New Year’s Eve is a notoriously busy night for restaurants, but with the glut of overpriced, underwhelming prix fixe menus and drink “specials” that are anything but, it can be tricky for diners to pick the right spot to ring in the new year. So we did some legwork, and located five dinners that won’t disappoint as you close out the decade. But time is running out, so call now to see if there's a table for you.
Cafe Marmotte290 South Downing Street
Longtime fans of Cafe Marmotte can be forgiven for getting nostalgic if they book a table for NYE, because it’s the last night the Wash Park restaurant will be serving French fare; starting in January, it will become Italian eatery Olivia. But thanks to a fun, four-course menu that celebrates the old and ushers in the new, diners will be able to enjoy Gallic faves like moules frites in curry broth and butter-poached sole over brown-butter potato purée, or such Italian dishes as lobster spaghetti and winter veggie lasagna. Be a nationalist and stick to just one cuisine, or hop between countries according to what suits your fancy. Wine pairings for the $100 dinner are available for an additional $50 (four glasses) or $100 (six reserve wines); reservations are on cafemarmotte.com.
Rioja1431 Larimer Street
Instead of serving a multi-course prix fixe meal for the evening, the luxe Larimer Square eatery will serve its regular dinner menu until 11 p.m., then roll out a lighthearted, late-night happy hour menu until 1 a.m. So after a night of carousing (including the unfortunate realization that that last glass of champagne was a mistake), you can head to Rioja to snack on chorizo corndogs; curried chicken nuggets with a variety of dipping sauces; tater tots loaded with Gruyère, mozz, candied bacon and jalapeño crema; porky green chile mac and cheese; and more. Menu items will range from $6 to $19.50; a trio of NYE cocktails will also be available for $14 each.
Safta3330 Brighton Boulevard
One of Denver’s swankiest restaurants continues to impress with its New Year’s Eve spread, a riot of color and flavor that will whisk you away from Brighton Boulevard straight to the Middle East. From spiced dips and perfectly charred pita to foie gras with rose-flavored tahini and curried beef seasoned with aromatics that sound as novel as they taste (hilbe, hawayej), the four-course feast will ensure that you start 2020 by fulfilling your resolution to travel more — even if you never leave town. Reservations for the $65 dinner ($100 with beverage pairings) are highly recommended; make them at eatwithsafta.com.
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Spuntino2639 West 32nd Avenue
Spuntino’s tiny kitchen always seems to serve up more flavor than the compact restaurant’s walls can contain. Its New Year’s Eve offerings are no exception: You’ll be confounded by the four-course prix fixe menu — not because it’s confusing, but because you’ll be forced to make some unbearable choices. Decide between scallop crudo with chili oil and preserved lemon or rabbit confit with candied almonds? Impossible. Opt for either the ricotta and mushroom raviolo or squid ink pasta with crab? Preposterous! Luckily, it’s a win-win situation for you, as all of the dishes are sure to be delightful. Reservations for the $80 meal are available from 5 to 10 p.m.; call 303-433-0949 or visit spuntinodenver.com.
Tavernetta1889 16th Street
By far the most exclusive restaurant party in town (VIP tix are already sold out) is Tavernetta’s 9 p.m. celebration. Guests of the retro bash are encouraged to don formalwear from their preferred decade over the last century, then nosh on late-night grub that includes caviar, a raw bar and fried chicken; bottomless bubbles (along with a cash bar) will be on tap. The restaurant will also make space for an epic dance party with throwback tunes, though if shaking your bonbon isn’t your thing, Tavernetta is also serving a four-course prix fixe dinner at 4:30 p.m. that includes a glass of champagne to kick things off. Both party admission and dinner are $125 per person; get your tickets on exploretock.com.