National chain restaurants are often more famous for their bottomless salad bowls than their wine lists. But some make a real effort to offer worthy bottles. Here, their best wines (with their wine-list prices):

By Ray Isle
February 01, 2011

Chain Restaurant: Houston's

 Houstons© Andy Martin

Best Red

2009 Orin Swift The Prisoner ($42) Winemaker Dave Phinney's robust Zinfandel blend is a great pairing for a hefty steak.

Best White

2007 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs ($40) A California sparkling wine that's better than many Champagnes and half the price.

Chain Restaurant: Olive Garden

 Olive GardenCourtesy of Olive Garden

Best Red

2008 Feudo Arancio Nero d'Avola ($24) Sicily's warm climate gives its native grape a lovely, spicy depth.

Best White

2009 Mandra Rossa Fiano ($24) Western Sicily is the source for this citrusy, unoaked white wine.

Chain Restaurant: Legal Sea Foods

 Legal Sea FoodCourtesy of Legal Sea Foods

Best Red

2008 Ridge East Bench Zinfandel ($39) American oak barrels add a soft spiciness to this juicy red.

Best White

2009 Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc ($38) It's hard to find a better New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc than this crisp, focused white.

Chain Restaurant: The Capital Grille

 The Capital GrilleCourtesy of The Capital Grille

Best Red

2008 WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Noir ($64) A structured, earthy Pinot big enough for a steak, from a fantastic Oregon vintage.

Best White

2009 Tilia Torrontes ($28) The steal among wine director George Miliotes's whites is this floral, lively Argentinean.

Chain Restaurant: P.F. Chang's

 P.F. Chang'sCourtesy of P.F. Chang's

Best Red

2009 Boulder Bank Pinot Noir ($38) Aromatic herbal notes brighten the fruit of this elegant New Zealand red.

Best White

2009 Fillaboa Albariño ($33) Focused and zesty, it comes from a superb producer in Spain's Galicia region.

More Wine List Tips:

Wine Lists Made SimpleWine Lists Made SimpleOvercoming Wine-List PhobiaOvercoming Wine-List Phobia Sommeliers' Favorite WinesSommeliers' Favorite Wines