Beef Wellington is available at Peli Peli on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Photo courtesy of Peli Peli.
Want a renowned chef to do the holiday cooking this year? Is this the year you treat family and friends to the luxurious, five-star Christmas meal of their dreams? Perhaps you’d prefer to get dishes to go from top Houston restaurants for a more casual affair at home. Whatever the case, we’ve got you covered with the most festive options for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dining and take-out around the Houston area, as well as a few worthy places for unique holiday meals. From sumptuous holiday fare to an omakase sushi experience, these are the restaurants staffed with people working hard this Christmas so that you don’t have to.
Goode Company, multiple locations: For a best of both worlds Christmas feast, consider Goode Company’s Gourmet Feast to Go — a Houston holiday tradition in its own right. The hearty meal comes complete with Mesquite-Smoked Beef Tenderloin, horseradish sauce, au gratin potatoes, creamed spinach, homemade dinner rolls and beer-shallot jam butter. For $200, the meal feeds six to eight people. That said, it is a pretty big oversight to not throw in a famous Goode Co. Brazos Bottom Pecan Pie or Chocolate Cream pie, and that increases the cost to $220. Alternatively, for $240 get a full meal with a Brazos Bottom Pecan pie in an iconic wooden gift box. Individual dishes, such as beef tenderloin, sides or pork tamales, are available à la carte as well. Order by December 19 at 5 p.m. for pickup on December 22 and 23.
Kenny & Ziggy’s, two locations at 2327 Post Oak Boulevard and 5172 Buffalo Speedway: For the homebodies out there, let Kenny & Ziggy’s cook a holiday meal to enjoy at your leisure. The famed deli has created a to-go menu of holiday and deli favorites that covers the gamut from dips and soups to platters, meals and desserts. Along with standard deli menu à la carte, their full holiday meal will feed 10-12 and features a 16 lb whole turkey, wild mushroom and chestnut stuffing, homemade gravy, Mile-High Apple Pie and more for $275. Orders should be placed with 48-hours advance notice of preferred pick-up date. Menus can be found online. For those who want to go out for some good comfort food, the restaurants are also open on Christmas Eve and serving the regular menu until 8 p.m.
Beef Wellington is available at Peli Peli on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Photo courtesy of Peli Peli.
Peli Peli: For the first time ever, all locations of this South African restaurant is open on Christmas Eve from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Christmas Day from 2 to 8 p.m. In addition to the full à la carte menu, chef Ryan Stewart has created two holiday specials. The first is a grilled center cut pork chop served with carrot bredie (a South African stew), Drakensberg legumes and apple mint chutney. The second, a classic Beef Wellington, will feature mushroom duxelles, puff pastry and a red wine reduction. Reservations are encouraged.
Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen, two locations at 1140 Eldridge and 6401 Woodway: Tamales for the holidays is a big South Texas tradition, and chef Sylvia Casares has ideal to-go packages that fit the bill. These are available for $20 per dozen in pork or chicken varieties and those who order five dozen get one for free. Additional à la carte options include Sylvia’s enchiladas, ranging from $38 to $42 per dozen based on variety. Party Packs for 10 are available from $90 to $150. The deadline for Christmas to-go preorders is December 21. However, the restaurants are also open on Christmas Eve from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations are encouraged.
Brasserie du Parc, 1440 Lamar: Just across from Discovery Green, Brasserie du Parc is open for dinner on Christmas Eve and serving a three-course table d’hôte for $58 for adults and $22 per child. First-course options include fresh salmon tartare with miso dressing, seared foie gras with apple chutney and Maine lobster bisque with crab meat. Second course choices feature seared snapper, beef tenderloin or red beet risotto with mascarpone and Parmesan. Dessert is a dark chocolate and passion fruit Christmas log cake served with mango sorbet. The full bar drink list is also available. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by phone at (832) 879-2802.
Brennan’s of Houston, 3300 Smith: Enjoy a special Christmas Eve dinner menu at this premiere Creole restaurant in downtown Houston. On offer is a prix fixe menu of Brennan’s classics such as Snapping Turtle Soup, Creole Lobster and Cognac Bisque, Gulf Fish Pontchartrain, and Tasso-smoked Pork Osso Bucco. Dessert options include Bayou Rum Carrot Cake and Brennan’s famous Bananas Foster. Seatings are available from 5 to 8:30 p.m. For reservations, call (713) 522-9711 or visit the event page online.
Xochi, 1777 Walker: Spend Christmas Eve at Xochi, regularly named as one of the best restaurants in Houston, for regular lunch and dinner services. At dinner, from 5 to 9 p.m., band Media Luna is performing live music. The full à la carte menu and bar is available, as well as patio seating. Reservations are highly recommended.
ARA Restaurant & Axis Lounge at Royal Sonesta Houston, 2222 West Loop South: Enjoy a decadent prime rib special on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Royal Sonesta Houston’s ARA Restaurant and Axis Lounge. For only $29 per person, enjoy an herb-roasted prime rib with au jus and horseradish cream, rosemary roasted potatoes, glazed vegetables and Yorkshire pudding. For an additional $10, guests can add a trio of salad, dessert and glass of wine. The special holiday dishes are available on Christmas Eve from 5:30 to 10 p.m., Christmas Day from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and then again for Christmas dinner from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made by phone at (713) 627-7600.
Caracol, 2200 Post Oak: For a more casual affair, chef Hugo Ortega’s Pacific Mexican seafood kitchen is serving a full à la carte menu for lunch and dinner on Christmas Eve. Dine on the fan-favorite wood-roasted Gulf oysters with chipotle butter, or indulge in Fire-Roasted Lobster served with flour tortillas and fixings. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by phone at (713) 622-9996.
For Those Who Want It To-Go: For a luxurious at-home holiday feast by chef Ortega, Caracol’s spread includes Pineapple and Habanero Spiral Ham, Coal-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with condensed milk, Charred Brussels Sprouts and a lot more. It feeds 10 to 12 people for $225. A couples’ feast with similar offerings is available for only $95. Meals also come with a dessert choice of either Pumpkin and Cajeta pie, tres leches or Tomatillo Marmalade Cheesecake Orders should be placed by December 21. Order online at or call 713-622-9996.
Etoile Cuisine et Bar, 1101-11 Uptown Park: Chef Philippe Verpiand’s upscale Post Oak French restaurant, is open for dinner on Christmas Eve with a three-course prix fixe for $68 for adults and $25 for children. The very French Christmas menu features options such as foie gras au torchon and yellowfin tuna tartare, seared branzino with tomato fondue, Maine diver scallops and venison medallions with celery root mousseline. Dessert is a Bûche de Noël — chocolate sponge cake with vanilla mousseline, fresh raspberry and pistachio ice cream. Reservations highly recommended and can be made by phone at (832) 668-5808.
La Table, 1800 Post Oak: Celebrate Christmas Eve at Uptown’s renowned French restaurant, La Table. Both the casual downstairs bistro, Marché, and high-end fine dining concept, Château, is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. On offer is a $55 prix fixe lunch menu and an $85 prix fixe dinner menu, along with live music throughout the evening. Signature highlights include Lobster Royale, mushroom ravioli, duck and filet of prime beef. Reservations are highly encouraged.
Mastro’s Steakhouse, 1650 West Loop South: Mastro’s is open from 3 to 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve and 2 to 9 p.m. on Christmas Day to offer guests a signature menu featuring only USDA Prime steaks plus fresh seafood and a raw bar. In addition, Mastro’s is featuring a holiday chateaubriand — large center-cut roast of the prime beef tenderloin — for $115. The tenderloin is sliced and served tableside with béarnaise and peppercorn sauce on the side. Reservations are recommended.
Bistro Provence, 13616 Memorial Drive: The cozy French bistro is serving a three-course Christmas Eve dinner with seatings between 6 and 6:30 p.m. and 8 to 8:30 p.m. Each course has two choices, and an example menu is an appetizer of foie gras terrine with apple and orange compote on brioche, seared duck breast “à l’orange” with green beans and tomato provençale for the main course and a slice of the restaurant’s housemade Bûche de Noël (made with chocolate and pears) for dessert. The cost is $79 per person; a $40 deposit is required to hold a reservation. Call (713) 827-8008 or send an email for reservations and details.
By the way: the whole Bûche de Noëls are available to order and take home in two sizes. The small serves six to eight for $33 and the large serves 10 to 12 for $49. The flavors are génoise (sponge cake) with orange peel filled with orange and Grand Marnier mousse, and chocolate génoise filled with hazelnut mousse. Orders must be placed by Friday, December 20, for pick-up no later than Tuesday, Dec. 24.
Georgia James, 1100 Westheimer: Join chef Chris Shepherd and company for a themed Christmas Eve dinner based on holiday movie Home Alone. The first course is “Pre-Flight Snacks” and includes Chicago dogs and housemade chips with caviar. The second course, “A Lovely Cheese Pizza Just for Me” is an upscale version with black truffles, and there is also King Crab Mac n’ Cheese. The third course is “The McAllisters in Paris”: beef bourguignon, French bread and chopped salad. Finally, top it all off with ice cream sundaes. The four-course meal is $75 for adults and $35 for children. Costumes are encouraged. Seatings will occur at 1 and 5 p.m., and it’s wise to make a reservation.
Underbelly Hospitality To-Go: You can also opt for a Christmas feast to-go, with options such as Shepherd Family Rum Sausages, Grandma’s Bacon Braised Green Beans, house-smoked and brined turkey breast, honey-cured ham ribs and UB Preserv’s Cà Phê Sữa Dá Carrot Cake. Orders should be placed by December 18 at 9 p.m. for pickup on December 23 in the parking lot behind Georgia James.
Hugo’s, 1600 Westheimer: This Christmas Eve, join Hugo’s for a Buffet de Noche Buena from 5 to 8 p.m. Enjoy live music by Viento and all-you-can eat holiday classics. The cost is $48 per adult and $15 per child plus beverages. Alternately, stop in for regular lunch service earlier in the day. Reservations are highly recommended for the Christmas Eve buffet.
Hugo’s To-Go: Hugo’s is also offering to-go holiday meals and à la carte selections similar to Caracol’s, which are described above. Orders can be placed online or by calling either restaurant.
One Fifth Gulf Coast, 1658 Westheimer: Some recent visits revealed this iteration of chef-owner Chris Shepherd’s sequential restaurant concept to be the most satisfying and soulful to-date. So, it’s well worth considering a reservation to try its special, Creole-infected Christmas Eve dishes. These are Roasted Turducken on Celery Root Purée with Shrimp Etouffee “Gravy”, Pork Crown Roast with Caramelized Onion Bread Pudding and Whole Fish Courtbouillon. Make a reservation online or call (713) 955-1024.
The Pit Room, 1201 Richmond: While some don’t necessarily think “barbecue restaurant” and “holiday dining,” The Pit Room has a compelling to-go list this year that includes brisket, pulled pork and Smoked Chicken Verde tamales; turkeys brined in brown sugar, sage and apples and then smoked; and whole briskets. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, so view the entire to-go menu online. Orders must be placed no later than December 20 and picked up on the 23rd or 24th from a special tent set up next door in the parking lot at The Patio By The Pit Room. To place an order, visit the website, send an email or call (281) 888-1929.
ROMA Ristorante, 2347 University: In line with its high regard for Italian traditions, ROMA is hosting a Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. One of the special dishes that executive chef Angelo Cuppone is preparing is baccalà mantecato, a flavorful favorite made from the fish after it is cured. Also on the menu as the closing entrée is Dadi di Cotoletta di Tonno con Salsa di Olive, Capperi e Origano Siciliano, or “tuna lightly fried with black olive sauce, caperberries and Sicilian oregano.” The full menu is online and the cost is $59.50 per guest plus tax and gratuity. Call (713) 664-7581 for reservations.
Backstreet Cafe, 1103 S. Shepherd: Skip the tedious cooking this Christmas Eve and dine at Backstreet Cafe. The River Oaks institution is serving a festive three-course dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. on the 24th. The prix fixe menu features appetizer choices such as Chorizo and Mushroom-Stuffed Quail or baked oysters and the entrée options include grilled beef tenderloin, seared scallops or braised lamb shank. For desert, take your pick of Perfect Chocolate Cake, Eggnog Cheesecake or Apple Tart Tatin with goat cheese ice cream. The cost per person is $52, plus beverage and gratuity, and includes complimentary eggnog. Reservations are highly encouraged and can be made by phone at (713) 521-2239.
Backstreet To-Go: Alternately, enjoy Backstreet Cafe’s holiday feast in the comfort of your own home with Ortega’s traditional classics to-go. Order à la carte holiday items like Backstreet’s famous Wine-Poached Pears stuffed with blue cheese and dry fruit for $30 for a half-dozen or $60 a dozen, or classic Christmas soups such as Wild Mushroom or Butternut Squash at $35 for half-a-gallon. Place orders no later than December 21. Order online or call (713) 521-2239.
Emmaline, 3210 West Dallas: For Christmas Eve, the restaurant is rolling out over-the-top entrées such as Dover Sole Meunière with aligot potatoes (a whipped French version heavy on decadent cheese), candied baby carrots, sautéed broccolini and Meunière sauce for $52 and a 22-ounce, bone-in Kansas City Strip with wild mushroom risotto, Italian street corn, roasted garlic and green peppercorn demi-glace for $65. For dessert is the $12 Gâteau Royale: hazelnut cake, valrhona chocolate ganache, mirror glaze, pistachio crumble and white and milk chocolate mousse. Christmas Eve hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations, call the restaurant at (713) 523-3210 or visit its page on OpenTable.
Le Colonial, 4444 Westheimer: Forget hosting this year. Gather your friends and family for a Christmas Eve dinner at River Oak’s French-Vietnamese staple, Le Colonial. The beloved neighborhood restaurant will be serving a special holiday menu including their signature holiday classics like half-roasted duck with mushroom sticky rice, pickled vegetables, tamarind ginger sauce and bao buns. Reservations are encouraged.
Roka Akor, 2929 Weslayan Suite 100: Flip the traditional Christmas script and opt for something incredible at Roka Akor. This Christmas Eve, enjoy a specially-prepared omakase dinner featuring five courses of house favorites like wagyu dumplings, assorted sashimi and truffle hot pot, plus a decadent dessert for only $89 per person. Reservations are highly encouraged and can be made by phone at 713-622-1777.
Steak 48, 4444 Westheimer: This swanky River Oaks District steakhouse is serving its full menu on Christmas Eve. From famous raw bar combinations to unctuous prime and wagyu steak selections and signature opulent sides like Alaskan king crab and rock shrimp mac & cheese. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by phone at (713) 322-7448.
Rainbow Lodge, 2011 Ella: Enjoy this Christmas Eve at one of Houston’s coziest restaurants. This historic 113-year-old log cabin is beautifully decorated for the holidays and serves some of the best wild game in Texas including North American elk, venison, wild game birds and more. The restaurant is open on Christmas Eve for à la carte dinner service only, with reservations (which are highly recommended) available from 5 to 9 p.m. For the full breadth of executive chef Mark Schmidt’s creations, ask in advance for the Six Petite Courses of Seasonal Features and Lodge Favorites for $79. Please note that the full table must participate in that special tasting. Reserve online or call (713) 861-8666.
Rainbow Lodge To-Go: The Lodge will also offer holiday feasts to-go. Available November 15 through December 24, 2019, choices range from whole beef tenderloin ($175) to whole buffalo tenderloin ($300) and whole-roasted suckling pig with orange bourbon glaze ($500). More exotic game options include North American elk loin and chops and venison backstrap, all quoted upon request. For a more classic holiday meal try the whole roasted turkeys ranging from $89 to $120 each. To order, call (713) 861-8666 at least 48 hours ahead of pick up.
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Post time: Dec-13-2019