LA's Ultimate Christmas Dining Planner

By Lesley Balla  |  December 15, 2015
Credit: Scarpetta

Christmastime is undeniably here, with hustle and bustle and good tidings and cheer. If you're not into eating Chinese food after going to see a movie, but also have no intention of cooking at home, there are myriad ways to celebrate with Christmas Eve and Day feasts around LA. 


Sambar: Akasha Richmond will feature a Bollywood-inspired Chinese menu on Christmas Eve, which pulls from the Hakka Chinese community in the Kolkata region in India. The menu comprises rare "Chindian" dishes like tandoori duck buns, mushroom buns, flat iron steak and broccoli, and shrimp Hakka noodles, among other dishes.

The Church Key: Chef Steven Fretz and company are hosting an all-you-can-eat Chinese food bonanza on Dec. 24. Menu highlights include shrimp and pork potstickers, steamed bao, crab Rangoons, crisp Peking duck pancakes, skirt steak and broccoli, orange chicken and more. There will also be a couple movies showing in the background, including Home Alone at 6:15 PM and Elf at 8:15 PM. Cost is $39 for adults and $21 for kids. Want it to-go? You can get a Chinese take-out spread for two for $65.

Petrossian: Live classical music in the restaurant. Dinner includes a caviar flight, king crab salad with fennel and caviar or vichyssoise; foie gras torchon or egg raviolo; prime NY steak with wild mushrooms and sunchokes or John Dory with geoduck clam, cauliflower and uni sauce; and chocolate tart for dessert. $150 per person.

Craft LA: Celebrate with the new winter menu designed by chef de cuisine Andrew Gavalla and pastry chef Shannon Swindle. The prix fixe menu includes some family-style dishes, like arugula with red walnuts, gougères and lox with Yukon Gold potatoes; a choice of a main course, including diver sea scallops, barramundu, duck breast, roasted quail or short-rib ravioli; sides of winter squash purée and braised kale; and figgy pudding, chocolate Napoleon and ice cream and sorbet for dessert. $125 per person. Dinner is served form 5–9 PM. 

The Raymond: There's a special three-course menu along with Dickens-style carolers at the Pasadena restaurant. Dishes include compressed arugula with winter fruit, Spanish cheese and honey-walnut dressing; corn soup with shiitake bacon; salmon with rolled couscous and local vegetables; roasted chicken with roasted garlic purée; and sticky toffee cake for dessert. $90 per person. Don't skip grabbing a drink at 1886 before or after.

Redbird: Chef Neal Fraser will offer a four-course menu tonight featuring festive choices like endive with poached egg and black truffle vinaigrette; kabocha pumpkin soup with coconut and lemongrass; slow-cooked salmon with white carrot purée and watercress; free-range turkey with whipped potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cranberry chestnut stuffing and thyme gravy; heritage pork roast; barbecued smoked tofu; and bûche de Noël for dessert. $85 per person with optional wine pairing for $60.

Melisse: The five-course menu at Josiah Citrin's Santa Monica restaurant includes caviar with Hokkaido scallop and crème fraîche; chestnut soup with smoked potato and black truffle mousse; foie gras terrine with pears, dates, ginger and endive; black bass with young broccoli and citrus-ginger broth; and aged duck with orange, scented salsify and radicchio. For dessert, chocolate gâteaux with hazelnut, ricotta and green tea. $175 per person.

Culina: A special Italian menu is planned at the Four Seasons restaurant for Christmas Eve. You'll find things like seaweed fry dough; burrata with grilled chocolate persimmons; lobster trofie pasta with arugula or Neapolitan lasagna; branzino with potatoes, clams and tomato, or New York steak with porcini; and a tiramisu yule log for dessert. $85 per person.

Le Petit Paris: The lavish French brasserie in Downtown LA will have a three-course menu for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Highlights include the silky duck foie gras; a roasted half lobster with bisque and baby vegetables; filet mignon with jus and stuffed truffle macaroni; and poached pears with ginger mascarpone. The prix fixe menu is $65 per person.

Patina: A special three-course menu will be available for the evening, with choices like foie gras with sweetbread, carrot-ginger and huckleberry; venison with quince, broccolini and dates; and sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Cost is $85 per person for three courses, $100 for four courses and $150 for a blow-out eight-course meal.

Nick & Stef's: The Patina Group's snazzy renovated Downtown steakhouse will feature special dishes on Christmas Eve, including crab Waldorf with celeriac purée and walnut brittle; oven-roasted Christmas duck with braised red cabbage, potato walnut noodles and cider-poached pear; and milk chocolate mousse with cinnamon brûlée. The thee-course menu is $60 per person and $19 for kids 10 and under. The à la carte menu will also be available.

Kendall's Brasserie: A French-focused menu at the Downtown brasserie includes kabocha squash bisque with apple chestnut sorrel; escargot croquettes; prime rib with market vegetables; and mini croquembouche with eggnog mousseline. Cost is $55 for three courses or $65 for four courses; $19 for kids 10 and under.

Cafe Pinot: Enjoy the festive lights of Downtown from the central restaurant. Highlights from the special Christmas Eve menu include roasted candy cane beets with aged goat cheese; potato gnocchi with Brussels sprouts and bacon; crispy duck breast and parsnip purée; and milk chocolate mousse. Cost is $67 for three courses or $79 for four courses.

Terrine: Kris Morningstar will offer some festive holiday specials: smoked trout parfait with caviar and rye crisps; roasted foie gras with braised lentils; and Christmas goose with more foie gras. For dessert: a traditional bûche de Noël. 

Feast of the Seven Fishes: There are special menus all over town celebrating this Italian tradition, including Celestino in Pasadena ($68 per person); Union in Pasadena ($125 per person); Providence in Hollywood ($140 per person); Valentino in Santa Monica ($105 per person); Osteria Mozza ($85 per person); The Lobster in Santa Monica ($90 per person); Akasha in Culver City (à la carte); Chaya Downtown ($65 per person); and Mr. C in Beverly Hills ($89 per person). At Eric Greenspan's hidden Mare restaurant, which has a new retractable roof (warm!), there's an à la carte Feast offering now through Christmas Eve, or a full festive meal for $50 per person.


Viviane: Chef Michael Hung celebrates his first Christmas at Beverly Hills' Avalon Hotel with a Chinese-themed dinner, which he's titled Dinner at Chop Suey Palace. The family-style feast includes dishes like baby kale, snow pea and winter citrus salad; roast duck leg with mustard greens and candied kumquats; shrimp, scallop and chicken ragout; rice with wine-braised shiitake mushrooms and Romanesco; and five-spice beignets with black sesame anglaise, and almond-milk panna cotta with winter citrus. Cost is $58 per person.

The Pikey: When a fancy hotel restaurant won't do for Christmas Day, we thank places like this West Hollywood bar for staying open, not only for anyone who needs a drink on their day off, but for special menus that include things like a prix fixe menu with choice of house-cured honey-glazed ham or roasted goose with chestnut bread sauce, sausage stuffed onion, roast potatoes, chestnuts and more for $40. There are an abundance of à la carte specials, along with the regular menu, including an old-fashioned Christmas pudding with custard for two.

Mastro's Steakhouse Beverly Hills and Mastro's Ocean Club: This is the first year the Mastro's chain will keep all of its restaurants open on Christmas Day, so if it's sizzling steaks and martinis in the Golden Triangle or right on the Malibu coastline that you want, they have you covered. Dinner is served from 3 to 10 PM at both locations.

Scarpetta: The Beverly Hills restaurant's annual Christmas Day buffet includes the works, everything from a raw bar with crab legs, oysters and shrimp, to prime rib, porchetta and leg of lamb with all the fixings. There is of course plenty of dessert on offer, plus bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys and bellinis. 11 AM–7 PM. $108 per person, $38 for kids five–12 years old; and $22 per adult for those ever-flowing drinks.

Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles: You'll want for nothing at the annual buffet at the Beverly Hills hotel. There are made-to-order omelets and more at the breakfast stations until 2:30 PM, plus carving stations, seafood and raw bars, desserts galore and even a kids-only buffet. $109 for adults, $54 for kids ages five–12. 

Catch: The Hotel Casa del Mar restaurant will have a prix fixe menu for Christmas Day, with things like rosemary garbanzo soup with roasted shrimp; roasted duck breast with Mandarin sauce, truffled potatoes and squash; and panettone bread pudding for dessert.