Critic's Notebook

Hey, Look Which Seattle Restaurants Have the Best Wine Lists

According to Wine Spectator’s 2016 Restaurant Awards

By Kathryn Robinson July 14, 2016

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Canlis somm Nelson Daquip breaking out the bubbly.

Next week the respected periodical’s Restaurant Awards issue hits the stands, and here’s how Seattle’s best wine lists measured up:  

The Award of Excellence, which “recognizes restaurants whose wine lists feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style,” went to 13 restaurants: Assaggio Ristorante, the Capital Grille, Cascina Spinasse, Goldfinch Tavern, Il Fornaio Cucina Italiana, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Salty’s on Alki, SkyCity at the NeedleStaple and Fancy, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, Ten Mercer, Tulio, and Volterra.

That includes four steakhouses and six Italian specialists, for those keeping score.

The Best of Award of Excellence, which honors those offering “more extensive selections with significant vintage depth and excellent breadth across multiple regions,” went to Chandler’s Crabhouse, Daniel’s Broiler, Metropolitan Grill, RN74, and the Triple Door.

Apparently chains have an edge.

The highest honor, the Grand Award, goes to “the world’s best wine programs, which deliver serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vantages, a selection of large-format bottles, excellent harmony with the menu, and superior presentation.” This year, as most years, this prestigious prize went to two Seattle legends: Canlis, with its 17,500 bottles and strong representation of California, France, Washington, and Italy; and Wild Ginger, with 20,000 bottles, including exceptional Burgundies and Bordeaux.

Look for the complete list at Wine Spectator’s site, the actual mag on newsstands July 19, and a new-this-year Restaurant Awards app right here.

Ed. note: This post was updated 7/15/16 to add SkyCity at the Needle, which was inadvertently left out.