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.
Set right on the beach in Deerfield, this large space is known for throwing a good soiree. Obviously, the biggest party day of the year is no different. The restaurant will have a special holiday menu with items ranging from pistachio-crusted rack of lamb ($48) with celeriac chive mash and French beans to warm walnut-crusted goat cheese salad ($20) with blackened shrimp and raspberry vinaigrette. For the party, the restaurant is bringing in a DJ and hosting a champagne toast at midnight. To keep a table through midnight, reservations must be made for later than 10 p.m.
8. Tap 42
1411 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-463-4900, or visit tap42.com.
Dealing with sorting out a bill as you're leaving the bar in the wee hours of New Year's morning is a massive pain. Sort it out in advance here. To ring in the holiday, the bar is selling tickets for $95 per person that include an open bar with premium cocktails, champagne, and more than 51 craft brews and special tappings through the night; passed hors d'oeuvres and a breakfast buffet at 1 a.m.; a photo booth; and live music by M2G. Eat here and you've got ample choices without the headache — until you wake up, that is. To purchase tickets, visit eventbrite.com.
9. Whiskey Tango
1903 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Call 954-925-2555, or visit whiskeytangofl.com.
Switching locations from the restaurant to the bar can be a major pain when you just want to get the party going for the holiday. If you're looking to start the festivities while noshing on some bar bites, this would be your downtown Hollywood place of choice. With no cover charge, drink specials, a champagne toast at midnight, Blue Audio performing live, and a balloon drop with $1,000 in cash and prizes, there are plenty of options and activities that will ensure you ring in the year with a bang.
10. Cantina Laredo
501 Silks Run, Hallandale Beach. Call 954-457-7662, or visit cantinalaredo.com.
We are well aware that champagne is supposed to be the official drink of New Year's Eve. But who says you can't throw in a little tequila? Located right in the action of the Village of Gulfstream Park, this modern Mexican spot and tequila bar is featuring a special menu with cocktail pairings to ring in the changing of the year. For $35 per person — the cocktail pairing is an extra $15 — guests can enjoy three courses, such as sopa de calabaza (pumpkin soup topped with cranberry-apple pico and roasted pumpkin seeds); fiesta de la parrilla (shrimp, quail, beef, and chicken fajitas); and churros with chocolate raspberry sauce and Grand Marnier cajeta. You'll probably need the primer for your late-night party.
The Ten Best Restaurants in Broward for This New Year's Eve