a very friendly waitress (darn, need to make notes on names). Just before we got up to leave the waitress even asked if my wife would like some more coffee to take with her on our journey through South Carolina. Unlimited coffee and then an offer to take some more on the road trip. She earned top honors and a nice tip for that and her very attentive service.
Favorite Dish: Ok, now on to the items we ordered off the menu.
Sue - They had a make your own omelette selection on the menu. I can't remember exactly what all Sue put in it, but the couple of bites I had of it were delicious.
Rich - The Bananas Foster French Toast. Yes, it was as good as it sounds. Check out the pictures of both dishes in this tip.
After we had parked our car we strolled down "The Alley" which turned out to be essentially a small "no car" street with a couple of small businesses, small shops and businesses. The only establishment open at 11:30 a.m. in the morning was Davor's. Seeing that they had an outside seating area we quickly opted for that and sat down on a pristine day to enjoy the weather and food. There was another couple with a child sitting in a table across from us and we started up a conversation with them on what they had ordered (don't remember now), but I do remember that they enjoyed coming here and that it was one of the better restaurants in the city.
We also found out during our stay that the restaurant has been there since 2001 and is run by Davor, Heidi and Luka Skilizovic who also run the organic food market (another tip) on the next block and all the food comes obviously from their market. They originally were a tapas restaurant (and still are) but had expanded their menu and started serving Sunday brunch.
Favorite Dish: Our favorite dish - or what we ordered for our brunch - is on the following tip because I have several more pictures to share including the pictures of our meal.
This is a wonderful authentic Indian buffet. The price is about $10 per person but the food is fresh and very very tasty.
It's now under new management and there is a takeaway option as well.
Favorite Dish: The curries. There is a choice of fish and chicken. Both very good one sweet one spicy.
When this restaurant first opened the food was terrific and it was always packed. Since then it has begun to offer live music, happy hours and lunches and the quality of the food has decreased. Now it seems to be where people with money go to overindulge in cocktails and mediocre food. My husband took me there for my birthday and although the tuna appetizer was excellent, my scallops were rubbery and my husband's crab cake was dry and overcooked. It was not comforting to see Chef Chin hanging about at an outside table as the smoking ban had just taken effect while our dinners were being prepared. We decided to skip dessert and have not been back.
Chef Chin has since closed this restaurant and gone back across the river to Augusta. Not a loss IMHO.
The food here is very good and fresh tasting. Not just your regular old Mexican slop with a thin cheese sauce poured over it to disguise that it has no flavor. The House Especial is really good, pork stew with rice and beans and corn on the side. Excellent value for the money and of course the obligatory chips and salsa to start that come free. It's located in a strip mall but don't let that deter you. It's a lot bigger than it looks!
Favorite Dish: The House Special and the marinated pork chops.
This is where you will find plenty of ladies who lunch and office parties, baby showers, etc. The food is excellent and I highly recommend the steak salad although I have also had the thai beef and that was excellent also. You can make a reservation if you have a large party and I've seen people have to wait but it's worth it!
Favorite Dish: The steak salad. Baby greens with vinaigrette, tender steak smothered in melted mozzarella cheese. The taste will have you craving it for days.
Debbie and Orlando have had this restaurant open for a hot minute and it says something about them that I know both of their names and they greet me when my husband and I come in. It is a small restaurant so you either get there early or late. I've never met anyone that didn't visit and go back, dragging a friend who also became a convert.
They have a wonderful authentic Cuban menu including sandwiches or a special of the day with two sides. Unless you're hankering for a Cuban sandwich always have the special. It's usually offered with moros (black beans and rice) and a choice of anything from black bean soup to fried rice. Every day the special is different. I've had chicken in white wine, slow cooked pork, ropa vieja, Cuban sandwich, and pot roast and they have all been DELICIOUS! Don't be afraid because you're trying something different, these are two of the friendliest folks you'll ever meet and they are proud to introduce you to their culture. It's a true family affair and Mami and Papi do some of the cooking too!
Sawasdee is a wonderful Thai restaurant definitely off the beaten track in Warrenville, SC. You'd probably need a map to get there but you'll be glad you did! Plenty of authentic menu choices and pots of chilis in oil, vinegar, paste and dried on the table so you can make your food as spicy or as mild as you like. One of my favorites. Don't miss the satay, the Tom Yun Goong soup or the chicken coconut soup (very creamy and good) and the shrimp wrapped in wontons. That's a pricey item at $8 but it's really good.
I love the pizza and sandwiches, especially the Big Mike Sandwich and the Tree Hugger pizza. Everything always tastes fresh and during the week they have a pizza and green salad buffet that you can't beat with a stick.
Open for breakfast lunch and dinner this is one of our favorite spots for a fast meal. The hamburgers are great, ground freshly at Grice's Butcher shop, the fries are hand cut and it's one of the best burgers I've ever had. Don't be put off by the decor, it's ubercasual. One of Aiken's not so hidden gems if you live here.
Favorite Dish: The burgers. Thick, juicy and actually taste like beef unlike some other burgers.
I live here so I'm terribly prejudiced but this is the best barbecue you'll find in this little corner of South Carolina. It's an all you can eat buffet for $6.50 per person right now that features all the Southern favorites, pulled pork, coleslaw, pickles, potato salad, fried okra, mac and cheese, yams, and hush puppies. Sweet tea in on the table and you just might sit next to somebody you don't know as the tables are family style. Great food dirt cheap!
Favorite Dish: The barbecue itself.