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

Chef Ross McKee creates delicious food at Solaire in Santa Cruz

It’s the countdown to 2013 and the countdown to New Year’s Eve; do you have your restaurant reservations yet for Santa Cruz or San Jose? Here are details and menu highlights for a variety of venues; I’ll publish a few more tomorrow.

Santa Cruz Restaurants


Located at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn overlooking the Wharf, Aquarius is serving two meals on New Year’s Eve: brunch (7am-3pm) and dinner (5:30-10 p.m.). Also, a bar menu will be served from 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and the lounge is open for cocktails until 12:30 a.m. Aquarius has two dinner seatings for New Year’s Eve, one starting at 5 – 6 :30 p.m. and one starting at 9 p.m. First seating is $65 for three courses; second is $85 for four courses. The second seating includes a live DJ and vocalist Tammi Brown. Food selections include two mushroom veloute, slow poached lobster, grilled Colorado lamb loin, and chocolate cake with toasted pistachios, caramel sauce, and raspberries. Call 460-5012 for reservations or more information.

175 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz


This restaurant is offering a special three-course prixe fixe menu for New Year’s Eve; the cost is $55. Appetizer choices include mushroom tart with arugula and balsamic reduction, and Dungeness crab with avocado and greens. Entrée choices include seafood stew with fennel, croutons and aioli, and roasted chicken with gnocchi and broccolini. Dessert selections include persimmon pudding with whipped cream, and chocolate souffle. Call (831) 423-7427 for reservations.

121 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz


Johnny’s Harborside

On New Year’s Eve, Johnny’s is serving a prix fixe, three-course dinner for $38 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 bisque and baby spinach & goat cheese salad with medjool dates and roasted beets. Entrée choices include crab-stuffed petrale sole and pepper-crusted flatiron steak. Dessert selections include a trio of mousse parfaits. You can also order a la carte items if you sit at the bar. On New Year’s Eve during the day, the restaurant is offering its regular menu from 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. On New Year’s Day, Johnny’s opens at 10 a.m. for brunch which is served until 2, followed by regular dinner service which ends at 9 p.m.

493 Lake Ave, Santa Cruz


The restaurant is open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. 12/31: Hindquarter is open at 11:30 a.m. for lunch, and from 5 p.m. onward for dinner serving the regular menu plus holiday specials. 1/1: Closed at lunch. The dining room is open at 5:30 p.m. serving the regular menu. Call (831) 426-7770 for reservations.

303 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz

Solaire at Hotel Paradox

On New Year’s Eve Solaire is open from 4 p.m. – 1 a.m. A four-course tasting menu ($75) is available for dinner; reservations start at 8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. and the table is then yours for the evening. The $75 per person includes party favors, live entertainment, dancing, and a champagne toast at midnight. On New Year’s Day Solaire is serving brunch from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The restaurant will have an appetizer, salad, and dessert buffet with a la carte entrée selections plus unlimited sparkling wine or mimosas. Appetizers include fruit, cheese, antipasto, and vegetable crudite. Entrée choices include eggs benedict made with Glaum eggs (vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions are available), the Paradox burger (includes brioche bun and house ground beef), mussels with pernod, white wine, leeks, fennel, butter and herbs. Brunch is $28 for adults and $14 for kids ages 3-12. For reservations call (831) 600-4545.

611 Ocean St, Santa Cruz

San Jose Restaurants


LB Steak

The Santana Row restaurant is open on New Year’s Eve. It’s offering limited a la carte choices from its regular menu, plus a special $71.50 prix fixe four-course dinner (the prix fixe selections are also available a la carte). First course choices include trio of seafood crudo (yuzu and kampachi tartare, scallop ceviche, redfish escabeche) and prime beef tenderloin tartare. Second course choices include black truffle gnocchi, and third course choices include chicory-crusted loin of venison. Dessert selections include eggnog crème brulee with butter rum cookies. The last seating is at 11 p.m. Call (408) 244-1180 for reservations.

334 Santana Row, Suite 1000, San Jose


Amber India

Interested in Indian food to ring in the New Year? Amber India on Santana Row is providing a live band to accompany its always-delectable Indian cuisine. Dinner will include live cooking stations and wonderful tandoori kebabs. Call (408) 248-5400 for reservations.

377 Santana Row, Suite 1140, San Jose