Chicago Ushers in 2011 With Festive Food

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Cibo Matto is one of many Chicago restaurants rolling out the red carpet for New Year's Eve. (Photo courtesy of theWit Hotel.)

by Jennifer Olvera It’s official: the holidays are here. The year is coming to an end. And many people are hoping like nobody’s business for a festive break from the norm. Relief has arrived in the form of celebratory dinners and gatherings throughout Chicago. Take avec, for example. Despite never taking reservations, it’s not only taking them for New Year’s Eve but also serving patrons in $50 fixed price fashion (with wine for $25 more). Call for menu details and to secure your table. Meanwhile, Cibo Matto is saying “sayonara” to 2010 from 5:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m. with a modern Italian, four-course spread featuring the likes of saffron pappardelle; Sicilian escarole salad with eggplant-ricotta involtini, walnut pesto and apple saba; and goat cheese gnocchi with oxtail ragu, toasted pistachios and pomegranate syrup ($99 per person). Over at One sixtyblue, there’s a lavish, five-course tasting menu replacing its regular offerings — think house-made saffron linguine with Parmesan and shaved white Alba truffles or wood-grilled beef tenderloin with crispy potato noodles and Périgord black truffle sauce. This luxury will set you back $95, plus another $45 when paired with wine. Granted, if you’re looking for more of a nightlife scene, you’d be better served with the family-style, four-course bash at The Publican ($55, plus $25 for seafood upgrades and additional dough for drinks) or The Violet Hour‘s unlimited open bar and holiday punch ($75). In the event you over-imbibe, there’s an appetizer menu available a la carte. If you’re not in Chicago, check out our comprehensive list of New Year’s Eve restaurants for great dining options near you. Keep coming back to for Chicago restaurant news, reviews and culinary events.