Here are some of my favorite places to celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in the Newport Beach area. Some restaurants are being very creative this year and are offering two seating’s—one for those who would like to sneak in early, and a later seating that includes dinner, a champagne toast to the New Year, and in some instances even dancing and live music! Consider making your plans soon. With 18 different places, and 28 different dining & party venues— there is bound to be something to enjoy. From on the water, to resort settings, luxury abounds here in Newport. It’s going to be one big party! Wishing you a wonderful New Year filled with health and happiness for 2016!
On The Water….
21 Oceanfront- Balboa Peninsula This ocean view restaurant will be open New Year’s Eve, and they will be closed on New Year’s Day. For New Year’s Eve, there will be live music and dancing all evening long. Reservations are available for two seating’s. The First Seating is 5:00 and 7:00 pm for $75 (with a 2 hour table limit). This will include a three-course dinner with a plethora of selections to choose from. The Second Seating will be 8:30 and 10:30pm. This will be $145 per person and will include a four-course dinner with a champagne toast. Their decorations are lovely and very festive. The menu will include numerous appetizers, soups, salads, and seven different options for the entrée, and three “hard to resist” dessert options. (Pricing is exclusive of tax and gratuity). Please visit their web site to view the entire menu. (I was just there and the food is so delicious! Say hi to Ryan and Tony, our favorite bartenders!) 21Oceanfront 2100 W Oceanfront, Newport Beach (949) 673-2100 www.21oceanfront.com/PDF/NYE-2015.pdf
The Winery Restaurant- Newport Beach The Winery will be having a New Year’s Eve Black & White Soiree. They will be closed for New Year’s Day. There will be two seatings for this fun-filled evening. For the early birds, the first seating will be 5:00-6:00pm for one of Executive Chef Yvon Goetz spectacular 3-course dinners. The price is $69 per guest, and all guests will be asked to depart by 7:45pm. The Second Seating will begin at 8:30 to 9:45pm, to enjoy a four-course dinner for $149 per person. Then at 10:00pm the second seating guests will enjoy a DJ & dancing into the New Year! (Reservations are necessary. Price does not include tax and gratuity.) The Winery– 3131 West Coast Highway, Newport Beach www.thewineryrestaurant.net (949) 999-6622
The Ritz Prime Seafood This restaurant is open New Year’s Eve, and will also be open New Year’s Day beginning dinner service at 5:00pm. This new darling on the coast is offering a special holiday menu, live music all evening long, and a champagne toast at midnight (on New Year’s Eve). Executive Chef Michael Stewart will be presenting a three-course prix fixe including wine pairings for $150 per person (excluding tax and gratuity). Entrees, on New Year’s Eve for example, will be hard to select from, given these amazing choices, including: Filet Mignon & Lobster Oscar, Australian Lamb Chops, Chilean Sea Bass or Mary’s Organic Duck Breast. They also will have a special a la carte menu offering nine different appetizers & soups/salads, their featured Shellfish Tower, Oysters & Caviar, as well as a selection of steak, seafood and chicken entrees. The Ritz Prime Seafood 2801 West Coast Hwy, Newport Beach (949) 720-1800 www.theritzprimeseafood.com
Back Bay Bistro- Newport Beach Back Bay Bistro has a special New Year’s Eve menu and is offering two seating’s. There will be a special musical performance by Ilya Serov and his band throughout the evening. The early New Year’s Eve celebration is offering a seating at 5:00pm. This will include a lovely four-course dinner for $75 per person. The second seating will begin at 8:00pm to midnight, and includes a six-course dinner, music, dancing and a Champagne Toast at midnight. The cost is $105 per person. (Prices are excluding tax and gratuity.) For the main course, French Chef Bruno is preparing a Tenderloin of Beef Perigourdine with a Port Truffle Sauce, or Roasted Duck Breast (for both seating’s). And for the early seating, also a White Fish with Chanterelle and Tarragon Risotto, and for the later seating a Veal Chop with a Grain Mustard Sauce. The complete menu can be viewed on-line at their web site.
For New Year’s Day they will be featuring a lovely Brunch at a FANTASTIC value! Listen up folks….Brunch will be served from 9:00am to 2:00pm. There will be light starters including: eggs Benedict, soup, build your own farm to table salad, French toast, a Pancake Station, a Chef carving station and cooked to order omelets, main entrees, seasonal veggeis, street tacos and all the fixings and pastries, pies and cakes. Adults for $33 (including bottomless Champagne or Mimosas) or $28 without Champagne, and children 10 and under $13. (This price does not include tax and gratuity of course.)
Back Bay Bistro 1131 Back Bay Bistro, Newport Beach 949-729-1144(reservations are required) www.newportdunes.com/bistro
Balboa Bay Resort and Waterline Restaurant Balboa Bay Resort has various dining venues to ring in the New Year. With stunning views of the bay, this is an elegant spot to celebrate New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day!
-Black Tie Gala in The Grand Ballroom-8:00 pm – 1:00 am Ring in the New Year in glittering style at this elegant New Year’s Eve celebration in the Grand Ballroom, where black-ties and gorgeous dresses will be a-plenty. The evening will begin with a Reception featuring an impressive martini bar, sparkling Champagne and an amazing variety of delicious butler passed hors d’oeuvres. Then guests will enjoy an elegant five-course dinner perfectly paired with exquisite wines. On top of it all, dance the night away to the powerful twelve-piece ultimate party band “Rembrandt” playing the perfect mix of best-loved dance hits from today and yesterday. Don party hats and noisemakers at midnight as guests ring in the New Year with a celebratory Champagne toast. The cost is $225.00 per person. (Please note tax and gratuity not included. A 48-hour cancellation policy of $25 per person will apply.)
-New Year’s Eve Dinner at Waterline Restaurant -6:00-9:00pm Guests can enjoy a six-course gourmet dinner for $125.00 for adults. (Please note tax and gratuity not included. A 48-hour cancellation policy of $25 per person will apply.) The complete dinner menu can be viewed on their web site.
-New Year’s Eve at A&O Kitchen+Bar- 8:00pm to 2:00am Enjoy the casual setting of the bar and lounge with live band and DJ, gastropub food, cocktails and of course, lots of fun! Patio firepits set the mood for a lovely evening overlooking the bay. No reservations are needed and no cover charge.
-New Year’s Day Brunch at Waterline Restaurant- 10:00am to 2:00pm Guests can keep the festivities going by enjoying a delicious brunch in Waterline Restaurant. Favorite breakfast and brunch specials will be available. The cost is $50.00 for adults and $25.00 for children (4-12 years old).
-New Year’s Day- Brunch at A&O Kitchen+Bar- Beginning at 10:00am A great spot to watch the football game and welcome 2016 in style. Enjoy food, drinks, all the games and great views of the bay! From 10:00am to 1:00pm A&O will offer breakfast burritos and a Bloody Mary bar. No reservations required. Balboa Bay Resort 1221 West Coast Highway, Newport Beach (855) 923-8301 http://balboabayresort.com/newport-beach-ca-restaurants/holiday-events/
Hornblower Cruises and Events For those who prefer to get right out there on the water and toast to the New Year Hornblower Cruises has a number of options for both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day! Please visit their web site for more details and departure times. Hornblower Cruises 2431 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach (949) 646-0155 www.hornblower.com/port/category/nb+NYECelebrations
Dining Around Newport Beach…
Bayside Restaurant-Newport Beach This uber-stylish restaurant will be open New Year’s Eve for dinner beginning at 5:00pm. They will be closed on New Year’s Day. The Chef is preparing delicious dinner specials and the regular menu will also be available. Live entertainment will play from 8:00pm to 1:00am. This is one of my favorite spots in Newport and always so delicious! Bayside Restaurant 900 Bayside Drive, Newport Beach (949) 721-1222 www.baysiderestaurant.com
Provenance- Newport Beach Provenance will be open New Year’s Eve from 5:00 to 9:00pm, however they will be closed on New Year’s Day. This Napa-inspired restaurant is always introducing new items and the vegetable garden adjacent to the patio is such a treat. Last week I popped in to enjoy the salmon tacos which were amazing. On New Year’s Eve, in addition to their regular menu, Chef Cathy Pavlos will be featuring a bevy of special offerings. Last year, we were there and so enjoyed the Surf and Turf— Certified Angus Beef Chateaubriand and Wild Shrimp (for two). It arrived on a large wooden plank. Such food drama! Cathy confirms that is back on the menu this year, along with a host of other selections. Please visit the web site for more details on their menu, and their Facebook page always showcases amazing daily specials. Provenance Restaurant 2531 Eastbluff Drive, Newport Beach (949) 718-0477 www.provenanceoc.com
Zov’s Bistro- Newport Coast Zov’s Bistro has four restaurant locations in Orange County, including: Newport Coast, Irvine, Tustin, and Anaheim (just two blocks from the Angels Stadium). Zov encourages her staff to enjoy time with their family, so all her restaurants will be open New Year’s Eve until 9:00pm, and closed New Year’s Day. Fans can still enjoy Zov’s delicious cuisine by ordering to go platters which can be enjoyed at home. They do a wonderful job with to go orders and can accommodate any size group you might have in mind. Zov’s Bistro 21123 Newport Coast Drive- Newport Beach (949) 760-9687 www.zovs.com
Dining InFashion Island…
Aqua Lounge and Oak Grill Restaurant at the Island Hotel This elegant resort offers an upscale restaurant, with an outdoor terrace, and a hipster lounge with all the bells and whistles to ensure a party atmosphere as you ring in the New Year. Bounce from one venue to the other with a special package and perhaps book a guest room to continue the frivolity all evening long.
-New Year’s Eve- Aqua Lounge Presents “Gatsby Glam Party” Everyone likes to dress for New Year’s Eve, so here is your chance. Toasting to 2015, and ringing in 2016, it all with the sparkling throwback style of the Roaring 20’s. A DJ will spin eclectic party music and it all begins at 9:00pm. A cover charge of $150 per person applies for entry, and includes one drink. Purchase tickets through Eventbrite.
-New Year’s Eve Dinner at Oak Grill Send 2015 off in style and get a head start on an incredible 2016 with an unforgettable dining experience at Oak Grill. Reservations are available from 5:00pm to 11:00pm. Guests will be greeted by your choice of a complimentary cocktail or glass of Veuve Clicquot Champagne, before you’re treated to an exceptional four-course prix fixe feast prepared by Chef Marc. The cost is $130 per adult, and $25 for children’s menu options, while children under 5 are free. (To enjoy both Oak Grill and Aqua Lounge for New Year’s Eve, a special $250 package includes New Year’s Eve dinner in Oak Grill and entry to Aqua Lounge’s New Year’s Eve party.)
-New Year’s Day Brunch at Oak Grill Start 2016 on the perfect note at Oak Grill for a gorgeous New Year’s Day Brunch. Select from an array of plated brunch items, including Chef Marc’s signature items, such as: Chilaquiles, Eggs Benedict, Belgium Waffles or Cinnamon Roll French Toast. A children’s menu will also be available. Island Hotel 690 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach For Oak Grill reservations (949) 760-4920 or www.opentable.com For Aqua Lounge- www.eventbrite.com/e/gatsby-glam-aqua-lounge-new-years-eve-tickets-19102113937 and reserved tables are available (949) 760-4920. For Overnight stays (949) 759-0808
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar- Fashion Island Celebrate the New Year all week long at Fleming’s in Fashion Island, with a special three-course Filet & Lobster pre-fixe dinner. The cost is $69.95 per person (exclusive of tax/gratuity/wine). This will be offered from December 27th through January 3rd of 2016. The three-course menu starts with a roasted prosciutto-wrapped shrimp followed by choice of salad. For the main course, enjoy an 8-ounce filet mignon and 8-ounce Lobster Tail with cabernet sauce. Optional suggestions include: a glass of JCB by Jean-Charles Brut Burgundy ($16), or perhaps a Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne ($30) to pair with dinner. Or for those who prefer to indulge in dessert, a Fleming’s Belgian Chocolate Flourless Torte for $9.95 is a popular choice. New Year’s Eve the restaurant will be open from 5:00-10:00pm. Holiday hours are as follows: Monday – Thursday 5:00-10:00pm, Friday 5:00 –11:00pm, Saturday 4:00 – 10:00pm and Sunday 11:00am for lunch and serving 5:00 until 10:00pm for dinner. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse 455 Newport Center Dr, Newport Beach (949) 720-9633 www.Flemingssteakhouse.com
Cucina Enoteca- Fashion Island Just in case you are planning ahead for a festive New Year’s Eve party at home, lasagna is always a great menu option. Cucina Enoteca is offering full and half trays of their signature lasagna and guests can pick those up in the restaurant. Simply reheat the tray, serve to your guests and take all the credit. Guests can pre-order the lasagna on-line, by calling the restaurant, or at the host stand.
The restaurant will be open for New Year’s Eve, however will be closed on New Year’s Day. Dinner reservations made prior to 9:30pm will have a two-hour dining limit. Reservations made for 9:30pm or later are entitled to remain at their table until the midnight hour. Their final seating of the evening will be at 10:30pm.
Seating on a “first come basis” will also be available at their community table and bar with no reservations. Dinner reservations will be required for the dining room, and will be featuring a special $68 four-course prix fixe menu. An optional wine pairing will be offered for $38. Chef Brent has created a “hard to resist” menu including beef tartare cannoli, butternut squash carpaccio, pan roasted scallops, and mushroom stuffed quail— just to name a few of the choices. For guests who do not wish for a prix fixe menu, popular dinner items will be offered a la carte from their menu. Cucina Enoteca, 951 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach (949) 706-1416 http://www.urbankitchengroup.com/cucina-enoteca-newport-beach/reservations/
Dining Resort Style…
Bambu Restaurant at The Fairmont – Newport Beach The Bambu Restaurant will be open for New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day breakfast, however they will be closed for New Year’s Day Dinner. The food here is superb and the dining room has an open, atrium setting for that truly California ambiance! New Year’s Eve Dinner will be served from 5:30 to 9:30pm featuring a three-course prix fixe menu. The cost is $55 without wine and $69 with wine pairings. (This is exclusive of tax and gratuity.) On New Year’s Day Breakfast will be served from 6:00am to 1:00pm with an enhanced breakfast buffet. The cost is $27 per person, and $12 (for children 12 & under). (This is exclusive of tax and gratuity.) Complete menus can be viewed at this web site: Bambu at The Fairmont 4500 MacArthur Blvd, Newport Beach (949) 476-2001 www.fairmont.com/newport-beach/promotions/newport-beach-holiday-2015/
The Resort at Pelican Hill- The Resort at Pelican Hill has numerous celebration offerings—from the elegant Italian-inspired Andrea dining room, to the Pelican Grill & Lounge, or the dramatic resort feel of the Coliseum Pool and Grill. Guests may also enjoying settling in…sipping cocktails and listening to music in the Great Room Social Lounge by a roaring fireplace. This is a sophisticated resort offering fine service and regardless of which venue is selected, the setting is guaranteed to impress.
-New Year’s Eve Dinner at Andrea Ristorante Chef Marco brings “Il Cenone,” the Italian Gala, to Newport Coast with a four-course menu and two dinner seating options from 5:00 to 7:00pm or from 8:30 to 1:00am. The early seating (5:00-7:00pm) is $170 per person. The late seating (8:30pm to 1:00am) is $235 per person. (Price excludes wine pairing, tax and gratuity.)
-New Year’s Eve at Pelican Grill & Lounge Chef Luke creates a California grill four-course prix fixe dinner menu, available from 5:00 to 10:00pm. The cost is $150 per adult, or $180 including the wine pairing. (The price excludes tax and gratuity.) Or, guests may choose to celebrate in the Lounge with a limited menu, dancing, a live band from 9:00pm to 12:30am, and a midnight balloon drop marking the New Year, including a complimentary glass of Prosecco for each guest!
-New Year’s Eve at Coliseum Pool & Grill Savor a three-course prix-fixe celebration menu from 5:00 to 10:00pm, as well as à la carte dinner selections and a festive lounge menu from 10:00pm to midnight. A three-piece band will entertain from 7:00pm to 12:30am, with a midnight balloon drop and complimentary Prosecco toast. The cost is $115 per adult, and $50 per child. (The price excludes tax and gratuity.)
-New Year’s Eve in the Great Room- Cocktails, Live Music & Toast Celebrate with live music, a midnight balloon drop, a complimentary Prosecco toast and an à la carte New Year’s Eve celebration menu from 6:00pm to midnight. This is complimentary for Resort guests, or $35 per non-resort guest.
-New Year’s Day Both Pelican Grill and Lounge and Coliseum Pool & Grill will be a perfect spot to catch the football games and relish in the first day of the New Year. The Resort at Pelican Hill 22701 Pelican Hill Road South- Newport Beach, CA (855) 467-6800 www.pelicanhill.com
Dining In Corona del Mar…
Quiet Woman Restaurant- Corona del Mar This iconic, cozy spot will be open for dinner on New Year’s Eve with reservations beginning at 4:30pm. A band will play later in the evening from 9:30pm – 12:30am. It is bound to be a fun evening, filled with locals, as is usually the case. Quiet Woman 3224 East Coast Highway, Corona del Mar (949) 640-7440 www.quietwoman.com
The Bungalow Restaurant- Corona del Mar The Bungalow will be serving their regular menu on New Year’s Eve beginning at 5:00pm. There will be a champagne toast at midnight for those who are celebrating in the restaurant however dinner will be served until 11:00pm. They will be closed on New Year’s Day. This is a craftsman- style building with a lovely patio tucked in the back, down a short set of stairs. The bar is cozy with barstools and high-top tables, and the dining room offers soft lighting and wood accents. Classic Prime steaks and seafood take center stage on this menu. The Bungalow 2441 East Coast Highway, Corona del Mar (949) 673-6585 www.thebungalowrestaurant.com/
Five Crowns- Corona del Mar Five Crowns is such a special place during the holidays. Between the traditional décor, Carolers strolling throughout the dining room and the amazing Prime Rib, who can pass up this spot? Certainly not me, and our family enjoyed dinner there just the other evening as I was preparing this article. Roasted Prime Rib of Beef Au Jus dinner with all of the classic accompaniments is always on our list. The restaurant is completely committed for New Year’s Eve.
They will also be open for dinner on New Year’s Day. For those interested in bringing Five Crowns home for a New Year’s Eve celebration, Executive Chef, Stephen Kling, will create your Eve dinner to-go (with at least 48 hours advanced notice). Guests can pick up a complete Roasted Prime Rib of Beef Au Jus dinner with all of the classic accompaniments and simple cooking and reheating instructions to enjoy the seasonal tradition at home. (Also, receive a $25 bonus gift card with every $125 in Gift Cards purchased by December 31, 2015.) Five Crowns 3801 East Coast Highway, Corona del Mar (949) 760-0331 http://www.lawrysonline.com/five-crowns
Rothschild’s Restaurant – This charming Italian-inspired restaurant has a few openings for New Year’s Eve. They will be closed New Year’s Day. Here is a sampler of the menu and the lovely choices that await guests. And don’t miss the classic bar to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail. The tiny lamps make me feel I am in an “old school” speakeasy. First Course: choice of: Bruschetta , Seafood Cake , Lobster Bisque, or Toasted Artichoke Hearts , Ceasar Salad , Avocado & Heirloom Salad, Garden Salad. For Entrees, there are 7 different choices ranging in price from $49 to $72. This includes: Osso Bucco (my favorite), Filet Mignon au Poivre , Maine Lobster , Wild King Salmon, Almond encrusted Halibut, Lobster Maremonte, or Parmesan encrusted Pork Chop. For Desserts guests can choose from a “hard to pick” selection of: Homemade Cannolli , Raspberry Cheesecake, Creme Brulee, Raspberry Linzer, Rothschild’s Ice Cream Pie, or Homemade Tiramisu. ROTHSCHILD’S RESTAURANT 2407 E. Coast Highway
Dining in Crystal Cove…
Mastro’s Ocean Club- Crystal Cove
Mastro’s will be open New Year’s Eve however they are completely sold out. They do have a range of reservations for dinner on New Year’s Day. This is a lovely spot along the coast, with live music in the bar playing nightly beginning at 6:30pm. If you are in the mood for steak or seafood, this is a perfect choice to enjoy a romantic dinner. They will be serving dinner New Year’s Day from 5:00-10:00pm. I would suggest booking now, if interested. Mastro’s Ocean Club 8112 East Coast Highway, Newport Beach (949) 376-6990 www.mastrosrestaurants.com/Locations/CA/61-Newport-Beach-Main/62-Menu/Default.aspx