The Los Angeles restaurant scene lights up like a Christmas tree this time of year. Fine dining establishments from downtown to Santa Monica are decorated to a tee, and seasonal menus are spruced up with holiday favorites. To give busy shoppers a respite from cooking holiday feasts, top chefs are pulling out the stops to create month-long specials and an innovative variety of special price fixe menus for Christmas Eve and Day dinner parties, luxe lunches, and even brunches with Santa Claus himself, the star of the season. (And frankly, he looks as if he appreciates good food, so it’s simply smart to follow his lead). To whet your appetite for booking a table out for your special occasion, here’s a peek at what’s cooking this holiday season in LA’s kitchens.
Photo Courtesy of Patina
For an extravagant night out downtown, the Walt Disney Concert Hall’s Patina restaurant has several three-, four-, and eight-course pre-fixe dinner choices on both Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Yuletide treats include venison saddle with quince, cranberry compote and fig sauce chartreuse; apple-glazed monkfish; and traditional desserts like sticky toffee pudding with candied chestnuts, plus Bûche de Noël with pistachio praline and orange confit.
Ray’s & Stark Bar at the Los Angeles Museum of Art invites guests to tuck into a “culinary bedtime story” with the restaurant’s Scrooged Stark After Dark menu. Through December, Executive Chef Viet Pham gives a nod to A Christmas Carol with dishes like the Ba Humburger meatloaf patty and the Tiny (Pata) Tim braised pork leg. Seasonal cocktails include the hot Smokey Toddy with Laphroaig, honey, Velvet Falernum, and lemon; and The Three Spirit Nog with traditional egg nog, bourbon, brandy, and dark rum served cold and spicy.
Photo Courtesy of Culina
Culina, modern Italian at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, is one of my absolute favorite SoCal hotel restaurants thanks to fearless Chef Mette Williams, winner of Food Network’s Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell. She’s planned a five-course Christmas Eve menu ($85 per person), with dessert by Pastry Chef Federico Fernandez. Highlights are chestnut soup with cardamom cream, handmade ricotta gnudi dumplings, and your choice of wild John Dory in puréed white truffle foam or free-range venison loin with rosemary-smoked yams. Sweet selections include Panatone pudding or Speculoos mascarpone cannoli (my personal drug). Culina also serves up Chef Cyrille Pannier’s annual all-day Christmas Brunch on December 25 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Adults $98, Children 5-12 $49, free for tots under five.
Photo Courtesy of Delphine Eatery + Bar
At Hollywood and Vine, Delphine Eatery + Bar offers both a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner ($67), starting off with a blood orange and persimmon salad with whipped burrata, or apple and fennel soup with black truffle and crab beignets. The second course features Dungeness crab ravioli; or steamed organic egg custard with white soy, uni, ikura, whipped chive crème fraîche and brioche. The third course is the charm with grilled prime sirloin cap glazed tagliatelle with Brussels sprouts, orange, baby onions, toasted cauliflower; or pan roasted white bass with brown butter roasted squash, pork belly and apple glaze. Do try to leave room for the specialty dessert course.
The seasonal special at BOA Steakhouse Santa Monica is a Niman Ranch Prime Rib offered through December 25, while BOA Steakhouse Sunset will only serve the Niman Ranch Prime Rib as its Christmas Eve special.
Photo Courtesy of Barton G.
Patina Catering invites families to Breakfast with Santa complete with a buffet, children’s activity areas with cookie decorating, gifts and a visit from the big man himself. Brunch highlights include house-cured and smoked Skuna Bay salmon, artisanal sausages, buttermilk pancakes, a French toast bar, and seasonal greens. It’ll be held at two locations: Downtown at the Los Angeles Music Center on December 20, 21 and 22 ($60 for adults, $30 for children under 10); and Descanso Gardens in La Canada on December 20 and 21 ($41 for adults and $20 for children under 10). Children under three are free.
Equally theatrical but with a decidedly more grown-up spin are the holiday specials at Barton G. on La Cienega Blvd. To celebrate Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, Barton G.’s specials include roasted Colorado lamb rack with root vegetable fondant ($38), Cider House veal chop and apple crop ($58) and—since they can never resist tickling the pun-ny bone—The Mother Clucker ($68), a whole roasted chicken and stuffing with figs and stuffed acorn squash.
Photo Courtesy of Mr. C Beverly Hills
Blue Plate Oysterette celebrates Christmas Eve on December 24 with the Feast of Seven Fishes for lunch and dinner. Bay scallops on the half-shell, crudo, lobster bisque, octopus, Arctic char and lobster tagliatelle with optional truffles, are among the dishes on the special price fixe menu ($89).
All month long from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., Angelinos can “escape to Italy” in their own backyard at Mr. C Beverly Hills where guests can lounge with live music, roasted chestnuts and mugs of vin brulé, an Italian hot spiced wine ($14). The Restaurant at Mr. C celebrates with a four-course Venetian menu ($85) on Christmas Eve spotlighting lots of seafood, namely marinated salmon, octopus and tuna tartar; and wild branzino with flat potatoes, olives and thyme sauce. The Christmas Day menu features veal tortellini in consommé and Neapolitan pastiera cheesecake with Strega liqueur sauce.
Photo Courtesy of Petrossian Restaurant
West Hollywood’s 93-year-old caviar house, Petrossian Restaurant celebrates Hannukah with Executive Chef Giselle Wellman’s four-course tasting menu featuring matzo ball soup with chicken consommé, Gefilte fish with Moroccan tomatoes, brisket and blintzes. The Christmas Eve four-course menu serves Cauliflower Flan with White Truffle served with G.H. Mumm Brut Cordon Rouge, Petrossian Transmontanus Caviar, short rib tortellini with a wild mushroom broth, and turbot with Cévennes onion compote and black truffle. For dessert, Mont Blanc with chestnut, orange and meringue will be served.