12 Historic Wine Destinations Still Going Strong

These Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners stand the test of time

12 Historic Wine Destinations Still Going Strong
Barbetta's dining room evokes a nostalgia for opulence. (Barbetta)
Jul 3, 2019

Longevity is hard to come by, especially for restaurants. In this notoriously fickle industry, the places that persist are truly something special, like these 12 Restaurant Award winners open for 75 years or more. With rich histories and close community ties, they’ve remained among the top wine restaurants in the world. Today, they’re more than dining destinations—they’re landmarks.

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!


‘21’ Club

21 W. 52nd St., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 582-7200
Website www.21club.com
Open Lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday
Grand Award

The wine room at ‘21’ Club
‘21’ Club
After nearly nine decades in business, ‘21’ Club is still a major wine hub.

Set in midtown Manhattan, '21' Club is a New York City legend. Wine has been deeply integrated into the concept since its 1930 opening, when the three-room cellar was built behind a movable wall during Prohibition. The 20,000-bottle collection remains hidden there today, though in the nostalgic dining room, guests can now freely enjoy wine director Philip Pratt’s 1,400-selection list with chef Sylvain Delpique’s American menu. There’s a nice balance of high-roller picks and value options on the wine list, which excels in California, France (especially Bordeaux and Burgundy) and Italy. Original art pieces including cartoons by Walt Disney and paintings by Frederic Remington line the walls, bolstering the restaurant's reputation as a sacred space.


Commander’s Palace

1403 Washington Ave., New Orleans, La.
Telephone (504) 899-8221
Website www.commanderspalace.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Grand Award

Celebratory dining at Commander’s Palace
Commander’s Palace
Live music is a hallmark of the dining experience at Commander’s Palace.

Southern hospitality meets refinement at Commander's Palace, a cornerstone of the New Orleans restaurant scene since 1893. Slightly off the tourist-beaten path in the charming Garden District, the Grand Award winner serves a 3,000-wine list overseen by wine director Dan Davis. The iconic eatery is known as a spot for celebrations, thanks to its extensive collection of Champagnes and large-format labels, as well as live jazz music during brunch. You’ll also find outstanding wine picks from a well-rounded array of regions, most notably, Burgundy, California, the Rhône, Bordeaux and Italy. Match your selections with chef Tory McPhail’s menu, which includes longtime favorites that are virtually synonymous with Creole cuisine, such as gumbo, pecan-roasted Gulf fish and king cake. Commander’s Palace’s status as a culinary landmark is in part due to owner Ella Brennan, who died at age 92 in May 2018, and whose family continues running the restaurant.


Antoine’s Restaurant

713 Rue St. Louis, New Orleans, La.
Telephone (504) 581-4422
Website www.antoines.com
Open Lunch, daily and dinner, Monday to Saturday
Best of Award of Excellence

The dining room at Antoine’s Restaurant
Antoine’s Restaurant
Antoine’s Restaurant has been a go-to for fine dining in New Orleans for well over a century.

Opened in 1840, Antoine's is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the United States and helped shape New Orleans’ now-classic cuisine. Today, executive chef Rich Lee honors that legacy with a Creole-French menu that’s nearly identical to the original—think hors d’oeuvres like escargots and shrimp with rémoulade, entrées like chateaubriand, and plenty of Gulf fish. The 165-foot cellar supports a wine list of 730 selections, with 25 wines available by the glass. Though wine director Kevin O'Neill focuses on France, particularly Bordeaux and Burgundy, California picks are exceptional as well. And since the restaurant is at the heart of the bustling French Quarter, O’Neill aims to offer something for everyone by representing regions around the world, from Argentina and Austria to South Africa and Spain.


Barbetta

321 W. 46th St., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 246-9171
Website www.barbettarestaurant.com
Open Lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Sunday
Best of Award of Excellence

Barbetta’s garden
Barbetta
Dine in Barbetta’s garden for an escape from New York City.

With more than a century of history, Barbetta is still delivering top-notch Italian wine and food in Manhattan’s Theater District. It’s owned by Laura Maioglio, whose father, Sebastiano, opened the place in 1906. The restaurant proudly claims a lengthy list of New York City “firsts,” from first to serve risotto (1906) to introducing white truffles (1962). Run by wine director Geza Horvath, the Best of Award of Excellence–winning program is overwhelmingly Italian, excelling in Tuscany and Piedmont. If you need help sorting through the 2,080 selections, a short list offers an abbreviated, more accessible option. Or ask one of the well-equipped sommeliers, who all take weekly wine classes.


Berta’s Chateau

7 Grove St., Wanaque, N.J.
Telephone (973) 835-0992
Website www.bertaschateau.com
Open Dinner, Wednedsay to Monday
Best of Award of Excellence

The dining room at Berta’s Chateau
Berta’s Chateau
Travel back in time at Berta’s Chateau.

In 1925, Santina and Pietro Berta purchased the property that became home to Berta's Chateau two years later. The restaurant is now owned by their grandson, Peter Bernstein, who runs both the kitchen and the wine program. The longstanding family business has grown a loyal following for Bernstein’s menu of Italian specialties and Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine list of 1,240 selections with a focus on northern Italy. Piedmont labels make up more than half the list, which shows additional strengths in Tuscany and Champagne. Noteworthy verticals include 15 vintages of Luciano Sandrone Barolo Cannubi Boschis and 15 vintages of Domenico Clerico Barolo Pajana going back to its first release in 1990.


The Dining Room at Castle Hill

Castle Hill Inn, 590 Ocean Drive, Newport, R.I.
Telephone (888) 466-1355
Website www.castlehillinn.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Castle Hill Inn’s exterior
Castle Hill Inn
Castle Hill Inn sits right on the Atlantic coast with striking views of waves crashing against the rocky shore.

Castle Hill Inn embodies the signature charm of Newport, R.I., with an extra layer of luxury. Originally established in 1875 as a summer home for a Harvard University scientist, it’s the town’s only Relais & Châteaux property and features 33 lodging options that have historically drawn big-name guests such as Grace Kelly and playwright Thornton Wilder. The Dining Room’s wine list, managed by wine director Anthony Boi, has held a Restaurant Award since 1996. The program best showcases bottlings from California, Italy and France (especially Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne) to complement chef Louis Rossi’s regional cuisine. Choose from three tasting menus ranging from three courses for $82 to six courses for $110, with wine pairings available for an additional $35 to $65.


Knife and Fork Inn

3600 Atlantic Ave., Atlantic City, N.J.
Telephone (609) 344-1133
Website www.knifeandforkinn.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

The dining room at the Knife and Fork Inn
Knife and Fork Inn
Some of Knife and Fork Inn’s 4,850-bottle wine collection is displayed in the dining room.

This wine destination's origins can be traced to 1912, when Atlantic City’s then-mayor opened a private men’s club with his friends. Federal agents raided the club for openly serving alcohol during Prohibition and, in 1927, it was sold to Milton and Evelyn Latz. They transformed the club into a restaurant, which was later sold again to another local couple, who still own Knife and Fork Inn, Frank and Maureen Dougherty. Chef Jim Huntzinger’s seafood and steak house specialties are a nostalgic nod to the restaurant’s storied past, enhanced by classic labels from wine director Ryan Bray’s 780-selection wine program. The list is strongest in California, France (especially Burgundy) and Italy, with an abundance Old World stars like Armand Rousseau and Gaja, but you’ll also find orange wines and plenty of New World options.


The Polo Lounge

The Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows, 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills, Calif.
Telephone (310) 276-2251
Website www.beverlyhillshotel.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Tea service at the Polo Lounge
Mittongtare Studio
Elegant features of the Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills, Calif., include afternoon tea service.

The Beverly Hills Hotel has been in business for more than a century, and its restaurant, the Polo Lounge, has been open since 1941. Wine director Allyson Gorsuch keeps the list fresh with a mix of benchmarks and up-and-comers among the 1,200 selections. California picks shine, as do Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne, but lesser-known regions are also represented in countries such as Lebanon and Switzerland. Chef Michael Santoro’s eclectic American menu has a subtle Italian influence and highlights delicacies like black truffle and caviar. It’s all served in a posh setting with garden seating and an old Hollywood vibe.


The Red Lion Inn

30 Main St., Stockbridge, Mass.
Telephone (413) 298-5545
Website www.redlioninn.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

A scallop dish at the Red Lion Inn
The Red Lion Inn
The Red Lion Inn is a storied restaurant with regional American fare and 535 wine selections.

The Red Lion Inn started as a small tavern in Stockbridge, Mass., in 1773, undergoing several reinventions and ownership changes thereafter. In 1968, the property was purchased by local residents Jack and Jane Fitzpatrick, and it’s stayed in the Fitzpatrick family ever since. Now run by second- and third-generation family members, the inn comprises four types of lodging for guests to choose from, including a converted 1950s firehouse. Among several on-site dining venues, the main dining room boasts 535-label wine list that first earned an Award of Excellence in 1999 before being promoted to Best of Award of Excellence in 2015. The international selections stand out in California, France and Italy. In the kitchen, chef Max Kiperman serves up comforting American plates like clam chowder, Berkshire pork chop and braised lamb.


The Village

71 W. Monroe St., Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (312) 332-7005
Website www.italianvillage-chicago.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

An Italian dish at the Village
Jeff Schear
The Village celebrates northern Italy through both its wine list and its menu.

A single building in the heart of Chicago is home to a trio of restaurants owned by three generations of the Capitanini family. They all hold Best of Awards of Excellence: La Cantina Enoteca, Vivere, and the oldest concept, the Village. The Village has been serving authentic cuisine since 1927 and a Restaurant Award–winning wine list since 1984. Wine director Jared Gelband, who joined the team in 2016, has reorganized the list to make it more guest-friendly while refining its focus. The wines reflect chef Jose Torres’ culinary emphasis on northern Italy with strengths in Tuscany and Piedmont, but include a healthy collection of bottlings from around the boot.


Green Gables Restaurant

Huddleson Court, 7712 Somerset Pike, Jennerstown, Pa.
Telephone (814) 629-9201
Website www.greengablesspa.com
Open Dinner, Thursday to Sunday
Award of Excellence

Bacon-wrapped salmon at Green Gables Restaurant
Green Gables Restaurant
Bacon-wrapped salmon is on chef Shay MacDonald’s American menu at Green Gables Restaurant.

The story of Green Gables Restaurant begins in 1927, when siblings James Stoughton and Louise Maust opened a roadside sandwich shop in rural Pennsylvania. It eventually evolved into a fine-dining restaurant that’s now owned by Stoughton’s daughters, Teresa and Mary Louise. Chef Shay MacDonald crafts farm-fresh American entrées such as bacon-wrapped salmon and smoked filet mignon with truffled mushroom demiglace. Pair MacDonald’s hearty dishes with selections from the 430-selection wine list, which is managed by Mary Louie and strongest in France, California and Italy. The program is especially value-driven, with dozens of bottles under $100 and 12 wines served by the glass.


The Musso & Frank Grill

6667 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif.
Telephone (323) 467-7788
Website www.mussoandfrank.com
Open Lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Sunday
Award of Excellence

Service at the Musso & Frank Grill
Tina Whatcott Echeverria
A Los Angeles staple, the Musso & Frank Grill recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary.

An entrepreneur, restaurateur and French chef teamed up in 1919 to create the Musso & Frank Grill, which opened in 1919 and soon became a Hollywood hot spot. Not much has changed on the extensive American-Italian menu, now in the hands of chef JP Amateau. Dishes range from salads and omelets to prime-rib roasts and pastas, in addition to daily specials. Wine director Andrea Scuto kept the cuisine’s diversity in mind when building the moderately priced, 250-selection wine list, which emphasizes California and France. The by-the-glass list is particularly worldly, with Old and New World producers representing among the more than two dozen options.


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