There are two types of people when it comes to New Year’s Eve. Some prefer a low-key evening and counting down the clock in the company of a few close friends. Then, there are those who view December 31 as the one night each year for non-stop debauchery and are drawn to large-scale events filled with likeminded party-goers.
The list below includes ideas for both types of revellers and focuses on New Year’s Eve options at restaurants and hotels in Vancouver. Reservations are recommended unless otherwise specified.
Restaurants offering special prix fixe menus
For people hoping to enjoy the evening out but not venture downtown, Kitsilano’s Maenam (1938 West 4th Avenue) will be offering a four-course meal ($60 per person) designed for sharing. Executive chef and owner Angus An has created a menu that includes hot-and-sour oxtail soup, crispy softshell crab, duck curry, and jackfruit custard as some of its options. Diners can enjoy wine pairings for an additional fee.
In Yaletown, West Oak (1035 Mainland Street) will have a different dinner option at two seatings. For those who prefer an early start, the restaurant’s regular menu, which features steak and seafood, will be offered at 6 p.m. Starting at 9 p.m., executive chef Tim Cuff will present diners with his five-course menu ($75 per person including a glass of bubbly at midnight). The decadent meal includes choices of roasted duck, lobster tail, sablefish, and beef striploin.
Two dining options will also be available at Gastown’s L’Abattoir (217 Carrall Street). In the main dining room, guests will be able to order off the restaurant’s regular menu. For a more exclusive experience, people can reserve a table (that can accommodate two to six people) in L’Abattoir’s private dining space, which opened earlier this year. Diners in the private dining room will enjoy executive chef Lee Cooper’s five-course dinner ($150 per person, including cocktail and wine pairings), which features foie gras parfait with toasted brioche, Dungeness crab pasta, smoked duck, steak, and dessert.
CRAFT Beer Market
New Year’s Eve need not require the enjoyment of bubbly exclusively. Revellers at CRAFT Beer Market (85 West 1 Avenue) will be served a four-course meal paired with craft beer ($75 per person). The New Year’s Eve Brewmaster’s Dinner will be offered during three seatings at 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. A menu of comfort-food dishes will be paired with Howe Sound Brewing’s Rail Nut Brown Ale, Hopworks Urban Brewery’s Organic IPA, Parallel 49’s Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale, and Red Racer’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Porter.
For diners who would like to ring in the new year with an Italian feast, La Pentola (350 Davie Street) will offer an early and late seating with different menus. From 5 to 7 p.m., executive chef and owner Lucais Syme will provide a five-course meal ($60 per person) that includes lobster salad, elk carpaccio, and handmade pasta with rabbit. After 8 p.m., a seven-course menu ($95 per person including a glass of Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Champagne) will be offered. Raw oysters and foie gras torchon are on the menu.
On the edge of Gastown, Wildebeest (120 West Hastings) will serve a five-course menu ($69 per person) throughout the evening. Executive chef Wesley Young’s New Year’s Eve highlight’s the restaurant’s meat-centric nose-to-tail approach to dining. Dishes include bison carpaccio, lamb tartare, and roasted sablefish.
At Fable Restaurant (1944 West 4th Avenue), executive chef Trevor Bird will prepare a six-course meal ($125 per person) served at long communal tables. Doors to the event open at 8 p.m. and dinner gets underway at 8:30 p.m. Dishes include butternut squash soup, game terrine, coq au vin, and flourless chocolate cake. While the dinner is expect to finish around 11:30 p.m., diners are invited to stay at the restaurant until midnight and receive a glass of Prosecco.
Restaurants throwing parties
Over on Granville Island, Dockside Restaurant (1253 Johnston Street) well welcome 2015 with a special four-course dinner followed by a party with live music. From 7 to 8:30 p.m., people who make reservations for the 4 Course Dinner Package ($139.95 per person) will be served a seafood-focused meal with options that include grilled halibut, Dungeness crab and corn cioppino, or grilled salmon. After dinner, guests can enjoy the Brickhouse band playing R&B and funk favourites, plus a glass of bubbly and party favours at midnight. Tickets for the party only ($34.95 including a glass of sparkling wine and party favours) can be purchased online.
At Gastown’s Calabash Bistro (248 Carrall Street), a party will start in the downstairs lounge at 9 p.m. Tickets ($20) can be purchased online and the evening includes a lineup of DJs. While a meal and drinks are not included in the ticket price, guests can have dinner in the main dining room before enjoying more cocktails and snacks in the lounge.
The Wild Rice location near Chinatown may have closed this year, but the restaurant is planning a party for the River Market. Revellers at Wild Rice (810 Quayside Drive, New Westminster) have three options to choose from: for $65, diners can enjoy executive chef Todd Bright’s three-course Peking duck dinner and stay for the party; for $45, diners can enjoy the special New Year’s Eve menu and leave before the night gets too wild; and for $20, guests can arrive just in time to enjoy the party. The Wild Rice party includes music, dancing, hor d'oeuvres, and bubbly at midnight.
While Chambar closed for New Year’s Eve last year, the restaurant will open for its popular party in its new location this year. For $150, guests will enjoy canapes including oysters, unlimited cocktails, wine, and beer throughout the evening, champagne at midnight, and musical entertainment. The party gets started at 7:30 p.m. and doors close at 10 p.m. There is a “sexy formal” dress code for this party.
Restaurants offering a family-friendly New Year’s Eve
Nicli Antica Pizzeria
Gastown’s Nicli Antica Pizzera (62 East Cordova Street) will be offering three separate seatings to enjoy executive chef David Tozer’s five-course menu. At the earliest reservation at 5 p.m., families are invited to bring children to join in on the fun. The meal includes anchovy-topped crostini, an antipasto platter, salad, pizza, and dessert. The cost per person is $70 for adults and $35 for children under the age of 12. Party favours and festive “mocktails” are included in the children’s price.
Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.
The popular family-friendly pizzeria will host all-ages parties at both of its locations (1876 West 1st Avenue; 4186 Main Street). At the Kitsilano party ($22 for adults, $18 for children), families can enjoy seatings at 4 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. The evening includes a pizza dinner (where kids can create their own pizzas), face painting, and show by ventriloquist and puppeteer Kellie Haines.
The Main Street location will have a $6 cover charge for guests 1 year and older, which includes face painting and live music. Kids can make their own pizzas at an additional cost of $7.95.
Dining and dancing at hotels
Rosewood Hotel Georgia
For people wanting to ring in the new year with a fine-dining experience, Hawksworth Restaurant (801 West Georgia Street) will be offering a six-course menu ($160 per person) that evening. The special meal includes smoked sturgeon topped with caviar, roasted sablefish with poached lobster, pork-neck ravioli, and beef striploin. Beverages are extra; however, diners may want to splurge on one of Hawksworth’s 40 bottles of Champagne and sparkling wine.
Above the restaurant, the second floor of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia will be transformed into a grand European palace for a Palais Royale New Year’s Eve-themed party. A ticket ($90), which can be purchased by calling the hotel or visiting the front desk, includes a Belvedere vodka cocktail, live jazz and DJ music, interactive art installations, and access to a champagne lounge.
Sutton Place Hotel
Two celebrations will take place at the Sutton Place Hotel (845 Burrard Street) this year. At the recently opened Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, diners can enjoy executive chef Alex Chen’s prix fixe menus at two seatings. During the 5 p.m. seating, a three-course meal ($99 per person) featuring deluxe ingredients includes foie gras terrine, smoked salmon, roasted sablefish, and grilled beef ribeye. A four-course menu ($179 per person) starting at 8 p.m. has pumpkin bisque, beef carpaccio, and sea bass as added options. Live music provided by a three-piece jazz band will entertain diners until the countdown.
Next door at Gerard Lounge, a party sponsors by Absolut Elyx will get underway at 9p.m. A ticket ($50) includes a cocktail, midnight hors d’oeuvres by Boulevard chef Chen, party favours, and entertainment from DJ Myles Bigelow. The party at Gerard is themed “masquerade” and prizes will be awarded to the best mask.
Two seatings at Cibo Trattoria (900 Seymour Street) will give New Year’s Eve diners a chance to taste executive chef Faizal Kassam’s rustic Italian menu. A three-course dinner ($69 per person) that includes the choice of Dungeness crab linguini or wine-braised bison short ribs for the main course, starts at 5 p.m. At the second seating, starting at 9 p.m., guests will be greeted with a glass of bubbly and enjoy a five-course menu ($99 per person) until midnight.
For those who enjoy the earlier dinner at Cibo and want a lively party atmostphere, UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar next door will host a Belle Époque-themed bash from 9 p.m. onwards. Guests can sip on inspired cocktails by bar manager Lauren Mote while dancing to the brassy-jazz stylings of the Rod Murray Trio. Tickets to the party at UVA are $30 and can be purchased online.
Following the success of last year’s New Year’s Eve party, Arrival Agency will be throwing a large-scale event at the Hotel Vancouver again. The multi-room party, which runs from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., features a variety of live entertaining including local bands, DJs, and the Vancouver opera. Tickets ranging from $99 to $250 per person include food, drink, entertainment, and champagne options, and can be purchased online in advance.
Restaurants open for business as usual
Sometimes, the best laid plans are ones that don’t need to be made in advance. Several Vancouver restaurants will be open for business-as-usual on December 31.
While many of them recommend reservations, all of them accept walk-ins on a first-come, first-served basis. Some of them will offer special dishes and options in addition to their regular dishes, but diners will be able to order from the a la carte menu.
Restaurants open for dinner on New Year’s Eve include Blacktail Florist (332 Water Street), PiDGiN (350 Carral Street), all Heather Hospitality Group restaurants (various locations), Homer St. Café and Bar (898 Homer Street), and The Abbey (117 West Pender Street).