20 Best Winery Restaurants Around the World (Slideshow)
October 14, 2013
The Daily Meal celebrates the most exemplary epicurean endeavors at the world’s best wineries
20) The Restaurant at JUSTIN at JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery (Paso Robles, Calif.)
Opened in 1981 by Justin Baldwin, JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery is one of the youngest wineries on our list. Executive chef William Torres, who worked at West Hollywood’s Koi before joining The Restaurant at JUSTIN as sous chef in 2005, introduced a new focus for the menu when he took over as executive chef in 2009. The dishes from the seasonally changing menu are crafted using local ingredients and are paired with the winery’s Bordeaux-style blends, Isoceles (a cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc blend) and Justification (a merlot and cabernet franc blend), as well as single varietals like cabernet sauvignon and syrah. A daily-changing chef’s tasting menu is served at lunch and the kitchen offers à la carte selections at lunch and dinner. A recent tasting menu featured salmon rillettes with cornichons and Dijon on a warm baguette; New York strip steak with Big Rock blue cheese, roasted fingerling potatoes, and cherry tomatoes; and steamed yuzu cake with blueberry jam, caramelized cornflakes, and basil.
19) Overture at Hidden Valley Wines (Stellenbosch, South Africa)
Adjacent to Stellenbosch’s bucolic hills, Overture at Hidden Valley Wines is located on a secluded farm and vineyard. Dave Hidden acquired the winery property in 1998 and opened Overture in 2007. Chef- owner Bertus Basson (a judge on South African reality show The Ultimate Braai Master) crafts seasonally changing two-, three-, and four-course set menus and à la carte choices that emphasize pure and simple food. Offerings include a smoked yellowtail, maasbanker croquette, and organic beet appetizer; roasted hake with mussels, peas, and broad bean mariniere; and Camembert pie with green fig and almond ice cream. There is also a 10-course tasting menu that includes pairings of Hidden Valley’s cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, and shiraz varietals.
18) Restaurant at Weingut Nigl (Senftenberg, Austria)
The restaurant at Weingut Nigl is located in the countryside of lower Austria, but the drive to the cozy establishment, housed in an 800-year-old farmstead at the foot of the Senftenberg fortress ruins, is well worth the journey. Chef Erwin Windhaber’s Mediterranean-inspired menu changes every two weeks and features locally sourced traditional fare including Waldviertler lamb, venison, crackling dumplings, and asparagus, which are paired with Weingut Nigl’s grüner veltliner and riesling. For those who wish to extend their winery visit, the winery’s Hotel Nigl offers charming and comfortable accommodations.
17) Old Vines at Quails’ Gate (Okanagan Valley, Canada)
Located on the Boucherie Mountain Bench, Old Vines at Quails' Gate provides diners with a backdrop of majestic Lake Okanagan. Chef Roger Sleiman, of the storied and now-closed Café Henry Burger in Quebec, highlights locally sourced ingredients from British Columbia farms and his winery’s own kitchen garden. Sleiman offers diners farm-to-table feasts with extra flourishes from start to finish, like a seasonal amuse bouche and mignardises (an assortment of mini desserts). Appetizers like Quebec foie gras tochon with rhubarb, grapefruit gelée, almonds, and brioche, and mains like wild spring salmon with organic fennel and almond farro, cucumber, grapefruit, and dill vinaigrette are paired with Okanagan Valley wines like pinot noir and chardonnay.
16) Comtesse Thérèse Bistro at Comtesse Thérèse (Aquebogue, N.Y.)
Located in a Napoleonic-style house from the 1830s on the eastern end of Long Island, N.Y., Comtesse Thérèse Bistro is the only winery restaurant on Long Island. Chef Aristodemos "Arie" Pavlou, who worked at New York City’s Le Cirque and the now-shuttered René Pujol, crafts French-style fare from seasonal ingredients, winery-grown herbs, and Comtesse Thérèse wines, which are infused into the restaurant's soups and sauces. The menu at the 28-seat dining room is expertly paired with Comtesse Thérèse sauvignon blanc, Russian oak chardonnay, rosé, blanc de noir, Hungarian oak merlot, Aquebogue Estate merlot, and Aquebogue Estate cabernet sauvignon. Standout dishes from the short, local, and seasonal menu, which also includes three-course prix fixe dinner options, include French onion soup made with local duck stock, red wine, caramelized onions, and topped with melted Gruyère; Crescent Farms duck breast that's house-smoked with local cherry and hickory wood; and pears poached in Comtesse Thérèse wine with the chef's secret herbs and spices, accompanied by chocolate sauce and a scoop of ice cream. The restaurant is open in the summer for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays and for dinner from Wednesday to Sunday.
15) The Bistro at Red Newt at Red Newt Cellars (Hector, N.Y.)
The Bistro at Red Newt is a charming restaurant with an outdoor deck that offers magnificent views of the Finger Lakes sunset. In cooler months, the indoor 12-seat community harvest table is an ideal spot to sip wine and savor the restaurant's American cuisine, while the Bistro Kitchen Bar affords diners the opportunity interact with the culinary team while they prepare each plate. Each dish incorporates locally sourced ingredients from more than 30 local Finger Lakes farmers, producers, and suppliers. Chef Brud Holland prepares a three-course prix fixe menu with options that include ravioli with zucchini, summer squash, chèvre, Cheddar, herb butter riesling sauce, and asiago; roasted hen with bacon-stuffed cornbread, riesling herb butter glaze apple chutney, and a seasonal vegetable; and fruit cobbler with seasonal fruit, crisp butter topping, and vanilla ice cream. The Bistro is open for dinner only from Thursday to Saturday.
14) Terrôir at Craggy Range (Havelock North, New Zealand)
As its name suggests, Terrôir embodies the meaning of the French term used to describe soil, climate, food, wine, and culture. The focus here is on unpretentious and simple proteins and organic produce from the winery’s garden. Dishes are paired with Craggy Range’s single-vineyard wines, which include riesling, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, syrah, pinot noir, and the wondrous Gimblett Gravels Blends (a blend of traditional varieties of Bordeaux wines — merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot — which are planted in the winery’s Gimblett Gravels Vineyard). The menu is "all about quality French country cuisine with a slightly more contemporary approach," says chef Leyton Ashley. Dishes at the bistro-inspired restaurant include appetizers like venison carpaccio with walnuts, cassis, horseradish, and watercress; mains like pink-roasted Merino lamb with heirloom carrots, spinach, and anchoiade; and desserts like organic hay ice cream with rhubarb and white chocolate.
13) Restaurant at Herdade do Esporão (Reguengos de Monsaraz, Portugal)
For years folks have been coming by Jeep, by bicycle, and by foot to Herdade do Esporão in southern Portugal. Chef Miguel Vaz Oliviera has created a menu at Restaurant based on the rich cuisine of the Alentejo region in south-central Portugal but infusing his modern take on traditional Portuguese fare. "It is a journey to the roots of this region and to the flavors of yesteryear, by using products grown on our estate and by reformulating forgotten recipes," said Oliviera on the winery’s website. Oliviera’s signature dishes, which are paired with the winery’s extensive portfolio of reds, whites, and rosés, include bacalhau Esporão (dried cod) and assado Esporão (braised pork cheeks with creamy mushroom rice and chives).
12) Magill Estate Restaurant at Penfolds Magill Estate (Adelaide, Australia)
Nestled in the Adelaide foothills on the grounds of Penfolds Magill Estate, a historic vineyard established by Dr. Christopher Rawson Penfold and his wife Mary in 1844, Magill Estate Restaurant makes our list of the best winery restaurants. The comfortable spot delivers contemporary fare in an equally modern home of polished timber, brass, and red neon adjacent to the winery’s bluestone cellars. The set menu — five or eight courses that may include marron with artichokes, snook with broccolini and mojama, and pigeon with onion and turnip — is carefully paired with riesling, cabernet sauvignon, and shiraz varietals, but Penfolds is most famous for its Grange wine (a complex shiraz which requires medium to long-term cellaring) so make sure to order a glass.
11) Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch (Napa Valley, Calif.)
As the family-friendly restaurant name suggests, the décor and menu at Farmstead features American farmhouse-style dining. Housed in a former nursery barn, the 110-seat restaurant features an open kitchen and outdoor seating in warmer months. Chef Stephen Barber, who hails from Kentucky and also owns BarBersQ in Napa Valley, worked at City Grocery in Oxford, Miss., and with Norman Van Aken at his former Miami Beach restaurant Norman’s before heading west. At Farmstead, Barber has created an à la carte Southern-style menu. There’s even a locomotive-sized smoker adjacent to the restaurant. Try to come for fried chicken night, a weekly tradition on Tuesdays, but if your visit is at a different time, they offer a family-style brunch along with lunch and dinner menus. Most ingredients are foraged from local farms, gardens, and suppliers, as well as Long Meadow Ranch’s own farm, which is a source for the grass-fed beef, organic and sustainably produced eggs, fruits, vegetables, extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, and honey that are incorporated into the dishes. Dinner menu options include plancha-cooked beets with goat cheese crema, St Louis ribs with barbecue sauce, and Scharffen Berger chocolate cream pie with graham cracker crumbles. All meals can of course be paired with the winery's sauvignon blanc, red blends, and cabernet sauvignon wines.
10) Urban at O. Fournier (Mendoza, Argentina)
Located on a 650-acre farm 80 miles from Mendoza City is the lakeside Urban, a relaxed restaurant with a menu of Argentine and Mediterranean-Spanish dishes that is as impressive as the views of the Andes Mountains. Reserve a table on the outdoor deck, which is open in warmer months for lunch. The 60-seat Urban is guided by chef-owner Nadia Haron (her husband José Ortega Gil-Fournier owns the winery), who also owns Nadia O.F. in Mendoza. The chef, who was born in San Sebastian, Spain, and earned a chemistry degree before entering the culinary world, creates six-course seasonal set menus paired with O. Fournier’s Alfa Crux and B Crux labels. If the torrontés sherbet with chocolate chips is on offer, make sure to save room.
9) The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards (Livermore, Calif.)
The airy The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards is one of the few winery restaurants to serve Sunday brunch with its chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, zinfandel, pinot noir, syrah, viognier, sauvignon blanc, and riesling varietals. Founded in 1883, the winery claims to be the country’s oldest continuously operated family-owned winery. Executive chef Matt Greco, who recently joined the Bay Area restaurant after 12 years in New York City where he cooked with Daniel Boulud at Café Boulud and helped launch Brooklyn’s Char No. 4, continues The Restaurant’s 27-year tradition of creating unpretentious wine country cuisine. The à la carte menus are changed daily and the American dishes, influenced by Italian, French, and California cuisine, are comprised of sustainable, organic ingredients, many from the winery’s own garden. An October brunch menu featured éclairs with frangipane and almonds; butter bean chili with chorizo, spiced beef broth, and Swiss chard; a salad with Mission fig, red quinoa, prosciutto, rosemary honey, baby greens, and hazelnut picada; garden flint corn grits with Hawaiian prawns, smoked braised guanciale, garden greens, and poached egg; and a corned beef breakfast sandwich with pickled olive salad, fried egg, and provolone. The restaurant offers lunch Monday to Saturday, Sunday brunch, and daily dinner service.
8) Barão Fladgate Restaurant at Taylor Fladgate (Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal)
Even if port aficionados can’t book a table on the terrace (open April 1 to mid-October), of Barão Fladgate Restaurant, which affords stunning views of Oporto and the Douro River, the garden is also a charming respite after a day of touring the cellars and lodges. The à la carte-only menu is more casual than other winery restaurants on this list, but the traditional Portuguese dishes paired with Taylor’s port and Portuguese wines are the best in the country. Appetizers to try include sardines on fresh bread with codfish caviar and Portuguese salad, and mains include duck Magret on mushroom fettuccine with a lime and chive sauce and black pork medallions with Taylor’s Chip Dry white port and thyme sauce, potato gratin, and mini vegetables. Finish off lunch or dinner with a Taylor’s Late Bottled Vintage (Taylor’s is often attributed as the originator of Late Bottled Vintage-style port) parfait with kiwi macaron and lemon cream
7) La Taverna at Castello Banfi (Montalcino, Italy)
At just about 35 years old, Castello Banfi is one of the youngest winery on The Daily Meal’s 20 Best Winery Restaurants list. Americans John and Harry Mariani have harvested outstanding vintages from the expansive 7,100-acre estate’s cluster of sloping single vineyards, which grow chardonnay, pinot grigio, and brunello. The estate in southern Tuscany includes Il Borgo, a hillside hamlet of 18th-century stone houses that accommodates a handful of overnight guests, as well as La Taverna, a rustic restaurant populated with sturdy wooden tables and housed in the vaulted, brick-arched cellars of the medieval castle. The dining experience here includes a choice of three-, four-, and five-course tasting menus and an à la carte menu, all paired with Castello Banfi wines. The menu of traditional Tuscan dishes may include duck ravioli with truffles or Tuscan chicken stew with mashed potatoes
6) The Restaurant at Cordeillan-Bages (Pauillac, France)
Tucked away in the Relais & Chateaux Château Cordeillan-Bages, a 28-room countryside mansion that was formerly a Carthusian monastery, the two-Michelin-starred The Restaurant is a wining and dining sanctuary in southwestern France. The Restaurant overlooks a Cordeillan-Bages vineyard, which is perched on a ridge of the Bages plateau in Médoc, a wine-growing region north of Bordeaux on the bank of the Gironde estuary. Chef Jean-Luc Rocha prepares two set menus, a nine-course degustation menu, and à la carte options for lunch and dinner. The degustation menu is paired with Bordeaux and Cordeillan-Bages wines, which are made by the staff at nearby Chateau Lynch-Bages. The menu begins with iced potato cream soup, oysters, and Aquitaine caviar, and continues with warm foie gras in a cereal crust; blue lobster with baby vegetable risotto coral, and cappuccino; lightly smoked pigeon with St. George’s mushroom and rhubarb cake with beetroot reduction sauce; and dark chocolate cream gateau with white chocolate cardamom ice cream.
5) 1884 Restaurante Francis Mallmann at Escorihuela Winery (Mendoza, Argentina)
The restaurant is named for the year that La Bodega Escorihuela was constructed, the Romanesque-style building that houses 1884 Restaurante Francis Mallmann and Escorihuela Winery (formed by Baron Eric de Rothschild’s famed Chateau Lafite and Catena Zapata led by Nicolás Catena Zapata), and after the Argentinian chef Francis Mallmann, who co-founded the restaurant with Zapata. Since 1996, the restaurant has been serving Andean cuisine paired with the Mendoza’s wines, including the winery’s malbecs and syrahs. The menu is mostly Mallmann, though the restaurant has been managed by Vanina Chimeno since 2002. On display is Mallmann’s passion for rustic dishes prepared using many forms of fire: clay oven, ember oven, spit oven, asador, barbecue, spirit stove, plow disc, caldron, and a stove with hot plates and a piece of sheet metal. Signature dishes include goat cheese braised in the clay oven with peppers, eggplant, and onions; mustard marinara tenderloin; and grilled sweetbreads. Be sure to try the rib-eye with chimichurri and Patagonia-style potatoes and the flan with dulce de leche.
4) Leeuwin Restaurant at Leeuwin Estate (Margaret River, Australia)
It’s likely one of the only wineries in the world where diners can arrive by private jet, but Leeuwin Restaurant at Leeuwin Estate in Western Australia is also easily accessible by more modest means. No matter how they arrive, diners can enjoy their meals on the verandas of the tranquil, sun-drenched restaurant that overlooks a meadow and karri tree forest. Australian chef Dany Angove offers an à la carte menu as well as a five-course degustation menu paired with a portfolio of the estate’s "Art Series" label, the finest of its four labels, which includes riesling, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and cabernet sauvignon. The spring degustation menu begins with an heirloom tomato, cucumber, and yuzu ceviche and continues with roasted marron tail with smoked caviar, and duck leg confit with carrot purée and radish and herb salad. Dessert is a tough choice between Pot Bing Su, made with azuki bean, green tea ice cream, and milk ice, and Queso Valdeón (a Spanish blue cheese from León).
3) Marqués de Riscal at Herederos del Marqués de Riscal (Elciego, Rioja, Spain)
Marqués de Riscal makes an impression long before visitors step into the second-floor dining room located inside the Frank Gehry-designed Marqués de Riscal, a 43-room Luxury Collection Hotel. Diners are greeted with the scents wafting from the Herederos del Marqués de Riscal Winery wine cave, home to 8 million bottles. Upon arrival, guests are ushered into the bold, red-walled dining room adorned with stainless-steel lamps, copper and onyx countertops, and stunning views of Elciego and the medieval town’s Saint Andrés church. Riojan chef Francis Paniego of Michelin-starred Echaurren Restaurant is the gastronomic consultant for both the avant-garde Marqués de Riscal and the hotel’s more casual Bistro 1860. The menu features traditional Riojan cuisine coupled with haute and nouveau creations, including dishes reminiscent of those served at Echaurren Restaurant like foie gras pudding with red-wine caviar and red pepper, tomato tartar with Norwegian lobster, and cold white garlic soup. The restaurant serves eight house wines, including reds, whites, and rosés, along with a globe-trotting selection of 200 wines from five continents, but aficionados must order the limited-edition Gehry Selection 2001, made of red grapes fermented and aged especially for the grand opening celebration of the City of Wine, the titanium-covered building that houses the hotel.
2) Cantinetta Antinori at Palazzo Antinori (Florence, Italy)
Decades before it became common for wineries to open restaurants, the Antinori family was serving Tuscan cuisine paired with the family’s Tuscan wines. Nestled in a corner of the family palazzo, a Renaissance-era, Florentine-style palace in the center of Florence, Cantinetta Antinori opened its doors in 1957. The charming restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. Dishes on the seasonally changing menu are crafted with ingredients from the Antinori farm and are paired with Antinori’s reds, whites, rosés, sparkling wines, and grappas from Piemonte, Tuscany, and Umbria. Family classics are available during most of the year, including Tuscan grilled beef sirloin with roasted potatoes, a Castello della Sala cheese plate, and chestnut-flour cake with ricotta. The family has been harvesting wine for more than 600 years, making each wine a true classic though you must order the tobacco-scented Grappa Tignanello — salute!
1) étoile at Domaine Chandon (Yountville, Calif.)
Its status as the only restaurant within a winery in Napa Valley, Calif., isn’t the only distinction that sets étoile above the rest. Chef Perry Hoffman, a Napa Valley native and grandson of Sally and Don Schmitt, the original owners of The French Laundry, has made a name for himself, too. At age 25, Hoffman became the youngest chef in America to be awarded a Michelin star for his contemporary Californian menu at étoile, which features balanced dishes created from foraged ingredients from the winery’s gardens on the 300-acre estate. The seasonally changing menu includes à la carte options and tasting menus for lunch and dinner along with suggested wine pairings from Domaine Chandon and beyond. The six-course dinner tasting menu might begin with poached Maine lobster with Persian cucumber, yogurt, plums and papalo (summer cilantro) paired with étoile rosé and continue with Anderson-Avilla Farms Rabbit with ground berries, eggplant, pistachio, and arugula. For dessert, indulge in apricot meringue with chamomile ice cream, fromage blanc, and apricot sauce. The sunny patio, which overlooks the lush vineyards where pinot noir and chardonnay are cultivated to create the label’s more robust reserves, is the quintessential spot for alfresco wine country dining, while the vaulted main dining room finished with floor-to-ceiling windows provides respite during the chillier winter months. The restaurant is open from Thursday through Monday and is closed through all of January.