When it comes to the annual challenge of trying to plan a great New Year’s Eve celebration, there are any number of plausible approaches. There are those who throw themselves into the holiday full-stop, boozing and club-hopping until dawn.

There are those keep their expectations low and gather with friends and family for modest house parties.

And there are those who are so sick of New Year’s Eve turning out to be a disappointment that they turned their back on the night altogether. (Don’t deny it, because we’ve all been there.)

My own strategy is simple: Place yourself in the hands of the professionals, and book a table at one of Fort Worth fine dining restaurants. You’ll avoid the noisy crowds, and instead celebrate in a relaxed, intimate environment. Plus, you’ll be able to say sayonara to all the disappointments of the previous year the right way, with the help of delicious food and copious amounts of wine.


Besides, shouldn’t you don a suit-and-tie or cocktail dress and pretend, for at least one night of the year, that money is no object?

The options for New Year's Eve 2013 are numerous, with many excellent Fort Worth restaurants serving a regular menu. Among my favorites for a special night out are downtown’s Grace (which will also offer a champagne toast at midnight); Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, located in the Stockyards; and Ellerbe Fine Foods on Magnolia Ave.

Meanwhile, a number of other Fort Worth fine dining establishments have special events and/or set menus for the holiday. Here are three that caught our eye:

Reata: For an iconic night, why not go with an iconic Fort Worth restaurant? The much-loved Western-themed eatery will be serving a four-course menu, including its famed tenderloin tamales as a starter, and a choice of five dinner entrees (my vote goes to the tenderloin with béarnaise and a stuffed lobster tail). Cost is $70 to $75, not including beverage, tax or service.

Bonnell’s Texas Cuisine: Located in southwest Fort Worth, Bonnell’s is sometimes overlooked when people think of the city’s fine dining options. Take advantage of the set, three-course New Year’s Even menu to remind yourself of the extraordinary talents of chef-owner Jon Bonnell (below)  -- or to discover his food for the first time. The New Year’s Eve main course, a surf-and-turf combo of beef tenderloin and King salmon sounds especially delicious. Cost is $90, not including beverage, tax or service.

Max’s Wine Dive: And here’s a way to add a little bit of old school glamour to the evening. The recently opened Max’s will be hosting a special “Great Gatsby New Year’s Eve” with a special, 1920s-inspired menu that includes blini and caviar; waldorf salad; lobster thermidor; beef wellington; and baked Alaska. As a fun twist, Max’s promises that if you come dressed in Gatsby-era clothing, you’ll receive a 15 percent discount on your food. (You probably won't see Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan there, but never say never.)


The only problem with these places is that you should think about booking a table immediately – New Year’s Eve slots fill up fast. If you know of ones other Fort Worth establishments with special holiday menus, please let us know in the comments section.

And, of course, stay safe; eat and drink responsibly; and try to kiss only one person at midnight.