It's a feather in the cap of any restaurant with a serious wine program: Wine Spectator's annual restaurant awards recognize the special effort put forth in pairing great wines with great food. Fourteen local spots were called out in the most recent round—two of which, J. Buck's and Mike Shannon's, have since closed—with the titles of "Best of Award of Excellence" and "Award of Excellence" handed out.
Whether you enjoy a glass on your own or a bottle with the table, you'll be in good hands!
Best of Award of Excellence
801 Chophouse—The local outpost of this small, Midwestern chain offers a white-tablecloth, NY-style steakhouse in a tony area near the Ritz Carlton
Annie Gunn’s—Casual, rustic local favorite focuses on Midwestern purveyors, and is attached to a gourmet smokehouse market, if you find something you have to take home with you.
Balaban’s—European-influenced café boasts an onsite wine store, meaning diners can choose from hundreds of wines and pay just retail plus $8 corkage.
Truffles—The menu changes daily, with Midwestern farmers front and center, at this bistro with a butchery next door.
Award of Excellence
Cielo—Enjoy lunch of dinner, and a glass of wine, in the lofty restaurant atop the Four Seasons Hotel, overlooking downtown.
Eleven Eleven Mississippi—Italian-Californian menu served in a vibrant atmosphere in one of the city's prettiest neighborhoods.
Fleming’s Steakhouse—Renowned chain offers 100 wines by the glass, including 30 local selections.
Lucas Park Grille—A downtown staple for business lunches or intimate dinners, with a solid, seasonally changing menu.
Remy’s Kitchen & Wine Bar—Casual and friendly, in the tradition of the Mediterranean café cultures it emulates, Remy's offers small plates, big wines, and live music.
The Melting Pot—Fondue! It's elevated to a dinnertime art form here.
Vin de Set—French cuisine, from spicy crab beignets to bouillabaisse, served in a charming rooftop room with an expansive patio.
The Wine Tap—Handsome brick-and-tin-ceiling building houses a great bar for wine (or cocktails or beer!) and a wood-fired pizza oven.