This year, 13 North Shore restaurants earned a nod from Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Awards. For 40 years, the Restaurant Awards have recognized the world’s best restaurants for wine, guiding people to dining establishments with impressive wine lists and outstanding service. This year’s awards program recognizes 3,169 dining destinations from all 50 states in the U.S. and more than 70 countries internationally.
Awards are given at three levels: The “Award of Excellence” is given to restaurants with lists that feature 100 or more selections, containing both quality and diverse wines, according to the magazine, while the “Best of Award of Excellence” goes to restaurants with lists of 350 or more selections from top producers, including a wide variety of regions and vintage depths. These restaurants might also carefully design the presentations of the list, train their staff to assist diners with the list, and hold curated wine dinners, according to Wine Spectator. Worldwide, 1,290 restaurants received the Best of Award of Excellence award.
The top prize, called the “Grand Award,” has been given to only 97 restaurants around the world. While no restaurants north of Boston have yet achieved that honor, there are two in Massachusetts: Grill 23 & Bar in Boston and Topper’s at The Wauwinet in Nantucket.
Here are some of the best restaurants for wine on the North Shore, according to Wine Spectator.
Best of Award of Excellence
Angelo’s Ristorante, Stoneham
Proprietor Angelo Caruso personally selects all the wines for his wine list, which boasts more than 500 offerings, focused on Tuscany and the Piedmont in Italy, but with a strong global showing. The wine-tasting menu offers two-, three-, and six-ounce pours, so you can pair several tastes with his upscale Italian cuisine or just sip your favorite.
239 Main St., Stoneham, 781-279-9035, angeloristorante.com
Cafe Escadrille, Burlington
You’re bound to find a special bottle among the 360 or so unique selections, specializing in California and France, in this elegant restaurant’s cellar. At this anchor of the Burlington dining scene for more than 45 years, the wine director is happy to recommend a perfect bottle to pair with the modern American cuisine.
26 Cambridge St., Burlington, 781-273-1916, cafeescadrille.com
Pellana Steak House, Peabody
The 430 bottles in Pellana’s collection, mainly from California, France, and Italy, are selected by wine director Nick Grimshaw to pair perfectly with this spot’s American steakhouse cuisine. Enjoy difficult-to-find cult favorites, or select something unfamiliar at a gentle price point that is sure to please—the list offers a surprising number of selections under $50. The service at this multiple-BONS winner is always on point, and the steaks are always the finest cuts, cooked to perfection.
9 Sylvan St., Peabody, 978-531-4800, pellanasteakhouse.com
Rare Steakhouse, Encore Boston Harbor, Everett
You know you’re in good hands when Perrier-Jouet Brut Reserve is available by the glass. And never fear if bubbles aren’t your thing: The bottle list has more than 600 options, many rare, from all the top regions in California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Italy, as befits a restaurant for high rollers. With two sommeliers to guide your experience, your every question will be answered. The service at this BONS/Forbes four-diamond winner is attentive, and the uniquely curated steak program includes exclusive Japanese cuts from Kobe and the Kagoshima prefecture, as well as the best of domestic beef from Snake River Farms, Idaho.
One Broadway, Everett, 857-770-3300, encorebostonharbor.com
Award of Excellence
Black & Blue Steak & Crab, Burlington
Blind tastings are held for the staff every Friday at this Massachusetts outpost of a popular upstate New York restaurant group, to train servers to identify flavor characteristics in different grapes. A flexible, food-friendly list of more than a dozen wines by the glass and 150 by the bottle gives staff a lot of options that work with the menu of beef and seafood.
The restaurant even offers some special wines by the glass, like the 2016 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, thanks to the Coravin wine preservation system. It doesn’t come cheap, at $42 per glass, but it might be just what a perfectly cooked steak demands.
Daniella’s Ristorante, Peabody
As with sister restaurant (and Best of Award of Excellence winner) Pellana Prime, the wine list here is thoughtful and extensive, including an impressive by-the-glass program that enables guests to enjoy a number of offerings usually available only by the bottle. The staff is carefully trained to guide you, whether you’re looking for a familiar wine or want to try something new. Also overseen by wine director Nick Grimshaw, the list offers about 90 bottles, with a focus on California and Italy, stretching from good value wine to rare bottles for special occasions.
41 Cross St., Peabody, 978-871-2942, daniellasristorante.com
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse
Chef/owner Steve DiFillippo’s hometown branch of his popular steakhouse offers 350 bottles, with a concentration in California and Italy—perfect for pairing with classics like Lobster Risotto, Sautéed Calamari, and Tagliatelle Bolognese, as well as seasonal specials. The list of more than two dozen by-the-glass offerings holds delightful surprises like Veuve Cliquot, Jordan, and Silver Oak.
1250 Market St., Lynnfield, 781-944-4810, davios.com/lynnfield
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Burlington
Servers at this upscale seafood chain wear crisp white jackets and bow ties as they bustle about between the open kitchen and the tables. The sunken main dining room, ringed with curvy upholstered banquettes, is separated from the lounge by a large glass-walled wine room, speaking to the restaurant’s extensive list. Dozens of wines by the glass, plus eight after dinner or dessert wines by the glass, not to mention 285 selections by the bottle, including special wines like Domaine Weinbach ‘Cuvée Collette’ Riesling from Alsace, France, and the biodynamically farmed Hanzell Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley. Well-trained staff can guide selections, whether you are looking for a luscious $10 white or a cult Italian Rosso di Montalcino by the bottle.
50 South Ave., Burlington, 781-221-7151, eddiev.com
Fogo de Chão, Burlington Mall, Burlington
It’s always a party at this prix-fixe Brazilian steakhouse, which offers 200 different bottles, including some exclusive wines crafted to pair perfectly with the endless portions of high-quality beef and a luxurious salad bar. The lively atmosphere features an open-air churrasco grill in the heart of the dining room, where guests can watch gaucho chefs butcher and cook a variety of meats. Chat with the well-trained staff and they will be happy to point you to the perfect pour. In addition to the naturally strong selection of wine from Argentina and Chile, look for daily $7 per glass wine specials.
75 Middlesex Turnpike, Space 1630, Burlington, 781-382-0222, fogo.com
La Fina Restaurant, Andover
Dress to impress at La Fina, Paul LaRosa’s urbane steakhouse where the menu is just as glamorous as the surroundings. There’s an impressive list of wines by the glass (about 25) and some 250 by the bottle to pair with a menu of prime-grade beef, personalized with one or more “chapeaus.” French for hat, it’s a cute name for La Fina’s options for capping a steak (or anything else on the menu). Offerings include lobster tail, shrimp, or crab, as well as a selection of flavored butters, from foie gras to Cabernet.
27 Main St., Andover, 978-475-4082, lafinarestaurant.com
Ledger Restaurant & Bar, Salem
Wine director Scott Lefler and sommelier/general manager Kelsey Tenore oversee a 315-bottle list that is full of surprises—as is chef Daniel Gursha’s excellent food, focused on local sourcing and an impressive wood grill. Many of the grapes and wines on the list might be unfamiliar, but trust the well-trained staff to guide you from Spanish txakolina through Greek agiorgitiko—and every grape in-between—to the ideal match. Splash out for the “Baller Pour” at this hospitable restaurant in a historic bank building, one special wine a day, available for $18 a glass.
125 Washington St., Salem, 978-594-1908, ledgersalem.com
Seasons 52, Burlington
With a thoughtful 90-bottle list, and several flights of wine on offer—not to mention the happy hour special that includes a glass of wine and a flatbread for just $12—this outpost of a national chain offers something for everyone. Many wines on the list are under $40 a bottle, and precious few top $100, making it easy to explore, alongside the menu.
6 Wayside Road, Burlington, 781-272-5552, seasons52.com
The Capital Grille, Burlington
The impressive 500-bottle list at this national steakhouse group reads like a who’s who of California—alongside many other international favorites. With so many options, it’s easy to pair one wine with the shellfish tower before moving on to another choice for your rib-eye or citrus-glazed salmon. This spot also features a robust grill-at-home program, enabling guests to order a butcher box and a few bottles of wine to enjoy at their own residences.
10 Wayside Road, Burlington, 781-505-4130, thecapitalgrille.com