a good year

Posh Houston restaurants uncork high honors in Wine Spectator awards

Posh Houston restaurants uncork high honors in Wine Spectator awards

March wine room
March scored a top spot for its wine list. Photo by Julie Soefer

A host of Houston — and Texas — restaurants won big in the recent Wine Spectator's 2021 Restaurant Awards. Launched in 1981, the awards recognize outstanding wine programs at dining spots around the globe.

Of the more than 2,900 award winners from around the world, dozens are in the Lone Star State. Houstonians can read the full list online or in the August 31 issue of the magazine, set to hit news stands on July 13.

The awards fall into three categories. The highest honor, the Grand Awards, recognize top-tier programs that offer huge depth and breadth. These are the spots with serious wines that pair well with the menu, are from top-ranked producers, and offer an outstanding selection of mature vintages.

The Best Awards of Excellent recognize restaurants with an extensive wine selection from multiple regions. The Award of Excellence showcases programs that provide well-curated lists that match the restaurant's menu in both price and food pairing ability. 

Four Texas dining spots were Grand Award winners, and were lauded by the magazine for their extraordinary wine programs. They are among 97 restaurants worldwide to receive the honor.

Houston
Mastro's Steak House at the Post Oak Hotel
Wine Spectator noted this swanky spot is home to the largest wine list in any of the magazine's award winners. The publication cites among its strengths a dynamic selection of wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, California, Piedmont, Tuscany, Champagne, the Loire, and Madiera.

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
Both the downtown and the original location earned Grand Award status, thanks to their showstopper collections. Downtown was called out for its "over-the-top" wine experiences, while the original location was lauded for its epic list with 4,100 selections.

In general, the magazine listed the restaurants' strengths in selections from Burgundy, Bordeaux, California, Piedmont, Rhône, Tuscany, Champagne, Germany, Austria, Spain, and Port.

Dallas
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
Big D's Pappas Bros placed, too, with Wine Spectator giving it high marks for growing into "a major force in Texas wine culture." Diners here can look for a terrific variety of large-format bottles, and strength of representation from Burgundy, Bordeaux, California, Piedmont, the Rhône, Tuscany, Champagne, Germany, Austria, Spain, and Port.

Sixteen restaurants across the state received Best Awards of Excellence. 

Houston
Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse
Every one of the chain's locations around the country earned a spot on the Best Awards of Excellence list. The Houston outpost was lauded for an extensive selection of wines from California, Bordeaux, Burgundy, France, and Italy.

El Meson
This Rice Village favorite got high marks from Wine Spectator for its selection of wines from Spain and California. That's likely not a surprise to Houstonians, who've long loved it for spotlighting Spanish culinary style.

Georgia James
Chris Shepherd's place earned a spot for its killer selection of wines from California, Italy, and France, all designed to enhance the upscale menu.

March
This Montrose Mediterranean newcomer was cited for its strengths in offering wines from Burgundy, Champagne, California, Bordeaux, Piedmont, and Tuscany.

Masraff's
The upscale spot won kudos for its wines from California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Italy.

Turner's 
Berg Hospitality's Uptown restaurant was lauded for a killer selection of wines from France, Burgundy, Champagne, California, Bordeaux, Tuscany, and Piedmont.

Vic & Anthony's 

The clubby, downtown steakhouse was cited for its emphasis on wines from California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, France, and Italy.

Dallas
Bob's Steak and Chop House
The Grapevine and Plano locations were award winners as well, but the Omni Hotel outpost was commended for its selections from California, France, and Italy.

The Capital Grille
This Uptown steakhouse got a nod for its excellent selections from California, France, and Italy.

Cru Food and Wine Bar
The West Village spot was cited for its carefully curated list, with selections from California, France and Italy particular strengths.

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse

The Mansion
This classic gem of upscale dining made the list for its selections from California, France, and Italy.

Austin
Bob's Steak and Chop House

The Lonesome Dover Western Bistro
This Warehouse District's "urban Western" cuisine pairs perfectly with its wine list, heavy on California selections.

San Antonio
Bob's Steak and Chop House

Signature at La Centera Resort
This jewel in the La Centera Resort and Spa's crown landed on the list for its selections from France, Champagne, and California.

Dozens of Texas restaurants received the Award of Excellence for their wine programs. Here are some of the highlights.

Houston
Brenner's on the Bayou
Wine strengths: California, France, Italy

Kiran's
Wine strengths: California, France

Rainbow Lodge
Wine strengths: California, Italy

Roka Akor
Wine strengths: California

Rosie Cannonball
Wine strengths: Beaujolais, France, Italy, California

State of Grace
Wine strengths: California, France, Italy

Dallas
Antonio Ristorante
Wine strength: Italy

Lavendou Bistro Provencal
Wine strengths: France, California

Law
Wine strength: California

The Mercury
Wine strengths: California, France

Austin
Cafe Blue (Both locations)
Wine strength: California

Ciclo
Wine strength: California

Siena Ristorante Toscano
Wine strength: Italy

San Antonio
The Palm
Wine strength: California