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Wine is proof that God loves us. — Benjamin Franklin Diner's Choice Winner 2009

Proof employee on ladder grabbing a bottle of wine

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12 Capital Wine Lists to Try in Washington, D.C.
For wines foreign and domestic, these restaurants’ lists have our vote
Mar 15, 2018
Updated: March 15, 2018

This year's Wine Spectator Grand Tour kicks off April 20 in Washington, D.C.. While you’re in town tasting more than 200 wines rated 90 points or more, keep the great wine flowing with meals at Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners. These 12 destinations showcase the city’s bustling dining scene, with wine lists offering impressive breadth and depth across many regions, styles and vintages. If you haven’t already, buy your tickets to the D.C. tasting, and get details on the next stops in New York City and Las Vegas. To check out more great wine dining spots across the globe, see Wine Spectator’s more than 3,700 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including the 91 Grand Award recipients holding our highest honor.

775 G St. N.W. 
Telephone (202) 737-7663 
Open Lunch and dinner, daily 
Best of Award of Excellence
A gem of the Penn Quarter, Proof has earned a Best of Award of Excellence since 2012. Cheese and charcuterie offerings fill two full pages of chef George Rodrigues’ contemporary American menu, and guests are encouraged to share and sample a variety of small and large plates. California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne and the Rhône are major focuses on wine director Ben Kuna’s 1,200-selection list, which features verticals of many cult classics, including Screaming Eagle and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.


Five Restaurants to Try This Weekend

July 21, 2017

Proof just launched brunch service for the first time in its 10 years in business. Chef Austin Fausett is a big fan of the meal and is whipping up a mix of classics and signatures (Think: smoked trout Benedict, below, and fried artichoke toast). There's also boozy cocktails from the restaurant group's bar director Adam Bernbach. More

Wine Spectator

Best of Award of Excellence since 2012

July 2017


Modern Luxury DC

Chefs of the Moment

July 2017

Fausett's four-star fare includes crispy pork croquetas, pencil-size risotto fries with rich bone-marrow hollandaise, and Peking duck with Pennsylvania Dutch accents. More


The 11 Best Wine Bars in D.C.

By Travis Mitchell

July 10, 2017

On busy nights, guests have to push their way through the crowd to reach the bar at Proof. Regulars, wine aficionados all, arrive early to grab a seat and a select bottle of Bordeaux or California cabernet sauvignon. But Proof is much more than a wine bar; it’s a wine restaurant replete with a solid dinner menu as well as charcuterie and cheeses. The wine bar experience extends to the dining tables where guests can order from 32 wines by the glass, poured from the stainless steel Enomatic machine located behind the bar. Not sure what wine to order? Ask a sommelier to help you find the perfect bottle to go with dinner. More

Washington Post

5 great places to drink rosé in Washington

By Holley Simmons

June 22, 2017

With a wine list that stretches nearly 50 pages, bet on Proof to help quench your rosé cravings. Organized by country of origin, the offerings include sparkling rosés that range in price from holy cow ($175) to holy — well, you know ($850). The still rosé options are reasonable (starting at $45 for a bottle) and leave you with enough cash to burn on the restaurant’s impressive selection of cheese and charcuterie. More

Washington Post

Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs Recipe

May 26, 2017

Egg white halves and mustard seeds get pickling treatment here, to create a stunning display. At Proof in Penn Quarter, chef Austin Fausett serves these at brunch and at dinner as part of a pickle plate. They are garnished with chives and small sails of yellow celery leaves as well as the pickled mustard seeds you see here. More

The Dining Traveler

Luxury Dining: Brunch at Proof DC

By Priya Konings

May 10, 2017

If you are looking for a luxurious Sunday brunch dining experience in DC, look no further I have found an epic one for you. Proof DC, one of the city’s most popular wine bar, recently launched Sunday brunch, and it is the Sunday brunch of your dreams. More


10 Best New Brunches to Try in DC

By Rina Rapuano

May 8, 2017

After 10 years on the scene, this wine-focused Penn Quarter restaurant launched brunch early this spring. (We have newly installed chef Austin Fausett to thank, since he says he loves brunch.) Definitely try the bacon-caramel cinnamon rolls, the duck and foie gras waffles and the angry eggs with spicy lamb, garlicky tomato sauce and eggplant. You’ll also want to order bar director Adam Bernbach’s Resurrection Shake, a frozen slurry of dark rum, housemade spicy ginger beer and coconut-Angostura sorbet, all garnished with burnt cinnamon, star anise and grated nutmeg. Brunch is offered Sundays from 11:30 AM–2 PM. More

Foodie and the Beast

Foodie and the Beast

By Nycci Nellis

April 24, 2017

Nycci Nellis of the Foodie & The Beast and The List Are You on it? Featured Chef Austin Fausett and Proof's new brunch service on her weekly radio show. More

DC Refined

10 modern takes on classic comfort food for when the cravings hit

By Rina Rapuano

Risotto fries at Proof - Move over, French fries. Chef Austin Fausett at Proof has made an even more decadent baton of golden, brown and delicious in the form of risotto fries smattered with bone marrow hollandaise, parmesan shavings, chives and truffle oil. It's available at brunch, and if you’re really drowning your sorrows, also order the bacon-cinnamon sticky buns. More

Here Are the Finalists for the 2017 RAMMY Awards

By Jessica Sidman

April 4, 2017

Austin Fausett - Chef of the Year: The nominee is an executive chef or chef de cuisine who demonstrates consistent standards of culinary excellence. The nominee displays a dedication to the artistry of food and may be from any type of establishment. The nominee must have been a chef for the past five years with a minimum of two years based in the Metropolitan Washington area.

Proof - Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year: The nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a high standard of dining excellence and service in an upscale casual environment. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of two years by December 31, 2016. More

100 Very Best Restaurants 2016

By Ann Limpert, Anna Spiegel, Todd Kliman and Cynthia Hacinli

February 8, 2016

Steadiness is not one of the sexier virtues in the restaurant world. But settle into this dark-lit lair and you’ll appreciate what so many flashy newcomers lack: a maturity and poise that are evident at the outset, with a warm welcome and expert cocktails. More


The 38 Essential D.C. Restaurants, January 2016

By Missy Frederick

January 5, 2016

t's time to update the Eater 38, your answer and ours to any question that begins, "Can you recommend a restaurant?" This highly elite group covers the entire city and surrounding areas, spans myriad cuisines and budgets, and collectively satisfies all of your restaurant needs, except for those. More

Washington Post

Gamay, the grape sommeliers love, is front and center in May

By Dave McIntyre

May 16, 2015

If you’ve tried wine samples in a local store this month or ordered a glass of red wine in a restaurant, you might have tasted an unfamiliar grape variety: gamay. More

100 Very Best Restaurants 2015

By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Anna Spiegel and Cynthia Hacinli

January 9, 2015

These days, it’s not much of a surprise to find a menu listing both Vietnamese Wagyu-beef carpaccio and nonna-inspired chicken meatballs draped in tomato sauce. What is a revelation is finding a kitchen that can nail a repertoire of dishes from an atlas’s worth of places. For the most part, Haidar Karoum’s team can. More

100 Very Best Restaurants 2014

By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Jessica Voelker and Anna Spiegel

January 28, 2014

Reading the menu in the dark dining room here can be trying, but your server is ready to assist—by proffering a tiny flashlight. And if you think a bathroom ought to be a purely utilitarian space, pre-pare to be taken aback by the black-and-white erotica in the men’s room. More

Food and Wine

America's Best Riesling

By Megan Krigbaum

October 2013

Joe Quinn's 1,000-bottle list has 22 Rieslings that cost less than $75 a bottle. More

100 Very Best Restaurants 2013

By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Jessica Voelker and Cynthia Hacinli

February 19, 2013

Owner Mark Kuller says he conceived of Proof as a sort of Franken-restaurant, grafting the best traits of his favorite cafes and wine bars into a single, low-lit space. The clearest sign of its evolution after five years is that this sly cut-and-paste is now the model that every new restaurant in town wants to copy. More

Washington City Paper

Washington's Top Wine Lists

Kara Manos

At a restaurant whose wine selection is as meticulous as its food preparation, Nicolas Joly's Coulee de Serrant and Zind Humbrecht's array of Pinot Blancs and Gris are the outstanding varietals on the menu. Sommelier Sebastian Zutant finds biodynamic wines "fascinating, and if it produces amazing wine, then so be it." More

Washington City Paper


Jessica Sidman

July 25, 2012

Chef Haidar Karoum had never professionally cooked Spanish food before the 2010 opening of Estadio in Logan Circle. But his tortilla española with sweet hot peppers could give the real deal a run for its money. More


9 Sexy Bathrooms From Restaurants Around the U.S.

Zagat Staff

July 11, 2012

Sex-o-meter rating: 9
The men's bathrooms at this wine-centric New American hot spot are covered in photos of naked women and its bathroom sink fixture is a sculpture of a naked woman. Scandalous! More

Recipe Sleuth: Proof's Crispy Cauliflower With Tahini-Lemon Sauce

Anna Spiegel

June 22, 2011

When chef Haidar Karoum was growing up, his Lebanese-born father always brought the same dish to potlucks and parties: crispy fried cauliflower topped with tahini sauce and chopped fresh mint. More

Washington City Paper

10 Luxurious Gifts to Give

1947 Château Cheval Blanc

As proprietor of Proof, one of Washington's most wine-centric dining establishments, Mark Kuller knows a good vintage when he tries one. "I am fortunate to have had the 1947 Cheval Blanc once, and it remains the greatest wine I have ever tasted." That is no small endorsement, considering Kuller has tasted thousands of wines and has one of the most compelling collections in our area. More

100 Best Restaurants 2012

Todd Kliman, Cynthia Hacinli, Ann Limpert, Rina Rapuana

January 13, 2012

Chef Haidar Karoum, in the kitchen since day one (he also oversees Estadio), has built a repertoire of excellent menu staples--beautifully spiced meatballs with goat-cheese agnolotti, a scene-stealing side of cauliflower with tahini and lemon--but he changes the rest of the menu with the seasons. The impressive wine program includes big-ticket Champagnes and Cali Cabs but also good choices for the value-minded. More

Best of DC 2011

Washington CIty Paper Best Restaurant 2011

Melissa E. McCart

I've just been served an iridescent pinkish cocktail in a martini glass at Proof. I had asked bar manager Adam Bernbach for an herbal concoction and was greeted with a number made with Blue Gin, Velvet Falernum, and grapefruit juice, garnished with a twist and a sprig of sage. The drink is a lovely balance of bright citrus and herbs; the combination hits notes that resonate with the in-between season of late winter, early spring. More

100 Very Best Restaurants 2011

By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Kate Nerenberg and Rina Rapuano

January 18, 2011

At first glance, the impressive charcuterie and cheese selections might make you think this Penn Quarter wine bar is best for a grazing dinner, where food plays second fiddle to wine. Chef Haidar Karoum shows it’s much more than that. More

Washington City Paper

Standout Summer Cocktails

Hilary Weissman

Head to bustling Penn Quarter to indulge in Proof's "War of the Rosés," a summer special lasting through Labor Day that features a long list of premium labels for $35 a bottle, exclusively on the outdoor patio and in the bar and lounge. Wine director Sebastian Zutant favors the 2011 Ameztoi Rubentis Txakolina, from the Basque region of Spain. More


Karoum Kaboom: Proof/Estadio Chef Wins Capital Food Fight

Jamie R. Liu

November 11, 2011

Chef Haidar Karoum (Proof, Estadio) was crowned the champion of last night's Capital Food Fight, triumphing over Chefs Jeff Black (Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, Black Salt, etc.), Todd Gray (Equinox, Watershed), and Brian McBride (recently of Blue Duck Tavern). More importantly, the event raised over half a million dollars for DC Central Kitchen, which provides food for the homeless, utilizes excess food from local businesses, provides culinary job training and caters meals for businesses and D.C. public schools. More

Great Bars 2011: Proof

February 7, 2011

Proof is a mecca for wine connoisseurs, and proprietor Mark Kuller is among Washington's most knowledgeable wine geeks. The see-and-be-seen dining room has walnut floors, floor-to-ceiling plate-glass windows, and a rotating panel of images from the Smithsonian above the bar. Chef Haidar Karoum serves up classics such as veal carpaccio as well as highbrow twists on lowbrow food: a Wagyu-beef Philly cheesesteak and a shrimp burger that's good enough to have warranted a visit from Michelle Obama. More

100 Very Best Restaurants 2010

By Todd Kliman, Cynthia Hacinli, Ann Limpert, Kate Nerenberg and Rina Rapuano

January 1, 2010

Of all the wine bars that have opened here, this one has the most ambitious and interesting kitchen. Still, it has often seemed better for grazing on the cheese and charcuterie boards than for splurging on a full dinner. But chef Haidar Karoum is better than ever. More

100 Very Best Restaurants 2009

By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli, Rina Rapuano and Eve Zibart

January 21, 2009

In most of the area’s new wine bars, vino comes first. Proof says that food is job one. In addition to a lengthy charcuterie board and what can only be called an exhibition cheese bar, it offers a broad assortment of Asian-inflected fish and meats confidently paired with root vegetables, mushrooms or nuts, and citrus. The wine list, primarily from co-owner Mark Kuller’s own collection, is large, but management is helpful. More

100 Very Best Restaurants 2008

By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli and Dave McIntyre

January 1, 2008

Eclectic, trendy fare—small plates that nod to Asia and the Mediterranean, plus a long roster of cheeses and charcuterie—to mix and match with wines from an impressive list, including some from owner Mark Kuller’s 7,000-bottle collection. More