On Christmas Day, you could whip up a big dinner at home. Of course, that takes being organized enough to buy all the fixings, clean the house, and invite the family. Or you can dine with relatives, assuming they live close by and you are lucky enough to share both culinary tastes and political leanings. The rest of us play it smart by letting Austin’s best restaurants take care of all the work.
Okay, this is not technically a restaurant, but all Austin locations serve food, and you get to watch a movie while you eat! Special showings include an Elf movie party at the Ritz on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (the full schedule goes live on December 17). The special holiday menu features Santa’s cookies and candy cane and eggnog adult shakes, along with the regular theater menus.
Known for being open 24/7, the two Austin Bennu locations offer hot drinks, fresh food, and no judgement should you stop by on Christmas Day in pajama pants. Choose from pizza slices, wraps, sandwiches, salads — including vegan and vegetarian options — plus pastries, all fresh and locally sourced. There’s also free wi-fi, offering the perfect escape to any family holiday drama.
The newly redesigned dining venue at the Four Seasons Austin serves a lavish Christmas Day buffet featuring festive decor and a spread of reworked classic holiday dishes like pumpkin seed mole-crusted lamb, Boursin mashed potatoes, build-your-own paella, and chocolate hazelnut crème brûlée. $90 for adults and $40 for children ages 6-11. 11 am-8 pm.
Mattie’s at Green Pastures
This updated Austin icon offers two Christmas Day brunch buffet seatings featuring a raw bar, carving station, traditional brunch items, charcuterie station, and desserts. Guests can also enjoy a complimentary signature drink such as the classic 1965 Milk Punch, Pimm’s-based Bacchus Cup, or an eye-opening Bloody Mary. $85 for adults, $40 children ages 6-12. Seatings at 11 am and 2 pm.
The Fairmont Hotel’s food hall offers Christmas brunch and dinner, and includes a little something extra to make the holiday bright. Each meal includes a $5 donation to the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. Buffets feature Revue’s raw bar, brioche stuffing, salads, and a selection of main entrees including standing rib roast, classic roasted turkey, and maple-mustard glazed bone-in ham. For those with a sweet tooth, there are also seven kinds of dessert. Brunch: $65 per person, $19 for children under $13. 9 am-2 pm. Dinner: $85 per adult, $19 children under 13. 4-8 pm.
Second Bar + Kitchen
Chow down at the Domain Northside location’s annual Christmas Day buffet, with a menu of starters, family-style plates, and carving stations, including sugar-and-spice candied bacon, pork belly cheddar macaroni and cheese, and slow roasted ribeye loin. Also enjoy a bar buffet and dessert bites including a variety of holiday cookies. $65 per person, $32.50 for children ages 6-12, children under 5 free. 11 am-7 pm.
Sadly, Threadgill's World Headquarters on Riverside Drive is now closed, but the original Threadgill’s location is keeping the eatery’s holiday tradition alive. Available all day on Christmas, the menu includes traditional dishes such as turkey and dressing along with comfort food ranging from chicken fried steak and cream gravy to fried catfish. 11 am-9:30 pm.
The W Austin’s signature restaurant is the place for those seeking an elegant dining experience. Don your best duds for the four-course dinner, which features a choice of soup or salad, an appetizer, main course, and dessert. Looking for a more casual experience? Visit the hotel’s Secret Bar before December 28. The entire space has been transformed into the Who-Tel Bar, a scene right out of How the Grinch Stole Christmas with themed libations, food, and entertainment. Dinner: $75. 11:30 am-9 pm.