Organic and small-batch wines fill swirling glasses beneath the soaring ceilings of House Red Vinoteca. At a rustic, reclaimed-wood bar, discerning staff members subject new elixirs to tastings and credit checks, and the chef makes changes to a rotating menu of vino-enhancing fare made from scratch. Plates bearing crispy flatbreads and desserts inspired by international culinary traditions glide back and forth between duos chattering beneath exposed-brick walls. The warm sway of live jazz rolls across wine-tasting events and bottle-laden shelves, and patrons sipping through tasting flights from Croatia, Lebanon, Morocco, Serbia, and Slovenia add delicate treble notes with clinking glasses.
Owner Tom Kampschroeder, a wine professional with more than 29 years of experience, shares his grapey know-how with most any guest who walks through Salt Creek Wine Bar's doors. Sample wines-of-a-feather with the wine flight menu, or check out the beers and spirits menu. Wash down washes of tingly wash with Italian delights including artisan cheese flights, pizza, and seafood.
Hillgrove Wine Cellars and Bistro combines tastings of fine, international wines and craft brews with equally well-crafted appetizers. Danny Parrott curates the medley of food and drinks, relying on his sensitive palate developed over years in the restaurant industry to lead him to the finest flavors. His stock of wine bottles and beers blend with the seasons and are chosen based on his particular leanings. His menu, however, remains anchored in specific flavors meant to offset the dryness of a fine white or the rich tannins of a red.
From the minds behind Webster?s Wine Bar and The Bluebird, Telegraph emerged in the summer of 2011 as the chic-yet-rustic result of a focus on natural wines and seasonal, locally sourced cuisine. With Chef John Anderes at the helm of a menu that helped earn a place on Chicago Magazine?s Best New Restaurants list, dishes pay homage to Mediterranean fare, receiving Anderes? deft touch of interesting and unique flavor combinations. Joined by sommelier Jeremy Quinn?one of Food & Wine?s 2012 Sommeliers of the Year?Telegraph?s cuisine finds complement in a list of wines from small, family-owned European producers whose focus is on natural, non-interventionist processes. The list features more than 20 pours by the glass, recent vintages, mature wines by the bottle and half-carafe, and large-format bottles, ideal for events at Telegraph?s communal table.
Rittergut Wine Bar Restaurant & Social Club crafts the perfect wine, seafood, and steak experience, with seating that overlooks the Chicago River. Wine by the glass and bottle from the vineyards of Spain, Austria, France, and Italy complements charcuterie and imported cheese plates stocked with wild boar salami or herb-laden garrotxa goat cheese, much like the contents of an enophile's personal bomb shelter. The tasting bar and private wine rooms set the stage for uninterrupted swilling, while dining rooms bathed in amber light host feasts of lamb burgers seasoned with Moroccan spices. Arched ceilings draw the eye downward to exposed brick walls and hardwood floors indoors, and a riverside patio with dark wicker booths and wooden tables perch patrons over ebbing crests and bottled messages that implore you to try the salmon.
Named after the traditional farmhouses of the Friuli region of Italy, which sold fresh food and wine to locals, Frasca Pizzeria & Wine Bar stands as a neighborhood hub for casual Italian eats. Emerging cooked from Frasca's wood-fired ovens in just two minutes, thin-crust pies come littered with sumptuous toppings such as caramelized white onions and fennel sausage or in basic margherita form—a combination of mozzarella, tomato sauce, sliced tomatoes, and basil that landed on Chicago magazine's list of the city's 25 best pizzas. An extensive list of international wines, beers, and cocktails complement slices, seasonal pastas, and meaty entrees, all served atop wooden tables dotted around the warm dining room or nested inside leather booths. Frasca also serves weekend brunch featuring many of its signature pizzas alongside Nutella-stuffed french toast, eggs, and bloody marys.