If you don't want to stay at home on New Year's Eve, and most of us don't, you might want to plan on a lovely dinner before you hit the bars — or maybe instead of hitting the bars. Many restaurants around town are having terrific, multicourse meals to celebrate the end of 2013, with early seatings if you do plan on bar-hopping (or going home before it gets too crazy), or late seatings if your idea of fun is clinking glasses over a plate of tagliatelle with wild mushrooms and truffles instead of over a bunch of drunk strangers. We checked in with 17 restaurants around town to see what they're cooking for the last night of the year. (Seatings fill up fast, so maybe make your reservations now.)
Acabar: Acabar, Hollywood's somewhat insane Moroccan lounge/international restaurant, is having an appropriately insane New Year's Eve celebration, which they're dubbing a “tribal disco.” This tribal disco involves hot shot DJs, fire eaters and a multicourse dinner. From 6-7 p.m. they're serving a three-course, $75 menu. From 7:45-10:30, they're serving a four-course, $125 menu, which includes a complimentary beverage of some sort for a midnight toast. And, uh, “tribal fashion” is encouraged. 1510 N. Stanley Ave, Hollywood; 323-876-1400.
A.O.C.: Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne's wine bar is celebrating its first year in the new digs with a noche vieja, or Spanish New Year's Eve. Chef de cuisine Lauren Herman is making six Spanish-style courses, including tapas of Spanish cured meats and bacalao with roasted peppers; grilled quail with chorizo; and A.O.C. paella. The first seating is $95; the second seating is $135 per person and includes a Champagne toast. 8700 W. Third St., Los Angeles; 310-859-9859.
Bucato: Evan Funke's Culver City pasta palace is having a seven-course dinner on New Year's Eve, with a Champagne toast at midnight. The reservation-only dinner will run you $125 with an additional $50 for wine pairings. What's on the menu? An amuse bouche, Nantucket Bay scallops with cucumber and Santa Barbara uni; Maine lobster with hachiya persimmons; tagliatelle with wild mushrooms and truffles; pears and other fun things; Wagyu short rib with celeriac, chestnuts and truffled Brussels sprouts; and for dessert, pavlova with grapefruit curd, passionfruit granita and anise blackberry sauce. 3280 Helms Ave., Culver City; 310-876-0286.
Church & State: Our favorite downtown bistro is offering two options for New Year's Eve: Before 8:30 you can get four courses for $75, and after 8:30 you can get six courses and a Champagne toast for $95. Either way, you can expect French awesomeness, like Velouté de Champignons des Bois and Tournedos de Boeuf. 1850 Industrial St., #100, dwntwn.; 213-405-1434
Cooks County: On New Year's Eve, Cooks County is serving dinner from 6 p.m. to midnight. On the menu: party gougeres; Santa Barbara sea urchin, avocado and American caviar; fisherman's rice, with lobster, scallops, mussles, clams, roasted tomato and saffron; and Meyer lemon baked Alaska. Pricing is à la carte. If that doesn't appeal (really??), the regular menu also is available. Call the restaurant to make a reservation. 8009 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; 323-653-8009.
Crossroads: Vegans like to party, too, and Crossroads has an all-vegan party to accommodate. Two seatings are available: a 6 p.m., five-course, $75 option, or an 8:30, six-course, $125 option, which includes a Champagne toast and party favors. 8284 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; 323-782-9245
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar: On New Year's Eve, Fleming's will have a special three-course prix fixe menu for $69.95 per person. The menu starts with prosciutto-wrapped shrimp and a choice of salad, then features a filet mignon paired with an 8-oz. lobster tail. Dinner can include a wine pairing of Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut ($12 glass, $100 by the magnum bottle). 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles; 213-745-9911.
Girasol: Chef C.J. Jacobson is going foraging for your New Year's Eve dinner. His five-course prix fixe menu is $100 per person for the 7-9 p.m. seating and $150 per person for the 9-11 p.m. seating at his Studio City restaurant. (There's also a limited à la carte menu available from 5-7 p.m.) What's he finding in the Angeles National Forest? Sweet clover, chestnuts, chrysanthemum, wood sorrel and pine, which will go into dishes such as tuna with California winter citrus, raw chestnut, wood sorrel and chrysanthemum; diver scallops with Italian black truffle, truffle jus, pine butter, smashed potatoes and white acorn; and wild sweet clover ice cream over warm chocolate cake with Meyer lemon milk foam, nori soil and aerated frozen chocolate. If you come to the later seating, you'll also get a complimentary glass of sparkling wine and some New Year's party favors. 11334 Moorpark St., Studio City; 818-924-2323.
The Hungry Cat: Both of David Lentz's Los Angeles seafood-intensive restaurants, the original Hungry Cat in Hollywood and the newer iteration on PCH, are offering three-course feasts on New Year's Eve. The menus at each location will be different, with the Hollywood menu going for $75 per person and the Santa Monica menu priced at $85, but both focus on the kind of stellar seafood for which Lentz is known (monkfish osso buco, pastrami cured sea trout, etc.). A full à la carte raw bar menu is available at both restaurants, along with excellent cocktails. 1535 N. Vine St., Hollywood; 323-462-2155. 100 W. Channel Road, Santa Monica; 310-459-3337.
Il Grano: Sal Marino's stately Italian restaurant will be offering an elaborate six-course dinner for $85 per person, $135 including wine pairing. There are two seatings available, as well as a private room if you want something really swank for New Year's Eve. Dishes include black truffle croquette and assorted stuzzichini; Hokkaido scallop with Osetra caviar; 21-day dry-aged grass-fed New York cut with potato parmentier; and a chocolate sphere filled with chestnuts, chestnut marron glacée and white chocolate sauce. 11359 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles; 310-477-7886.
The Langham Huntington: Lots of fun going on at Pasadena's swank Langham complex on New Year's Eve. The Royce Wood-Fired Steakhouse has two seatings, a five-course dinner served from 5-6:30 p.m. ($95 per person without wine) and a six-course dinner served from 8-10:30 p.m. ($150 without wine). Look for roasted Arctic char; Moyer Farm filet mignon; and handmade pappardelle with wild mushrooms. The Terrace Restaurant in the same complex will have a five-course celebration dinner and live music for $95 per person without wine, with courses including five-spice duck confit and pan-seared black cod. If you want something more low-key, the Tap Room will have cocktails and live music, beginning at 8 p.m. and continuing until 1 a.m., with a $20 cover charge. 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena; 626-585-6218.
The Little Door and Little Next Door: Chef-owner Nicolas T. Peter is is throwing a mod New Year's party at his two restaurants, celebrating 2014 with '60s-era style. (Why? Why not.) He's offering a four-course set menu at two seatings: the first seating is $95, the second is $150 and includes booze. A guest DJ. Mod Squad quartet. Go-go dancers. (Go-go dancers!) The regular dinner menu also is available. 8164 W. Third St., Los Angeles; 323-951-1210. 8142 W. Third St., Los Angeles; 323-951-1010.
Lucques: Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne's West Hollywood flagship restaurant is being transformed into a speakeasy for New Year's Eve. Chef de cuisine Javier Espinoza is serving a Prohibition era–inspired five-course menu, including steak tartare with Dijon and quail egg; filet of sole meunière; herb-roasted lamb chops; and babas au rhum. The first seating is $110; the second seating is $150 per person, which includes party favors, a midnight toast and a specialty rum cart. 8474 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; 323-655-6277.
Maison Giraud: Alain Giraud's French bistro in the Palisades is celebrating 2014 with a special tasting menu. Seatings for the multicourse meal, which will run you $85, are available from 6-10 p.m. Among the many courses: chestnut velouté with bacon chips and celery root; lobster ravioli with snow peas and lobster-saffron sauce; Maine scallops with leek fondue, pistachio and Champagne sauce; and beef tenderloin with pommes Dauphines and black truffle sauce. 1032 Swarthmore Ave., Pacific Palisades; 310-459-7562.
Milo & Olive: Milo & Olive is holding a no-reservations-needed party from 7 a.m.-1 a.m. on New Year's Eve. They'll be serving new wood-fired dishes and off-the-menu specials after 5 p.m., and there will be a complimentary glass of prosecco and a toast at midnight. The restaurant also is serving New Year's Day brunch from 8 a.m.-11 p.m. New Year's Day brunch specials include creamy polenta and poached eggs with braised bacon bits and baby greens; cinnamon brioche French toast with pure maple syrup and market berries; and cheesy eggs on super cheesy toast with soft scrambled eggs and La Quercia prosciutto. 2723 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica; 310-453-6776.
n/naka: Niki Nakayama's Palms kaiseki restaurant will be celebrating the new year with an 11-course menu of traditional Japanese dishes. It costs $225 per person, with an optional $85 wine pairing. The $225 does cover a Champagne toast, however, as well as a “midnight snack” to take home. 7 p.m. is the only seating of the night. 3455 S. Overland Ave, Palms; 310-836-6252
Patina: Disney Hall's Patina is holding its “annual holiday gala,” during which guests have a lot of choices to make. During the Early Evening Gala (4:30-5 p.m.) there's the choice of a three-course ($80) or four-course ($110) meal. During the Evening Gala (7:30-8 p.m.) there's a $180 menu, and during the Late Evening Gala (10:30-11 p.m.) the restaurant will turn back to an à la carte menu. Confused yet? Just don't drink too much Champagne before you arrive and we're sure you'll figure it out. 141 S. Grand Ave. Los Angeles; 213-972-3331.
Petty Cash Taqueria: The folks at Petty Cash will be ringing in 2014 with $2.13 taco and shot specials all night long. Once you eat all the tacos you can manage, there will be drink specials, prizes, music — and piñatas. Probably some mezcal, too, if the bubbly stuff isn't your thing. 7360 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; 323-933-5300.
RivaBella: Gino Angelini's West Hollywood Italian restaurant will be serving a set menu for New Year's Eve. An early seating is priced at $75 per person; a second dinner seating will run you $125 per person. The later seating includes a live band, festive décor and party favors, with seating through the end of the evening. 9201 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; 310-278-2060.
Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen: Executive chef Jeremy Fox is making a five-course, prix fixe menu served family-style for $95 per person. Dishes include lavender almonds; chicken liver and truffle toast; and Nantucket Bay scallops with pumpkin, curry and nasturtiums. Look for a seasonal cocktail TBD; wine pairings to go with the dinner are available for $45 per person. And complimentary prosecco toasts at midnight for everybody. 1119 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; 310-393-7050.
Salt Air: Salt Air on Abbot Kinney is offering the regular menus as well as open reservations on New Year's Eve. As specials for the evening, look for chef Greg A. Daniels' takes on classic throwbacks: American hackleback caviar with cucumber cream cheese finger sandwich, crispy egg yolk, fines herbes; Nantucket Bay scallop crudo with black truffle, brioche and chives; a surf-and-turf of beef tenderloin, lobster tail, pee wee potatoes, Bearnaise and mache; and a molten chocolate cake with vanilla bean whipped cream, raspberry and gold flake. 1616 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; 310- 396-9333.
Scarpetta: Beverly Hills is already a kind of ritzy celebratory place, but on New Year's Eve Scott Conant's chi-chi restaurant does it up even more with two seatings of a special tasting menu and a celebratory Champagne toast. The first seating, from 6-6:30 p.m., includes a three-course menu, music and a Champagne toast for $95 per person. The second seating, from 8:30-9 p.m., features a five-course menu, music, a Champagne toast and special party favors for $195 per person. Guess you're gonna have to go to see what “special party favors” really means. Probably not Conant's famous spaghetti, but who knows. 225 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills; 310-860-7800.
Sotto: Sotto chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack will be making a four-course prix fixe menu, featuring a selection of classics and seasonal specials for $85 per person. Seatings are available throughout the evening. 9575 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles; 310-277-0210.
The Tasting Kitchen: In Venice, chef Casey Lane is cooking a pretty spectacular eight-course tasting menu, with dishes including rabbit tortellini with quince, spiced milk and chanterelles; salmon crudo e cotto with chestnuts, truffled jus, watercress and sunchoke purée; duck with red wine braised onions and truffled liver; and toasted chocolate cake with chocolate stout ganache, spiced milk jam and ginger snap. An optional wine pairing (3-oz.pours) is $60. If you'd rather eat at the bar, there's the option of hors d'oeuvres and a Champagne toast for $40. 1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; 310-392-6644.
Tavern: The Brentwood restaurant is ringing in 2014 with a raw oyster bar and tableside martini cart, as well as a menu of Supper Club dinner classics. A live band will perform Sinatra-era tunes. Dinner is $85 per person for the first seating; $100 for the second seating, which includes party favors, live music and midnight toast. 11648 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood; 310-806-6464.
Valentino: Piero Selvaggio's temple of old-school Italian fine dining in Santa Monica will be celebrating the new year with a $120, four-course tasting menu from chef Nico Chessa. Choose from courses like Maine lobster salad with Tuscan spelt and orange-infused oil and prime veal chop with mosto cotto reduction. Wine pairings are available for $60 more. The restaurant will be seating at regular reservation times beginning at 5 p.m. 3115 Pico Blvd. Santa Monica; 310-829-4313.
WP24: Get a 10-course tasting and a view from the 24th floor with WP24's $190-per-person New Year's Eve offering. Wolfgang Puck's modern Chinese restaurant in downtown's Ritz Carlton is putting together a greatest-hits album for this dinner, featuring its “most acclaimed dishes.” Like what? Like roasted Peking duck with traditional garnishes; crispy skin red snapper filet with Szechuan shellfish stew and bok choy; grilled colorado lamb chop with cilantro vinaigrette and Hunan eggplant; and espresso praline crunch with dark chocolate. Tax, tip and booze not included. 900 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles; 213-743-8800.
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