11 festive Austin restaurants for dining out on Christmas Day
The pressure starts building months before the big day. Culinary magazines roll out spreads of towering croquembouches, TikTok explodes with easy Christmas dinner hacks, and grocery stores roll out recipes for their costliest cuts of meat. There's no place like home for the holidays, after all. What's a little drudgery in making the day picture-perfect?
While we don't begrudge seasonal selfies, there's no need to break a sweat. Plenty of Austin restaurants will be offering Christmas Day feasts every bit as good as homemade — and even more photogenic. Make reservations now for the pick of the crop.
This South Austin restaurant excels in comfort and joy, and its $60 Christmas feast is no different. Familiar favorites like New York strip, butternut squash bisque, and oysters Rockefeller will evoke fond memories with bonus warm tinglies from a holiday punch.7 am-7 pm.
If there was ever a time for a genuinely lavish brunch, it would be Christmas Day. This Four Seasons' experience might set you back $140 for adults ($50 for kids). Still, the buffet table will be lavished with snow crab legs, beef tenderloin, made-to-order omelets, and fistfuls of jumbo shrimp. 10 am-6 pm.
Though the spoons at the Thompson Hotel's signature eatery are more likely to be polished than greasy, its understated booths have a casual charm. Wiggle into a pair of velvet pants (no one will know if it's from a pajama set), then comfortably sup on foie and grits. 5-10 pm.
There are few local dishes as casually celebratory as this spot's signature caviar and chips — an ounce of Siberian sturgeon roe with scallions and crème fraîche. Order a batch with a bottle of William Chris Pet Nat. Visions of sugar plums can't be far behind. 5-9 pm.
Instead of engaging in a holiday kerfuffle, book an appointment at Hotel ZaZa'z poolside lounge. With foraged mushroom bruschetta and lobster bisque, the menu is suitably fancy. But truth be known, most therapy will be courtesy of a chamomile old fashioned. Reservations are currently available 4:45 – 8:15 pm.
This newcomer at the Loren on Lady Bird Lake has spectacular views of the city, which makes it perfect for a yuletide tête-à-tête. An assortment of holiday cocktails should drive a more animated conversation. 5-10 pm.
Have a proper Austin —ahem — breakfast at this chic downtown property. Open gifts, then order the holiday special with honey-glazed ham and two eggs. Of course, the Christmas table wouldn't be complete without an assortment of baked goods. 7 am- 4 pm.
Make the tradition of having Chinese food on Christmas Day a little extra at this West Sixth hot spot. The Cantonese fried whole fish or Peking will feel appropriately festive, and the Shanghai soup dumplings are a must. 4:30-10 pm.
Summer House on Music Lane
Why go to a summer house during the winter? For brunch, of course. The $55 ticket includes coffee or a cocktail, a pastry plate, and morning mains like eggs in purgatory or pozole verde. Dinner is offered for $75 and includes delectable options like an eggnog affogato.
The W Hotel's standard bearer is celebrating Christmas with an $80 prix fixe. Entrée choices include herb-crusted prime rib, maple-glazed salmon, or vegan mushroom bourguignon. Follow it up with a yule log made in gingerbread for nostalgic warmth.
It may be American tradition to go big with the holiday bird, but duck brings much greater rewards. Wu Chow's is brined, roasted, and flash-fried for achingly crisp skin then served with hoisin sauce for an extra umami kick. Call 72 hours in advance to reserve for Christmas Day. 5-10 pm.