Your Complete Guide To Thanksgiving 2015 In And Around Washington, DC

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday, and who can blame them — there are many reasons to enjoy this annual feast. Kids love it because there are parades with balloons, marching bands, and music. Football fans love the all-day TV binge, and almost everyone is relieved that it's a holiday free of obligatory gift giving. Thanksgiving is instead a holiday devoted to togetherness and sharing a meal with friends and family.

It's also a holiday that lets us celebrate our diversity by blending dining styles and cuisines. America is a country made up of people from other places, and celebrating it is quintessentially American whether you're serving turkey stir fry, chicken tikka, or Southern ham. The Thanksgiving menu lends itself to individual culinary expressions of what being American means and the range of side dishes and menu interpretations means everyone can share their culture, history, and food in harmony.

See if our Thanksgiving lineup can convince you to escape the kitchen and let someone else do the cooking. We've compiled a list with diversity in mind, so this year's list of dining options for Thanksgiving offers a selection of options for vegetarians, gluten-free adherents, and lovers of international cuisine.

We acknowledge turkey isn't for everyone too, so rather than trot out a list of expensive places to eat that focus solely on the traditional bird and sides; our list includes restaurants where turkey isn't the only choice on the menu.  And if going out is still too much to bear, there is a list of places that offer Thanksgiving to go.

Note: This is a busy time of year so make a reservation, place your orders, and confirm if prices include tax and gratuity charges), and verify menus to ensure you won't be disappointed.

If you prefer something different for Thanksgiving, we have a few suggestions that include fantastic food that's packed with flavor and spice.

Agora is a wonderful restaurant that is the perfect alternative to Thanksgiving dinner. They will be open for dinner only and their menu features classic Turkish, Greek, and Lebanese inspired food, as well as a meze feast, that will make you forget about turkey and stuffing.

The Bombay Club
If want an alternative to the typical Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings, book a table at The Bombay Club. They are offering a delightfully different turkey special with hints of spices from southern Asia, in addition to the full a la carte menu. Once you try executive chef Nilesh Singhvi's take on turkey you will be a convert. His achari turkey tikka is first marinated in yogurt and pickled spices to seal in the flavor and keep the meat moist and tender, and then the hallowed bird is roasted in a tandoor oven to reveal a juicy bird with plenty of flavor. It's served with cranberry chutney, Brussels sprouts foogath, and sweet potato bharta—for just $20.50 and if you want to add dessert, try the pumpkin brûlée for an additional $9 — it will make for quite a meal.

Mitsitam Café at the National Museum of the American Indian
If you are looking to pay homage to our nation's first people and enjoy authentic American Indian food, Mitsitam Café at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian is hosting Thanksgiving dinner in the Potomac Atrium or as take out. Service is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., main courses range from $12.50 to $19.95 with side dishes priced $3.59 to $12.95.

Rasika (VEGAN)
We are devoted fans of both Rasika locations and can always count on chef Vikram Sunderam to prepare an incredible meal. This is one restaurant where everyone, vegan or not, can enjoy a lovely meal. While there are special Thanksgiving dishes on the menu like the Turkey Salli, which is cooked with apricots, straw potatoes, and basmati rice ($16), you may also order from the a la carte menu and satisfy your vegan and vegetarian cravings too.

Some diners like to live well but pay less so we found some incredible dining options that offer fantastic dining for a reasonable price. Frugal doesn't mean cheap and not everyone can or wants to blow their entire pay check on Thanksgiving dinner. Not to worry; there are still a few places in D.C. where you can order a good meal and pay less than $40 per person.

701 Restaurant
For a chic, modern venue for Thanksgiving, try 701 Restaurant in Penn Quarter. Executive chef Benjamin Lambert's food is inspired and delicious and he is offering a three-course, prix-fixe holiday menu priced at $49 per person and $24.50 for children 12 and under. Be sure to make a reservation so you don't miss the live jazz duo during your meal.

Al Dente
As they do in Italy, Al Dente's chef Roberto Donna is offering a family-style, prix-fixe menu for $39.95 for adults and $12 for kids, if everyone buys the package. If not, you can still order from the a la carte menu and indulge your need for Italian specialties.

The Black Squirrel
They're baaaaack! The Black Squirrel is again serving their popular $10 all-you-can-eat buffet. Count on a huge crowd as folks dive into roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy. The food is served at noon and is usually gone by 8:30 or 9 p.m. but the bar stays open until midnight.

Founding Farmers and Farmers Fishers Bakers
This year, Founding Farmers and Farmers Fishers Bakers are both offering a wholesome, farm-to-table Thanksgiving dinner for a reasonable price. The dinners are $35 per person and include a choice of turkey, fried chicken, ham, or a vegan mushroom loaf.

Jardenea at Melrose Hotel
Savvy diners know that some of the best dining spots in D.C. are tucked away in charming boutique hotels, and Jardenea is a favorite spot. This year, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, guests can enjoy an a la carte brunch or family-style Thanksgiving meal with options that include turkey and side dishes. Prices for entrées are $24 to $30 and the traditional Thanksgiving family-style meal is $28 per person.

The Oval Room
If you are a member of the Cheap Eats crowd and want to sample D.C.'s finest cuisine for a criminally low price, then dine at The Oval Room. Executive chef John Melfi is preparing a stellar three-course menu for $55 per person. All of the season's bounty and savory flavors can be found in this inventive menu, but grab your seat now, this is a coveted seat. 

Sometimes it's fun to pull out all the stops and dine in splendor—and each of the choices in this category let you do just that, in posh surroundings too.

For an elegant Mediterranean-inspired meal, dine on chef de cuisine Gyo Santa's spectacular holiday menu at Decanter at the St. Regis Hotel. Butter baked, herb-infused turkey, New York strip steak, and halibut take center stage with supporting roles that include traditional favorites for side dishes and dessert. The price is $85 per person and it's worth the splurge.

Dine like a president at Plume in the Jefferson Hotel this Thanksgiving. Their three-course dinner menu features is priced $102 per adult and $48 for children 12 and under and includes a selection of modern takes on classic fall dishes, including Organic Path Valley Farms turkey with apple chestnut bread stuffing. Seating times are 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and cost is $102 per adult and $48 per child (12 and under).

Want to purchase the sides but take care of the bird yourself? Perhaps you're craving ham but are too daunted by the idea of preparing it yourself. If these scenarios sound familiar, check out these listings:

HoneyBaked Ham
Ham is as much a part of Southern Thanksgivings as turkey is, and HoneyBaked Ham makes it fun and easy. Available to order in Maryland and Virginia their stores also sell fully cooked roasted or smoked turkeys, sides dishes, and desserts.

Don't spend hours at the grocery store shopping to cook at home for Thanksgiving, order complete meals from Safeway and pickup all the goodies by November 24, or earlier if you are pressed for time. While they have them in stock, complete meals for four to six people include a choice of turkey and trimmings for $39.99, ham for $49.99, and prime rib for $69.99.

Whole Foods Market
Each Whole Foods Market location offers different Thanksgiving options, many locations in the DMV offer complete Thanksgiving meals or sides. According to the Whole Foods website, you can "Reserve your turkey plus order meals, entrees, and party must-haves online and then pick them up at the store." Orders can be placed in person at each store, over the phone, or online.