Where to eat on New Year’s Eve in Berkeley and Oakland

Hopscotch in Oakland will be offering a special five-course New Year’s Eve dinner menu. Photo: Hopscotch

If you’re hoping to treat yourself to one last meal out in 2017, but you still haven’t set your plans, the good news is you’ve got some choices and there’s still (a little) time to book a table.

Several restaurants in Berkeley and Oakland are offering special New Year’s Eve menus — many of them prix-fixe deals — for you to end the year with a happy, full stomach, and hopefully some bubbly to ching-ching before, or at, midnight. Although some spots may take walk-ins, don’t hedge your bets on it — make a reservation ASAP or risk ringing in 2018 on a hangry note.

Berkeley

LES ARCEAUX Raise a glass — with real champagne — at French-inspired wine bar Les Arceaux, located on the edge of the Gourmet Ghetto. The $65 prix fixe meal offered here includes a glass of Cachet or Brut Champagne from J. Lassalle, of the Champagne region of France (cool random fact, the family-owned winery is run by three women — a grandmother, daughter and granddaughter team). As for food, the three-course meal will offer two options for each course. Diners can choose, for instance, a main course of either pan-seared Marin Sun Farms Bavette steak or a wild mushroom ragout in puff pastry. An additional wine pairing can be had for $45 more. Seatings are from 6 to 10 p.m., but they’ll continue pouring bubbly until the stroke of midnight. Les Arceaux is at 1849 Shattuck Ave. (at Hearst), Berkeley

COMAL Let’s be honest, most restaurants are offering set menus for New Year’s Eve, so it’s kind of refreshing to hear about ones that are not. Downtown Berkeley’s upscale Mexican restaurant Comal is one of these, offering its regular menu with three New Year’s Eve special dishes added. There’ll be oysters gratinados, beer-battered wild shrimp tacos, and a soup made with cauliflower and cuitlacoche (corn smut). Eating at Comal on NYE could be a good bet for those who don’t like to plan ahead — no reservations are accepted; walk-ins only! Dinner hours are 5:30 until 10 p.m. Comal, 2020 Shattuck Ave. (between University and Addison), Berkeley


CORSO Modern Italian trattoria Corso will close out the year with a three-course prix fixe dinner. Guests will wet their appetites with olives and marinated vegetables before tucking into a choice of three starters: Dungeness crab salad or tortellini stuffed with ricotta, smoked chanterelles, fiore sardo or salted baked Liberty duck with faro verde, medjool dates and almonds. There are five choices for the main course, with almost every main protein you could want. And dessert is either flourless chocolate cake or panna cotta. The meal is $60. Corso, 1788 Shattuck Ave. (between Delaware and Francisco), Berkeley 

DONATO & CO. Donato Scotti’s newest Berkeley restaurant in the Elmwood will be celebrating New Year’s Eve with a four-course prix-fixe meal, available after 6:30 p.m. Diners will choose from two options for the last three courses. For the third course, for example, guests can pick the Genovese-style veal breast stuffed with Swiss chard, mortadella and pine nuts or sea bass baked in parchment paper with potatoes, Castelvetrano olives, caper and Roma tomatoes. The prix fixe menu is $68. If you’re interested in dining a la carte, just make sure to get there before 6:30 p.m. Donato & Co., 2635 Ashby Ave. (at Ashby), Berkeley

The 38 North Half Duck is one of chef Anthony Lee’s new entrees at Gather in Berkeley. Photo: Gather

GATHER Gather Restaurant, also in downtown Berkeley, is another outliers that’s going a la carte on NYE. Part of the reason is because Gather wants to get diners familiar with its new menu, conceived by the restaurant’s new-ish chef, Anthony Lee. But as it is a special evening, there is a perk: With the order of a small plate (think dishes like a little gem salad, steamed mussels or a cheese plate) you’ll get one free glass of sparkling wine. Dinner hours are between 5 and 10 p.m. Gather, 2200 Oxford St. (at Allston), Berkeley

LALIME’S End the year with California-Mediterranean fare at Lalime’s, where it’ll be serving a fixed price four-course meal for $75. There will be two seatings, the first between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; the second at 8:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. Lalime’s1329 Gilman St. (between Neilson and Tevlin), Berkeley

LA MARCHA A set menu of tasty Spanish tapas will be offered at La Marcha for $65. That includes a raw oyster with Cava mignonette; a mixed chicory salad with persimmon, candied walnuts and Valdeón cheese; sweet piquillo peppers filled with salt cod brandade; crispy patatas bravas with manchego cheese and pork confit and clam-and-bone-marrow croqueta with oyster allioli (the Catalan version of aioli). But wait, there’s more. There’ll also be a decadent seafood paella, with Dungeness crab, shrimp, clams, calamari and uni aioli. Finally, a quince compote with Cava and topped with crumble, served a la mode with ricotta ice cream, ensures that you’ll send off 2017 completely satiated. Seatings are from 4 to 10 p.m. La Marcha, 2026 San Pablo (at University), Berkeley

MERITAGE Have you heard the news? Meritage is closing in early 2018, so this may be your last chance to dine at the Claremont’s flagship restaurant. For New Year’s Eve, it will have four seatings (5, 5:30, 8:30 and 9 p.m.) for its special five-course prix fixe dinner. The meal starts with an amuse bouche of oysters, served hot and cold. Diners get both a fish course (diver scallops) and a meat course (roulade of imperial Wagyu strip loin). If you don’t partake in meat, there are also vegetarian and vegan menus, by request. Dinner is $149, plus $55 for wine pairings. Meritage, the Claremont Spa & Club, 41 Tunnel Rd., Berkeley

RIVOLI At Rivoli, guests will dine on a three-course set menu, priced at $75, with many choices for each part of the meal. Main courses options include ricotta and black truffle ravioli, dayboat scallops, vadouvan grilled king salmon, romesco duck, or cherry mostarda rack of lamb. Optional bites to start the meal  — kusshi oyster with Asian pear mignonette or steak tartare — are available for an added cost. Rivoli, 1539 Solano Ave. (near Neilson), Berkeley


Oakland

Agave Uptown will offer its regular a la carte menu, plus a handful of Oaxacan special on New Year’s Eve. Photo: Agave Uptown

AGAVE UPTOWN In Uptown, Agave will be offering its regular a la carte menu, with some added Oaxacan specials for the evening. There’ll be lamb shank, pozole and pipian (a verdant mole made with green pumpkin seeds). Plus, all guests (over 21, that is) will get a complimentary glass of Sonoma County sparkling wine. Agave will be open from 3 to 9 p.m. that evening. Agave Uptown, 2135 Franklin St. (at Broadway), Oakland

BELLANICO “[I] have always hated all the gouging that goes on at this once a year event,” said Bellanico chef, Jonathan Luce about eating out on New Year Eve. So for those who come to Bellanico, a Glenview neighborhood spot that serves rustic, seasonal Italian fare, Luce is offering a New Year’s Eve tasting menu, which he hopes diners will agree is a good deal. For $70, guests will enjoy five courses. The meal starts with a trio of cicchetti (Italian small plates): nettle panna cotta, prosciutto spuma cannolo and Kumamoto oyster with horseradish crema and pomegrante; it ends with a quartet of dessert bites. Diners will have to make hard choices, picking one of four tempting options for the primi and secondi courses. An optional wine pairing is $30 extra. Bellanico, 4238 Park Ave. (at Wellington), Oakland

Calavera in Oakland. Photo: Calavera

CALAVERA A four-course prix fixe menu will be offered on New Year’s Eve at upscale modern Mexican restaurant Calavera. Guests will choose from three or four dishes for each course. For example, diners can choose between a goat birria stew; stuffed chicken thighs, pan roasted Gulf red snapper or braised short ribs for the main course. There are two seatings at two prices — 5 to 7:30 p.m. for $55; 8 to 11 p.m. for $75. Calavera, 2337 Boadway (between 23rd and 24th), Oakland

CAMINO “Ribeyes! Truffles! Oysters! Champagne!” boasts the Camino New Year’s Eve menu. Fortunately, with Camino, you don’t need to know much more going in because the resulting meal will be memorable. The dinner is $120 (tip included, per usual), and if you’re vegetarian — or have dietary restrictions — the restaurant will accommodate for your needs with advance notice. Camino, 3917 Grand Ave. (between Jean and Sunny Slope), Oakland

COPPER SPOON Over in Temescal, Copper Spoon will be serving a four-course prix fixe menu, with two seatings, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. After dinner service, the bar will be open until 2 a.m. All diners of-age will get a complimentary glass of hibiscus sparkling wine with their meal. Guests will choose from a main course of either a trio of squash with fried Brussels sprouts and apple sauce; short ribs with sweet potato mash, crispy parsnips, roasted baby carrots, confit shallot and Four Roses bourbon sauce; or citrus-marinated swordfish with fried potato, turnips and fermented kohlrabi. This is going to be a festive spot to celebrate — there’ll be live music, a DJ and party favors to pop off 2018 in style. Copper Spoon, 4031 Broadway (at 40th), Oakland

DESCO Before it closes its doors forever, Desco in Old Oakland will go out with a bang for one last time on New Year’s Eve. From 4 to 10 p.m., Donato Scotti’s Italian restaurant will offer a choice — a la carte dining off of it its regular menu, or a special $68 prix fixe dinner. If you go with the latter, you’ll choose between a main course of stuffed rabbit saddle wrapped in prosciutto, with lentils and braised greens or roasted California swordfish with pistachios, Prosecco and blood orange. Before the night ends, don’t forget to raise your glass and say farewell to this four-year-old restaurant, which will close its doors forever at the end of the night. Desco, 499 9th St. (at Washington), Oakland


DUCHESS OAKLAND The five-course prix fixe menu at Rockridge’s Duchess restaurant will feature rutabaga, spot prawn, wagyu, pork jowl and apple tarts. The price is $70, with an optional wine pairing, but if cocktails are your thing, you won’t want to miss getting one — or more! — while you’re dining here. Duchess Oakland, 5422 College Ave. (at Kales), Oakland

DUENDE If modern Spanish cuisine is what you’re craving to end 2017, head over to Duende in Uptown, where chef Paul Canales will offer his regular a la carte menu, plus a few specialties, available just for the holidays. Those include a house-cured 24-month local jamón (ham), caviar blini topped with creme fraiche and caviar, Dungeness crab crepe, several preparations of black truffles, fried lamb chops and a 40-oz ribeye steak with shaved black truffle. Note, parties of six must the prix fixe menu ($65); smaller groups can order a la carte. Duende, 468 19th St. (at Telegraph), Oakland

EVE’S WATERFRONT Over in Jack London Square, Eve’s Waterfront Restaurant will be celebrating New Year’s Eve with a five-course prix fixe dinner for $75. Main course choices will be a grass-fed beef filet, herb roasted lamb rack, double-cut Berkshire pork chop, house-made ravioli or brick-pressed Maine lobster. After dinner, guests are invited to stay for the party, featuring live music by Ben Misterka and Collectivity and a midnight toast to ring in 2018. Seatings are between 5 and 7:30 p.m. Eve’s Waterfront Restaurant, 15 Embarcadero West, Oakland

Homestead in Oakland. Photo: Sonny Abesamis/Flickr

HOMESTEAD Over on Piedmont Avenue, Homestead will have two seatings (5 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.) for its prix fixe New Year’s Eve dinner. Guests will have a choice between two options for each course — for example, diners can choose between ribeye steak cooked in the fireplace served with sunchokes, chanterelle mushrooms and bone barrow or butter poached turbot, Robuchon-style potatoes, artichokes and Dungeness crab. Those who choose the 6:15 p.m. seating will get a extra fifth course, a decadent Maine lobster garganelli with black truffle. The first seating is $100, plus $60 for wine pairings; the second seating is $130, plus $70 for wine pairings (service is included in the price). Unlike many restaurants that frown upon substitutions for prix fixe meals, Homestead will offer alternate options for vegetarians, vegans and those with common dietary restrictions — just let the restaurant know when you book your table! Homestead, 4029 Piedmont Ave. (at 40th), Oakland 

HOPSCOTCH In Uptown Oakland,  Japanese-influenced diner Hopscotch invites guests to say goodbye to 2017 with a five-course dinner. The special meal will feature the dishes that “inspired [the restaurant] most throughout the year.” The dinner starts off  with traditional Japanese new year’s bites. For the rest of the meal, guests will choose between three or four dishes per course. A sample to wet your appetite: for the fourth course, take your pick between ribeye steak, rack of lamb, Dungeness crab cakes or Maitake mushroom ravioli. The meal is $85. Although reservations are recommended, Hopscotch invites walk-ins, too. And keep in mind that Hopsotch will be open for brunch on New Year’s Day — so you can end 2017 and start the new year with back-to-back meals here. Hopscotch, 1915 San Pablo (between William and 19th), Oakland

Lake Chalet in Oakland. Photo: Sharon Hahn Darlin/Flickr

LAKE CHALET Oakland’s lakeside seafood grill will open at 11 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, and serve its regular menu all day until 10 p.m. But if you’re looking for a step above regular, you can go for the $65 four-course prix fixe dinner. Diners will choose between a main course of pan-seared Gulf grey flounder with spaghetti squash, walnuts, and saffron beurre fondue with apple and pumpkin seeds or duck breast and confit with celery root purée, Asian pear, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts. Lake Chalet, 1520 Lakeside Dr. (between 15th and 17th), Oakland

LUNGOMARE Jack London Square’s Lungomare is going all-out on New Year’s Eve with its “Beauté en Blanc Ball,” offering a steak and seafood buffet, hors d’oeuvres, a top shelf bar and live musical entertainment. Please note, this is more nightclub than dinner party, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for a quiet, low-key affair. Expect things like a white carpet entry, post-meal napkin twirling (which will be photographed) and as its name (“beauty in white”) hints at, guests must wear white to attend this event. Seriously, read the rules. In terms of food — the buffet will feature a bevy of seafood like poached shrimp, raw oysters and roasted salmon, as well as meats like prime rib, brisket, spare ribs. There’ll also be salads, sides and desserts, too. Optional bottle service is available at an additional cost. Lungomare, 1 Broadway, Oakland

MOCKINGBIRD In Downtown Oakland, Mockingbird will be serving a four-course prix fixe menu, with optional wine pairing for an additional $65. There will be two seatings: 6 to 7:30 p.m. for $100; 8:30 to 10:30 (includes midnight Champagne toast and extra surprises) for $125. Main course choices are braised prime short ribs, cauliflower steak and roasted king trumpet mushrooms or pan roasted black cod. Mockingbird, 416 13th St. (at Broadway), Oakland

OLIVETO There’ll be two seatings with two prices for the New Year’s Eve dinner at Rockridge Italian restaurant, Oliveto: from 5 to 6:15 p.m. it’s $95 for a four-courses, and from 7:45 to 9:15 p.m. it’s $130 for five-courses. For the main course, guests will choose from pan-roasted salmon, pan-roasted Liberty duck breast and sausage or roast Piedmontese ribeye (the second seating will get to choose both a fish and a meat dish). Oliveto, 5655 College Ave. (at Shafter), Oakland

PERLE WINE BAR Over in Montclair Village, Perle Wine bar is celebrating the end of the year with a four-course prix fixe menu. Each course has a variety of choices. The four choices for the amuse alone will tell you what a decadent meal you’re in for: smoked salmon toast with steelhead caviar; oyster supreme with uni, foie gras and salmon caviar; filet mignon tartar with roasted bone marrow and truffle caviar or blood Mary oyster shooter with Citron foam. Dinner is $79. Perle Wine Bar, 2058 Mountain (near LaSalle), Oakland

THE TERRACE ROOM If you’re looking for a dinner-and-entertainment package deal, especially if you love live music and dancing, there’s the New Year’s Eve shindig at the Terrace Room in Oakland’s Lakeside neighborhood. For $150 (price includes tax and gratuity), revelers will sit down for a three-course prix fixe dinner that starts with a cheese and charcuterie platter and ends with triple mousse cake. Entrée choices are golden beet and truffle risotto; porcini-rubbed short rib with winter vegetable ragout or slow-braised halibut). An optional wine pairing can be added for $30 extra. After dinner, there’ll be a performance by local chanteuse and her outfit, Lavay Smith & The Red Hot Skillet Lickers, followed by a toast at midnight. Reservations are required. The Terrace Room, 1800 Madison (at 17th), Oakland

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