The Foundry on Melrose will serve California fare on New Year's Eve (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)
Although New Year's Eve is a strictly liquid affair for some partygoers, it's not a bad idea to say goodbye to 2009 with a good meal first. Whether you prefer opulent settings or quirky menus, there's no lack of options across the city's culinary landscape, and here are some restaurant selections to satisfy various palates and budgets. Lift a fork -- and raise a toast -- to 2010.
Akasha is the first restaurant opened by organic celebrity chef Akasha Richmond. Richmond wrote the cookbook "Hollywood Dish" and knows more than a thing or two about cooking fresh. She'll be ringing in the New Year with Southern-inspired fare as well as entertainment by Sweet Baby J'ai & the Bonne Musique Zydeco Band. On the menu is cornmeal fried oysters, duck gumbo with organic chicken andouille sausage, and beignets with warm, chocolate custard sauce. There are two seatings: one from 5 to 7 p.m. and a second from 9 to 11 p.m.
9543 Culver Blvd., Culver City; (310) 845-1700; www.akasharestaurant.com.
Gyenari Korean BBQ & Lounge
Yet another addition to Culver City's swiftly growing restaurant row, Gyenari is an upscale Korean barbecue restaurant with a focus on healthful, organic choices including vegetarian and vegan options. The restaurant is offering an especially tempting New Year's Eve dinner: Three courses, including a glass of Prosecco, for $45. Dishes include shrimp mandoo; Korean barbecue short ribs and flower chicken; and green tea cake doughnuts. Gyenari will set up a dance floor with a live DJ to lead the night to its final toast.
9540 Washington Blvd., Culver City; (310) 838-3131; www.gyenari.com.
The Foundry on Melrose
Chef Eric Greenspan serves up polished California fare at this modern bistro, and he intends to help you party all night long. The first seating (from 6 to 7:15 p.m., five courses) costs $95, $135 with wine pairings; the second seating (9 to 10:15 p.m., seven courses) costs $150, $200 with wine pairings and includes champagne at midnight and live entertainment. Otherwise you can just opt for the $35 lounge party and fill up on passed hors d'oeuvres.
7465 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 651-0915; www.the.
Wine Spectator once declared Valentino's 2,500-labels-long wine list "the greatest wine cellar of them all." Could there be a better place to ring in the New Year? The famed Italian restaurant wants to bring romance to your evening with a rich, $120 seven-course tasting menu ($45 more for white truffle supplement; $75 more for wine pairings). Plus, patrons will have the option of choosing a la carte from the restaurant's regular menu. First seating: 5 to 7 p.m. Second seating: 9 to 10:45 p.m.
3115 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 829-4313.
Blvd 16 at Hotel Palomar
Tucked into Westwood's newest boutique hotel, Blvd 16 was designed by Cheryl Rowley to blend a sense of historic L.A. with a super-modern aesthetic. This New Year's Eve, guests can choose between a $55 prix fixe menu with five courses, including dishes such as lobster ravioli and roasted delicata squash, and an a la carte selection. Complimentary champagne toast included, plus DJs after 10 p.m.
10740 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 474-7765; www.blvd16.com.
French Champagne and French dip -- can you think of a better combo? Since 1908, Cole's has been serving the sandwich that it invented (OK, there are competing claims) right from the heart of the Pacific Electric Building in historic downtown Los Angeles. "Big Sonic Heaven's" Darren Revell will be spinning an exciting assortment of Brit-pop, shoegaze and downtempo cuts. Start 2010 with a big ol' sammich.
118 E. 6th St.; Los Angeles; (213) 622-4090
Bar Pintxo is a tiny tapas bar with Spanish flair, just a few tables and lots of standing room, which is what you'll need when the restaurant rings in the New Year at 3 p.m. L.A. time (midnight Barcelona, Spain, time) and hands each guest 12 grapes to eat for each chime of the clock. Then everyone toasts with Cava, and feasts on Spanish specialties including roasted lamb and suckling pig.
109 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 458-2012; www.barpintxo.com.
Find an expanded list of New Year's Eve dining options at theguide.latimes.com.