11 Don't-Miss Chicago Restaurants for Wine Lovers

Dive into the Windy City's exciting dining scene with these stellar wine lists

11 Don't-Miss Chicago Restaurants for Wine Lovers
City Winery Chicago's menu offers an array of sharable plates to pair with the Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine list. (Victoria Saint Martin)
Apr 6, 2015

Updated March 12, 2020

In recent decades, the Second City has ascended to the top tier of innovation and excellence in American dining, powered by imagination in the kitchen from chefs like Michael Kornick, Paul Kahan, Grant Achatz and, of course, the late Charlie Trotter. Today's scene is as vibrant as ever, with world-class wine lists and cuisine, both fine and fun, from steak to Italian to the less conventional.

If you're in town for Wine Spectator's Chicago Grand Tour on April 22—or just catching Lake Michigan in springtime—here are some restaurants you can't go wrong trying. To check out more wine and food destinations, see Wine Spectator’s nearly 3,800 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including our 79 Restaurant Award winners in Illinois' Chicago metro area and the 100 Grand Award recipients worldwide that hold our highest honor.

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!


Acanto

18 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (312) 578-0763
Website www.acantochicago.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Tables in front of a wall of wine at Acanto
Acanto
Acanto’s Italian emphasizing wine program is backed by 9,000 bottles.

Steps from Millennium Park and along Chicago’s Cultural Mile, Acanto provides a refined yet approachable Italian dining experience. Wine director Ryan Berry oversees a wine list spanning 20 regions in Italy for pairing with executive chef Christopher Gawronski's classic Italian dishes. Stop by on "Three Liter Thursdays" for by-the-glass specials poured from 3-liter bottles.


Benny's Chop House

444 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (312) 626-2444
Website www.bennyschophouse.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Tables set on the outdoor dining patio of Benny’s Chop House
Mistey Nguyen
A portion of Benny’s Chop House’s dining room overlooks the Chicago street.

For a classic steak-house experience in this classic city, head to Benny’s Chop House, located just off of Grant Park, Chicago's "front yard." With 1,400 selections, the restaurant’s Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine list is strong in California, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italy (especially Tuscany and Piedmont) and Spain, and curated to pair with the restaurant’s 100 percent USDA prime beef cuts or high-end surf offerings like Dover sole and Ora King salmon. Benny’s adds ambience with live jazz during the evenings from Wednesday to Saturday.


Cherry Circle Room

Chicago Athletic Association, 12 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (312) 792-3515
Website www.cherrycircleroom.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Salad with seared tuna at Cherry Circle Room
Clayton Hauck
Chef Johnny Anderes churns out American plates at Cherry Circle Room.

Overlooking Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago at the historic Chicago Athletic Hotel, Cherry Circle Room is a cozy retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle. Settle into a plush leather booth or sit at the expansive bar, and browse chef Johnny Anderes’ menu of house specialties such as confit pork shoulder with wild rice, roasted cauliflower with winter citrus and chicken with savory bread pudding. With an abundance of sparkling options, including a hearty selection of grande marque Champagnes, wine director Samantha Hunt’s list is well-suited for festivities. The 1,200-selection program also offers depth in Burgundy, California, Italy, Germany, the Loire, Oregon and Austria.


City Winery Chicago

1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (312) 733-9463
Website www.citywinery.com/chicago
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

A full dining room at City Winery Chicago
City Winery Chicago
City Winery Chicago is a restaurant, concert venue and working winery all in one.

City Winery Chicago's focus is, naturally, wine, so it comes as no surprise that chef Mark Mendez’s menu—largely comprising shareable plates such as crispy risotto balls and braised duck tacos—is designed around the Best of Award of Excellence–winning list. Visiting the West Loop restaurant is sort of like a choose-your-own-adventure experience: Have a casual meal in the main dining room, enjoy a secluded private dinner surrounded by wine barrels, or rock out in the concert venue on the premises, where full food and drink service is available. Regardless of where you hang out, you'll be treated to a selection of nearly 600 wines chosen by beverage director Rebekah Mahru, including several City Winery offerings vinified in-house.


Les Nomades

222 E. Ontario St., Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (312) 649-9010
Website www.lesnomades.net
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday
Best of Award of Excellence

Les Nomades dining room
Les Nomades
Les Nomades is a family-run business on the north side of Chicago.

Since executive chef Roland Liccioni and his wife, general manager Mary Beth Liccioni, acquired Les Nomades in 1993, it has evolved from a private club into a welcoming bastion of civilized French dining. Liccioni's prix-fixe menu starts at $85 and offers four courses, with dishes like smoked salmon tartare and king crab leg with clementine purée to start, and a duo of slow-roasted veal sweetbread and braised beef cheek for the main. The Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine list is extensive, with 925 selections and strengths in Burgundy, Bordeaux, California, the Rhône and Champagne.


Maple & Ash

8 W. Maple St., Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (312) 944-8888
Website www.mapleandash.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Sommelier pouring red wine for a table of two women
Shelby Moore
Despite being a relative newcomer, Maple & Ash already boasts a lengthy wine list.

Maple & Ash is a modern American steak house with serious wine-program ambitions. The restaurant was promoted to Best of Award of Excellence in 2017, and wine director Amy Mundwiler has doubled the number of list selections since 2018. There are now 1,600 labels excelling in California, France (particularly Burgundy), Italy and Spain, supplied by a 10,000-bottle cellar. California Cabernet Sauvignons stand out, spanning 11 pages with several producer spotlights. And the wine list isn’t the only part of the project that’s growing: Co-owner and chef Danny Grant opened a second location in his hometown of Scottsdale, Ariz., in August 2019.


Margeaux Brasserie

Waldorf Astoria Chicago, 11 E. Walton St., Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (312) 625-1324
Website www.michaelmina.net/restaurants/chicago/margeaux-brasserie
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Margeaux Brasserie dining room
Huge Galdones
Michael Mina owns Margeaux Brasserie on the third floor of the Waldorf Astoria Chicago, plus a café on the ground floor.

Chef Michael Mina’s restaurant group has international reach, including 11 Restaurant Award winners across the United States. His only two Chicago ventures are in the Waldorf Astoria hotel, Margeaux Brasserie and a counterpart café, but the restaurant makes a big impact with its sizable wine selection. Lead sommelier Ryan Baldwin oversees more than 1,300 labels, comprising a world-class collection of Burgundies, bolstered by strengths in California, Bordeaux, the Rhône and Champagne. The concept is inspired by Parisian brasseries, so the regional French menu presents staples such as steak tartare, escargot, dover sole and steak au poivre.


Prime & Provisions

222 N. Lasalle Drive, Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (312) 726-7777
Website www.primeandprovisions.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Prime & Provisions chef Joe Rizza plating in the kitchen
Prime & Provisions
Prime & Provisions sits on the border of two popular Chicago areas, River North and the Loop.

Chicago has no shortage of steak houses, and Prime & Provisions can stand with the best of them. The first Chicago steak house to source only USDA all-natural prime heritage Black Angus beef, the restaurant takes pride in its hormone- and antibiotic-free meat. The wine program, helmed by wine director Adam Sweders, is exactly what you'd expect from a classic steak house, with 400 selections, largely from California and France.


The Purple Pig

500 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (312) 464-1744
Website www.thepurplepigchicago.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Salt-roasted beets at the Purple Pig
Haas and Haas
Salt-roasted beets with whipped goat cheese and pistachio butter at the Purple Pig

The Purple Pig, the brainchild of executive chef Jimmy Bannos Jr., executes classic Italian, Southern French and Spanish dishes with simplicity and directness. Built by beverage director Alan Beasey, the wine list has greatly expanded over the last few years, reaching 830 labels and earning a promotion to Best of Award of Excellence in 2019. The selections are heavy in France (especially Champagne), Italy and California, featuring names such as Famille Perrin and Bodega Numanthia.


Spiaggia

980 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (312) 280-2750
Website www.spiaggiarestaurant.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Wine director Rachael Lowe in front of Spiaggia’s wine display
Galdones Photography
Captaining Spiaggia’s wine program is wine director Rachael Lowe.

At Spiaggia, chef Eric Lees crafts modern cuisine that has kept the restaurant at the forefront of Italian fine dining in Chicago. Pastas are handmade, the views of Lake Michigan are gorgeous, and the Italy-focused, Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine list is a delight to peruse. Managed by wine director Rachael Lowe, the 750-selection program is particularly strong in bottles from Piedmont, Tuscany and Champagne. After dinner, choose from several Italian dessert wines, as well as grappas and amari.


Osteria Langhe

2824 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (773) 661-1582
Website www.osterialanghe.com
Open Dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Osteria Langhe dining room
Andrea Falcone
Feast on regional Italian fare in Osteria Langhe’s sun-soaked space.

In Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood, Osteria Langhe offers a traditional taste of Piedmont. Reflecting the menu—which is full of favorites from the northern Italian region by chef Cameron Grant, including house-made pasta with meat ragu and prosciutto-wrapped rabbit loin with pork belly and polenta—the Award of Excellence–winning wine list is a celebration of Piedmont bottlings.


Keep up with the latest restaurant news from our award winners: Subscribe to our free Private Guide to Dining newsletter, and follow us on Twitter at @WSRestoAwards and Instagram at @WSRestaurantAwards.

Chicago Dining Out Restaurant Awards Restaurants

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