The Big List Of Places To Eat If You Don’t Feel Like Cooking This ChristmasEat + Drink Don't feel like cooking on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Some of San Diego's top restaurants invite you to sit back and relax while they work their holiday magic!
The holidays are a joyful time indeed, but between all of the gift buying, gift wrapping, tree decorating, and holiday parties, it can become a stressful time of year!
This year, let go of one more worry and sit back, relax and let San Diego’s best chefs create your holiday cheer. Here’s our big list of restaurants that are opening their doors and inviting you to join them for a special holiday meal.
The modern French bistro will be open Christmas Eve and serving their regular menu in addition to a special seasonal ‘Carte Blanche’ tasting menu for $90/person. Toast through the festive night with absinthe selections from their new absinthe fountain, craft cocktails in ode to the Beautiful Era’s most prolific French madmen, or wine/bubbles with selections each carefully selected to honor the land and terroir of each grape varietal. Reservations are limited and seatings available until 8pm. Reservations can be made here or by calling (760) 637.5266.
Start celebrating Christmas on December 24 with Christmas Eve dinner at International Smoke. The Del Mar restaurant is offering an expansive tasting menu for guests, featuring hearty holiday favorites like Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Smoked Maple Leaf Duck Breast and Roasted Wild Seabass. Decadent dessert options include Pumpkin Pot De Crème and Candied Grapefruit-Apple Pie. The Holiday Tasting Menu will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Price: $65 per person. Menu here.
Paying ode to the French classics, Mille Fleurs will be serving a Christmas Eve prix fixe menu for $95.5/person and Christmas Day three-course prix menu for $79.5/person. The special holiday menus feature fresh seafood and turf selections like red grouper with prawn tortellini and lamb loin “Wellington” with Madeira truffle sauce. For dessert options include a croquet en bouche with house-made citrus profiteroles and gingerbread pudding with local apples and quince. Don’t forget to ask for Pastry Chef Samantha Bird’s house-made chocolates featuring seasonal holiday flavors to take home. Reservations can be made here or by calling (868) 756-3085.
For a cozy, chic spot to dine out on Christmas or Christmas Eve, Zinqué, the newly-opened French bistro in the heart of Little Italy, offers the best in French cuisine. Open for their normal hours from 7 a.m. – 12 a.m. both nights, this is the perfect spot to forget about all that extra kitchen work and really enjoy the holiday.
For this special occasion, treat yourself to something nice like the Steak Frites with chimichurri or peppercorn sauce ($29) or keep with the French theme and go for the Quiche Lorraine, made with pancetta and aged gruyere ($16). And if you find some time in between all of the holiday shopping, stop in for Happy Hour from 4 p.m. – 6: 30 p.m. for an assortment of deals – all for under $10.
Treat your loved ones to the panoramic views of San Diego while enjoying a special Christmas Eve prix fixe menu for $95.5/person or Christmas Day prix fixe menu for $79.5/person! The special three-course prix fixe menus include seasonal selections like 72 hours braised Strauss Farm veal, oven-roasted Maine lobster, and house-made wagyu beef agnolotti. Reservations can be made here or by calling (619) 239.1377.
Take a trip to Campfire this Christmas Eve with menu selections for everyone in the family to enjoy. Opting for a large family Christmas Eve affair? Campfire has you covered with their family-style group menu making the ordering both equally easy and delicious. Don’t forget to check out their holiday craft cocktails or wines by the glass from their domestic US only wine purveyors. Reservations open until 8 pm can be made here or by calling (760) 637.5121.
For an upscale Christmas Eve dinner, slide into a booth at University Heights’ newest neighborhood hotspot, Rare Society. From the team who brought you TRUST and Fort Oak, comes a sleek, modern steak house whose concept pays tribute to old Las Vegas in a cozy
atmosphere with hints of mid-century glamour.
They’ve rolled out a new cocktail menu for the holiday season featuring a selection of festive takes on classic drinks including boozy eggnog, holiday old fashioned and Too Many Zooz (bison grass vodka, herbal liquor, sparkling wine, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, bitters).
If you’re celebrating with your big family, there’s plenty to go around with the Holiday Punch Bowl, meant for parties of 3 or more. Cozy up on the outside patio, or pick a warm seat inside to enjoy the shared plates menu featuring Santa Maria-style wood-fired steaks, chops, and seafood with mouthwatering steakhouse sides to accompany.
For Christmas Eve reservations, please call (619) 501-6404 or visit here.
Bleu Bohème will make San Diegans say “Joyeux Noël” with a specialty three-course dinner available from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 24. A sampling of festive French offerings includes bisque d’homard, lobster bisque with herb crust and chive crème frâiche; paillard de Poulet, pan-seared Jidori chicken breast served with broccoli, butternut squash purée, fingerling potatoes and chicken jus; and crème brulée, rich vanilla custard with a crunchy sugar crust.
Have a holly jolly Christmas Eve at Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant <> with a featured dish: Cabernet-braised short ribs served with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables. Don’t forget to top off your meal with the Up To Snow Good cocktail, a combination of Malahat Spiced rum, apple brandy, Amaro Montenegro, allspice dram, black walnut bitters, egg white and house-made apple cider reduction, garnished with grated nutmeg and fresh cranberries.
Whether you’re a visitor looking for a holiday meal while on vacation or a local who dreads dirty dishes, there’s something for everyone (including those on the naughty list) at the iconic Westgate Hotel this holiday season. Executive Chef Fabrice Hardel will prepare a four-course prix fixe menu available in the elegant Westgate Room. Dinner will be served from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on December 24 and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Christmas Day. The price is $79 per person plus tax and gratuity.
You may also want to indulge in the Westgate’s award-winning buffet in the beautiful Le Fontainebleau Room from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The price is $99 for adults, $40 for children ages 4-12, and complimentary for children 3 and under, tax and gratuity not included. Guests may purchase bottomless house wine and champagne for an additional $20. Guests may reserve their holiday dining experience by calling (619) 238-1818 or visiting here.
Santa’s elves are whipping up something special at the Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa this holiday season. Experience an exquisite three-course Christmas Eve dinner prepared by Executive Chef Julian Quiñones. The prix-fixe menu will include a Compressed Pear Salad, American Wagyu Eye of Ribeye Oscar served with king crab, chive hollandaise, truffle potato gratin, confit pearl onion, and wild mushroom, along with a Warm Almond Brown Butter Cake. Holiday-inspired cocktails by Beverage Director Stephen George, Cranberry Sauce’d pictured above, add to the merriment. Reservations for 20|Twenty’s Christmas Eve dinner are available from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, December 24, 2019. Pricing is $75 per person, not including tax and gratuity.
On Christmas Day, gather ‘round for a festive Christmas dinner featuring holiday favorites with a Southern California twist. Choices include Lobster Bisque or Persimmon Arugula Salad, followed by Pan Roasted Duck Breast and Duck Leg Confit, Cape Grim Beef Tenderloin,
or Whole Roasted Branzino and will finish with a traditional Yule Log to get you in the holiday spirit. The spectacular views of the Carlsbad coastline will be a happy reminder that you’re celebrating the season in beautiful Southern California. Reservations for 20|Twenty’s Christmas dinner are available from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 25, 2019. Pricing is $80 per person, not including tax and gratuity.
To make reservations for 20|Twenty’s Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinners, please call (760) 827-2500 or visit here.
JRDN, located beachside in Pacific Beach’s Tower23, is getting into the holiday spirit with Christmas dinner served up with a view of Pacific Beach pier’s beautifully-lit Christmas tree and salty ocean breezes. On Wednesday, December 25, Executive Chef David Warner and the JRDN team invite you to delight in a three-course, locally-sourced dinner featuring all of the season’s favorites. JRDN serves Christmas dinner from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. To reserve a table, please visit here or call (858) 270-2323. Request outdoor seating for the best view!
The Abbey is Hornblower’s on-land venue; it offers a rare, refined uptown option for Christmas. Originally constructed as an Episcopal church, this elegant 1910 landmark is San Diego’s only remaining Classic Revival structure. Experience a spectacular holiday buffet complete with all the holiday trimmings at the Abbey.
Primavera Ristorante will make spirits bright on Christmas Eve with a ‘festivo’ three-course Italian feast available exclusively for the holiday. The menu includes a variety of specialty dishes, including Maine lobster and Dungeness crab bisque served with brioche croutons and crème fraiche; basso mare bianco, pan-seared white sea bass with littleneck clams in a light tomato-fennel broth, served with a risotto croquette; and more. A specialty cocktail, Chocolate Peppermint Stick, will also be available for the celebration.
Put a little Cuban flare into Christmas Eve this year at Havana 1920, located in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. Celebrate with dishes including as pinchos del mar, seafood skewers served with white rice and avocado salad; or lechon asado, Cuban-style roasted pork; and the intimate restaurant’s specialty cocktail, The Little Rummer Boy, made with Havana Club Añejo rum, caramelized plantain purée, fresh lime juice, fresh-pressed sugarcane and R&D Aromatic #7 bitters.
Enjoy sweet and savory treats on Christmas Eve at Sugar Factory American Brasserie at Theatre Box. In addition to its complete menu of over-the-top offerings and desserts, Sugar Factory will offer a holiday entrée: a 12 oz. grilled pork chop with broccolini and chipotle sweet potato mash with bacon and apple gastrique, priced at $29.99.
Mezé Greek Fusion will open its doors at 3 p.m. on Christmas Day to get the festivities started. Guests may enjoy Mezé’s featured holiday cocktail, Cup of Cheer, made with vodka, lemon juice, pumpkin cordial, R&D house bitters and pumpkin spice, to pair with their Greek-inspired
Spend Christmas dining in a waterfront wonderland at the Intercontinental Hotel’s signature restaurant, Vistal, on December 24 & 25 at 4:00-9:00pm. A decadent 3-course prix fixe menu created by Chef Amy DiBiase, offers options such as albacore tartare, butternut ricotta gnudi, pancetta-wrapped pork tenderloin, and sweet holiday treats like eggnog gingerbread trifle and peppermint chocolate chiffon cake.
Try something new this Christmas, and gather around the tables at Giardino. In addition to their regular menu, they have created a special holiday menu full of specials. The a la carte menu is available both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and includes items like Orange & Cranberry Salad, Roasted Duck, Filet al Gorgonzola, Lobster alla Griglia and Nutella & Pistachio Tiramisu. Pair it with its new holiday-inspired cocktail menu, which featured drinks like Hot Buttered Rum Cider and an Apple Ginger Old Fashioned. For reservations, call (619) 825-7112.
Chef Ingrid Funes will be offering her entire menu this holiday, offering something for the entire family without the pricey presets. Enjoy an ocean view meal with options such as Chef’s Fresh Catch, 8oz. Filet, Gnocchi Bolognese and chef’s holiday specials. End on a sweet note
with one of their classic desserts. Kids 10 and under will receive a complimentary ice cream with their meal! Dinner will be served from 2-8pm. Cusp is also open for breakfast and lunch on Christmas Day, as well as Christmas Eve. For reservations call 858-551-3620.
A special prix fixe menu by Chef Chris Idso includes dishes worth gathering for. Start off with chef’s Pear Endive Salad, Butternut Squash Soup with spiced apple crème fraiche. Move on to entrees like Free Range Turkey, Slow Cooked Angus Prime Rib, or Seared Atlantic Sea Scallops. Finish with a dessert, including Idso’s Chocolate-Pecan Tartlet or Blackberry Sorbet. Pacifica will be open from 12pm-9pm on Christmas Day. The 3-course menu will be $68 per person. For reservation call 858-792-0476 or visit the website.
Gather at THE MED and indulge in an iconic buffet on Christmas Day. Bring the entire family for an ocean view meal featuring a carving station with free-range turkey, winter risotto, roasted butternut squash soup, delectable desserts and more prepared by Executive Chef Timothy Ralphs. Cost is $95 per person, $45 for children. For reservations, visit here.
Curadero is perfect for those wanting a solid holiday meal or drinks without all the fuss. On Christmas Eve, guests can head to Curadero’s bar for a happy hour starting at 3 pm. That’s bites – like tacos and chicharrones – starting at $3, and cocktails starting at $8. On Christmas Day,
take advantage of Curadero’s inspired menu, featuring options like Carne Asada, Pescado a la Veracruzano and Ceviche De Camarones.
The Oceanaire will be opening early both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and serving an a la carte menu featuring pescatarian approved holiday specialties by Chef Daniel Barron along with fresh Surf & Turf classics. To keep the holiday cheer order their featured holiday cocktail, Santa’s Cider comprised of Grey Goose vodka, St-Germain, Bénédictin, cookie butter syrup and Martinelli’s apple juice. Reservations can be here or by calling (619) 858.2277.
Open Christmas Eve from 11:30 to 8 pm, Catania will be serving their regular a la carte coastal Italian menu. Indulge in Executive Chef Dustin Karagheusian’s classics like house-made pastas, fresh seafood, and pizzas. Pair the seasonal dinner with cocktails from their holiday menu featuring eight seasonal libations or with Prosecco from their list of Italian varieties. Reservations can be made here or by calling 858.551.5105.
The La Jolla favorite will be open Christmas Eve until 8 pm serving up Whisklandle farm-to-table favorites from breakfast to dinner. Decorated for the holidays, this restaurant has something to offer for everyone in the family. Reservations can be made here or by calling (858) 551.7575.
After opening presents on Christmas morning, jingle all the way to the “Jsixmas” breakfast buffet, hosted by Jsix. From 8 a.m. to noon, guests can enjoy delicious breakfast spins on classic holiday dishes including House Beet Cured Salmon, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Chicken Apple Sausage, Wild Flower Glazed Ham, Blueberry Ricotta Buttermilk Pancakes and more. Price: $37 (Children 6 and under eat free).
Wherever you decide to go, we hope you enjoy your holiday feast with friends and family!