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12 Restaurants with Super-Value Wine Lists

Enjoy bold wine programs without the big price tag
Photo by: The Waterboy
In Sacramento, Calif., the Waterboy holds an Award of Excellence for its wine list of 200 selections.

Posted: December 21, 2017

Wine is often the greatest pleasure of dining out–until the bill arrives. But with affordable wine lists offering plenty of values, these 12 Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners across the country prove that bottles don’t have to break the bank.

To check out more wine-and-food destinations around the world, see Wine Spectator’s nearly 3,600 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including the 87 Grand Award recipients worldwide that hold our highest honor, plus hundreds of Restaurant Award winners with value wine lists. And if you're dining in and drinking on a budget, check out our 100 Top Values of 2017, wines rated 88-plus points costing $20 or less.

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


Billy Crews Dining Room

1200 Country Club Rd., Santa Teresa, N.M.
Telephone (575) 589-2071
Website www.billycrews.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Grand Award

Billy Crews Dining Room
At Billy Crews Dining Room, enjoy a Grand Award-winning wine list that won’t break the bank.

Grand Award winner Billy Crews Dining Room has been open since 1956 in Santa Teresa, N.M., with steak-house cuisine and an exceptional wine list. Steaks can be custom-cut to order, and the menu offers a wide range of globally inspired comfort dishes, from pastas and calamari to jalapeño poppers and guacamole. Owner Billy Crews serves as chef, general manager and wine director of the 3,340-selection program. The list has an abundance of values, even in its strongest regions of California, Bordeaux, Italy and Burgundy. However, those seeking a splurge can peruse verticals from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and several Bordeaux first-growths.


Bacchus

56 W. Chippewa St., Buffalo, N.Y.
Telephone (716) 854-9463
Website www.bacchusbuffalo.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Sunday
Award of Excellence

Bacchus
Bacchus is a neighborhood eatery with a wine list full of values.

Buffalo, N.Y.’s Bacchus serves contemporary American cuisine and an Award of Excellence–winning wine program. Chef and wine director Brian Mietus manages the list of 350 selections with strengths in California, France and Italy. The “20 Under $40” section highlights great-value wines from a diverse array of grape varieties and regions. For diners looking to expand their wine knowledge, Bacchus holds hour-long tasting seminars on Wednesdays for $40 a person.


Barbareño

205 W. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara, Calif.
Telephone (805) 963-9591
Website www.barbareno.com
Open Dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Barbareño
Barbareño sources its wine list and its menu ingredients from the surrounding Santa Barbara region.

Barbareño celebrates the bounty of Santa Barbara through its regional menu and California-focused wine list. Chef Justin Snyder sources ingredients from nearby farms, and the wine list is heavy on one of Santa Barbara’s specialties, Pinot Noir. The Award of Excellence–winning program, overseen by wine director Lenka Davis, offers 150 selections that also include plenty of French picks. Thirteen wines are available by the glass, and most of the bottles are in the $50-$80 range.


Grapes in a Glass

575 Market Ave N., Canton, Ohio
Telephone (330) 453-9463
Website www.50shadesofvine.com
Open Dinner, Wednesday to Saturday
Award of Excellence

Grapes in a Glass
The flexible wine program at Grapes in a Glass encourages guests to discover new wines.

At Grapes in a Glass in Canton, Ohio, guests can explore new wines via the restaurant's flexible serving options. Three dozen selections are available by the glass or in flights of 2-ounce tastes, and the 415-bottle list includes more than 150 options for $25 or less. The Award of Excellence–winning list has strengths in California, France and Italy, but also features some less familiar regions such as India and Hungary. Chef, owner and wine director Tamara Jorgensen’s cuisine consists of wine-friendly small plates like crostini and charcuterie that change seasonally and are made with local ingredients.


The Hamilton

600 14th St. N.W., Washington, D.C.
Telephone (202) 787-1000
Website www.thehamiltondc.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Clyde’s Restaurant Group
Doubling as a restaurant and a music venue, the Hamilton offers a wine list of 150 bottles.

In a city filled with upscale steak houses and pricey wine bars, Washington's the Hamilton impresses with a wine list full of great values. The program holds an Award of Excellence for its 150 selections, with France and California standing out and nearly 20 by-the-glass options under $15. Wine director Samantha Withall exclusively features limited-production wines of 5,000 cases or fewer to highlight artisanal bottles from around the world. Each wine category on the list, organized by body from light to full, is accompanied by pairing suggestions to complement chef Zach Smith’s cuisine. The menu spans the globe, from house-made pastas and dry-aged steaks to Mediterranean appetizers and sushi entrées. On weekends and some weeknights, the restaurant doubles as a music venue for live bands.


La Marcha Tapas Bar

2026 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, Calif.
Telephone (510) 759-1930
Website www.lamarchaberkeley.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Sunday
Award of Excellence

La Marcha Tapas Bar
La Marcha Tapas Bar’s 95 selections include more than 30 different sherries.

La Marcha Tapas Bar in Berkeley, Calif., boasts an Award of Excellence–winning wine program of 95 well-priced selections including more than 20 pours by the glass. The list specializes in Spanish wines, particularly Sherry. The 30 Sherry selections are included in La Marcha’s three-pour flights, most of which are under $20. Chefs and owners Sergio Monleon and Emily Sarlatte serve Spanish tapas dishes, from croquetas to stuffed piquillo peppers, plus sharable paellas.


Parkside

301 E. Sixth St., Austin, Texas
Telephone (512) 474-9898
Website www.parkside-austin.com
Open Dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Parkside
Farm-to-table cuisine meets an inexpensive wine list at Parkside.

Award of Excellence winner Parkside has become a well-known gastropub in Austin, Texas. The restaurant features an affordable list of 100 wines that is particularly strong in France and California. The European-inspired menu includes dishes like pappardelle with salumi butter, and chicken with Brussels sprouts. Chef-owner Shawn Cirkiel also owns Austin Award of Excellence winner Olive & June.


Quaintrelle

3936 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, Ore.
Telephone (503) 200-5787
Website www. quaintrelle.co
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Sunday; Dinner, Wednesday to Sunday during winter
Award of Excellence

Aubrey LeGault
Local wines are the star at Quaintrelle in Portland, Ore.

Quaintrelle sources most of its ingredients from within 50 miles of the Portland, Ore., restaurant, and this regional focus is reflected in its Award of Excellence–winning wine list, overseen by sommelier Chris Cooper. The 90 selections highlight local wines from nearly three dozen Oregon producers such as Love & Squalor, Belle Pente, Patricia Green, Goodfellow and Jezebel. Seventeen wines are available by the glass, all at under $15. In the kitchen, Bill Wallender creates New American dishes like goat cheese dumplings and lamb shank with dried olives.


Sava’s

216 S. State St., Ann Arbor, Mich.
Telephone (734) 623-2233
Website www.savasrestaurant.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Sava’s
Award of Excellence winner Sava’s serves a range of wine styles, from traditional bottles to more eccentric picks.

Located on the University of Michigan campus, Sava’s caters to guests seeking classic bottles as well as younger crowds seeking more eclectic selections. The Award of Excellence–winning wine list provides plenty of values, particularly among less familiar grapes and styles, which encourage exploration. Guests can choose from the list’s 95 selections, or for $16, wine director Kelsey Wonsavage will select a flight of four wines. The program is strongest in France but includes a range of regions from around the globe. Chef Dan Klenotic serves comfort classics like mac and cheese and fried chicken, alongside more upscale dishes like turkey leg confit, and a saffron cream pasta with lobster.


Up on the Roof

250 Riverplace, Greenville, S.C.
Telephone (864) 242-4000
Website www.eatupdrinkup.net
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Up on the Roof
Up on the Roof’s wine-friendly menu rotates seasonally.

Atop an Embassy Suites in downtown Greenville, S.C., Up on the Roof has an Award of Excellence–winning list with nearly all 100 bottles under $100. Managed by wine director Trinity McMahan, the list is strongest in California and has several particularly outstanding values like Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rosé Champagne Cuvée Palmes d'Or 2002 for $128. The cuisine is Southern but draws influence from chef Eric Omick’s Hawaiian background. The menu encourages sharing, with dishes like ahi sashimi nachos and grilled artichokes with Meyer lemon sauce.


Vinateria

2211 Frederick Douglass Blvd., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 662-8462
Website www.vinaterianyc.com
Open Dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Vinateria
The wine list at Vinateria boasts 125 bottles with plenty of standout values.

In New York's Harlem neighborhood, Vinateria provides a cozy setting for enjoying an Award of Excellence–winning wine list. Wine director Chelsea Carrier has worked in restaurants with great beverage programs, such as Best of Award of Excellence winner Gotham Bar & Grill. At Vinateria, she manages 125 selections with strengths in Italy, Spain and France. Most bottles cost less than $100, and more than 20 wines are available by the glass. Chef Mimi Weissenborn's seasonal menu draws inspiration from Italian and Spanish cuisines for dishes such as house-made black spaghetti with octopus, and whole roasted branzino with arugula.


The Waterboy

2000 Capitol Ave., Sacramento, Calif.
Telephone (916) 498-9891
Website www.waterboyrestaurant.com
Open Lunch and dinner, Monday to Friday
Award of Excellence

The Waterboy
At the Waterboy, local ingredients enhance menu items like the Sonoma duck breast.

At the Waterboy, farm-to-table fare is infused with French and Italian techniques in Sacramento, Calif. Chef and wine director Rick Mahan’s menu changes every five to six weeks, allowing for ever-changing pairing possibilities with the Award of Excellence–winning wine list. The 200-bottle program is strongest in California and France, with bottles of some big names like Veuve Clicquot and Shafer priced under $100. The fare includes dishes like ravioli of roast chicken and a tartare using steak from a local ranch.

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