13 Restaurant Wine Lists Celebrating California Cabernet

These Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners across the United States feature standout selections of California’s renowned red wine

13 Restaurant Wine Lists Celebrating California Cabernet
A significant portion of Next Bistro's 4,600-bottle wine inventory is made up of California Cabernets. (Next Bistro)
Jan 30, 2020

While many international regions produce Cabernet Sauvignon, California is home to some of the world’s best examples. There are plenty of exceptional restaurants serving these renowned wines locally, but you can also find top-notch collections at any array of destinations across the U.S. Discover 13 diverse Restaurant Award–winning spots where California Cabernets shine, from a historic hotel in a small town to relative newcomers in big cities.

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!


Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse

1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 575-5129
Website www.delfriscos.com
Open Lunch, Monday to Friday; dinner, daily
Grand Award

Wine director Crystl Faye Horton decanting a red wine in the cellar
Matt Furman
Wine director Crystl Faye Horton oversees the Grand Award–winning wine cellar at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse.

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse has an impressive 16 Restaurant Award–winning outposts throughout the country. At 2,500 labels, its New York Grand Award winner is home to the brand’s largest wine list, offering an encyclopedic California selection among a host of international strengths. Cabernet Sauvignons and Cabernet-based blends are grouped together across 11 oversized pages, with standouts including verticals of Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Special Selection and Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District Hillside Select, both going back to the 1990s. Several picks from the state’s premium producers are available by the glass via Coravin. Wine director Crystl Faye Horton leads the team of sommeliers, who are there to guide guests to the right bottle to pair with the traditional steak-house menu by chef Guillaume Thivet.


The Restaurant at Meadowood

Meadowood Napa Valley, 900 Meadowood Lane, St. Helena, Calif.
Telephone (707) 967-1205
Website www.therestaurantatmeadowood.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday
Grand Award

The Restaurant at Meadowood lounge area
The Restaurant at Meadowood
After a meal at the Restaurant at Meadowood, guests can retire to the property’s luxurious accommodations.

The Restaurant at Meadowood is set in the Napa Valley city of St. Helena, and where better to have a love letter to Napa Valley Cabernet? The wine list takes guests on a virtual tour of the valley: Each AVA and microclimate is examined in detail, and many top producers, like Harlan Estate, are represented by deep verticals. The cellar, numbering nearly 3,000 selections across almost 8,000 bottles, is managed by wine director Micah Clark, who is sure to collect not just legendary vintages of blue-chip wines, but also up-and-coming classics. The all-star list is paired with chef Christopher Kostow's exclusively prix-fixe menu, which starts at $350 and focuses on the highest-quality ingredients contextualized in an haute-American presentation. It’s a bucket-list destination for any fan of California Cabernet.


Blackstone Steakhouse

10 Pinelawn Road, Melville, N.Y.
Telephone (631) 271-7780
Website www.blackstonesteakhouse.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

A steak-and-sides spread with red wine at Blackstone Steakhouse
Blackstone Steakhouse
Blackstone Steakhouse serves prime meats aged for 45 days.

In the heart of Long Island, Blackstone Steakhouse is a refined spot for steaks, and for sushi, both under the careful eye of head chef Colin McKaharay. Wine director Evren Yurdusever balances the needs of both cuisines, but especially complements the steaks with a robust selection of California Cabernet Sauvignon and California blends to pair with red meat.


The Cave Bistro & Wine Bar

2343 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, Fla.
Telephone (239) 513-0095
Website www.thecavenaples.com
Open Dinner, Monday to Saturday
Best of Award of Excellence

Scallops at the Cave Bistro & Wine Bar
The Cave Bistro & Wine Bar
Seared scallops are on the menu at the Cave Bistro & Wine Bar.

Owners Jim and Laura Dixon have been avid wine collectors for three decades, fueling their passion with visits to wineries around the world. The couple opened the Cave Bistro & Wine Bar in 2017 with the goal of bringing the European wine cave experience to their town of Naples, Fla. It’s now a full-service American restaurant with an adjoining retail store, plus an 8,400-square-foot cellar housing the Dixons' personal collection of about 8,200 bottles as well as numerous luxury cars. The bistro’s wine program comprises more than 1,100 labels, with nearly 200 California Cabernets and dozens under $100, covering benchmark names as well as lesser-known producers. Each section is organized by ascending prices, while a page of sommelier selections calls out a few dozen highlights.


The Firehouse

1112 Second St., Sacramento, Calif.
Telephone (916) 442-4772
Website www.firehouseoldsac.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Outdoor dining at the Firehouse
The Firehouse
The Firehouse offers the option of outdoor dining on a patio.

Taking its name from the 19th-century firehouse in which it resides, the Firehouse is a Sacramento institution with 2,000 selections and a 15,000-bottle cellar. Managed by wine director Mario Ortiz (who has been with the restaurant for nearly five decades), the list has received a Best of Award of Excellence for 18 consecutive years. Chef Stephen Ashley's menu ranges from salmon tartare to lobster-stuffed sole to steaks and herb-crusted rack of lamb.


Grasing’s

Sixth and Mission Streets, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif.
Telephone (831) 624-6562
Website www.grasings.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Grasing’s exterior
Grasing’s
Grasing's charming exterior welcomes diners.

Located in the charming town of Carmel-by-the-Sea on California's Central Coast, Grasing's sources bottles from across the state, pulling together an envious Cabernet list. Wine director Christopher Edmonds's 2,100-selection list offers something exciting for even the most seasoned California Cabernet fans. Chef and owner Kurt Grasing's classic yet innovative steak-house menu plays to the strengths of the wine list, and while the steaks are the star of the show, the seafood and locally sourced salads play strong supporting roles.


Maple & Ash

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

Steak at Maple & Ash
Maple & Ash
Chef Danny Grant’s Maple & Ash is a playful, modern steak house.

The wine list at Maple & Ash takes a deep dive into California Cabernet. Wine director Amy Mundwiler's list is sprinkled with informative and entertaining notes on many of the wines. For value-minded diners, Mundwiler keeps a section of the list dedicated to "Dope Wines Under $99." Chef Danny Grant prepares a menu of aged cuts from a wood-fired grill to pair with the 1,300-selection list.


Next Bistro

5003 Colleyville Blvd., Colleyville, Texas
Telephone (682) 325-4046
Website www.nextbistrotx.com
Open Lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday
Best of Award of Excellence

Bottles on display at Next Bistro
Next Bistro
The 4,600-bottle inventory serves as dining-room art at Next Bistro.

Between Dallas and Fort Worth, in the small city of Colleyville, Texas, Next Bistro features an international wine list that stands out when it comes to California. It’s run by husband-and-wife proprietors Tom and Ying Aikens, with Ying overseeing the kitchen and Tom managing the Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine program. Of the 760 labels, 195 are California Cabs, including verticals from Cardinale, Staglin and more, peppered with collector’s labels from Hundred Acre and Lokoya. A portion of the 4,600-bottle inventory is visible through the restaurant’s glass-enclosed, walk-in wine cellar. Ying’s menu is a collage of cuisines, with starters like beef tenderloin eggrolls, baked French brie and crab cakes with remoulade leading into a selection of pastas and more meat-centric entrées.


Polo Grill

2038 Utica Square, Tulsa, Okla.
Telephone (918) 744-4280
Website www.pologrill.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Polo Grill dining room
Polo Grill
Polo Grill is a longtime Restaurant Award winner excelling in numerous regions.

A Best of Award of Excellence winner for two decades, Polo Grill prides itself on a comprehensive California Cabernet experience. Wine director Kelsey Israel's list boasts an impressive collection of verticals from blue-chip Napa and Bordeaux producers, as well as many lesser-known, hard-to-find gems. Chef Omar Galban’s menu features classic steak-house starters like escargots and prawn cocktail along with wine-friendly mains like bone-in pork chop and a full slate of steak cuts and preparations.


Press Restaurant

587 St. Helena Highway, St. Helena, Calif.
Telephone (707) 967-0550
Website www.pressnapavalley.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Press Restaurant dining room
Press Restaurant
Natural light floods the dining room at Press Restaurant.

Press Restaurant is situated at the center of Napa Valley, surrounded by wineries including Pahlmeyer, Hall and Joseph Phelps, so it’s no surprise that the modern steak house is home to a stunning collection of local labels. Wine director Amanda McCrossin oversees the 1,500-selection list of exclusively Napa Valley wines, with the exception of some fortified wine options. Through close relationships with vintners, McCrossin has secured 32 pages worth of Cabernets and Cabernet-based blends. You’ll find robust verticals from Mayacamas, Chateau Montelena and Heitz, plus solid large-format and half-bottle sections. The wine-list’s focus reflects the roots of the restaurant, which was founded by the late Leslie Rudd of Rudd Estate and is now owned by his daughter, Samantha Rudd. Complementing the Best of Award of Excellence–winning program is chef Phillip Moratin’s modern steak-house cuisine, served in a grand, sleek space.


The Sardine Factory

701 Wave St., Monterey, Calif.
Telephone (831) 373-3775
Website www.sardinefactory.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

The Sardine Factory wine room
The Sardine Factory
The Sardine Factory’s cellar stores a 20,000-bottle inventory.

With a proud focus on the wine regions adjacent to its Monterey, Calif., location, the Sardine Factory has spent 50 years cultivating a list that now includes 2,000 selections. Its California Cabernet selection is a sight to behold, with hundreds of labels spanning more than 40 years. Cellar master Stephen Caldwell oversees the list and highlights a section of particularly rare and prestigious bottles, primarily from California. And while there are high-end choices, a diverse by-the-glass selection and plenty of more-affordable bottles allow for an experience that won't break the bank. Chef Bert Cutino specializes in locally sourced seafood as well as pastas and steaks.


The Smokehouse Restaurant at Antrim 1844

Antrim 1844 Hotel, 30 Trevanion Road, Taneytown, Md.
Telephone (800) 858-1844
Website www.antrim1844.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Lamb chops at the Smokehouse Restaurant at Antrim 1844
The Smokehouse Restaurant at Antrim 1844
The Smokehouse Restaurant at Antrim 1844 serves a French-inflected American menu.

Just south of the Mason–Dixon line, in the small town of Taneytown, Md., discover a world-class selection of California Cabernets at the Antrim 1844 Hotel’s Smokehouse Restaurant. It opened as a bed-and-breakfast in 1988 and has held a Restaurant Award since 1998. Wine director Jordan Kayser’s whopping 2,700 wine selections shine in France, especially Bordeaux, the Rhône and Burgundy, as well as Italy and Spain, but California Cabernets are the star of the program. There are dozens of verticals from Bond, Ramey, PlumpJack and many more, with particularly lengthy ones from Dominus Estate and Jordan. Even better, many are priced under $100. In the kitchen, chef Ilhan Erkek incorporates American and French cuisines into an elegant menu.


Vertical Detroit

1538 Centre St., Detroit, Mich.
Telephone (313) 732-9463
Website www.verticaldetroit.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Vertical Detroit’s wine room
Vertical Detroit
Vertical Detroit has, fittingly, an abundance of strong verticals on its wine list.

A wine bar, restaurant and retail store, Vertical Detroit offers a serious selection of California Cabernet (as well as strong showings in Old World regions including Bordeaux, Burgundy and Italy). Honoring the restaurant’s name are five regularly changing tasting flights of three vintages each from prominent producers—current offerings include Dominus and Alpha Omega—and there are more than 80 wines available by the glass. Wine director and co-owner Remy Lufty's program includes 2,250 selections across some 6,000 bottles. Chef Matt Barnes sources much of his menu from local purveyors like Motor City Seafood and Wolverine Packing.


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.

Restaurants Restaurant Awards Cabernet Sauvignon California Mendocino Napa Santa Barbara County Sonoma

You Might Also Like

6 Superb Wine Restaurants in Mexico

6 Superb Wine Restaurants in Mexico

These below-the-border destinations boast exceptional wine programs

Feb 13, 2020
Restaurant Spotlight: Terra Terroir

Restaurant Spotlight: Terra Terroir

A husband and wife–run oasis for wine lovers, tucked in a modest Georgia shopping center

Feb 13, 2020
Wine with a View

Wine with a View

These Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners offer a lakeside setting for your next …

Mar 31, 2020
Restaurant Spotlight: Maum

Restaurant Spotlight: Maum

A Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner with an upscale Korean tasting menu that …

Jan 30, 2020
12 A-List Restaurants from TV Chefs Who Love Wine

12 A-List Restaurants from TV Chefs Who Love Wine

These celebrity chefs are serious in the kitchen, and in the cellar

Jun 8, 2017
Restaurant Spotlight: The Monarch

Restaurant Spotlight: The Monarch

A boutique steak house in the heart of Aspen, Colo.

Jan 16, 2020
WineRatings+

WineRatings+

Xvalues

Xvalues

Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search