By Michael Deeds, IdahoStatesman.com
For grape junkies, deciding where to eat involves two menus: the food menu and the wine menu.
Consequently, the annual Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards are a must-see. The long-running publication, which describes itself as “the world’s leading authority on wine,” highlights dining destinations with the best selections.
Last year, 10 Idaho restaurants made the cut — six in the Boise area. This year, that number rose to 11. But the six Treasure Valley winners experienced a slight shake-up. Downtown Boise’s Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery is gone, replaced by Basque bar and restaurant Txikiteo, a newcomer to the list.
Other honorees, such as standout Chandlers Steakhouse, will be familiar to Boise wine aficionados.
This year, 3,776 dining destinations from all 50 states and more than 79 countries were honored. Wine Spectator offers three levels of distinction: Award of Excellence (2,289 winners); Best of Award of Excellence (1,387) and the rare Grand Award (100).
Here are the Idaho recipients:
BEST OF AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
Chandlers Steakhouse, 981 W. Grove St., Boise.
The Narrows Steakhouse at Shore Lodge, 501 W. Lake St., McCall.
AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
Bella Aquila, 775 S. Rivershore Lane, Eagle.
Capitol Cellars, 110 S. Fifth St., Boise.
Duchin Lounge, Sun Valley Lodge, 1 Sun Valley Road, Sun Valley.
Fork, 199 N. Eighth St., Boise.
Ill Naso, 480 Washington Ave., Ketchum.
The Ram at Sun Valley Inn, 1 Sun Valley Road, Sun Valley.
Richard’s, 500 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise.
The Roundhouse at Sun Valley Resort, 1 Sun Valley Road, Sun Valley.
Txikiteo, 175 N. 14th St., Boise
Wine Spectator Awards are pay-to-play; restaurateurs submit an entry fee to be considered. Not all restaurants that enter make the cut. When a dining destination receives Wine Spectator honors, it’s an indication that significant thought and resources are being devoted to wine.
With restaurants hit hard by COVID-19, the 2020 awards program celebrates their “resilience, dedication and bravery during these unprecedented times,” Wine Spectator editor Marvin R. Shanken said in a press release. “We hope that all of our award winners and the people who make them special will find their way through the crisis to once again welcome us through their doors. We look forward to raising a glass together, and to new beginnings.”
The 2020 worldwide list is available at the Wine Spectator website: winespectator.com.