New Year's reservations

The New Year is upon us, and you should have something special planned for First Night.

restaurant 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
restaurant 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The New Year is upon us, and, all social conventions considered, you should have something special planned for First Night. Plans don't have to be more involved than making a phone call to one of the many establishments with a special evening planned to celebrate what the locals call Sylvester. However, no matter where you are headed, do call in advance to reserve space. There are many reasons to head north besides an interesting culinary prospect. However, the Bistro Bar Adela has a romantic evening planned that includes cocktails and various surprises that should appeal to the foodie in you. Chef Yankale Shein, known in Tel Aviv for his work at Café Noir, planned the menu. Also, Adela will be hosting the Fusion Band, purported to be well skilled at providing an atmosphere of romance and love through song. (The Ramat Yishai Commercial Center, (04) 953-5358, NIS 70 entry.) Jerusalem, of course, is a great place to commemorate St. Sylvester, who served as pope from 314 until his death in 335 on, you guessed it, December 31. And where better than picturesque Ein Kerem, the traditional site of the Annunciation? Agua has planned a fixed-price menu, including such treats as stuffed calamari, root vegetable soup, a shrimp mohito and a halva dish. What with champagne and wine flowing all night long from 7 p.m., it could turn out to be the great start to a good year. (1 Hama'ayan St., (02) 644-9494, NIS 225 per diner.) Should it be meat that you are after, consider Tel Aviv's Traklin Wine and Meat Bistro. Located on Nahalat Binyamin, good company can be found both inside the establishment and along the street itself, which usually has a nice mix of the affluent and the trashed. Beyond the current special of Oligarch December, which includes a selection of fine caviars, champagnes and super-premium vodkas, for Sylvester there is a fixed-price menu of main course options like lamb chops, osobucco and a porterhouse steak. As for those vodkas, be sure to take out a second mortgage so you can sample the most expensive listing, the NIS 420 Kaufman Vodka. (41 Nahalat Binyamin St., (03) 566-0013, NIS 265 per diner.) There is a cheaper ethnic option for the less traditional New Year's to be had at Habash, one of the city's better Ethiopian joints. With two fixed-price menus, one for vegetarians and the other for carnivores, both include an array of main dishes, injera, champagne, authentic coffee and authentic performances by the house band and dancers. (2 Allenby St., 077-210-0181, NIS 139 per veggie couple and NIS 159 per meat pair.) Starting the new year off right is just as important as finishing off the old one in style. Both may be accomplished at Bar Giora where, the night of, there is a special deal that includes tapas - shrimp in coconut milk, BBQ chicken and salmon crustini - and champagne for two and, the morning after, breakfast for two with mimosas. (4 Bar Giora St., (03) 620-4880, NIS 52 per couple in the evening and NIS 60 per couple in the morning.) As someone may or may not have once said, "Hamburgers! The cause of and solution to all of life's problems." The burger chain Agadir has heeded the carnivorous call of the masses. At three of their locations - the Tel Aviv Port, Haifa and Rishon Letzion - house DJs will spin sets to close the year off right, starting at 10 p.m. One and a half hours later, at all of their locations, the evening's special deals kick in, which means you can enjoy their 220-gram Maxi burger with fries for NIS 35, add a third of Carlsberg for another NIS 7, put down a chaser of Dewar's for NIS 9 and/or drink up a traditional champagne and strawberry cocktail for NIS 24. (Agadir Burger Bar, *5690) Not willing to leave Tel Aviv but looking for a more divine culinary experience? Check out the provincial atmosphere at the Tel Aviv institution that is Pastis. With two seating rounds to accommodate the early and later goers, the four-course fixed menu includes an artichoke confit, duck paté with orange glaze, crab bisque, grilled Corvina fillet, gnocchi ali oli with jumbo shrimp and a dessert of Belgian white chocolate mousse filled with wild berries. First seating is until 10:30 p.m., when the second seating begins. At midnight be prepared for a champagne toast and kisses. (73 Rothchild Blvd., (03) 525-0773, NIS 195 per diner first seating and NIS 245 per diner second seating.) Food is great and all, but sometimes it should be little more than the solids that accompany your liquid refreshment. Zimmerman has you in mind - and remember to thank the good folks there when you arrive. DJs will spin pop, funk and alternative music till the breaka dawn. All the while, a selection of complimentary tapas will accompany the NIS 39 champagne cocktails including the Zimmerman Delux (champagne, lychee and vanilla vodka). For the adventurer in you, take advantage of the oyster shots (fresh oysters flown in from Europe, vodka and lemon) for NIS 39. And, all of this can be yours while seated in one of the best enclosed gardens the city has to offer. (2 Brenner St., (03) 528-0218.) Finally, there is the chance that you are into the whole New Year's thing but not really the other people with whom you share your society. No problem, this is why St. Sylvester invented takeout. The whole of the Pizza Meter chain has made their pizza available for the special price of NIS 69 per meter. To order, call their central number 1-700-505-040. Or, if you want to bring home some of that old country flavor with some great wines at great prices, think nothing more than Hinawi. In addition to their tremendous wine selection of both local and imported varieties, their butcher shop has thrown together a lovely deal of lamb's neck stuffed with rice, raisins, pine nuts and almonds for NIS 85 per kilo. Information as to where to find the Hinawi closest to you may be obtained by calling 1-700-505-507.