2933 W. Cary St.
Second Place: Buckhead’s Chop House
Third Place: Can Can Brasserie
Owner Julia Battaglini used to own a wine store next door, and a business maven recommended that she “put it in a glass” to plump up the shop’s thin margins. The wine store is gone, but that idea bloomed into Secco, where exquisite small plates and charcuterie accompany a wide variety of wine that’s also available in flights. What helps make this a reader favorite, though, is Battaglini’s in-depth wine knowledge. She creates thoughtful choices on a list peppered with surprises and always in tune with the season. When you think of Buckhead’s, you instantly think of steak, but it also has the wine list to match the power-packing entrées. Can Can serves only French wines — and why should a French restaurant serve anything else? The true gem here is gregarious wine director Bob Talbot, who can suss out what you might want even when you can’t put your finger on it yourself.