Best Bites Blog
Christmas in Washington Restaurant Dining Guide
Christmas is a time to celebrate with a special dinner, and in case you’re not up for going all out at home, many restaurants in Washington serve festive meals. While some places offer their regular menus, others are preparing special holiday feasts. Try
1789 (1226 36th St., NW; 202-965-1789). This Washington institution will transform its six dining rooms into elegant Christmas parlors, complete with antique toys, candles, and carolers. While the restaurant is already booked for Christmas Eve and will be closed on Christmas, the festive atmosphere and cuisine will be available on other days as well. The decorations will be up from December 1 through January 6, and the restaurant will be offering a three-course, $40 prix-fixe menu. Executive chef Dan Giusti will present dishes such as rabbit terrine, North Atlantic skate wing, Muscovy duck-leg crepinette, and braised short ribs. Pastry chef Travis Olsen will provide a full selection of desserts. Available nightly.
2941 (2941 Fairview Park Dr., Falls Church; 703-270-1501). Celebrate the holidays with a festive four-course meal created by chef Bertrand Chemel. The dinner begins with a selection of three canapés, followed by appetizer choices such as a warm salsify velouté with fresh black truffles, sunchokes, and chives; yellowfin tuna tartar with celery salad and chives; Maine Peekytoe crab salad served with a tangerine gelée, Tasmanian black pepper, and basil; and seared Hudson Valley foie gras, persimmon confit, pain d’épice, and sunchokes. The middle course is homemade ricotta ravioli with Parmesan cheese and fresh black truffles. Main course options include a butter-poached lobster with savoy cabbage, Syrah sauce, and celery; roasted Chilean turbot, celery root, black trumpet mushrooms, and cipollini onion; a milk-fed-veal duo of braised cheeks, roasted loin, and white barley risotto; and beef tournados with baby carrots, truffle pomme purée, and Rossini sauce. For dessert, diners may choose an eggnog créme brulée with honey-roasted pears, and cognac ice cream; or a coffee moelleux with praline rice, Satusma tangerines, and Venezuelan-chocolate ice cream. $95.
Ardeo (3309 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-244-6750). Join Ardeo on Christmas Eve for a creative new American meal. Choose from a large array of dishes on the regular Ardeo menu, like the lamb loin carpaccio appetizer or a duck-two-ways entrée. In addition to the expansive menu, there are a few holiday specials. Begin the meal with Ahi-tuna tartare served with capers, olives, a quail egg, and petite greens. The special entrée is seared sea scallops served over corona beans with a citrus gremolata. 5:30 to 10:30 PM; Appetizers $8 to $16, entrées $12 to $26.
Art and Soul (415 New Jersey Ave., NW; 202-393-7777). For a southern-style Christmas, head to chef Art Smith’s new Capitol Hill restaurant for refined comfort cooking. On Christmas Eve, the regular menu will be available, as well as holiday specials that the chef is not releasing ahead of time. 5:30 to 10:30 PM.
Article One at Hyatt Regency Washington (400 New Jersey Ave., NW; 202-737-1234 ). On Christmas Day, visit Article One for a bountiful holiday buffet. Highlights include Chesapeake chowder, pomegranate-glazed duck and wild-rice salad, garlic mashed potatoes, and spiral-sliced ham with roasted fruit. 1 to 8 PM; $35 adults, $29 seniors over age 62, $17.50 ages five to 12, children under five are free.
Bistro Bis (15 E St., NW; 202-661-2700). This French dining room will be open on Christmas Eve, providing guests with items from the regular menu, as well as two appetizers, two entrées, and one dessert special in honor of the holiday, although specific options have not been decide yet. Open until 8 PM.
Blue Duck Tavern (1201 24th St. NW; 202-419-6755). The regular American-inspired à la carte menu will be available on Christmas Eve at this contemporary neighborhood restaurant from 5:30 to 10:30 PM. On Christmas Day, executive chef Brian McBride and chef de cuisine Michale Santoro will cook brunch which a first course, entrée with sides, and dessert. The meal will be begin with an array of hors d’oeuvres alongside seasonal salads, meats, and smoked fish. Guests may select their entrée, and options include Christmas capon breast and ragout of leg; roasted Nantucket Bay scallops with carrots, raisins and argan oil; and a roasted lemon sole with black-trumpet-mushroom crust. The chefs will also present an assortment of side dishes showcasing produce from local farms, and homemade desserts will round out the meal. 10:30 AM to 3 PM; $85, $45 children between 6 and 12, children under six free.
Bourbon Steak (2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-944-2026). The latest outpost of award-winning chef Michael Mina’s restaurant empire is opening in the Four Seasons hotel right before Christmas. The fourth Bourbon Steak (and 16th Mina Group restaurant) will serve dinner on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day from the à la carte menu, in addition to a variety of Christmas specials. On the Christmas menu to start is a fresh-cracked Tarpon Springs, Florida, stone crab with Louie and mustard sauces, as well as an endive salad with Colston-Bassett stilton, pomegranates, and candied walnuts. Entrée special choices include a brown-butter-braised Maine lobster with acquerello carnaroli risotto and Périgord black truffles; butter-poached standing rib roast with a sweet-garlic crust and horseradish crème fraîche; or a Four Story Hill Farm goose with apple stuffing, glazed chestnuts, and a cranberry relish. For dessert, pastry chef Jerome Colin will feature a kuri-squash sticky-toffee pudding with butter-pecan ice cream, maple, and bourbon. 5:30 to 10:30 PM.
Brasserie Beck (1101 K St., NW; 202-408-1717). Beer specialist Bill Catron has added 18 Belgian holiday beers to the already-extensive beer list at this brasserie. According to Catron, Belgian holiday beers are higher in density and alcohol than American brews, but not as spice-heavy. A highlight is the Saint Bernadus Christmas Ale (750 ml for $29) that was just released this year by one of Belgium’s best breweries. Try some of these festive beers along with a Christmas Eve meal: The restaurant’s regular à la carte menu will be served on December 24, in addition to some Christmas specials designed by chef Robert Wiedmaier.
Cafe Milano (3251 Prospect St., NW; 202-333-6183). Cafe Milano is offering a special holiday menu this Christmas Eve, featuring upscale Italian dishes. The prix-fixe, six-course menu begins with a traditional Italian spumante toast. The first course is a salad of southern-Italian marinated vegetables, Gaeta olives, and marinated anchovy filets, served with pumpkin gnocchetti with mascarpone cheese and sage sauce. Next comes sautéed mussels in lemon and a white-wine broth, followed by a small taste of crispy cured codfish with crispy polenta-and-escarole salad. True to Italian meals, the spaghetti course comes next, with sautéed clams in a lightly spicy tomato sauce. For the next course, there’s a choice between a sautéed turbot filet over stewed Casteluccio lentils and herbs, or sautéed cured codfish in a tomato sauce with potato, baby leeks, and olives. The meal ends with a traditional panettone with white-chocolate-and-pumpkin tortino accompanied by a fruit coulis. Seatings at 6:30 and 9 PM; $79.
Carlyle Club (411 John Carlyle St., Alexandria; 703-548-3252). One 6 PM seating is available on Christmas Eve for a holiday dinner that harkens back to the 1930s. To start, diners choose either a shellfish consummé with smoked diver scallops, carrots, and celeraic or a warm butternut-squash salad with apples, seasonal greens, ricotta cheese, and balsamic dressing. The entrée course options are a traditional beef Wellington with foie gras and duxelle, alongside duchesse potatoes and asparagus; Roch hen with chestnut-cranberry stuffing; or sautéed Dover sole with tourné potatoes and capers. The dessert options are an espresso-and-white-chocolate crème brûlée, or molasses spice cake. 6 PM; $47, $23.50 children ages three to 12.
Corduroy (1122 9th St., NW; 202-589-0699). On Christmas Day, enjoy a three-course prix-fixe menu offering such holiday dishes as parsnip soup, Long Island striped bass with oyster-Kabocha sauce, roast lamb top sirloin over spinach parpadelle, and turkey with sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. The dessert selection ranges from pistachio bread pudding to vanilla-bean crème brûlée to house-made sorbet. 1 to 8 PM; $55 per person, $30 ages 12 and under.
Dino (3435 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-686-2966). Traditional American Christmas fare may include ham, but for Italians, fish is the center of the meal. Dino upholds the Italian tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, and from December 18 to December 24, this family-style, five-course dinner is available. The meal begins with two small canapés—fried salt cod with a spicy tomato sauce and a fried selection of calamari, anchovies, rock shrimp, and scallops. Next comes an Italian wedding soup with fishballs, followed by linguine with clams and mussels in a spicy, garlicky marinara sauce. For the secondi, Dino offers a whole fish for two people or more, and a fish wrapped in parchment paper. The fish feast ends with cookies and sweets. 5:30 to 9:30 PM; $49 per person, $20 for kids.
Famoso (5471 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 301-986-8785). Spotlighting cuisine from the gastronomically celebrated Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy, Famoso’s Christmas Eve menu offers salted codfish with onions and chickpeas in a fragrant rosemary-tomato sauce, cappelletti—a house-made pasta with ricotta and other cheeses—in capon broth, roasted turkey hen stuffed with veal, Italian sausage, boiled eggs, and chestnuts with gravy and butternut-squash-and-potato flan, and a dessert of panettone with orange cream and chocolate sauce. The regular à la carte menu will also be available. 5 to 11 PM; $60 per person.
Georgia Brown’s (950 15th St., NW; 202-393-4499). Christmas Eve marks the final day of “24 Days of Dining,” a prix-fixe, three-course menu—including a glass of wine—offered during the first 24 days of December for $24. Options include winter-corn pudding with tarragon-spiced lobster-and-mushroom sauté, braised short rib with a pinot-noir-and-fig sauce over blue cheese grits with baby carrots, veal meatloaf accented by black truffles and dried cranberries, and peanut-butter pie with chocolate ganache. 5 to 7 PM.
Fyve Restaurant Lounge (1250 S Hayes St., Arlington; 703-415-5000). On Christmas Eve, go for the five-course, prix-fixe dinner featuring foie gras two ways, mini ravioli stuffed with roasted veal, and roasted duck breast with fried croquette of duck confit. On Christmas Day, go for the Champagne brunch. Dinner 5:30 to 9 PM, $90 adults, $40 children, kids under three are free; brunch 10 to 2 PM, $90 adults, $40 children.
Hook (3241 M St., NW; 202-625-4488). Following the Italian Christmas Eve tradition, Hook offers a prix-fixe Feast of the Seven Fishes. Tastings of crudo will start the meal, with plates such as tuna tartar and a sturgeon rosette, followed by small entrée dishes such as poached lobster with scallop, fennel, beets, and wild mushrooms, and seared calamari with squid-ink gnocchi. 5 to 11 PM; $55 per person, or $90 per person with wine pairings.
Hudson Restaurant Lounge (2030 M St., NW; 202-872-8700). Chef Ryan Arnold is preparing three appetizer specials and three entrée specials, plus a special festive dessert, to serve in addition to the regular menu on Christmas Eve. The entrée choices include one fish item, one meat item, and one poultry item, and dessert is a hazelnut financier with a semifreddo with figs. Open until 10 PM.
IndeBleu (707 G St., NW; 202.333.2538). A three-course Christmas Eve dinner from chef Michael Hartzer features choices between roasted-chestnut-and-wild-mushroom soup, foie gras with duck confit, Kobe beef prime rib, spiced plum pudding, caramel-rum ice cream, and more. 5:30 to 9 PM; $45.
Inn at Little Washington (309 Middle St., Washington, Va.; 540-675-3800). Chef Patrick O’Connell has a number of holiday favorites in store for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that will be featured alongside his regular menu. Plates include a spruced-up turkey with oyster stuffing, glazed chestnuts, creamed peas, and cranberry-orange salsa, as well as a “lump of coal”—chilled foie gras rolled in black truffles. For dessert, guests can try a frozen-eggnog soufflé or house-made mincemeat bread pudding. Last seating at 8:15 PM both days.
Jackson 20 (480 King St., Alexandria; 703-842-2790). Located inside the new Hotel Monaco in Old Town, this upscale American restaurant is offering a prix-fixe, three-course menu on Christmas Eve featuring multiple fish courses. For starters, guests can choose from a calamari salad or fish stew, roasted salmon or seared rockfish for the main course, and cranberry pudding or eggnog for dessert. The regular à la cart menu will also be available. 5 to 7 PM; $55 for the prix-fixe meal.
Kemble Park Tavern (5125 MacArthur Blvd., NW; 202-966-5125). The dishes haven’t been finalized yet, but this Palisades restaurant will be offering special yuletide appetizers, entrées, and desserts on Christmas Eve, in addition to the full menu. 5 to 10 PM.
Morrison-Clark Historic Hotel and Restaurant (1015 L St., NW; 202-898-1200). The four-course holiday menu, available Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, at this Southern-style inn offers choices like a hearty caramelized-onion-and-sweet-potato soup, an arugula salad of figs and Parmesan cheese with Champagne vinaigrette, pan-seared rockfish with butternut-squash purée and wax beans, and pumpkin bread pudding topped with a cranberry-and-caramel sauce. 6 to 9 PM on Christmas Eve, 11:30 to 7 on Christmas day; $65 adults, $25 children under 12.
Oceanaire Seafood Room (1201 F St., NW; 202-347-2277). Chef Rob Klink is offering an ecofriendly spin on the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. The four-course menu will serve seven kinds of seafood—mussels, Australian barrumundi, oysters, crab, scallops, lobster, and striped bass—all farmed using sustainable practices. Each dish will be accented by local and seasonal ingredients, such as acorn-squash risotto and braised cabbage with house-made apple butter. The full dinner menu will also be available, and guests can order individual courses from the special menu. 11:30 to 8 PM; $55 per person.
Poste Moderne Brasserie (555 Eighth St., NW; 202-783-6060). At this upscale American brasserie in Penn Quarter, guests can enjoy the full menu in addition to a few special holiday plates on Christmas Eve. There’s a date pudding, hot chocolate with house-made marshmallows, and glögg—a Nordic mulled wine. 5 to 10 PM.
Restaurant 3 (2950 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington; 703-524-4440). Stop by this inviting Clarendon dining room on Christmas Eve for the delectable holiday specials. For starters and the main course, there’s braised pork belly slathered with a mulled-apple-cider glaze, crispy duck spring rolls, quail wrapped in bacon, a Macadamia-nut-encrusted ono served with prawns, and braised pork shank with beans and bacon jus. The full dinner menu will also be available. Seatings 5 to 8:30 PM.
Tabard Inn (1739 N St., NW; 202-785-1277). For Christmas Eve, executive chef Paul Pelt and pastry chef Huw Griffiths created a decadent four-course, prix-fixe menu. Starters include oxtail consommé, and duck-breast prosciutto wrapped around a roasted pear in a balsamic vinaigrette. For the main course, plates such as chestnut-and-sweet-potato agnolotti with black truffle, and suckling-pig roulade with bacon and cabbage, appeal to the holiday season. Choices for dessert include apple strudel with cinnamon ice cream and a mint-chocolate cheesecake. $50 from 3 to 5 PM, $65 from 5:30 to 8:30 PM.
The Grille at the Morrison House (116 South Alfred St., Alexandria; 703-838-8000). On Christmas Eve, this historic restaurant in Old Town will offer a special à la carte menu as well as the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Dishes include oysters with juniper air and apple caviar, red-wine braised monkfish tail, port snow cones, chocolate cake served with gingerbread, candy-cane gelato, and eggnog. A brunch with house-made beignets, banana pancakes, eggs Benedict, trout with fried green tomatoes, and more will be available on Christmas Day. Last seating at 8 PM on Christmas Eve, open 11 to 1 PM for Christmas Day brunch. The brunch items are at varying prices, whereas the Christmas Eve dinner is prix-fixe at $90 per person.
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→ Christmas in Washington Restaurant Dining Guide
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