10 Casual New York Spots Serving Serious Wines

Wine Spectator Restaurant Award–winning programs in laid-back settings

10 Casual New York Spots Serving Serious Wines
Wood-fired Italian classics, delectable wines and a lively atmosphere create a destination dining experience at Marc Forgione's Peasant. (Michael Condran)
Dec 14, 2022

There are plenty of once-in-a-lifetime wine experiences to be had at New York’s many extravagant restaurants, but sometimes even the fussiest wine lovers crave something a bit more relaxed. At these Restaurant Award winners around the city, you don’t have to choose between quality and casualness. With inexpensive-to-moderate pricing and informal atmospheres, these lower-key spots with top-tier wines are sure to become your go-tos.

Discover more New York wine destinations in our guide to the city’s top restaurant wine lists, and browse all the Restaurant Award winners located across the five boroughs.

This is just a small sampling of standout wine spots. For more wine-and-food destinations around the world, search all of Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Award–winning restaurants, including all our 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!

Note: Opening hours and menus are subject to change as the industry continues to adjust to evolving regulations..


112 E. 11th St., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 888-1093
Website www.moxyeastvillage.com/cathedrale
Best of Award of Excellence

 The dining room at Cathédrale with hanging sculptures evoking Gothic architectural elements, arches throughout the space, leather chairs and round wooden tables
Cathédrale provides a stunning, yet intimate space for dinner. (Courtesy of Cathédrale)

Whether you’re a local or visiting the East Village, you don’t want to miss a meal at the Moxy hotel’s Cathédrale, a Best of Award of Excellence–winning, French- and Mediterranean-influenced restaurant that stuns with both its eyecatching—and name-appropriate—Gothic design and its 360-label wine list. The latter is curated by wine director Nikki McCutheon, who spotlights noteworthy wines from California and France, particularly Burgundy and Bordeaux. Along with well-known names like Au Bon Climat, diners will also find impressive values from Oregon, Italy and other regions. The list complements executive chef Jason Hall’s similarly focused menu, with dishes such as warm dates with Roquefort cheese, hen of the woods brochette, cauliflower fusilli with pancetta, black truffle fettucine, a selection of steaks and more.


422 Hudson St., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 206-0594
Website www.lelabar.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 Guests at the Lelabar bar, with wine glasses hanging overhead
Lelabar’s wine list offers guests options from regions across the globe. (Courtesy of Lelabar)

Lelabar may be small, but the wine program is extensive, with 750 selections curated by wine director Chris Martorano. Pull up a stool at the snug, oval bar and peruse the well-rounded, international wine list and the menu of small plates crafted by executive chef Oscar Del Rosario. Though Martorano’s picks are strongest in California, Italy and France (especially Burgundy, with numerous grands crus), the list covers a broad range of styles and regions, including Israel, Lebanon, Argentina and Greece. There’s diversity in pricing too, from the many bottles under $100 to collector’s items that reach beyond $1,000. The by-the-glass list comprises 20 wines, including the “Mystery Wine” pick; if a guest is able to correctly guess its grape or region, their next glass is half-off. In addition, every wine (except Champagne) on the bottle list is offered by the glass with the purchase of two glasses.


128 First Ave., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (646) 892-3050
Website www.noreetuh.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 Spam musubi and other musubi on a plate at Noreetuh
Varied musubi, including morsels with Spam, make Noreetuh an enticing culinary stop. (Courtesy of Noreetuh)

Named after the Korean word for “playground,” Noreetuh occupies a casual, yet sleek space in Manhattan’s East Village. Chef and co-owner Chung Chow presents modern, Asian-influenced Hawaiian cuisine on a menu divided into small plates—such as Japanese scallop crudo and Berkshire pork potstickers with ponzu sauce—and larger pastas and entrées that are mostly priced under $25, like roasted monkfish with bellflower root and beurre blanc. There is also, of course, the restaurant’s signature Spam musubi wrapped in nori. To complement these distinctive dishes, wine director and co-owner Jin Ahn built a 300-label program emphasizing Germany—including celebrated winery Joh. Jos. Prüm—and France, especially Burgundy and Bordeaux. The list features rotating producer spotlights and a selection of Rieslings with significant age.


The Redbury, 29 E. 29th St., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 651-3800
Website www.martamanhattan.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 A large number of wine bottles collected in the dining room at Marta
Marta is a destination restaurant for wine lovers in Manhattan. (Courtesy of Marta)

Marta, in the Flatiron District, is celebrated restaurateur Danny Meyer’s ode to Italian home cooking. Chef John Poiarkoff’s wood-burning oven turns out Roman-style pizzas—made with thinner, crispier crusts than their Neapolitan counterparts—as well as charred veggies and seared meats like pork and provolone sausages, beer-brined chicken and bistecca Fiorentina. With about 655 wine selections across a cellar of more than 6,000 bottles, wine director Luis Rivera’s program celebrates diverse wineries across Italy, including Sicily’s Benanti, Piedmont’s Gaja and Umbria’s Paolo Bea (with vertical and horizontal depth). Beyond Italy, there are more than 150 Champagnes to choose from.

Temple Court

Beekman Hotel, 5 Beekman St., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 658-1848
Website www.templecourtnyc.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 The contemporary-design dining room at Temple Court with tables covered in white table clothes, leather studded chairs, glass chandeliers and windows with red, yellow and orange panes of glass
Led by famed chef Tom Colicchio, Temple Court offers a casual but refined dining experience. (Courtesy of Temple Court)

If you happen to be spending a day in Lower Manhattan, cap it off at the Beekman Hotel and its Best of Award of Excellence winner, Temple Court, from famed chef and Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio. Executive chef Travis Sowards’ American-cuisine menu plays with European influences, with dishes like roasted sweetbreads with porcini mushrooms, roasted cod with cannellini beans and stuffed rabbit loin with beluga lentils. Wine director Harold Simoneau’s 300-label wine list focuses primarily on California and Burgundy, with even more from Champagne, the Loire and Bordeaux (not to mention bottles from Italy, Oregon, Spain and beyond). With more than 15 wines served by the glass, it’s a list fit for aficionados and more casual sippers alike.

Isabelle’s Osteria

245 Park Ave. South, New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 388-1145
Website www.isabellesnyc.com
Award of Excellence

Award of Excellence winner Isabelle’s Osteria is an Italian eatery from restaurateur Simon Oren and the celebrated team behind Grand Award winner Nice Matin, Best of Award of Excellence winner Marseille and Award of Excellence winner Dagon, among others. As with those locations, much of Isabelle’s strength lies with celebrated beverage director Aviram Turgeman, who has assembled more than 220 wines from the U.S., Italy, France and beyond. Guests can expect leaders like Piedmont’s Pio Cesare, as well as impressive but less well-known wineries like Sardinia’s Agricola Punica. These join a selection of Italian classics from executive chef James Tracey, from small plates like bresaola and bruschetta to large mains like branzino and swordfish to the many pastas.


249 Park Ave. S., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 254-5858
Website www.lexpressnyc.com
Award of Excellence

 An ice bucket of wine bottles in the foreground with the L’Express dining room in the background
Indulge in French food and wine any time of day or night at L’Express. (Courtesy of L’Express)

Experience a piece of Paris in New York’s Flatiron District at L'Express. The bustling Lyonnaise-style bistro is another brainchild of restaurateur Simon Oren. It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, drawing in diners with its welcoming atmosphere and classic French staples from chef Jean-Jacques Carquillat, like croque monsieur, steak frites and moules marinière. These are paired with wine director Aviram Turgeman’s moderately priced program, which features 320 selections, largely focused on France, and has held an Award of Excellence since 1999. It also features solid options for more casual sipping, with 19 half-bottles and 18 wines served by the glass.

La Lanterna di Vittorio

129 MacDougal St., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (917) 639-3236
Website www.lalanternacaffe.com
Award of Excellence

 A table within a glass conservatory at La Lanterna di Vittorio, set with a cocktail, two glasses of red wine, two pizzas and smoked salmon
Enjoy comforting Italian classics in a cozy atmosphere at La Lanterna di Vittorio. (Molly Tavoletti)

Opened in a converted Greenwich Village townhouse in 1977, La Lanterna di Vittorio has held an Award of Excellence for more than a decade. The 200-year-old building has history, too, as it once belonged to Revolutionary War officer and early American politician Aaron Burr. Four working fireplaces and an enclosed patio shrouded in greenery create a romantic backdrop for intimate dining. Chef Vittorio Antonini Sr.’s Italian menu is anchored by made-to-order pizzas, and Vittorio Antonini Jr. oversees the concise, yet diverse wine program. The 120-wine list spotlights regions around the world, with strengths in Italy and California, and many bottles priced less than $50. Indeed, this village staple is a favorite for approachable pricing, and its all-day hours (from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays, to 3 a.m. on weekends) makes it an easy stop for an espresso, a glass of wine or a cocktail.


194 Elizabeth St., New York New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 965-9511
Website www.peasantnyc.com
Award of Excellence

 Pigs on spits, roasting in a wood-fired oven at Peasant
With his distinctive take on Italian cuisine, Marc Forgione has made Peasant a Manhattan mainstay. (Courtesy of Peasant)

With Best of Award of Excellence winner Restaurant Marc Forgione and Award of Excellence winner Peasant—as well as Peasant’s adjoining wine bar and a new restaurant at the historic One Fifth Avenue skyscraper—chef-restaurateur Marc Forgione is one of New York’s culinary leaders. At the candlelit Peasant, the chef offers his homey interpretations of classic Italian fare cooked with a brick, wood-fired oven: oysters with bone marrow, bucatini carbonara, rotisserie-cooked lamb ragu with gnocchi and, of course, Forgione’s signature roasted pig. For wine pairings, guests choose from a list of about 75 labels. The focus is primarily on smaller wineries practicing sustainable techniques in Italy and the U.S., as well as Champagne. This covers much of the Italian boot—including lesser-known grape varieties like Vitovska—with wineries from Friuli to Piedmont to Tuscany to Molise to Campania and beyond. For after the meal, there are also ample lists of amari and digestifs.


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

 The modern-design bar at Vinateria, with gray bistro chairs, a gray wall and a mirrored barback; a metal vase of pampas grass sits on the marble bar
Vinateria is a must-visit for wine lovers in Harlem and Upper Manhattan. (Courtesy of Vinateria)

In a modern, minimalist space, Vinateria brings an Award of Excellence–winning wine program to Harlem. Highlights of the Italian- and Spanish-influenced menu include lamb chops served with a romesco sauce and black spaghetti with octopus, mussels and scallops. Like the menu, the 166-label wine list is thoughtful, yet packed with value. Wine director Thomas Patrick Odeen’s program focuses on smaller producers, with plenty of affordable wines from Italy, Spain and France. Adding to the list’s guest-friendly nature are nearly 20 wines served by the glass, and informative maps preceding each section. Vinateria is open seven days a week for dinner, and Saturdays and Sundays for brunch; it offers a daily happy hour to be enjoyed in the cozy dining room or patio.

Edited by Collin Dreizen, Emma Grant and Julia Larson

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