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Garlic in oil at The Stinking Rose
Photograph: Yelp/Dinah K.

Where to eat Christmas dinner in San Francisco

Let the pros cook Christmas dinner for you at one of these top San Francisco restaurants open on Christmas Day

Written by
Shoshi Parks

You’ve decked the halls, bought gifts made in San Francisco and even chopped down your own Christmas tree. Next on the agenda: planning Christmas dinner. By which we mean making reservations at one of these restaurants open on Christmas Day and Eve. This Christmas, don’t let meal preparation get in the way of warm-and-fuzzy holiday time with friends and family. Instead, grab your loved ones—kids and all—and head to one of our favorite San Francisco restaurants serving up brunch, lunch and dinner on Christmas Day. Nibble on traditional holiday dishes at The Top of the Mark or The Cliff House or dig in to non-traditional fare at Fang and Campton Place. Whatever you choose, these 12 restaurants are ready to fulfill your Christmas wishes.

RECOMMENDED: Christmas in San Francisco guide

Christmas dinner in San Francisco

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Yerba Buena

CHOPPED champion chef Kathy Fang is keeping her Cantonese-fusion SoMa restaurant open on Christmas Day for a festive meal that goes beyond your typical holiday fare. Fill up on dim sum, traditional wok entrees like crispy honey chili short-ribs, pan-fried flounder with yellow curry sauce, and her family’s famous Nanking sesame chicken, and wash it all down with Chinese wines made from wheat and sorghum or rice and millet.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • North Beach
  • price 3 of 4

Fior d’Italia's fresh, house-made pastas—we love dishes like pumpkin ravioli with pine nuts and sage and classic tagliatelle alla bolognese—will be available this Christmas along with enough steak, veal and game to put a smile on the face of even the most traditional Christmas dinner aficionados.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Yerba Buena

With ten years of Michelin stars under his belt, Luce chef Daniel Corey won’t lead you astray with his inventive, modern American cuisine on Christmas Day. Early diners will be treated to a brunch buffet between 11am and 2pm ($95 adults, $47.50 kids 4-12) offering everything from dim sum to omelettes. Between 5-9pm, the kitchen switches to a three-course meal of Christmasy favorites ($105 adults, $50 kids 4-12).

  • Restaurants
  • Union Square
  • price 4 of 4

Though this year’s Campton Place Christmas tasting menu is still under wraps, it’s sure to showcase holiday dishes alongside the restaurant’s typical South Asian-fusion fare (think scallops with dosa and kale thoviyal and slow-roasted lamb with kasundi, romano beans poriyal and turmeric yogurt). 

New Asia Restaurant

6. New Asia Restaurant

The New Asia Restaurant is this year’s venue for a long-standing SF tradition: Kung Pao Kosher Comedy. Christmas Day (and on December 23–24), New Asia will be serving a six-course set menu of Chinese favorites at 5pm ($72 per person) and a light cocktail menu of vegetarian dim sum at 8:30pm ($52 per person) while comedy headliner Carol Leifer, a former Seinfeld writer, brings down the house. 

  • Restaurants
  • Russian Hill

Pay homage to the humble garlic clove at The Stinking Rose this Christmas. As they do daily, North Beach’s long-standing Italian institution will be generously dousing dishes like boneless short ribs, roasted chicken, crab and meatloaf in pungent garlicky deliciousness. Wet your whistle with one of Dracula’s Happy Cocktails for a holiday mash-up of The Nightmare Before Christmas proportions.

  • Restaurants
  • Turkish
  • Mission

Mission restaurant Tuba will be serving authentic Turkish cuisine on Christmas with the same warmth and friendly service they offer all year long. Start your Mediterranean-inspired meal with dolmas and cevizli ezme, a dip made from walnuts, red pepper, tomato, garlic and olive oil, then move on to meaty kabobs or vegetarian musakka, eggplant stuffed with potatoes and zucchini and topped with cheese and bechamel, a delicious belly-warming gift that will make even Santa jealous.

  • Restaurants
  • North Beach

Tuscan staple Acquolina is a more casual dining option for Christmas Day. Share one of the eatery’s favorite pizzas (mozzarella, sausage, mushrooms and truffle cream, anyone?) or select from a variety of pastas, risotti or meat dishes like porchetta Romana (slow roasted rolled pork) or beef medalions in four cheese sauce for a hearty holiday escape to the Italian countryside.

  • Bars
  • Hotel bars
  • Nob Hill
  • price 3 of 4

They do the holidays right at Top of the Mark, the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins hotel’s penthouse restaurant with unbeatable panoramic city views. At both brunch (9:30am-1pm) and dinner (3-7pm), the restaurant will delight Christmas diners with an elaborate buffet full of roasted meats, dim sum and a raw bar (not to mention a Belgian waffle and omelette station at brunch and a pasta station at dinner) all laid out to the tunes of a live holiday pianist. $145 adults, $65 kids 4-12.

  • Things to do
  • Outer Richmond

San Francisco’s landmark institution the Cliff House is hosting a Christmas Day feast fit for kings. At the casual upstairs Bistro, breakfast and lunch will be served from the standard menu until 1:30pm followed by a special Christmas menu from 2:30-9:30pm. Downstairs, at the elegant Sutro’s, they’ll be serving off their yet-to-be-determined Christmas menu all day long. And don’t forget the Terrace Room’s Champagne Buffet! Seatings are available every two hours between 10:30am and 6:30pm ($75 adults, $37.50 kids under 12).

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • San Francisco
  • price 2 of 4

Established in 1861, this legendary seafood restaurant will be serving Christmas Day drinks from behind its original 150-year old wooden bar to pair with their classic seafood menu. Order up dishes like clams linguine, fresh fish prepared in one of five signature sauces or crab enchiladas for an old-school San Francisco-style holiday meal.

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