3 local restaurants among America’s best for wine

Slurp oysters on the half-shell with a perfectly paired glass of wine at Proudfoot & Bird, which received an award of excellence from Wine Spectator magazine this month.

Writer: Karla Walsh

Let’s raise a glass to Des Moines’ latest national accolades: Three of the city’s downtown eateries landed in the July 11 issue of Wine Spectator magazine. Among its 2023 Restaurant Awards, 801 Chophouse, Proudfoot & Bird, and Splash Seafood Bar & Grill all received awards of excellence for their special focus on California and/or Italian wines.

For the past 42 years, the Wine Spectator has honored restaurants that offer exemplary wine lists. The awards fall into three categories:

  • Award of Excellence: For wine lists that deliver quality options for “discerning wine lovers.” (2,001 winners this year)
  • Best of Award of Excellence: For wine lists that include significant choices from many years or a diverse supply of bottles from multiple wine regions. (1,411 winners)
  • Grand Award: For wine lists that offer mature vintages, wines from top producers, stellar presentation, and thoughtful pairings with food. (93 winners)


While 3,505 wine restaurant award-winners might sound like a lot, keep in mind: There are more than 749,000 restaurants operating across the country, according to the latest industry data. That means the Wine Spectator award winners represent about 0.4% of the nationwide restaurant industry — and three are right here in Des Moines.

If you’d like to celebrate Iowa’s four other award winners, hop in the car and hit the road to Martini’s Grille in Burlington, Maxwell’s Beach Cafe in Okoboji, Montage in Cedar Falls, and Rubaiyat in Decorah.

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