12 Restaurants with Super-Value Wine Lists

Enjoy bold wine programs without the big price tag

12 Restaurants with Super-Value Wine Lists
In Ann Arbor, Mich., most of Sava's wine selections are priced under $100. (Hayden Stinebaugh and Sava’s Ann Arbor)
Dec 21, 2017

Updated: Sept. 26, 2019

Wine is often the greatest pleasure of dining out—until the bill arrives. But with affordable wine lists offering plenty of values, these 12 Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners across the United States prove that bottles don’t have to break the bank.

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, plus hundreds of Restaurant Award winners with value wine lists. And if you're dining in and drinking on a budget, check out our 100 Top Values of 2018, wines rated 88 points or above and priced at $20 or less.

Do you have a favorite spot you’d like to see on this list? Send your recommendations to restaurantawards@mshanken.com. We want to hear from you!


Billy Crews Dining Room

1200 Country Club Rd., Santa Teresa, N.M.
Telephone (575) 589-2071
Website www.billycrews.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Grand Award

Billy Crews Dining Room
Billy Crews Dining Room
At Billy Crews Dining Room, enjoy a wallet-friendly Grand Award-winning wine list.

Grand Award winner Billy Crews Dining Room has been open since 1956, offering steak-house cuisine and an exceptional wine list. Steaks can be custom-cut to order, and the menu offers a wide range of globally inspired comfort dishes, from pastas and calamari to jalapeño poppers and guacamole. Owner Billy Crews Jr., son of the restaurant’s founder, serves as chef, general manager and wine director of the 2,800-selection program. The list has an abundance of values, even in its strongest regions of California, France (especially Bordeaux) and Italy. However, those seeking a splurge can peruse verticals from several Bordeaux first-growths including Château Mouton-Rothschild.


Eurasia Cafe

960 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach, Va.
Telephone (757) 422-0184
Website www.eurasiavb.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Eurasia Cafe dish
Eurasia Cafe
Southern dishes make an appearance on Eurasia Cafe's globally inspired menu.

Eurasia Cafe is a charming neighborhood spot in the tranquil vacation town of Virginia Beach, Va. It opened as a 30-seat café in 2007 and evolved into an 80-seat, full-service restaurant earning its first Best of Award of Excellence in 2016. Wine director David Edelen is determined to continue growing the program, which already lists 425 wine selections excelling in California, France and Italy. More than four dozen wines are priced under $40, with dozens more under $50. There are 21 by-the-glass pours for $15 or less, plus two premium options via Coravin that still stay beneath the $25 mark. Pair your pick with chef Taylor Anderson’s eclectic menu of plates like Chinese spring rolls, truffle mac and cheese, and sautéed shrimp with gouda grits.


The Gage

24 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill.
Telephone (312) 372-4243
Website www.thegagechicago.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

The Gage bar
The Gage
Chicago mainstay the Gage has been open for more than a decade.

The Gage is one of only three Chicago Restaurant Award winners with inexpensive wine programs, boasting a bounty of under-$100 bottlings and 16 international wines by the glass. The 160-selection list is overseen by wine director Torrence O'Haire and spans the globe, from Spain to Greece to Washington and beyond. In the program’s strongest regions of California and France, you’ll find $70 options from producers such as Freemark Abbey, Clos Pegase and Muré. The labels are organized by guest-friendly descriptors rather than by region or grape variety, featuring sections like “fresh, bright, focused” and “rustic, spicy, complex.” The Gage also pays homage to its Irish inspiration with a solid whiskey program and beer-battered fish and chips on chef Chris Gawronski’s seasonal American menu. The restaurant is part of Gage Hospitality Group, which includes another Chicago Restaurant Award winner with a particularly value-driven list, Beacon Tavern, as well as Best of Award of Excellence winner Acanto and Award of Excellence winners Coda di Volpe and the Dawson.


Grapes in a Glass

575 Market Ave N., Canton, Ohio
Telephone (330) 453-9463
Website www.50shadesofvine.com
Open Dinner, Thursday to Saturday
Award of Excellence

At Grapes in a Glass in Canton, Ohio, guests can explore new wines via the restaurant's flexible serving options. More than three dozen selections are available by the glass, including two dozen that are also available in flights of 2-ounce tastes. The 825-wine list has grown by over 300 labels since 2018 and includes more than 100 options for $25 or less. The collection shows strengths in California, France and Italy, but also features some less familiar regions such as India and Hungary. Chef, owner and wine director Tamara Jorgensen’s cuisine consists of wine-friendly small plates like crostini and charcuterie that change seasonally and are made with local ingredients.


The Hamilton

600 14th St. N.W., Washington, D.C.
Telephone (202) 787-1000
Website www.thehamiltondc.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

The Hamilton shrimp and grits
Clyde’s Restaurant Group
There’s something for everyone on the Hamilton’s diverse menu.

In a city filled with upscale steak houses and pricey wine bars, Washington, D.C.’s the Hamilton impresses with a wine list full of great values. The program holds an Award of Excellence for its 95 selections, with France and California standing out and most of the 19 by-the-glass options priced under $15. Wine director Maria Denton’s list is organized by body, from light to full, to complement chef Zach Smith’s cuisine. The menu spans the globe, from house-made pastas and dry-aged steaks to Mediterranean appetizers and sushi entrées. On weekends and some weeknights, the restaurant doubles as a music venue for live bands.


Luna Red Restaurant & Bar

1023 Chorro St., San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Telephone (805) 540-5243
Website www.lunaredslo.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Luna Red Restaurant & Bar patio
Luna Red Restaurant & Bar
At Luna Red Restaurant & Bar, live-music events add to the atmosphere.

As a complement to its Latin-focused cuisine, Luna Red Restaurant & Bar's wine list excels in California while showcasing Spanish, South American and Portuguese wines. Deep Spanish cuts, like Ànima Negra Vi de la Terra Mallorca White Quíbia 2016, appear next to benchmark names like R. López de Heredia. In California, Rhône-style and Bordeaux blends contrast the Riojas and Douros, rounding out the list. While largely staying in the $50 range, Luna Red's 200-selection program strikes an excellent balance between high-tier bottles and more accessible everyday choices. Chef Brian Parks relies on tight relationships with local farmers to source seasonal ingredients for dishes like rockfish and tuna ceviche, crispy Spanish octopus and various paellas.


Osteria Mamma

5732 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, Calif.
Telephone (323) 284-7060
Website www.osteriamamma.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Osteria Mamma table
Osteria Mamma
Osteria Mamma claims to be one of the most authentic Italian eateries in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles has plenty of pricey wine lists, so Osteria Mamma is a breath of fresh air for value-seeking enophiles. Owner and wine director Filippo Cortivo has built the only inexpensive Restaurant Award–winning program in the city, with a majority of the 300 labels priced in the $40 to $60 range and 18 selections available by the glass. The list is almost entirely Italian, complementing chef Loredana Cecchinato’s regional menu. Osteria Mamma prides itself on sticking to tradition, serving staples like caprese, grilled calamari and an assortment of classic pastas.


Quaintrelle

3936 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, Ore.
Telephone (503) 200-5787
Website www.quaintrelle.co
Open Dinner, Wednesday to Sunday
Award of Excellence

Quaintrelle entrance
Aubrey LeGault
Local wines are the star at Quaintrelle in Portland, Ore.

Quaintrelle sources most of its ingredients from within 50 miles of the Portland, Ore., restaurant, and this regional focus is reflected in its Award of Excellence–winning wine list, overseen by sommelier Chris Cooper. The 90 selections highlight local wines from nearly three dozen Oregon producers such as Love & Squalor, Belle Pente, Goodfellow and Jezebel. Seventeen wines are available by the glass, all at under $15. In the kitchen, chef Ryley Eckersley creates New American dishes like carrots with feta, mint and pistachio, and fried quail with watermelon, herb salad and sweet soy.


Sava’s

216 S. State St., Ann Arbor, Mich.
Telephone (734) 623-2233
Website www.savasannarbor.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Sava’s dining room
Hayden Stinebaugh and Sava’s Ann Arbor
Award of Excellence winner Sava’s serves a range of wine styles, from traditional bottles to more eccentric picks.

Located on the University of Michigan campus, Sava’s caters to guests seeking classic bottles as well as younger crowds seeking more eclectic selections. The Award of Excellence–winning wine list provides plenty of values, particularly among less familiar grapes and styles, which encourage exploration. Guests can choose from the list’s 100 selections, or for $16, wine director Kelsey Wonsavage will select a flight of four wines. The program is strongest in California and France but includes a range of regions from around the globe. Chef Gustavo Salazar serves comfort classics like mac and cheese and a pulled-pork sandwich, alongside more upscale dishes like herbed chicken confit, and a saffron cream pasta with lobster.


TerraCotta Wine Bistro

304 Johnson St., Santa Fe, N.M.
Telephone (505) 9891166
Website www.terracottawinebistro.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

TerraCotta Wine Bistro dining room
Doug Merriam
TerraCotta Wine Bistro pairs seasonal cuisine with standout wines from California and France.

TerraCotta Wine Bistro in Santa Fe, N.M., curates an affordable wine list without sacrificing depth. Only two bottles on wine director Emily Mayer’s list break $100. French whites are a highlight, complementing a strong selection of West Coast reds, especially from California. And not just Cabernet, either: Washington Pinots and Syrahs are well-represented, and the selection of Californian Zinfandel is another highlight. The 275-selection list is sure to provide a match for the restaurant's accessible but sophisticated menu by chef Catherine O’Brien, which spans dishes from Southern fried chicken to PEI mussels.


Up on the Roof

250 Riverplace, Greenville, S.C.
Telephone (864) 242-4000
Website www.eatupdrinkup.net
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Atop an Embassy Suites in downtown Greenville, S.C., Up on the Roof has an Award of Excellence–winning list with nearly all 140 bottles under $100. Managed by wine director Trinity McMahan, the list is strongest in California and has several particularly outstanding values like Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rosé Champagne Cuvée Palmes d'Or 2002 for $128. Chef Shane Robertson’s American menu encourages sharing, with dishes like sweet-and-sour calamari, duck chili nachos and a daily-changing charcuterie block.


Vinateria

2211 Frederick Douglass Blvd., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 662-8462
Website www.vinaterianyc.com
Open Dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Vinateria bar
Vinateria
The wine list at Vinateria boasts 130 bottles with plenty of standout values.

In New York's Harlem neighborhood, Vinateria provides a cozy setting for enjoying an Award of Excellence–winning wine list. Wine director Chelsea Carrier has worked in restaurants with great beverage programs, such as Best of Award of Excellence winner Gotham Bar & Grill. At Vinateria, she manages 125 selections with strengths in Italy, Spain and France. Most bottles cost less than $100, and more than 20 wines are available by the glass. Chef Mimi Weissenborn's seasonal menu draws inspiration from Italian and Spanish cuisines for dishes such as house-made black spaghetti with octopus, and whole roasted branzino with arugula.


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