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Pass the Cranberry Sauce … Off to Somebody Else: How Washington Restaurants Are Celebrating Thanksgiving

Make it a Thanksgiving out on the town—here’s what restaurants are serving up for Turkey Day.

>> Thanksgiving Guide 

Related: Turkey to Go: Where to Buy Take-Out Thanksgiving Dinners 

There’s something satisfying about preparing a Thanksgiving feast for an eager crowd of loved ones. But avoiding the inevitable scalding from the boiling sweet potatoes, the towers of dirty dishes, and your mother-in-law’s judgment might be worth the sacrifice. If you want to save yourself some sweat, dozens of area restaurants are stuffing their November 26 menus with traditional and not-so-traditional treats.


New chef Adam Longworth sets up a three-course American menu with a side of live jazz.

On the menu: Starters are king-crab risotto with black-trumpet mushrooms, squash, and wilted greens; grilled scallops with butternut-squash purée, grapes, and balsamic brown-butter; parsnip soup with duck confit and honey; baby-spinach salad with goat cheese and roasted pears; and baby-greens salad with dates, grapefruit, and caperberries.
Main courses include turkey breast with duck-confit stuffing, potato purée, and cranberry relish; grilled bronzino with olives and Chardonnay vinegar; braised short ribs with scalloped potatoes, horseradish, and chard; mushroom ravioli with goat cheese, cauliflower, and black truffle; roast pork chop with gnocchi, baby vegetables, and whole-grain-mustard butter; and salmon with roasted fennel, preserved lemon, and coffee/hazelnut vinaigrette.
When it’s available: 11 to 8.
What it costs: $45 per person.


A seasonal à la carte menu from Chef Daniel Giusti will be offered along with a more traditional three-course meal.

On the menu: The prix-fixe menu starts with a choice of pumpkin soup or bitter-greens-and-citrus salad. Next comes turkey with trimmings and dessert.
The à la carte menu breaks the mold with oyster-and-bacon gratin with salsify, Gruyère and brioche; sweet-potato gnocchi with walnuts, baby spinach, and ricotta salata; ham with roasted pineapple, cheddar casserole, and stewed mustard greens; and braised short ribs with honeyed parsnip purée, citrus baby carrots, and horseradish jus.
When it’s available: Noon to 9.
What it costs: The pre-fixe menu is $50, à la carte entrées are priced between $28 and $38.


Bertrand Chemel, this artful Falls Church dining room’s executive chef, sticks to the classics on his three-course prix-fixe menu.

On the menu: To start, choose from butternut-squash velouté with apple compote and cider gelée; Meyer-lemon crabcake with jumbo-lump and sweet crab and crunchy fennel salad; baby-beet salad with almond panna cotta and quince; green salad with cider vinaigrette; wild-mushroom risotto with foie gras; and hamachi with spicy lobster mayonnaise.
Main courses include Maple Lawn Farms turkey breast with wild-mushroom stuffing and sweet potatoes; chestnut raviolini with Burgundy truffle, Parmesan, and pancetta; and Madai snapper with potatoes rösti, lobster oil, caviar, and ginger beurre blanc; steamed striped bass with vermouth sauce and Burgundy truffle; duo of beef with basil pommes purée, salsify, and baby turnips.
Pastry Chef Anthony Chavez has dessert covered with apple pie; German chocolate parfait with coconut-milk jam; pecan soufflé glacé; flourless chocolate biscuit; and pumpkin pot de crème with gingerbread pudding, cranberry marmalade, and pumpkin-seed nougatine.
When it’s available: 11 to 8.
What it costs: $65 per person; $25 for children 12 and under.


This pretty Cleveland Park dining room is putting on a tradition-friendly three-course dinner.

On the menu: Appetizers are fennel-pollen-crusted ahi tuna with fennel purée and cara cara orange; butternut-squash soup with rye toasts and apple/rosemary preserve; grilled-calamari salad; gnocchi with chard, walnuts, and blue cheese; venison carpaccio with horseradish vinaigrette; and baby-spinach-and-frisée salad with fig dressing and goat cheese.
For the main course, choose from roasted pork loin with savoy cabbage, apple purée, and baby carrots; roasted turkey with chestnut-and-sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, and dried-cranberry gravy; salmon with sunchoke purée and root-vegetable hash; grilled lamb chop with succotash and cauliflower purée; grilled beef tenderloin with kale, sweet potatoes, and dried-pear relish.
Sweets include pumpkin bread pudding with crème anglaise; chocolate/date cake with cream-cheese gelato; espresso crème brûlée; and banana tarte tatin with banana gelato.
When it’s available: Noon to 8.
What it costs: $40 per person.
Art and Soul

Executive chef Travis Timberlake follows chef/owner Art Smith’s lead, creating a three-course feast (plus sides) with a Southern twist.

On the menu: Start off with buttermilk biscuits, cornbread, and deviled eggs. There’ll be carving stations with roast turkey, turkey gravy, and cranberry sauce; bourbon/maple-glazed ham with spicy whole-grain mustard and bourbon-maple sauce; and herb-roasted prime rib with fresh horseradish and beef jus ($10 supplement).
Sides include buttermilk-mashed potatoes; chicken-apple stuffing; spaghetti squash; green-bean casserole; and spicy collard greens. Anyone with room for dessert can choose from apple, pecan, or pumpkin pie or chocolate cake, all served à la mode. And just like a Thanksgiving at home, guests won’t leave empty handed: Each person will receive a special “leftover” sandwich with roast turkey, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise on white bread with sides of gravy and cranberry sauce to take home.
When it’s available: Seatings from 11 to 9.
What it costs: $55 per person; $25 for children aged six to 12.


A three-course prix-fixe dinner menu infused with French flavors.

On the menu: Starters include Jerusalem-artichoke velouté with black-truffle crème fraîche; beet salad with blue cheese, candied walnuts, and walnut vinaigrette; country pâté with condiments; and butternut-squash ravioli and sage-brown butter.
For round two, there’s duck-fat-poached breast of Guinea hen with cranberry chutney, chestnut/sweet-potato gratin, and sautéed greens; chateaubriand in a rosemary/sea-salt crust with Madeira sauce, cheddar mashed potatoes, wild mushrooms, and creamed spinach; pan-roasted striped bass with beurre rouge, roasted squash, and root vegetables. Vegetarian options will also be available upon request.
Dessert is a choice of pumpkin cheesecake, apple streusel, and Manjari-chocolate-truffle cake. An additional cheese course can be added for $9
When it’s available: 5:30 to 10.
What it costs: $49 per person.

Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca (info)

Bibiana has canceled their Thanksgiving dinner.

A three-course prix-fixe menu with Italian flair is the plan at this sleek new Penn Quarter restaurant.

On the menu: Begin with chestnut soup with sausage and grappa cream; or Adriatic fisherman’s cuttlefish stew with chickpea purée and parsley.
Entrées include butternut-squash ravioli with brown butter and sage; duo of turkey with free-range turkey, potato mousseline, and “financier” stuffing.  
Desserts are roasted caramel apple or roasted-butternut-squash-and-robiolita cheesecake with a pistachio crust and amaretto anglaise.
When it’s available: Noon to 8.
What it costs: $45 per person.

Blue Duck Tavern

Regional farms will provide the ingredients for this prix-fixe brunch.

On the menu: The meal includes a first course, an entrée with sides, and dessert. It’ll start with a spread of hors d’oeuvres and seasonal salads.
Main courses include free-range organic turkey with giblet gravy; Steelhead trout with parsley root and juniper oil; and roasted diver scallops with shaved fennel and anise.
For sides, look for chanterelle-pear-and-croissant stuffing; cornbread pudding; cranberry-and-orange sauce, and sweet-potato gratin.
Apple pie with vanilla ice cream is dessert.
When it’s available: 10:30 to 3:30.
What it costs: $85 per person; $42.50 for children six to 12.

The Bombay Club

In the mood for Indian? Head to this downtown power dining room, which is serving a tandoori turkey special ($16) from 11:30 to 2:30.

Bourbon Steak

Thanksgiving gets an upscale gloss at this Michael Mina restaurant in the Georgetown Four Seasons, which is serving an à la carte menu.

On the menu: Starters include brown-butter-basted Maine lobster with Acquerello Carnaroli risotto and Perigord black truffle; roasted-chestnut soup with foie gras cromesquis and spiced marshmallows; and endive-and-Asian-pear salad with candied walnuts, pomegranate, and blue cheese.
For the main course, there’s salt-roasted prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, horseradish cream, and braised oxtail; glazed pork rack with mustard, fruit, and stuffed cabbage; and roasted Ayrshire Farm heirloom turkey with foie-gras stuffing, grilled turkey sausage, and cranberry-orange confit.
Desserts are a choice of kabocha-squash sticky toffee pudding with butter-pecan ice cream; apple confit with spiced-rum financier and goat’s-milk dulce de leche; and chocolate panna cotta with red-velvet cake, cocoa-nib ice cream, and crispy beets.
When it’s available: 6 to 10.
What it costs: Main courses, $32 to $44.

The three-course fixed-price menu at Robert Wiedmaier’s latest restaurant has plenty of hearty options.

On the menu: Start with a choice of mixed-greens salad with seasonal vegetables and lemon vinaigrette; duck-confit ravioli in creamy squash soup; or smoked salmon with potato blini, quail eggs, and crème fraîche.
Next comes a traditional turkey with sweet-potato purée, Brussels sprouts, cranberry relish, chestnut dressing, and giblet gravy; seared rockfish with gnocchi, baby artichokes, and wild mushrooms; and rib eye with mushrooms, potato purée, and bordelaise sauce.
For dessert, choose pumpkin pie with spiced crème fraîche; pecan tart with bourbon ice cream; or triple-chocolate-mousse terrine with burnt-orange/cardamom sauce
When it’s available: 2:30 to 7.
What it costs: $65 per person.
Charlie Palmer Steak

The upscale steakhouse near the Capitol is putting on a three-course prix-fixe menu.

On the menu: Appetizers include baby bibb lettuce with apple-smoked bacon and creamy cucumber dressing; roasted-butternut-squash ravioli with sage and prosciutto; seared diver sea scallops with foie gras and clementines; a tasting of sashimi with kampachi, yellow fin, and Atlantic fluke; grilled Hawaiian blue prawns with braised pork belly and sweet potato; and celery-root velouté with a capon dumpling and toasted hazelnuts.
For the main course, there’s filet mignon with roasted shallots; Kansas City rib eye with confit scallions; turkey with giblet gravy; pistachio-crusted venison with candied orange and cannellini-bean purée; pan-roasted black bass with grilled vegetable pâvé and tarragon emulsion; slow-braised short ribs with polenta and braised porcini jus; and roasted Muscovy duck breast with black figs and cauliflower. Traditional sides will be served family-style.
Desserts feature a tasting of sorbets and custards; chocolate/pecan torte with maple-bourbon ice cream; chocolate/peanut terrine with sweet cream and candied peanuts; pumpkin cheesecake with rum caramel and warm walnuts; and cider-poached lady apple with almond financier and Calvados ice cream.
When it’s available: 2 to 8:30.
What it costs: $65 per person; $18 for children under 12.


The British-inspired pub’s family-style specials are all about comfort.

On the menu: Begin with either soup or greens salad.
Main courses are roast turkey with cranberry sauce; or roast beef with shallot jus. Included are sides such as winter-squash gratin, collard greens, and two kinds of stuffing.
When it’s available: 1 to 8.
What it costs: $35 per person.


Chef Tom Power freshens up traditional dishes on his three-course dinner menu.

On the menu: Dinner starts with a choice of kabocha-squash soup; hearts of bibb lettuce salad with house-cured salmon; blue-crab blintz with chayote slaw; and seared sea scallops with turnip sauce.
In addition to roasted free-range turkey with sausage stuffing, giblet gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, and root-vegetable mash, guests can choose from crispy Long Island striped bass with clam sauce; peppered rare big eye tuna with sushi rice and hijiki; and Vande Rose prime beef striploin with rutabaga gratin.
For dessert, there’ll be homemade ice creams (which tend to be excellent here); kabocha-squash tart; raisin bread pudding; Michel’s chocolate-hazelnut bars; and apple tarte tatin.
There’s a $50 penalty per person for no-shows and cancellations after November 24.
When it’s available: 1 PM to 8 PM
What it costs: $55 per person; $30 for children under 12.


All nine Clyde’s locations will be offering up a traditional turkey dinner.

On the menu: Turkey with sage/sausage stuffing, green beans, whipped potatoes, glazed sweet potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce.  For dessert, there are apple, pecan pie, and pumpkin pies.
When it’s available: Hours vary by location.
What it costs: $24.95 for adults; $14.95 for children. Find out more here.

Fyve Restaurant Lounge

This dining room in the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City has three options for holiday diners.

A brunch ($70 per person; $35 for children under 12) will feature kettle-corn and cotton-candy stations plus buffets built on bales of hay. It’s available from 10:30 to 2.
A four-course dinner tasting menu ($68 per person; $30 for children under 12) will feature lobster bisque; foie-gras crème brûlée; roasted-turkey roulade with herb stuffing and cranberry/orange relish; petite filet and Maryland crabcake with potato purée and Brussels sprouts. That’s followed by a rainbow of cobblers such as apple-cranberry, sour-cherry, and roasted-pear. Seating begins at 5.

The Grille at Morrison House

Not into turkey? This Old Town dining room has both à la carte and tasting menus with options that go beyond the bird.

On the à la carte menu: Begin with a choice of apple-and-parsnip bisque with duck confit; oyster po’ boy with slaw; and Waldorf salad with celery aïoli.
Main courses include turkey roulade and turkey confit with cranberry chutney, pommes purée, brioche stuffing, sweet-potato “pie”, and sage-turkey gravy; rib eye with blue-cheese butter, onion rings, and a “loaded” potato; and pan-roasted rockfish with clams and chowder cream. There’ll also be a vegetarian option.
For dessert, there’s fall “caviar” with pumpkin blinis and crème fraîche; apple pie with caramel sauce and cider espuma; and pumpkin bread pudding with cinnamon ice cream.
On the five-course tasting menu: Apple-and-parsnip bisque with duck confit; oyster po’boy with slaw; rockfish with clams, fingerling potatoes, and chowder cream; turkey roulade and turkey-leg confit with cranberry chutney, pommes purée, brioche stuffing, sweet-potato “pie”, and sage-turkey gravy; Maple-syrup “caviar” with pumpkin blinis and crème fraîche.
On the children’s menu: Mixed fruit and berries, turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, and gravy; and chocolate-chip cookies and ice cream.
When it’s available: Noon to 6.
What it costs: Tasting menu is $85 per person; children’s menu is $30; à la carte main courses between $28 to $44 (for the turkey dinner).
Jackson 20

Comfort food is the focus of this Southern-accented restaurant’s three-course, family-style meal.

On the menu: Frisée salad with candied walnuts, goat cheese, and cranberry vinaigrette; butternut-squash soup with sherry gastrique; roasted turkey with collards, candied yams, and cornbread stuffing; and sweet-potato and pecan pies.
When it’s available: Noon to 8.
What it costs: $45 per person; $20 for children under 12, and free for children under six.

Legal Sea Foods

A banquet-style meal at all area locations will be surprisingly lacking in seafood.

On the menu: Slow-roasted turkey breast with sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, gravy, and cranberry sauce.
When it’s available: Noon to 9 at the Penn Quarter location; noon to 8 in Crystal City and Bethesda; 2 to 8 at Tysons Galleria.
What it costs: $21.95 per person.

The Majestic

Chef Shannon Overmiller’s family-style holiday dinner is being served all month.

On the menu: Stuffed turkey breast with cranberry sauce and gravy; whipped potatoes; creamy bean casserole; and pumpkin pie.
When it’s available: Through the end of November during regular dinner hours.
What it costs: $22 per person.
Navy Memorial

Active-duty sailors, marines, and coast guardsmen and women working here and away from their families can enjoy a free Thanksgiving dinner from 11 to 4.

The Oval Room

Chef Tony Conte is planning for a creative seasonal three-course meal with accents such as liquid gingerbread.

On the menu: Begin with autumn-vegetable salad with pomegranate and warm-bacon vinaigrette; and move onto charred-foie-gras ravioli with ice-wine reduction and liquid gingerbread; free-range turkey with chestnut stuffing and sweet-potato purée; and pork with cranberry-miso and salsify-and-celery gnocchi.
When it’s available: Noon to 8.
What it costs: $50 per person.


This hot Indian restaurant will serve its regular menu plus a special ($16) of pistachio-and-cranberry-stuffed turkey breast with saffron-and-cashew sauce, butternut-squash bharta, and chili Brussels sprouts. Seatings are between 11:30 and 2:30 and 5:30 and 10.


This Northern California-chic American restaurant is serving lunch and an early dinner.

On the menu: Start with shrimp cocktail; Caesar salad; or butternut-squash soup.
The main course is roasted turkey and baked ham served family-style with mashed potatoes, sweet-potato gratin, leek-and-brioche stuffing, and roasted vegetables.
Dessert is pumpkin or pecan pie.
When it’s available: Noon to 6.
What it costs: $59 per person; $29 for children under 12.
Restaurant 3

Diners here get three for the price of one when chef Brian Robinson takes on turducken (yep, that’s a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken) as part of his three-course, Southern-influenced prix-fixe menu.

On the menu: Start off with cornbread and sweet butter, then choose between butternut-squash soup and a green salad for an appetizer. For the main event, guests can choose between a traditional turkey dinner with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and vegetables; stuffed pork loin with apple/sausage stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, and green-bean casserole; Southern-fried catfish with Hoppin’ John and greens; and turducken with mashed potatoes and creamed corn.
A dessert bar with homemade pumpkin pie and apple cobbler will complete the meal.
When it’s available: 1 to 6.
What it costs: $33 per person.


Turkey is the recurring theme at chef Eric Ziebold’s Southern dining room in the Mandarin Oriental.

On the menu: Appetizers include grilled turkey heart; turkey-liver mousse; turkey rillettes; turkey gizzard with potato confit; and stuffed turkey neck.
The entrées feature more familiar turkey preparations, such as herb-roasted turkey breast; turkey breast with porcini mousse; turkey-leg confit; and braised turkey leg in red wine.
For sides, there’s cranberry sauce, oyster stuffing, chestnut stuffing, green-bean casserole, Brussels sprouts with bacon, sweet-potato purée with marshmallow, and mashed potatoes.
Desserts include pecan and pumpkin pies.
When it’s available: Noon to 8.
What it costs: Appetizers, $6 to $12; main courses, $17 to $23.

Vinifera (11750 Sunrise Valley Dr., Reston; 703-234-3550)

This vino-focused restaurant is serving a four-course set menu with the option of wine pairings.

On the menu: Start with butternut-squash soup with sun-dried-tomato pesto and toasted almonds; or wild-mushroom bisque with thyme and crème fraîche.
Next is a green salad with cucumber, beets, and oregano vinaigrette; or Caesar salad with croutons and oven-dried tomatoes.
The main course is roast turkey with pan gravy. Sides include stuffing with toasted Marcona almonds and sage; whipped Yukon Gold potatoes; and buttered turnips, cippolini onions, and baby beans.
Dessert is a choice of pumpkin pie, pecan pie, or warm apple crisp with vanilla ice cream.
When it’s available: 2 to 10.
What it costs: $42 per person; $20 for children under 12.

>> See the full Thanksgiving Guide 

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