Originally created 10/26/01

Restaurant roundup



AUGUSTINO'S

****; 2 10th St., 823-6521; Italian cuisine. "Augustino's offers an extensive menu of Italian dishes, but the buffet is definitely the draw for the hordes who flock there for lunch." - Christine Hurley Deriso and Mary Deriso

CASA DI PIZZA

***, 103 Edgewood Square Shopping Center, North Augusta, 279-4418; pizza, sandwiches. "An unassuming little pizza-and-pasta place that emphasizes the basics: good food, generous portions, reasonable prices." - Christine Hurley Deriso and Mary Deriso

CHINA GARDEN

*****; 1535 Walton Way, 738-2302. "The best Chinese food around." - Julie Badger

CHOW

*****; 1032 Broad St., 303-2469; American nouveau fusion cuisine. "If you're looking for razzle-dazzle, go somewhere else. If you're looking for a really good meal in a relaxed setting with good service, reacquaint yourself with downtown and introduce yourself to Chow. You'll be happy you did." - Julie Badger

DAMON'S

***; 3064 Washington Road, 868-7427; barbecue ribs. "A restaurant that bills itself as 'the place for ribs' sets itself up for a couple of challenges: First, the ribs better be really, really good. Second, the food other than the ribs better be good enough to lure back the Wilmas of the world. (You know ... the ones who go to the rib place only because Fred Flintstone insisted.) Damon's rises to the challenges." - Christine Hurley Deriso and Mary Deriso

FRENCH MARKET GRILLE WEST

*****; 2130 Furys Ferry Road, 855-5111; Cajun cuisine. "French Market Grille West offers two feasts: the first for your eyes, the second for your palate. Food presentation is detail-oriented, with unexpected splashes of color and interesting, artistic arrangements. So enjoy the scenery, then dig in." - Christine Hurley Deriso and Mary Deriso

GARY'S HAMBURGERS

***; 410 Georgia Ave., North Augusta, 278-1314. "Gary's thick, juicy burgers make mincemeat out of the typical fast-food joint." - Christine Hurley Deriso and Mary Deriso

GORIN'S HOMEMADE CAFE AND GRILL

****; 1 Seventh St., 774-1388. "This sparkling-clean restaurant's sandwiches and salads emphasize freshness and originality." - Christine Hurley Deriso and Mary Deriso

KURAMA JAPANESE SEAFOOD, STEAKHOUSE AND SUSHI BAR

***; 2834 Washington Road, 737-4015. "This Japanese restaurant is so dazzling that diners might not notice if the meal was subpar. But the food is just as good as the entertainment." - Christine Hurley Deriso and Mary Deriso

MIYABI KYOTO JAPANESE STEAK HOUSE

****; 1315 Augusta West Parkway, 210-2600. "With great food, efficient service and the dazzling showmanship of the chefs, Miyabi Kyoto is Japanese dining at its best." - Christine Hurley Deriso and Mary Deriso

PARTRIDGE INN

***; 2110 Walton Way, 737-8888. "With its Southern architecture and quarter-mile of porches and balconies, the place exudes elegance (and, granted, a dab of Old South snootiness). The dining room is sweeping and refined, with music on a grand piano and tables on the verandah thrown in for good measure. In other words, diners are pampered before they take their first bite." - Christine Hurley Deriso and Mary Deriso

PIZZA JOINT

***; 1245 Broad St., 774-0037. "The Pizza Joint, with its careful attention to detail and funky ambience, is a welcome change from one-size-fits-all restaurant chains." - Christine Hurley Deriso and Mary Deriso

RAES COASTAL CAFE

*****; 3208 W. Wimbledon Drive, 738-1313. "With its shabby-chic decor, laid-back tropical ambience and exquisitely prepared seafood, Raes is one of the coolest places in town." - Christine Hurley Deriso and Mary Deriso

SALSA'S BAR AND GRILL

***; 204 Bobby Jones Expressway, Martinez. "An impressive selection and generous portions make this Tex-Mex restaurant stand out from the crowd." - Christine Hurley Deriso and Mary Deriso

SCHLOTZSKY'S DELI

***; 3865 Washington Road, Martinez, 854-1999. "Schlotzsky's, a chain, made its name by introducing the simple charms and hearty offerings of urban delicatessens to Americans who don't use the subway." - Christine Hurley Deriso and Mary Deriso

STILL CARIBBEAN

****; 3168 Deans Bridge Road, 796-1326; jerk chicken, curry goat, island cuisine. "An unimposing place, but our evening there was a culinary experience." - Julie Badger

VILLA EUROPA

**** 1/2 ; 3044 Deans Bridge Road, 798-0065; European cuisine. "A mix of Italian and German food that should appeal to all." - Julie Badger

ZAXBY'S

***; 431 E. Martintown Road, (803) 278-6353. "This fast-yet-slow, sit-down-yet-serve-yourself chicken joint serves up some of the freshest chicken in town." - Christine Hurley Deriso and Mary Deriso