Oakland and Berkeley offer many fine spots for memorable meals and ringing in the new year on Dec. 31. We’ve pulled together a list of highlights but would love readers to add ideas in the comment section below. This list is not exhaustive so we definitely hope you’ll chime in. Please call for availability. We’ve included links to each restaurant below.
BISTRO LIAISON Join Bistro Liaison for a festive New Year’s Eve Party with live music, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. A special three-course menu for the evening includes choice of appetizer (cream of mushroom purée, Dungeness crab cake or baby spinach salad), main (roast quail, pan-roasted wild sea bass or roast prime rib of beef) and dessert (chocolate hazelnut cake, caramelized apple upside-down tarte or lemon curd tart). The menu costs $50 per person for reservations from 5-6:30 p.m., and $60 per person for later reservations. There will be live music from 9 p.m. until midnight. Bistro Liaison, 1849 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.
BUILD BUILD Pizzeria Roma will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. serving a $45 three-course prix fixe option from 5:30-10 p.m. That’s when the BUILD Bar Countdown Party ($30 cover charge) begins. The early evening prix fixe menu will include an appetizer, a special holiday pizza, dessert and a choice of a punch cocktail or a glass of prosecco. The Count Party will include savory and sweet bites and pizzas, punch cocktails, a champagne toast, festive decorations and entertainment. BUILD Pizzeria Roma, 2286 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.
COMAL Ring in the New Year at Comal with DJ Jose Ruiz and delicious antojitos. Comal plans to clear out the tables, turn up the volume and become “a swingin’ dancehall.” The music will be a mix of Latin and funk, and chef Matt Gandin and his team will provide a steady stream of antojitos (little snacks) throughout the night. Expect Oaxacan-style street snacks like quesadillas and flautas. Food is included with your $40 ticket purchase. Matt Campbell, Comal’s lead bartender, will serve up an original NYE cocktail for the occasion. Tickets are available here. Comal, 2020 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. [Hat tip: Downtown Berkeley Association]
REVIVAL Ring in 2014 in Revival style. We haven’t heard anything about a prix fixe, but Revival Bar and Kitchen in Berkeley plans to offer artisinal cocktails, its sustainable, seasonal a la carte menu, and live music from 9 p.m. through the midnight hour. The music is described as “vintage neo-soul and rock n roll” from Flat 12. Revival Bar + Kitchen, 2102 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. [Hat tip: Downtown Berkeley Association]
A16 ROCKRIDGE A special six-course menu by Chef Rocky Maselli will help you welcome 2014 at A16 Rockridge this New Year’s Eve. The meal will include items such as roasted goat with turnip puree, parsnips and fried rosemary; carrot sformato with braised winter greens, salsify and pistachio-dragoncello; and a mascarpone rum semifreddo with espresso chocolate cookie crumb and chocolate rum sauce. The menu is priced at $95 per person with an optional $75 wine pairing. Reservations extend from 5-11 p.m., but the restaurant will remain open to ring in the New Year. A16 Rockridge, 5356 College Ave., Oakland.
BOCANOVA In addition to its regular dinner menu, Bocanova invites diners to ring in the New Year with a four-course Surf & Turf prix-fixe dinner, including a complimentary glass of bubbly priced at $58 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Dishes for the evening include a chicken, mussel and shrimp chowder with aji amarillo; roast dungeness crab with garlic, chile flakes and olive oil; and dry-aged Featherbone steak with spiced salt and anchovy butter. Bocanova, 55 Webster St., Oakland.
BOURBON & BEEF Bourbon & Beef will serve a three-course holiday menu (plus an intermezzo) with seatings at 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. The first seating will be priced at $75, the second at $95, and the third at $125 for meat and seafood menus, with a vegetarian option f($55, $75 and $95). Prices do not include beverages, tax or gratuity. The main course meat will be bone-in giant filet mignon along with crispy Brussels sprouts and Marcona almonds and goat cheese, roasted Peruvian potatoes, and a wild mushroom and bourbon bone marrow pan reduction. The fish main will be pan roasted tropical Hawaiian white fish with a lobster and Manchego cheese crust, saffron rice cake and tomatillo butter. Vegetarians can enjoy an oven roasted “vegetable tower” with butternut squash purée, 50-year-old balsamic glaze and crispy leeks. The restaurant will be decorated in the spirit of the occasion, and each guest will receive a complimentary glass of sparkling wine and party favors, with the final seating receiving a champagne toast at midnight. Bar service will continue until 1:30 AM. Bourbon & Beef, 5634 College Ave., Oakland.
DESCO Desco in Old Oakland will serve holiday-inspired selections from the regular a la carte menu from 5:30-8 p.m. and a $59 five-course prix fixe menu from 8-11 p.m., with main course choices of grilled beef filet on homemade bread, or organic salmon filet with organic pomegranate, golden apple and walnut sformatino. There will be a complimentary Prosecco toast at midnight. All price exclude tax and gratuity. Desco, 499 Ninth St., Oakland.
DISTRICT OAKLAND District Oakland will have two seatings, 5:30-6:15 p.m. and 7:30-8:15 p.m., each with a $75 five-course prix fixe menu. An optional wine pairing will be offered for $30. Main course choices will be petrale sole with butter poached lobster, lobster saffron gnocchi and melted leeks or sliced beef tenderloin with red wine braised short ribs, Frenched potatoes and roasted field onion. At 10 p.m., the countdown party begins ($20 cover charge, with second seating dinner guests admitted at no charge) with DJ entertainment and a complimentary sparkling wine cocktail upon entry. The restaurant’s late night menu will be available until midnight. District Oakland, 827 Washington St., Oakland.
DOPO Dopo will serve a special New Year’s Eve menu for $65 with a $25 optional wine pairing. The menu is set to include dungeness crab with citrus and chicories; risotto with black truffles; roasted duck and cotechino with lentils; and, for dessert, a chocolate and almond torte. Two seatings are planned, at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Dopo, 4293 Piedmont Ave., Oakland.
HAVEN Chef Chris Johnson at Haven has planned a five-course menu full of “comforting classics dressed up in their New Year’s finest…with a few decadent surprises thrown in for good measure.” Imagine oysters with champagne gelee, red wine risotto with wild mushrooms, and slow-braised beef short ribs. Haven promises “plenty of bubbles.” The menu costs $85, with an optional $40 beverage pairing. Haven Oakland, 44 Webster St., Oakland.
HOMESTEAD Homestead Restaurant in Oakland will have two seatings, from 5-8:30 p.m., and from 9-10:30 p.m. The first seating, with four courses, is priced at $80, and the second, with five courses, at $100. Both menus include caviar with a winter roots salad and crème fraîche or crispy sweetbreads; hand rolled garginelli with Dungeness crab and black truffles; poached turbot with lobster Béarnaise or lobster and beef wellington with sauce Américaine; and a blood orange Creamsicle baked alaska or chocolate mille-feuille, plus the addition of squab cassoulet for the second seating. Both menus will also include an amuse-bouche and mignardises and there will be vegetarian and gluten-free options. The restaurant will be decorated for the celebration and each guest will receive a complimentary glass of sparkling wine to begin the evening. For those who are present at midnight, party favors will include handcrafted items such as candies and mustards. Homestead, 4029 Piedmont Ave., Oakland.
OLIVETO Oliveto has crafted two special prix fixe menus for New Year’s Eve, including Brodetto of lobster with toasted coriander and orange crema or Carpaccio of beef with truffle aïoli and potato fritto; a Tortelli di zucca with amaretti cookies and Parmesan cheese or Tajarin with black truffle butter; pan-roasted scallops with cauliflower purée, Yellow Finn potato and caviar butter or petrale sole with onion crema, Bloomsdale spinach and black truffle spumante; pan-roasted Liberty Farms duck breast with Tokyo turnips and their greens, barley and Calvados sugo or roast Piedmontese ribeye with long-cooked onions, delicata squash, and old aceto balsamico. Dessert is to be announced. The four-course menu is offered from 5-6:30 p.m. for $95 (plus tax & 18% gratuity), and the five-course menu, with countdown and a champagne toast, from 7:30-10 p.m. for $120 (plus tax & 18% gratuity). The four-course menu will be available all night in the downstairs cafe for $75. Oliveto, 5655 College Ave., Oakland.
TRIBUNE TAVERN Tribune Tavern features dinner, drinks and music to celebrate New Year’s 2014. Two seatings are possible: “Early night” reservations from 6-8 p.m. cost $45 per person for a three-course prix fixe menu, or a la carte service at the bar, and “late night” reservations from 8:15 to 11 p.m., with a $65 three-course prix fixe and a glass of champagne. A DJ and dancing are planned from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tribune Tavern, 401 13th St., Oakland.
If we hear of others, we’ll add links in the comments section below, and we’d love for readers to do the same.