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As good as the food is at a restaurant, what can make a meal even better is the wine selections to pair with the food. It is not about the size of the list or having the correct list of wines. It is about understanding the cuisine of the restaurant and the customer and then creating a list to appeal to both. My recent story in California Winery Advisor listed 15 of the best restaurant wine lists in Los Angeles and you can read it here. ************************************************************** Wondering who has the best restaurant wine lists in Los Angeles and why? It is not the size of the wine list. It is not because it has a list of every aspirational, expensive, highly scored wine. And it is definitely not a good list when the list consists of generic mass-produced brands that can be found on the shelves of the local grocery store. A good wine list is one that is curated by the wine director of the restaurant to pair with the food on the menu. It is a list that offers a range of price points and combines familiarity as well as uniqueness. With so many exceptional restaurants in Los Angeles, a good wine list is what can set one apart from another. Here are 15 restaurants offering some of the most interesting, exciting and appropriate wine selections for the customer.
Dama in the Fashion District in downtown Los Angeles opened in July 2018 and was at the top of my list to visit. Somehow it took me almost a year to finally get there, due to an insanely busy travel schedule. But, it was worth the wait and I have already returned because Dama is a definite dining destination. Dama is an upscale Latin-influenced restaurant located in a converted warehouse. From the moment you step inside, you will feel like you are at a tropical resort in the Caribbean. A gigantic wooden bar sits in the middle of the restaurant, covering a large portion of the space. Tables surround the bar and more tables can be found outside on the patio. But even when you are sitting inside, you will feel like you are outside as there are no solid walls around the restaurant and the outside breeze flows through the dining room. The floors are tiled and wicker ceiling fans hang from the ceiling. The feeling is so tropical and relaxed, you will feel like you have stepped back in time to 1940s Havana as you sip a daiquiri at the bar. I am personally drawn to the wine list which is curated by Taylor Grant, who also oversees the wine program at one of Dama's sister restaurants, Scopa Italian Roots in Culver City. The wine list is creative and eclectic with wines from around the world - Spain, Portugal, Mexico, France, Switzerland, Greece, Lebanon, Germany, Austria, California, Oregon, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Chile, and a small selection of wines from Sicily. Taylor and her team are on hand to suggest wines to enjoy with your meal and you are bound to try something you have not had before.