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Food & Drink

A rum-soaked house party, a nine-course tasting menu, an at-home sushi splurge and 19 other ways to spend New Year’s Eve in Toronto

How to eat, drink and dance your way through the final hours of yet another tumultuous year

By Caroline Aksich and Sarah Kidd

For party animals

A rum-soaked house party, a nine-course tasting menu, an at-home sushi splurge and 19 other ways to spend New Year's Eve in Toronto
Photo by Ebti Nabag

Break out the DeLorean and drive over to this downtown lounge for a Back to the Future–themed fête. Sliders and New York–style pizzas will be the stars of this NYE feast—food that Marty McFly himself would approve of. The Lonely Hearts will entertain with their decades-spanning rock-and-roll covers (Johnny B. Good better make the playlist), followed by a DJ until the wee hours. So get ready to dance through the ages—sans Doc Brown’s time machine—and party like it’s 1985. Meal structure: À la carte Cost: $85 (early bird tickets $65)  

Everyone’s favourite dino destination will be throwing an NYE bash for the ages. Between roaming interactive performances and the museum’s exhibitions (yes, even the bat cave), there’ll be a dance party with musical headliners, including Desiire (a Congolese singer-songwriter who blends R&B, Afro, jazz and electronica) and Dr. Draw (a high-energy experimental electric violinist who has opened for Drake and Mariah Carey). Meal structure: Food stations catered by Daniel et Daniel Cost: $130, or $110 for patrons/members. Tickets available here  

Jamaican overproof rum brand Wray & Nephew is throwing a house party on Portland Street. The tables are being tucked away to make room for a dance floor, and CHUM 104.5’s J Niice and DJ Icon will be pumping out catchy beats until last call. Complimentary “likkle bites” (sliders, slow-baked jerk wings, fish fritters, rum cake) will help soak up the hooch. Meal structure: Passed hors d’oeuvres Cost: $75. Tickets available here  

A rum-soaked house party, a nine-course tasting menu, an at-home sushi splurge and 19 other ways to spend New Year's Eve in Toronto
Photo by Renée Suen

This Nikkei restaurant is kicking off the New Year with a Bay Street bash. Chotto Matte’s fusion menu for the night includes seafood stars like lobster tempura and grilled diver scallops anticucho. Vegetarians, on the other hand, will be treated to a hearty meal of spicy grilled king oyster mushrooms and truffled broccoli on fried rice. A live DJ will keep the 10,000-square-foot space bumping until 3 a.m. Meal structure: Tasting menu (8, 9 or 10 courses) with four seatings (6 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and late) Cost: $175-$250 per person, includes a signature cocktail  

Apart from the 360-degree vista, there’s plenty to delight guests 114 storeys above the city, including passed hors d’oeuvres, food stations, access to the observation deck and a raging dance party on glass floors. (Those 2.5-inch-thick panes can withstand the weight of 35 moose, so they’ll support even the rowdiest revellers.) Guests are encouraged to bring a donation for Yellow Brick House from its holiday wish list of urgently needed items. Meal structure: Hors d’oeuvres and food stations Cost: $175. Tickets available here  

A rum-soaked house party, a nine-course tasting menu, an at-home sushi splurge and 19 other ways to spend New Year's Eve in Toronto
Photo by Daniel Neuhaus

Anyone who doesn’t have enough Aeroplan points to hop a red eye to Ibiza or Mykonos for the big night can instead take the Red Rocket to this Mediterranean lakeside lounge. The sprawling waterfront restaurant is hosting a dinner of Italian and Greek plates (think smoked eggplant, beef carpaccio, grilled branzino) followed by a black-and-white party that will see the space divided into thirds, each section with its own DJ and energy. Meal structure: A three-course prixe-fixe with two seatings (5 p.m., 8 p.m.), followed by the black-and-white party, which kicks off at 10 p.m. Cost: First dinner seating $95, second dinner seating $190 (includes party), $65 for party only. Tickets available here  

Hotel X’s swanky new two-storey rooftop lounge is hosting a black-and-white ball to ring in the New Year. Against a twinkling cityscape backdrop, sip on fussed-over cocktails created by Ben Kingstone (Mother, Butcher Chef) while grazing on sashimi, sushi, oysters, and izakaya-inspired hot bites. For the best seats in the house, try to nab one of the south-facing booths: they’ll be front row for the fireworks. Meal structure: Food stations and passed apps Cost: $80 and up; bottle service booths are available for purchase  

A rum-soaked house party, a nine-course tasting menu, an at-home sushi splurge and 19 other ways to spend New Year's Eve in Toronto
Photo by Daniel Neuhaus

This King West hotel-less lobby bar is going full pomp for NYE. Royal Osetra caviar and champagne cocktails (like the $120 Casablanca, a blend of Hennessy XO and bubbles) will be in ample supply, as always. But they’re doubling down with an extra-special tasting menu, a three-piece jazz band and, once the clock strikes 10 p.m., a full-blown party with a DJ and MC. Meal structure: Eight-course tasting menu (no set seatings) followed by a party Cost: $180 for dinner, $50 for the party  

This recently redesigned Yorkville destination has pulled together an all-star lineup for their prix fixe NYE offering. Spicy tuna with caviar opens chef Jia Zou’s elevated izakaya menu, which features not one but two luxurious Wagyu offerings. A plant-based bill of fare is also available for vegan and vegetarian revellers. Kasa Moto’s bevy of bubbly-based cocktails is a perfect pairing for this festive feast. Champagne Colada, anyone? Meal structure: A prix fixe menu with three seatings (5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.) Cost: $85 for the first seating, $125 for the second and $150 for the third, which includes a glass of champagne and access to the live DJ party and midnight countdown

For foodies

Eva Chin has been making magic in Leslieville since taking over Avling’s kitchen 15 months ago. Chin’s cooking draws inspiration from her wide-ranging Singaporean, Samoan, Hawaiian and Chinese background. Many of the dishes she’s created for chef collaborations have never appeared on Avling’s à la carte menu. Now, for one night only, try some of these peripatetic plates, like a giant surf-and-turf dumpling followed by pot-au-pho, a braised beef stew with Vietnamese and French elements. Meal structure: A four-course prix fixe with two seatings (5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.) Cost: $135. Tickets available here  

A rum-soaked house party, a nine-course tasting menu, an at-home sushi splurge and 19 other ways to spend New Year's Eve in Toronto
Photo by Caroline Aksich

If your Netflix predilections veer toward The Crown and Bridgerton, then Maison Selby’s Victorian grandeur might be the perfect venue to wrap up 2022. After a multi-course Franco feast of oysters, seared scallops, foie gras and bacon-wrapped tenderloin, the dinner will conclude on a sweet note with pineapple tarte Tatin. Those without Puritan inhibitions should head down to the 140-year-old mansion’s basement speakeasy, Sous Sol. There, boozy cocktails will keep the party roarin’ into the nearly mid-twenties. Meal structure: Six-course tasting menu (no set seatings) Cost: $125  

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A rum-soaked house party, a nine-course tasting menu, an at-home sushi splurge and 19 other ways to spend New Year's Eve in Toronto
Photo by Daniel Neuhaus
Mimi Chinese

Expect a delectable family-style journey through the Chinese culinary canon, beginning with shrimp toast, that scrumptious dim sum staple. Cool cucumbers will prep the palate for what comes next: Wagyu stir-fried rice rolls and house char siu—a labour-intensive dish requiring brining, marinating and two rounds of roasting before even making it to the table. For the third course, expect a healthy serving of scallion and ginger sea bass, crab fried rice, snow pea leaves and black pepper Wagyu steak. Break out your stretchiest dress pants for this one. Meal structure: Two seatings, before 8 p.m. and after 8 p.m. Cost: $226 per person (includes one glass of champagne)  

In a sleek townhouse just north of King West, Rasa’s sister spot will be serving up a special NYE menu with optional wine pairings. To best enjoy this flavourful journey, ditch any digital distractions by hiding your phone in your table’s compartment made especially for this purpose. Globe-spanning dishes jump from Southeast Asia (chicken satay with crackling and green papaya) to Mexico (a chopped salad tossed in a tamarind vinaigrette) to Italy (brown butter and sunchoke cavatelli) and ending in France with a glorious hunk of entrecôte sans os (a.k.a. NY strip) served with sauce au poivre. Meal structure: Four-course prix fixe (no set seatings) Cost: $109  

The poshest nook in Eataly is hidden behind a butcher’s counter: Trattoria Milano is a 76-seat restaurant dedicated to the cuisine of northern Italy. To bid 2022 arrivederci, the broody room is serving up a rib-sticking six-course feast. Dinner will open on a lighter note with raw Atlantic Bay scallops served with grapefruit and basil, but carb-lovers will be most excited for the risotto (a multi-fungi affair) and the pasta courses (pork-and-veal agnolotti in white truffle butter sauce). Meat lovers, meanwhile, will relish the red wine–braised PEI beef. An ample portion of espresso-loaded tiramisu ensures sufficient caffeination to make it to the countdown. Meal structure: Six-course tasting menu (no set seatings) Cost: $115  

A rum-soaked house party, a nine-course tasting menu, an at-home sushi splurge and 19 other ways to spend New Year's Eve in Toronto
Photo by Daniel Neuhaus

This Danforth darling has settled on a scrumptious spread to bid adieu to 2022. Nestle up and savour seafood crudo and a radicchio-sunchoke salad before diving into a Bordelaise-braised short rib. The meal caps off with delectable honey-poached quince atop a magical Manchego panna cotta. But don’t wing it when it comes to the wine list. Instead, opt for sommelier Darryl Crawford’s varietal selections, which often feature hidden gems from less notable regions. But, either way you fly, it’s sure to be a hoot. Meal structure: Three seatings (5 p.m., 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.) Cost: $135 per person, $75 optional wine pairing, email resos.thewoodowlto@gmail.com to book  

Perched 38 storeys above the Westin, Toronto’s highest Michelin-starred restaurant will have some of the city’s best NYE firework views. The extravagant multi-course tasting menu will dazzle with oysters, caviar, truffles, Wagyu and edible gold. Expect unorthodox flourishes as well, like eel gelato served with a tangle of wild rose–scented tagliatelle. Meal structure: For the first seating (5 p.m.), guests will enjoy a four-course tasting menu; the second (8 p.m.) is an eight-course affair Cost: $350 and up  

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Hotel happenings

A rum-soaked house party, a nine-course tasting menu, an at-home sushi splurge and 19 other ways to spend New Year's Eve in Toronto
Photo by Kayla Rocca

This hotel’s festive celebrations cater to those seeking both family-friendly and free-from-family options. Want to include the munchkins in the merriment? Kiddos can order à la carte from 1 Kitchen Toronto’s menu. For the more mature diners, a four-course meal of radicchio salad, bison tartare and Cornish hen escabeche is capped off with some Amarena cherry–festooned corn cake. Those wanting to ditch responsibility and embrace a hedonistic high-heeled night can head to Harriet’s on the rooftop for a Studio 54–themed countdown where guests will disco till dawn while grazing on sushi. Meal structure: Four-course prix fixe (no set seatings) Cost: $100 for 1 Kitchen Toronto (kids à la carte), starting at $100 for Harriet’s party  

A rum-soaked house party, a nine-course tasting menu, an at-home sushi splurge and 19 other ways to spend New Year's Eve in Toronto
Photo by Louisa Nicholaou

This buzzy art-filled Queen West hotel will be firing on all cylinders to close out 2022. The restaurant will be dishing up a top-notch prix fixe (charred octopus, venison carpaccio, 72-hour braised short rib, Fogo Island cod, and more). However, if a sit-down dinner isn’t your jam, Itzsoweezee will be spinning hip hop, house and electronic at the Drake Underground. Upstairs in the lounge, meanwhile, tarot reader Julia Mroczek will be giving partygoers a peek into their future. Perhaps she’ll save you the disappointment of showing up sans resos to The Drake’s already sold-out bottomless brunch. (Which, rumour has it, will be getting an extended run in the new year.) Meal structure: A four-course prix fixe (6 p.m. to 8:30 pm) followed by a multi-floor party spread across the hotel Cost: $125 for dinner, starting at $55 for the party. Tickets available here (NYE hotel packages also available)  

Louix Louis is going all out with a gala-inspired evening full of pomp and gilded glamour. A four-course dinner aims to wow with options like truffle burrata, beef Wellington, lobster ravioli and roasted turbot in a caviar butter sauce. If that wasn’t enough edible glitz, guests can opt to kick the culinary celebration off with an epic seafood tower piled high with Alaskan king crab, scallop crudo, oysters and Acadian caviar ($250 extra). Those who splurge on the second seating or the Countdown Dinner package (which includes a one-night stay at the hotel, dinner for two and NYE party favours) will get to stay for the balloon drop. Meal structure: Two seatings. The first (5 p.m.) is a three-course prix fixe and the second (8:30 p.m.) is a four-course prix fixe followed by the countdown celebration Cost: $235 and up. Access to the second seating is guaranteed with the Countdown NYE hotel package ($1,335)  

A rum-soaked house party, a nine-course tasting menu, an at-home sushi splurge and 19 other ways to spend New Year's Eve in Toronto
Photo by Brandon Barre

After a three-year renovation, the newly opened W Hotel is gearing up for its first big bash. Dramatic light installations and a live DJ will transform the Living Room—the hotel’s three-storey, 5,000-square-foot glass atrium—into a venue fit for merrymaking. Night market–style food stations featuring Toronto-inspired tapas will fuel the festivities. Anyone wanting to up the ante can dip into one of the speciality bottles on offer, like a Lady Gaga x Dom Pérignon rosé, to ring in the New Year with a little extra oomph. Meal structure: Tickets include two selections from food stations and one cocktail Cost: $100, with tables starting at $1,200. Hotel packages are also available  

For homebodies

For the ultimate at-home splurge, chef Ryusuke Nakagawa is creating three-tiered trays chock full of freshly flown in Japanese seafood and osechi-ryōri, traditional New Year’s Day foods. The first tier is full of high-end sushi and sashimi (otoro, snow crab kinuta-maki). The second level is a surf-and-turf medley: A5 Miyazaki steak with black truffle sauce, char-grilled duck and aosa nori–fried Nova Scotia lobster topped with raw sea urchin and celery root sauce. Up top, things get even fancier with foie gras oshi-sushi, o-toro nigiri caviar, and more. While it doesn’t come served on its own tier, dessert is no afterthought: a decadent-yet-light white chocolate yuzu layer cake made with citrus sourced from Okinawa and Kochi prefectures. Meal structure: At-home meal, serves two Cost: $1,000. Order here  

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A rum-soaked house party, a nine-course tasting menu, an at-home sushi splurge and 19 other ways to spend New Year's Eve in Toronto
Photo by Ebti Nabag

This summer, popular pandemic meal service Curryish took the brick-and-mortar leap. Since landing on Queen West, chef Miheer Shete has been winning west-enders with his elegant and innovative Indian plates. Anyone happy to stream the ball drop from home can enjoy Shete’s heat-at-home meal kit. Those making up for two consecutively canceled NYEs can choose to visit Curryish IRL for a three-course prix fixe. Either option is guaranteed to be bursting with flavour and colour. Meal structure: At-home meal or a dine-in three-course prix fixe Cost: $159 for the at-home meal (serves up to four), $90 for the prix fixe (includes one glass of sparkling wine)

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