From the slightly strange to the extravagant, there is surely no shortage of full-service dining options this holiday season. Adventurous and traditional diners, looking to celebrate Christmas Day or New Year’s in style, can find choices ranging from decadent prix fixe menus to belly dancers entertaining on a restaurant rooftop.
Here are a few choices to consider as you begin to check off those last-minute wish lists.
Earl’s Kitchen + Bar Ugly Sweater Happy Hour: Are you the kind of person who searches the discount rack and lights up when they see a giant embroidered Reindeer on a bright green background? If so, the Chicago locale, located in Lincoln Park, is the perfect choice. Through December 30, Earls will host an Ugly Sweater Happy Hour from 3 to 6 p.m. every weekday. A $25 gift card will be awarded to the “best” ugly sweater, not to mention specials such as $3 craft beers and Tuna Tostadas for $2. The restaurant is also offering a five-course prix fixe dinner for $45 to celebrate the arrival of the New Year.
Cosme’s Greatest Hits: Unlike some New Year’s revelers who will be more than willing to see 2015 disappear when the ball drops in Times Square, Enrique Olvera’s powerhouse restaurant is planning to celebrate a very (extremely) successful first year. First seating costs $195 at the New York City hotspot, and second seating will run $350 to experience a menu that brings back some of the year’s most popular dishes, like the Half Lobster Pibil, with chorizo, black bean purée, and mâche. The five-course menu has options at every turn, leaving diner’s struggling with such decisions such as Cobia Al Pastor, with pineapple purée, and cilantro, or Enfrijolado with ricotta, hoja santa, crème fraiche, and onion. Beverage pairings are also available for an addition &85.
Tuscan Kitchen & Market’s Feast of the 7 Fishes: The Italian tradition, with origins in Southern Italy, is also a Christmas Eve staple for the brand with three locations (two in New Hampshire and one in Massachusetts). The four-course menu highlights seven types of seafood, including local Point Judith squid. The menu is served from 3 to 8 p.m. on December 25 and costs $55. Wine pairings are included for $80. One course is the Point Judith Squid Alla Fiorentina—sausage stuffed squid, saffron risotto, and parsley.
Silverspot Cinema and Trilogy’s Dinner and a Movie: The elevated movie theater, which has leather reserved seats and ample room in the aisles, also happens to house a high-end restaurant called Trilogy. In the Chapel Hill, North Carolina, location, a $34 prix fixe menu will be offered Christmas day that includes a choice of entrees, like the Garlic Crusted Prime Rib. There’s also one on New Year’s Day for $38 that can feature a lobster tail if desired. While by no means do you have to combine the eating and moving experience, it’s not a bad way to go if that’s already a family tradition. Also, there are some unique holiday beverages, like the Candy Cane Martini, that can be poured in an unbreakable glass and carried to your seat in the theater.
Burke & Wills Australian Bistro Hand-Crafted Menu: The Upper West Side New York City hotspot will host a prix fixe menu for New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve. The dining room features slate gray banquets, a sky-lit atrium, and vintage Australian decorations. Also, guests can venture upstairs to the Manhattan Cricket Club, a British Colonial era cocktail lounge. Some dishes include parsnip ravioli with black trumpet mushrooms and white chocolate, as well as filet mignon with foie gras and roasted maitake mushrooms.
A View to Celebrate: Located across Lafayette Square from the White House in Washington, D.C., party-goers can sample a three-course prix fixe menu for $80 with some of the most patriotic views around at Hay-Adams’ New Year’s event. Executive Chef Peter Schaffrath leads a menu with highlights such as the Chicken Consommé with quail egg and black truffle, and the Grilled Rockfish with root vegetables, little neck clams, and ocean broth. Located just steps from the White House, The Oval Room is also open on the final night of 2015. A first seating from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. runs $60, while the 7:30 to 10 p.m. costs $84. Dishes include Pan Seared Duck Breast with Parmesan polenta, baby carrots, Brussels sprouts, and black trumpet mushrooms, and Butter Poached Maine Lobster with lobster ravioli and ginger essense.
Minus5 Ice Bar Cools Down the Setting: The New York Hilton Midtown location of the unique concept is debuting a new look in late December. The 3,000-square-foot venue’s frozen atmosphere will bring in 100 tons of fresh, 100 percent pure Canadian ice with museum-quality carving including the “Liberty Throne,” the “Chrysler Building,” the “Museum of Modern Art,” as well as Broadway-themed décor, and a room inspired by the art of Andy Warhol.
Sticking with Steak on Christmas: On December 25, guests can get their meat fix at the Angus Club Steakhouse in New York City, where a three-course, $75 prix fixe meal can feature Rib Eye Steak with Bone In if wanted. You can also elect for the Lamb Chops or Grilled Norwegian Salmon, as well as a selection of sides and deserts.
Escape to the Mediterranean at Bustan: The New York City restaurant features a 360 degree rotating wood-fired taboon oven to offer an a la carte menu on Christmas Eve. The Lamb Terracotta—deftly spiced with charred onion and taboon-roasted tomato baked in a flaky bread dome is a great option. On New Year’s Eve, a four-course prix fixe menu will run $75 and include dishes like the Beefsteak Tomato Tart with mortadella, Gruyere and garlic, and Taboon Whole Baked Branzino with garlic, rosemary, and salsa verde.
Taverna Agora Rings in the New Year with Flair: At the Taverna Agora Greek Restaurant & Bar in Raleigh, North Carolina, guests can enjoy dinner off the regular menu with some additional specials. But, the main draw will come at 9 p.m., when the Greek-inspired entertainment will begin on the winterized rooftop patio, complete with heaters and enclosed with Greek-importer glass. Live music will be accompanied by belly dancing from 9 to 11 p.m.
Toasting on Time at La Stanza Ristorante: The clock strikes midnight at 5 p.m. in Chicago’s elegant Italian restaurant. With Milan, Italy, in mind, guests will hoist a glass of Prosecco according to the distant time zone. Everyone who arrives early will also receive complimentary pasta tasting in the bar, along with happy hour pricing. The four-course menu ($75) follows, highlighted by tough choices such as Lobster Bisque or Wagyu Beef Carpaccio Salad. Brunch will also be available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. the following day for those wishing to keep the party going.
Options galore at the Avocado Grill: The West Palm Beach, Florida, restaurant isn’t limiting diner’s choices this holiday season. On Christmas Day, Chef Julien Gremaud’s menu will cost $45 and feature three courses. The entrée round will have five options alone, including Roasted Prime Rib with garlic haricot verts, mashed potatoes, and roasted au jus, and the Roasted leg of Lamb with sautéed spinach, roasted tomatoes, and fingerling potatoes with mint pesto. On New Year’s Eve, there’s a $47 dine-early menu and a six-course offering from 9 to 11 p.m. for $119.
El Centro D.F.’s Path to Recovery: Resolutions begin with an all-you-can-eat authentic Mexican Brunch on New Year’s Day at the restaurant, which has two locations—Georgetown and 14th street—in the nation’s capital. Priced at $35, guests can sample Jalapeño Beef & Chorizo Sliders or Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Tacos. Bottomless brunch drinks, such as Mimosas, Michelada, Bloody Maria, El Centro Margarita, and a choice of seasonal Aqua Fresca cocktails, complement the menu.