The 25 Best Restaurants in America for an Unforgettable Holiday Dinner

You have no reason to stay home this Christmas
The 25 Best Restaurants in America for an Unforgettable Holiday Dinner

Photo by Maureen H. via Yelp

Choosing to have your Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day brunch, or Christmas dinner at a restaurant can be a risky (and expensive) endeavor. But if you live in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, or Washington, D.C., you have no reason to stay home: We’ve tracked down the five best spots in each of those cities for your holiday feast. 

The 25 Best Restaurants in America for an Unforgettable Holiday Dinner

The 25 Best Restaurants in America for an Unforgettable Holiday Dinner

Photo by Maureen H. via Yelp

Choosing to have your Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day brunch, or Christmas dinner at a restaurant can be a risky (and expensive) endeavor. But if you live in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, or Washington, D.C., you have no reason to stay home: We’ve tracked down the five best spots in each of those cities for your holiday feast. 

Chicago: Harvest

Chicago: Harvest

Photo by Harvest via Yelp 

Go all out on Christmas with Harvest’s all-you-can-eat holiday buffet. The chef’s feast will have all the dishes your heart desires, from slow-roasted prime rib to roasted Brussels sprouts with apples and bacon and caramelized-onion mashed potatoes. Don’t skip the pecan tarts and eggnog mousse cups for dessert! The buffet is $40 per adult and $20 per child under 10.

Chicago: Nonnina

Chicago: Nonnina

Photo by Riva L. via Yelp

Enjoy the Feast of the Seven Fishes at Nonnina this Christmas Eve. The traditional Italian holiday meal has inspired a festive à la carte menu, including linguine vongole (homemade linguine with littleneck clams) and orate al forno, a whole roasted Mediterranean sea bream. A four-course, family-style menu is also available for $65 per person. 

Chicago: Porkchop

Chicago: Porkchop

Photo by Kat T. via Yelp

Porkchop will be serving up a Southern holiday dinner on Christmas Eve, complete with smoked and fried turkey and all your favorite fixings. The prix-fixe menu comes with turkey, all the sides, soup or salad, and a slice of pie. The price is $27 for adults, $13 for kids, and free for children under 10.

Chicago: Sixteen

Chicago: Sixteen

Photo by Travis S. via Yelp

What could be better than enjoying Christmas while overlooking some of Chicago’s most iconic buildings? Enjoy the view from Sixteen while feasting on Christmas brunch. The buffet will feature dishes from the restaurant’s Michelin-starred kitchen. Santa and his reindeer will stop by on the terrace to deliver presents from the big man and Mrs. Claus. The brunch is $165 per person and $50 for children 12 and under. 

Chicago: Travelle

Chicago: Travelle

Photo by Howard L. via Yelp

Travelle Kitchen + Bar will host a decadent Christmas buffet from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The offerings will include holiday-inspired dishes like eggnog brioche French toast as well as traditional favorites. Expect an omelette station, smokehouse meats, and a carving station. The buffet is $145 per adult and includes a complimentary mimosa, but for $20 you can upgrade to unlimited mimosas. Children’s tickets cost $50 for ages 4 to 12. 

Boston: Craigie on Main

Boston: Craigie on Main

Photo by Vivian C. via Yelp

Chef Tony Maws never lets a holiday pass by without a resounding collection of joy and specially curated menus. This year, both of his restaurants, Craigie on Main and Kirkland Tap and Trotter, are offering special menus from 5 to 9 p.m. At Kirkland Tap and Trotter, family-style meals make dinner easy on groups. Hot buttered rum, egg nog, and spiked hot chocolate will be churning away at the bar to keep your spirits warm. At Craigie on Main, as always, you can expect elevated cuisine with unique and sometimes daring twists on classic French dishes.

Boston: Met Back Bay

Boston: Met Back Bay

Photo by Vivian C. via Yelp

Met Back Bay is going in big this holiday season. From Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day, the team led by executive chef David Daniels presents a rack of Australian lamb with truffle potato gratin, shaved Brussels sprouts, and lamb jus. Other highlights on the menu leading up to New Year’s Eve include lobster carbonara, bone-in dry-aged sirloin, and veal Parmesan. On New Year’s Day, the restaurant will be open for brunch, which will include their much-loved Crafty Mary bar.

Boston: Porto

Boston: Porto

Photo by Porto via Yelp

The highly anticipated Porto by chef Jody Adams is making a strong showing this Christmas Eve with a brunch to blow all others out of the water. Mediterranean treats await in this beautiful restaurant, from sweet things like cinnamon buns with pomegranate and baked French toast to savory items like the sea trout and poached eggs with a biscuit. Could there be a better brunch option casually waiting as you battle the elements of the Prudential Center and Boylston Street? Make a reservation and definitely order the Eggnog Flip, a special Christmas cocktail with high west double rye and house-made egg nog. Yes, please.

Boston: Posto

Boston: Posto

Photo by William M. via Yelp

Posto in Davis Square has a five-course prix-fixe meal for $65, not including an optional wine pairing. Hold true to Italian tradition with a rendition of Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. Beginning at 5 p.m., the menu includes a trio of antipasti, olive oil-poached halibut, salt cod tortellini, seared snapper with lobster risotto, and a choice of dessert.

Boston: Saltie Girl

Boston: Saltie Girl

Photo by Sophie P. via Yelp

A new addition to the Met Restaurant Group family, Saltie Girl has taken on a whole new stride in Boston’s food scene. Leading the tinned-fish revolution, Saltie Girl is a perfect — might I say “must” — for a Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner on Christmas Eve. In addition to a stellar, eight-course, prix-fixe menu offering warm or chilled oysters with seared foie gras, baked clam stuffies, fried fisherman’s box whole roasted loup de mer, and more, Saltie Girl will be accepting reservations for the first time ever. With only one 8 p.m. seating, 30 lucky diners will get their names on this VIP list. You do not want to miss this opportunity.

Washington, D.C.: 1789 Restaurant

Washington, D.C.: 1789 Restaurant

Photo by Maureen H. via Yelp

For a bit of history in a cozy atmosphere with an inviting staff, 1789 Restaurant is a must. For Christmas Eve supper the seasonal à la carte menu takes center stage and includes classically prepared dishes with a modern Asian twist like veal sweetbreads with shallot-raisin purée and soy marinated shiitake mushrooms; and Szechuan-spiced lamb chops and braised shoulder with Anson Mills roasted oat risotto. As a bonus, the Washington Men’s Camerata will be caroling in the restaurant nightly between 7 and 9 p.m. from Dec. 16 through Christmas Eve. 1789 Restaurant will be open from 4 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 24. Dishes range from $15 to $60. 

Washington, D.C.: Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca

Washington, D.C.: Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca

Photo by A.R. P. via Yelp

If it’s authenticity you seek on Christmas Eve, then you have to try the Feast of the Seven Fishes prepared by Jake Addeo, the executive chef at Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca. He’s Italian on both sides of his family and imbues his food with the spirit of his heritage. For Christmas Eve, from 5 to 9:30 p.m., his six-course seafood-centric Feast of the Seven Fishes menu costs $65 per person and includes mouthwatering selections like savory bombolini made with black truffle potatoes and Lingotto caviar; gnocchi neri prepared using squid ink, Maine lobster, and lobster sugo; and seared John Dory stuffed with chanterelles, chard, and sunchoke purée. For the perfect ending, order a nostalgic favorite: the giant cannoli filled with whipped ricotta, candied orange zest, chocolate, and pistachio. 

Washington, D.C.: Blue Duck Tavern

Washington, D.C.: Blue Duck Tavern

Photo by Sangyeon C. via Yelp

If you can spare the change, go posh and dine in Michelin-starred (Blue Duck now has one star!) splendor at Blue Duck Tavern. Chef de cuisine Brad Deboy’s menus are always deliciously inventive and this seasonal menu is no exception. On Christmas Eve, Blue Duck Tavern will serve its regular à la carte dinner menu from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Every day is like a holiday at this favorite spot and Christmas Eve will be just as fun. Consider ordering the Moulard duck breast or seafood stew infused with Vadouvan spices for a less traditional meal; be sure to order the gorgeous and satisfying vegetable sides; and take advantage of the varied dessert selections that are some of the best in the city. 

Washington, D.C.: Lafayette Restaurant at The Hay-Adams Hotel

Washington, D.C.: Lafayette Restaurant at The Hay-Adams Hotel

Photo by Sarah D. via Yelp

If he were here today, Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, better known as the Marquis de Lafayette, would dine on the Christmas Eve menu at Lafayette RestaurantThe Hay-Adams’ restaurant opened in his honor. On Christmas Eve, The Lafayette will offer a three-course prix-fixe menu priced at $95 per person and $45 per child between 4 and 12 years old. Seating is 5:30 to 10 p.m. and executive chef Nicholas Legret has created a menu with high notes that include seasonal dishes like venison loin with celery root purée, braised Colorado rack of lamb, and seared Nantucket baby scallops. A mouthwatering range of desserts complement the meal and include standouts like dark and milk Valrhona chocolate layer cake with espresso ice cream; gingerbread Bundt cake with spiced Forelle pears; and Brandy Alexander cheesecake.

Washington, D.C.: The Grill Room at Rosewood

Washington, D.C.: The Grill Room at Rosewood

Photo by Montaign G. via Yelp 

Dine in an intimate setting with Christmas Eve supper at The Grill Room at Rosewood, where service and ambiance match the quality of the cuisine. On Dec. 24, its holiday menu, at $85 for adults and $40 for children 12 and under, begins with an appetizing amuse-bouche followed by choice of appetizer and entrée off the focused menu. Indulge in a bit of opulence with the pan-roasted Hudson Valley foie gras with pickled hon shimeji mushrooms; winter vol-au-vent filled with sunchoke purée and roasted seasonal vegetables; roasted prime rib; or suckling porchetta. Be sure to reserve a table because this is a new favorite with locals and visitors. Seating is from 5:30 to 10 p.m.

New York City: John Dory Oyster Bar

New York City: John Dory Oyster Bar

Photo by Go B. via Yelp

John Dory Oyster Bar, a seafood utopia, will be hosting a six-course feast on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For $95, diners will be served dishes including oysters and caviar amuse, scallop crudo, poached lobsters, and baked treacle with egg nog ice cream. 

New York City: Loi Estatorio

On Christmas Eve and Day at Maria Loi’s restaurant, guests can enjoy a three-course meal for $60 ($40 for children), with appetizers including pomegranate salad or feta cheese pie; entrées including lamb fricassee, prime rib, or branzino; and dessert including yogurt with holey and walnuts, apple cake, and assorted Greek Christmas desserts. 

New York City: Oceana

New York City: Oceana

Photo by Oceana via Yelp

Oceana’s new executive chef Bill Telepan will serve a special five-course “Feast of Seven Fishes” tasting menu on Christmas Eve featuring a Tasting of Three Crudo with a choice of tuna with lime and radish, bay scallop with Meyer lemon, and razor clam with blood orange; grilled octopus with farro tabbouleh, and baby arugula; black linquini with crab and sepia, chiles, and scallion; and roasted swordfish with Sicilian breadcrumbs, cauliflower, and fingerling potatoes. For dessert, executive pastry chef Doug Hernandez will serve a classic tiramisu with mascarpone mousse, espresso-soaked biscuit, caramelized white chocolate, and espresso sauce. Pricing is $95 per person, and $60 for select wine pairings.

New York City: Rolf’s

New York City: Rolf’s

Photo by Anna K. via Yelp 

Rolf’s is a traditional German restaurant and will be serving its usual menu of schnitzel, sausages, and other German favorites this Christmas, but there’s one thing that sets Rolf’s apart from every other restaurant in New York: the decorations. Owner Suhal Uddin spends more than $60,000 every year decorating the restaurant with 15,000 ornaments and 100,000 lights, turning the smallish space into a certifiable winter wonderland. No New York restaurant gets into the Christmas spirit more than Rolf’s. 

New York City: The Plaza Hotel Palm Court

New York City: The Plaza Hotel Palm Court

Photo by Brian K. via Yelp 

On Christmas Day, guests at the Plaza Hotel’s opulent Palm Court can splurge on a $145 lavish brunch buffet. Dishes will include cabernet-braised beef short rib Rossini with pepper seared foie gras, spaccatelli pasta braised rabbit ragu with wild mushrooms, roasted winter vegetables, and Christmas bread pudding.

Los Angeles: Catch

Los Angeles: Catch

Photo by Christopher S. via Yelp

Located in Santa Monica’s Hotel Casa Del Mar, Catch will be highlighting fresh seafood in its $95 three-course Christmas Eve late lunch/dinner and Christmas Day lunch and dinner. Bay scallops, tuna tartare, grilled Maine lobster, Wagyu beef tenderloin, slow-roasted organic turkey, warm apple tart, and bûche de Noël will all be on offer. 

Los Angeles: Mar’Sel

Los Angeles: Mar’Sel

Photo by Joan S. via Yelp

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can catch an ocean breeze while enjoying a five-course meal at Mar'Sel, located in Terranea in Rancho Palos Verdes. Sunchoke bisque, scallop with cauliflower purée, lobster with pappardelle, veal loin with salsify, and peppermint cheesecake is a perfect way to celebrate the holiday. 

Los Angeles: Scarpetta

Los Angeles: Scarpetta

Photo by Sam L. via Yelp 

Spend Christmas day eating to your heart’s content at Scarpetta, where $105 (and $45 per child) will get you a raw bar with items including snow crab legs and oysters, prime rib, porchetta, leg of lamb, sausage stuffing, and plenty of housemade pastas. 

Los Angeles: The Pikey

Los Angeles: The Pikey

Photo by Gregory S. via Yelp

This very British restaurant is serving a very British Christmas dinner, complete with stockings and on the mantel and other decorations. At The Pikey, enjoy house-cured glazed ham or roasted goose breast with chestnut bread sauce, sausage stuffed onion, roast potatoes, chestnuts, and stuffed cabbage with goose leg. Top it off with mincemeat pie ice cream or old-fashioned Christmas pudding with custard. 

Los Angeles: Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air

Los Angeles: Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air

Photo by Franklin P. via Yelp

Wolfgang Puck is really pulling out all the stops at his Hotel Bel Air restaurant with a Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day brunch, and a $160 four-course Christmas Night dinner. Christmas Eve highlights include roasted Italian chestnut soup, hand-cut tortelloni with celery root (white truffles are $135 extra), Dover sole, and 35-day dry-aged New York sirloin; Christmas brunch includes autumn vegetable quiche, roasted butternut squash soup, omelette with lobster and Gruyère, Benedict with white Cheddar biscuit and maple hollandaise, blueberry buttermilk pancakes, and grilled mesquite Black Angus burger; Christmas dinner highlights include Maine lobster salad, whole roasted Prime rib-eye, whole roasted rack of veal, and “Christmas Day Dessert Feast.”