There is always a lot of buildup and hype around New Year’s Eve. Unlike just about any other normal night out, it comes with an exaggerated sense of high expectations that need to be delivered, and if they aren’t, the whole night ends up feeling like a bit of a disappointment. And that means dinner can’t just be at any old place; it has to be special, and it has to be memorable. So our mission this year is to help you avoid the possibility of a big letdown by offering a list of some of our favorite spots for an awesome New Year’s Eve dinner. As always, reservations are strongly recommended.
On an evening that’s known for toasts, resolutions and messages of hope, we wish all of our readers health, wealth and happiness in 2022. Cheers!
Rhythm & Spirits: Fun and funky with a menu dripping with creative juices, Rhythm & Spirits on Atlantic City’s Orange Loop comes through this year with a New Year’s Eve dining experience you won’t want to miss. The four-course dinner is a collaboration with next-door neighbor Bar 32, a chocolate-themed bar and lounge that will handle the dessert portion of the menu. Guests can indulge in mouthwatering items such as the O.G.I.R. Bacon prepared with an ancho-sugar glaze and whole grain mustard for dipping; chicken and jumbo lump crab piccata with white wine, lemon, New Zealand butter and capers; and an array of desserts, including a ricotta cheesecake made with Bar 32 dark chocolate and a fresh berry compote, or the flourless chocolate cake with salted caramel, vanilla gelato, coffee and cocoa powder. Cost is $85 per person, and tickets must be purchased in advance. Rhythm & Spirits is located at 129 S. Tennessee Ave. in Atlantic City. Go to RhythmAndSpirits.com.
Jerry Longo’s Meatballs & Martinis: Bally’s Atlantic City recently stepped up their dining game in a big way, and one of the shining stars of the new guard is Jerry Longo’s Meatballs & Martinis. Rock-solid, old-school Italian dishes are served up in a fun and hip atmosphere with incredible views of the ocean. For New Year’s Eve they will offer guests a four-course, prix fixe, surf-and-turf dinner for $125 per person. You can keep the party rolling without ever leaving the restaurant, as their cocktail menu is killer, offering a long lineup of martinis and other specialty drinks in addition to beers and a wine list with some of the top vinos in town. If that’s not enough, there’s even a pair of blackjack tables inside the restaurant should you wish to try your luck. Bally’s is located at 1900 Pacific Ave. in Atlantic City. Go to BallysAC.com.
Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall: Another Orange Loop favorite, Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall will offer a special New Year’s Eve beer dinner with much-sought-after craft beers to pair with each course. Things kick off with a surprise holiday beer as a welcoming treat, with the first course pairing a rare Lawson’s Kiwi double IPA – rated 95 on Beer Advocate - with a charcuterie plate. The second course will feature grilled lobster with baby spinach and champagne butter paired with Maine Mean Old Tom Nitro, while the third course will be a beef tenderloin with a stout demi, French beans and wild mushroom ravioli matched with Maine Dinner – an even rarer double IPA that is all but impossible to find in our state that is rated 100 on BA . Finally, dessert will feature a flourless chocolate cake with Ballantine caramel matched up with 2018 Ballantine Burton Ale, a sweet, strong holiday ale that has been aging for three years. Cost is $75 per person. Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall is located at 133 S. Tennessee Ave. Atlantic City. Go to TennesseeAvenueBeerHall.com.
Gordon Ramsay Steak: The fancier of the two Ramsay-affiliated restaurants in town, Gordon Ramsay Steak at Harrah’s Resort is one of the highest of the high-end dining experiences one can have in Atlantic City. It’s fancy, but it’s also phenomenal, and for New Year’s Eve they are offering an a la carte menu, but for a real splurge, the $130 per-person, prix-fixe menu is the way to go. Highlights include starters such as the Kurobuta pork belly or shrimp cocktail; and main dishes like salmon a la plancha or Chef Ramsay’s famous roasted beef Wellington served medium rare with glazed root vegetables, potato puree and a red wine demiglace. One side dish comes with each entrée - we can’t help but suggest the loaded baked potato, a killer side if ever there was one, topped with sour cream, bacon, chives and a smoked gouda béchamel. Dessert offers two options, but if you pick anything other than the incredible sticky toffee pudding, you are making a mistake. Harrah’s is located at 777 Harrah’s Blvd. in Atlantic City. Go to Caesars.com.
Makai: Ocean Casino Resort’s newest concept is a truly unique one as Makai offers guests a taste of island flavors that are rarely found at the Jersey Shore. This New Year’s Eve they will continue to offer their prix-fixe holiday menu, which is offered from 5 to 10 p.m. and features a choice of Hawaiian chopped salad or sugarcane-roasted butternut squash soup to start; kalua pork, Thai tofu curry, slow-roasted prime rib or miso-marinated salmon for the main course (with the option to add Hawaiian garlic prawns or sea scallop yakitori to any entrée for an $18 upcharge.) Dessert is a choice between Mauna Loa lava cake or apple pie with caramel rum sauce. Cost is $44 per person. Ocean Casino Resort is located at 500 Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Go to TheOceanAC.com.
Nero’s Italian Steakhouse: If the name didn’t give it away, Nero’s is at once an Italian restaurant and a steakhouse, and this classiest of dining options at Caesars Atlantic City manages to knock it out of the park in both departments. Unforgettable steaks, seafood and pastas highlight the experience while the staff delivers top-notch service in a luxurious environment. For New Year’s Eve they will offer an a la carte menu boasting some truly fabulous dishes. Start with the seafood tower – a mix of East and West Coast oysters along with clams and shrimp cocktail - that manages to be a delight from both visual and taste standpoints; from there the choices get tougher – do you go with the veal chop or the Dover sole, or should you really splurge and order the surf and turf, an unbelievable $140 pairing of filet mignon, a Maine lobster tail, caviar, potatoes au gratin and asparagus? Decisions, decisions … Nero’s is located inside Caesars Atlantic City, 2100 Pacific Ave., Atlantic City. Go to Caesars.com.
Capriccio: One of the oldest casino restaurants in town manages to also be one of the most beautiful, and that of course is Capriccio at Resorts Casino Hotel. Italian specialties are their specialty, and this New Year’s Eve, Capriccio will host a three-course dinner to knock your socks off. Highlights include a lobster bisque with poached lobster and caviar crème; a risotto with crispy pork belly and shaved parmesan; surf and turf with filet mignon, lobster tail, olive oil potatoes and a prosecco beurre blanc; and a black and white tuxedo mousse for dessert. Cost is $125 per person. Resorts is located at 1133 Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Go to ResortsAC.com.
Girasole: For a truly next-level Italian dining experience, it’s hard to beat Girasole. This beautifully decorated restaurant and lounge is equally perfect for a romantic dinner for two or a larger celebratory group. The special New Year’s Eve a la carte menu has been uniquely hand crafted, offering guests their choice of delectable options including lobster ravioli, branzino baked in salt, octopus with chickpeas with a white balsamic reduction, domestic lamb chops and a 22-ounce, prime ribeye steak. Various homemade desserts, party favors and noisemakers along with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight will all help to create a magical and flavorful experience to countdown to 2022. Girasole is located at 3108 Pacific Ave. in Atlantic City. Go to MyGirasole.com.
Carmine’s: Situated in the heart of The Quarter at Tropicana, this famous New York eatery makes for a wonderful spot to enjoy a New Year’s Eve dinner. The location means that hitting the slots or a club afterwards is a snap. Dining at Carmine’s is served family style, and the full menu of favorites includes dishes like penne alla vodka, their famous meatballs and chicken parmigiana. In addition to the old favorites there will also be a surf-and-turf special featuring a porterhouse steak and a 2-pound lobster oreganata. Carmine’s Atlantic City is located at 2801 Pacific Ave. in Atlantic City. Go to CarminesNYC.com.
Dock’s Oyster House: An absolute institution in Atlantic City, Dock’s Oyster House opened its doors in 1897 and has been run by the Dougherty family ever since. It’s at once exciting and grand, upscale - but not stuffy - and a hell of a spot to grab a perfectly mixed cocktail and a nice piece of fish. For New Year’s Eve they will feature their entire menu, including the full raw bar with its plethora of fresh oysters, clams, shrimp and more, plus much-loved dishes such as the pecan-crusted salmon, crab meat au gratin or pan-sauteed crab cakes, as well as a list of specials such as a seafood risotto and a decadent lobster duo with two 1-pound lobsters - one prepared Newburg style, the other Thermidor. Dock’s Oyster House is located at 2405 Atlantic Ave. in Atlantic City. Go to DocksOysterHouse.com.
Atlantic City Country Club: The Taproom Bar & Grille at Atlantic City Country Club features a beautifully picturesque setting to celebrate any occasion in style and class. Executive Chef Dominic Rizzo put together an exciting a la carte menu to ring in the New Year on a high note. Dishes include lobster tail diablo, veal osso bucco, a ribeye filet and bronzino aqua pazzo, among others. A complimentary champagne toast will be included with dinner. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made from 4 to 10 p.m. Atlantic City Country Club is located at 1 Leo Fraser Drive, Northfield. Go to ACCountryClub.com.
Gourmet Italian: One of Galloway’s prettiest dining locations, Gourmet Italian offers a casual dining experience that feels just dressed up enough for a big night out. Speaking of big nights out, New Year’s Eve at Gourmet Italian will feature a three-course, prix-fixe menu that is available for dine-in, takeout or delivery. The menu consists of a lobster ravioli appetizer followed by braised short ribs with Yukon smashed potatoes and brocolini and a raspberry white chocolate parfait for dessert. Cost is $45 per person. Gourmet Italian is located at 324 S Pitney Road, Galloway. Go to GourmetItalianCuisine.com.
Cape May County
La Mer: The location is tough to beat at this gorgeous Cape May resort, as it’s located directly across from the Atlantic Ocean, with all of its serene beauty on full display. In celebration of New Year’s Eve, La Mer will offer an exquisite, four-course, prix-fixe dinner that you’ll be sure to remember all year long. The menu will feature such items as crab crostini to start; a choice of Tuscan burrata, kale salad, or tuna tartare as the second course; rack of lamb with mascarpone polenta, broccolini and red wine demi-glace; branzino with basmati rice, mixed vegetables and brown butter topped with a grilled lemon and a pine nut gremolada; or penne alla vodka with broccoli rabe, sun-dried tomato, yellow squash and garlic topped with shaved parmesan as a main entrée; and a sweet and custardly créme brulee for dessert. The cost is $90 per person and includes a champagne toast. La Mer Resort is located at 1317 Beach Ave. in Cape May. Go to CapeMayLaMer.com.
The Mad Batter: You’ll get a little bit of everything if you dine at The Mad Batter in Cape May this New Year’s Eve, as they will feature live music from 7 p.m. to midnight along with their four-course, prix-fixe menu. Diners will have an impressive list of selections to choose from, including fried oysters with lemon aioli; grilled salmon with honey-citrus glaze, sweet mashed and green beans; pan-seared halibut and shrimp topped with lemon sauce and served with roasted baby potatoes and green beans, as well as a variety of vegan options like vegan Wellington, vegan crab cakes, vegan tiramisu and more. Cost is $75 per person. The Mad Batter is located at the Carrol Villa Hotel, 19 Jackson Street Cape May. Go to MadBatter.com.
Union Park: Located inside the historic Hotel Macomber in Cape May, Union Park will offer guests a four-course, prix-fixe menu this New Year’s Eve. Featuring a wide variety of options, patrons can select from a variety of elegant dishes like shellfish chowder with scallops, oysters and clams; sesame-crusted tuna with a Vietnamese slaw and avocado crema; wagyu filet mignon with parsnip puree, sherry glaze black truffle espuma, gremolata and shaved truffles; halibut with a mushroom risotto, garlic spinach and basil oil; and desserts such as crème brulee and whiskey ganache. Cost is $145 per person. For reservations, call 609-884-8811. Union Park is located at 727 Beach Ave. in Cape May. Go to UnionParkDiningRoom.com.