After 40 years of rating restaurants, Zagat found one thing to be always be true. The perfect wine makes the perfect meal. To help you choose the right Zagat Wine for your wine cellar, here’s a quick look at the wine lists of four of the most-awarded restaurants in the U.S. The compliments and rave reviews in quotes are from food and wine lovers who have contributed to the Zagat Guide surveys. Check out the wine lists at Zagat’s top-rated restaurants in 20 U.S. cities here.
Holding fast as the “pinnacle of refined dining”, this nearly “flawless” Westside New American “keeps it fresh, year after year” with “absolutely outstanding” fare, served in a five-course, prix fixe menu that can be paired with an “impeccable” wine list for a “feast befitting its name”. The “well-trained” staff works with “panache”, the setting is done up in “chic retro-industrial” style, and there’s a definite “sense of occasion” in the air.
Bacchanalia offers wine pairings for each course. Favorites from France, Portugal, and Austria include Champagne for appetizers, Chardonnay for fish and Cabernet Sauvignon for beef, Moscato and Port for desserts.
Houston: Da Marco Cucina e Vino
It’s “almost like being in Italy” coo legions of fans of this Montrose Italian, a longtime “Houston treasure” known for its “outstanding” fare – “the butternut squash ravioli is to die for”, the “truffle anything is fantastic” – and “excellent” wine list that’s “extensive in Italian offerings”; the “warm, intimate” setting is tended by a “superb” staff, all adding up to an experience that’s “pricey, but worth the cost.”
Da Marco tops Zagat’s rating, year after year. Its remarkably extensive wine list covers Italy’s legendary wine regions Piedmont, Tuscany, Veneto, Friuli, Lazio, Umbria, Sicily, Apulia, Lombardy, and Abruzzo. Chianti to Merlot to Super Tuscan, the Bianco (white) or Rosso (red) wines are delizioso.
New York City: Le Bernardin
Prepare to dine on “a higher plane” at this “dazzling” Midtown “star” where Eric Ripert’s “world-class” tasting menus highlight “transcendent” French seafood, earning it top honors in NYC year after year. A “deep” wine list,” “exemplary” staff and “soigné” surrounds further justify the “sky-high” tabs, so for a “dream-come-true” meal, this is “as good as it gets.”
Zagat rates Le Bernardin among the best restaurants in New York. Their 15,000-bottle collection is truly global, with 900 wine selections from 12 different countries, and vintages dating back to 1875, including a large number of wines from the regions of Burgundy, Rhône, Austria, and Germany.
Washington, DC: Rasika (Penn Quarter and Chinatown)
These “phenomenal” Indian destinations take a centuries-old cuisine to a “whole new level” with “innovative” interpretations like crispy spinach “unlike anything you’ve ever had” served in “beautiful”, “modern” settings that rank among DC’s “swankiest”; “friendly, unobtrusive” servers put novices at ease, while an “accessible” price point (for high-end dining) means one must “plan ahead” for prime-time reservations.
Rasika’s cuisine is authentic Indian but its wine list spans the globe, from California and France to Austria and Spain. Their sommelier’s recommendations include Sparkling Blanc de Noirs, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc Whites, Zinfandel Rose, along with Pinot Noir and Zinfandel Reds.