12 Superb Chef’s Tables for Wine Lovers

Dine on the line at these Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners across the U.S.

12 Superb Chef’s Tables for Wine Lovers
Restaurants like Coast in Watch Hill, R.I., strengthen the connection between diners and chefs through distinct dining formats. (Ocean House)
Jun 6, 2019

A meal at a Restaurant Award winner is memorable in and of itself, but there’s nothing like savoring the experience from a chef’s table. This kind of immersive, intimate dining places a limited number of guests right next to—or inside—the working kitchen. Discover 12 destinations offering diverse takes on this increasingly popular format, from private to communal, and from accessible to extravagant. Enjoy their world-class wine lists as you watch the culinary theatrics unfold.

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!


Commander’s Palace

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

Commander’s Palace exterior
Michael Palumbo
Commander’s Palace has been a cornerstone of New Orleans’ restaurant scene for more than 125 years.

Every meal feels like a special occasion at New Orleans institution Commander’s Palace, but the chef's table offers a truly one-of-a-kind experience. It can only be reserved Tuesdays through Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. for exactly four guests and costs $125 per person. While chef Tory McPhail’s cuisine is classic Creole, the chef’s table features a spontaneous menu with no substitutions allowed and a variable number of courses, so the restaurant asks that diners come with an open mind and a bold palate. Pairings from wine director Dan Davis’ list range from the standard tier starting at an additional $50 per person to higher-end wine matches starting at an additional $100. The wines are plucked from the list’s 3,000 selections that excel in numerous regions including Burgundy, California, the Rhône, Bordeaux, Italy and Spain.


The Inn at Little Washington

Middle and Main Streets, Washington, Va.
Telephone (540) 675-3800
Website www.theinnatlittlewashington.com
Open Dinner, Wednesday to Monday
Grand Award

A beef and beets dish at the Inn at Little Washington
Greg Powers
Modern American cuisine awaits at the Inn at Little Washington, like this dish of beef with beets sauce.

Hand-painted tiles, copper details and oversized windows adorn the kitchen at the Inn at Little Washington, a historic destination at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are two tables in the space that each cost $595 to book for up to six guests. The kitchen makes a vibrant backdrop for the American tasting menu by chef Patrick O'Connell, who owns the property. Wine director William Harris’ Grand Award–winning wine program shines in Burgundy, California, Bordeaux, the Rhône, Italy and several other premier regions around the world. Pairings with the tasting menus are priced at $170 per person.


The Modern

9 W. 53rd St., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (212) 333-1220
Website www.themodernnyc.com
Open Lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday
Grand Award

Chef Abram Bissell plates a dish at the Modern
Evan Sung
Witness the artistry of chef Abram Bissell up close at the Modern’s Kitchen Table.

At 2,900 selections, the Modern has the largest wine list of the many wine-centric restaurants in Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. The restaurant inside the Museum of Modern Art is also home to the group’s most extravagant tasting menu, with seven contemporary American courses by chef Abram Bissell, priced at $228 per person. Up to four guests can get a front-row seat for all the action at the Kitchen Table. The 5 p.m. seating is available for no additional cost, while the alternative 8 p.m. seating comes with a $70 price increase. There’s also a lunch seating at noon for $188 per person. Through an optional $158 pairing, explore the wine program’s particularly impressive areas of Burgundy, California, Bordeaux, the Rhône, Italy, Champagne, Germany, Australia and Spain.


Restaurant Guy Savoy

Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, Nev.
Telephone (702) 731-7286
Website www.guysavoy.com
Open Dinner, Wednesday to Sunday
Grand Award

Chef Guy Savoy at the Krug Chef’s Table
Caesars Palace
Chef Guy Savoy stands before the Krug Chef’s Table in his eponymous Grand Award winner.

This Grand Award winner represents French chef Guy Savoy’s first and only restaurant in the United States. Inside Caesars Palace, Savoy’s renowned cuisine is executed by chef Julien Asseo and complemented by wine director Andrew Hurley’s French-heavy list. The biggest highlights of the 2,400 selections are Burgundy, Bordeaux, California, the Rhône and Champagne, but bubbly takes center stage at the chef’s table. A glass-enclosed Krug Chef’s Table hosts up to six people for a 10-course meal served with views of the kitchen, paired with the room’s namesake Champagne.


71Above Restaurant & Skylounge

633 W. Fifth St., Los Angeles, Calif.
Telephone (213) 712-2683
Website www.71above.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

71Above Restaurant & Skylounge dining room
71Above Restaurant & Skylounge
Take in sweeping city views as you dine at 71Above Restaurant & Skylounge.

Seventy-one floors up, nearly 1,000 feet in the air, 71Above Restaurant & Skylounge’s dramatic dining room boasts unparalleled panoramic views of Los Angeles and beyond. The chef’s table takes things to the next level: For $115 per person, chef Vartan Abgaryan will craft a customized five-course dinner for up to five guests. There are four seatings each evening at multiple “chef’s tables” right in front of the open kitchen, making reservations easier to snag. Pair Abgaryan’s contemporary American cuisine with bottles from wine director Catherine Morel’s 705-label wine list that’s strongest in France (especially Burgundy), California and Italy. You can also spend an additional $75 for by-the-glass pairings with each course.


Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

431 W. 37th St., New York, N.Y.
Telephone (718) 243-0050
Website www.brooklynfare.com/pages/chefs-table
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday
Best of Award of Excellence

The kitchen at Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare’s wraparound seating lets guests see the step-by-step creation of each dish.

Surrender yourself to the pros at Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare for a two-and-a-half-hour tasting menu, priced at $362 per person. From seats around a communal table in the center of the action, guests can watch as chef César Ramirez and his team churn out seafood-leaning dishes drawn from French and Japanese cuisines. Wine director Chase Sinzer offers pairings from the 550-selection wine list—which excels in numerous regions including Burgundy, Champagne and the Rhône—priced at $195 for the standard pairing or $295 for the “prestige” one.


Coast

The Ocean House, 1 Bluff Ave., Watch Hill, R.I.
Telephone (401) 584-7000
Website www.oceanhouseri.com/culinary/coast
Open Lunch and dinner, Wednesday to Sunday
Best of Award of Excellence

A beef dish at Coast
Ocean House
Coast pairs American fare with a lengthy international wine list.

Inside the beachside Ocean House hotel, Coast features the largest Restaurant Award–winning wine list in all of Rhode Island. Wine director Jonathan Feiler’s 1,700-label collection excels in California, France (especially Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne), Italy and Austria. Just six guests at a time can dine at the chef’s counter, which can only be booked on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 6:15 p.m. For $220, participants are treated to eight American courses prepared just steps away by chef William Rietzel. Wine pairings start at an additional $95.


Frasca Food & Wine

1738 Pearl St., Boulder, Colo.
Telephone (303) 442-6966
Website www.frascafoodandwine.com
Open Dinner, Monday to Saturday
Best of Award of Excellence

The chef’s table at Frasca Food & Wine
Mike Thurk
Frasca Food & Wine provides particularly personalized dining.

Frasca Food & Wine has been a local dining authority for more than 15 years. The program built by wine director Carlin Karr focuses on northern Italy, with outstanding picks from Piedmont and Tuscany. International regions round out the 600-label list, with additional emphasis on Burgundy and Champagne. Guests can reserve spots at the chef’s table in the heart of the kitchen for no additional cost. There are a few ways to enjoy the wine selection and chef Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson’s regional Italian cuisine: Tuesday through Saturday, choose from a four-course tasting menu for $95 per person, or a six-course one for $130. Additionally, each Monday, the restaurant invites a winemaker or importer for a special four-course dinner at $65 per person or $120 with a three wine–flight pairing.


Main Dining Room at the Greenbrier

The Greenbrier, 300 W. Main St., White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
Telephone (855) 453-4858
Website www.greenbrier.com/dining
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

The chef’s table at the Greenbrier’s Main Dining Room
The Greenbrier
The chef’s table at the Greenbrier’s Main Dining Room presents chef Chris Connolly’s French-influenced American fare.

Founded in 1778, the Greenbrier resort is home to five golf courses, a casino, a mineral spa and more, but its Main Dining Room is the biggest attraction for wine lovers. Wine director Ronald Magliochetti showcases 1,210 diverse bottlings on the international list, with strengths in California, Burgundy, Italy Bordeaux, Spain and Oregon. Eight wine pairings are included with the 10-course, $250 chef’s table menu offered Fridays and Saturdays at 6 p.m. Inside the actual kitchen, savor expert matches like roasted cauliflower soup with a St. Innocent Pinot Gris Willamette Valley Vitae Springs Vineyard and seared foie gras with a Domaine Griard Sancerre.


Juniper and Ivy

2228 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, Calif.
Telephone (619) 269-9036
Website www.juniperandivy.com
Open Dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

The chef’s table at Juniper and Ivy
Juniper and Ivy
Juniper and Ivy’s chef’s table features an energetic backdrop.

Discover California dining with a creative twist at Juniper and Ivy. The regional American menu is continuously evolving for optimal seasonality and freshness, and items range from light bites and small plates to full entrées. Six to 14 guests can book the high-top chef’s table near the open kitchen helmed by chef Anthony Wells. It’s an omakase-inspired experience featuring a selection of dishes from the main menu. The meal is customizable and therefore varies, but it typically involves four to five courses and ranges from $75 to $100 per person. Half- or full-glass wine pairings are available from wine director Nick Gergen’s list, which includes 275 selections emphasizing France and California.


Minibar by José Andrés

855 E St. N.W., Washington, D.C.
Telephone (202) 393-0812
Website www.minibarbyjoseandres.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday
Award of Excellence

Minibar by José Andrés dining room
ThinkFoodGroup
Minibar by José Andrés engages diners with its small-scale format.

Chef José Andrés has dozens of restaurants across the country, including 13 Restaurant Award winners, but Minibar is his most exclusive. It’s inherently a chef’s table concept, with just 12 communal counter seats, priced at $275 a head, set around the working kitchen. Witness the making of Andrés’ signature Spanish cuisine through a 20-plus-course tasting menu as you sip picks from wine director Andy Myers’ 90-label, French-focused list. For a more private meal (and an additional $290 each), book “José’s Table.” Located right next to the kitchen, the six-seat space treats guests to an insider taste of Andrés’ latest avant-garde creations, with exciting and rare wine pairings.


Pausa

223 E. Fourth Ave., San Mateo, Calif.
Telephone (650) 375-0818
Website www.pausasanmateo.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Charcuterie, oysters and wine at Pausa
Pausa
Pausa is a moderately-priced spot for top wines and playful cuisine.

At Pausa, owners Steven Ugur and chef Andrea Giuliani aim to provide a break from the everyday hustle and bustle of life—hence the restaurant’s Italian name, which translates to “pause.” The most intimate of several private-dining options, the chef’s table seats six to eight guests for a five-course meal with an up-close look into the working kitchen. There are two seatings on Friday and Saturday nights, and at $85 per person, the five-course dinner is particularly accessible by tasting-menu standards. The dishes are “seasonal and spontaneous,” but considering the main dining room’s whimsical menu of dishes like lemon poppy seed pasta and beet ravioli, expect an evening of pleasant surprises. Opt for wine pairings for an extra $35 each or peruse the 135 exclusively Italian labels organized by Ugur.

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