There’s even more reason to cheer as Christmas is beginning to feel a lot like ... well, Christmas. Holiday dining is almost back in full swing and fantastic restaurants all over San Diego are here to host guests for sumptuous dinner or provide provisions for wonderful take-home feasts with easy-to-follow instructions. Make up for lost time by celebrating the holidays with family and friends. Here are 20 dining options to consider.Read More
Where to Dine In or Get Takeout for Christmas and Christmas Eve in San Diego
Toast the holidays with a festive cocktail and splendid dishes
For a vegetarian alternative to the traditionally meat-heavy holiday, the Plot in Oceanside is offering tasty options like wild rice and lentil roast, house-made tofurkey, and braised Southern-style garden greens with ingredients from their garden space. Pre-order by December 22 for Christmas Eve pickup. The cost is $40 per person.
Omni La Costa Resort & Spa
The Omni La Costa is offering many festive options. While you can sit down for Christmas Eve dinner at Bob’s Steak and Chop House and a three-course prix fixe dinner at the Vue, you can also be dazzled by the “snowfall” that flurries over peppermint bark s’mores platters around firepits. The take-home Christmas meal boxes serves four, and feature New York strip loin, whipped yams, and a New York cheesecake.
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
The Rancho Santa Fe enclave is going all out with horse-drawn carriage rides, cookie decorating, and live music. The restaurant is laying out a luxurious buffet on Christmas Day with an expansive seafood station, traditional carving tables, and homemade rigatoni as well as a kid-friendly buffet with mini quesadillas. Priced at $195 per adult and $55 per child, the menu can be found here. If you must host at home, their Christmas-to-go option is customizable.
Ranch 45 Local Provisions
For a pickup in North County, consider the moveable feast at Ranch 45 for its take-home a la carte menu. Choices include Cornish game hen, smoked turkey legs, and gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake. Orders need to be placed by December 18 for Christmas Eve pickup. While you’re there, check out the butchery display, offering meat cuts dry-aged on the premises.
If you’re looking for a Christmas Day brunch idea, the buffet at this Del Mar restaurant is featuring seafood-forward highlights, along with traditional Christmas ham. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., you’ll find a raw bar station with West Coast oysters, as well as other delectable entrees. Afterwards, walk off your meal with a jaunt to the nearby Powerhouse Park.
Fairmont Grand Del Mar
The luxury resort transforms into a winter wonderland with holiday teas, ice skating, and dining options at the Amaya restaurant. While the on-site Michelin three-starred Addison restaurant is already fully booked, guests can choose to dine on feasts featuring San Diego tuna crudo and strip loin and short rib or a Christmas Day buffet in the Manchester Salon.
Executive Chef Kelli Crosson leads the flagship restaurant at the Lodge at Torrey Pines into the holidays with panache. Themed libations from Christmas cocktails to root beer floats are on offer, along with holiday cookies and fruitcakes. There will be a Hanukkah menu from December 18 to 25, along with prix fixe menus for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, featuring brown butter angel hair pasta, roasted New York Strip loin, and tiramisu Buche de Noel.
George's at the Cove
Celebrate the winter feast with views overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The five-course prix fixe menu, priced at $125 per person, features clams casino, crispy pork belly, and peppermint Buche de Noel. Vegetarian and vegan options are available.
La Valencia Hotel
There’s a plethora of possibilities at the Pink Lady in La Jolla. For the first time, Patio Sol is hosting a cozy light bite experience with blankets and firepits. Throughout the month, holiday teas at the Med feature French Mariage Freres teas paired with tea sandwiches. The Christmas menus provide options like seared Spanish turbot, New York strip, and vanilla brioche bread pudding.
Ambrogio by Acquerello
With the Michelin team flying in from Italy to amp up the La Jolla restaurant, the Christmas Eve seven-course tasting menu is offering a medley of flavors, including vegetarian or vegan alternatives. Plates include crepes tagliolini, truffles, and ora king salmon. The chef’s signature tasting menu is $179 per person and the vegetarian option is $149 per person.
Giuseppe Restaurants and Catering
Once again, Giuseppe Fine Catering comes to the rescue with prepared holiday dishes to be served at home. The group behind Caroline’s Seaside Café and Candor by Giuseppe will do the hard work for you, preparing dishes like honey-baked ham, cured salumi, quiches, and pies. The order deadline is Monday, December 19th, for pickup or delivery on Saturday, December 24th.
Head down to the beach to Tower 23’s anchor restaurant, JRDN, for a Christmas Day feast served between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Featured entrees include roasted pork belly, prime rib, and hashbrown gratin. Costs range between $46 and $68 per person. Pair with an eggnog martini for an even merrier twist.
Chef Josh Mouzakes loves to put his own spin on holiday fare, adding to the cheer with live music to accompany the meals. Guests can order from the a la carte menu or prix fixe menus that range from $65 to $80. Options include pumpkin-spiced gnocchi, duck two ways, and cheesecake s’mores.
Et Voilà! French Bistro
One of the best French restaurants in San Diego is hosting a three-course prix fixe Christmas Eve dinner with options like smoked salmon with shaved cured egg yolks, Mary’s Farm turkey breast, and decadent opera cake. The cost is $70 for adults and $25 for children.
The Trust Restaurant Group is offering a few special choices for the holidays. Fort Oak, usually open for dinner only, throws its doors open for the holiday lunch tradition with favorite dishes paired with holiday cocktails from guest bartenders while its retail store, the Wise Ox, is offering a Butcher’s Holiday Box that includes chef Brad Wise’s five favorite types of meat, including the gochujang-glazed bacon served at Rare Society steakhouse.
Leading up to Christmas, Cucina Urbana and its North County counterpart Cucina Enoteca Del Mar will offer a traditional Feast of the 7 Fishes plate that includes fried smelts and mussels escabeche for a riff on the Italian tradition. Their catering arm, Morena Provisions, will also be providing Hanukkah-to-go with dishes from their modern Jewish deli, Gold Finch, as well as Christmas entrees like beef Wellington.
Juniper & Ivy
James Beard-nominated chef Anthony Wells is serving a lavish four-course, choose-your-own-adventure menu on December 23 and 24. Course options include venison tartare, egg yolk ravioli, and beef fillet with pot roast steak sauce as well as vanilla bean pavlova. Upgrade your meal with caviar and wine pairings. Costs start at $110 per guest.
Herb & Wood
Head over to Little Italy to treat yourself to the lively atmosphere at Herb and Wood. Their Christmas Eve four-course meal features executive chef Carlos Anthony’s creative favorites including dishes like prime filet with pink peppercorn cognac demi, poached persimmon, and tiramisu. Adults are $92 and kids are $37.
Indulge in a flavorful twist on Christmas dinner with chef Tara Monsod’s menu that features her prowess with Filipino cuisine as well as the restaurant’s wagyu steak program. The four-course menu includes their famous shrimp toast and kare kare short rib and ends with sweet treats like pear and hojicha roll cake.
Serea Coastal Cuisine
Crown City is home to the iconic Hotel Del, which gets all decked out for the holidays with ice skating and towering Christmas trees. Anchoring the hotel is Serea, helmed by executive chef JoJo Ruiz who’s offering a prix fixe menu for $155 per person with choices from surf (seafood), turf (meat), and land (vegetarian) for each course.