Celebrate The Holidays With These San Diego Restaurants
21 places to pick up a festive feast.
Happy holidays, San Diego! It’s been quite a year, and now we’re all ready to relax, watch some classic flicks, drink eggnog, and feast on our favorite dishes. We may not be having the big family feast or inviting dozens of friends over like in the past, but we’ll all survive with the help of our fabulous local restaurants. Ditch cooking for hours and order takeout or delivery instead. We’ve done the legwork for you, so all you have to do is choose from our handy list of the best holiday dinners in America’s Finest City. Cheers!
Barbusa and Nonna + Cafe Zucchero, the Busalacchi Family’s restaurants, have teamed up to offer a three-course prix fixe to go menu that highlights favorite dishes from each venue. Start with Busalacchi’s famous garlic bread, plus your choice of two salads, five pastas, and the option to add on additional sides, mains, desserts, and wine. Dive into classics such as insalata tritata, bolognese al forno, and the Busalacchi’s renowned granchio pasta, or add on holiday favorites like osso bucco or short rib.
Cost: $20 per person, two person minimum per order.
How to order: Call Barbusa at (619) 238-1917, email firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line “Takeout Order” or order delivery via DoorDash.
Pho Ca Dao Vietnamese Kitchen
Just in time for the holidays, Pho Ca Dao Vietnamese Kitchen is offering family meals that combine their most popular items, creating an easy and delicious holiday meal for a great price. The meals come with two or four portions of pho, rice dishes or vermicelli bowls, and one or two appetizers, or choose all of that plus two or four cocktails, beers, or glasses of house wine, and a dessert to share.
Cost: $25-$40 for two, $50-$60 for four.
How to order: Orders can be placed in person or over the phone at (619) 684-5129.
Satisfy all the carnivores, vegetarians, and vegans around your holiday table by serving up family-style specials from Cafe Gratitude, including maple-miso Brussels sprouts, cranberry-roasted butternut squash and Garnet yams, and persimmon and pomegranate salad. Executive Chef Dreux Ellis has dessert covered for you too with gluten-free maple pecan spice cake, Tuscan apple cake, and mocha cheesecake, or grab the DIY Holiday Cookie Kit and spend some family time decorating your own. Plant-based and gluten-free, they’re made with 100% organic products—even the frostings are colored with beet juice and matcha powder, no artificial colors here!
Cost: Family-style dishes range in price from $12-$35, DIY Cookie Kits are $25, desserts are $35.
How to order: Order online for pickup or for delivery through DoorDash.
Juniper & Ivy
Let Chef Anthony Wells handle the hard part of your holiday dinner with Juniper and Ivy Holiday At Home for two or six people. The centerpiece is your choice of beef or tuna Wellington and sides include potato puree, pot roast vegetables, kale Caesar salad, and chocolate bundt cake. Pair it with optional sommelier-selected wine pairings or batched libations, including mulled wine, hot buttered rum, J&I eggnog, and spiced pear cider.
Cost: $155 for two, $350 for six, batched cocktails and mocktails run $25-45 and serve four.
How to order: Pre-order for pickup between December 22-24 via Tock.
Operacaffe offers a taste of Italy delivered straight to your home with two specially curated four-course meals, featuring a Christmas Seafood Menu with insalata de mare, linguine alla scoglio, cod Mediterraneo, and torta al limone, or a Christmas Meat Menu showcasing crostino de polenta and funghi, Caesar salad, stinco de agnello, and torta de cioccolato.
Cost: $38.99 per person
How to order: Call the restaurant at (619) 850-4569 at least 48 hours in advance for Christmas Day delivery between 11am-3pm.
Herb & Wood
Chef Brian Malarkey brings back Herb at Home for the holidays, with extra-special dining experiences for two to eight guests. Highlights include Baja shrimp cocktail, American Wagyu wood-fired sirloin, winter greens salad, smashed Yukon golds, and cranberry-apple crumble, along with an optional special starter—apple cider braised pork belly and herb pesto white beans. Dinners can be picked up at either Herb & Wood in Little Italy or Herb & Sea in Encinitas.
Cost: $65 per person
How to order: Preorder by December 20 for pickup on December 24 via OpenTable.
Trust Restaurant Group’s Executive Chef Brad Wise serves up a traditional prime rib dinner to-go this Christmas Eve, available for pickup at Cardellino in Mission Hills. Individually portioned dinners include a 12 oz slice of prime rib, plus truffled mashed potatoes, mixed green salad, green beans amandine, and sides of horseradish cream and jus. Add a sweet finish with Pastry Chef Jeremy Harville’s homemade apple crisp for two and pints of Mr. Trustee ice cream. Toast the season with a holiday cocktail portioned for one, by the pitcher, or a perfectly paired bottle of wine.
Cost: $45 per person
How to order: Order online by December 21 for pickup on December 24 via Tock.
Relax and let the pros at Greenfinch do the cooking with classic Southern California cuisine all dressed up for the holidays. Their Christmas Dinner Meal Package serves 4-6 people and includes 11 different dishes like mini baked Brie, butternut squash soup, red wine braised short ribs, pork roast, garlic mashed potatoes, pecan tartlets, and yule log.
How to order: Call the restaurant at (858) 964-6500 to place your order.
Choose your own menu with Ranch 45’s completely a la carte holiday to-go menu that includes herb-crusted prime rib, smoked turkey leg, bbq brisket, a Brandt grilled tomahawk or smoked Cornish game hens, roasted broccoli with parmesan and garlic, olive oil smashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, apple pie, carrot cake, and more.
Cost: Ranges from $6–$120 per item.
How to order: Preorder your holiday meal via Cake by 4 pm on Monday, December 21 for pickup December 23-24 from 10 am to 2 pm.
Vistal Restaurant + Bar
Luxury waterfront hotel InterContinental San Diego’s signature restaurant, Vistal, will be offering a Christmas Eve and Christmas takeout dinner that includes your choice of roasted turkey breast or prime rib, paired with holiday sides like local roasted root vegetables, Yorkshire pudding, sautéed haricot verts, and gravy or au jus. Diners also have the option of adding on a seasonal local squash and apple soup with spiced sunflower seeds and thyme scented crème fraiche.
Cost: $32 per person, $9 for optional soup
How to order: Orders by calling the restaurant at (619) 535-0485 or by emailing vistalSD@ihg.com, for pickup from 12 pm–8 pm on December 24-25.
Fortunate Son, CH Project’s newest venue located in North Park adjacent to Polite Provisions, honors the time-tested tradition of ordering Chinese takeout on Christmas by offering their full menu to-go. Get your fix of favorites like kung pao chicken, shrimp lo mein, sweet and sour pork belly, orange chicken, and egg drop soup, or try something new with the restaurant’s signature takes on classic dishes like beef and shishito peppers, and General Tso’s cauliflower, plus a selection of Polite Provisions’ Christmas and regular cocktails.
How to order: Call the restaurant at (619) 391-3766 or order via Toast from 4 pm–10 pm.
The Gluten Free Baking Co.
If anyone with food allergies is part of your holiday celebration, look no further than The Gluten Free Baking Co. The North Park bakery is offering everything from traditional pumpkin pie and pecan pie (made gluten-free of course) to fun, holiday-themed treats such as apple crumb-filled donuts, pecan bars, and a holiday cookie tin. Additionally, if you want to bake your own pie at home, but are having trouble finding an allergen-free pie crust, they also sell vegan pie crust dry mix, as well as giftable items like cookie mix in a jar and gingerbread house kits.
How to order: Stop in the shop anytime or order online 48 hours in advance for pickup.
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
Sleep in and let Snooze’s Holiday Brunch kits get your morning off to a leisurely start—each kit serves four to six people and three options are available—a Holiday Harvest Egg Casserole, Cranberry French Toast Bake, or Holiday Pancake Party Kit. You’ll also get a spinach, arugula, and kale salad; fruit salad; and a side of Snooze tender belly bacon, along with holiday hot cocoa recipes (spiked and classic), greeting cards, and a curated jazz playlist. They’ve got a special holiday menu of individual dishes as well, plus holiday cocktails galore, and offer free delivery on orders over $20 until December 27. Kits and holiday meals are available for next day pickup until January 2.
Cost: Kits are $40-$55, other meals and cocktails vary in price.
How to order: Order online or by calling your local Snooze.
The Vineyard Rose
We’ll miss dining among the vines at The Vineyard Rose Restaurant at South Coast Winery Resort and Spa, but your holiday celebration can still take advantage of their culinary team’s celebratory holiday dinner. Carry-out Christmas meals for parties of four, eight, or more include slow-roasted turkey breast with whipped potatoes, herb stuffing, yams, balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, and gravy. Pumpkin pie with bourbon cream and pecan pie, as well as bottles of wine are available at an additional charge.
Cost: Dinner for Four To-Go is $99, with additional options available. Pies are $30 each.
How to order: Pre-orders for takeout dinners must be placed by noon on Tuesday, December 22, by calling (855) 232-1557 or emailing email@example.com for pickup on Friday, December 25, from 11 am to 2 pm.
The Wise Ox Butcher & Eatery
Love making the sides but don’t care to take on the main course? Let The Wise Ox handle the smoker duties with holiday hams! Each ham weighs two to three pounds, serves four to eight people and is available for pickup December 22-24.
How to order: Order online via Toast.
For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Cesarina will be offering five-course family packages serving either two or four people, available alongside their regular dinner menu. Christmas Eve dinner is a take on the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes and includes gamberoni alla Catalana, salad, paccheri al ragù de pulpo, cannelloni di mare, plus build-your-own pasta and finto “panettone,” with choice of tiramisu, cannoli, or creme brûlée cheesecake. Christmas Day dinner features sformatino, salad, triangoloni al cacao, arrosto di pollo, and the same dessert selections as Christmas Eve. In addition, Cesarina is pledging 100% of profits from their limited-edition “I Pasticcini di Cesarina” bakery boxes with two dozen specialty tartes, biscotti, cannoli, and other Italian pastries, to their family of employees. Free delivery will be available to select neighborhoods.
Cost: $79.95-$129.25 for Christmas Eve dinner, $64.95-$99.95 for Christmas Day Dinner, $99 for bakery boxes.
How to order: Order dinners online (available one week prior) or by calling the restaurant at (619) 226-6222. Order bakery boxes by calling the restaurant before December 20 for pickup on December 23-24.
Bertrand at Mister A's Restaurant
You won’t get the spectacular city views, but you can still enjoy the decadent French-inspired cuisine at Mr. A’s and their sister restaurant, Mille Fleurs this holiday. Available for pickup at either venue, feast on delicious holiday spreads with dishes including prime beef tenderloin Chateaubriand with Madeira sauce, salmon Wellington in champagne-sorrel velouté, and traditional buche de Noel. Splurge on add-on starters like foie gras au torchon, Osetra caviar, and cold-poached king crab legs a la Russe. Holiday dinners are also available December 18-19.
Cost: $155 for two, $425 for six
How to order: Order via OpenTable for pickup between 12 pm-5 pm on December 24-25.
Farm-to-neighborhood eatery Rusticucina is ready to give your Christmas meal a Sicilan twist with a prix fixe takeout menu that includes short ribs in red wine reduction sauce with soft polenta, cannelloni pasta with roasted chicken in mozzarella, spinach, and creamy pesto sauce, and a full panettone for dessert. The restaurant will also be offering various add-on packages including charcuterie and wine, a "Pop The Bottle" Christmas basket with panettone and Italian cookies, a bottle of champagne, a bottle of red and a bottle of white wine, plus a "You Made It To 2021" Christmas basket which includes everything in the “Pop the Bottle” basket plus creamy truffle sauce, tomato sauce, artichoke in olive oil, truffle oil, and a four-person portion of pappardelle dry pasta.
Cost: $65-$200 for dinner for two to ten people, $25 for optional charcuterie and wine, $70-$120 for Christmas baskets.
How to order: Pre-orders can be made by calling the restaurant at (619) 310-5291 or via Toast through December 24.
Salt & Straw
Skip making dessert and grab some pints of Salt & Straw’s decadent ice cream, now in five festive flavors inspired by classic holiday cookies. Choose from gingerbread cookie dough, cocoa and peppermint patties, almond brittle with salted ganache The Great Cookie Swap, a coconut cream based inspiration with flavors from grandma’s cookie jar, and Dwanta’s Teremana spiked eggnog, a boozy, rich custard, filled with oaky vanilla flavors from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Teremana Reposado tequila, who will donate $1 from each Dwanta’s Teremana pint sold to World Central Kitchen’s Restaurants For The People. Their regular flavors will be available to-go as well.
How to order: Stop by or order online for pickup.
Splurge on a holiday classic from STK Steakhouse, showcasing roasted “Linz” prime rib, confit fingerling potatoes, green beans, and port wine shallots with black truffle Madeira sauce with optional shaved truffle. They’re also offering a roasted free range turkey breast special that includes confit turkey thighs, cornbread stuffing, green beans, sweet potato mash, corn pudding, confit fingerlings, classic gravy, and cranberry orange chutney. Add slices or a whole apple pie for dessert. The children’s menu features a 4 oz beef filet, fries, broccoli, and a chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and piles of whipped cream.
Cost: $69 per person for prime rib, $50 per person for turkey, $49 for a whole pie, $39 for children’s menu.
How to order: Pre-order via Chow for pickup or delivery on December 24-25.
Cucina Sorella and Cucina Enoteca offer three delectable menus for take out this holiday. Choose from a Pork Feast featuring ham-brined Berkshire pork rack with braised fingerlings, cabbage, bacon, and cider; young lettuce with goat cheese dressed in citrus, pomegranate, and shaved fennel; and baked eggnog custard; or a Seafood Soiree with porcini-crusted salmon, gigante bean ragu, young lettuce salad, and classic tiramisu; or Pasta Pasta, bolognese lasagna or butternut squash-baked pasta with young lettuce salad, and baked eggnog custard with gingerbread. All meals serve four people and include guided preparation instructions. Retail wine, cocktails, and individual menu items are available a la carte.
Cost: $155-$195 for the Christmas packages; varies for a la carte items.
How to order: Call the restaurant at (619) 239-2222 by December 18 for pickup on December 24.