Liquid revelry has its devotees, but there is something to be said for enjoying a good meal to go along with New Year’s Eve celebrations. For starters, it helps to blunt the hangovers. From raucous crowds to quiet tables for two, people who want to ring in 2018 by eating besides imbibing will have many options across South Florida.
With New Year’s Eve falling on a Sunday this year, many restaurants will offer their usual brunch buffets and bottomless drink specials earlier in the day. Good luck if you try to pull off that day-night double-header.
Many restaurants will feature bands, DJs and dancing at night. Many top spots have multiple seatings, including later ones concluding at midnight with a champagne toast. Reservations are recommended, and it is best to leave the driving to taxis, Lyft or Uber. Here are 10 picks for last dinners of 2017.
Avant, 25 NE Second St., Delray Beach, 561-921-8687 — This restaurant with an art gallery feel and a large bear sculpture outside opened in October and will offer two seatings featuring a mix of small plates on New Year’s Eve. The first seating ($68 plus tax and tip) takes place from 6 to 8:45 p.m. and includes five courses and concludes just in time for diners to watch a 9 p.m. fireworks display at nearby Old School Square. The second seating ($128 per person) runs 9 p.m.-midnight and includes six courses, DJ music and champagne.
Bayfront Park Worldwide NYE VIP Food and Wine Party, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-358-7570 — Pitbull’s massive free party in downtown Miami, no longer broadcast by Fox, will feature unlimited upscale food and drink in the ticketed VIP area. Celebrity favorite Sugar Factory will oversee the chef’s stations featuring global cuisine, and local bartender Teddy Collins will serve craft cocktails. Tickets cost $295 for singles, $395 for center stage and $495 for couples.
BLT Steak, 1610 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 786-605-0819 — Recently reopened in a new location at the Iberostar Berkeley Hotel, this South Beach modernist steakhouse will offer a three-course New Year’s Eve menu with a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne for $125 per person, plus tax and tip. The dinner features an opening duo of pork belly with truffles and foie gras torchon, a main course of grilled New York strip steak and seared Alaskan halibut, and a dessert pairing of dark chocolate tart and Key lime panna cotta.
Fort Lauderdale Ritz-Carlton Gala, 1 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-302-6425 — Burlock Coast, the Ritz’s beachfront restaurant, will be open and offering a special holiday menu, but for those who want old-school New Year’s Eve elegance, the Ritz is putting on a ballroom gala with a band, dancing, open bar, seated dinner, party favors, champagne toast and a kids’ zone for children. Cost is $299 per person plus tax and tip, $199 for ages 13-20 and $99 for ages 5-12. Credit card will be required at time of reservation.
La Mar by Gaston Acurio, 500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami, 305-913-8358 — This Peruvian gem overlooking Biscayne Bay at the Mandarin Oriental is from acclaimed South American chef Gaston Acurio and will offer a special New Year’s Eve dining experience starting at 8 p.m. The meal costs $225 to $395, depending on drink options, and will include seafood stations offering oysters, lobster ceviche and tiraditos, grilled meat skewers, a fried-rice chaufa prepared tableside and dessert towers.
Monkitail, 3555 S. Ocean Drive, Hollywood, 954-602-8755 — This stylish Japanese dining room from Philadelphia restaurateur Michael Schulson opened earlier this year at the Diplomat Beach Resort and will feature several specials to celebrate its first New Year’s Eve. Offerings include a $150 Japanese shellfish platter featuring lobster, stone crab, caviar and oysters and a $46 robata grilled platter for two including Kobe beef, lamb chop, lobster and sea urchin. Perhaps the best value will be a $75 per person chef’s tasting menu allowing for 10 selections from different parts of the menu and dessert. The restaurant also features a karaoke lounge.
Oceano Kitchen, 201 E. Ocean Ave., Lantana, 561-562-5055 — One of my favorite new restaurants of 2017 will usher in 2018 with a five-course tasting menu from chef-owners Jeremy and Cindy Bearman. Most tables are al fresco (covered patio). Seatings are available 6-9 p.m., and unlike on standard nights here, credit cards and reservations will be accepted in advance. The menu will feature Jerusalem artichoke soup, snapper crudo, squash and ricotta anglotti, wood-fired young chicken, 36-hour Wagyu short rib and vanilla-bean cheesecake. Cost is $160 per person, tax and tip included, or $220 with wine pairings.
Prezzo, 5560 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton, 561-314-6840 — Diners in the mood for something new from names that are tried and true may want to celebrate at Prezzo, which opened just before Christmas. A popular Italian restaurant in the 1990s, restaurateurs Burt Rapoport and Dennis Max have relaunched the brand with James Beard Award-winning chef Mark Militello running the kitchen. The restaurant features a wood-burning oven, pizzas and housemade pastas, along with standards such as stuffed veal chop and chicken Parmesan. The regular menu and daily specials will be available on New Year’s Eve.
TRP Taste/Rooftop Party, 1 W. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-523-1956 — For a novel, two-pronged double-header, the Restaurant People (YOLO, S3, Boatyard) are throwing a dinner party at their new ground-floor popup restaurant and tasting kitchen, Taste, followed by drinks at Rooftop, the hot and hip rooftop bar in downtown Fort Lauderdale. At 8:30 p.m., chefs Chris Miracolo and Peter Boulukos will present a 10-course meal with wine pairings for $250. The optional Rooftop event, 11 p.m.-2 am., will cost an extra $50 and include open bar with premium drinks.
Wild Sea Oyster Bar and Grille, 620 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-467-2555 — This restaurant at the Riverside Hotel will offer a five-course tasting menu from 6 p.m. to midnight for $125 per person with an optional $50 wine pairing (plus tax and tip). The menu will feature Kumamoto oysters, salmon crudo, lavender-glazed quail, lamb chops with black garlic and more. Vegetarian options are available. The hotel is also hosting a masquerade party on its eighth-floor rooftop for $118 per person featuring live music and dancing.