100 Favorite Restaurants
Elite winemakers cannot afford to let their knowledge stop at the cellar door. Just as they tend the grapevines, they must tend to restaurants as well, to ensure that their vintages gain places on the right wine lists. Paying frequent visits to restaurants is the sacrifice that most make to remain current. This chore can entail savoring the nuances of a French Laundry tasting menu or sometimes just munching on a really good cheeseburger. Recognizing that vintners should know a thing or two about restaurants, we asked dozens from around the world to name their favorites, and from those selections we compiled this (alphabetical) top-100 list, which spotlights a few of the more intriguing picks.
Acme Oyster House New Orleans
The French Quarter’s oldest oyster bar is still the place to go for po’ boy sandwiches, gumbo, and jambalaya. 504.522.5973, www.acmeoyster.com
Albergaccio Castellina, Italy
Cocina rustica reigns at this Tuscan countryside restaurant, where the sausages and pastas are made by hand and the cellar is filled with fine-drinking country wines. Splendid endings include a plate of raw-milk cheeses. +39.0577.741042, www.albergacciocast.com
Grant Achatz does not want you to call his cuisine "molecular gastronomy," even though he and his staff prepare it by employing such kitchenware as the "antigriddle," which can chill a daub of olive oil to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit instantly, and serving pieces that include the Peacock, an implement that presents morsels skewered on five spikes that spread like the feathers of a peacock’s tail. Achatz prefers that you call his fare "good food." 312.867.0110, www.alinearestaurant.com
Andina Portland, Ore.
Andina offers traditional Peruvian cuisine, such as an appetizer of kebabs of marinated beef hearts, but it also serves skewered octopus with a chili pepper chimichurri and other modern preparations. 503.228.9535, www.andinarestaurant.com
A.O.C. Los Angeles
This candlelit wine bar serves more than 50 rare vintages by the glass and half-glass, allowing for a series of intriguing pairings with Suzanne Goin’s parade of Mediterranean-influenced small plates. 323.653.6359, www.aocwinebar.com
Aqua San Francisco
Laurent Manrique’s devotion to foie gras remains unshaken, though animal-rights activists have threatened and harassed him. In his butter-poached Hawaiian walu entrée, the delicacy appears in a sauce with grape vinaigrette. 415.956.9662, www.aqua-sf.com
The Bavarian Taos, N.M.
Tuesday night is fondue night during the snowy months at this Bavarian-style lodge, but goulash and Wiener schnitzel are available every other day of the week. In winter, the easiest way to reach the dining room is by skiing in: The restaurant sits at an altitude of 10,200 feet, at the base of the lift for Taos’ back bowls. 505.776.8020, www.thebavarian.net
Perched atop the sleek Chanel Tower in the city’s Ginza district, Beige pairs Alain Ducasse’s food with the ambience of a Peter Marino–designed room. Some tabletops are decorated with Chantal Branchy’s bronze frog sculptures, which were a favorite of Coco Chanel. +81.3.5159.5500, www.beige-tokyo.com
Bern’s Steak House Tampa, Fla.
More is more at Bern’s, which offers 22 types of caviar, 62 cuts of steak, and a collection of wine comprising 500,000 bottles. After the main meal, you can retire to the dessert room, where each of the 48 booths is equipped with a phone for dialing in requests to the piano player. 813.251.2421, www.bernssteakhouse.com
Bistro Don Giovanni Napa, Calif.
When winemaker Stacy Clark of Napa Valley’s Pine Ridge wants a "fat night" of "pizza and french fries and dessert," she heads for Bistro Don Giovanni. Clark’s dessert of choice is "a tall, skinny sundae with chocolate and caramel and nuts. A careful balance of fat and salt followed by sweet. And it goes with our Stags Leap District Cab." 707.224.3300, www.bistrodongiovanni.com
Bistro Jeanty Yountville, Calif.
Philippe Jeanty cooked haute French cuisine for Domaine Chandon’s Napa restaurant for two decades before opening this small-town bistro to serve homey favorites from his childhood in Champagne. Order the pieds de cochon and you will squeal "Oui, oui, oui!" all the way home. 707.944.0103, www.bistrojeanty.com
Bistro Ralph Healdsburg, Calif.
"This small bistro is geared for locals but allows visitors to mesh right in," says Steve Reeder of Healdsburg’s Simi Winery. "The chicken paillard is my favorite, as well as the CK lamb [a brand of local lamb that the restaurant uses in its lamb meat loaf, lamb burgers, and several other dishes]—and the duck, can’t forget the duck." 707.433.1380, www.healdsburgmenus.com
Blackberry Farm Walland, Tenn.
The chefs at this Smoky Mountains resort create what they call "Foothills cuisine." Dishes include Brunswick stew, a version of a Southern soup that contains rabbit as well as chicken. Blackberry Farm also serves roasted Tennessee poussin (young chicken) with wilted greens and garlic. 865.984.8166, www.blackberryfarm.com
Blue Water Cafe Vancouver, British Columbia
The wine list includes many sakes, and the raw bar stocks 18 types of oysters, but the head-turning choice is the Blue Water Tower: three tiers of iced fish, shellfish, and samplings prepared by sushi master Yoshi Tabo. 604.688.8078, www.bluewatercafe.net
Boat Street Café & Kitchen Seattle
The whitewashed walls of this Provençal-style bistro reflect its humble beginnings as a former boatyard machine shop. Appetizers include dates sautéed in olive oil with fleur de sel and also a plate of pickled seasonal fruits and vegetables. The main course of rib eye with black-olive tapenade is a standout. 206.632.4602, www.boatstreetcafe.com
Bradley Ogden Las Vegas
Bradley Ogden brings the flavors of Northern California—honey from Napa, poultry from Petaluma, and cheeses from Sonoma—to Caesars Palace. Ogden prides himself on being present in his kitchen, but when he must travel, he hands the reins to his son and protégé, Bryan. 702.731.7413, www.larkcreek.com/bolv.htm
Cafeína Porto, Portugal
An English translation of Cafeína’s reservation policy reveals much about the fashionable, French-influenced restaurant. The restaurant’s web site informs you that you do not have to call ahead for a table, "But due to the affluence, we’d advise it." +351.226108059, www.cafeina.pt
Cal Pep Barcelona, Spain
Expect to wait for a seat, because Cal Pep is always crowded. You will understand why when you taste the butifarra con foie a l’Oporto, a plate of sausage with foie gras and port wine over white beans. +34.93.3107961, www.calpep.com
Can Fabes Sant Ceolini, Spain
New guest rooms near the restaurant allow you to savor a well-paced, three-hour dinner of Santi Santamaria’s Catalan cooking—and the accompanying wine—without worrying about the 45-minute drive back to Barcelona. +34.938.672.851, www.canfabes.com
Catalan Food and Wine Houston, Texas
For $9, you can add seared foie gras to any entrée—including the Gulf shrimp with bacon sage grits and roasted piquillo pepper butter. 713.426.4260, www.catalanfoodandwine.com
Caviar Kaspia Paris
This post-Revolution refuge of Russian émigrés remains the choice Place de Madeleine meeting spot for members of the Parisian fashion trade, who nibble smoked salmon and osetra caviar and chase them with Champagne or one of more than 25 different vodkas. +220.127.116.11.33.32, www.caviarkaspia.com
Charlie Trotter’s Chicago
The standards never slip at Trotter’s restaurant, even when he is away tending to new ventures. Every bite of the 15-course kitchen menu is perfect. Still, many diners come just for the magnificent steaks. 773.248.6228, www.charlietrotters.com
The China Club Hong Kong
Located in the former Bank of China building, the club has an interior that recalls the glamour of old Shanghai. A good hotel concierge can arrange for nonmembers to be admitted to the club’s restaurant. "Sometimes during the dinner, a chef comes out from the kitchen to show how he makes noodles," says Gaia Gaja of Gaja Winery in Barbaresco, Italy. "His skill makes it an exhibition, a moment of show." +852.2521.8888
Cut Beverly Hills, Calif.
The star of this Wolfgang Puck steak house is heavily marbled Kobe beef, from both Japan and America. Chef de cuisine Ari Rosenson serves it as sashimi, grilled, or seasoned with Indian spices. 310.276.8500, www.wolfgangpuck.com
Cyrus Healdsburg, Calif.
This Sonoma County dining destination in the boutique hotel Les Mars couples formality with playful, innovative dishes. The wine list treats Sonoma on a par with Burgundy, offering an equal number of local favorites and French vintages. 707.433.3311, www.cyrusrestaurant.com
Dal Pescatore Canneto, Italy
"This restaurant alone is worth a trip to northern Italy," Chris Figgins of Washington state’s Leonetti Cellar says of this establishment located inside a Lombardy nature preserve. While influenced by French nouvelle cuisine, the fare is highly regional, and, says Figgins, "it all pairs perfectly with the great wines of Piemonte. Every course leaves you shaking your head in amazement." +39.0376.723001, www.dalpescatore.com
Daniel New York
The seasons guide Daniel Boulud’s menus: asparagus, morels, and peas reign in spring; tomatoes, chanterelles, and sweet corn mark the summer; white truffles appear in fall; and black truffles follow in winter. 212.288.0033, www.danielnyc.com
Del Posto New York
The atmosphere here is more sedate and the decor more elegant than at Mario Batali’s other restaurants, and the food, which includes orecchiette pasta with lamb neck sausage and Romanesco cauliflower, rivals that of Babbo. 212.497.8090, www.delposto.com
Dieter Müller Bensberg, Germany
You can forgo the standard offerings in favor of a five-course, 19-plate menu composed solely of amuses-bouche. Finish the meal with a sampling from the cheese cart, which contains at least 150 selections. +49.2202.2040,
Duarte’s Tavern Pescadero, Calif.
This restaurant opened in 1894 but became famous for its olallieberry pie, which features a hybrid fruit created at Oregon State University in 1949. "There is also an astonishing unofficial wine list," says Thomas Duroux, of France’s Château Palmer, "but you have to work on the chef to have access to it." 650.879.0464, www.duartestavern.com
El Bulli Roses, Spain
Ferran Adrià’s wildly entertaining tasting menu changes slightly every day, but past offerings have included curry-flavored zucchini-seed risotto with capsules of peanut oil, and also tomato soup with virtual ham: thin slivers of tomato-flavored jelly, croutons topped with ham-flavored jelly, and basil seeds. +34.972.150.457, www.elbulli.com
El Celler de Can Roca Girona, Spain
The three Roca brothers helm this restaurant: Joan prepares regional Spanish favorites such as Iberian suckling pig; Josep oversees a predominantly Spanish wine list; and Jordi creates the desserts. +34.972.222.157, www.cellercanroca.com
Emeril’s New Orleans
Emeril Lagasse may have flirted with self-parody on his recently canceled TV show, but the man can cook. Influences from places as diverse as Morocco and Indonesia accent his New Orleans Creole cooking. His punchy, hearty fare almost always pairs well with Cabernet Sauvignon. 504.528.9393, www.emerils.com
Enoteca Pinchiorri Florence, Italy
Annie Féolde brings a French accent to the northern Italian cuisine served in this Renaissance palazzo. Giorgio Pinchiorri presides over the 150,000-bottle cellar like a dragon guarding a treasure. +39.055.242777, www.enotecapinchiorri.com
The views from the dining room, located on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange, are as compelling as Jean Joho’s Alsatian-influenced menu. Entrées include a filet of venison with wild huckleberries, braised pear, and Alsace knepfla (egg noodles). 312.663.8920, www.everestrestaurant.com
Fredsgatan 12 (F12) Stockholm, Sweden
F12’s up-to-the-minute menu has included veal with tuna sauce, grapefruit, and licorice, but winemaker Ernst Loosen, of the Bernkastel, Germany, winery Dr. Loosen, enjoys the "amazing retro-charm" of the 1970s Scandinavian decor. +18.104.22.168.52, www.f12.se
The French Laundry Yountville, Calif.
Thomas Keller’s inventive French-American food garners the most attention, but the skills of wine director Paul Roberts also are impressive. Roberts not only passed the Master Court of Sommeliers’ notoriously difficult Master-level exam on his first try, in 2002, he won an award for earning that year’s highest score among American test-takers. 707.944.2380,
Restaurant Gary Danko San Francisco
"My cooking is not cutting edge," Gary Danko says on his namesake restaurant’s web site. "I won’t serve guinea pig food. We do not experiment on the guests!" Even so, his menu includes such unusual combinations as seared sea scallops with rutabaga puree. 415.749.2060, www.garydanko.com
Gramercy Tavern New York
Winemaker Chris Camarda of Andrew Will Winery in Vashon Island, Wash., recommends restaurateur Danny Meyer’s popular establishment for its wine as well as for its food. "Juliette Pope [the wine director] has got her own sense of what wine could be and should be," he says. "She’s not swayed by the pronouncements of wine writers." 212.477.0777, www.gramercytavern.com
The Grange Restaurant Adelaide, Australia
The Four Dances of the Sea, Cheong Liew’s signature dish, is an edible autobiography. Prawn sushi represents his childhood home of Malaysia; octopus aioli symbolizes his first job in Adelaide; soused snook (a saltwater sportfish) salutes a friend who taught him to pickle fish; and the calamari with black-ink noodles recognizes his days of working with squid ink at the Regency Hotel School in South Australia. +61.8.8237.0737, www.thegrangerestaurant.com.au
Harry’s Bar Venice, Italy
Credited with creating beef carpaccio, this Venetian watering hole is more famous as the birthplace of the Bellini, a sweet concoction combining white peach pulp, peach juice, and Prosecco (an Italian sparkling wine). +39.041.5285777, www.cipriani.com
Heartland St. Paul, Minn.
The components of Lenny Russo’s entrée of veal roast with crème fraîche potato puree, glazed red onions, and rosemary glace de viande can be plotted on a map: The herbs and vegetables are grown 85 miles away in Barron, Wis.; the cream for the crème fraîche is from the Hope Creamery, 75 miles distant in Hope, Minn.; and the veal is supplied by Cedar Summit Farm, 40 miles southeast in New Prague, Minn. 651.699.3536, www.heartlandrestaurant.com
The Hitching Post II Buellton, Calif.
Loring Wine Co.’s Brian Loring is a regular at this Southern California establishment, which gained fame for its appearance in the 2004 film Sideways. "Owner Frank Ostini, along with Gray Hartley, helped pioneer Pinot Noir in California," says Loring, who devoted his Lompoc, Calif., winery to that varietal. "I owe these guys a lot, and I pay them back by eating my own weight in steak each year at the restaurant." 805.688.0676, www.hitchingpost2.com
Hoppe’s Garden Bistro & Wine Shop Cayucos, Calif.
At Wilhelm Hoppe’s establishment, you can sip a local wine from California’s Central Coast and enjoy an entrée of farm-raised abalone in hazelnut-mango butter. 805.995.1006, www.hoppesbistro.com
The travels of Singapore-born Ignatius Chan inform his East-West fusion cuisine. The restaurant accommodates about 50, and the most coveted seats are the 13 at the counter, which Chan installed so that he and his German chef, Dorin Schuster, can interact with a few of his patrons. +65.6732.2234,
Joe’s Stone Crab Miami
The late Joe Weiss opened his luncheonette in 1913, before people even ate stone crabs; eight years later he invented a cooking method for the crustaceans when he threw some in boiling water and served them with mayonnaise. Joe’s Restaurant ultimately became Joe’s Stone Crab (and is open only during crab season, from October through May). The crabs now are also served chilled with a side of mustard sauce. 305.673.0365, www.joesstonecrab.com
Koi Palace Daly City, Calif.
The menu at this Chinese restaurant near San Francisco seems as long as a novella, but you can set it aside and just point to the shrimp, fish, or lobster residing in the huge aquarium tanks in the lobby. 650.992.9000, www.koipalace.com
La Colombe Cape Town, South Africa
Luke Dale-Roberts’ food contains subtle flavors that will remind you how close the restaurant is to the Constantia Uitsig vineyard. One such example is the springbok loin with smoked butternut tortellini in a muscat reduction. +27.21.794.2390, www.constantia-uitsig.com
La Frateria di Padre Eligio Cetona, Italy
Set within an 800-year-old former monastery built by St. Francis of Assisi, this Tuscany restaurant is part of a residential drug rehab program. The therapeutic regimen for patients includes supplying the menu ingredients for La Frateria’s 30-seat restaurant, which is open to the public, and serving the patrons. The patients harvest the property’s fig trees, make preserves, produce salted meats, bake bread, gather olives and capers for pâtés, and mill extra-virgin olive oil on antique millstones. +39.0578.238261, www.lafrateria.it
La Mer Honolulu
Yves Garnier’s menu has one foot in the sea and one on shore. Selections range from fillet of opakapaka (pink snapper) baked in a rosemary salt crust to tournedos of Japanese Wagyu beef with Bordelaise sauce. 808.923.2311, www.halekulani.com
L’Ami Louis Paris
Though its careworn facade may need a fresh coat of paint, L’Ami Louis remains one of the city’s most famous brasseries. "Think roasted potatoes and garlic, a perfectly cooked piece of beef, seared foie gras, and 1961 Cheval Blanc," Andrew Erickson, winemaker at Screaming Eagle in Oakville, Calif., says of the restaurant’s offerings. "Greens? I think they had them, but I didn’t see any." +22.214.171.124.77.48
Winemaker Anna Matzinger of Archery Summit in Dayton, Ore., recalls one course at Alain Passard’s establishment that required her server to use a hammer and chisel to unearth morsels hidden within a foot-high mound of salt. "Excavated from the middle of this mountain of salt, which had been baking for much of the day," she says, "were the most ethereal, succulent, mind-blowing beets imaginable." +33.1.47.05.09.06, www.alain-passard.com
Le Bernardin New York
Like the original Le Bernardin in Paris, this Manhattan outpost specializes in simple presentations of great seafood. "It was the monkfish with a truffle and wine sauce that I enjoyed most," says Marco Piccoli of Jackson-Triggs Winery in Ontario, Canada. "It was perfectly cooked and so, so delicious." 212.554.1515, www.le-bernardin.com
Le Bistrot du Paradou Paradou, France
For more than two decades, every Friday has been aioli day at this Provençal bistro, which serves the garlicky mayonnaise with salt cod and local snails. +126.96.36.199.32.70
Le Gavroche London
The 41-year-old restaurant’s name translates as "ragamuffin," and its logo is a sketch of a scruffy little boy, but the unwaveringly French dishes are quintessentially refined. +44.20.7408.0881, www.le-gavroche.co.uk
Les Ambassadeurs Paris
Located inside the Hôtel de Crillon, Les Ambassadeurs delivers a very opulent and very French dining experience. No fewer than four servers deliver your cloche-covered entrée, and they set the table with gold-plated utensils for the dessert course. +188.8.131.52.16.16, www.crillon.com
Linger Longer Johannesburg, South Africa
Walter Ulz’s foie gras terrine with artichoke and green peppercorns is a staple, but his seasonal offerings are equally enticing. They include ostrich fillet with Amarula sauce, which is made from the South African liqueur of the same name. The liqueur itself is made from marula, a fruit that African elephants favor. +27.11.884.0465, www.restaurants.co.za/lingerlonger
Louis XV Monaco
Contemporary interpretations of Provençal and northern Italian dishes issue from this Alain Ducasse kitchen. The "farm" section of his menu includes yellow pullet (young hen) from the Landes region of France and Mediterranean sea bass with black pepper, leeks, gnocchi, and beef stew juice seasoned with citrus fruits. +377.98.06.88.64, www.alain-ducasse.com
Lucques Los Angeles
Owner Caroline Styne and chef Suzanne Goin transformed silent film star Harold Lloyd’s carriage house into a brick-and-timber dining room and bar that serves French-Mediterranean dishes such as lamb chops with artichoke gratin, last-of-the-season tomatoes, capers, and olives. 323.655.6277, www.lucques.com
Martín Berasategui Lasarte-Oria, Spain
At this stronghold of the man who transformed Basque cooking into Europe’s cutting-edge cuisine, the portions are tiny because Berasategui conceives them, as the menu notes, "with the brevity of three or four mouthfuls." But his peach gazpacho starter, followed by Dover sole with clam oil, mint, dry tangerine, and nut powder, will give you plenty to chew on. +34.943.366.471, www.martinberasategui.com
Martini House St. Helena, Calif.
Famed for his mushroom-foraging expeditions, executive chef Todd Humphries usually offers a tasting menu of fungi dishes in fall and winter. 707.963.2233, www.martinihouse.com
Michael Mina San Francisco
Good things come in threes at Mina’s eponymous flagship. Each of the Hudson Valley foie gras, Kobe beef, and pork dishes is prepared three ways. 415.397.9222, www.michaelmina.net
Michel Richard Citronelle Washington, D.C.
Citronelle brings the flavors of Richard’s native France to the Atlantic coast with offerings such as his pied de cochon, a sausage of pig’s foot, foie gras, and sweetbreads topped with a sheet of crispy pigskin. 202.625.2150, www.citronelledc.com
MoVida Melbourne, Australia
Frank Camorra transports his diners to Spain with such temptations as cecina, air-cured Wagyu beef that is thinly sliced and served with truffle foam and a poached egg. +61.3.9663.3038, www.movida.com.au
Mugaritz Errenteria, Spain
Andoni Luis Aduriz purchases carrots and other produce from local farmers, and while he might demonstrate the Spanish predilection for molecular cuisine by enhancing their flavor with a dehydrator or puffing them into a foam, freshness remains his goal. +34.943.522.455, www.mugaritz.com
Park Hyatt New York Grill Tokyo
Tokyo spreads majestically below the floor-to-ceiling windows of this 52nd-story paean to Manhattan, where Japanese beef is grilled American-style in the open kitchen. +81.3.5322.1234, www.tokyo.park.hyatt.com
Per Se New York
Servers present Sébastien Rouxel’s confections at the conclusion of Per Se’s nine-course tasting menu, a time when most patrons can find room for only one of the more than 30 varieties on offer. Choosing the huckleberry-filled white chocolate might require you to turn down the salted caramel truffle, but that leaves something—in addition to Thomas Keller’s entrées—to look forward to next time. 212.823.9335, www.perseny.com
Picholine New York
Cheese is always in season at this restaurant near Lincoln Center, but in late fall and winter, Terrance Brennan showcases wild game. 212.724.8585, www.picholinenyc.com
Pierre Gagnaire Paris
Gagnaire is France’s leading practitioner of molecular gastronomy, and he collaborates often with Hervé This, the French chemist who, along with the late Oxford University physicist Nicholas Kurti, pioneered the high-tech cuisine and coined its name. The chef turns theory into practice in dishes such as langoustines chaud-froid (in clear aspic) with almond caramel and corn kernels. +184.108.40.206.12.50, www.pierre-gagnaire.com
Plaza Athénée Restaurant Paris
Even the 10,000 crystal pendants adorning the redesigned interior of Alain Ducasse’s flagship cannot outshine his whimsical inventions, whether they are scallops in coconut curry or a Breton turbot stew. +220.127.116.11.65.00, www.alain-ducasse.com
Showthyme Bigfork, Mont.
During the summer, chef Blu Funk serves such crowd favorites as seared yellowfin ahi tuna with black pepper and wasabi aioli on a bed of Napa cabbage slaw in sweet soy-ginger dressing. In winter, when those crowds migrate south, Funk is free to experiment and concoct dishes such as roasted duck two ways in a dried cherry and cranberry Pinot Noir reduction. 406.837.0707, www.showthyme.com
The Slanted Door San Francisco
Rare Chinese teas and a Riesling-dominated wine list complement the Vietnamese cuisine. "I recommend this restaurant even though they won’t buy Torbreck," says David Powell of Torbreck Vintners in Marananga, South Australia. 415.861.8032, www.slanteddoor.com
Spago Beverly Hills, Calif.
Lee Hefter steers the flagship of Wolfgang Puck’s empire, offering dishes that include seared rare tuna served with niçoise olives, sweet-and-sour shallots, crushed shelling beans, pine nuts, capers, and 12-year-old balsamic vinegar and Ligurian extra-virgin olive oil. 310.385.0880, www.wolfgangpuck.com
Shawn McClain presents his contemporary American cuisine in creative fashions. His arrangement of four sea scallops on a stew of butternut squash and preserved lemon looks like an abstract expressionist painting, but it tastes like a perfectly balanced dish. 773.395.7100, www.springrestaurant.net
Table 6 Denver
Grilled New York strip steak with sweet potato, pancetta, caramelized onions, and a hard-boiled egg is among the comfort-food dishes that Scott Parker prepares. 303.831.8800, www.table6denver.com
Tadich Grill San Francisco
This restaurant is ancient by California standards—it served coffee during the 1849 gold rush—but the seafood is always impeccably fresh. 415.391.1849
Tailor New York
Sam Mason skirts the line between dinner and dessert with such dishes as pork belly with miso-butterscotch and peekytoe crab with pineapple foam. He also offers an eight-course tasting menu dedicated to chocolate. 212.334.5182, www.tailornyc.com
Taylor’s Automatic Refresher St. Helena, Calif.
Taylor’s is a classic drive-in where you can order burgers and shakes at the take-out window and eat them at outdoor picnic tables. Better still, the eatery is co-owned by winemaker Joel Gott, whose wine list allows you to pair your burger with a Paul Hobbs Cabernet instead of a root beer float. 707.963.3486, www.taylorsrefresher.com
Terra St. Helena, Calif.
The husband-and-wife team of Japanese native Hiro Sone and Californian Lissa Doumani has made this Napa Valley restaurant a favorite for 20 years. He handles the sake-marinated broiled black cod with shrimp dumplings in shiso broth; she bakes the Eureka lemon cake and finishes it with Meyer lemon ice cream and huckleberry sauce. 707.963.8931, www.terrarestaurant.com
Tetsuya’s Sydney, Australia
"Original, precise, and refined" is how Didier Depond, director of the Champagne houses of Salon and Delamotte, describes Tetsuya Wakuda’s food. The restaurant’s 10-course tasting menu showcases French- and Japanese-influenced fare such as a double-cooked, deboned spatchcock (a chicken that is split down the back before roasting) with braised daikon radish and bread sauce. +61.2.9267.2900, www.tetsuyas.com
Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand first worked together at a hotel restaurant in Rochester, N.Y., in 1981 and soon realized their talents paired well. Twelve years later, the executive chef and the pastry chef moved to Gand’s native Chicago and ultimately opened this French-American establishment. 312.202.0001, www.trurestaurant.com
Tullio ai Tre Cristi Siena, Italy
This 1830 trattoria is "the best place to eat fish in all of Tuscany," according to Thomas and Monika Bär of Gagliole in Siena, Italy, but the fare also includes excellent local meats and wild game. +39.0577.280.608, www.trecristi.com
Rumored to have cost $2 million, Turandot’s lavish interiors evoke the stage scenery of the Puccini opera from which the restaurant takes its name. The pan-Asian menu seems out of place in the palatial surroundings, but a dinner at Turandot, much like a night at the opera, requires a suspension of disbelief. +7.495.739.0011
Veritas New York
With about 3,500 wine choices and as few as eight entrées, this restaurant has an obvious emphasis. The sommeliers can assist you with a wine and recommend dishes from Ed Cotton’s wine-friendly menu of American bistro fare. 212.353.3700, www.veritas-nyc.com
Victory Hotel Sellicks Beach, South Australia
Owner Doug Govan encourages diners to peruse his collection of wines, which features selections from the McLaren Vale region of Australia. "It’s a cellar that any Michelin-star chef would envy," says Reid Bosward of Kaesler in Nuriootpa, Australia, "with prices that would make them cry." +61.8.8556.3083, www.victoryhotel.com.au
Vinum North Malé Atoll, Maldives
Huvafen Fushi resort’s 6,000-bottle wine cellar is located 26 feet underground, well away from the relentless Maldivian sun. Here, the island’s sommelier and food director, Sunny Chuang, hosts nightly wine tastings and weekly five-course wine-pairing dinners at a single round table that seats 12. +960.6644.222, www.huvafenfushi.com
Watershed Decatur, Ga.
Scott Peacock cooks his Southern comfort food in this converted gas station where the wines are served in Riedel stemware. One of the owners is Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls, who recorded the restaurant’s namesake song. 404.378.4900, www.watershedrestaurant.com
The Waterside Inn Bray, England
Fabrice Uhryn and his staff of English, French, Swedish, Austrian, and German chefs produce dishes that the restaurant’s web site deems "unashamedly French." The menu offers roasted duck glazed with spices, and also grilled tender rabbit fillets served on a celeriac fondant with Armagnac sauce and glazed chestnuts. +44.1628.620691, www.waterside-inn.co.uk
Wild Ginger Seattle
You might make your first visit for the satay bar or the five preparations of Dungeness crab, but you will return for the wine program that smartly balances the flavors of the Pacific Rim food. "Asian-fusion is the direction that so many restaurants are heading for these days, and it is an important reason why Riesling is hot right now," says Bob Bertheau of Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, Wash., who likes his own Riesling paired with Wild Ginger’s spicier dishes. 206.623.4450, www.wildginger.net
Wolfdale’s Tahoe City, Calif.
Douglas Dale loves to play with the flavors of the East and the West. His is one of the few restaurants where you might encounter fish and chips and also Asian braised duck. Finish your deliciously schizophrenic meal with ginger snaps and Blue Castello cheese. 530.583.5700, www.wolfdales.com