10 Things I Ate About You: Augusta, Ga., for The Masters
Heading to Augusta for the Masters Tournament this week? Beyond the links, Augusta is developing a reputation for its restaurant scene. From stellar small plates to low-country classics like shrimp and grits, these dishes are the culinary masters of the city — ideal to check out during Masters week and beyond.
Click here for the full gallery of 10 top Augusta bites.
Whimsical small plates and amply blistered wood-fired pizzas are the draw at this downtown craft-cocktail den and restaurant. Bring a group to order a wide selection of the excellent charcuterie and cheeses (particularly those from Georgia), as well as shared plates like wood-fired pretzel bites with pimento cheese fondue and housemade pork rinds dusted with Aleppo pepper. Pizza options vary by season, and offerings could include duck confit and Brussels sprouts in winter or asparagus in spring. The Spicy is particularly popular, scattered with fresh mozzarella, soppressata and whole Calabrian hot peppers (which those averse to heat should pick off before eating). Pair the meal with clever libations like the Pink Dogwood: Southern Comfort (aged with honey, stone fruit, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves) mixed with fresh lime juice, Cointreau and cranberry juice.
In an airy, contemporary space that’s equal parts sleek oyster bar and cozy country kitchen, Abel Brown charms with Southern hospitality. Oysters are offered on the half shell or broiled with roasted jalapeno-lime butter; don’t miss the fried oyster sliders in buttery brioche rolls when they pop up as specials. Other daily seafood specials include peekytoe crab cakes. Balance the seafood with classic Southern flavors in the Anson Mills Johnny Cake. The savory skillet cornmeal-buttermilk pancake is served with well-spiced pimento cheese (aka “the caviar of the South”). During Masters week, Abel Brown will offer caviar service starring University of Georgia’s Siberian Sturgeon Caviar.
Boll Weevil has baked up a reputation as the best bakery in town, thanks to a fantastic assortment of heavenly layer cakes, all-American cheesecakes and homey pies, all served in generous helpings. The cake slice to try is the Red Velvet Delight, which has the requisite layers of classic moist red velvet cake and fluffy cream cheese icing, but bucks tradition with cake layers sandwiching a dense slice of white chocolate cheesecake. (There’s also a classic red velvet cake for the purists out there.) For another taste of the South, go for the hummingbird cake with its layers of banana-pineapple spice cake and luscious cream cheese icing. The portions are perfect for sharing, plus you can always walk off your indulgence along the scenic Augusta Riverwalk bordering the Savannah River, just steps away.
Whether you’re looking to sip La Colombe coffee with a house-baked croissant on a sun-drenched patio or you're simply jonesing for a soup-and-sandwich fix, Bodega Ultima has you covered. For the latter, the Vietnamese-inspired Roast Pork Ultima Banh Mi is ideal, with thinly sliced roasted pork loin piled onto a sturdy hoagie roll atop tangy Brussels sprouts slaw, tomato, cucumber and bacon, all capped with a fried egg. For lighter fare, try the Smoked Salmon BLT made with house-cured lox, or get the Mediterranean Duo Salad with a cup of gazpacho. While a set drink list is still in the works, the bar is fully stocked. Order personal favorites, or ask for cocktails incorporating housemade gelato, such as a lemon-ice-spiked French75.
For more great bites off the greens in Augusta, check out the full gallery. Then tell us: What’s your favorite Southern dish?