If you can’t stand the holiday heat, get out of the kitchen and into one of these great restaurants open on Thanksgiving. Feast on everything from the classic roast bird and prime rib to some of New England’s best seafood and vegetarian delicacies. The best part? You won’t have a mountain of dishes afterwards, so you can spend the rest of the night sprawled on the sofa, bingeing on Thanksgiving movies and listening to Turkey Day tunes.
Boston restaurants open on Thanksgiving
The sumptuous holiday spread at celeb chef Daniel Boulud’s Boston outpost pays (high-end) homage to regional ingredients. The afternoon kicks off with pâté en croûte de chevreuil or a poached Gloucester lobster appetizer; adventurists can then go farther afield with house-made pumpkin cavatelli or a beef Wellington with truffle pomme puree (heritage breed turkey with chestnut sage stuffing is also on the menu). Optional sides skew classic (sourbread sage stuffing, roasted winter roots), but there’s also a truly decadent acquerello risotto with alba truffle. Homey desserts include pecan pie with brandy Chantilly and Illanka chocolate sauce and a warm cranberry-apple crisp topped with Tahitian vanilla ice cream. 617-535-8800. noon–8pm.
Price: $85, $144 with wine pairings
Executive chef Lucas Sousa satisfies all palates with a sophisticated holiday menu. Among the surprising appetizer choices is a smoked duck breast and pork pate; outside-the-box entrees include a roasted pork loin, potato gnocchi, and red wine-braised beef short rib (breathe easy, there’s a free-range turkey breast too). Amid dessert classics like pumpkin cheesecake and pecan tart comes an apple croustade and Grafton aged cheddar with pear butter and raisin bread. 617-723-7575. 1–10pm.
Price: $63, $95 with wine pairings
Keep it simple and keep it lively. Chef Ignacio Lopez tweaks tradition with starters like roasted tomato soup and tuna tartare before moving on to hearty entrees: rack of lamb and roast prime rib of beef (as well as turkey, of course). He also pleases veggie palates with not one, but two entrees: a vegetarian Thanksgiving plate (roasted vegetables, mushroom and leek stuffing, parsnip mashed potatoes, fresh cranberry sauce, herbed gravy) and a Thanksgiving bowl Azteca (adobo-spiced quinoa, tomatillo salsa, fresh corn, squash, green beans, avocado, baby spinach, choice of vegan, roasted shrimp or Faroe Island salmon). Live bluegrass and country through the day will nicely complement the steady flow of champagne cocktails (Domaine Chandon is sponsoring the day). 617-499-0001. 11am-10pm.
Price: à la carte
For those who prefer casual holiday dining with a side of live jazz, head to the South End for a high-energy, stress-free meal. The three-course menu offers a wide variety of options, from lobster chowder and foie gras au torchon to roasted organic turkey (duh), New York strip roast, and Maine halibut. Vegetarians will bow before the entree of caramelized onion and apple stuffing, country mashed potatoes, glazed baby carrots, green bean casserole, fresh cranberry sauce, and herbed gravy. The pies stay classic (apple, pumpkin, flourless chocolate), and if you stick around long enough you can order a late-night snack off the leftovers menu, which includes crab croquettes and a turkey melt. 617-423-0069. 11am–10pm; leftovers menu 10pm-midnight.
It’s a buffet kind of day in the Café, with a lobster- and oyster-laden raw bar; a separate smoked salmon station; a main carving station with ham, turkey, and prime rib; and a cornucopia of traditional sides like roasted carrots, mashed rutabaga, creamed pearl onions, and chestnut stuffing. Once you can roll yourself away from the table, you can head back for a dessert of pie, cheeses, or fruit (or all three). 617-598-5255. Seatings at 11am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 2pm.
Price: $85, children $42
What better way to honor the venerable restaurant’s 40th anniversary than by partaking in an epic holiday spread? The three-course prix fixe meal begins with appetizers like foraged mushroom risotto and shrimp cocktail. Entrees run the gamut, from the classic roast turkey breast with confit turkey stuffing to the New Zealand venison; pescatarians will feast on either seared Maine salmon or Scituate scallops. Desserts get surprisingly creative: blood orange curd, Taza mudslide tart, pumpkin swirl cheesecake. Half- or full-glass wine pairings are available for all three courses. 617-868-2255. 11:30am-8pm.
Price: $68, children 12 and under $25
Other restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner
Bistro du Midi (Back Bay), three-course dinner $68, children under 12 $29; 1-8pm. 272 Boylston St (617-426-7878).
Boston Chops (South End), three-course dinner, $49, plus à la carte options; noon–8pm. 1375 Washington St (617-227-5011).
Deuxave (Back Bay), three-course dinner, $85; noon–8pm. 371 Commonwealth Ave (617-517-5915).
Eastern Standard (Kenmore Square), three-course dinner $65; 1-8pm. 528 Commonwealth Ave (617-532-9100).
Fairsted Kitchen (Washington Square), Tom Package $150 (serves 2–3); 11am–7pm. 1704 Beacon St, Brookline (617-396-8752).
M.C. Spiedo (Seaport), five-course dinner $56, plus à la carte options; 1–6pm. 606 Congress St (617-476-5606).