- Both Red Rocks Cafes will be open regular hours on Christmas Eve, and taking reservations by phone and online at www.redrockscafe.com. Also coming up: New Year's Eve features, in addition to the regular menu, at Strawberry Hill include a chilled seafood platter; "Red & Bleu Prime Filet" (with sundried tomato and bleu cheese crust); pecan-crusted mahi mahi; parmesan-crusted pork chop; and more. 4223-B Providence Road, 704-364-0402; the Huntersville location is at 8712 Lindholm Drive, Huntersville, 704-892-9999.
- Caffe Siena at the Holiday Inn Charlotte Center City offers a four-course New Year's Eve meal with seatings at 6, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. and a DJ from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Among the dishes are sauteed Chilean sea bass, braised beef short rib cannelloni, pan-seared duck breast and roasted beef tenderloin. At 6th and College Streets uptown; 704-335-5400 ext. 458.
Mez hosts its second annual Black Tie Ball for New Year's Eve (8 p.m.-2 a.m.), with passed hors d'oeuvres, champagne toast and party favors for $25; other packages, including dinners and Ritz-Carlton hotel rooms are available, too. 210 E. Trade St.; 704-971-2400.
- Road trip required: Highland Lake Inn (86 Lily Pad Lane in Flat Rock) offers buffets on both Christmas Eve (allspice and peppercorn scented prime rib; Ashley Farm chicken braised with smoked bacon and more) and Christmas Day (Virginia ham, sirloin tips and more). Hours are 5-9 p.m. Dec. 24 (for $34.95) and 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 25 ($36.95); 828-696-9094