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New Year's Eve 2021, like other holidays and occasions over the past year, will certainly look quite a bit different. We're closing out a wildly unpredictable year with no fancy restaurant dinner, rowdy downtown nightclub jaunt or shoulder-to-shoulder Nathan Phillips square crowd in sight. Instead, we will have no choice but to trade in the typically excited crowds with an evening at home spent with the members of our household. Despite the circumstances, there's no reason we can't dress up, order in from one of Toronto's many incredible restaurants and pop some bubbly in the comfort of our homes. Plus, you have to admit - you've always secretly wanted to trade in the glitter and noise for a no-fuss, cozy night in on NYE.
To make celebrating the end of 2020 a little brighter, we've put together delicious themes to follow depending on your mood and the small group you'll be celebrating with. From pepperoni pizza to greasy burgers to an elegant multi-course meal, there's something for every palate on this list. Cheers to 2021!
Those who gravitate towards a fancier coursed meal have the perfect excuse to order one in on New Year's Eve. Osteria Rialto is offering a "neighbourhood" menu, available only on the 30 and 31, with soft and perfectly salted focaccia bread, baked clams, broccolini and crab cannelloni. Those who purchase the dinner will also receive 15% of any wine purchase to wash it down.
Touted many times as one of Toronto's best restaurants, beloved French bistro Aloette has just announced a last-minute champagne & seafood dinner for two which features East Coast oysters, shrimp cocktails, sashimi and a foie gras tart with quince & hazelnut, plus a bottle of Piper Heidsieck champagne to sip on the side.
If you, like pretty much everyone else, have watched the Queen's Gambit over the last couple of months, chances are you're feeling infatuated by the 50s and 60s eras. Grab some old-school diner food from one of Toronto's classic retro destinations like The Lakeview (open all the time) or Donlands Diner and wash it down with a cold, foamy beer. Bonus: The Lakeview is offering a New Years Day brunch, too, to soak up all the alcohol you may have drowned your 2020 sorrows in.
Millennials love a good 90s reference, and our city boasts plenty of spots that pay homage to a time when burgers, pizza and other highly processed foods were all the rage. If you're looking for an elevated yet classic burger-and-fries combo, order a hefty meal from Rudy to fill that Big Mac-style craving.
Who remembers eating a lot of pepperoni pizza in the 90s (hello, beloved school lunches)? Get transported back to the time with a pie from Maker, Toronto's favourite pizza connoisseurs who offer a pepperoni-speckled number with the deluxe additions or Parmesan and toasted fennel. They also have a vegetarian Big Mac-inspired pizza complete with cheddar, dill pickles, shredded iceberg lettuce and Impossible meat crumbles.
You know those people who just live for snacking and would pick at an assortment of smaller items over eating a full meal any day? They're in luck since New Year's Eve is the perfect time to whip out the snack spread with champagne. Make it fancy by ordering a kit from Avling Brewery, which includes house-made cured meats and cheeses, pâté, grainy crackers, roasted Marcona almonds and a selection of jelly, chutney and pickles.
If you love a snack with a Mediterranean flair (aka the home of all glorious dips), look no further than Bar Koukla, where they've put together "House Party" boxes filled with flavourful dips, homemade pita chips, Greek feta, marinated olives, cured pork, pickled veg and a drink pack to go with it.
Torontonians who are devoted to keeping up with the city's top food trends should order a meal from one of our city's hotspots offering NYE fare. The Drake Hotel's top chefs have put together a special New Year's package with homemade bread, roasted eggplant dip, trout niçoise, short-rib, rapini with gremolata and a sticky toffee pudding to finish on a sweet note.
Craving contemporary Italian food? One of Toronto's most coveted openings happened right at the beginning of the year, when the famed Gusto group's new spot, Gusto 501, welcomed their sprawling space to Corktown. They're open today for your NYE needs, from thin-crust pizza to risotto verde to the most well-known kale salad in the city, available for pickup.
If you'd rather skip the lavish meal and celebrate the end of a rough year with some good old fashioned "junk" food, we don't blame you one bit. Not every meal needs to include a beautifully prepared vegetable or a slow-cooked meat -- sometimes you just need salt and sugar, stat. The Carbon Bar fits the bill nicely with saucy pulled pork sandwiches, buttermilk fried chicken, BBQ poutine and a giant, melty bowl of mac 'n cheese.
For meat lovers, Beast Bodega is open for their regular hours on NYE and has chopped cheese hoagies, French fry nachos, juicy burgers and even a lasagna sandwich to fill your cravings.