What makes a destination iconic? Whether boasting an illustrious history, stunning location, impressive guest list or enchanting atmosphere, it’s a place you can just feel is special when you set foot on the property.
These 9 Wine Spectator Restaurant Award–winning restaurants from around the United States and Canada host visitors who come for myriad and unique experiences—including the opportunity to drink incredible wine.
Do you have a favorite you’d like to see on this list? Send your recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear from you!
Note: Opening hours and menus are subject to change as the industry continues to adjust to evolving regulations.
The Little Nell
675 E. Durant Ave., Aspen, Colo.
Telephone (970) 920-6330
Tucked high up in the Rocky Mountains, the Little Nell hotel opened its doors in 1989 as the only resort with ski-in, ski-out access to Aspen Mountain. Over the decades, the resort has earned fame not only for its skiing but also for its stellar wine and dining. The name of its flagship restaurant—Element 47—refers to Aspen’s founding as a mining town (47 being silver’s number on the periodic table). The real riches, though, are found in the restaurant’s 22,990-bottle cellar. Offering 3,100 selections, with strengths in Burgundy, Bordeaux, California, Rhône and Italy, the Colorado institution has earned a Grand Award every year since 1997 and has a reputation for helping mint some of the country’s leading sommeliers. Wine director Chris Dunaway oversees the program today, offering pairings for dishes like wagyu tartare, sea bass with winter squash, venison and much more from chef Matt Zubrod’s menu.
HMF at the Breakers
The Breakers, 1 S. Country Road, Palm Beach, Fla.
Telephone (561) 659-8480
In 1896, Florida oil tycoon Henry Morrison Flagler opened the Palm Beach Inn just a stone’s throw from the Atlantic; when he expanded the hotel a few years later, he renamed it the Breakers. Throughout the decades, the resort has attracted a noteworthy crowd of America’s wealthy at play, from Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Astors to Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan. Its flagship restaurant, HMF, is a tribute to its founder, serving international cuisine under vaulted ceilings and chandeliers that evoke old-school Palm Beach. A Grand Award winner since 1981, the restaurant maintains nearly 2,050 wine selections, with a focus on Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, California, Italy, Rhône and Spain. Today, wine director Virginia Philip and sommeliers Juan Gomez, Kaysie Rogers, Kristin Neuman, Jason Saake and Ellefy Thidawan are the stewards of the 50,000-bottle cellar. Wines are served alongside chef Joey Tuazon’s menu of small-plate dishes, featuring the likes of swordfish souvlaki and garganelli with Maine lobster.
The Inn at Little Washington
Middle and Main Streets, Washington, Va.
Telephone (540) 675-3800
In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 70 miles from "big" Washington, D.C., the Inn at Little Washington is the epitome of rural sophistication in the rolling hills of Virginia farm country. Self-taught chef and owner Patrick O’Connell’s renowned American cuisine, available in three different tasting menus, draws guests from around the world (he welcomed a very different set of guests during the COVID-19 pandemic). The team here has overcome serious hurdles to achieve its Grand Award status: When the Inn opened in 1978, the town was legally dry. Petitions were circulated and a vote was called to change the restriction, and from there, the restaurant’s wine program took off running. The wine list has earned a Grand Award each year since 1995; overseen by Lindsey Fern, it offers 2,000 selections, with emphasis on Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, the Rhône, Tuscany, Germany, California, Oregon and Virginia. Diners can pair their wine with dishes from O’Connell’s tasting menu, such as tuna with foie gras confit, pepper-crusted Long Island duck and coconut sorbet with passionfruit-ginger granité.
Post Hotel Dining Room
Post Hotel & Spa, 200 Pipestone Road, Lake Louise, Alberta
Telephone (800) 661-1586
Originally opened in 1942 as the Lake Louise Ski Lodge in the picturesque hamlet of Lake Louise, the Post Hotel and Spa in the Canadian Rockies drew inspiration from alpine Swiss destinations. When co-owner and wine director George Schwarz took the reins in the late 1970s, he carried the resort’s Swiss vision through to its dining. Today, its culinary reputation rivals its skiing, with contemporary cuisine from chef Hans Sauter served in the hotel’s flagship Dining Room, which affords guests sweeping mountain views. The menu highlights Canadian meat and fish in dishes such as British Columbia salmon sashimi, duck spring rolls and Alberta beef tenderloin. Overseen by wine director Misun Bu, the 2,475-selection list has earned a Grand Award since 2002, showcasing wines from California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhône, Tuscany, Piedmont and Australia, with plenty of values and Canadian selections in the mix as well. Vintage Ports and Sauternes abound on the substantial dessert wine list.
Topper's at the Wauwinet
The Wauwinet Inn 120 Wauwinet Road Nantucket, Mass.
Telephone (508) 228-8768
The Wauwinet has been hosting parties on the eastern edge of Nantucket since the elegant Victorian inn opened in 1875. Today, at Topper’s, diners can enjoy the same stunning views of the waterfront as guests did over a century ago. When it comes to the restaurant's regional cuisine, executive chef Kyle Zachary strikes a delicate balance: He has to satisfy guests who expect New England classics and those looking for something new, offering everything from a lobster roll to chicory salad to bluefish pâté to cabbage-ricotta agnolotti. For wine, the 2,000-label program has earned the restaurant a Grand Award since 1996 and offers an abundance of noteworthy wines from California, Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône and Italy, bolstered by a range of other regions around the world. It is currently managed by wine director Jason Irving.
The Fearrington House Restaurant
The Fearrington House Inn, 2000 Fearrington Village Center, Pittsboro, N.C.
Telephone (919) 542-2121
Best of Award of Excellence
For nearly four decades, the Fearrington House Inn has been a beacon of elegant hospitality in Fearrington Village, an 18th century farmstead turned countryside community not far from Chapel Hill, N.C. The Fearrington House Restaurant is a vital part of this legacy, featuring a regional, prix-fixe menu of some of the best food offered in the region. Todd Chatterton leads the wine program of more than 1,450 selections from throughout California, Italy, Burgundy, the Rhône and Germany (the program was previously overseen by beverage and service director Paula de Pano). The restaurant, which prides itself on its approachable wine team, hosts classes on wine and spirits to help visitors expand their beverage knowledge. To accompany the 5,000-bottle inventory, executive chef Colin Bedford prepares a seasonal menu of dishes like crispy whipped ricotta with parsnip, prosciutto-wrapped quail, seared scallops with white asparagus and rutabaga confit with Medjool dates. Guests can optionally add wine pairings or try the restaurant’s tasting menu. (Vegetarian options are available.) The restaurant also serves afternoon tea.
Halekulani Hotel 2199 Kalia Road Honolulu, Hawaii
Telephone (808) 923-2311
Best of Award of Excellence
The Halekulani Hotel has welcomed guests on the shores of Oahu’s Waikiki since opening in 1883. Its focal restaurant, La Mer, embraces its surroundings, offering stunning views of the Pacific from its outdoor dining space and incorporating local, tropical ingredients into its southern French cuisine. Prepared by chef Alexander Trancher, highlights include poached Chilean seabass with edamame mousseline, a filet of beef with foie gras, a Gewürztraminer-based emulsion with pineapple granite and roasted scallops with lobster consommé, as well as a selection of caviars. Kevin Toyama oversees the restaurant’s wine program, which has earned a Best of Award of Excellence since 2008 for its 1,600 selections, with strengths in California, Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne.
The Greenbrier Main Dining Room
The Greenbrier, 101 Main St. West, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
Telephone (434) 258-8502
Best of Award of Excellence
Located amid the Allegheny Mountains in West Virginia, the Greenbrier has been a travel destination since its founding in 1778. Guests have been visiting the property for centuries to bathe in its restorative spring waters. Today, the resort’s five championship golf courses, picturesque grounds, casino, mineral spa and renowned dining attract patrons from around the globe. The wine list at the resort’s upscale Main Dining Room, overseen by Thomas S. Kirby, earned a Best of Award of Excellence in 2016, and now offers 885 selections and a 28,000-bottle inventory focused on California, Oregon, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Spain, Italy and beyond. The American- and French-influenced menu features dishes like creamy onion soup, chicken breast stuffed with herb mousse, seared Chilean seabass and grilled Spanish octopus.
The Polo Lounge
The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows, 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills, Calif.
Telephone (310) 276-2251
Best of Award of Excellence
For more than a century, the Beverly Hills Hotel has served as a symbol of old Hollywood glamor, attracting an elite crowd to its private bungalows and enchanting grounds. John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon and Yoko Ono are among the guests to have visited, and the hotel has been featured in numerous films. Take in the scene at the hotel’s Best of Award of Excellence–winning restaurant, the Polo Lounge, once frequented by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and other members of the Rat Pack. Wine director Kaitlyn Demasi’s 1,200-selection list pinpoints bottles from California, Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne to pair with chef Pedro Contreras’ contemporary American–cuisine menu of dishes like ahi tuna tartare, crab cakes, roasted halibut and an American Wagyu hamburger. Guests can also enjoy these outside on the restaurant’s patio.