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; both the well-traveled wine lover and the small-town enophile can be assured that when it comes to wine, they're in good hands with these chains.
To check out more wine-and-food destinations around the world, see Wine Spectator’s more than 3,500 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including the 91 Grand Award recipients worldwide that hold our highest honor.
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55 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S.
Best of Award of Excellence (14 locations), Award of Excellence (41 locations)
With more than 50 Restaurant Award winners around the country, including locations on the Las Vegas Strip, in Manhattan’s Chrysler Building, Seattle’s historic 1910 Cobb Building and Union Station in Providence, R.I., the Capital Grille is known for steak-and-wine pairings. Darden Restaurants’ wine director Brian Phillips manages the lists, which 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 another standout brand Seasons 52, a seasonal American concept with 40 Restaurant Award–winning locations.
33 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S.
Website www.delfriscos.com, www.delfriscosgrille.com
Grand Award (one location), Best of Award of Excellence (12 locations), Award of Excellence (20 locations)
Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group has become a national fine-wine powerhouse in recent years, with 21 Restaurant Award–winning locations of Del Frisco’s Grille and 11 Best of Award of Excellence–winning locations of its Double Eagle Steakhouse, plus a Grand Award winner. In May 2018, the group acquired another wine-centric brand, Barcelona Wine Bar, which includes 14 Restaurant Award winners with Spain-focused wine programs and tapas menus. The Double Eagles’ lists are 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.
68 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S.
Award of Excellence
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.
41 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S. and Brazil
Award of Excellence
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 45 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.
12 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S.
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 12 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 au poivre and “the garlic steak,” served with roasted garlic cloves, mushrooms and garlic butter. Saccone and Hauck also own Ohio Award of Excellence winners ML Tavern in Moreland Hills and Black Point in Columbus.
19 Restaurant Award–winning locations in the U.S.
Award of Excellence
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 19 Award of Excellence–winning locations in California, Colorado, Nevada and Washington, 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.
86 Restaurant Award–winning locations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, Singapore and China
Website www.mortons.com, www.mastrosrestaurants.com
Best of Award of Excellence (14 locations), Award of Excellence (72 locations)
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. Tylor Field manages the lists at all Morton’s locations, which range in size from 175 to 1,300 selections.
13 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S.
Award of Excellence
Seafood is the name of the game at Ocean Prime—and with 13 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. Wine director Ryan Valentine’s lists focus on California bottles, with a selection of choice Coravin pours for those who want to try something extra special. Pair your wine with dishes like Chilean sea bass, blackened snapper, sea scallops with parmesan risotto and bone-in prime beef filet, or choose from the bounty of sushi and raw-bar options.
22 Restaurant Award–winning locations in the U.S. and Mexico
Best of Award of Excellence (two locations), Award of Excellence (20 locations)
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 22 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S. and in Mexico. Managed by local wine directors, the lists emphasize California and Italy.
104 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the U.S. and Canada
Best of Award of Excellence (three locations), Award of Excellence (101 locations)
With 104 Restaurant Award–winning locations—more than any other group in the program—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.
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