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Santa Cruz and South Bay restaurants open on New Year’s Eve, Part 1 of 2

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Planning to celebrate New Year’s Eve 2013 at a restaurant in Santa Cruz, Los Gatos, or another nearby South Bay city? Here are details and menu highlights for a variety of venues; I’ll publish a few more tomorrow.

Santa Cruz Area

Aquarius
Located at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn overlooking the Wharf, Aquarius is hosting two seatings for dinner on New Year’s Eve: 5-6:30 p.m (three courses, $65) and 9 p.m. (five courses, $85). The second seating includes a DJ and live music, dancing, hats/noisemakers, and a midnight toast. Call 460-5012 for reservations or more information.
175 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz

Johnny’s Harborside
On New Year’s Eve, Johnny’s is serving a prix fixe, three-course dinner for $48 that includes a glass of champagne. Call 479-3430 for reservations; the first seating is 5 p.m. and the last is 9:30 p.m. Customers choose one selection from each course. Appetizer options include fresh local crab and citrus bisque. Second course choices include half steamed fresh local dungeness crab with pan-seared crab cake, herb-roasted potatoes, and green bean almondine, and grilled New York strip loin with mashed potatoes, sauteed spinach, provencal stuffed crimini mushrooms, and roasted garlic butter. Dessert selections include Meyer lemon & cranberry bundt cake.
493 Lake Ave, Santa Cruz

Michael's on Main
The Soquel restaurant is serving a fixed-price $55 four-course dinner with seatings from 5:30 – 9 p.m. Dinner includes a glass of champagne and New Year’s party favors. Call (831) 479-9777 for reservations. Appetizer choices include Corralitos sausage and blue cheese stuffed mushrooms; second course choices include lobster bisque. Entrees include salmon wellington and desserts include cheesecake infused with late harvest moscato.
2591 Main St., Soquel

Hindquarter
The Santa Cruz restaurant is open on New Year’s Eve from 5 p.m. onward. It’s serving the regular dinner menu plus holiday specials. Call (831) 426-7770 for reservations.
303 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz

The Cocoanut Grove
Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the oceanfront Cocoanut Grove from 7 p.m. – 1 a.m. Tickets for dinner and the dance are $84; the dance only is $41 in advance and $46 at the door. Entertainment will be provided by The Alison Sharino Band, The Surfing Magician, and Innisfree Celtic Music. The dinner buffet is from Crown Café Catering and includes a glass of sparkling cider or champagne. A no-host full bar will be available. Call (831) 423-2053 for information or buy tickets at brownpapertickets.com.

Los Gatos Restaurants

The Lexington House
The Lexington House just opened in September 2013, and it’s already gained many fans. The restaurant’s menu features products from local, organic, and sustainable sources skillfully prepared by Chef Philippe Breneman (formerly of Dio Deka and Moana Restaurant and Hotel Group, as well as a stint at Manresa). For its first New Year’s Eve celebration, The Lexington House is offering a five-course $85 menu featuring “the best of the season.” Beginning with a Cauliflower Veloute and a Caviar Cracker, guests will have options including Diver Scallops with parsnips and brown butter; Fettuccine with uni butter and Dungeness crab; Mills Farro with wild mushroom and a slow cooked egg; Rendered Lamb Tenderloin with golden turnips and hedgehog mushrooms, and Textures of Chocolate and Maple Truffles. Call (408) 354-1600 for reservations.
40 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos

Dio Deka
Award-winning restaurant Dio Deka is offering its annual New Year’s Eve party with two seatings: the first from 6-8:30 p.m. ($95) and the second from 8:30 p.m. to past midnight ($125). Each features a four-course menu with Greek specialties from Chef Jeff Fitzgerald such as Keftethakia lamb meatballs (I highly recommend these!), Octapothi Scharas – mesquite-grilled octopus, Avgolemono – classic egg-lemon soup with orzo; Lavraki – mesquite-grilled Mediterranean Branzino; Paithakia – Mesquite-grilled double-cut lamb chops; and Brizola – mesquite-grilled prime bone in rib eye. Guests that attend the second seating will receive party favors, a midnight complimentary champagne toast at midnight, and encouragement to ‘dance the night away when the bar opens up onto a dance floor with a live DJ.’ Call (408) 354-7700 for reservations.
210 E. Main St., Los Gatos

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

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