Christmas in Washington, DC 2016
Christmas is always exciting in Washington, D.C. The twinkling lights, National Christmas Tree, and greenery gives the city a festive energy. With the inauguration just weeks away, there’s a sense of anticipation in the air that adds to the fun and excitement at parties and special dinners.
Whether you prefer a posh party for supper, want to find takeaway, or have decided to take the plunge and do the cooking yourself, we have plenty of options for you to choose from. If you just want to relax and dine without any cooking or cleaning, there will be 135 restaurants serving Christmas Eve supper and 75 restaurants serving brunch or supper on Christmas Day. If you just want to hang out in your PJs all day, dine in style at home by ordering delivery — it’s your choice. We’ve compiled a list of options that will satisfy gourmets, experienced home cooks, and folks who just want to dine without lifting a finger.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, prices do not include beverages, tax, or gratuity. Christmas can be crazy, and reservations hard to come by unless you book far in advance, so we recommend you assume reservations are required, and please verify the menu and pricing when you make your reservation.
Christmas on the Fly
Whether you entertain for work or throw parties for family and friends, it can be a challenge to shop, decorate, cook for, and host a fancy holiday party, but not if you have a little help. With the right store, you can do as much or as little as you like and entertain with some or all of the food prepared at home. We’ve lined up a few places that help you buy the right ingredients, sell convenience items, or let you pick up everything ready to reheat.
Blue Duck Tavern
Want the good stuff from Blue Duck Tavern at home? Call ahead to order Blue Duck Tavern’s holiday feast to-go. The star of the menu is the succulent traditional ham, which comes with two fresh-baked breads and four traditional sides along with a selection of pies, all from the restaurant’s menu. This all-American feast is designed to feed six to eight and is priced at $400. Blue Duck Tavern will accept orders until Dec. 19 at 5 p.m., with pick-up available in the Pastry Pantry on Dec. 24 from 1 to 5 p.m. or Dec. 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Go to giftrocker to place your order.
Dean & DeLuca
Dean & DeLuca has everything you need to entertain in style and you can let the staff and vendors do the work. The store has an array of food gifts and prepared dishes that include gourmet gift baskets and a seasonal catering menu that will make your holiday entertaining fun. Just order ahead and pick up your meal with all of the trimmings.
There’s a reason Wegmans was ranked the No. 1 grocery store north of the Potomac. Depending on where you live, you may have already experienced the gourmet grocery store known as Wegmans. If you love food, this can be a wonderland of food and wine. The focus is on fresh, seasonal foods, and for the holidays Wegmans offers a wide range of prepared foods and holiday catering options. From spiral sliced hams to a complete turkey dinner with dessert, it has what you need — and you don’t have to get dressed up or slave in the kitchen to serve a memorable meal. Wegmans calls this Christmas to Go, and you can pick up your holiday dinners Wednesday, Dec. 17 until Jan. 1, 2017.
Christmas Eve Brunch and Supper
For devout Roman Catholics, Christmas Eve signals the end of Lenten fasting, and depending on the region there are dozens of dishes people serve, during the day, before Midnight Mass, and after Midnight Mass. We have you covered whether you host a French Réveillon, serve an Italian Festa dei Sette Pesci (better known as Feast of the Seven Fishes), or honor another tradition.
All Set in Silver Spring, Maryland, is hosting a bountiful brunch featuring American fare that will tide you over until Christmas morning. On Saturday, Dec. 24, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the brunch buffet is $50 per person (including tax and gratuity) and $25 for children 12 and under, and it includes the works. The restaurant is serving a raw oyster bar along with shrimp cocktail; hearty breakfast favorites like eggs, bacon, lox and bagels, French toast, and pancakes; and fun lunch options like pulled pork, fried chicken wings, and coleslaw. And there will be plenty of sweets, too, like cinnamon sugar dirt bombs and chocolate chip cookies.
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 p.m. 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. For reservations, call (202) 965-1789.
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. For reservations, call (202) 216-9550.
Blue Duck Tavern
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. Call to make reservations at (202) 419-6755 or book directly on the website.
Lafayette Restaurant at The Hay-Adams Hotel
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 Restaurant, The 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 to 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 Fiorelle pears; and Brandy Alexander cheesecake.
The Grill Room at Rosewood
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.
Christmas Brunch and Lunch
For some families, Christmas’ big day is on Christmas Eve while others love the hoopla of Christmas Day. If you fall into the latter category, there are some fantastic options in D.C. on Santa’s big day.
Blue Duck Tavern
If you are a morning person and get up at sunrise to open presents, then brunch at Blue Duck Tavern may be the best spot for your first Christmas meal. On Dec. 25, a three-course buffet brunch runs from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with starters displayed throughout the open kitchen as well as your choice of entrée and side dishes, followed by desserts on display in the pastry pantry. The prices are $90 per adult, $42.50 for children between 6 to 12 years of age, and under 6 are complimentary (exclusive of beverages, tax, and gratuity).
For brunch prepared by a talented chef (executive chef Michael Santoro) in a modern Italian setting, head to Kingbird at the Watergate Hotel. The chef has a sophisticated palate that offers diners creative food served with care. On Christmas Day, the restaurant will serve its brunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in addition to Christmas “Chef's Specials” à la carte.
Christmas supper is open to interpretation, and if you are fond of nostalgia and in search of a Dickens Christmas you can find it, but there are other traditions, too. Not everyone wants a formal meal with white tablecloths and family heirloom china. Maybe your family likes to dine buffet style, but whatever tradition you observe, there is a D.C. restaurant to suit your needs.
Blue Duck Tavern
Most people may not realize it, but many of our favorite Christmas traditions and foods come from two sources: Victorian England and Germany. Get in the mood for a Fröhe Weihnachten (Merry Christmas) menu at Café Berlin and dine on bratwurst, schnitzel, and other German treats for its special Christmas feast. The price is $43 per person, and the restaurant is offering three seatings: 2, 4:30, and 7 p.m.
Here’s a Christmas supper option from another Michelin-starred restaurant: Plume at The Jefferson Hotel. Helmed by executive chef Ralf Schlegel, the restaurant is serving a Christmas Day meal that’s a gourmand’s dream and includes lobster gratin, truffle risotto, and an all-chocolate dessert. Seatings on Sunday are available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the prix-fixe price is $108 per adult and $55 per child, 12 and under.