Dining Out on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Categories: Season's Eating

It's allegedly the most wonderful time of the year.

But we're guessing whomever penned that phrase never spent Christmas Eve amid the pandemonium of wide-eyed, frantic shoppers desperately trying to cross those last few names off of the shopping list, or stayed up until the wee small hours of the morning getting everything wrapped and under the tree, only to wake an hour and a half later to watch it all get torn to shreds.

That's why sometimes the best Christmas gift you can give to yourself to ensure sanity and the safety of loved ones is to let someone else handle the cooking on December 24 and 25. This used to mean dinner at a Chinese restaurant (and for many, it still does), but if egg rolls don't exactly fill you with holiday cheer, there are a variety of other dining options available. Just be sure and call ahead, as reservations are required at nearly all of the locations listed below.

Clark W. Griswold should have known better. Holiday meals never actually look like this.
Below are local restaurants offering holiday menus and specials on December 24 and 25 -- but if you'd just like to know what's open on Christmas Day, click here. (Most restaurants are open on Christmas Eve, but we strongly suggest calling in advance as many close early).

*17 Restaurant - Alden Hotel Houston
1117 Prairie, 832-200-8800

3-course prix fixe menu on Christmas Day from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. $55 per person

Backstreet Cafe
1103 S. Shepherd, 713-521-2239

3-course prix fixe menu, complimentary eggnog, and live music by Bob Chadwick Christmas Eve from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. $49 per person.

Bistro Provence
13616 Memorial Dr., 713-827-8008

3-course prix fixe menu on Christmas Eve. Seatings at 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. $48 per person

Brennan's of Houston
3300 Smith St., 713-522-9711

Special holiday-themed a la carte menu from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m on Christmas Eve. Entrees range from $29-$39.

The Cafe at Hilton-Americas Houston
1600 Lamar St, 713-577-8000

Brunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and a 3-course prix fixe dinner menu from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m on Christmas Day. Brunch: $32.95 adults / $15.95 children 7-12;
Dinner: $31.95 per person.

2502 Algerian Way, 713-581-6101

4-course prix fixe menu on Christmas Eve. $55 per person.

1600 Westheimer, 713-524-7744

Serving a "Buffet de Noche Buena" with live music by Viento on Christmas Eve.
$39 adults / $12 children.

Katz's Deli and Bar
616 Westheimer, 713-521-3838

Serving turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and a roll all day Christmas Day. $12.99 adults / $5.99 children.

Mockingbird Bistro Wine Bar
1985 Welch, 713-533-0200

3-course prix fixe menu on Christmas Eve. $59 adults ($89 with sommelier's wine pairing) / $25 children.

Narin's Bombay Brasserie
3115 West Loop South, 713-622-2005

Serving a very "curry" holiday-inspired buffet featuring Tandoori Duck and Chicken on Christmas Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. $18.95 per person.

Quattro - Four Seasons Houston Hotel
1300 Lamar, 713-276-4700

3-course prix fixe menu on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. $85 adults / $42 children 6-12.

Turquoise Grill
3701 Kirby Dr, 713.526.3800; 16019 City Walk, 281-937-7447

Open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with a 5-course prix fixe menu. $21.95 - $29.95 adults / $10 children.

Or, as we suggested last year, make pizza an annual holiday tradition.
The following is a random list of local holiday promotions that stood out among the sea of press releases. They don't exactly coincide with the theme of this blog, but what the hell, 'tis the season of excessive listing.

Downtown Aquarium
410 Bagby, 713-223-3474

The downtown entertainment and dining complex invites kids of all ages to enjoy a "bountiful breakfast buffet" and have their photo taken with Santa. The promotion, held daily from 8 to 10 a.m. through December 24, also promises a special appearance by "Scuba Santa," greeting guests from underwater. Let's just hope he's not wearing a Speedo. $14.99 adults / $7.99 children 3-12.

Expressions Fine Chocolate
3535 Wilcrest, 281-905-2190

The normally by-appointment-only high-end chocolatier is celebrating the season with a truffle festival, opening its doors to the public every Friday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. in December. Choose from extravagant indulgences like Red Wine Raspberry ("dark chocolate infused with red wine, complemented by raspberries and cream") and Champagne ("light and airy champagne ganache enveloped in dark chocolate and crowned in gold"), and specially-priced boxes ranging from $17.50 (½-pound) to $50(1.5-pound). In addition, each customer making a purchase on either day will receive a special box of confections valued at $8, perfect for re-gifting or shamelessly devouring on the car ride home.

Goode Company Barbecue
Multiple Locations

If your holiday celebration is Texas-size, Goode Co. has a party pack for 50 ($550) that includes 25 pounds of meat (your choice of turkey, ham, chicken, ribs and sausage), four gallons of sides (potato salad, beans, cole slaw, or jambalaya), setups, a gallon of sauce, and -- oh yes -- six loaves of their highly-addictive jalapeno cheese bread, available for pickup or delivery within a 15-mile radius.

Khun Kai Thai Cafe
1209 Montrose, 713-524-9614

Chef and co-owner Kay Soodjai has created four special dishes inspired by holiday gifts and decorations -- "They don't come wrapped, but they are all Thai'd." Options are $8.95 each and include the Khun Kay Holiday Wreath (wreath-shaped spicy Thai Fried Rice with green curry, garnished with roasted red pepper, chopped jalapeno, carrots, spinach and chicken) and edible representations of the three wise men's offerings like Gold (a golden Thai pumpkin dish), Frankincense (fragrant black rice), and Myrrh (a special holiday version of Thai dumplings).

Pizzitola's Bar-B-Cue
1703 Shepherd Dr., 713-227-2283

The celebrated Heights barbecue joint's Open Pit Hickory Smoked Turkeys (12-14 lb, $39.95) have been a part of Houston's holiday celebrations since 1935, but this year they have an even more intriguing item up for sale: the gift of chef/entertainer Jerry Pizzitola himself. For $200 Jerry will design a custom menu tailored to your taste, shop, and prepare a "cooking class-style" four-course meal for two as you observe and relax in the comfort of your own home. The offer is good through March 31, 2012, and contains no mention of washing dishes.

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I can't even imagine eating out on Christmas Eve or Day.  Those are home cooking days, and the entire focus of the day.  The preparation, sharing of food, family and friends.  Just the thought of eating at a restaurant then schlepping home to a house that smells like spice candle makes me sad.


Khun Kay? Obviously a jest for our holiday merriment.

I'll be at Bistro Alex for a special Christmas dinner that whispers gulf coast, baby. And then up to the room with a very leggy Muriel.


@Mary how can you dictate what these holidays mean and how they should be spent? it's not up to you. I've enjoyed many a take out pizza in a hotel on a long road trip with family during the holidays. it was every bit as memorable as a homemade feast would have been. it's family, not what you eat or where. and remember, not everyone has someone to celebrate with nor the means to prepare a feast, so it may make sense for them to eat takeaway on this day.


Haha you're right just what I want on Christmas lousy soupy curry from Khun Kay, maybe if desperate I'll order a shrimp jackson and tom kah, but their curries are watery and disgusting, and the chicken is horrid too.

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