Updated: Dec. 17, 2020
Think festive drinking, and there’s one word that comes to mind: Champagne. Paired with Japanese, Creole or classic French, the timeless bubbly offers a vibrant complement to countless cuisines. Even in troubling times, a sparkler is guaranteed to elevate any special occasion—or just an average weekday.
Discover seven Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners around the United States that are open for indoor service, outdoor service or both, with Champagne-centric wine lists that deserve a toast year-round. For more options, see our nearly 3,800 Restaurant Award–winning restaurants, including many others with strong Champagne selections, and our 97 Grand Award recipients.
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Note: Opening hours and menus are subject to change as the industry continues to adjust to evolving regulations.
601 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C.
Telephone (202) 525-1402
Fiola sits at the peak of Washington, D.C.’s Italian dining scene. The restaurant holds a Grand Award for it’s wine list of nearly 3,000 labels, overseen by wine director Casper Rice. Focusing on regions in Italy, France and California, the list begins with a noteworthy Champagne selection of grower Champagnes and grande marque houses, including verticals of Moët & Chandon’s Dom Pérignon, Veuve Clicquot’s La Grande Dame and Salon’s Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil. The Penn Quarter restaurant also offers diverse white wines and many reds from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Napa, Tuscany and Piedmont, representing these regions’ best-known estates. These join chef Josh Kaplan’s prix-fixe menu of Italian-influenced, farm-to-table dishes like baked Tuscan yams, cacio e pepe and pheasant saltimbocca. Not only is Fiola’s three-course menu currently available for pickup, but the restaurant is also serving guests in its “yurt village” of 11 heated tents.
HMF at the Breakers
The Breakers, 1 S. County Road, Palm Beach, Fla.
Telephone (561) 659-8480
A stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean, the restaurant now called HMF at the Breakers has earned a Grand Award since 1981, serving international cuisine under its vaulted ceilings and chandeliers that evoke old-school Palm Beach. The glamor is enhanced by HMF’s massive and meticulously organized wine list, overseen by wine director Virginia Philip. The Champagne section includes more than 100 selections, several priced under $150. For the indecisive (or adventurous) imbiber, some by-the-glass bubblies are available in both 3- and 6-ounce pours. HMF is open for indoor dining, with standard face-covering requirements.
Mastro’s Steakhouse at the Post Oak Hotel
1650 West Loop S., Houston, Texas
Telephone (713) 993-2500
When entrepreneur Tilman Fertitta envisioned Houston’s Post Oak Hotel, he knew it would include one of the country’s top wine cellars. He met that goal in 2019, when the hotel’s Mastro’s Steakhouse earned its first Grand Award. Mastro’s harnesses the hotel’s 3,700-label list and 35,000-bottle inventory to offer guests a noteworthy experience. Post Oak wine director Keith Goldston and Mastro’s beverage director Shaun Prevatt helped put together a program centered on wines from throughout France, Italy and California. It would be impossible to discuss this wine list without mentioning its substantial range of Champagnes, which includes large-format bottles and horizontals from notable estates like Bollinger, Krug and Chartogne-Taillet. There are also massive assortments of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, among many diverse white wines. Pinot Noir is well-represented in huge Burgundy and Oregon sections, and red-wine fans can find further options from Bordeaux and Napa, including verticals from Dominus, Schrader Cellars and Opus One. Like the wine list, chef Michael Colbert’s menu is diverse, with a number of steak cuts and sides, plus several desserts to pair with the restaurant’s many Port and dessert-wine choices.
Franks Wine Bar
465 Court St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Telephone (718) 254-0327
Best of Award of Excellence
Brooklyn has traditionally been a hub for Italian-American cuisine, and Franks Wine Bar is one of many restaurants upholding this legacy. Franks earned a Best of Award of Excellence for the first time in 2020 for its wine list of nearly 600 labels, managed by wine director John Burns Paterson IV. The 4,400-bottle cellar is packed with wines from Champagne, Burgundy, Piedmont and Tuscany. Grower Champagnes form the core of Franks’ sparkling section, listing verticals and horizontals from estates Agrapart & Fils and Jacques Selosse. Alongside a range of global Chardonnays and several skin-contact whites, there are also numerous Burgundies and Piedmont reds from major wineries like Roagna and G.B. Burlotto. Pair these with the restaurant’s hearty fare like sweet sausage and red peppers over polenta, gnocchi marinara, sweet potato and sage ravioli and chicken scarpariello. Though indoor dining is currently prohibited in New York, the restaurant’s patio is open and heated to keep guests cozy.
The NoMad Hotel, 1170 Broadway, New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 796-1500
Best of Award of Excellence
The NoMad Hotel’s Best of Award of Excellence–winning restaurant is all New York elegance, with rich wood, plush carpets, spiral staircases and a sleek glass atrium. While the city’s indoor-dining closure is in effect, guests can experience the restaurant in the similarly styled, heated rooftop space. Chef Michael Reilly executes the contemporary American menu, which includes favorites like a whole-roasted chicken for the table with foie gras, black truffle and brioche. Among the restaurant’s 1,500 wine selections overseen by wine director Thomas Pastuszak, Champagne is a focus, with compelling depth in small grower producers. The NoMad hotel-restaurant brand also has Best of Award of Excellence–winning branches in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The restaurants at those locations are still closed for now, but the L.A. outpost has a particularly outstanding Champagne selection worth seeking out once it reopens.
1100 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C.
Telephone (202) 289-3515
Best of Award of Excellence
At Sushi Nakazawa, chef Uchi Masaaki serves an omakase menu of seven courses with 20 pieces of sushi, complemented by wine director Dean Fuerth’s 375-selection wine list. The Best of Award of Excellence winner is a sibling to the currently closed New York original, which holds the same award status. Though that location has a particularly exceptional Champagne collection, the now-open D.C. outpost has a very strong showing of bubblies as well. Sparkling selections span six pages, not counting half-bottles and wines by the glass. Highlights include vintage picks from Ruinart, nearly a dozen different labels from Jacques Selosse and Dom Pérignon going back to the 1970s. The omakase menu is available in the dining room and starts at $120 per person, or guests can sit at the sushi counter for a starting price of $150 each.
1036 N. Rampart St., New Orleans, La.
Telephone (504) 509-7644
Award of Excellence
Sparkling wines are the focus at New Orleans’ Effervescence, a French Quarter wine lounge founded in 2017. Wine director Edouard Majoie’s Award of Excellence-winning list does feature still wines among its nearly 300 labels, including a diverse selection of whites and rosés, as well as reds from top wineries in France, Spain, South Africa and farther abroad. But sparklers form most of the list, with a varied Champagne selection and other options from Italy, Spain and California. German Sekt, English sparklers and numerous pétillant naturel bottles bring further diversity. Chefs Brenna Sanders and Evan Ingram’s menu plays well with this bubbly, offering hearty fare like steak tartare and onion soup, as well as lighter bites like oysters and caviar.
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