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HOLIDAY DINING : Year In, Year Out: Celebrations Abound

December 26, 1991|BEVERLY BUSH SMITH

Hundreds of restaurants throughout Orange County plan special festivities to usher in 1992. Here are just a few:

Perhaps the most spectacular celebration will unfold at Gustaf Anders, which again this year will bring on the fire dancers, fortunetellers, "madness and much more." This "Night in Paradise" begins at 8:30 p.m., runs "to whenever," and includes a four-course dinner with one bottle of champagne per couple. It's $125 per person. If you prefer a quiet dinner at Gustaf Anders, come for the early seating (6 to 8 p.m.) and enjoy a four-course dinner with a bottle of champagne for each couple. $65 per person. Gustaf Anders is in South Coast Plaza Village. Reservations: (714) 668-1737.

If no one in your group wants to be designated driver, John Dominis will provide complimentary transportation within a 10-mile radius of the restaurant for those who request it. And you might want it, considering the open bar, seven-course dinner (entree choices include pan-seared opakapaka with mango glaze and roasted half spiny lobster), live music and dancing. The cost is $135 per person, including tax, gratuity and valet parking. Festivities from 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.; tickets must be purchased in advance. Reservations: (714) 650-5112. The location: 2901 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach.

Celebrate with a harbor cruise. The Cannery offers two sailings/sittings. Come for dinner at 5 p.m. and take a 6:30 to 8 p.m. dessert cruise ($55 per person inclusive) or tour the harbor from 9 to 11 p.m. (complimentary hors d'oeuvres, cash bar), then return to the restaurant for an 11 p.m. steak and lobster dinner with champagne at midnight ($65 inclusive). (714) 675-5777. 3010 LaFayette Ave., Newport Beach.

There are many party options at the Disneyland Hotel, but the biggest appeal for parents may be the Kids' Party. It runs from 7:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., costs $35 per child (ages 4 to 12), and keeps them busy with visits from Disney characters, Disney movie videos, a light buffet and supervised games and activities.

Meanwhile, Mom and Dad can attend a $135-per-person, black-tie-optional gala from 7:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom. It includes a four-course dinner with wine service, cocktails, two dance bands, a bottle of champagne and gaming tables. The Monte Carlo setting includes strolling entertainers and fortunetellers. Reservations: (714) 956-6413. The resort is at 1150 W. Cerritos Ave. in Anaheim, next to Disneyland.

"Rumba to Rap" is the overall theme of the grand ballroom party packages at the Dana Point Resort. The celebration includes a musical floor show journey through five decades, a four-course meal, a bottle of red or white wine with dinner, a bottle of champagne and dancing. These festivities are available only as part of a one- to five-night stay at the hotel. The packages are priced from $305 per couple with an overnight stay on New Year's Eve only, to $585 per couple for a five-night stay (Friday to 6 p.m. New Year's Day).

Also at the resort, Watercolors Restaurant offers early dining for those who want to jump-start the evening and a late dinner for those who want to stay until midnight. The 6 to 7 p.m. seating is $155 per couple, the 9 to 10 p.m. seating, $199 per couple. Both include a four-course dinner with four entree choices (such as rack of lamb encrusted in pine nuts and herbs, or seared capon with Szechwan shrimp), accompanied by a bottle of champagne. The later seating includes dancing and party favors.

And this resort hasn't forgotten the kids, either. For $25 each, children ages 4 to 12 get dinner, games, music by a deejay, and films. At midnight, they'll have their own balloon drop with noisemakers. For children who need a less active evening, the Sandman Room will feature soft music, more restful movies, freshly baked cookies and milk. Rollaway beds will be available for those who wish to nap and each program will have its own group of counselors. Reservations: (714) 661-5000. The hotel is at 25135 Park Lantern St., Dana Point.

You have four options at the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point. In the ballroom, Al Martino will entertain and the Sid James Orchestra will play dance music. Executive chef Christian Rassinoux's five-course Escoffier menu includes beef filet with duck liver, grilled mushrooms and truffle sauce. The evening will begin with an open bar reception and includes one bottle per couple of Veuve Clicquot NV champagne, plus dinner wines. It's $189 per person including tax and tip, with festivities from 7 p.m. to 1:15 a.m.

The Club Grill and Bar's five-course menu will be served in two seatings: at 6 to 6:45 p.m. ($105 including tax and gratuity) and at 9 to 9:30 p.m. ($165 inclusive). Entertainment by Leslie Lewis and Touch of Class is from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

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