Clowns, classical music, a skateboarding demo. . .the First Night folks seemed to have thought of everything, except for who√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s going to feed us? Whether you want to feast, nosh or do something in between, we√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ve taken the liberty of recommending dining spots close to all the First Night action. From foie gras to fried chicken, we√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ve got you covered. Let us know where you are planning to go, so those who can√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t get a sitter can live vicariously through you.
Fascino, the darling of Montclair√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s foodophiles, amazingly has some seating space available for New Years Eve. According to Chef Ryan DePersio, seatings at 5:30 or 6 pm are still available (granted it√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s early, but you√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ll finish in time to catch the opening ceremonies on Church Street). The three-course gastronome√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s delight ($65) includes an array of truffles, foie gras, lobster, squab and exotic produce. Call 973-233-0350 to claim your chairs.
Not to be outdone, Demetris, that dependable Mediterranean, is offering a five-course tasting menu for $75. Two seatings are available, at 7 pm and 9:30 pm. 973-746-2233.
If French fare floats your boat, Epernay on Park Street, is offering a three-course (appetizer, entr√É¬©e, dessert) prix-fixe menu for $48.50 (wonder what that extra 50 cents buys you?), with seatings staggered throughout the night. (973) 783-0447.
Palazzo (on South Fullerton near Church Street) covers all the bases with two fixed menu options: a five-course menu for $85 and three courses for $65. Both feature ostrich and filet mignon as entrees. If you√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢re on the fence, the five-course comes with a champagne toast, party hats and noisemakers. 973-746-6778
Arguably the best vantage point (First Night’s opening ceremonies kick off in front of the restaurant) Church Street Caf√É¬© is prepared to party until its 2005. Open from lunch through to dinner, the cafe switches from the regular menu to a gala party starting around 8:30 pm, with live music. Reservations recommended; 973-233-0216
They’re not publicizing it yet, but Raymond√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s has opened for dinner again and the plan is to be open New Year√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Eve night. 973-744-9623
Indigo Smoke will serve up their signature lip-smacking ribs and magical sweet potatoes to guests who arrive by 10 p.m. Mmmm√¢‚Ç¨¬¶pass the cornbread. 973-744-3440
Crockett√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Fish Fry is open until 11 pm; get here early as this local fave fills up fast. 973-746-2114.
Want to consume mass quantities? It√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s hard to beat the deal at South Park Bar & Grill. For 50 clams a person, there√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s a free buffet from 9:30 to 11:30 and open bar all night (until last call at 1:40 am). Shot specials, as well as a DJ and dancing, ensure a wild night many will have trouble remembering. 973-744-0402
Spend a little more and party at Just Jake√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s with New Power Soul. Starting at 9 pm, it√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s $75 a person; open bar and free buffet are included. 973-655-8987
There√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s no cover to party at Office Bar & Grill; the regular menu will be used and a DJ and champagne toast rounds out the evening√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s festivities. 973-783-2929
Feeling flush? Trek over to Richie Cecere√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s, where you can sit upstairs, here the band, feast on a five-course dinner, all for a $150 a person. Not so flush? The same package without the band costs $100 a person on the main floor or in the wine cellar. 973-746-7811
Diva Lounge (apologies to Cooleristas) offers a premium open bar from 9 p.m. to midnight, DJ Vinny V, hors d√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢oeuvres, light buffet and a no-wait in line promise, all for $100 per person. 973-509-3000.
Ethnic and Eclectic
Tuptim Thai will offer its regular menu with a few specials; parties of three or more would be smart to make reservations. Same goes for Thai Chef.
Top Notch (German food is so scarce these days, it√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s become ethnic) on Bloomfield Ave., starts the evening a la carte. From 9:30 to midnight, reservations are suggested for a five-course dinner ($40, include party favors) with entertainment. 973-746-5699
D√É¬©j√É¬† Vu is open with a special prix-fixe dinner and their regular Thai-French fusion menu. 973-233-1126
Sesame, on Bloomfield Ave, will be open to accommodate first niters. This tablecloth Chinese will feature its regular menu; a liquor store next door is an added convenience. 973-746-2553
Mexicali Rose will be open to ring in the New Year, offering free chips and chili con queso dip from 6 pm to midnight, as well as blending margaritas (bring your tequila!) and serving all your favorites. 973-746-9005
Mesob, the area√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s only Ethiopian, is open and planning something special. When we know, you√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ll know.
Mango√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Reggae Caf√É¬© will have live music and two-fixed menu options for either $40 or $70 a couple (now that√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s a deal!). 973-744-7770
Liberte is offering a four-course prix-fixe for $49.50 (we√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢re intrigued by a dessert with Grey Goose-marinated strawberries) or an abbreviated a la carte menu. 973-746-8840
In addition to its regular menu, Sushi Hana will offer a five-course dinner from the kitchen ($29.95) or a five-vourse dinner from the sushi chef ($35.95). Open to midnight; walk-in welcome. 973-746-3900
Warm up with something curry at Natraj on Bloomfield. The quaint Indian will be open with either its regular menu or a special buffet.
The usual suspects are on the menu at Osteria Giotta, as well as some inspired specials. Make a reservation or try and squeeze in; last seating is 11 p.m. 973-746-0111
Leone√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s isn√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t deviating from its usual pasta-plentiful offerings, but this family-friendly spot with its killer pizzas is a good spot for parents to bring circus-weary kids to carb load. Last seating is 11 pm. 973-509-9077
La Giada on Bloomfield will offer a slightly abbreviated, a la carte menu and seating in two-hour time slots with the last being at 10 pm. 973-783-3700
Sing your way into 2005 at Al Di La on Bloomfield. The subterranean southern Italian will offer a special celebration dinner. 973-783-0700.
Pizza: Villa Victoria (on Park St.), open until 9 pm.
The Roost (Bloomfield Ave) hours TBA
Subway (Bloomfield Ave): open until 8:30 pm.
Golden River (Bloomfield Ave.) open until 11:30 for Chinese take-out or eat in.
Starbucks (Bloomfield Ave.) open until 1 a.m. for hot chocolate and java junkies.
Crown√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Fried Chicken
Don√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t come a knockin√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢, they won√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t be open late for First Night revelers:
Caf√É¬© Eclectic (closing at 5 pm)
Soda Pop Shop (although they will be open New Year√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Day and giving out free ice cream for their anniversary)
Arthur√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Charbroil (closed for vacation)
Greek Delights (closing early)
Extraordinaire (Jamaican) closed for vacation