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12 Seafood Restaurants to Catch Great Wine

Set your course for these spots to sample the finest from the sea and cellar
Photo by: Topper’s at the Wauwinet
Topper’s at the Wauwinet holds Wine Spectator's highest award of wine list excellence, the Grand Award.

Posted: September 8, 2015

Updated: March 30, 2017

Meat with red wine, fish with white. The age-old adage may give you pairing confidence in a pinch, but when frequenting these wine-centric seafood spots, you can let the experts take the reins. Americans have learned to love the bounty of the sea, and fresh, creative fish dishes always brighten any lunch or dinner out. Fish houses, crab shacks and French, Italian and Mediterranean restaurants are all serving exceptional seafood, and many of the best have wine lists to match.

We’ve picked 12 restaurants across the United States where the chefs and sommeliers know how to pair and showcase the best from the sea and the cellar. The Wine Spectator Restaurant Award–winning seafood destinations listed below each offer well-chosen, quality wine lists that display vintage depth and excellent breadth across multiple regions. (Find a few more terrific picks for seafood in our guide to restaurants with top-notch Champagne selections; those who prefer red meat can check out our recommended steak-house wine lists.) For more options, see our more than 300 Restaurant Award–winning seafood restaurants, as well as our 87 Grand Award recipients.

Do you have a favorite you’d like to see on this list? Send your recommendations to restaurantawards@mshanken.com. We want to hear from you!


Bleu Provence

1234 8th St. S., Naples, Fla.
Telephone (239) 261-8239
Website www.bleuprovencenaples.com
Open Dinner, daily
Grand Award

Andrew Meade
This Naples, Fla., wine destination received its first Grand Award in 2015.

In the 18 years since Jacques Cariot and his wife, Lysielle, opened Bleu Provence, the wine program has grown to 3,575 selections and 30,000 bottles of inventory. The couple's passion for wine, as well as the quality of their food and service, has raised the standard in this sunny small town on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The food has French roots, and the menu offers a wealth of locally inspired seafood dishes, including Provençal fish soup, lobster and mascarpone cassolette de gratin, and loup de mer (Mediterranean sea bass). When it comes to French wines, the Grand Award–winning list is an embarrassment of riches—especially from Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône, Champagne, Provence, Corsica, Jura, Languedoc and Roussillon. Italy and California are strongly represented as well.


Topper’s at the Wauwinet

120 Wauwinet Road, Nantucket, Mass.
Telephone (508) 228-8768
Website www.wauwinet.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Grand Award

Topper’s at the Wauwinet
Why drive to Topper's when you can arrive by boat?

The Wauwinet has been hosting parties on the eastern shore of Nantucket since the elegant Victorian inn opened in 1875. Today, at Topper’s, the Wauwinet’s Grand Award–winning restaurant, the dishes, such as marinated diver scallops and seaweed butter–poached lobster, are all based on local products but also include more worldly flavors. Executive chef Kyle Zachary strikes a delicate balance: He has to satisfy guests who expect classic New England fare as well as those looking for something new. The 1,500-bottle wine list functions similarly: Topper’s program has an abundance of classic wines from California, Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône and Italy alongside offerings from up-and-coming regions around the world.


Chandler’s Crabhouse

901 Fairview Ave. N., Seattle, Wash.
Telephone (206) 223-2722
Website www.schwartzbros.com/chandlers-crabhouse
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

In Seattle, the hometown of the ever-popular Pike Place Fish Market, quality seafood is not difficult to find. But if you’re looking for fresh seafood and exceptional wine in one place, Chandler’s Crabhouse has built a reputation for both. The shrine to the local Dungeness crab has been supplying Seattleites with fresh crustacean-based dishes for almost 30 years. The regional pride also extends to the restaurant’s 380-selection wine list, which focuses largely on the wines of Washington, with additional strengths in France, California and Oregon.


Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House

MGM Grand Las Vegas, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, Nev.
Telephone (702) 891-7374
Website www.emerilsrestaurants.com/emerils-new-orleans-fish-house
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Steven Freeman
Emeril Lagasse brings his Creole-inspired seafood and love of wine to Las Vegas.

Emeril Lagasse is a serious wine buff—and it shows. Nine of the restaurants in his culinary empire hold Restaurant Awards, including his homage to seafood, Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House. The Vegas dining destination brings a taste of New Orleans to the Strip, with chef Jean Paul Labadie’s Creole-inspired dishes such as seafood and andouille pork sausage gumbo and fried crystal shrimp po’boy. The coastal cuisine is accompanied by a 1,470-selection wine list, with particular focus on California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Italy, the Rhône and Germany.


Farallon

450 Post St., San Francisco, Calif.
Telephone (415) 956-6969
Website www.farallonrestaurant.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Farallon
The fruits de mer platter is a great way to kick off a seafood-focused meal at Farallon.

There's no shortage of great seafood in San Francisco, but Farallon, located in bustling Union Square, is well worth a visit. The whimsical under-the-sea decor sets the scene for the ever-evolving menu, created by chef-owner Mark Franz and executive chef Jason Ryczek. With strengths in France (especially Burgundy and Champagne), Austria and California, the 700-selection, Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine list offers countless seafood-friendly pairings, plus an eclectic by-the-glass program.


Fiola Mare

3050 K St. N.W., Suite 101, Washington, D.C.
Telephone (202) 628-0065
Website www.fiolamaredc.com
Open Dinner, daily; lunch, Tuesday to Friday
Best of Award of Excellence

Courtesy of Fiola Mare
Chef Fabio Trabocci's Fiola Mare serves up seafood with a decidedly Italian slant.

Fabio Trabocchi, a native of Italy’s Marche region, owns three Restaurant Award winners—Fiola, Fiola Mare and Casa Luca—in Washington, D.C., each of which demonstrates his longstanding commitment to the culinary heritage of his native country. At his seafood restaurant, Fiola Mare, diners experience traditional coastal Italian dining along the banks of the Potomac River. The dedication to authenticity is evident not only in the restaurant’s menu but also in its Italy-focused wine list, which features over 1,200 selections, with strengths in Tuscany, Piedmont, California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne and Portugal.


Jamestown Fish

14 Narragansett Ave., Jamestown, R.I.
Telephone (401) 423-3474
Website www.jamestownfish.com
Open Dinner, Wednesday to Saturday
Best of Award of Excellence

Maaike Bernstrom
Chef Matthew MacCartney's seafood dishes offer a taste of summertime year-round.

Nestled in the heart of Jamestown, R.I., on Narragansett Bay, Jamestown Fish seems like a quintessential New England restaurant. But with an upstairs bar, an outdoor gourmet pizza patio and year-round hours, it's far from your average seafood shack. Just as the restaurant serves many functions, owner Matthew MacCartney wears many hats. When he's not in the kitchen as executive chef, he's in the main dining room, offering wine-pairing recommendations as wine director. The wine list, which has 640 selections, with strengths in Burgundy, Piedmont, France and California, easily complements MacCartney's seasonal menu.


Lahaina Grill

127 Lahainaluna Road, Maui, Hawaii
Telephone (808) 667-5117
Website www.lahainagrill.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Lahaina Grill
The artwork hanging throughout Lahaina Grill's 130-seat dining room is by Maui artist Jan Kasprzycki.

Opened in 1990 as a small, 55-seat bistro, Lahaina Grill has transformed into one of the most lauded restaurants on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Led by executive chef Arnulfo Gonzalez, Lahaina Grill offers globally inspired dishes with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, as seen in creations like sautéed mahi-mahi, Kona coffee–roasted Colorado rack of lamb and Chef Arnie's homemade meatballs. Wine director Richard Olson III's list of more than 400 selections—with strengths in California, France and Italy—offers plenty of options for sea, land or surf-and-turf pairings. The wine list features selections from Olson's recent travels, providing a closer look at both popular and lesser-known wineries from around the world.


Le Bernardin

155 W. 51st St., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 554-1515
Website www.le-bernardin.com
Open Dinner, Monday to Saturday; lunch, Monday to Friday
Best of Award of Excellence

Ball & Albanese
Chef Eric Ripert wrote the book on seafood in fine dining.

Over the past few decades, chef Eric Ripert has maintained Le Bernardin as, arguably, the best fish restaurant in New York, if not the world. The menu boasts a vast selection of expertly prepared fish—Dover sole, monkfish and striped bass, to name a few—and other sea-inspired dishes such as charred octopus and seafood truffle pasta. A generous bowl of fresh and smoked salmon rillettes greets every diner at Le Bernardin, all the better to try as you sip one of the dozens of luxury Champagnes on the restaurant’s Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine list. The 1,000-selection list indulges Ripert’s Bordeaux obsession, but wine director Aldo Sohm has also added bottlings from Burgundy, California, Germany, Austria and Champagne.


Legal Sea Foods

26 Park Plaza, Boston, Mass.
Telephone (617) 426-4444
Website www.legalseafoods.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Paul Foley
Rich Vellante, executive chef for the Legal Sea Foods chain, has made wine a central part of the culture.

Counting 10 Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners, Legal Sea Foods has developed a reputation for being attentive to finely tuned wine pairings. The Boston Park Square location boasts 800 selections—with some standbys and some surprises—and knowledgeable servers. The company’s executive chef Rich Vellante makes it a priority to educate employees on pairing techniques, emphasizing the importance of matching a seafood dish’s sauce and texture to the wine.


The Sardine Factory

701 Wave St., Monterey, Calif.
Telephone (831) 373-3775
Website www.sardinefactory.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

If you’re looking for a time-honored fish restaurant, head to Monterey, Calif. There you’ll find the Sardine Factory, a Central Coast mainstay that has been serving seafood to the stars since 1968. Of the restaurant’s many claims to fame—including the appearance of its abalone bisque at President Ronald Reagan’s inaugural dinners—wine lovers will be most excited by the extensive cellar, which boasts 1,600 offerings from California, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italy and beyond.


GT Fish & Oyster

531 N. Wells St., Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (312) 929-3501
Website www.gtoyster.com
Open Dinner, daily; lunch, Tuesday to Friday
Award of Excellence

Eric Kleinberg
Chef Giuseppe Tentori's seafood-centric dishes are perfect for sharing.

Opened by chef Giuseppe Tentori in 2011, GT Fish & Oyster offers the best of both coasts to the Midwest. The seasonally rotating menu of small plates presents traditional seafood dishes with modern twists, such as scallop crudo with hearts of palm and blood oranges, oyster po'boy sliders with kimchi and peanuts, and Korean barbeque octopus. The fish-friendly wine list naturally skews sparkling and white (mostly from France and California), but also offers some great red options.

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