13 Austin Restaurants That Have Christmas Dinner Covered
Let the pros do the cooking.
Let’s face it: We put a lot of lofty expectations on Christmas. Peace on earth? Probably not going to happen. A family dinner without a discussion about politics? Not this year. A PS5? Better hope she likes you, bro. But there is one aspect in which the holiday season never disappoints—a delicious, decadent, gut-busting meal. For those who still haven’t taken their pans out of their original plastic, we’ve composed a list of some great places where you can indulge in all the Christmas flavors, without any of the inevitable cleaning of dishes. There are both dine-in and take-out options—so, if you do get that PS5, you don’t have to leave it behind for one minute.
Second Bar + Kitchen
Well-known by anyone in the Austin area, Second Bar + Kitchen has been a mainstay for great cocktails and quick bites (we’re looking at you, grilled shishito peppers appetizer). While their downtown location may be closed due to COVID, their new, second home in the Domain’s funky Archer Hotel is open from 11 am to 6 pm on Christmas day for late lunches and early dinners. There, you can start your meal with a maple-pecan cheese log with rosemary sourdough and follow it with 24-hour braised bone-in beef short ribs with a side of black truffle grits. If all that sounds like a food-coma waiting to happen, you can order the full Christmas menu, plus drinks like Bulleit bourbon eggnog, to-go so you can immediately lay down following the last bite.
How to book/order: The full to-go menu feeds two adults and costs $115—orders must be placed online by December 20 for pick-up on December 24. Make reservations for dine-in by calling 737-300-4800 or online.
Sala and Betty
Family-owned restaurant Sala and Betty knows the holidays are all about stuffing your face with your loved ones by your side—whether those loved ones include your parents, siblings, friends or just your two dogs. They are offering some classic Christmas Specials for pre-order—each includes turkey and traditional sides such as gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and maple glazed sweet potatoes. Not to mention a Buche de Noel for dessert, a chocolate treat that resembles a log but tastes like a dream. For those looking for another take on Christmas, they are also offering a Feast of the Seven Fishes Christmas Eve Dinner Kit.
How to book/order: Christmas specials come in individual sizes (which run $30 - $35), packages which serve four to six ($225), and ones which serve six to eight ($325). The Feast of the Seven Fishes serves four and costs $240. All pre-orders must be placed online by 12/21.
The fairly new Hotel Magdalena, tucked in a quiet corner right off of the hustle of South Congress, has a breezy and relaxing feel—a perfect counterbalance to the high-strung emotions the holidays can incite. That is just one of the reasons that their airy, open-kitchen restaurant, Summer House on Music Lane, is a perfect place to dine on Christmas Day—one sip of their gold-painted raspberry decorated cocktail, the Cowboy Santa, and you’ll be able to deal with your nosey uncle’s questions about why you are single with ease. Their four-course prix-fixe dinner selections include Texas Wagyu beef tartare with smoke oyster aioli, mushroom risotto with fresh shaved truffle, and roasted Chilean sea bass in a spiced tomato sauce.
How to book/order: The four-course prix-fixe menu costs $88 per person and reservations are available for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day by calling 512-442-1000. Limited a la carte menus also available.
Amongst all the gift-wrapping and wish-listing, too often the “doing good for others” element of the holiday season goes on the back-burner. By ordering from Intero however, you can get all the delicious grub with a side of goodwill as well—the restaurant is offering a zero-food waste holiday dinner, so you can feel guilt-free about contributing to consumerism on at least one level. Their holiday menu features roasted leg of lamb, glazed brussels sprouts with honey and bacon, and fresh focaccia served with ricotta, honey, and thyme. The best part though might be their holiday chocolate sets, which feature artisan barks and truffles in flavors like vanilla chai and bourbon caramel.
How to book/order: The holiday menu serves four to six and costs for each dish run from $15 - $70. Chocolates can be ordered individually ($5 - $9) or in assortments that run from $10 - $26. Order online and pick-up from December 10 on.
Buenos Aires Cafe, Este
Argentina is known for their mastery of beef, so it comes as no surprise that Buenos Aires Café, Austin’s best place for this cuisine, has a Christmas feast that every proud carnivore won’t be able to resist. As if the three-pound roast beef isn’t enough to get the meat sweats going, there’s also prime ribeye, as well as sides of potatoes gratin, blackberry-malbec compote, and roasted tricolor beets. Since nothing goes better with a decadent meal than an equally decadent drink, you can also purchase their Milonga Christmas hot toddy cocktail kit for two, which comes with Apple Jack brandy, yuzu, Spiced Pear liqueur, and roasted chestnuts.
How to book/order: The Christmas Feast, which serves four to six, costs $270 and is available to order online through December 21. There are also additional add-ons available, such as the Hot Toddy cocktail kit, which costs $55 by itself or $50 when ordered along with the Feast.
The LINE Austin
If you’re the type who has already planned their Christmas Day outfit weeks ago, you will love showing off that fancy glitter dress or velvet suit jacket while dining in style at Arlo Grey. This restaurant has all the beautiful aesthetics and picturesque lakeside scenery you could hope for to commemorate a special holiday meal. And that’s not to discount the food, crafted by Top Chef Season 10 winner Kristen Kish, which has all the style, elegance, and taste of the surroundings. In addition to its regular menu, Arlo Grey will also be offering special Christmas selections like ham brined pork porterhouse with a field pea salad, marble potatoes & trout roe with créme fraiche, and a roasted strawberry semifreddo.
How to book/order: Reservations are available online for Christmas Eve (5 - 10 pm) and Christmas Day (from 3 - 10 pm).
Spice up your holidays with some Mediterranean flavor at Austin newcomer Aba. Their special Christmas menu features a fusion of warm-and-fuzzy holiday favorites with influences from Israeli, Lebanese, Turkish, and Greek cuisine—think wild mushroom hummus, stracciatella with persimmon, and the braised short rib with gunpowder spiced potatoes, barberry glaze, and tamarind jus. If you have a history of setting off your fire alarm due to kitchen disasters, you’ll appreciate the intricate, step-by-step instructions Aba provides along with the dishes. They will be sure to help you take your leftover game to a whole new level.
How to book/order: Orders must be placed online by December 22 at 3 pm. Meals cost $48.95 per person (plus tax and gratuity) and can feed groups of two, four, or six depending on the selection.
Lean into the Texan Christmas vibes by replacing the usual spread with a variety of tamales and tacos from upscale Mexican restaurant Suerte. They are dishing up red pork and mushroom y mole Coloradito tamales, both made with their legendary housemade masa, by the “Suerte dozen” (which is 12 plus one extra for “good luck,” in case you were wondering). If that style of ordering doesn’t give you a clue about the festive nature of this place, their Pachanga (which means party or social gathering) Party pack certainly will. The Pachanga Party pack includes everything you need for a family-style taco bonanza, including guacamole and chips, a pound of meat of your choosing, toppings, tortillas, and, of course, some tequila mixers to really get the night started.
How to book/order: Tamales are available to be ordered online through December 23—red pork are $36 per dozen and mushroom are $34 per dozen. The cost of the Pachanga Party varies based on what is ordered, but a minimum order of $250 is required—you can order it online as well, and, depending on your location, even have it delivered.
Any Italian-American worth their weight can’t imagine Christmas without the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes, a bountiful banquet of seafood eaten on Christmas Eve. Even if you can’t be with your big Italian family this year, you can celebrate like you are with L’Oca d’Oro’s special holiday version of their subscription box. Since L’Oca d’Oro itself has sadly been closed since the early days of COVID, we’ve been getting our fix of their sensational homemade pasta and specialty ingredients through their subscription boxes, which can be ordered weekly or monthly. Their Christmas version of the box is certain to feature all the fish-inspired dishes your nonna could hope for, plus house-made Bucatini and anchovy butter and Baccala Manetcato (whipped salted cod).
How to book/order: Subscription boxes start at $60 per week, and include three dishes that feed two to four people, as well as one or two bottles of wine and pantry ingredients. To receive the Christmas subscription box, sign-up by 12/18 at midnight.
If there’s anything A Christmas Story teaches us (besides the correct pronunciation of “fragile”), it’s that there’s no better alternative to the traditional idea of the Christmas dinner than Chinese food. Luckily, local restaurant Lotus Chinese is here for the times when a roving group of dogs steal your holiday feast—or, you know, if you would just rather enjoy their amazing selection of dumplings as opposed to the usual turkey or ham. They’ve even stepped up their signature dish to create the Holiday Soup Dumpling Rainbow Basket, which features five different flavors (classic pork, beef, lemongrass shrimp, spicy Korean pork, and Thai chicken) in colors so bright they could be mistaken for tree ornaments.
How to book/order: Open for dine-in on Christmas Day from 11 am - 8 pm. Order online or by phone (512-334-9387) for curbside pick-up.
LeRoy & Lewis
No Texas food experience is complete without barbecue, so it would be unthinkable to not have the option to celebrate Christmas by digging into some melt-in-your-mouth brisket. LeRoy and Lewis might just seem like a tiny food truck from the outside, but their selections of meats and sides deliver a larger-than-life punch. Their staggering list of holiday treats include everything from red chili barbacoa tamales to Akaushi brisket to a whole freakin hog. Compliment your choice of protein with standard barbecue sides, such as mac and cheese, refried beans, and kale Caesar slaw. Don’t be surprised if you feel like a bit of a plump pig yourself after the meal is over.
How to book/order: You can order online for pick-up on 12/23 or 12/24—prices vary based on what is selected.
Mattie's at Green Pastures
It certainly feels like everything this year has been turned upside down—which only makes the craving for a traditional Christmas celebration even more real. From the moment you enter Mattie’s, located in a gorgeous, historic 19th-century home surrounded by greenery where peacocks roam, you are bound to feel the deep significance of the holiday season. Luckily, this restaurant is more than just a pretty face—their Southern-style cuisine is as special as the setting. For Christmas dinner, which is available for dine-in or pick-up, expect their high-end take on comfort food, including their renowned buttermilk biscuits, roasted pork loin, and a chocolate silk pie to finish.
How to book/order: You can pre-order their Christmas to-go package, which feeds a family of four and costs $220, by emailing email@example.com through December 16. Email that same address to make reservations to dine at the restaurant on Christmas day—their family-style menu runs $90 per adult and $18 per child (aged 5 - 12).
You’ll want to be sure to end your Christmas on a high note—and Cookie Rich is like the whistle tones of all desserts. These little gems of frosting sandwiched between soft, pillowy cookies are created by Lorin Peters, former chef de partie at the legendary three-Michelin Star restaurant, The French Laundry. Depending on the size of your Christmas party or appetite, cookies come either in batches of four or a dozen (go with the bigger box—you’ll want it, we promise). For the holidays, Cookie Rich is even offering two special flavors in addition to their regular menu—gingerbread with orange zest filling and pumpkin with cream cheese filling.
How to book/order: Boxes of four cost $15 and boxes of twelve cost $33. You can order them online for pick-up or delivery.