Welcome back to our annual Save-the-Tables story, a tradition that I’ve been doing, with only two interruptions, since 1994.
Here’s how it works. I’ve arranged for restaurants in the city and suburbs to reserve a table (or two or more) for New Year’s Eve under my name. Starting Wednesday, readers can call those restaurants, ask for the “Phil Vettel” table and claim that reservation for their very own.
First caller wins. But because I have 201 participating restaurants, that’s a lot of winners.
To clarify: These are not free dinners. They’re not even discounted dinners. These are full-freight, batteries-not-included evenings. The only thing you get (assuming you’re the first caller) is a reservation that would be almost impossible to snag at this late date.
Looking for a four-star night out? I’ve got tables at Acadia, George Trois, Next, Spiaggia and Topolobampo. Glam? Blvd and Tao are on board. If you love views, I’ve got Gibsons Italia, NoMI Kitchen and the Signature Room.
If you want intimacy, try Brindille, Geja’s Cafe or Temporis. If you prefer your celebrations big and noisy, I’ve got the parties at Crystal Garden, Joy District, LondonHouse and Motel Bar.
Are cocktails your focus? The Aviary, Mordecai and Violet Hour are here. Super casual? Pick a Beatrix; any Beatrix.
I’ve got the newest restaurants in town: Avli Taverna, Bar Ramone, Funkenhausen, Taureaux Tavern, Twain, Virtue and Yugen. I’ve got enough steakhouses to start my own ranch.
All just a phone call or email away.
And now, the fine print: Unless otherwise noted, prices are per person, and do not include beverage, tax or tip. Menu and prices are subject to change. If you’re reading this at 6 a.m., operators are probably not standing by. Do not assume that you’re the first caller until a live person tells you so. Participating restaurants have sole discretion in determining the first caller. Some restaurants, you’ll note, can be contacted only by email.
Have your credit card ready when you call; in most cases, a credit-card deposit, or even full prepayment, will be required.
Best of luck.
Booth One. Dinner for two at 5 and 9 p.m. Early seating features a five-course menu and live jazz, $65; late seating features a five-course menu, disco party and Champagne toast, $105. Ambassador Chicago, 1301 N. State Parkway, 312-649-0535.
Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab. Table for four at 11 p.m. Regular menu plus midnight toast. 60 E. Grand Ave., 312-379-5637.
Nacional 27. Table for four at 7 p.m. Unlimited Brazilian menu and prosecco toast, $99. 325 W. Huron St., 312-664-2727.
Osteria Via Stato. Table for four at 8 p.m. Four-course Italian menu, $75. 620 N. State St., 312-642-8450.
Saranello’s. Table for four at 8 p.m. Four-course menu, $79.95. DJ, dance floor and Champagne toast. 601 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling, 847-777-6878.
Wildfire. Table for two at 5:45, 6:45, 8:45 and 9:45 p.m. Regular menu plus specials. 159 W. Erie St., 312-787-9000.
$74 and less
Aba. Two tables for two, and two tables for up to four at 6 and 8 p.m. A la cart menu with specials; midnight toast. 302 N. Green St., 773-645-1400.
Antico Posto. Two tables for up to four at 7 p.m. Regular menu with specials. 118 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, 630-586-9200.
Bar Ramone. Two tables for two, and two tables for up to four at 6 and 8 p.m. A la carte menu with specials; midnight toast. 441 N. Clark St., 312-985-6909.
Beatrix. Two tables for up to four guests at 6 and 8 p.m. A la carte specials, midnight toast. 519 N. Clark St., 312-284-1377.
Beatrix Streeterville. Two tables for up to four guests at 6 and 8 p.m. A la carte specials, midnight toast. 671 N. St. Clair St., 312-642-0001.
Beatrix Fulton Market. Two tables for up to four at 6 and 8 p.m. A la carte specials, midnight toast. 834 W. Fulton Market, 312-733-0370.
Big Bowl. Two tables for four at 6 p.m. and two tables for four at 8 p.m. Regular menu and specials. 215 Parkway Drive, Lincolnshire, 847-808-8880.
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! Table for four at 7 p.m. Regular tapas menu plus chef specials; midnight cava toast. 2024 N. Halsted St., 773-935-5000.
Ema. Table for two at 6 p.m.; two tables for up to four guests at 6 and 8 p.m. Regular menu with a la carte specials. 74 W. Illinois St., 312-527-5586.
L. Woods Tap & Pine Lodge. Four tables for up to four guests each at 9 and 9:30 p.m. Three-course menu, $20.19. 7110 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincolnwood, 847-677-3350.
Mity Nice Bar & Grill. Two tables for up to four at 6 p.m., four tables for up to four at 6:30 p.m. Regular menu. 835 N. Michigan Ave., 312-335-4745.
Mon Ami Gabi. Table for four at 7 p.m. Regular menu plus specials; Champagne toast. 2300 N. Lincoln Park West, 773-348-8886.
Naoki. Table for four at 7 p.m. A la carte menu with Japanese specialties. 2300 N. Lincoln Park West, 773-868-0002.
Stella Barra Pizzeria. Table for four at 7 p.m. Regular menu plus specials. 1954 N. Halsted St., 773-634-4101.
Summer House Santa Monica. Table for four at 7 p.m. Regular menu plus specials. 1954 N. Halsted St., 773-634-4100.