10 Top-Notch Restaurant Chains to Rely on for Great Wine

No matter your city, these restaurants’ wine lists have what you're looking for

10 Top-Notch Restaurant Chains to Rely on for Great Wine
Ocean Prime's Beverly Hills location is one of the brand's 15 Restaurant Award winners across the U.S. (Anthony Tahlier Photography Inc.)
Mar 28, 2019

Updated: Aug. 27, 2020

Creating a Wine Spectator Restaurant Award–winning wine list is an accomplishment for a single restaurant, but offering high-quality wine experiences at numerous locations around the world presents exceptional challenges. We tip our hat to these 10 families of restaurants that have put together impressive wine lists in many cities across the U.S. and beyond. All 10 chains have reopened locations where you can dine now.

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!

Before your visit, take a look at our online restaurant search for more information on each location. Note that opening hours and menus are subject to change as the industry continues to adjust to evolving regulations.

The Capital Grille

59 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S.
Website www.thecapitalgrille.com
Best of Award of Excellence (23 locations), Award of Excellence (36 locations)

With nearly 60 Restaurant Award winners around the country, including locations on the Las Vegas Strip, in Manhattan’s Chrysler Building, Seattle’s historic Cobb Building and Union Station in Providence, R.I., the Capital Grille is known for steak-and-wine pairings. The lists feature quality bottles from California, rounded out by selections from France, Italy and beyond, often with numerous local picks. In addition to the restaurants’ signature steaks, which are dry-aged in-house for more than 18 days, choose from a vast array of seafood options accompanied by hearty chophouse sides like roasted fingerling potatoes, lobster mac-and-cheese and creamed spinach with béchamel. Darden is also the group behind two other standout brands, Seasons 52, a seasonal American concept with 40-plus Restaurant Award–winning locations, and Eddie V’s, which includes 25 Award of Excellence winners.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse and Del Frisco’s Grille

34 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S.
Website www.delfriscos.com, www.delfriscosgrille.com
Grand Award (one location), Best of Award of Excellence (16 locations), Award of Excellence (17 locations)

A sliced steak next to a glass of red wine and salt-and-pepper shakers
Del Frisco's is known for its outstanding execution of aged steaks. (Matt Furman)

Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group has become a national fine-wine powerhouse in recent years, with 18 Restaurant Award–winning locations of Del Frisco’s Grille and 16 Best of Award of Excellence–winning locations of its Double Eagle Steakhouse, plus a Grand Award winner. In September 2019, hospitality giant Landry’s announced that it had purchased both brands, bolstering the group’s already wine-centric portfolio. The Double Eagles’ lists are among the most extensive in the family of restaurants, all with at least 1,000 selections and spotlighting California, France and Italy, while Del Frisco’s Grilles offer more compact lists with a focus on California bottles.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

68 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S.
Website www.flemingssteakhouse.com
Award of Excellence

Exterior of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Fleming's locations nationwide offer around 100 wines by the bottle. (Courtesy of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar)

The first location of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar opened nearly two decades ago in Newport Beach, Calif.; today, the group includes restaurants around the country, with 68 holding an Award of Excellence. An ideal choice for value-seekers, the chain boasts a reputation for moderately priced bottles from California. The 21-day-aged beef steaks are a fixture of the menu and can be customized with additions like truffle-poached lobster, jumbo lump crabmeat and diablo shrimp.

Fogo de Chão

51 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S. and Brazil
Website www.fogodechao.com
Award of Excellence

A man retrieves a bottle from the wine tower at Fogo de Chão's Beverly Hills location
A highlight of Fogo de Chão's Beverly Hills location is its 30-foot wine tower. (Courtesy of Fogo de Chão)

What started in the 1970s as a single restaurant in Porto Alegre, Brazil, has become one of the most popular churrascaria chains in the world: Fogo de Chão now boasts 51 Restaurant Award winners in the U.S. and Brazil. Slow-cooked, fire-roasted meats like filet mignon, ancho beef rib eye, lamb and pork ribs are carved tableside, while seafood dishes and an extensive salad bar are available for those who crave lighter options. The moderately priced wine lists focus on bottles from South America.

Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse

13 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S.
Website www.hydeparkrestaurants.com
Award of Excellence

Since owners Joe Saccone and Rick Hauck opened their original Cleveland location in 1988, Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse has grown to include 13 Award of Excellence winners. While most are located in the concept’s home state, the restaurant also has outposts in Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan and Indiana. Each offers a 300-selection wine list overseen by beverage director Brandon Ford. Rounded out by a solid collection of international labels, the program emphasizes California with big names like Orin Swift and Chateau Montelena. Guests can also enjoy more than 30 wines by the glass, with prices from under $10 to over $100. Culinary offerings include traditional steaks and chops, plus specialty versions like “steak Griffin” with a sauce of roasted shallots and Cabernet Sauvignon, or “steak au Nicklaus” served with cracked peppercorns and Bordelaise sauce. Saccone and Hauck also own Ohio Award of Excellence winners ML Tavern in Moreland Hills, Black Point in Columbus and Bull & Bird Steakhouse in Chagrin Falls.

Il Fornaio Cucina Italiana

18 Restaurant Award–winning locations in the U.S.
Website www.ilfornaio.com
Award of Excellence

The front-porch entrance to Fornaio Cucina Italiana in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif.
Each location of Il Fornaio Cucina Italiana is designed to fit into the surrounding community, like this outpost in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. (Courtesy of CarmelCalifornia.com)

Il Fornaio Cucina Italiana draws on its Italian roots to create authentic dining experiences in American towns. The concept originated in 1972 as a baking school in Barlassina, a small town near Milan, and grew into a successful retail bakery chain before expanding to California in 1981. Six years later, Il Fornaio’s first full-service restaurant debuted in Corte Madera. Today, there are 18 Award of Excellence–winning locations in California, Colorado and Nevada, with wine-and-food programs that are both authentic and accessible. Corporate wine director Octavia Monelli takes guests on a virtual tour of Italy through the inexpensive wine lists of about 100 labels, which also offer some standout California picks. Match Monelli’s selections with the menu of classic dishes such as bruschetta, carpaccio, pizzas, pastas and traditional entrées. Executive chef Maurizio Mazzon oversees all culinary programs, but each location has its own commander of the kitchen. The Il Fornaio group also includes Canaletto Ristorante Veneto, which has two Award of Excellence–winning locations in Las Vegas and Newport Beach, Calif.

Morton’s, the Steakhouse, and Mastro’s

81 Restaurant Award–winning locations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, Singapore and China
Website www.mortons.com, www.mastrosrestaurants.com
Grand Award (one location), Best of Award of Excellence (20 locations), Award of Excellence (60 locations)

A porterhouse with a side of mac and cheese and a glass of red wine at Morton’s, the Steakhouse
Morton's, the Steakhouse has your steak and wine cravings covered. (Courtesy of Morton's, the Steakhouse)

Focusing on steaks, seafood and fine wines, Landry's Inc.'s Morton’s, the Steakhouse and Mastro’s restaurants have a lot in common. At Morton’s, choose from a variety of appetizers, prime beef cuts, seafood dishes and classic sides, while the more upscale Mastro’s restaurants feature live entertainment and encompass both the Steakhouse locations and Ocean Clubs, which offer a more substantial array of seafood and sushi. In 2019, Mastro’s earned its first Grand Award for the location in Houston's Post Oak Hotel, where wine directors Keith Goldston and Shaun Prevatt oversee the 3,700-selection wine list excelling in a mix of international regions, such as Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Piedmont, Tuscany, Madeira and more.

Ocean Prime

15 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S.
Website www.ocean-prime.com
Award of Excellence

Seafood is the name of the game at Ocean Prime, and with 15 Award of Excellence–winning locations, the restaurant has proved itself a go-to choice for diners looking to pair seafood and wine in cities around the country. Beverage director Ryan Valentine’s lists focus on California bottles, with a selection of choice pours via Coravin for those who want to try something extra special. Pair your wine with dishes like Chilean sea bass, sea scallops with parmesan risotto and bone-in prime beef filet, or choose from the bounty of sushi and raw-bar options.

The Palm

24 Restaurant Award–winning locations in the U.S. and Mexico
Website www.thepalm.com
Best of Award of Excellence (two locations), Award of Excellence (22 locations)

Dining room of the Palm Boston
The Palm’s Boston location boasts a 220-selection wine list and a 2,000-bottle cellar. (Courtesy of the Palm Boston)

The original Palm restaurant opened in 1926 in New York City as an Italian concept, and steaks weren’t on the menu. That changed when customers’ requests for steaks made beef a fixture, and the restaurant began to build its reputation as one of the city’s classic steak houses. Today, the Palm has grown to include 24 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S. and in Mexico. Managed by local wine directors, the lists emphasize California and Italy. As with Del Frisco’s, the Palm restaurants were also recently acquired by Landry's hospitality group.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

41 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S. and Aruba
Website www.ruthschris.com
Best of Award of Excellence (10 locations), Award of Excellence (31 locations)

Steak on a white plate next to a knife at Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Treat yourself to decadent chops at Ruth's Chris Steak House. (Courtesy of Ruth’s Chris Steak House)

With about 100 locations including 41 Restaurant Award winners, you’re never too far from a Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Over the years, the chain has become a standby for great steak and wine with its upscale neighborhood atmosphere and moderately priced, California-focused lists. When it comes to chops, each restaurant uses USDA prime beef that can be enhanced with additions like lobster tail, blue cheese crust or blackened shrimp. Rounding out the menu are dishes like Chilean sea bass with sweet potato hash, chicken breast stuffed with garlic herb–cheese and veal osso buco ravioli.

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.

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