Holiday Dining Delights

A Proper Ending to a Fabulously Food-Filled Year!

New Year’s Eve is a lovely night for food and drink in Portland, with veggie-friendly eats and carnivorous chow.

By Michelle Morico December 22, 2010

For the Worldly


$55 per person (+$30 optional sake pairing)

Who needs wine pairings when you can have sake pairings? This eight-course Japanese "bangohan" starts off on the lighter side with Sashimi and soup, but features plenty of sustenance. Think fried smelts with caviar egg sauce, and grilled halibut cheek. Biwa gets symbolic by serving up Toshikoshi Soba (chilled buckwheat noodles), which represent prosperity in the new year. (Better make your reservations quick, folks—there are not enough seats for everyone to prosper in 2011.) Akemashite omedeto, Portland! Reservations between 5-9 PM at 503-239-8830

For the Music Hungry


$60 per person (+ optional champagne or spirits pairing)

You can have the hippest NYE around at Gilt Club as DJ IZM spins soul, funk, electro and lo-fi jams from 9 PM-1 AM while you sip on celery root soup with Boudin noir, herbs and a ham crisp. Or, munch on a mushroom salad with Marcona almonds, pecorino, chives, parsley, Buddha’s hand and ollo verde. This six-course spread is abundant with meat-based, main course picks but doesn’t forget about the meat-free peeps by serving up a black trumpet mushroom and potato gnocci third course entrée. Reservations from 5 PM-close at 503-222-4458



The possibilities are endless at Fenouil this NYE—choose between veggie and omni, five-course and eight, two-tier wine pairing or go all out and enjoy the grand pairing. Probably didn’t think the evening could get any jazzier, but it DOES. Jazz vocalist Toni Lincoln (along with Greg Goebel and Ken Anoe) will serenade eaters with their jazzy melodies and luscious harmonies. Reservations can be made at

For the NE Dwellers



A NE gem, Belly is a perfect place to take the whole fam, (they even have a TOY BASKET!) Get hyphy on some complimentary bubbles before the first course of cauliflower veloute with black truffle brioche, and then comes decision time. Lobster risotto with grilled wild mushrooms or seared foi gras with thyme brioche and apple butter? Seatings at 6, 8 & 10 PM. Reservations can be made at 503-249-9764



For us east-siders, trekking downtown can feel farther than ever when all you wanna do is hang with that special someone and savor six courses of culinary magic without lifting a finger (or driving a car). This MLK Jr. Blvd. treasure is sure to impress with their simple, gourmet menu that features a bounty of seasonal eats like root vegetables with melted leeks and mushroom broth or squash bisque with honey clove cream. Seatings at 6 & 9 PM. Reservations can be made at 503-288-6900

For the Foodies


$85 per person (+$45 for wine pairings, and $65 for Castagna cellar wine pairings)

What says Portland more than a delicious dinner that caters to both the veggie-lovers and the meat-eaters? (I hope we can sit together?!) Castagna starts off the big night with a “selection of snacks” and then cooks up some bigger and better treats. The carnivores can bulk up on a veal dish with milk crepe, horseradish, toasted hay and wheatgrass while the vegetarians enjoy wild mushrooms with pine curd and foraged herbs. Thankfully we can all unite to enjoy the dessert course of raw milk ice cream with chocolates, fresh cream and chocolate sorbet, though. Seatings from 5:30-10 PM at 503-231-7373


$50-$70 (+ wine pairings ranging from $40-$130)

With two tasting menus and three wine pairing menus, all the bases are covered at this Pearl-located, POMO favorite. If you’re going meat-free this NYE, reserve your table quick as vegetarian tasting menus are limited. Think fancy, like, caviar served over warm blintz (thin pancake) stuffed with crab and house-made ricotta and chives. And that’s just the beginning! Seatings from 5:30-10 PM at 503-517-7778



Coined a "Piemontese New Year’s feast," this Italian dinner is sure to leave you in a post-meal coma and perfectly well-rested for the new year! It’ll be essential to have at least one partner in crime because the fourth-course requires a taste of all three options. Braised pork roll (Braciolona) or black cod baked with Dungeness crab or duck parmigiano and bread panade (sopa coada). How does one DECIDE? Agh. Reservations can be made at 503-234-2427



Unfortunately Grüner’s award-winning burger is not included as part of the prix fixe NYE menu (which also excludes beverages), but indulging in some of Chris Israel’s other divine dishes will be the perfect end to my 2010. A Portland Monthly Best Restaurant winner, Grüner’s mouthwatering appetizer list (8) definitely takes the cake with swabian "ravioli" stuffed with spinach, beef and pork or house-smoked trout with watercress and granny smith apples. Reservations can be made at 503-241-7163

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