By David Minsky
By Nicole Danna
By Sara Ventiera
By Candace West
By Emily Dabau
By Doug Fairall
By Candace West
By Laine Doss
New Year's Eve is one of those days you either love or hate with a passion.
You may not want to deal with the traffic; you may hate the crowds; you might not have anyone to kiss; midnight could be well past your granny bedtime; or you may just think the whole holiday encourages amateurs to get drunk and act like idiots.
But you don't have to find a wild, debauched party to ring in the new year right. After all, this night is supposed to be about new beginnings and a fresh start, and what better way than with the perfect meal to set the tone for all the meals to come in 2014?
Whether you're planning to indulge in a decadent meal, are looking for a good deal on dinner after all the holiday shopping, or just want something to soak up the liquid portion of the evening, we've got a spot for that.
Whatever your New Year's style or desire, we have a list of the ten best restaurants to visit — whether for dinner or the entire evening — to say farewell to 2013. Happy New Year!
1. Stache 1920's Drinking Den
109 SW Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-449-1044, or visit barstache.com.
Bringing a taste of the '20s to 2014, this downtown Fort Lauderdale speakeasy is hosting an "Old Hollywood" New Year's Eve Ball featuring five-piece big band performances with Bobby Lee Rogers & the Bourbon Boys; live cabaret, burlesque, and vaudeville shows; and a balloon drop and champagne toast at midnight. This modern speakeasy is known for its handcrafted cocktails, and the evening will be a bit light on the eats, but there will be plenty of gourmet bites to complement your libations. Early-bird tickets, from 10 p.m. to midnight, include an open bar with cocktails and passed hors d'oeuvres. Tickets start at $50.
2. Valentino Cucina Italiana
620 S. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-523-5767, or visit valentinocucinaitaliana.com.
What better way to close out the year than at the best of the best? Winner of New Times' Best Restaurant in Broward County 2013, this Fort Lauderdale Italian spot is serving à la carte offerings of its award-winning Italian specialties like butternut squash tortelli and calamari artichoke tart. To make the experience even more memorable than the other 364 days a year, the restaurant is featuring a special "cigars under the stars" event with Moe Sohail from Ultimate Cigars — it includes an outdoor patio with music, full bar, and hand-rolled cigars. That's how you stay classy right there.
3. Lobster Bar Sea Grille
450 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-772-2675.
One of the most popular new restaurants to sprout up on busy Las Olas Boulevard in a long time, this seafoodcentric spot is a chic — and tasty — alternative to the many tourist traps that permeate the area. In addition to its regular menu of items ranging from wild fluke tiradito, whole fish, and flash-fried lobster tails, the restaurant is offering a number of specials to celebrate New Year's. Just before the ball drops, the staff will pass out masks for a masquerade-themed shindig with a champagne toast at midnight.
2364 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-565-3392, or visit dba2z.com.
Just because the rest of the world is going nuts doesn't mean you have to jump aboard the crazy train. It's your day to celebrate; you might as well sit back and unwind with a good meal and a nice beer or glass of wine. Winner of our Best New Restaurant Broward County in 2013, this casual Fort Lauderdale spot is offering a three-course prix-fixe menu with champagne toast and party favors — it's the ideal place for anyone looking to relax with a great dinner in a laid-back space.
5. Sardelli Italian Steak
331 Van Buren St., Hollywood. Call 954-921-8331, or visit sardellis.com.
The start of the new year is supposed to set the tone for the following 12 months. You want to eat well, don't you? Set just steps from Hollywood Beach, this high-end Italian spot will ensure you're kicking off the year lavishly with homemade pastas, expertly prepared small plates, and top-of-the-line seafood and steaks. It's not exactly cheap — entrées run from $28 to $50 per plate — but it's worth the price if you're looking to kick off the year luxuriously. Just hope the trend sticks.
6. Thasos Greek Taverna
3330 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-200-6006, or visit thasostaverna.com.
The most popular New Year's resolution is probably switching to a healthy diet. Though that usually does not include consuming copious amounts of alcohol, there's no reason to put off the salubrious meal plan. Serving from its regular à la carte menu with a seating at 6:30 p.m., followed by a $125-per-person prix-fixe five-course seating taking place at 9:30 p.m., this health-conscious Greek spot is just right for anyone looking to preemptively kick off the change. The spot is featuring a live DJ, champagne toast, and party favors at midnight — to get guests in a healthy state of mind.
7. Ocean 234
234 N. Ocean Drive, Deerfield Beach. Call 954-428-2539, or visit oceans234.com.