It’s okay to be a little panicked about what to do on New Year’s Eve, but watching the ball drop on TV just won’t do when reservations are still available at Austin’s finest restaurants. With delicious options ranging from an all-local feast to a party paying homage to the grand menus of yesteryear, there’s no reason not to indulge for one last epic meal of the year.
Bid 2018 goodbye at the Line Hotel’s signature restaurant alongside a breathtaking lakeside view. After guests enjoy a butter-poached lobster amuse bouche, Top Chef winner Kristen Kish dazzles with a family-style feast that includes buffalo short rib ravioli, pommes puree with white Alba truffle, and a lemon mascarpone custard. The bar also has a New Year’s menu with more casual dishes like burrata with date jam. First seating: $125, 6-7:15 pm. Second seating: $150 with sparkling toast, 8:30 pm-9:45 pm.
There’s no better time to check out one of Austin’s hottest new restaurants than the hottest night of the year. Former Olamaie chef Grae Nonas is presenting a nostalgic prix fixe with classic hotel dishes like beef Wellington, lobster Thermador, and Baked Alaska. The evening also promises bubbly surprises, including a Champagne toast at midnight. $85 with an optional wine pairing for $65. 5 pm-midnight.
One of Austin’s best kept secrets, The Carillon in the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center always pulls out all the stops for holidays. New Year's is no different as the restaurant lavishes guests with a celebratory four-course dinner featuring decadent plates such as smoked salmon carpaccio, black angus beef short rib, seared sea bass, and a Valrhona chocolate and coconut duo. $120 with an optional $35 wine pairing. 5-9 pm.
This locavore favorite may be known for its meaty entrees, but it has plenty to please all sorts of diets. Revelers can opt from three multi-course menus with game, seafood, or vegetable options that each include a choice of dessert. More importantly, the meals come with a glass of sparkling wine (made in Texas, of course) to get the festivities started right. $65-$85. 5-10 pm.
Duck confit, Kaluga Caviar with buckwheat blinis, and a pecan porter ribeye are just some of the ways this casually elegant eatery is celebrating New Year’s Eve. Chef Sterling Ridings promises a luxurious affair to put a proper end to 2018. For those wanting a quick nibble before hitting up the next fete, the bar area will also serve an a la carte oyster menu. $75 with an optional $35 wine pairing. 5-10 pm.
The atmosphere at this east side hot spot always feels like a party, but expect it to really kick it up as it rings in the new year. In addition to the regular menu, guests can look forward to specials such as Shinjuku Market style beef ribs with a spicy kabocha pickle and black garlic sauce and octopus kushiyaki skewers with fried potato, chorizo oil, and sour shishito peppers. Don’t forget to toast with a cocktail; Kemuri has some of the most innovative drinks in town. 5-9 pm.
Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar
Avoid downtown traffic by making a reservation at one of Northwest Austin’s favorite neighborhood haunts. Chef Amir Hajimaleki is pulling out all the stops with prime rib, lobster saffron risotto with grilled cold-water lobster tail, and other locally sourced dishes inspired by Texas Hill Country flavors. 5-10 pm.
For an undeniably Austin New Year’s Eve, head to Suerte for the ultimate taco feast. Chef Fermín Núñez has created a tasting menu that starts with small bites and botanas before diving into nine (count ‘em) different tacos and dessert. Party on with a curated beverage pairing made just for the event. $85 with 18 percent gratuity included at checkout, $50 for optional pairing. Seatings at 5:30 pm and 9 pm.