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TAMPA, FL — While metro areas like New York City and high-profile wine-growing regions like Napa tend to get all the attention, oenophiles should not overlook Tampa-St. Petersburg area fine-dining spots with great wine selections.

Wine Spectator unveiled the 2022 Restaurant Awards winners, which honor the world’s best restaurants for wines. This year’s awards program recognized 3,169 dining destinations from all 50 states and in more than 70 countries worldwide.

In the Tampa metro, 24 restaurants earned recognition. Since 1981, the Restaurant Awards have had three distinct levels: The “Award of Excellence,” the “Best of Award of Excellence” and the “Grand Award.”

The annual Restaurant Awards honor excellence in restaurant wine lists, as well as those who have demonstrated passion and devoted extensive resources to creating outstanding wine programs.

In the Tampa area, only one restaurant was given the Grand Award: Bern’s Steak House at 1208 S. Howard Ave. in Tampa.

These Tampa-St. Pete restaurants earned nods for Best Of Award Of Excellence this year:

  • Alfano’s Restaurant, Clearwater
  • Birch and Vine Restaurant, St. Petersburg
  • Charley’s Steak House, Tampa
  • Columbia Restaurant, Tampa
  • Council Oak Steaks & Seafood, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Tampa
  • Forlini’s Restaurant, Clearwater Beach
  • Haven, Tampa
  • Rococo Steak, St. Petersburg
  • Sea Salt St. Pete, St. Petersburg
  • The Capital Grille, Tampa

Restaurants that earned the Award of Excellence are:

  • 717 South Restaurant, Tampa
  • Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber, Clearwater Beach
  • Caretta on the Gulf, Clearwater Beach
  • Ceviche, St. Petersburg
  • Cipresso, Seminole Hard Rock Resort & Casino, Tampa
  • Clearwater Wine Bar & Bistro, Clearwater Beach
  • Del Frisco’s Grille, Tampa
  • Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Tampa
  • Meat Market Tampa, Tampa
  • Parkshore Grill, St. Petersburg
  • Salt Rock Grill, Indian Shores
  • Sea-Guini, Clearwater Beach
  • The Rez Grill, Seminole Hard Rock Resort & Casino, Tampa

Only 97 restaurants around the world have received the coveted Grand Award.

Then there’s the Award of Excellence, given to restaurants that carefully choose their wine lists to have 100 or more selections, containing both quality and diverse wines, according to the magazine. There were 1,782 Award of Excellence winners this year.

The Best of Award of Excellence is given to restaurants that “go the extra mile,” with lists of 350 or more selections from top producers, with a wide variety of regions and vintage depths. These restaurants might also carefully design the presentations of the list, train their staff to assist diners with the list and have curated wine dinners, according to Wine Spectator. Worldwide, 1,290 restaurants received the Best of Award of Excellence award.

Find more info on all 2022 Restaurant Award Winners from Wine Spectator.

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