Preparing for Christmas can be quite a chore. Between shopping for gifts, decorating your home, and making sure your holiday cards go out in time, it’s a minor miracle everyone doesn’t just collapse when the big day finally arrives.
Of all the responsibilities people have at this time of year, few are more stressful than handling Christmas dinner duties. Whether that means a simple spread for a handful of people or a multi-course menu for a crowd, taking on the task of providing a meal can be stressful. Between food allergies, preferences, and dietary concerns, it’s best to have a crock pot of hot mulled wine ready to help get through it all.
What if you could skip all the fuss and muss of preparing, serving, and cleaning up after your Christmas dinner? Spend your morning and day celebrating the holidays with everyone, then let someone else handle the cooking? Admit it, that sounds pretty sweet.
We live in a metropolitan area with an amazing range of restaurants, bistros, tavernas, and cafés covering every cuisine and niche you can think of. (Even a few you didn’t think of, like the luau-themed festivities Christmas night at The Hawthorne.)
This year, let someone else worry about your crazy Uncle Steve’s sensitivity to gravy or cousins that don’t eat pie for some inexplicable reason. Pick a restaurant, make a call, and let one of the Boston area’s amazing chefs do all the culinary driving. You deserve a break.
Bar Boulud, Boston
Fancy celebrating un joyeux Noël in Paris, but can’t sneak away? Skip the airfare and enjoy Bar Boulud’s amazing holiday feast. Luxurious offerings like Hudson Valley foie gras terrine with kumquat, sorrel and pistachio, pan seared turbot, and ribeye steak.
Once the feast concludes, it’s time to find room for dessert. Few do it like the French, and Bar Boulud carries on the tradition in resplendent fashion. Sip on a cup of stellar chocolat chaud while nibbling on a profiterole trio. There’s even traditional Buche de Nӧel - chocolate cake and with chocolate whipped cream brought together to resemble a Yule log. Bon appétit!
76 Boylston St., Boston, 617-535-8800, barboulud.com
Mamaleh’s Delicatessen, Cambridge
Jewish Christmas is back! This venerable spot for awesome Jewish cuisine (and stellar pastrami sandwiches, I’ve read) is bringing together two hallowed Christmas Day traditions - Chinese food and Michael Jackson’s music - for their third annual Moon Wok Menu.
If you’re looking for a break from the same-old celebrations, join in on the Jewish tradition of enjoying Asian fare set to a playlist inspired by the King of Pop. Mamaleh’s will be serving up all sorts of “Jasian” specialties (their term for Jewish-Asian cuisine) à la carte from 5-9 pm.
One Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-958-3354, mamalehs.com
(Also featured in Mamaleh's, I'm Coming Home, We've Found The Best Pastrami In Boston, Where Are The Kid-Friendly Restaurants Near Me?, and Not Your Bubby's Brisket Part II: An Exploration Of Boston's Jewish Deli Scene.)
Enjoy Christmas dinner in jail. A former jail, anyway. Clink is located in the Liberty Hotel, space that was once the Charles Street Jail. This Boston landmark is now home to some of the best food in town.
Let Chef Daniel Kenney do all the heavy lifting for Christmas dinner. The all-day à la carte menu offers up decadent options like caviar with potato-fennel blini, petite baked-stuffed lobster, and purebred Wagyu beef ribeye.
215 Charles St., Boston, 617-224-4004, clinkboston.com
Tucked into the Royal Sonesta Hotel the ArtBar is a comfortable, inviting retreat for food lovers and art aficionados alike. Enjoy elegant dishes like herb-roasted sirloin, potatoes Dauphinoise, and roasted pumpkin soup while gazing across the Charles River. The restaurant’s interior is lined with selections from the hotel’s world-class art collection to add to the dining elegance.
Once you’ve enjoyed all you care to eat from their buffet, head on over to the housemade pie station and dig in to dessert. A brisk walk along the river afterward will assuage any guilt you may have from eating that second helping of pie.
40 Edwin Land Blvd., Cambridge, 617-806-4122, artbarcambridge.com
(Also featured in Boston Restaurants With A View)
Seaport Hotel, Boston
After a morning celebrating, save yourself the work of cooking breakfast and bask in the Seaport Hotel’s amazing Aura Christmas Brunch. Choose from opulent choices like smoked salmon, leek and truffle quiche, and honey ham with maple-bourbon glaze alongside all the classic brunch offerings.
After enjoying all you care to eat, indulge in their selection of holiday pastries. Just make sure to save room for their chocolate fountain. (Yes, it’s true. A chocolate fountain.)
One Seaport Lane, Boston, 617-385-4303, seaportboston.com
Bonus - Coppa’s Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, Boston
Chef Brian Rae takes the traditional La Vigilia celebration to a whole new level. Coppa’s Feast of the Seven Fishes serves up all sorts of decadent seafood offerings including Yellowfin tuna crudo, squid ink ravioli, and seafood stew loaded with clams, swordfish, and octopus in a spicy tomato broth. Save room for the chocolate chestnut tarts with pain d’epice cream.
An optional wine-pairing course is offered to up the enjoyment factor. This feast is a neighborhood favorite, so don’t wait to make a reservation.
253 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 617-391-0902, coppaboston.com
(Also featured in The Lapsed Supper: An Ungodly Delicious Sort-Of-Seder Plate)