Food is a big part of Christmas Day, but some locals might want a feast without doing all the work. So why not leave it all to the professionals? Here are some of the best Austin restaurants offering great dining, traditional and otherwise, for this special day.
And a note: A previous version of this story listed Goodall's Kitchen at Hotel Ella as being open on Christmas Day. The restaurant's holiday brunch will be served from 10 am-3 pm on December 15.
This downtown eatery offers chef-inspired comfort food, plus a full bar and a wine list one wouldn’t expect to find at a classic 24-hour diner. This one has plenty of other Austin-centric twists, including eclectic décor and as much local, farm-to-table and organic produce as possible. Open 24 hours. A la carte.
Untraditional, sure, but what could be better than holiday-themed dinner and a show? The Alamo presents special holiday movies at various locations and times, and adds holiday goodies to the regular theater menus.
Corner Restaurant — JW Marriott Hotel
This buzzy downtown eatery offers a prime holiday feast featuring smoked prime rib and Southern-style sides like whipped potatoes, garlicky braised collards, black eyed pea cassoulet, and zucchini-jalapeño cornbread. Order it with a specialty cocktail for some extra holiday spirit. Open 11 am-10 pm. $60 per adult, $25 per child.
Group Therapy — Hotel ZaZa
This lounge and restaurant on the seventh floor of Hotel ZaZa Austin overlooks the pool and Republic Square Park. A special Christmas dinner menu includes a starter, salad, and dessert with choice of entrée, either brown sugar-bourbon glazed ham or chili-dusted lobster tail, each with its own sides. 10 am-midnight. $75, or individual items a la carte.
Offering the beauty of cafeteria selection and as much or little food as you want. The menu runs the gamut, and includes fish, chicken, steak, meatloaf, enchiladas, pork chops and more with a wide variety of veggies, sides (who doesn’t have fond memories of cafeteria mac 'n' cheese?), soups and salads. Save room for dessert (Jell-O anyone?). Luby’s North MoPac location is open from 11 am-5 pm. A la carte.
Mattie’s at Green Pastures
Imagine this elegant 1890s home decorated to the gills like your Grandma’s house (it once was the abode of someone’s grandma) while you enjoy the Christmas Day Brunch Buffet. A Southern classic menu offers everything from appetizers to desserts, including a raw bar, beef Wellington, fall salad, winter squash bisque, and eggs Benedict or smoked turkey on Mattie’s biscuits. Save room for the famous milk punch. $85 per person, $40 children ages 6-12, children 5 and under free.
Revue — Fairmont Austin
This Fairmont Hotel restaurant features Christmas brunch and a dinner buffet featuring a raw bar, salads, and a selection of main entrees including standing rib roast, classic roasted turkey, and maple-mustard glazed bone-in ham. Wrap it up with seven kinds of dessert. In keeping with the holiday spirit, each meal includes a $5 donation to the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. Christmas Day Brunch 10 am-2 pm, $65 per person, $19 children under $13. Dinner buffet 4-8 pm, $85 adults, $19 children under 13. Limited a la carte dinner menu available until 10 pm.
Sixth and Waller — East Austin Hotel
Sixth and Waller at the East Austin Hotel calls itself a “global diner” and its menu ranges far and wide, from deli sandwiches to bowls, chicken fried chicken to lamb kababs. Plus, cocktails, draft and packaged beers, wine and — perfect for celebrating the special day — fancy champagne. Those who like to sleep in (it’s the holidays!) can order breakfast any time. Between now and Christmas Eve, guests can also check out the The Upside rooftop bar holiday pop-up’s appropriately themed films and seasonal cocktails. 7 am-10 pm. A la carte.
This restaurant’s perennial place on lists such as this one is well-deserved. No gimmicks, nothing fusion or fancy, just classic turkey, ham, or steak and all your favorite fixin’s, plus desserts like whole pies. Rather hang out at home? Pick up an entire Christmas dinner or your favorite dishes to-go by ordering at least 10 days in advance. Open 10:30 am-10 pm. No reservations; 10-minute text warning when your table is ready.
For those wanting to take a break from the traditional turkey and ham, this downtown Chinese hot spot will be open for dinner Christmas Day with a limited menu of its greatest hits. Fans can dine in or grab a feast to-go, but no phone orders will be accepted. Take-out orders are available to walk-ins only. Open from 5-10 pm. A la carte.