Food & Drink

The Best Restaurants in Chicago Open on Christmas Day

You walked from the Target on Ashland to the one downtown because the specific Minecraft backpack your nephew wanted was only in stock there. You painstakingly packed your checked bag in a way that would ensure that none of the wine bottles or the whiskey bottles would knock against each other and crack open during transit. You scoured Google Flights for the absolute cheapest ticket back home, and ended up having to take a 6am flight out of Midway. 

The holidays are hard. You’ve done enough. Luckily, if you’re staying in Chicago for Christmas you don’t really have to worry about cooking. Plenty of Chicago-area restaurants are open both on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day, so let them carry some of the load! Just make sure to be courteous, and tip well. Like, extremely well. We’re talking 20% minimum, here. They’re working on Christmas. C’mon.

NO RESERVATIONS NECESSARY

Longman & Eagle

Logan Square
Longman & Eagle isn’t just for whiskey lovers and the hipper-than-thou. (Or fans of Bloody Marys and chicken & waffles, for that matter.) On Christmas Day at 4pm, it’s also the place to go for fans of Chinese takeout, as the erstwhile institution will be serving up their spin on classic Chinese-American dishes like crab Rangoon, General Foie’s fried chicken, pulled pork tofu, and duck confit bao, all served with housemade fortune cookies.
Price/reservations: Prices vary; order by Dec. 22 here

Chicago’s Pizza

Lakeview
One of Lakeview’s top pizza makers is open on Christmas Day for a Christmas miracle of delivery, dine-in, and takeout options, with the Ravenswood location open for delivery and the other two locations closed. Just be sure to tip the delivery guy very, very well.
Price/reservations: Prices vary; no reservations needed

Phoenix

Chinatown
This no-frills Chinatown mainstay will be serving up its delicious dim sum and the rest of its packed menu of authentic Chinese delights from roving dining room trays for both dine-in and carryout until 11pm on Christmas Day. You’re welcome.
Price/reservations: Prices vary; no reservations needed

RESERVATIONS NEEDED

Free Rein

Loop
Free Rein is set to keep the good vibes flowing on Christmas Day, opening for brunch until 2pm and slinging bloodies and mimosas alongside brunch options like shakshuka, eggs benedict, steak and eggs, and smoked hummus toast.
Price/reservations: Varies; reservations needed

Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse

Mag Mile
Be like Mike this Christmas by slam dunking (some steak (into your mouth)) on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with “Steaksmanship Series” wagyu steaks from all around the world. In addition to this, guests can also enjoy the entirety of the menu until the restaurant closes at 9pm.
Price/reservations: Pricing varies, reservations needed

LondonHouse Chicago

The Loop
For those of you looking for something lighter, LondonHouse Chicago is augmenting their tea service for the holidays. The holiday tea service will be served in a lounge that overlooks the Chicago River, and both savory and sweet treats are available alongside the teas. Live carolers will also be there to serenade you, if you’re sick of hearing Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You” played through tinny speakers at retail stores. 
Price/reservations: Varies, call 312.253.2317 for reservations

Gyu-Kaku

Various Locations
All Chicago-area Gyu-Kaku Japanese barbecue locations will be open during normal business hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and they’ll also be offering a special “Kanpai” holiday course for four; a ginormous spread that includes an amount of meat that is, frankly, scary. You’ll be eating toro beef, prime kalbi short rib, basil chicken breast, yaki-shabu beef, hanger steak, and pork belly. And that’s not even mentioning the sides, vegetables, and desserts. 
Price/reservations: $140 for holiday menu, varies otherwise. Reservations may not be completely necessary but are highly recommended

Imperial Lamian

River North
This upscale Chinese emporium of deliciousness is serving up special items for the holidays (from December 23 through December 31) including smoked duck and Brussels sprouts, dumplings stuffed with chicken and shrimp or with spicy lamb, a hot pot of chicken with chestnuts, “holidaymosas,” and special Chinese egg nog. The restaurant is open both Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
Price/reservations: Prices vary; reservations needed

Harvest

Mag Mile
This bright and sunny restaurant at the bottom floor of the Chicago Marriott on the Magnificent Mile is offering a seasonal menu for Christmas dinner, including a delicious prime rib and ham that’s been smoked in-house. They’ll also be offering a host of other in-season items, all chef-crafted based on what’s in season.
Price/reservations: Prices vary; reservations needed

Margeaux Brasserie

Streeterville
This French fine-dining spot at the Waldorf Astoria is cooking up a special prix-fixe dinner menu on Christmas Day from celebrity chef Michael Mina. It features your choice of pecan crusted salmon, lamb shank, steak frites, and duck a l’orange, with a staggering selection of appetizers (steak tartare, lobster bisque) and desserts (Bûche de Noël, chocolate verrine, creme brulee) on offer as well. 
Price/reservations: $85 per person; reservations needed

Cherry Circle Room

Loop
This Land & Sea Dept. spot inside the Chicago Athletic Association is open on Christmas Eve, but on Christmas Day, they’ll be serving a special prix fixe menu including glazed ham, prime rib, and an amazing octopus-and-chorizo appetizer. There’s also optional wine pairings and, of course, all the Paul McGee cocktails you can handle.
Price/reservations: $125 per person plus optional $85 wine pairing; reservations needed

Cochon Volant Brasserie

Loop
This French-inspired brasserie is taking reservations for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day brunch and dinner, where they’ll be serving their regular menus that include brunch favorites like salmon Benedict and a duck confit-bacon-and-cheddar omelet, plus dinner items such as truffle pasta and a prime petite filet.
Price/reservations: Prices vary; reservations needed

City Mouse

West Loop
This cool spot inside the even cooler Ace Hotel features a special prix fixe menu for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that includes table hors d’oeuvres like duck liver mousse and caviar potato skins, before proceeding to the entree of roast confit mallard (served alongside house pickles, mushroom ragout, sweet potatoes, and a wild rice pilaf). You’ll also want to save room for their turtle cheesecake dessert.
Price/reservations: $60 per person; reservations needed

The Albert

Streeterville
Smart diners will head to this Albert Einstein-inspired restaurant in the Hotel EMC2 on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for a special prix fixe menu that includes roasted turkey with prime rib au jus, maple-glazed veggies, a charcuterie platter, and an honest-to-god Bûche de Noël.
Price/reservations: $95 per person plus optional $45 wine pairing; reservations needed

Fogo de Chao

River North
This upscale Brazilian steakhouse chain is open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, offering dinner pricing all day on its regular menu of steaks, chops, fish, and more.
Price/reservations: Pricing varies; reservations needed

Baptiste & Bottle

Streeterville
This sophisticated spot on the 20th floor of the Conrad Hotel is offering a downhome Christmas Day brunch buffet full of comfort food delights. You can also upgrade your reservation to take part in their bloody mary and mimosa bars!
Price/reservations: $79 per person; reservations needed

Francesca's on Chestnut

Gold Coast
This traditional Italian staple is serving up its regular menu on Christmas Day (from 3 to 8pm) in addition to specials from its “Feast of the Seven Fishes” holiday menu (from December 20-29) which includes Italian fish stew, lobster bisque, and fettuccine with Maine lobster.
Price/reservations: Pricing varies; reservations required

Travelle

River North
This uber-swanky spot in The Langham not only offers one of the best views in the city, but also two special Christmas Day menus including a wildly diverse brunch menu of seasonal oysters, tomahawk ribeye steaks, pan-roasted duck breast, ramen(!), and a variety of tacos and quesadillas. Dinner is a four-course feast that includes prime beef tenderloin, pumpkin and fontina cheese gnudi, blue crab, and sticky toffee pudding.
Price/reservations: $175 per person for brunch; $100 per person for dinner; reservations needed

Mercat a la Planxa

South Loop
This gourmet Catalan-inspired tapas joint near Grant Park is serving up some inventive Christmas Day specials, including roasted goose (!) and a Catalonian take on traditional figgy pudding. The alcohol will also be flowing all night, with bartenders pouring libations from their extensive list of cavas, sangrias, and cocktails.
Price/reservations: Prices vary; reservations needed

Artango Bar & Steakhouse

Lincoln Square
This Argentine neighborhood hotspot pairs a flavor-packed Christmas Day prix fixe menu of lobster bisque, ribeye, and branzino, complete with a live guitarist playing Christmas songs along with Latin jazz numbers.
Price/reservations: $65 per person; reservations needed

Grassroots

Lakeview
This longtime Lakeview neighborhood favorite formerly known as Deleece is slinging a more health-conscious three-course holiday dinner with your choice of organic Harrison Farms free-range turkey, top loin roast, fresh fish, or vegetable gnocchi, plus salted caramel cheesecake and smoky cream of cauliflower soup.
Price/reservations: $42 per person; reservations needed

Lockwood

Loop
This traditional holiday gathering place in the opulent Palmer House lobby is hosting a holiday tea, that features a selection of no less than nine black, green, and herbal teas, paired with treats both sweet and savory. They’re offering classic cucumber sandwiches, deviled eggs with caviar, and mini quiches, along with eggnog verrine, candy cane layered cake, and an inventive deconstructed caramel apple pie.
Price/reservations: $65 per person; reservations needed

Andies

Andersonville
If you can’t decide between brunch and dinner, this Andersonville Mediterranean mainstay has got you covered with a buffet rolling all Christmas Day long, with one side of the restaurant offering dinner items like ham, gyros, grilled eggplant, kabobs, and falafel, with the other side serving up brunch favorites like chocolate pancakes and greek omelets.
Price/reservations: $29 per person; reservations needed

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Jay Gentile is a Thrillist contributor and his mother would kill him if she ever saw him eating out at a restaurant on Christmas. Follow @thejaygentile
Sam Greszes is a contributor for Thrillist.