Survey 2011: Best Wine List

This question was suggested by a reader, and added at the last-minute. I think it was a good idea, and was interested to see which restaurants placed on top of the pack. Here are the results.

Out of 490 votes cast:

  1. Metrovino -20% of the vote.  1139 Northwest 11th Ave., Portland, OR 97209 (503) 517-7778 Map
  2. Nostrana – 1401 Southeast Morrison St., Portland, Oregon 97214 (503) 234-2427 Map
  3. Kir – 22 Northeast 7th Ave., Portland, OR 97214 (503) 232-3063 Map

Some people might argue that Kir is primarily a wine bar, so shouldn’t be on this list. For them, I will list the next highest, which is

Tabla Mediterranean Bistro – 200 Northeast 28th Ave., Portland, OR 97232 (503) 238-3777 Map

Honorable Mentions: a large group of other restaurants were in a dead heat, separated from each other by two points, so this is a large list: Le Pigeon, Tabla, Paley’s Place, Higgins, Vino Paradiso and Noble Rot.

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. Jeffrey Groh says

    Aloha Portland Peeps,

    The results of this listing are indicative of why you have very few Somms left working in your fair city. To those of you still grinding it out – good luck brothers and sisters.

    Mahalo from Maui.

    Jeff Groh

    • says

      Mine is not a comment on the results, but on why so few Somms are left in Portland:
      I can only suggest that as more large restaurants close, there are fewer places left that can afford a Somm. Same for pastry chefs, bread bakers, fromagieres…event planners…who am I missing on this list?

      I’ve sort of been waiting for someone to take up this topic since the closing of Fenouil, 1001, Lucier. How are our specialists dealing with the closing or downsizing by our big employers?, is this having an effect on our restaurant culture?

      Are entry level positions harder to find as these specialists are required to do the work of many other positions in smaller restaurants? Can the smaller restaurants afford to have so many quality specialists on payroll (management heavy) and so few minimum wagers?

      Is this feeding the food cart scene? (I own one!)
      I get a lot of requests to cater special events, there should be an event planner that handles food carts!!

      Back to wine: are the Somms really leaving town?, so close to wine country, but is there a restaurant industry here for them?

      From Food Dude, March 3, 2011 at 4:41 pm:
      I think it shows where we are in the current economy. I know quite a few people who get their wine at TJ’s. If it fills their needs, more power to them

  2. Sean says

    Jeez Jeff, I actually voted for Ten 01 since it was a 2010 survey, and I suspect others might have too had not the restaurant closed. The wine program that Erica put together was stellar, and I think it was as much (or more) of a loss as the kitchen.

  3. jimster says

    Tabla? That just has to be a factor of the relative popularity of the restaurant since the wine list is, well, not very good. Beaker & Flask has a bigger, more well thought out and cheaper list and it has the reputation as a cocktail joint as opposed to a restaurant. There are no A list wine lists in Portland. I am not sure there is anything above a B- at this point. There is no restaurant one would go to in town because of their wine list. San Francisco? New York? Chicago? Boston? Seattle? Yes on all counts. The topic of what people in Portland want in theory and what they are generally willing to support in reality has been broached many the time here so there’s no need to cover it again. Sommeliers in this town have to find creative ways to use their skills and experience to generate a living.

      • jimster says

        Having been there since that happened I would have to say that 99 percent of that wine was either sold or is “off-list” somehow. The Tabla list in no way even resembles a shadow of the 1001 list.

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