Looking for a traditional Christmas meal – aka, the roast with the most – but without all the faff? Or perhaps turkey isn’t your thing, but you’d still like to dine out on 25 December? Time Out's Food Editors round up the best places to eat on Christmas Day 2017. Do you have suggestions for restaurants to eat on Christmas Day? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.
RECOMMENDED: Find more festive fun with our guide to Christmas in London
Central London restaurants open on Christmas Day
Venue says: “Enjoy our Taste of Summer menu exclusive three-course menu for £45, including canapés and a glass of Moët & Chandon”
The perennially-popular Michelin-starred D&D joint at Moorgate’s South Place Hotel is doing a turkey-less Christmas lunch for 2017 – mains comprise refined alternatives like dover sole with hand-rolled farfalle pasta or glazed Angus beef rib with truffle creamed potatos (plus a delectable sounding chcoclate with banana milk for pud). Three courses are £100 a head; seven courses, £150 a head.
Don’t expect to see Père Noël here, but between the warm tones of the dining room and the welcoming staff, this subterranean spot is still a classy place to dine on Christmas Day. Kick off with gin-cured salmon or white truffle risotto, before roast turkey, a duo of beef, seafood or – lucky vegetarians – homemade spaghetti with mushrooms, spinach, black truffle and parmesan. There’s no Xmas pud, but who cares when coconut joconde is available. Christmas meal for £88; under 13s have their own menu for £38.
Nuno Mendes’ evergreen celeb hotspot is one of the cooler central London joints opening its doors on Christmas day. For £125 per head, they’ll be dishing up an excellent soundingà la carte menu, with a mix of warming, wintery fare. Think starters of black truffle, champagne and chestnut or foie gras torchon, followed by mains of hay roasted organic turkey with all the trimmings, roast seabass with leek champagne beurre blanc or salt-baked parsnip gnocchi with kale (the Firehouse signature of crab donuts will be served as a snack too, natch).
When Parliament is in recess, this smart pan-Indian restaurant – a politicians’ favourite – can seem starched. But come Christmas, the large Grade II-listed Victorian edifice comes alive. This year, the £115 menu includes classic yuletide ingredients ranging from tandoori pheasant to South Indian-spiced goose breast (plus a punch aperitif). For afters, it has to be the garam masala-spiced Xmas pud with nutmeg custard. If you prefer to forget it’s Christmas, opt for the slow-braised lamb shoulder with saffron sauce.
Sighing with art deco elegance, this upmarket hotel is another addition to Corbin & King’s business interests, which include The Wolseley and The Delaunay among others. Diners can expect to find the full carte on offer for Christmas Day, alongside a ’special’ menu that includes roast turkey and Christmas pudding. Also expect a delicious variety of ’plats du jour', as well as American sandwiches and sides.
This City Indian opens its doors on Christmas Day, turning out a far from traditional four-course menu of spicy dishes (£85). Guests are greeted with a winterberry cocktail and the festivities continue with Keralan crab and coconut soup, kebabs or tandoori paneer before the main attraction arrives in the shape of Goan-spiced goose (or veggie koftas). Round things off with a fruit and nut pudding with rose custard.
This Soho all-dayer is always pretty buzzy, but its Georgian rooms are particularly suited for twinkly festive gatherings. At £100 a head, it’s at the pricier end of Christmas Day deals, but that includes a glass of champagne, coffee, mince pies and truffles to finish. In between, there’s a spread of classic British dishes – from duck and smoked eel terrine to tipsy trifle, via roast fillet of beef, organic Norfolk Bronze turkey and wild mushroom Wellington. Finish with a choice of British cheese with Eccles cakes, fruit cake and chutney.
The Galvin brothers – of Windows, La Chappelle and so on – were never going to do Christmas lunch a disservice. So it goes with their British restaurant at Mayfair’s high-luxe Athenaeum hotel. Chow down on canapes of smoked haddock browns or game sausage rolls, followed by starters of Orkney scallop ravioli or quail and potato presse. Then, pile into roast Norfolk turkey with all the trimmings, followed by a mound of Christmas pudding. Classic – and soporific – stuff. Christmas meal for £155.
Like its siblings in the Cubitt House group (including The Orange Public House & Hotel), The Grazing Goat is a determinedly upmarket gastropub. Located in posh Portman Village, their slap-up Christmas lunch (£85) starts with a glass of champers and concludes with a seasonal array of desserts: Xmas pud, baked Valrhona chocolate cheesecake, Bramley apple pie. In between, indulge in the delights of Jerusalem artichoke soup, followed by roast Berkshire venison or Castlemead turkey with all the extras.
You might think all your Joyeux Noëls have come at once if you’re lucky enough to snag a table for Christmas Day lunch at Hélène Darroze’s two-Michelin-starred enclave within the Connaught. Big bucks are required, but it’s worth parting with £295 for a superior six-course menu featuring the likes of Arnaud Tauzin capon with celeriac, black truffle and ‘albufera’ sauce. Dinner is a gentler £195 for five courses – although dipping into the heavyweight wine list will send the bill skywards anyway.
North London restaurants open on Christmas Day
This evergreen (and ever-so-popular) Hampstead Italian is eschewing the regular set menu approach taken by most restaurants open on Christmas Day. Instead, they’ll be offering their standard à la carte menu of Mediterranean grills, salads, pastas (plus a few seasonal specials) and so on. Which means you can get into the spirit of the day by scoffing down lasagne and wood-fired pizza. And that really is a welcome Christmas gift.
Venue says: “A trusted local gem: great food and drinks served in an iconic nineteenth century building with a grand interior.”
The menu at The Queens speaks of posh home cooking, from roast chestnut and shallot tarte tatin or smoked duck breast for starters, to Cropwell Bishop stilton or Xmas pud with brandy crème anglaise to finish. For the main event, veggies are offered chestnut and vegetable loaf, while everyone else gets to gorge on free-range Suffolk turkey with pork belly and herb stuffing. And what better place to toast the Queen than in the Queen's pub? Christmas meal for £80 (£25 for children).
Unlike Slade’s Noddy Holder, an upscale Italian restaurant might not scream ‘it’s Christmas’. But the gorgeous, rustic enclaves of D&D’s Francesco-Mazzei-helmed Islington joint Radici would make a comfortingly cosy home-from-home on the big day. The keenly priced menu (£55 with a glass of fizz), includes antipasto and timballo pie to share (plus panettone for afters), but there’s a slight Chrimbo concession in the shape of roast Italian turkey with pumpkin, lentils, cotechino sausage and candied fruit. Veggies and kids have their own menus.
What could be more seasonal than a yomp across Hampstead Heath before or after Christmas lunch at one of London’s oldest taverns? The five-course menu (£69.95) offers a variety of both festive and non-traditional options with starters including a white bean and truffle soup or pork, chicken and pistachio terrine. After a palate-cleansing mimosa sorbet, the mains are no less extravagant: choose between roast turkey breast with all the trimmings, nut roast or sea trout with king prawns and samphire butter. There’s also an equally festive kids’ menu at £21.95.
Housed in a magnificent Victorian pub (part of the Gordon Ramsay empire), this boutique hotel, bar and restaurant has pulled out the stops with their sparkly festive five-course menu (£115). Start with canapés before spooning up Jerusalem artichoke soup followed by dressed Scottish lobster or beef carpaccio. After that, the star turn is roast Norfolk Bronze turkey and a support cast of accompaniments; otherwise go off-piste with grilled sea bass with crab broth. Besides Xmas pudding, the truffled Tunworth cheese with quince jelly should fill any gaps.
East London restaurants open on Christmas Day
On the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, D&W offers stupendous views 24/7, and it naturally does the business on Christmas Day – at least from 11.30am to 4pm. The eclectic five-course menu (£85) opens with bacon-wrapped dates, chestnuts and Manchego ahead of caramelised celeriac and truffle soup; after that, the kitchen gives turkey the swerve in favour of slow-braised short-rib served with winter-warming turnip and green sauce. Veggies have their own line-up featuring Jerusalem artichoke ravioli, while events conclude with stilton, chocolate fondant and mince pies.
To avoid slaving over a hot oven come Christmas Day, head to The Hoxton hotel’s restaurant for an £82 blow-out. In addition to the usual suspects (chicken liver parfait, roast turkey plus trimmings, Christmas pud), you could open with gin- and dill-cured salmon, ahead of beef Wellington or cod with samphire, crab and saffron. Desserts are equally inviting, with caramel cheesecake and chocolate fondant alongside mince pies. Veggies get sweet potato and pumpkin pie.
If you fancy getting out for a pubby Christmas Day lunch in Limehouse, then Gordon Ramsay’s gussied-up Narrow by the banks of the Thames might fit the bill. It’s more restaurant than boozer these days, and you’ll need to shell out £90 for the five-course festive menu – although it’s bookended by complementary cocktails. Bronze turkey, rump of Welsh lamb and vegetarian Wellington are the centrepieces, with a sorbet and pre-dessert beefing up the flashy offer.
Want to escape all things Christmas, but still fancy eating well on December 25? Head to Tayyabs. It’s business as usual at this Whitechapel stalwart – the owners aren’t Christian, so there’s not a whiff of turkey in sight, just the usual roll call of good Punjabi curries and grills. The kebabs are fiendishly good, as is the chilli-spiked lamb served simmering in a karahi. In fact, it’s all excellent, and all preposterously cheap: for a supplement of £3, you also get a delicious selection of lassis and kulfi. Remember to bring your own booze as it’s unlicensed.
South London restaurants open on Christmas Day
As you might expect from a restaurant that champions all things British, this self-styled ‘chop house’ from D&D London makes a big splash at Christmas. Drop by for some festive victuals on the big day and you’ll be offered a three-course spread (£75) taking in everything from London oak-smoked salmon to Christmas pud via roast Watergate Farm turkey, beef sirloin or halibut with tartare hollandaise. Cheers!
Venue says: “Nestled on the first floor, Blueprint Café has magnificent views overlooking Tower Bridge and the City to the west.”
On Christmas Day the Design Museum will be closed, so those of you taking a trip to its rooftop restaurant will get the place to yourselves – no students, no tourists, no corporate suits. Request a window seat (which costs extra) and drink in the views of Tower Bridge and the Thames. Alongside the more traditional classics (prawn cocktail, stuffed turkey, Xmas pud), you’ll find beetroot and goats’ cheese salad, honey-glazed pork belly and vanilla pannacotta. Best of all, at £50 per person, it’s pretty damn affordable.
The old ‘Dog’ (as it’s known locally in leafy Dulwich) was rescued from the brink of extinction in 2014 – so that’s one more reason to celebrate Yuletide with gusto. On Christmas Day that means a slap-up five-course menu (£69.95) offering the likes of mushrooms and Stilton in puff pastry, roast turkey breast, a duo of lamb with Madeira and Christmas pud, interspersed with a sorbet and pre-dessert. Kids have their own three-course menu (£21.95).
Stepping out for a bracing walk after your Christmas meal is, frankly, genius. Not only can you breathe crisp winter air, but you can convince yourself you'll burn enough calories to justify that extra roast spud. So, the Hope pub is ideal, given its location smack-bang opposite Wandsworth Common. The festive menu keeps it simple but interesting, from Devon crab with avocado or white bean and truffle soup to mains of beef sirloin, nut roast or turkey breast. Five courses for £64.95.
Venue says: “Le Pont de la Tour’s sommelier team oversees an impressive collection of old and new world wines, including legendary maisons.”
Work up an appetite by taking a riverside stroll, before heading off for lunch at this elegant Tower Bridge classic. The food comes with a French accent throughout the year, and the kitchen isn’t about to change its spots just because it’s Christmas: turkey is given the full Gallic treatment as a swanky ballotine with wild mushrooms, Madeira sauce, potato terrine and Jerusalem artichoke velouté, while Christmas pud gives way to a chocolate and caramel delight. Five courses, £100 per person.
The name may have you humming a famous nursery rhyme, but carols and other seasonal ditties might seem more apt if you’re repairing to this Waterloo boozer on Christmas Day. Lunch kicks off with a glass of Prosecco, ahead of a parade of fancy dishes such as crab thermidor and cider-braised pork belly – although the centrepiece is a prized collation involving crown of turkey, honey-glazed gammon, seared goose breast and more besides. Four courses £65 (kids £40).
Famous for its huge beer garden and big-screen sporting action, this gentrified Peckham watering hole also pulls out all the stops at Christmas. An ambitious three-course menu (£65) moves from smoked chicken, bacon and leek terrine with date chutney to Christmas pud with brandy-butter ice cream, via roast turkey, aged rib-eye on the bone or sea bass with champagne sauce. Just add flutes of festive fizz and draughts of mulled wine.
Christmas lunch in a snazzy jet-setting hotel down by the South Bank waterfront is something a bit different, so enjoy the glitz and take full advantage of the Mondrian’s exclusive hospitality. Everyone is offered a glass of Laurent-Perrier fizz ahead of a four-course menu (£115) built around roast Norfolk turkey, fillet of British beef with bone-marrow gratin, cep gnocchi or turbot with cauliflower and champagne foam. To finish? Complimentary mince pies, of course.
Venue says: “Enjoy seasonal modern-British cooking under the direction of our respected executive chef Kim Woodward.”
Nostalgic, patriotic and a haven for tourists, Skylon takes its name from one of the original structures built for the 1951 Festival of Britain – although its cooking is in the present tense. Christmas Day is no exception, with an elaborate three-course menu (£110) offering the likes of spiced foie grass terrine with peanut crumble or turbot with poached white grapes, cauliflower and watercress emulsion alongside roast turkey, Christmas pudding and mince pies.
West London restaurants open on Christmas Day
Out of the same stable as The Thomas Cubitt and The Orange Public House & Hotel, this jazzed-up, on-trend boozer-cum-restaurant is an agreeable choice for a convivial Christmas lunch in Belgravia. Expect plenty of fancy tricks, from white onion soup topped with thyme puff pastry to roast turkey served with a leg croquette and swede fondant or Hebridean lamb with salt-baked celeriac. Three courses £85 (including a glass of Billecart-Salmon champagne).
If the cast of Made in Chelsea aren’t partying in the country, some of them might be seen lapping up Christmas lunch with the locals at this long-serving King’s Road hotspot. There’s plenty of excitement here, from Dorset crab with pickled fennel and crème fraîche to chocolate tart with gingerbread and clotted cream – although mains return to the classics (think roast turkey, beef bordelaise or sea bass with shellfish velouté). Three courses £100 (under-12s £45).
The wood-panelled dining room and mismatched chairs give a cosy feel, and on Christmas Day there’s a three-course menu. To start, choose between a trio of salmon, goats cheese croquettes, Jerusalem artichoke veloute and chicken liver and foie gras parfait. If you don’t want the roast turkey next, there’s pan fried sea bass fillet with lobster ravioli. Desserts are a choice between Christmas pud, sticky toffee pudding and more. £65 per person, or £30 for children under 10.
A good fit for the dapper denizens of W4, this jam-packed grand café, brasserie and art-deco bar is, not surprisingly, an all-round diamond at Christmas. The self-named ‘festive feast’ brings starters such as salmon carpaccio ahead of veal shank with polenta, Jerusalem artichoke risotto and, of course, roast turkey with all the trimmings. For afters, order Christmas pud or winter trifle. Three courses £65 (£75 with champagne).
Gordon Ramsay’s Battersea brasserie whisks diners back to the glory days of the 1990s, so why not cash in on his spiffingly served fare come Christmas. Sip a Drury Lane cocktail and nibble on trendy snacks before tackling the full works – perhaps wild mushroom and truffle velouté followed by venison terrine, roast turkey, Christmas pud and stilton. Wash it all down with a carafe or two of mulled wine. Four courses £100 (veggie menu £85).
As venues for alternative Christmas meals go, the restaurant on the tenth floor of the Royal Gardens Hotel is a strong option, offering stunning views of neighbouring Kensington Gardens. The standard Christmas Day menu offers seven delicious courses that includes pan fried king crab and yuzu citrus and lobster soup, to finish, spiced poached pineapple cake or passion fruit meringue with salted caramel ice cream. But if you’ve got the cash, go deluxe: an extra £33 or £60 buys you an additional course of half or whole Beijing duck. The set menu is £90 per person.
The beau flagship of the Cubitt House group, this splendidly reconfigured Georgian townhouse is custom-built for seasonal merrymaking and festive frolics. Leave the drinkers in the bar and head upstairs for a Christmas Day spread with bags of patriotic oomph: potted goose with pickled salsify; roast turkey with chestnuts; hake with dill mash and shrimps; Christmas pud with custard and whisky ice cream. Three courses £85 (including a glass of Billecart-Salmon champagne).
A popular neighbourhood bistro, with its retro prints and mirrors, Le Vacherin is filled with Chiswick’s spruce and moneyed troisième âge and is definitely a pricier destination for those looking for an elegant affair on Christmas Day. The offerings include scallops, roast turkey with all the trimmings and bread and butter pudding with mince pie ice cream. The evening menu is even more upmarket. Lunch is £30 per person, dinner is £39 per person.
Find more festive feasting options
Tapas Brindisa Soho
Decor at the Soho branch of Brindisa feels more than a little chain-like: understated and functional, with dark wood furnishings and deep red walls. But this is noticeable only during quiet periods, of which there are few, and is merely a backdrop to the consistently enticing and well-executed menu. A lunchtime ‘platter’ for two showcased what’s still great about Brindisa tapas, yielding a selection of well-balanced dishes featuring superb ingredients and demonstrating a pleasing avoidance of the standard-issue stodgy or deep-fried fare of many a tapas bar. Our seven dishes included excellent ham croquetas (smooth creamy filling with tender morsels of ham, encased in a crisp exterior); zesty leaves, flecked with walnuts and nutty manchego; and a round of morcilla topped with sweet caramelised onions and roasted peppers. This added up to generous amount of food, and an extra dish of lightly fried monte enebro cheese drizzled with honey was superb, but entirely superfluous. Brindisa deserves its continuous footfall and always seems to come up with the goods, be it for an informal lunch or a smart dinner date.
Venue says: “Gin o'clock! Any of our perfect serves and a nibble for just £8.50 (Sun-Thu, 4.30-6.30pm). We are in the heart of Soho and open till late.”