9 Exciting Wine Restaurants in Atlanta

Top-tier wine lists down South
9 Exciting Wine Restaurants in Atlanta
Aria Restaurant features American dishes and an international wine list. (Whitney Rayles)
Jan 3, 2019

When you think about Southern American food, staples like fried chicken, biscuits and collard greens often come to mind. But in cities like Atlanta, star chefs and independent owners alike are expanding local cuisine far beyond the classics, and offering world-class wine programs to match. Here are nine Wine Spectator Restaurant Award–winning destinations for superior wine and food, served with a side of Southern hospitality.

To check out more wine-and-food destinations around the world, see Wine Spectator’s nearly 3,800 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including 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!


LuAnne DeMeo
Aria Restaurant’s sleek dining room sets the stage for chef-owner Gerry Klaskala’s modern menu.

ARIA RESTAURANT
Polished dishes and a diverse wine program
490 E. Paces Ferry Road N.E., Atlanta, Ga.
(404) 233-7673
www.aria-atl.com
Open for dinner, Monday to Saturday

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 500
Inventory 1,500
Wine strengths Managed by wine director Andres Loaiza, Aria’s wine list is filled with solid picks from classic regions, especially France, Italy and Spain. There’s something for everyone, with bottles ranging from less than $30 to more than $2,000.
Opportunities for discovery At Aria, you’ll also find labels from lesser-known wine regions in Slovenia, Lebanon and the Canary Islands. The diverse list is meant to complement the frequently changing cuisine.
Cuisine Chef-owner Gerry Klaskala’s American menu is constantly evolving, but the restaurant maintains customer favorites like the short rib of beef with pearl onions and potato purée. Produce shines through the dishes, which feature an abundance of vegetables like sunchokes, oyster mushrooms and fennel.
Local dining leader Klaskala is one of the owners at another Best of Award of Excellence winner featured in this guide, Canoe.


Tomas Espinoza
Atlas serves produce-focused starters as well as hearty entrées like short rib.

ATLAS
A refined American restaurant with a growing wine list
The St. Regis Atlanta, 88 W. Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, Ga.
(404) 563-7900
www.atlasrestaurant.com
Open for dinner, daily

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 520
Inventory 2,730
Wine strengths Manager and beverage director Eleanor Parker oversees the list that excels in France, Italy and California, with dozens of diverse verticals from top producers. The number of selections has more than doubled since 2017.
Cuisine The American menu draws inspiration from global cuisines for a contemporary edge. Chef Christopher Grossman sources ingredients from local farms for dishes like rack of lamb with romesco sauce, roasted corned short rib with grilled scallions and hot-smoked trout with potato mousse and smoked caviar cream.
Premium pours Among more than 70 selections by the glass, you’ll find exciting options like Château d’Yquem Sauternes 2005 and a nine-vintage vertical of Opus One.
Cross-country concepts Atlas is one of nine Restaurant Award winners in the Tavistock Restaurant Collection, including two Abe & Louie's locations, Aquaknox in Las Vegas, Atlantic Fish Co. in Boston, Café Del Rey in Marina del Rey, Calif., Coach Grill in Wayland, Mass., Napa Valley Grille in Los Angeles and Zed451 in Chicago.


Andrea Behrends
Enjoy Barcelona Wine Bar’s extensive by-the-glass wine list at the bar.

BARCELONA WINE BAR
Wine-centric Spanish dining
240 N. Highland Ave. N.E., Atlanta, Ga.
(404) 589-1010
www.barcelonawinebar.com
Open for dinner, daily

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 485
Inventory 3,380
Wine strengths Run by wine director Gretchen Thomas, Barcelona Wine Bar’s list has a significant Spanish focus, rounded out by standout picks from Argentina, Chile and France. Organic, biodynamic and natural wines abound.
Sip and sample There are more than 40 wines by the glass, and each selection is available in either a 6-ounce or 3-ounce pour.
Nationwide name The wine-bar brand has 14 Best of Award of Excellence–winning outposts across the country. Atlanta’s other location has 485 selections too, with matching strengths in Spain, Argentina, Chile and France.
Cuisine While all Barcelona Wine Bars feature Spanish-tapas fare, each has its own chef that writes the menu nightly. At this outpost, chef James Burge creates plates like blistered okra with Calabrian chile and almonds, chorizo with sweet-and-sour figs, and spiced beef empanadas.


Bones
Bones serves a regional interpretation of steak-house fare in a cozy space.

BONES
A Southern-style steak house
3130 Piedmont Road N.E., Atlanta, Ga.
(404) 237-2663
www.bonesrestaurant.com
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 1,300
Inventory 16,000
Wine strengths Bones’ extensive wine list spans the globe, excelling in California, Bordeaux, Italy, Burgundy and Australia. Value is a big priority for wine director Peter Apers, who ensures the program stays moderately priced with reasonable markups and hundreds of labels under $100.
Cuisine Chef Leonard Lewis puts a Southern spin on traditional steak-house dining, serving the shrimp cocktail with roulade sauce and offering side dishes for steaks such as grit fritters, collard greens and corn pudding.
Longstanding steak house Bones has been in business since 1979, and the restaurant has earned a Best of Award of Excellence every year since 1990.
Curated context The wine list is presented on an iPad through a customized software that lets guests browse the selections by variety, region, vintage and more. In addition to standard details, the digital list provides tasting notes, scores and information on the wineries.


James Camp
Canoe’s patio overlooks a beautifully manicured lawn on the shores of the Chattahoochee River.

CANOE
Riverside wine and dining
4199 Paces Ferry Road S.E., Atlanta, Ga.
(770) 432-2663
www.canoeatl.com
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 400
Inventory 3,425
Wine strengths Overseen by wine director Jared Lorenz, the program excels in France as well as California, where you’ll find big-name producers like Screaming Eagle and Continuum.
Cuisine Chef Matt Basford incorporates Pan-Asian inspiration into his American cuisine. The result is plates like shiitake-crusted venison with udon noodles. Plus, to honor Basford’s Australian roots, there’s an appetizer of peppercorn-crusted kangaroo.
Natural backdrop Canoe is set on the banks of the Chattahoochee River. Though it’s only about a 20-minute drive from downtown Atlanta, the restaurant feels peacefully secluded, surrounded by lush greenery with a large porch for outdoor dining. Lounge chairs are placed around the property, where guests can enjoy a drink with a side of scenery.
Vibrant venue The restaurant has multiple event spaces for booking, including a wine room decorated with prized bottles. Canoe also hosts its own outdoor live-music series.


Restaurant Eugene
Locally sourcing ingredients is a big priority at Restaurant Eugene.

RESTAURANT EUGENE
Presenting a sense of place through food and wine
2277 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta, Ga.
(404) 355-0321
www.restauranteugene.com
Open for dinner, Wednesday to Sunday

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 400
Inventory 900
Cuisine The regional American menu changes daily based on what’s available from local artisans and farmers. Chef Chris Edwards treats the local ingredients with French techniques to craft dishes such as overnight pork belly, lacquered quail and a trio of beef with creamed shiitake and arugula.
From-scratch approach Restaurant Eugene creates as much of its ingredients in-house as possible, from sauces to basic pantry staples. It’s all part of the concept’s mission to showcase the bounty of local purveyors.
Wine strengths Wine director Alexandra Brashears is one of several sommeliers who can help guests peruse the eclectic list. France, California, Italy and Washington are the strongest regions in the program.
Strong by-the-glass selections Choose from more than 40 wines by the glass, including 13 high-end labels available by Coravin pour and priced by the ounce. These premium picks cover benchmark producers such as Trimbach and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.


Alexa Bendek
Starters at White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails include this charred octopus dish.

WHITE OAK KITCHEN & COCKTAILS
Regional cooking and a global wine list
270 Peachtree St., Atlanta, Ga.
(404) 524-7200
www.whiteoakkitchen.com
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 485
Inventory 3,275
Wine strengths Wine director Cindy LeBlanc offers a well-rounded, international wine list. The program shines in classic regions such as France (especially Burgundy), Italy, California and Spain, but Greece and Hungary are also represented.
Cuisine Ingredients like okra, Louisiana redfish and pork belly get a modern reboot from chef Megan Brent on the regional American menu. Even the side dishes are exciting, like cauliflower grits and wild mushroom étouffée and maple-roasted sunchokes.
Southern comfort The dining room reflects the menu’s contemporary Southern feel with white oak panels, exposed light fixtures and three custom chandeliers made from sugar maple from the Jack Daniel's distillery.
Bar-centric space Under a round, wooden structure meant to look like a barrel, White Oak has a 360-degree bar made with Georgia marble. It’s an ideal spot for lingering over one of more than 30 wines by the glass.


City Winery Atlanta
City Winery Atlanta has an array of small and large plates to pair with the 360 wine selections.

CITY WINERY ATLANTA
Serious wines in a fun, casual setting
650 North Ave. N.E., Atlanta, Ga.
(404) 946-3791
www.citywinery.com/atlanta
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 360
Inventory 2,100
Interactive experience City Winery combines a music venue, restaurant and winery all under one roof. The brand has four other locations that hold Best of Awards of Excellence in New York, Chicago, Nashville and Boston.
Wine strengths Managed by wine director JR Smith, the program is strongest in France, California and Italy. Grape varieties are listed with each selection for an easy-to-navigate, approachable format. Various house wines are served on-tap from the on-site winery, which you can visit by booking a tour through City Winery’s website.
Special section A “reserve” page lists a handful of higher-end bottles to accompany the otherwise moderately-priced selections. Offerings rotate but have included labels such as Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford GIII Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard 2007 ($900) and a magnum of Joseph Phelps Insignia Napa Valley 1992 ($760).
Cuisine Chef Mario Manzini executes City Winery’s signature menu of regional American dishes like deviled eggs with turmeric aioli, pork chop Milanese and braised duck tacos.


Andrew Thomas Lee
Chef and restaurateur Ford Fry’s Atlanta empire includes Award of Excellence winner St. Cecilia.

ST. CECILIA
Mediterranean coast–inspired dining
3455 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta, Ga.
(404) 554-9995
www.stceciliaatl.com
Open for lunch, Sunday to Friday and dinner, daily

Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 260
Inventory 1,500
Wine strengths The moderately-priced list is strongest in Italy, France and California, covering benchmark producers from Albert Bichot and R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia to Ruinart and Opus One.
Informative format Wine director Eduardo Porto Carreiro fills the list with helpful information. Each selection is accompanied by the grape varieties, a tasting note and a brief description of the bottling.
Cuisine The Italian-leaning European fare from chef Damon Wise brings the feel of coastal Mediterranean dining to the landlocked city. Pastas and seafood shine on the menu, which offers plates such as squid-ink spaghetti and a lobster and clam pan roast.
Ford Fry family St. Cecilia is one of four Award of Excellence winners in Atlanta from local chef and restaurateur Ford Fry. The group includes American concepts King + Duke and State of Grace, and the French steak house, Marcel.


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