Top Spots to Wine, Dine and Bottle Shop (Wine Spectator)
It can be challenging to find a middle-ground between intimidating fine wine shops and retailers with mundane, mass-produced labels. These destinations hold Restaurant Awards for outstanding wine experiences in the dining room, but they also stand out for expertly selected retail shops. Discover 11 eateries with adjoining wine stores offering exciting picks and familiar favorites for dining out or taking home.
To check out more wine-and-food destinations around the world, see Wine Spectator’s more than 3,500 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including the 91 Grand Award recipients worldwide that hold our highest honor.
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Angela D’Agosto Wally’s Beverly Hills serves French-influenced American dishes such as roasted héritage gallus brun chicken with smashed fingerling potatoes, broccolini and Albufera sauce.
Grand AwardWine list selections 3,000Inventory 30,000Hollywood hot spot While it’s known to host prominent regulars like business leaders and movie stars, Wally’s is far from pretentious. The dining room is modern and welcoming, not extravagant, and guests will feel comfortable in anything from tuxes to T-shirts.Wine strengths The wine list offers all the bottles available at retail, at a $40 upcharge. Wine director Matthew Turner’s vast selection shines in California, Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône, Italy and Champagne, with plenty of insider labels to please avid collectors. Cuisine Hints of French cuisine are evident in the refined regional menu. Chef David Féau takes advantage of the shop’s high-end food products, offering several variations of caviar service and shaving fresh truffles over dishes like sweet corn agnolotti and a roasted whole chicken. Starters such as wagyu steak tartare and pomme frites with housemade ketchup are perfect for snacking at the buzzy bar.Plans for expansion The team debuted a second location in Santa Monica, Calif., Oct. 6. The space is 50 percent larger than the one in Beverly Hills, with an extended wine list of more than 4,500 selections to match. Co-owner Christian Navarro told Wine Spectator he hopes to turn Wally’s into an international brand with openings in cities such as New York, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Miami and Las Vegas.
750ml Wines Pair selections from 750ml Wines’ 675-label list with a board of charcuterie and gourmet cheeses.
Best of Award of ExcellenceWine list selections 675Inventory 4,500Wine strengths Owner and wine director Lauren Carpeta oversees the well-priced list that’s strongest in California and France. More than 20 wines are available by the glass or in customizable flights of four.Cuisine The menu consists of sharable dishes like artichoke-Asiago dip and soft pretzel sticks, as well as flatbreads with toppings like spicy buffalo chicken and fig with prosciutto. There are also cheese and charcuterie boards with house-baked bread and seasonal accompaniments.Lengthening list The selection has continued to expand since 750ml Wines first earned an Award of Excellence in 2011, when the list featured about 550 selections. The team aims for a healthy mix of familiar labels and ones that guests haven’t encountered before.Big names on a budget 750ml Wines prices most bottles at under $100—with many under $50—even while representing benchmark producers from around the world like Hall, Penfolds, Joseph Drouhin and Pio Cesare.
Julie Kahlbaugh The Carlton serves affordable wines in an elegant setting.
Best of Award of ExcellenceWine list selections 900Inventory 8,100Wine strengths While the vibe is inherently upscale, the Carlton has an exceptionally well-priced wine list. Managed by wine director Kevin Joyce, the list boasts the most selections of all Restaurant Award winners in Pittsburgh, highlighting California, France and Italy.Cuisine Executive chef Simon de John has worked in the Carlton kitchen for nearly a decade. The menu is made up of American classics like crab cakes, steaks and pastas, and a collection of specials that change daily.Central spot The Carlton is set in a prime downtown Pittsburgh location near cultural landmarks like Heinz Hall and the O’Reilly Theater. There’s even complimentary limousine service to many of those venues, and frequent wine dinners—about two to three per month—turn the restaurant itself into a destination.Decades in the making The Carlton opened in 1984 and earned its first Award of Excellence in 1995. The wine list has steadily improved, reaching Best of Award of Excellence–status in 2015 and growing by about 200 selections since.
Copia Restaurant & Wine Garden Dine surrounded by wine at Copia Restaurant & Wine Garden.
Best of Award of ExcellenceWine list selections 1,115Inventory 9,850Wine strengths Copia boasts one of the city’s largest Restaurant Award–winning wine lists, managed by wine director Cherie Moery-Metzka. The selections are organized by grape variety and cover regions around the world, from Hungary and Chile to a local Missouri label. California, France, Italy and Washington are the strongest sections.Cuisine Guests can purchase bottles to go at $10 below the wine list prices or stay for a meal in the warm, high-ceilinged space. Chef Donald Butler adds Southern influence to steak-house staples, coating blackened ribeye in a rub of Creole spices and serving roast chicken with andouille sausage. There are also several seafood and vegetarian options.Fixed flights To let guests explore the expansive list, Copia features nine variations of four-wine flights, each with a theme, like “Sweet and Sassy” (including a Moscato rosé and a Riesling) or “West Coast Tour.” Versatile space In addition to Copia’s wine garden and dining room, there’s also a banquet room, two wine cellars and a tasting room. All areas can be booked for anything from large events with hundreds of guests to intimate tastings.
Domacin Domacin gets its name from the Latin word for home, reflecting a mission of making guests feel welcome and comfortable.
Best of Award of ExcellenceWine list selections 900Inventory 9,700Wine strengths Overseen by wine director Ethan Gilmore, the program is strongest in California and Italy but offers a solid selection of Champagne and domestic labels.Cuisine Locally grown produce meets Mediterranean influences—mostly French and Italian—on this one-page menu. Small plates include steak tartare and prosciutto flatbread, and entrées include seafood linguine and pan-roasted duck breast with orange jus.Pick your pricepoint The wine list caters to a range of customers. You’ll find options across all budgets, from labels under $30 to prized verticals from producers like Gaja and Penfolds.Special occasions in the cellar The cellar is available for booking private dinners for up to six guests. Domacin works with customers to create personalized dining experiences complete with off-menu options and expert wine guidance.
Tenley Fohl Photography Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café puts fresh produce at the forefront of its Californian cuisine.
Best of Award of ExcellenceWine list selections 750Inventory 3,000Los Olivos landmark The café has been open since 1995 and is known for its appearance in the Academy Award–winning movie Sideways. Several ongoing programs include an annual dinner series spotlighting local winemakers, a wine club and overnight retreats in the on-site vineyard.Wine strengths The inexpensive wine list focuses on California’s Central Coast. Wine director Sarah Farley showcases some of the wine region’s top labels across a range of budgets and rounds out the selections with international picks. Rotating flights offer 2-ounce pours of three wines, typically for $10 to $15.Cuisine Chris Joslyn serves vegetable-forward California fare including plenty of salads, but you’ll also find heartier entrées like parmesan gnocchi and short ribs with potato confit.As fresh as it gets In addition to sourcing from several farms within a 45-mile radius, the café has its own organic garden of produce and flowers. There’s also a small vineyard on the property that produces estate wines from Syrah, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Nebbiolo. The labels are available in the restaurant’s market and through the online store.
Ethan Massey courtesy of Attuned and Klik Marketing At the String Bean, guests can pair wines with the American menu or choose bottles to take home.
Best of Award of ExcellenceWine list selections 730Inventory 2,000Personal touch The String Bean name is a nod to owner Chad Hutcheson’s childhood on a farm in northern Georgia, where his family canned their own vegetables from the garden. This upbringing instilled a love of food in Hutcheson that led to him open the String Bean with his wife in 2008.Wine strengths Wine director Bryant Helton has been building his personal wine collection for more than 25 years, and he utilizes the relationships he’s built with wineries to bring a diverse collection of labels to the String Bean. The wine list is strongest in California, representing lesser-known producers as well as big names like Shafer, Silver Oak and Caymus. Cuisine Chef Roscoe Goodwin serves an eclectic mix of dishes to pair with the wine selection, from small bites like garlic shrimp and duck-fat fries to pizzas and burgers to entrées like gnocchi with smoked meatballs.Gourmet to go The on-site market and butcher shop sells a variety of seafood, meats, prepared foods and desserts. Guests can browse some of the 2,000-bottle inventory before ordering wine in the dining room or choosing a bottle to take home.
The Wine Gallery at Villa Macri Guests can sip wine by the bar or experience more formal, full-service dining at the Wine Gallery at Villa Macri.
Best of Award of ExcellenceWine list selections 525Inventory 3,600From deli to wine destination Owners Jerry and Margy Macri ran a neighborhood deli for 10 years before relocating it to the Villa Macri space, where they added a retail shop and Italian restaurant. Now guests can opt for casual sandwiches in the deli or a more refined experience in one of several dining rooms. Wine strengths California, Italy and France stand out on the affordable wine list. General manager and wine director Jason Forbes also offers labels from the neighboring state of Michigan.Cuisine Chef Gerard Macri serves a diverse assortment of dishes that makes for exciting pairings. The menu is a mash-up of playful appetizers—think fried pickle chips and pretzels with cheese sauce—and Italian classics.Wine-promoting programming The Wine Gallery hosts activities for wine lovers of all levels, from a Wine 101 class to a blind-tasting competition dubbed the Annual Cork Master Open. Additional events throughout the year include a tasting of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines.
The WineSellar & Brasserie Owner Gary Parker oversees the WineSellar & Brasserie’s 1,000-plus-selection list.
Best of Award of ExcellenceWine list selections 1,055Inventory 10,655Wine strengths Built by owner and wine director Gary Parker, the list excels in California and France—especially Bordeaux and Burgundy—and features impressive Italian sections. Bottles in the retail shop are $10 less than the wine list price and guests can order customized wine baskets for gifting.Cuisine Chef Gustavo Perez’s contemporary French menu uses California ingredients to create dishes like short rib with Sherry glaze, duck confit and salmon with parsnip purée. Guests can opt to let chef Perez take the reins with a five- or six–course tasting menu accompanied by wine pairings.Dynamic destination The WineSellar’s wine service goes far beyond the dining room. Customers can rent temperature-controlled storage for their personal wine collections, and participants receive an array of perks like discounts on tastings and dinners. For those looking to gain a deeper education, the WineSellar offers an internationally recognized course. Education abroad The WineSellar hosts an annual trip to major wine regions around the world, like this year’s trip to Santiago, Chile. Back in the restaurant, there are plenty of year-round events. The team frequently welcomes winemakers to speak and hosts dinners paired with selections from a certain producer, like a recent event spotlighting Daou. Regular walk-around tastings let guests try 15 to 20 wines at a reduced price, in addition to weekly tastings held every Wednesday in the downstairs bar.
Harold Brown Cellar 59 Wine Bar & Wine Shop resembles a country home with a wraparound porch overlooking a grassy yard.
Award of ExcellenceWine list selections 430Inventory 1,700Rural feel Cellar 59 fully embraces the small-town charm of Stow, Ohio. It’s owned by husband-and-wife locals Vincenzo and Carrie Pezzaniti and set in a renovated 19th-century farmhouse with a wraparound porch for outdoor dining.Wine strengths Vincenzo and his brother Maurizio, who grew up making wine with their Italian grandfather, oversee the wine program. California dominates the list, but it also excels in France, Italy, Oregon and Washington. Vincenzo recently began bulking up Bordeaux and Champagne selections as well. Cuisine Small plates and pizzas are meant to be wine friendly and draw on the owner’s Italian heritage. Sharable cheese boards and desserts are also available.Local leader Through both the wine list and the retail selection, the Pezzanitis strive to expose their community to high-quality wines that aren’t otherwise offered in the area. They feature small-production vineyards alongside benchmark producers at affordable prices—retail bottles are sold for $10 less than the wine list prices, which are mostly under $50. About 20 wines are available by the glass, or guests can build their own flight of three wines for $12.
Sonoma Wine Bar & Restaurant Sonoma Wine Bar & Restaurant specializes in California labels.
Award of ExcellenceWine list selections 150Inventory 1,500Wine strengths The California-focused wine program also excels in French labels, including top Champagne houses. Explore the list through three-wine flights that change with the seasons and cost around $20, depending on the particular pours. Cuisine Chef Matt Tahaney works with local farms and purveyors to source ingredients for his small plates, sandwiches and pizzas. An extensive cheese and charcuterie section lets guests customize their own board of bites.Democratized wines Value is a big priority for wine director Farrah Cauley, who prices most labels under $100 and serves 7-ounce by-the-glass pours instead of the standard 5 ounces. Bottles are sold at retail for 30 percent less than the prices on the wine list.Houston Hub Sonoma Wine Bar & Restaurant makes a conscious effort to support the community, often donating cases of wine for fundraisers and sponsoring Little League teams. In 2012, the brand added a second location in the Houston Heights neighborhood, which holds an Award of Excellence for 150 wine selections and serves chef Tahaney’s signature menu.
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Read more: winespectator.com