Restaurant Review – Celebrating New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day in Chicago

The year 2021 ends with a bang on Friday, December 31, and with proper Covid-19 protections, can be celebrated with gusto! And for a great start in 2022, there’s brunch to be had at many Chicago restaurants. Here are a few opportunities with reservations still available:

Gold Coast: Planning to watch the biggest ever New Year’s Eve fireworks show on Lake Michigan? Harry Caray’s Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Avenue, features some of the best views of Chicago’s spectacular fireworks show. A special holiday menu includes your choice of a succulent Pork Tenderloin or Salmon Florentine, and Molten Lava Cake, or their Holy Cow! Burger, Pulled Pork, and other specialties from the regular menu. Soulful Chicago singer Paolo Apuli performs live. While Harry’s private igloos are already sold out, you can fulfill that New Year’s resolution to try something new by learning the sport of Curling on their lakefront patio!  Groups of up to 6 may reserve Harry’s Curling Rink for 45 minutes for $5 per person. For dinner reservations, click here.

Lakeview: Celebrate New Year’s Eve in your private igloo, decorated and lighted for the holidays,atBarcocina! Fur coats are optional (but recommended) while feasting on traditional sweet, smoky, and spicy Mexican cuisine, such as Spanish Octopus, served with black beans, fingerling potatoes and sherry vinaigrette with Calabrian peppers, or Firecracker Shrimp, which pairs charcoal-fired shrimp with apple slaw and cilantro-lime sauce, served with tortillas. Cozy indoor dining is also an option. Barcocina is located at 2901 N. Sheffield Avenue. New Year’s Eve reservations start at $75 per person. For more information, click here.

Lincoln Square: The Warbler, 4535 N. Lincoln Avenue, features a special four-course, $65 pre-fixe New Year’s Eve menu. Chef Ken Carter features specialties such as grilled sturgeon with creamy risotto, roasted bosc pears and braised Tuscan kale and brown butter vinaigrette, and Chicken Two Ways, with a roasted chicken breast and crispy fried thigh, savory bread pudding, miso gravy, and steamed bok choy with fresh cilantro. For reservations, click here.

River North/Lincoln Park:  ευτυχισμένο το νέο έτος (Happy New Year in Greek). Avli’s locations in Lincoln Park and River North are going all-out to welcome in 2022 with a five-course dinner by Executive Chef Nikos Kapernaros, music by DJ’s Peter Cannellis & Gus Moros, dancing, and midnight champagne. Avli will host two seatings for New Year’s Eve, and take dinner reservations for their regular menu until 7:30 pm. The New Year’s Eve celebration is $125 per person. For reservations, click here.

Wicker Park: Amaru, 1904 W. North Avenue, shares their culture, history and passion for Latin American food and warm hospitality by offering an elegant four-course prix-fixe menu for $85 per person. The menu features your choice of Piononos – Plantains stuffed with chorizo, wrapped in bacon or Tuna Pomme souffle-Yellowfin tuna, truffle avocado, kabayaki, and Thai basil, followed by Bacalaito-Salt cod fritters, heirloom beets, and burnt garlic, or  Requeson & caviar-Sourdough, requeson, pomegranate glaze, caviar, baby celery. Entrees include a Rum-marinated black bass, yuca mofongo, chicory salad or Picanha-Traditional Brazilian steak, sun-dried tomato chimichurri, truffle boniato puree. And don’t forget dessert!  Choose between Ecuadorian chocolate truffles and champagne or Hazelnut dream- Chocolate, toasted hazelnuts, coconut hazelnut texture. Reservations are on Open Table.

New Year’s Day Brunches

Cots, jammies and overnight stays are unavailable, but Avlli is also open New Year’s Day, serving a self-described ‘decadent’ brunch, featuring stations for omelets, carving, seafood, and desserts, along with other brunch favorites. For an additional $25, bottomless mimosas & bellinis will start the new year right. Avli’s Lincoln Park Taverna is located at 1335 W. Wrightwood Avenue, and the River North address is 702 N. Wells Street.  For reservations to all of Avli’s celebrations, click here.

Come in your pajamas to Café Ba Ba Reeba, 2024 N. Halsted Street between 9am and 3pm, and receive a certificate for a future meal equal to the price of your meal, (excluding tax and gratuity)! According to,  this venerable Spanish tapas restaurant includes complimentary churros con chocolate & fresh squeezed orange juice. Reservations are available by clicking here.

Another pajama favorite is Kitsch’n On Roscoe, at 2005 W. Roscoe. The Wicker Park hangout has served ‘Chicago’s Original Hangover Brunch’ since 1998. Specialties include Green Eggs n’ Ham, with scrambled eggs, nut-free basil pesto, smoked ham, scallions, spinach and rosemary hash browns. Also, Pesto Eggs In A Basket -Texas toast griddled with eggs cooked over-easy inside, cherry tomato, nut-free pesto with rosemary hash browns. Indoor dining, as well as a tented and heated backyard patio and enclosed sidewalk café are available for full winter ambience.  Reservations are available by clicking here.

Lifting a glass to a healthy, happy New Year!

Alison Moran and Dean’s Team Chicago