Where to Dine in the Northern Virginia-Maryland Suburbs for Christmas Eve 2016
While Washington is the region’s major destination for most business and vacation travelers, the northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs that encircle the nation’s capital are home to diverse residents who find plenty of dining options in their neighborhoods. Yes, many do drive into DC for a special meal, but why do the Beltway when good restaurants are right down the street? Although only a few restaurants are open on Christmas Day, several high-end destinations offer Christmas Eve fare.
We’ve compiled a list of options that will satisfy gourmands and experienced home cooks 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 with parties and traffic, and reservations will be hard to come by unless you book far in advance, so we recommend you assume that reservations are required —and please verify the menu and pricing when you make your reservation.
For most metro-area residents, Girasole, located in The Plains, Virginia, is a something of a trek, but it’s worth every minute of travel time. Owned by the Patiernos, with executive chef Lou Patierno creating his fabulous Italian menu, the restaurant offers a Christmas Eve menu that will feature many of the regular dinner items, plus some specials such as house-made chitarrini with lobster, a pan-seared veal chop with fresh herbs, and halibut with local mushrooms. Desserts always include house-made pastries. Dinner service runs from 4 to 9:30 p.m. For reservations, call (540) 253-5501.
L’Auberge Chez Françcois
The fancy Great Falls, Virginia-destination L’Auberge Chez François has had a devoted following for years because the setting is rustic-French countryside outside and elegant inside, and the cooking is top-notch. For its Christmas Eve menu, the restaurant promises its famed Christmas goose with chestnut stuffing, plus lobster bisque, wagyu beef cheeks, and for dessert, bûche de Noël. Dinner starts at 4:30 p.m. For reservations, call (703) 759-3800.
La Ferme Restaurant
Chevy Chase, Maryland’s famed French eatery La Ferme offers elegant food in an elegant setting. The restaurant’s lengthy Christmas Eve menu includes shrimp cocktail or duckling pâté with foie gras as appetizers; beef tenderloin in Chateaubriand style, medallions of venison, and baked Norwegian filet of salmon for entrees; and a classic praline bûche de Noël or bittersweet chocolate mousse with walnut brittle for dessert. Dinner begins at 5 p.m. and is served until closing. For reservations, call (301) 986-5255.
The family-owned Red’s Table is a lakeside destination in Reston, Virginia. It has captured the spirit and appetites of locals, who turn up for the chef’s unusual versions of New American dishes and assorted goodies from the raw bar. Patrons can start off with the Virginia beef tartare or Cherry Glen goat cheese fritters or feast on red-wine braised beef or braised pork sugo. The chef is also offering some Christmas Eve specials, including his famous East Coast cioppino filled with jumbo grilled shrimp, clams, PEI mussels, and Virginia boat scallops. All bread and desserts are baked in house, so don’t hold back. For reservations, call (571) 375-7755.
Located on Tower Oaks Boulevard on the main floor of an office building, the over-the-top-elegant Stanford Grill is one of Rockville, Maryland’s most popular food destinations. Its glass windows, outdoor terrace seating, sparkling lights, and ultra-modern décor are the perfect setting for live jazz and top-notch eats. While the usual dinner menu is on offer, the chef will likely come up with some unusual specials to celebrate the holiday. Feast on the tower of onion rings, selections of sushi, and fancy entrees, from prime rib to Eastern Shore crab cakes. Desserts include a bread pudding, the ideal climax for a wintery feast. For reservations, contact (240) 582-1000.
The Tasting Room
This trendsetter in Frederick, Maryland, helped turn the town into a dining destination. The Tasting Room also deserves applause because its often-changing menu features top-of-the-line dishes. For Christmas Eve, the dinner menu will likely star beef carpaccio and crispy calamari to start, followed by assorted seasonal entrees, such as Heritage Farm pork shank confit, pan-seared sea scallops, and short ribs with soft polenta. For reservations, call (240) 379-7772.
One of Leesburg, Virginia’s most popular restaurants is located in a rustic barn-like setting. Tuscarora Mill stars long-time executive chef Patrick Dinh. His three-course, fixed-price Christmas Eve dinner includes such starters as a wild mushroom bisque or maple-glazed jumbo sea scallops; entrees such as cabernet-braised Merino lamb, and pan-seared Chilean sea bass; and desserts from the affiliated South Street Under eatery in the same building. Dinner time is set for 4 p.m., and reservations are necessary. For reservations, call (703) 771-9300.
Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro
Located by the main entrance of Reston, Virginia’s elegant Westin Reston Heights Hotel, Vinifera offers diverse New American dishes, starting with shishito peppers, lamb lollipops, and tuna rillettes, grand preambles to the chef’s fancy entrees. Patrons can feast on lamb shank, beef tenderloin, or bouillabaisse, but the chef promises terrific Christmas Eve specials, too. Ask about the wine and cocktail lists for a delicious sparkling beverage to sip while you enjoy the chocolate pot de crème or cherry tart for dessert. For reservations, call (703) 262-5910.
Popular and always crowded, Wildfire offers diners and shoppers the ultimate convenience: Folks can shop and eat all within the same sprawling, elegant space at Tyson’s Galleria, in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia. Noted for its casual American fare and tempting wine and cocktail choices, this charming eatery offers such tempting fare as shrimp and crab bisque, bison meatballs, and baked goat cheese to start the meal before such elegant main course dishes as peppercorn-crusted filet, lamb porterhouse chops, and dry-aged Kansas City strip steak with miso-truffle butter. The extensive menu takes patrons through every possible taste combination, all leading up to the house-made Key lime pie and the New York-style cheesecake with hot fudge. For reservations, call (703) 442-9110.