New Year's Eve: Where To Eat

End one of the best years in Philly foodie history with a decadent New Year’s Eve dinner.

By Beth Lesko
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Dec. 15, 2009

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Jose Garces

It’s been a stellar year for the Philly food scene, and there’s no better way to end it than with a memorable meal. This New Year’s Eve, chefs around town are serving up special menus of some of their most memorable dishes of the year and rolling out luxe ingredients like lobster, truffles, oysters and caviar. Here are a few picks for hot bites where the Champagne will be flowing.

Jose Garces has a lot to celebrate as he closes out his big year. Raise a glass to Garces and his talented chefs at any one of his Latin-themed restaurants— Amada (217-219 Chestnut St. 215.625.2450., Chifa (707 Chestnut St. 215.925.5555., Distrito (3945 Chestnut St. 215.222.1657., Tinto (114 S. 20th St. 215.665.9150.—for special tasting menus, wine pairings and a la carte options. In addition to many of Garces’ specialties, diners can dig into specialty dishes such as foie gras buns at Chifa, truffle ice cream at Amada and a tequila pairing with dinner at Distrito. Reservations are available from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. at all four restaurants.

For a sneak peek of Chef Daniel Stern ’s upcoming R2L (50 N. 16th St. 215.564.5337. restaurant, join the posh party at the top of the new Residences at Liberty Place. Despite not opening until January 21, Stern is treating guests to a top-shelf open bar, a decadent dessert buffet and butlered hors d’oeuvres featuring bites from R2L’s new menu like chilled oysters with horseradish ice cream and grilled truffle pizza. DJ Panther will preside over the dance floor and Stern himself will lead the midnight champagne toast. At 37 floors above the city, guests will have an excellent view of the fireworks over Penn’s Landing. Tickets are $150 per person.

For a low-key, small-bites meal or post-party snack, tuck into the bar tables at one of Tria ’s (Various locations. locations in Rittenhouse or Washington Square. In addition to their standard (and genius) wine, beer and cheese menu, the crafty bartenders at Tria will pour special sparklers and slice into creamy, dreamy cheeses. On the bubbly list for NYE is the sweet and citrusy DeuS Belgian beer, brewed and then aged in Champagne bottles; a Brachetto, a crisp and sweet Italian bubbly; and a special grower’s Champagne made by the same the French vineyard that grew the grapes. No reservations, just drop in.

Stephen Starr and his legions are keeping it simple but celebratory with regular seatings and menus, but are throwing in a few special dishes, drinks and DJs. Continental Midtown ’s (1801 Chestnut St. 215.567.1800. party has an ’80s theme. El Vez (121 S. 13th St. 215.928.9800. diners will toast with tequila, while Buddakan , Alma de Cuba and Pod will have DJs and dance floors. At midnight, in all Starr spots across the time zone, guests will join in a Champagne toast and wonder what Stephen has up his sleeve for 2010.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Zahav (237 Saint James Place. 215.625.8800. with Chef Michael Solomonov ’s Mesibah Gedolah, or “Big Party,” menu. Solomonov will bake his signature laffa and serve it alongside special dishes like borekas (turnovers) filled with potato and black truffles, hummus with locally foraged mushrooms and spicy, homey shakshouka made with spinach, harissa and farm-fresh eggs. The menu price is $65 per person.

A meal cooked by Terence Feury is always a treat. A year-end dinner with a view of his kitchen from one of the cozy banquettes in Fork (306 Market St. 215. 625.9425., makes for a perfect evening with friends or a date. Chef Feury offers a $65, three-course, prix-fixe menu cooked in his farm-fresh, classic comfort style. Special selections include creamy Maine lobster bisque, Kobe beef short ribs and roasted lamb with onion-thyme marmalade. A selection of desserts will also be offered.

New Year’s Eve at Bar Ferdinand (1030 N. Second St. 215.923.1313. will be spicy and fiery with chef Michael Thomas’s six-course Spanish feast and live flamenco dancing. Everyone gets Cava (Spanish bubbly) at midnight and diners can add an optional wine pairing to the meal. A limited a la carte menu will also be available. Highlights of the special menu include smoked duck breast, New York strip steak in a Rioja demi-glace, and dark chocolate cake with hazelnut brittle. Seatings are available at 5 p.m. for $55 and 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m for $75.

To close out the year after a well-received reboot, Oyster House (1516 Sansom St. 215.567.7683. offers guests a $55, four-course prix fixe menu featuring kicked-up versions of their seafood selections, including roasted oysters with caviar, clams with braised pork belly and truffle-crusted scallops. For 10 bucks extra, diners can add a raw-bar course, and all dinners include a Champagne toast. Reservations are available from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

For a truly decadent NYE, roll out of the swanky seats at Square 1682 (121 S. 17th St. 215.563.5008. and right into one of the plush beds at the new Hotel Palomar. Palomar’s sustainable-savvy restaurant offers two tasting menus, creative cocktails and a lounge menu. The tasting menus have seatings at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Both menus include seasonal dishes like roasted beef tenderloin, kabocha-squash soup and house-cured salmon, but the later menu has a few extra courses, the salmon gets the caviar treatment and the squash soup is topped with truffles. The 6 p.m. five-course is $65 and the late seven-course is $95, which includes Champagne at midnight. In addition to the tasting menus, the bar menu will be served in the Square 1682 Lounge.

Mitch and Jennifer Prensky, the farm-friendly super couple at Supper (926 South St. 215.592.8180. invite guests to join them for a practically night-till-morning dining experience by offering dinner and drinks on NYE and a recovery brunch the next day! From 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., enjoy the Prenskys’ fresh, local cuisine with a $78 five-course tasting dinner featuring Mitch’s famous deviled eggs with black truffle; a clever “gin and tonic” dish with gin-pickled beets, salmon roe and tonic butter; and a dense, dark chocolate cake topped with boozy brandied cherries. On New Year’s Day, Supper will host a “Hair of the Dog” brunch with many hearty Bloody Mary variations to cure the afflicted. ■

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