9 Spectacular Wine Restaurants in Philadelphia

Wine-loving dining destinations in the City of Brotherly Love

9 Spectacular Wine Restaurants in Philadelphia
Panorama's custom wine-dispensing system serves 120 selections by the glass. (Courtesy of Panorama)
Mar 14, 2019

Updated March 11, 2021

In Pennsylvania, strict liquor laws make it particularly challenging to build a wine program, especially one that stands among the best in the world. These nine destinations defy the odds with Wine Spectator Restaurant Award–winning wine lists, enhanced by a variety of cuisines. So the next time you find yourself in Philly, skip the plethora of BYOBs for superior wine experiences at these standout spots, which are currently open for indoor dining, outdoor dining or both.

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

Note: Opening hours and menus are subject to change as the industry continues to adjust to evolving regulations.


Barclay Prime

237 S. 18th St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Telephone (215) 732-7560
Website www.barclayprime.com
Best of Award of Excellence

A porterhouse cut off the bone at Barclay Prime
Guests can now enjoy Barclay Prime's steaks, like this 32-ounce porterhouse, in one of 16 heated structures outside the restaurant. (Courtesy of Barclay Prime)

Barclay Prime is a swanky modern steak house from Starr Restaurants, Stephen Starr’s Philadelphia-based group that includes 11 Restaurant Award winners across the country. Three of them are located in the group’s home city, including Award of Excellence winner the Love and Best of Award of Excellence winner Butcher & Singer. At Barclay Prime, wine director Hai Tran is in charge of the Best of Award of Excellence–winning list with more than 800 selections, which represents regions around the world but highlights California, France, Italy and Spain. While there are some value-driven picks, there are plenty of labels to splurge on from big names like Opus One and Ramonet. Chef Matt Smith serves an updated take on steak-house cuisine, with a range of seafood dishes and salads. The star of the menu, though, is the Barclay Prime Cheesesteak, an opulent homage to the city’s famous sandwich. Instead of basic sliced beef and Cheez Whiz, this version layers Wagyu ribeye with foie gras, onions and truffled Cheez Whiz on a fresh sesame roll—and if you thought it couldn’t get any better, the cheesesteak is served with a half-bottle of Gaston Chiquet Champagne.


Bistro Romano

120 Lombard St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Telephone (215) 925-8880
Website www.bistroromano.com
Best of Award of Excellence

Open for takeout and heated outdoor dining in Philly’s historic Society Hill neighborhood, Bistro Romano has held a Best of Award of Excellence for over a decade. Organized by grape variety, the 750-label wine list is filled with diverse international selections that excel in Italy (especially Tuscany) as well as California. Overseeing the list is wine director Michael Granato, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Joette. The standout Italian wine selections complement chef Michael DeLone’s menu of classic Italian antipasti, pastas and main courses such as filet mignon and veal saltimbocca. Bistro Romano now also has a wine shop open seven days a week, and takeout from the restaurant is available for those who want to pair a dish with their wine pick.


Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse

1426-28 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Telephone (215) 246-0533
Website www.delfriscos.com
Best of Award of Excellence

Interior overview shot of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse’s dining room in Philadelphia
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse features a grand dining room with a 40-foot wine tower. (Courtesy of Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group)

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse has 16 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S., several of which are now open for indoor dining. That includes the Philadelphia outpost, a Best of Award of Excellence winner for its 1,500-selection wine list. The Del Frisco’s brand is known for outstanding California offerings, and the Philly location upholds this reputation with a plethora of options from top producers like Araujo and Shafer. Led by wine director Scott Zoccolillo, the program also excels in Italy and France, particularly Bordeaux and Burgundy. Chef Sean Ford executes the menu of steak-house staples, plus some creative signature items like thick-cut bacon au poivre and Shanghai-style calamari. The restaurant is now under the large umbrella of Landry's, the hospitality company that acquired Del Frisco's Restaurant Group in 2019, including the sibling brand with 18 Restaurant Award winners, Del Frisco's Grille.


La Famiglia Ristorante

8 S. Front St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Telephone (215) 922-2803
Website www.lafamiglia.com
Best of Award of Excellence

Carlo “Papa” Sena opened La Famiglia Ristorante in 1976, after moving to Philadelphia from Naples, Italy. Today, the Best of Award of Excellence–winning restaurant is owned and operated by the second and third generations of the Sena family. Chef and co-owner Luigi Sena carries on his father’s legacy of authentic Italian fare with house-made pastas (which are available in half- or full portions) and entrées like the fish of the day filleted tableside and chicken involtini. During its 40-plus years in business, the restaurant has built an enviable collection of Italian wines. Peruse aged gems like Gaja labels going back to the 1960s and Barolos going back to the 1940s. Managed by Luigi's brother, wine director and co-owner Giuseppe Sena, the 1,000-selection list also shines in California and Bordeaux.


Panorama

Penn’s View Hotel, 14. N. Front St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Telephone (215) 922-7800
Website www.panoramawinebar.com
Best of Award of Excellence

Tables set under a mural at Panorama
Located in the Penn’s View Hotel, Panorama has extensive by-the-glass selections to let guests explore the wine list. (Courtesy of Panorama)

A Best of Award of Excellence winner since 1993, Panorama boasts a 700-selection wine list supported by an inventory of 6,000 bottles. Wine director William Eccleston built a balanced collection of international wines, with particular strength in Piedmont, California, Tuscany and France. The by-the-glass program has a whopping 150 options, 120 of which are available on tap through a custom-built dispensing system that serves as the centerpiece of the dining room’s wine bar. There are also various flights to choose from, each composed of five 1.5-ounce pours, with themes like "Italian Love Bubbles" and "Women in Wine." Whether dining indoors or outdoors, there's plenty to pair with on chef Matthew Gentile’s menu of Italian favorites, from small bites and salads to pastas, pan-roasted meats and sharable plates.


Vetri Cucina

1312 Spruce St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Telephone (215) 732-3478
Website www.vetricucina.com
Best of Award of Excellence

Interior shot of tables set in the dining room at Vetri Cucina
Experience an ever-changing tasting menu at chef Marc Vetri’s flagship restaurant. (Courtesy of Vetri Cucina)

Vetri Cucina is especially intimate now that the city's indoor dining is limited to 25 percent, but even in pre-COVID times, only 32 seats were set in the space. Co-owner Marc Vetri is a prominent local chef and restaurateur who was born in Philadelphia and trained in Italy, opening his eponymous restaurant in 1998. He's since opened a larger, Award of Excellence–winning sibling in Las Vegas as well. But the Philly original has a slightly larger wine program, holding a Best of Award of Excellence for its 500 selections overseen by wine director Bobby Domenick. Italy is the focus, particularly Piedmont and Tuscany. Wine pairings are available for $85, for matching with the tasting menu of four courses for $125 per person. Chef Matt Buehler’s Italian menu is ever-changing, but expect starters like sweet-onion crepe with Parmigiano-Reggiano and white truffle–fondue, and pastas like maltagliati with pork ragù. The restaurant is open for dine-in only, with safety regulations that are detailed on its website.


Bistro Perrier

Walnut Hill College, 4207 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Telephone (215) 222-4200
Website www.walnuthillcollege.edu
Award of Excellence

Bistro Perrier is part of Walnut Hill College, an institution specializing in culinary arts and restaurant and hotel management. Bistro Perrier is a key part of the coursework, allowing students to train in a professional restaurant. Led by executive chef Todd Braley, the restaurant offers classic French cuisine featuring tableside service. The seasonal menu changes weekly, but recent offerings include ratatouille, moules frites and an asparagus soup with poached egg and dijon cream. Available throughout the Restaurant School ventures, instructor Philippe McCartney’s wine list excels in France and California. With a total of 100 selections, the program has held an Award of Excellence for more than 15 years. The list is presented on an iPad and used as a learning tool in various on-site wine courses, and by the student-run wine club, whose members write the tasting notes accompanying each selection. By pricing most labels under $50, McCartney aims to give students more opportunities to practice their wine-service skills.


Gran Caffe L’Aquila

1716 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Telephone (215) 568-5600
Website www.grancaffelaquila.com
Award of Excellence

Raviolis on a white plate at Gran Caffe L’Aquila
Discover authentic Italian dishes including house-made pastas at Gran Caffe L’Aquila. (Courtesy of Gran Caffe L’Aquila)

The original Gran Caffe L’Aquila was located in central L’Aquila, Abruzzo, where it was destroyed by a major earthquake in 2009. On a culinary tour of Italy, Riccardo Longo met the owners of the original café (Stefano Biasini and Michele Morelli), and they teamed up to bring the concept to Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square. The restaurant spotlights a particular Italian city each week, supplementing the traditional menu with specialties from the region. A Veneto-focused menu, for example, included beef carpaccio (a dish that originated in Venice) and a specialty of calf’s liver in wine sauce, along with wine picks from the region. Longo also serves as wine director, overseeing the all-Italian, Award of Excellence–winning program. The inexpensive wine list of 150 picks is an excellent source for values, with most bottles priced at under $100 and dozens under $50. The space includes a gelato bar, coffee roaster and a market for cheese, salumi and other Italian goods. Many of these offerings are also available for online ordering.


Vernick Fish

Four Seasons Hotel at Comcast Center, 1 N. 19th St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Telephone (215) 419-5000
Website www.vernickfish.com
Award of Excellence

Headshot of chef Greg Vernick
At Vernick Fish, chef Greg Vernick champions the bounty of the sea. (Ted Nghiem)

Chef Greg Vernick made a name for himself in Philadelphia's food scene with Vernick Food & Drink, a modern American restaurant with an eclectic menu that's been open since 2012. He went on to open Vernick Fish in August 2019, with a culinary focus he's particularly passionate about: Seafood. Vernick Fish showcases a variety of styles and preparations, from raw crudos and tartares to cooked options like broiled oysters, squid-ink pasta and grilled sea bass. Sourcing and sustainability are crucial considerations for the chef's team. The Four Seasons Hotel's wine director, Jill Davis, oversees the Award of Excellence–winning wine program. France is the focal point among the 120 available labels on the list, supported by an inventory of 750 bottles.


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