If wine selection is important to you when dining out, it pays to study the Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards.
The 2018 honors were unveiled today, and nine Idaho restaurants made the annual list, which includes 3,759 restaurants located in all 50 states throughout 75 countries and territories.
There are three award levels: Award of Excellence (2,453 winners), Best of Award of Excellence (1,215) and Grand Award (91).
Two Idaho restaurants won Best of Award of Excellence: Chandlers Steakhouse, 981 W. Grove St. in Boise, and The Narrows Steakhouse at Shore Lodge, 501 W. Lake St. in McCall.
The rest of the Gem State winners earned an Award of Excellence. Those include Bella Aquila, 775 S. Rivershore Lane in Eagle; Capitol Cellars, 110 S. Fifth St. in Boise; Fork, 199 N. Eighth St. in Boise; Ill Naso, 480 Washington Ave. in Ketchum; Richard's, 500 S. Capitol Blvd. in Boise; The Roundhouse at Sun Valley Resort; and The Ram at Sun Valley Inn.
Chandlers, in particular, deserves admiration. It's no small feat to pick up a Best of Award of Excellence, and Chandlers does it year after year. It's also worth noting that newcomer Richard's won an Award of Excellence in its first year open at the Inn at 500 in Downtown Boise.
Richard’s wine list includes more than 110 wines by the bottle and more than 25 choices by the glass. In a media release, the restaurant indicated that Italian wines are an important category, but that the list also offers selections from California, France and the Pacific Northwest. “Idaho wines are coming into their own now,” owner and chef Richard Langston said, “so we especially love introducing our out-of-town guests to wines from our state.”
Restaurateurs pay an entry fee to be considered for the Wine Spectator Awards, which “recognize restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers.” Not all restaurants that enter make the cut.
The 2018 list will be included in the August edition of Wine Spectator, available on newsstands July 17.