The time is almost upon some of us to place Christmas food orders, call in Christmas Eve reservations and wait for the jolly old man with a white beard to stuff goodies in those stockings hanging on the mantle. To make that process smoother, we've provided you with a gift of our own: this guide to holiday dining (and take-out) in Houston. P.S. Although not listed here, the myriad of Chinatown and Korean restaurants also open on Christmas Day are always a fun, non-traditional option.
Choose a seating between 6 to 6:30 PM or 8 to 8:30 PM for a $52 three-course meal with selections that include French onion soup, monkfish, beef filet with foie gras, rack of lamb with risotto and the traditional buche de Noel (713-827-8008).
Make reservations now for one of the best buffets in town. It's $39 for adults and $12 for children, and on top of the regional Mexican specialties there will be live music (713-524-7744).
The Bird & The Bear
If you'd rather an à la carte experience, The Bird & The Bear has you covered with a special menu featuring selections like crab cakes, fried Gulf oysters, tuna tartar, arugula and fig salad, butternut squash ravioli, gluten-free pasta and a slew of poultry, fish and meat options (713-528-2473).
The Bird & The Bear's older, more established sibling is offering a Christmas Eve menu of its own - also à la carte - with similar items, though there are differences. Shrimp and cheese grits and lemon and almond-crusted red fish with jumbo lump crab meat both caught our eye, as did the wild boar chops (713-528-2264).
Arturo's Uptown Italiano
From 11 AM to 10 PM, Arturo's will be serving their regular menu in addition to a few specials for the evening, including pistachio-crusted lamb chops and branzino filleted tableside (713-621-1180).
There's no place cozier than Rainbow Lodge on Christmas Eve. Chances are the fireplace will be glowing, lots of regulars will be gathering and plenty of wild game dishes will be served. It's like spending time at your hunting lodge, only tastier (713-861-8666).
Dine-in Christmas Day
The swanky, newly renovated steakhouse will be open from 3 to 10 PM serving a full dinner menu. It's Christmas: time to splurge on the surf and turf (713-977-2544).
RA Sushi Bar
Nothing like an all-day happy hour to celebrate the season (and escape the family for a bit). Both Houston locations will be in full swing from 4 to 11 PM for your boozing and sushi-eating pleasure.
From 11 AM to 3 PM, enjoy a brunch buffet - $85 for adults and $40 for children - with chef stations, cocktails and more (713-276-4700).
For $82 a person, Ristorante Cavour has prepared a four-course menu with dishes like citrus-scented ahi tuna, parsnip and ricotta tortellini in a mushroom consomme, salmon brandade, veal chop, Panettone bread pudding and optional wine pairings (713-418-1104).
Add another brunch buffet into the mix, but this one with Indian influences. The $55 affair includes spiced mulled cider, leg of lamb with fig chutney, saffron-infused mussels, paneer-stuffed tomatoes, triple cheese curried cauliflower gratin and much more from 11 AM to 3 PM (713-960-8472).
You might have to do a few dishes, but you won't have to cook. It's too late to order the honey ham or the bone-in rib-eye, but there's still lasagna, vinegar pie, pound cake with sorghum pecan glaze, banh mi book meatballs, turkey tamales, posole, smoked oyster dressing and more up for grabs. Orders must be in by December 20.
District 7 Grill
Select from individual turkey and gravy meals with three sides, a roll and dessert for $15 per person or get separate side items in bulk. There are also hors d'oeuvres, dessert trays and "Santa's Snacks" menu.
Make it a vegan Christmas with the take-out menu from Radical Eats. Their famous tamales are only $30 a dozen, with plenty of options for sides, additional mains and even pumpkin pie. Place your orders soon.