Posh New Year's Eve Dinners to Add to Your Bucket List
New Year’s Eve is the last hurrah of the holiday season, the last blow-out before the credit card statements and cumulative hangovers push through the happy, cinnamon-scented haze. That means, very often, the dinner you have on December 31 is the last opulent meal you have for a while.
New Year’s Eve comes after a marathon of rich eating, the final float in a parade of honey-baked hams, sugar cookies, eggnog, and hot toddies. At this point, the weaker of us may be feeling sort of fatigued from all the richness. This list of the best dinners to enjoy on the last day of the year is not for those people.
At these places, New Year's Eve dining is elevated to an artform well worthy of the extra hot yoga class you'll feel compelled take the following week. Embrace it.
Les Ombres, Paris
Les Ombres any day of the year is a lovely restaurant worth seeking out, serving up exceptional food along with exceptional views. But on New Year’s Eve, the rooftop restaurant of the Musée du quai Branly is the only place to take in Paris’s New Year’s Eve celebrations. With a clear view of the Eiffel Tower from every table, there’s not a better spot in the city to watch the midnight fireworks. The pre-fixe menu thoughtfully includes champagne.
Betony, New York
Betony, named after a minty herb and overseen by two Eleven Madison Park veterans, offers two prix fixe seatings in its cavernous midtown location. It’s later one includes a champagne toast at midnight and considerably more curses. (It’s priced accordingly.) The New American restaurant earned a Michelin star in 2014 is surprisingly informal for a place where the food is handled with such precision. Did we mention the food? It’s really, really good.
Farmhouse, a small (it only seats 20) and purposefully rustic-looking restaurant in Sydney, asks diners to share a single long table that runs the length of dining room. Parties also share the dishes of a preset menu—neatly avoiding both decision anxiety and ordering envy. (Dietary restrictions are honored but they must be phoned in ahead of time.) A great pick for a big group.
Joël Robuchon, Las Vegas
It’s Vegas, after all. Why not go with the three-star Michelin restaurant at the heart of the MGM Casino? Joël Robuchon, whose namesake has earned a total of 25 Michelin stars, combines the over the top luxury of Las Vegas with the unparalleled food of the famous French chef. A reservation earns you complimentary limo service and one tasting menus offers up to 17 separate courses.
MEE, Rio de Janeiro
Every New Year’s Eve in Rio, fireworks are set off over Copacabana Beach. There’s no better place to anchor the evening than in the beachfront Copacabana Palace’s Michelin starred MEE restaurant. A pan Asian restaurant that pulls dishes and flavors from Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Korea, Japan, China, Malaysia, and Vietnam under the direction of executive chef, Rafael Hidaka. The inventive cocktail list, which brings together ingredients like duck, fig, and chamomile (though not all at the same time) is a must try.
Ocean House, Rhode Island
For a lower-key New Year’s by the sea, Rhode Island’s reimagined Ocean House (a grand Victorian-style rebuilt in 2010) offers both tranquility and festivity, with a black-tie gala at their Seasons restaurant. With a farm-to-table inspired menu, Seasons even has a full-time “forager” on staff. This year’s meal promises a culinary tour of the United States.
Sala Rim Naam, Bangkok
Sala Rim Naam is the Bangkok Mandarin Oriental’s traditional Thai restaurant. The dining room fills a traditional Northern Thai-style pavilion, and at 8:15 PM every night also features a classical Thai dance performance. Seating also comes in two styles: Western, in chairs; or Thai, on cushions. With a riverside view of the Chao Phraya, it’s a perfect spot from which to to watch the midnight fireworks.
Santiago’s Bodega, Key West
There’s little fancy about New Year’s Eve in Key West, which is just how the celebrants like it. (After all, it’s the inspiration for Jimmy Buffett’s famous “Margaritaville,” a place where you waste away and step on trash.) That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of good food available on December 31—it just means you can wear shorts while eating it. Our pick is Santiago’s Bodega, an unpretentious but utterly delicious tapas place a few blocks south of the Key West’s main drag, Duval Street, which turns into an open air party come midnight.
Tin Lung Heen, Hong Kong
Though best known for their dim sum (a morning meal), the two Michelin-starred Tin Lung Heen in Hong Kong’s Ritz Carlton Hotel still knows how to serve a great midnight-oriented meal. The Cantonese-style restaurant serves up a multi-course pre fixe overlooking a jaw dropping view of Hong Kong’s skyline. After dinner, pop up to OZONE, which not only sits atop the tallest hotel in the world, but s itself the highest bar in the world. You’re just not going to get a better view.
The Witchery, Edinburgh
In Edinburgh, New Year’s Eve—better known as Hogmanay—is a big deal. And The Witchery by the Castle, a boutique hotel and eponymous restaurant, is the perfect place to take it in. With an aesthetic best described as “luxury goth,” the four-decade-old establishment occupies a building constructed in 1595 but takes its name from another activity that occupied the Castlehill grounds during the 16th and 17th century: burning actual witches. (Scotland was among the most zealous of Europe’s witch hunting countries, and hundreds of women were put to the death.) Though the history is dark, the décor announces the 21st century triumph of the witch. Raise a glass to Edinburgh’s special brand of New Year’s Eve magic.
Wallflower in NYC
On New Year's Eve, the intimate West Village spot Wallflower offers a five-course tasting menu featuring returning favorites like Chef Derrick Paez's rabbit cannelloni with spinach and a foie gras emulsion and Lobster Thermidor with white truffle butter and brussel sprouts. Bonus: Wallflower will also be open for brunch on New Year’s Day.
Luce in San Francisco
For serious wine connoisseurs, you’d be hard pressed to find a dinner more impressive than Luce’s New Year's Eve menu. Housed in the Intercontinental San Francisco, Chef Daniel Corey and Beverage Manager Marissa Payne combine forces to coordinate a selection from some of Northern California’s best farms and vineyards. That means simple, impeccably prepared dishes like onions cooked in port wine, crab vinaigrette paired with Sauvignon Blanc, and red Russian kale with Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Eddy in NYC
The Eddy, in New York's East Village, offers a five-course tasting menu designed by chef and owner Brendan McHale. Expect to see Taylor Bay scallops with brown butter parsnip and celery, ravioli with lemon ricotta and herbs, and smoked sablefish with duck egg sabayon. The cocktail selection is noteworthy as well, particularly the Felix Felicis (manzanilla, lemon oil, green chartreuse, and sparkling wine). The bar will stay open late, so you’ll have the chance to sample other aperitifs, too.
1Kept Kitchen& Bar in Atlanta
The New Year’s menu at 1Kept in Atlanta offers top-tier southern fusion. Example: duck fat cornbread and sole almondine with a brown butter served with persimmons and sunflower greens. It’s a contemporary interpretation of the classic good-luck meal served throughout the southeast. But trust us: you’re already lucky if you’re eating it.
Tender in NYC
The Sanctuary Hotel’s restaurant, Tender, is bringing contemporary glam to the heart of Times Square. For those who desire to live lavishly on the biggest party night of the year, Tender is serving up beef carpaccio; jumbo shrimp risotto with shitake, enoki, and maitake mushrooms; and filet mignon with chimichurri and truffle butter.
Commander’s Palace in New Orleans
The Stoned Crab in Key West, Florida
Sure, The Stoned Crab has wonderful tropical cocktails, but if you come down for New Year’s Eve make sure to also experience a Key West Turkey, which is stuffed with lobster. Talk about bringing in the new year strong.
Fig & Olive (Melrose Place) in Los Angeles
West Hollywood’s smart food oasis hosts an elegant White & Gold Party, which features owner Laurent Halasz’s passion for provincial fare unique to the coastal Riviera. Guests can opt for a four-course prix fixe meal ($150) and a stylish cocktail reception ($100).
Nob Hill Club in San Francisco
Chef Nenad Stefanovic is planning a charming New Year's menu featuring seared scallop with horseradish salsify crème, filet mignon with smoked corttin de chavignol and poached rhubarb with mascarpone and hibiscus ice cream.
Evans American Gourmet Cafe, South Lake Tahoe
Get away from the holiday bustle of the city with a New Year’s Eve spent on Lake Tahoe. Tucked away in an old-fashioned cabin on the edge of South Lake Tahoe, don’t let the looks of Evans American Gourmet Cafe deceive you. This New American-style restaurant delivers on its menu and wine list, which has earned it over two-decades worth of accolades.
Mohonk Mountain Resort in New Paltz, New York
For those who want to get away from the New Year's Eve hype, consider a trip to the Mohonk Mountain Resort near the Catskills. Spending New Year's here, in the stillness of these castle-like grounds, means you can begin the new year rejuvenated rather than wrung out. The food's pretty great, too; think braised waygu beef cheek with cauliflower puree and veal ossobuco with saffron risotto and rosemary gremolata.
Patina in Los Angeles
L.A.'s Patina boasts a Michelin star and a four-star review by the L.A. Times, so it's not surprising that Chef Paul Lee delivers mastery for the last day of the year. On Dec. 31, Patina will offer three seatings scheduled around a live jazz performance. Dining options include four-course and a six-course meals as well as a post-dinner seating with an a la carte menu overflowing with foie gras, truffles, caviar, and venison.
The Céleste, London
The new flagship restaurant of the newly renovated Lanesborough Hotel looks like something out of a costume drama: and why not take a trip back in time to mark the entrance of the New Year? Executive chef Florian Favario, former the senior sous chef at the three Michelin star restaurant Epicure in Paris, presents an opulent multi-course meal on New Year’s Eve in a dining room dripping with chandeliers and lined with gilt. Afterwards, head up to the hotel’s Library Bar for more champagne, live music, and a view of the fireworks at midnight.