Top Dining Articles of 2023


Last year, the return to post-pandemic normalcy meant tantalizing new dining options sprouted seemingly everywhere, while existing restaurants reinvigorated themselves, and their wine lists benefitted from a push for diversity in styles and price points. Wine Spectator’s top dining articles of 2023 reflect our readers’ desire for the accessible and the exciting, from a list of supermarket wines that satisfy even top sommeliers to breathtaking wine destinations across the globe to steak houses that are moving beyond pairing porterhouses with Cabernet. Click on each headline below for the full stories, and sign up for our Private Guide to Dining newsletter for the latest wine and dining news in 2024!

The carbonara dish at RPM Italian in Las Vegas is a favorite, with black pepper, pancetta, egg yolk and housemade spaghetti. (Lindsay Eberly)

Italian dining has diversified in recent years, moving past spaghetti and meatballs to refined restaurants celebrating regional cooking, with wine to match. Our editors singled out five metropolitan areas—New York City, south Florida, Chicago, Las Vegas and Southern California—with collections of Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners that excel with their Italian-focused wine programs. They found stellar lists to suit old-school red-sauce joints and traditional Piedmont fare, coastal cuisine and southern Italian countryside specialties, and the taste of Sicily coming ashore in Santa Barbara. Buon appetito!

From the Sept. 30 issue

 A couple sitting at the beach with glasses of white wine, looking at the sunset

From old-vine País to off-dry Riesling, these are the wines that pros are packing in their coolers. (Getty Images/SimonSkafar)

Sometimes nothing’s better than having your feet in the sand and a glass of wine at hand. This summer, Wine Spectator asked 12 beach-loving wine pros which bottles and cans they’d stash in a cooler to sip on while stretched out in a folding chair or on a beach blanket. Their picks included bottles of off-dry Riesling, buckets of bubbly and darker hues of rosé. Dive in!

Posted Aug. 4

 A street in New York City's Little Italy neighborhood, with the Empire State Building in the background

From Brooklyn Heights to Midtown and beyond, New York City’s pros are tuned in to trends in the wine world. (Marco Bottigelli/Getty Images)

New York City is a breeding ground for ambitious, discerning wine professionals who keep on top of the latest wine trends. So if you’re looking for something new to try, finding out what Big Apple somms are obsessed with right now is sure to set you on an intriguing path. (Hello, whole-cluster sparkling Concord in a can.) See what’s hot!

Posted Nov. 29

 A woman smiles up at the server who is pouring her a glass of white wine

Sommeliers and servers appreciate guests who are curious and engage with their service. (Getty Images/Klaus Vedfelt)

Time for an etiquette lesson. Yes, restaurant workers are there to make a meal special, but guests can lend a hand to make it a memorable one. Wine Specator asked 10 Restaurant Award-winning sommeliers about the kind of diners that keep them enjoying their jobs and the strategies you should follow when navigating the wine list with a sommelier. Get their tips for a truly pleasurable evening out!

Posted June 26

 A steak and bone marrow at BLT Steak

The Best of Award of Excellence–winning BLT Steak in Washington, D.C., is a bastion for choice cuts and great wine. (Rey Lopez)

The chophouse is quintessentially American, but what’s even more classic is the pairing of red meat and wine. Today, many steak houses are capitalizing on that combination and enhancing their dining experiences with local ingredients, a wider variety of meats and unique selections of both Old World and New World wines that go beyond the staples of Bordeaux and California Cabernet. We carved out a list of 12 steak houses from around the U.S. whose wine selections are as prime as their porterhouses. What’s sizzling?

Posted Nov. 8

 Renzo Rapacioli serves wine from a decanter to a group at Sistina.

Wine director Renzo Rapacioli oversees a list of more than 4,500 wines at Grand Award winner Sistina in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. (Shannon Sturgis)

In a city as populous and diverse as New York, it’s only fitting there’s a dining scene to match. The city boasts innumerable top-notch restaurants, including more than 180 Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners, more than any other city in the world. But with this magnitude and breadth of options, visitors and locals are faced with a challenge: Where to begin? These Grand Award winners offer 1,300 wine selections or more and feature serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vintages, large-format bottles and superior organization, presentation and service—destinations for any enophile. Explore the Big Apple!

Posted Sept. 23

 Group of men at a tailgate gathered around a grill, drinking out of plastic cups

From Willamette Pinot Noir to Champagne, these bottles won’t fumble the ball at your next tailgate. (Getty Images)

In our book, any event that gets people together outside to enjoy great food also needs a few bottles of wine to keep the party rolling. Why should a tailgate be any different? Wine Spectator asked nine sommeliers from across the United States which wine they’d pour into a red Solo cup, from Barolo to rosé crémant. Switch out the keg for a magnum!

Posted Sept. 1

 The large windows at Quay overlooking the Sydney Opera House across the harbor

The view of the Sydney Opera House across the harbor provides an unforgettable setting for an evening at Quay Restaurant.  (Nikki To)

Wine lovers know that dining and travel go hand in hand. There’s often no better way to take in a city’s culture than through its cuisine, and a particularly exquisite restaurant experience can elevate a fun jaunt to a lifelong memory. From a laboratory of gastronomic mad science tucked into a Danish football stadium, to a dining room fit for royalty in a 19th-century Viennese palace, these 12 Wine Spectator Restaurant Award–winning restaurants will stoke your wine wanderlust for their extraordinary settings, deep cellars stocked with rarities, championing of local producers and channeling of local flavors into imaginative courses. Get inspired!

Posted Sept. 1

 Matunuck Oyster Bar on the water near a dock, with a building in the background, in Wakefield, Rhode Island

Top-notch white wines complement choice shellfish at Rhode Island’s Matunuck Oyster Bar, one of 2023’s new Best of Award of Excellence winners. (Matunuck Oyster Bar)

In 2023, our Restaurant Awards program saw dining spots around the world recover from the pandemic and reinvest in well-curated, sophisticated wine programs. We toasted the promotions of 12 North American restaurants from Award of Excellence to Best of Award of Excellence, a huge jump for any establishment. From historic inns and hotels to an Old San Juan restaurant that has innovated with Puerto Rican food to a veritable shrine to caviar in Las Vegas, see who made the list!

Posted July 5

 The gardens outside of Brix at sunset

The surrounding landscape makes Brix one of Napa Valley’s most picturesque places to enjoy great food and wine. (Bob McClenahan)

One of the world’s most celebrated wine regions, California’s Napa Valley is also home to a large number of great restaurants offering both excellent food and top-notch wine lists. These 19 restaurants go above and beyond by celebrating standout wineries, local and global alike, while offering unforgettable dining experiences amid sprawling vineyard vistas. Check them out!

Posted Aug. 31

 A woman holding wrapped presents and a flute of Champange

Getting meaningful gifts for a wine lover doesn’t have to be so daunting. (Andrija Nikolic/Getty Images)

Getting great gifts for anyone on your list can be tough, but tackling the enophile can be especially daunting: So many wine gadgets and gizmos just gather dust or are pure marketing hype without significant benefits. To help guide your shopping, Wine Spectator asked 14 top sommeliers across the United States and Canada which items they think actually make fabulous gifts. They came back with ideas that any wine lover would appreciate, from stunning decanters to practical wine bags to top-notch wine openers. Get some inspiration for 2024!

Posted Nov. 16

 The wine tower at Aureole, with an acrobat grabbing a bottle of wine.

An outpost of the original Aureole in New York, the restaurant in the Mandalay Bay resort became even more famous for its wine selection—and its stunning wine tower where staff performed aerial acrobatics to retrieve bottles. (Joe Schmelzer)

While restaurant openings abounded in 2023, we still had to say goodbye to some beloved establishments. Early in the year, chef Charlie Palmer announced the closure of his Grand Award-winning wine destination, Aureole Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino—known for its iconic four-story tower of wine, where acrobatic “wine angels” soared on wires to grab customers’ orders from the restaurant’s 26,000 bottles of wine. Read on.

Posted Feb. 21

 The dining room at 1856-Culinary Residence, A Teaching Restaurant, with a wine cart and Champagne bucket

Auburn University hosts one of Alabama’s leading culinary experiences. (Courtesy of 1856-Culinary Residence, A Teaching Restaurant)

In 2023, U.S., dining and hospitality returned to full form, with exciting new restaurants opening all around the country, offering great food and terrific wine programs to match. To celebrate, we highlighted 10 debuts, all new to their communities and to Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Awards program. From a live-fire steak house in Texas to the first solo endeavor from an acclaimed French chef to a university-based restaurant getting straight As in wine, we got to know these new award winners.

Posted June 26

 Man with a cart looks at a bottle of wine in the wine aisle of a grocery store

With these pro tips, you can find great wine even while you’re picking up milk and a loaf of bread. (Drazen Zigic/Getty Images)

Shopping for wine at the grocery store may seem a little backward to enophiles used to carefully perusing racks of status wines and tiny-production bottlings at their favorite fine-wine shop. To demonstrate that you can find wine gems while also picking up breakfast cereal and frozen foods, Wine Spectator turned to sommeliers from 11 U.S. Grand Award winners. In other words, we asked the people least likely to be drinking supermarket wine which bottles they pick for convenience but love for their character. Their choices range from fresh Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc to juicy Rioja to even (yes) Champagne. Which wines did they put in their carts?

Posted May 2

 The dining room of Vast, overlooking Oklahoma City

Among the winners new to the awards this year was Vast, a restaurant serving steaks and other American fare at the top of Devon Tower in downtown Oklahoma City. (Courtesy of Vast)

Wine Spectator celebrated 3,505 restaurants in 2023 for their ambitious wine programs, with winners hailing from all 50 states and 75 countries and territories. We introduced 794 new winners who joined the dining spots at the top tier of wine excellence. Find your next dining spot—by location, award level, wine strengths, cuisine and pricing—in our free Restaurant Search and discover the best wine lists around the world!

Posted June 26

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