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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Peru: AlgarrobinaThis 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
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.
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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Strasbourg, FranceBilling 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
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VenezuelaTraditional 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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