Each year, our team of editors combs the nation in search of restaurants that we think reflect the best, brightest and most interesting wine and food experiences. While we could never profess to cover every worthy eatery in the country (given the ever-growing list of restaurants that “get” wine these days), our list tells you what we’re loving right now, and it reflects the diversity of fantastic options for the wine-loving diner.
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Amazing Laser-Focused Wine List
With many restaurant lists shrinking, eateries are creating depth by narrowing focus, whether by region or philosophy. A bonus to this is that the staff usually has deep knowledge of the wines and how they work with the food.
We’re impressed by stalwarts who don’t rest on their laurels. They stay a part of the national wine and food conversation and keep us on our toes—all without forgetting the reasons they’re beloved. These restaurants are at least a decade old.
Excellent By-the-Glass Program
Our favorite places bypass the obvious, using the friendly glass format to introduce customers to new wines, winemakers and pairings, with Coravin changing the idea of what’s even possible by the glass.
New & Noteworthy
New restaurants always excite us, whether helmed by emerging chefs or dynamic ventures by well-known names. These spots have all opened since the beginning of 2015 and we can’t wait to see how they continue to influence the national scene.
Not to be Missed
These restaurants range from much-fêted destinations to outstanding lesser-known neighborhood joints, but all are jewels that wine and food lovers would be remiss to miss.
Standout Tasting Menu Experience
Love the trend or not, restaurants are increasingly asking diners to put all their trust in the chef and sommelier with tasting-menu-only formats. The best of these offer both versatile bottle lists and innovative, exciting pairings.
At old and new places alike, we love seeing the dogma around steakhouse pairing fall to the wayside. These restaurants not only showcase top-quality meat, but also feature unheralded cuts and unique side dishes that complement the diverse wines.