Haute Living has carefully curated a top 5 list for all the Los Angeles oenophiles out there. Some of you may agree with our choices, but if we have missed a favorite place of yours, please write and tell us!
No surprise here. Restaurateur Piero Selvaggio has held the title of best wine list for most of his 30 years. To give you an idea, Valentino has been the recipient of the coveted Wine Spectator Grand Award, every year since 1981, when the magazine’s awards were first granted. A recent addition - The Valentino vin bar - has added a casual touch to the fine dining establishment, giving Westsiders a perfect place for an after-work drink. The most popular spot is still the wine cellar room (upstairs) where you can cozy up to more than 140,000 bottles from all over the world. If pressed, Selvaggio admits that his most prized wine is a 1891 Biondi-Santi valued at over $25,000. If that’s a little above your price range, there’s the 130-page wine list, which has big marquee wines but also some interesting discoveries from up and coming winemakers from Italy, California, France and Spain.
The Sommelier, Paul Sherman, is excellent and can skillfully advise you.
Our second spot goes to the flagship Patina restaurant at Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. In keeping with uber-chef Joachim Splichal ‘s wishes, the wine list keeps pace with the inventive food, with gems sprinkled throughout the list. It doesn’t hurt that it’s located in agreeably one of the most beautiful buildings in L.A. Silvestre Fernandes is the charming Sommelier.
141 South Grand Ave., Los Angeles
3 The Royce Restaurant
This marks the first year this rotating hotel restaurant has made the list. This stately hotel has long had excellent chefs, such as Craig Strong and Michael Voltaggio but has been re-energized with the arrival of French chef David Feau. Its previous incarnation, the Dining Room, was a little stuffy but the recent renovation has brought a light, airy and very modern feel to the restaurant. Take the two wine rooms – the “white” room with sleek and modern details and the “red” room accented with warm and traditional touches. The varied wine list features some heavy –hitters (like the Tuscan Reds) but also some delightful Californian varietals. Trust Eric Espuny, the Director of Wine.
No self-respecting list would be complete without a mention of the pioneering wine bar (A.O.C. is short for Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée.) The dynamic duo of Chef Suzanne Goin and partner Caroline Styne, made sure wine was central to the new space by offering a long wine bar listing over 50 pours by the glass. The small plates are a wonderful accompaniment to almost any wine, but try one of the undiscovered Californian producers they like to support. Check out Caroline Styne’s delightful wine blog at Styne On Wine.
802 W. 3rd Street., Los Angeles
5 Bottle Rock
This casual upstart opened in 2006 and still continues its hot streak, mainly because of the 700-plus wine list. Chef Jared Levy (formerly of Providence) has devised a quirky, tasty menu of gourmet "rock-n-plates" like communal cheese platters, prosciutto-wrapped dates, seasonal roasted vegetables, , charcuterie and dessert. But the real star is the ever-changing wine list. We found some rare varietals, along with some familiar labels and the staff is eager to advise .
3847 Main Street, Culver City