Looking for a traditional Christmas meal, but without all the faff? Or perhaps turkey isn’t your thing, but you’d still like to dine out on 25 December? The Time Out Food Editors round up the best places to eat on Christmas Day 2016. 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: “We are excited to launch our new menu on April 1 at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, based around dishes from the Loire Valley.”
Don’t expect to see Père Noël here, but between the warm tones of the dining room and the welcoming staff, this subterranean spot would be a classy place to dine on Christmas Day. Kick off with smoked salmon, truffle risotto or seared foie gras, followed by turkey, beef fillet, lobster or – lucky vegetarians – ricotta cavatelli, with mushrooms, black truffle and parmesan foam. There’s no Xmas pud, but who cares when the likes of coconut joconde is available. Christmas meal for £88.
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 range of dishes includes classic yuletide ingredients, from Tandoori pheasant to South Indian-spiced goose breast, and garam masala Christmas pudding. If you prefer to forget it’s Christmas, opt for the slow-braised lamb shoulder with saffron sauce. Christmas meal for £100.
This Indian restaurant in the City opens its doors on Christmas Day, turning out a far-from-traditional four-course menu of spicy dishes. Guests will be greeted with a Christmassy cocktail and the festivities will continue with chilli crab and coconut soup or cumin celeriac soup, kebabs or tandoori paneer and then – the main attraction - Goan-spiced goose (or veggie koftas). Finish things off with a fruit and nut pudding with rose custard. Christmas meal for £80.
This Soho all-dayer is always pretty buzzy, but its Georgian rooms are particularly suited for twinkly festive gatherings. It’s at the pricier end of Christmas Day meals, but this includes a glass of champagne, and 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. Turkey and Christmas pud are on offer for traditionalists. Finish the meal with a choice of either Cropwell Bishop Stilton or Lancashire Cheese.
Upmarket Beaumont Hotel sighs with art deco elegance and is another addition to Corbin & King’s business interests (which include The Wolseley and Delaunay). Diners can expect to find the full a la carte menu on offer for Christmas Day, alongside a 'special' which includes turkey. Expect too a delicious variety of 'plats du jour' as well as American sandwiches and side dishes.
Part of the Thomas Cubitt Group (like the Orange Public House & Hotel), the Grazing Goat is a similarly upmarket gastropub. Located in posh Portman Village, their slap-up Christmas meal starts with a glass of champers and concludes with a seasonal array of desserts: Xmas pud, baked pear with honey cake, and hot chocolate and almond pudding. In between, indulge in the delights of Jerusalem pumpkin soup, followed by Goosnargh turkey with all the extras. Christmas meal for £85.
Venue says: “Apple, caramel and walnut pie to share with vanilla ice cream. British Pie Week is the ultimate celebration of our love of pies.”
It’s hard to say which is more attractive at this gastropub-hotel overlooking a pretty square a short walk from the King’s Road: the airy series of rooms or the impeccably groomed regulars. Christmas Day starts on the modern edge: from venison croquettes to octopus carpaccio. Mains are far more tradtional, with turkey and game chips on the menu alongside jerusalem artichokes with mozzarella, red cabbage and pistachio granola. £85 per person.
If you are looking to break with tradition, this trendy bar-grill and coffee shop should tick the box. Run by the Soho House Group, it is housed within the Holborn branch of the Hoxton Hotel. Last year, the Christmas Day menu gave mainly Italian-style dishes a makeover with such numbers as beef crudo with rocket and parmesan. Thus year, it's open throughout the day with a family-style sharing menu available.
North London restaurants open on Christmas Day
This elegant modern French restaurant is staying Continental with its Christmas Day tasting menu. Start with cream du barry (cauliflower soup to you) followed by foie gras terrine and a half lobster with herb butter. The main event of poached turkey breast even comes with a truffle jus, while dessert chocolate tart with armagnac ice cream. Oh la la. Christmas meal for £85.
This stylish King's Cross venue is celebrating its very first Christmas with a luxe menu of Christmas treats with a glass of fizz on arrival. Find traditional smoked salmon dressed up with trout caviar, dill and pumpernickel and chicken liver parfait sexed up with tousted pecans and spiced pear chutney. The move on to turkey, beef, cod or a carrot and leek wellington. Pudding is looking a bit ridiculous, with a dark chocolate tart dressed with honeycomb and hazelnut cream. Or keep it real with Christmas pudding parfait. £75 per person.
What could be more seasonal than a yomp across Hampstead Heath before or after Christmas lunch at one of London’s oldest taverns. The three course menu offers a variety of both festive and non-traditional options with starters including a cream of truffle mushroom soup and pig and fig terrine. Separated from the starters with a champagne sorbet to cleanse the palate, the mains are no less extravagant: choose between roast turkey breast with all the trimmings and pan fried halibut with a crab crust. Plus, there's a kids menu (£25) that's just as festive. Five courses for £70.
Venue says: “Don't miss Camden's coolest winter pop-up, the Gingerbread Cabin, with gingerbread afternoon tea and delicious gingerbread cocktails.”
Housed in a magnificent Victorian pub (and part of the Gordon Ramsay empire), this boutique hotel, bar and restaurant has pulled out the stops with their sparkly festive five-course menu. Start with canapés before spooning up mushroom and truffle velouté, followed by poached lobster, venison tartare, and then the star act of roast turkey and its support cast of accompaniments. Besides Xmas pudding, the Valrhona chocolate bar looks set to fill any gaps. Christmas meal for £110.
The menu at the Queens speaks of posh home cooking, from warm winter salad or smoked goose breast for starters, to Cropwell Bishop stilton or Xmas pud with brandy crème anglaise to finish. For the main event, veggies are offered roast 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 Queens Pub? Christmas meal for £80.
East London restaurants open on Christmas Day
Sited on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, D&W offers stupendous views 24/7. The five-course modern European menu begins with bacon wrapped dates or crispy polenta, followed by roasted parsnip soup. The kitchen bravely gives turkey the swerve and plumps for slow braised short rib served with winter-warming turnip. For vegetarians, Jerusalem artichoke ravioli finished with caramelized cauliflower should do the business. Finish with Stilton, a chocolate fondant and mince pies. £85 per person.
To avoid slaving over a hot oven come Christmas Day, head to the Hoxton Hotel's restaurant. In addition to the usuals (pate, roast turkey plus trimmings), you could lead with pressed pumpkin and sweet potato soup, ahead of fillet of beef with truffle mash or sea bass with pearl barley risotto. Desserts are as inviting, with dark chocolate orange mousse alongside mince pies. Veggies are catered for, with roast butternut squash, wild rice and harissa. £80 per person.
Want to escape all things Christmas, but still looking to eat well on December 25? Head to Tayyabs. It’s business as usual at this Whitechapel stalwart (whose owners, as you may have guessed, aren’t Christian), with 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 supplement of £3, a delicious selection of lassis and kulfi is also available. Remember to bring your own booze as it’s unlicensed.
South London restaurants open on Christmas Day
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 sticks to simple flavours, from starters of chicken liver parfait or goats cheese souffle to main courses of roast rib of beef and pan-fried halibut, and roast turkey. Christmas meal for £60.
Venue says: “Enjoy our set menu offer for lunch and dinner – two courses at £20, three courses at £25.”
On Christmas Day the Design Museum will be closed, so those of you taking a trip to its rooftop restaurant will get the place all to yourselves – no students no tourists, no corparate suits. Request a window seat (which costs extra) and drink in the views of Tower Bridge and the Thames. Alongside the more traditional ingredients (prawn cocktail, turkey, Xmas pud), you’ll find deep fried duck egg with baby leeks for veggies. Best of all, at £45 per person, it's pretty damn affordable.
This popular neighbourhood local plates up a five-course meal for those wanting to stay out of the kitchen on Christmas Day. After a first course of ham hock croquant, savour the likes of salmon gravalax before heading to the big-hitter main courses. Non-turkey choices include braised ox cheek or, for the vegetarians among us, truffle potato gnocchi. Even the Christmas pudding gets a weighty flourish of brandy sauce and vanilla ice-cream whilst the praline mousse and cherry sorbet provides a less festive alternative. £67 per person.
West London restaurants open on Christmas Day
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 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 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
The Blues Kitchen Camden
This lively, contemporary bar-diner on the main Camden drag celebrates American musical heritage in song (live shows, DJs, free harmonica lessons), spirits and sustenance. The food is all-American in spirit and substance, with barbecue and burgers featuring prominently. Though you can, if you insist, order a 'superfood salad.' There are around 50 bourbons in a variety of categories, some used as bases for cocktails. Rarer types (Blanton’s Gold, Sazerac 18-Year-Old Rye, Woodford Reserve 1838 Sweet Mash) go for a tenner or more, but otherwise you’ll be paying £3.50 to £6. ‘America’s native spirit’ is how Kentucky bourbon is described, with Ancient Age and Evan Williams typical examples; Tennessee, ‘the first cousin of Kentucky’, is honoured with a full suit of Jack Daniel’s labels.