6 Trip-Worthy Christmas Feasts

Restaurants with memorable holiday meals.

Sometimes there’s no place like home for the holidays. But other times you really need to get away from the stress of planning a holiday meal at home. For those occasions, take note of these six restaurants that will allow you to simply enjoy the company around you—while providing a memorable repast to boot.

The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida

Christmas at The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida

The Breakers

The Breakers may be located on a Florida beach, but that doesn’t prevent it from going all out for the holidays, including Christmas Day brunch and dinner options. At $150 a person, brunch is held in The Circle, an architecturally arresting dome with Renaissance-worthy murals and the ocean just beyond. The elaborate buffet is the same as The Circle's weekly Sunday brunch, except for a harpist strumming Christmas carols. Go gaga over the raw bar with everything from caviar to Alaskan king crab legs, or load up on Belgian waffles before hitting the make-your-own omelette and Bloody Mary stations. The best part may be dessert, an endless supply (ok, 30) of festively decorated cakes, pies and cookies that need to be shared on Instagram. The buffet dinner is the same price but held in the opulent Ponce de Leon ballroom. Expect more holiday-specific offerings, including hand-carved roast tenderloin and rack of lamb. As with brunch, desserts are a show-stopper that you'll want to consume en masse.

The Terrace at The Charlotte Inn, Martha’s Vineyard

Christmas at The Terrace at The Charlotte Inn, Martha’s Vineyard

The Charlotte Inn

Enjoy a low-key New England Christmas at The Terrace, an upscale American-centric restaurant in a Relais & Chateaux property. The Terrace is serving both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners, and offers the same four-course menu for both. At $109 a person, the meal starts with roasted chestnut soup, moves along to appetizer options such as duck confit or scallop ceviche, and leads to entrées ranging from NY strip steak to stuffed acorn squash. Try to leave room for eggnog ice cream or a chocolate caramel tart. Make a weekend of it by staying at The Charlotte Inn, a posh throwback to an earlier era.

Café Spiaggia, Chicago

Christmas at Café Spiaggia, Chicago

Spiaggia

Chicago’s Spiaggia is an old-guard, Michelin-starred Italian heavyweight helmed by Tony Mantuano, a James Beard Award winner. Head to its sibling Café Spiaggia on Dec. 18 for the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a Southern Italian tradition typically observed on Christmas Eve after fasting. Influenced in part by Chef Mantuano’s grandmother, the six-course spread incorporates seven different kinds of fish, from raw scallops and fried smelt to braised octopus and whole sea bass. The evening concludes with Italian Christmas cookies, a holiday must. The two seatings at 4:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. cost $75 a person, and wine pairings are only $25 more.

Christmas at The Plaza Hotel, NYC

The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza Hotel represents the epitome of the holiday spirit with ceiling-skimming Christmas trees, wreaths aplenty, and the chance to visit Santa. So it makes sense that The Plaza holds a grand buffet on Christmas. For $145 a person, slow-roasted turkey, smoked-pit ham, seared salmon and chestnut and mushroom soup are among the offerings. For dessert, mince pies, Christmas bread pudding with pantone, Buche de Noel and Three Kings Cake all vie for your attention. At first it might seem out of place to enjoy this spread in The Palm Court, a sun-drenched dome dotted with palm trees, but it lends a magical quality to the annual tradition.

Commander’s Palace, New Orleans

Commander's Palace

New Orleans is one of the only spots in the country to celebrate réveillon (awakening), a French tradition observed by the Creole community since the 1800s. Traditionally, réveillon is a huge feast following midnight mass to mark the end of Christmas Eve fasting. Luckily you don’t have to wait until the wee hours of the morning to partake in this extravagant meal. Instead head to dinner at Commander’s Palace, a long-time destination for high-end Creole fare. Its multicourse réveillon menu might include rabbit confit with buttermilk dumplings, wild boar (pictured), a croque madame with escargot, or a shellfish broth with shrimp, blue crab and oysters. Save room for dessert, a variation of the beloved hubig’s pie, a local institution that burned down in 2012. The menu costs $110 person and wine pairings are extra, but what price gluttony?

The Little Nell, Aspen, Colorado

The Little Nell is one of Aspen’s most enviable five-star ski resorts, and that includes its restaurant Element 47. Whether or not you’re staying at the resort, book Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner in advance for its four-course feast. Although it starts at $247 a person, the decadent menu encompasses Kaluga caviar, Périgord black truffles, foie gras torchon, lobster tagliatelle, ribeye and so much more. Indulgent dark chocolate Black Forest cake rounds out dessert; add a wine pairing for $125 more.

More Christmas Treats

Jamaica: Sorrel Punch

Jamaica: Sorrel Punch

Sorrel, similar to hibiscus, gives this cocktail a beautiful, festive red color. For extra wow, bartender Kat Hawkins of Wright and Co. garnishes with sorrel flowers. 960 1280

  

Bolivia: Biblia Con Pisco

Bolivia: Biblia Con Pisco

Biblia Con Pisco is very similar to the Peruvian Algarrobina but without the namesake syrup and a few other ingredients. Bartender Michael Finsilver of Mudgie's uses pisco, eggs, sugar and a spice blend for a simple, but decedent drink.

 

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Germany: Gluhwein

Germany: Gluhwein

Gluhwein is enjoyed around Europe but especially in Germany and Austria. The cocktail is a sweetened mulled wine variation. Bartender Daniel McCarthy of La Dulce shares an example of serving this for a party. 960 1280

  

Scotland: Hot Toddy

Scotland: Hot Toddy

Hot Toddys are incredibly popular but did you know in Scotland they are traditionally made with Scotch? Bartender David Miles-Cole Martinez of The Last Word garnishes this classic with cinnamon sticks and lemon twists. 960 1280

  

Peru: Algarrobina

Peru: Algarrobina

This Peruvian cocktail revolves around the syrup by the same name. It resembles molasses but is something unique to the country. The drink is similar to egg nog since it includes eggs and evaporated milk but the syrup gives it a definitive South American flair. Bartender Scott Poole, of Sugar House Detroit, created this example with an elegant star anise garnish. 960 1280

  

Kenya: Dawa

Kenya: Dawa

The Kenyan Dawa, a vodka drink with honey and lime, is delicious any time of year but can be made more festive by adding cranberries or flavored vodka. Bartender Liz Cosby, of Sugar House Detroit, gives it another holiday twist by adding orange zest.  960 1280

  

Chile: Cola de Mono

Chile: Cola de Mono

Chile's Cola De Mono could be described as something between egg nog and a White Russian. Bartender Joe M. Schubert, of The Whisky Parlor, points out that both dairy and non-dairy versions can be made for parties. And whether it's made with almond or whole milk, all versions are delicious.

 

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Poland: Grzane Piwo

Poland: Grzane Piwo

The Grzane Piwo, a mulled beer, is a classic beverage enjoyed in Poland through the holiday season. Bartender Amas Muhammad, of The Peterboro, adds orange slices for extra holiday cheer. 960 1280

  

USA: Tom and Jerry

USA: Tom and Jerry

The Tom and Jerry, served hot, is an amped up egg nog that is extra creamy and delicious. In the 1950s you could buy a powdered mix but here bartender Jon Foley, of The Laundry, made his restaurant's homemade recipe. 960 1280

  

Sweden: Glogg

Sweden: Glogg

Similar to German Gluhwein, this drink is fortified with Cognac for added holiday cheer. Bartender Beaux Coup Kerin, of Detroit's Sugar House, tops each glass with rosemary.  960 1280

  

Cuba: Crema de Vie

Cuba: Crema de Vie

Many holiday cocktails are variations on egg nog but when you go to Cuba you have to use rum. The Crema de Vie, or "cream of life," is presented above by bartender Majid Abdelnour of Bigalora. 960 1280

  

Mexico: Ponche de Frutas

Mexico: Ponche de Frutas

Cool weather means hot cocktails and if you are in Mexico consider ordering a traditional Ponche de Frutas. Bartender Jon Foley, of Relief and Resource, makes his with stone fruits, spices, rum and the all-important Piloncillo (a Mexican brown sugar).

 

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England: Wassail

England: Wassail

Wassail is a traditional holiday punch for England and the UK. Famed bartender Marlowe Johnson, of Standby Detroit, shared his family favorite in this shot. Bourbon, cider, cranberry and lots of spices warm the soul on any wintery night. 960 1280

  

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria

The Vienna Magic of Advent fair features more than 150 stands where shoppers can purchase Christmas gifts, decorations and warm drinks. 960 1280

DIETER NAGL  

Bath, England

Bath, England

In the center of Bath, 170 “chalets” offer holiday shoppers an array of typical British goods from mince pies to Christmas ornaments to toys.  960 1280

Paolo Ferla  

Dresden, Germany

Dresden, Germany

Dresden hosts Germany’s oldest Christmas market, which features crafts made by local artisans, toys and holiday treats, most notably, Dresdner Stollen, a traditional sweet bread stuffed with dried fruits.  960 1280

Sean Gallup  

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia

In addition to traditional crafts and food, Tallinn’s picturesque Christmas market, in the Estonian capital’s center, features reindeer, a mini zoo and snow sculptures. 960 1280

AFP  

Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg, France

Billing itself as the Capital of Christmas, Strasbourg is not to be missed during the holiday season. The Christkindlesmarik was established in 1571, the first market of its kind in Europe. Indulgent foods such as foie gras, locally brewed beer, and baked goods are signature items, as are traditional Alsatian handicrafts. 960 1280

The Image Gate  

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

An abundance of holiday items are on display at Stockholm’s Old Town Christmas Market. Specialties include smoked reindeer, elk meat, knitted hats and Glogg, a traditional hot, mulled wine. 960 1280

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Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary

In Budapest, at the annual Christmas market on St. Stephen’s Square, you’ll find traditional crafts in wooden market stalls. The center of the market is home to a skating rink. 960 1280

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Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

The market is one of many attractions that make up Edinburgh’s Christmas Festival in Princes Street Gardens. The Festival, which also includes games, rides and an ice rink, runs from mid-November until January 7 each year. 960 1280

Jeff J Mitchell  

Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain

Christmas vendors take over Madrid’s Plaza Mayor from late November through December. The prime products pedaled are tiny clay figurines to set in the Christmas Belen (nativities). 960 1280

Denis Doyle  

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

The Christmas Market at Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens is a winter wonderland that includes 60 stalls selling holiday wares, as well as rides, games, music and more. Other markets in Copenhagen include this one in Hojbroplads. 960 1280

Francis Dean  

Sicily, Italy

Sicily, Italy

In Sicily, the Feast of the Seven Fishes, also known as The Vigil, is the typical Christmas Eve meal that features a variety of seafood dishes. 960 1280

Jupiterimages  

Venezuela

Venezuela

Traditional Venezuelan hallacas, which are similar to Mexican tamales, are served around Christmas. Families gather for the task of preparing large batches of the savory meat stews stuffed inside cornmeal dough steamed in plantain leaves. A salad of diced carrots, potatoes and mayonnaise is a typical accompaniment. 960 1280

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South Korea

South Korea

On New Year’s Day, South Koreans typically celebrate with a traditional meal of Duk Gook, a rice cake soup. 960 1280

TongRo Images Inc.  

Germany

Germany

The traditional Christmas meal in Germany includes roast goose with dumplings, red cabbage and stollen, a festive bread made with dried fruits and sprinkled with powdered sugar. 960 1280

GMVozd  

France

France

The French celebrate Christmas with a réveillon (long dinner) that features the most luxurious foods including oysters, langoustines and foie gras. 960 1280

Maica  

Mallorca, Spain

Mallorca, Spain

On Christmas day in Mallorca, the classic dish is Escaldums de Nadal, a stew of turkey or suckling pig, with dried fruits served in an almond-y sauce. 960 1280

PaulRobles  

The Phillipines

The Phillipines

During Paso (Christmas), Filipinos enjoy lechon (whole roasted pig) or jamon dulce (sweet ham) as part of their Christmas feasts.  960 1280

Sofia Moro  

Sweden

Sweden

Sweden’s Christmas Julbord, is a smörgåsbord featuring herring, ham, meatballs, sausages, breads, cheeses, and cabbage. 960 1280

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Poland

Poland

In Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania, the traditional Christmas dinner is a 12-dish spread that includes, herring, sauerkraut, mushrooms and dumplings. A festive red borscht with mushroom dumplings is traditional in Poland. 960 1280

Teresa Kasprzycka  

Israel

Israel

The typical Chanukkah dinner in Israel includes latkes, potato pancakes deep fried in oil, in a nod to the Chanukah story in which oil that should have lasted only one night instead lasted eight. 960 1280

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Cuba

Cuba

As in other Latin countries, Cubans celebrate Noche Bueno or Christmas Eve, with a feast that centers on a whole roast pig. Accompaniments include black beans and rice and fried yuca and plantains. 960 1280

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