A Taste of Italy Awaits Just Across the River
Instead of crossing the Atlantic for a taste of Italy, just cross the Savannah River.
From downtown Augusta, DiVino Ristorante is just a hop, skip and a jump over the river. The Italian café occupies a cozy corner of Hammonds Ferry in North Augusta. On a recent spring day, my two colleagues and I were warmly welcomed to the restaurant.
After being seated near the window where we could enjoy the scenery, we were given menus with inviting dishes that simply sounded delicious rolling off the tongue: Melanzana alla Parmigiana, Petto di Pollo al Limone, and Uova Strapazzate con Bacon to name a few. Patrons could brush up on their Italian to impress the staff.
With a large dining room plus a bar including additional seating, DiVino has plenty of space for a business meeting, casual gathering or even office celebration. It’s a spectacular Saturday brunch spot before a client leaves town. Billing itself as a unique, modern eatery, DiVino offers a lunch/brunch menu for the weekend plus a dinner menu for Tuesday through Saturday.
One diner twirled spaghetti with homemade Bolognese sauce. It’s also served with pesto if a patron prefers. The Insalata Ceasar con Pollo or Shrimp is a popular salad favorite, as is the Insalata Mista di Campo featuring a spring mix with olives, tomatoes, Parmigiano cheese and extra virgin olive oil. A salad might be a wise choice before hitting the tiramisu or cannoli.
Even though the aromatic Tuscan scent permeated the dining area, one colleague had a burger on his mind. A burger! It felt odd ordering a burger in an authentic Italian restaurant, but so be it. Once delivered, there were smiles and high fives. I guess it was a good call!
Another colleague decided on the DiVino Breakfast, which included a couple of eggs with Italian grilled sausage, pan-seared mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, bacon, toast and roasted potatoes. Although the price seemed steep at $13.50, it provided a hearty meal. The presentation was eye-catching and certainly pleasing to the palate.
Because I relish tomato soup, I was excited to spy an authentic variation on the menu. Listed as Pappa al Pomodoro, it boasted cherry tomatoes, breadcrumbs, basil, shallots and parmesan cheese. It was all I could do not to lick the bowl as this scrumptious soup was delicious. I paced myself and enjoyed every last bite.
As walkers strolled the sunny streets of Hammonds Ferry, we enjoyed our quiet meal. A couple of customers ate nearby. A few others made their way to the bar area. A ladies group gathered to celebrate a birthday. The atmosphere was pleasant and inviting.
Italian music drifted quietly through the speakers. It was loud enough to set a tone of relaxation but low enough to avoid being a distraction.
On its website, DiVino presents itself as a restaurant offering authentic Italian cuisine and specialties from Tuscany plus a large selection of wines, craft cocktails and beers. As they say in Italy, “Mangiamo!” (Let’s eat!)
Food: 3 ½
Noise Level: 4
DiVino Ristorante is located at 465 Railroad Avenue in North Augusta. For more information, check out its website at divinonorthaugusta.com or call 803-426-8675.