I’ve complained before in this space about the attention that Augusta gets from outsiders. Particularly during Masters, it seems that journalists from all over the world know what’s best for and about our city. So when Buona Caffe recently posted to Facebook that they’d be recognized by a website as one of the best restaurants and cafes in Augusta, I rolled my eyes.
And not because Buona Caffe isn’t deserving; it’s coffee is fantastic and the owners/roasters/staff deserve all the accolades they get (even if they don’t serve frozen drinks — the horror!). It’s them (the websites), not you, Buona Caffe… really.
After all, upon reading a sportswriter’s Masters Week online story about downtown — in which he misnamed museums and spouted inaccuracies such as how empty Broad Street was at lunchtime (I’m sorry… what?) — I expected to click on the cafe’s link and see a Top 10 list like the one on USA Today’s 10 Best website (10best.com/destinations/georgia/augusta/restaurants/).
That one, quite frankly, is a joke and not because of the restaurants on it. Here’s the list in order from 1 to 10:
Rhinehart’s Oyster Bar
White Elephant Cafe
Shangri-La Chinese Cuisine
French Market Grille
Now, I don’t have anything against any of these restaurants. In fact, I’ve been to every single one of them and love them all.
Or, at least I did go to White Elephant and Shangri-La before they both closed (they have the old Shangri-La location listed, not the combined one further out on Washington Road). And they have the really old White Elephant listed, saying their Caribbean-influenced dishes are usually accompanied by fried plantains.
Even funnier are the pictures that accompany each restaurant. The ones for Nacho Mama’s and Augustino’s are flat-out wrong, and many of the other ones include very bland stock images.
In short, USA Today may want to rethink their 10 Best motto: Trusted travel and lifestyle advice.
Fortunately, I’m happy to report that the newer Top 10 list (theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/georgia/articles/insider-s-guide-to-augusta-s-10-best-restaurants-and-caf-s/) is at least accurate, even though it does include many of the same restaurants that USA Today’s does. Nacho Mama’s, Boll Weevil and Rhinehart’s are all included, but these folks (based in the UK, it looks like) have at least researched our area more recently than five or 10 years ago.
In addition to Buona Caffe, they’ve also included Frog Hollow Tavern, 5 O’Clock Bistro, The Bee’s Knees, Takosushi, La Maison on Telfair and Whiskey Bar (Kitchen).
Sure, you could quibble that they called it Whiskey Bar instead of its proper name but, all things considered, I’m inclined to let that one slide.