You’ve made it through Christmas. Now it’s time to party!
Granted, most of Laguna Beach’s restaurants in town are open on New Year’s Eve, but I tend to favor those few that go out of their way to make your NYE shine. From what I’ve researched, about 10 restaurants are offering creative prix fixe menus, some of which feature chef favorites that aren’t even on the regular menus.
That scores 99 points with me.
Only about five are combining special NYE menus with significant live music (sometimes with their latest seatings only) and, in my book, that scores another 100 points with me.
From my perspective, here’s what I’d recommend you check out and book. Do it quickly – this is one of the busiest evenings of the year here in Laguna.
Let’s start with the gold brick standard –
The Montage’s NYE Gala.
Quick Summary: Kenny Loggins guests, tickets for dinner with live entertainment begin at $795/person.
Reservations: (949) 715-6420
Cocktail reception begins at 7 p.m., with dinner and wine pairings, a dessert reception and cognac bar following. This is a lot of food, folks! Live music is provided by none other than Kenny Loggins, who seems to be hanging out a lot these days in Laguna Beach with recent surprise performances at Hospitality Night and Mozambique.
Pricing for the Montage NYE Gala is a bit golden as well and is all inclusive, based on your proximity to the stage: Tier I is $795/person; Tier 2 is $995 p/person and Tier 3 is $1,195 p/person. This is a 21 years and only invitation.
Harvest Restaurant at The Ranch
Quick Summary: Prix fixe dinner with live entertainment from Ronnie Hudson & The Bad Azz Band for $300/person.
Reservations: (844) 815-6713
Details: The new classic in town is offering a 4-course menu with a bottle of wine per couple. Our new Chef Imbelli is offering some great options, including roasted pumpkin soup, center cut NY Strip and roasted squab. Dinner service begins at 8 p.m. From 9 p.m. through midnight, it’s the Ronnie Hudson & The Bad Azz Band, a reigning R&B and jazz treat from the heart of L.A. Pricing for the Harvest is $300/person, all inclusive.
Mozambique’s Big NYE
Quick Summary: Two seatings at 5:00 and 7:30 p.m., with a giant prix fixe menu, live entertainment in Durban Room (including national sensation Angie Wells) and live entertainment on the 2nd level Main Stage with The Mark. Pricing is $69 or $99 with dinner, $20 cover otherwise for the Main Stage party.
Reservations: (949) 715-7777
Details: Mozambique, Laguna’s Grand Dame of Great Steaks and Live Music, is offering the greatest variety of live music this New Year’s Eve. Additionally, their special NYE Menu, while still called a “prix fixe,” is definitely the largest number of options I’ve seen offered this NYE, with everything from their stellar Chilean Sea Bass to New Zealand Rack of Lamb, Osso Bucco and even their giant 22-ounce Prime Bone-In Ribeye Steak.
First seating throughout Mozambique begins from 5:00 p.m., with second seating beginning from 7:30 p.m.
Now that Mozambique’s fantastic Durban Room (the “speakeasy”) is regularly featuring live piano greats along with jazz and blues singers, you have two significant options when you ask to dine in The Durban on NYE. Broadway stage’s John Randall begins on the piano at 6:30 p.m., only to be followed by national jazz sensation Angie Wells at 9:00 p.m. Somehow, she’s found her way to Mozambique in the middle of a tour and recording schedule, and she’ll be taking lucky reservationists through the New Year.
Meanwhile, upstairs, regional favorite The Mark begins his show at 8:00 p.m. on Mozambique’s main stage, and this is one high-energy dude with all the right Prince-like moves.
Pricing for Mozambique’s Big NYE: From the roof top to the restaurant’s lower level Durban Room, menu pricing is the same throughout. First seating is $69; Second seating is $99, and you’ll have a free pass to the night’s later music based on when your reservation is either called in or secured online at their website (mozambiqueoc.com). The same NYE menu is also being served a la carte at the bar on a first-come, first-served basis. If you’re not interested in dinner but still want to party with The Mark, cover charge for the Main Stage is $20/person.
Skyloft’s “First” NYE
Quick Summary: The only restaurant in town with three seatings, popular Skyloft starts dining and live music earlier than anyone. Chef Arthur’s innovative prix fixe menu resides over all seatings at $50 (1st seat), $75 (2nd seat) and $100 (3rd seat through midnight). Reggae’s finest, Massive MacGregor starts at 5:00 p.m. with L.A.’s hottest female DJ, B Selecta taking the stage at 9:00 p.m.
Reservations: (949) 715-1550
Details: Newbie Skyloft is debuting its NYE evening with a decisive bang. Last year at NYE, Skyloft definitely had a party, but she was still getting her feet under her as a brand new restaurant. A year later as Laguna’s hottest night club with a rising star Chef in the kitchen, Skyloft is firing on all cylinders.
Gaining in fast popularity for its crafty new food dishes, Skyloft’s new Chef Arthur Ortiz has innovated a creative and fun NYE menu from Lobster Baked Roma Tomatoes to “Filet & Tail” and a giant Cali Smoke Sampler of his latest BBBQ goodness.
Reggae great Massive MacGregor starts the NYE live music at 5:00 p.m. He’s followed by L.A.’s top female DJ sensation, B Selecta, at 9:00 p.m.
Pricing for Skyloft’s NYE: First seating begins at 4:00 p.m. for $50; second begins at 7:00 at $75/person; and third seating begins at 9:00 at $100/person. For NYE diners, Skyloft is eliminating the usual cover charge based on when your reservation is phoned in or made online (skyloftoc.com). For party goers who aren’t dining at Skyloft but wish to join the 9:00 p.m. show, the cover is $20.
Starfish’s NYE 2017
Summary: Reserved tables begin at 8:00 p.m. at $125/person (or ticket) and Las Vegas’ renowned Drai’s DJ, Roman Rosati, returns.
Details: never disappoints, especially if you love Vegas-style DJ music … because Las Vegas’ own Roman Rosati, the resident DJ of Drai’s, is back again to ring in the New Year.
Purchase tickets in advance, which guarantees your reserved table from 8 p.m. forward, and ensures unlimited sushi rolls and small plates, 1 specialty cocktail per ticket and the champagne toast at midnight. Food is served until midnight and Vegas-style bottle service is available additionally as well. It’s a rockin’ and boisterous evening, to say the least!
Pricing for Starfish’s NYE: $125/person. Tickets (per person) must be bought at the same time to guarantee the size of your table
Regardless of where you decide to go to ring in the New Year, please call Uber or Lyft for your ride. Enjoy your New Year!