Food

The Best DC-Area Chinese Restaurants Open on Christmas Day

Our favorite spots for celebrating "Jewish Christmas" with dine-in, takeout, and delivery.

Queen's English is open for indoor and heated outdoor dining on Christmas. Photograph by Scott Suchman

These are some our absolute favorite Chinese restaurants around DC right now, all open for in-person dining (unless otherwise noted), takeout, and/or delivery on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. You’ll even find some options for outdoor Christmas dining since temperatures are forecast above 60 degrees. Merry Jewish Christmas!

Bob’s Shanghai soup dumplings. Photograph by Scott Suchman

A&J
4316 Markham St., Annandale, 703-813-8181; 1319 Rockville Pike, Rockville, 301-251-7878
These dim sum houses have a large, loyal following—so yes, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and go early (you can now also opt for carryout and order online). We love feasting on spicy wontons, dan-dan noodles, beef rolls, smashed cucumber salad, and spicy beef soup. It’s hard to go wrong, unless you under-order.  

Bob’s Shanghai 66
305 N. Washington St., Rockville; 301-251-6652
This longtime restaurant is known for ultra-flavorful soup dumplings—best enjoyed in the spacious dining room. The checklist menu of 100-plus Cantonese, Szechuan, and Taiwanese small plates can be intimidating to navigate, but you’ll feel like a pro ordering the fragrant cumin lamb and the spicy fried tofu. Order delivery here via GrubHub (for takeout, the restaurant is usually cashless). Note that holiday orders estimate 60-90 minute wait.

China Wok
8395 Leesburg Pike, Vienna; 703-893-4488
Focus on the Chinese menu at this strip mall spot near Tysons Corner—that’s where you’ll find the signature Peking duck, crunchy “kingdom” pork chops, and Hong Kong shrimp blitzed with green pepper, and Phoenix fish. We like to kick things off with a round of pork dumplings wrapped in house-made dough. The dining room is open, or you can order delivery and pickup online here.

City Lights of China DC and Bethesda
1731 Connecticut Ave.. NW; 4953 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda
There may be flashier Peking duck games in town, but the bird—half or whole—from these longtime Dupont and Bethesda restaurants is a sleeper hit. Other tasty items include the homemade dumplings, any crispy chicken dish, Shanghai noodles, moo shu, and beef with broccoli. Both are only open for takeout and delivery these days—including over the holidays.

Delicious dim sum at A&Jin Rockville. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Dolan Uyghur
3518 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-686-3941
Noodles are likely what will get you hooked on Uyghur cuisine, a crossroads of Middle Eastern and Chinese flavors from China’s Muslim minority. Chewy hand-pulled laghman noodles with stir-fried beef and vegetables are the signature attraction at this Cleveland Park dining room, while wider ribbons star in the “big plate chicken,” smothered in a spiced gravy with potatoes and peppers. Dine-in or order online here, as well as third-party platforms.

Fahrenheit Asian
1313 Dolley Madison Blvd., McLean; 703-646-8968
The perfect antidote to a wintery day: one of the bubbling cauldrons at this soup and noodle house. Order a signature hot pot  such as thin-sliced lamb and clams or spicy beef, all of which arrive on a fiery burner with house dipping sauces. We’re also partial to the searing ma po tofu.  Don’t leave without an order of homemade pork dumplings. Note: the dining area is small, though there’s outdoor seating (weather dependent). You can order online here.

Full Key
2227 University Blvd. W., Wheaton; 301-933-8388
It’s tempting to stick to the list of proven hits—say, the justly famous shrimp-dumpling soup—but this Hong Kong-style eatery is the sort of place where you can order with abandon. Other tasty options include pan-fried fish with ginger-scallion sauce, or a barbecue platter with roast duck, pork, and soy sauce chicken. Check out the menu here.

Peking duck.
Peking duck at Q by Peter Chang. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Great Wall Szechuan House
1527 14th St., NW; 202-797-8888
Warm up on Christmas Day with the fiery ma la menu from May Kuang and Yuan Chen’s takeout spot on 14th Street. Spicy wontons, ma po tofu in a searing gravy, and ma la pork chops are all winners. Can’t stand the heat? The varied menu also includes items for tamer palates like General Tso’s chicken, Singapore rice noodles, and Peking duck. Dine-in, takeout, and delivery from DoorDash and Uber Eats available.

Gourmet Inspirations
2646 University Blvd. W., Wheaton; 301-929-8818
This dim sum hall has gone into a new carryout mode in the pandemic—though they’re now offering limited dine-in service on weekends, meaning you can opt for either of Christmas Day. It’s easy to fill up on shrimp rice-noodle rolls, chive dumplings, spare ribs, and taro cakes, but you’ll also want to try tender braised beef tripe or sweetened custard-like tofu. If you go in person, get there early (open at 10:30 AM) or prepare to wait. You can order online here.

Holy Chow
1331 Lamberton Dr., Silver Spring; 301-649-5466
Christmas is like the Super Bowl for this Glatt Kosher-Chinese restaurant, the only one of its kind in the area. They’re currently taking advance takeout and delivery orders for “the big event” on Christmas Eve and Day. The classics are all here: egg rolls,  lo mein, kung pao, moo shu, and more. Order online here for pickup, while delivery is offered to specific neighborhoods.

Mark’s Duck House
6184-a Arlington Blvd, Falls Church; 703-532-2125
This storefront remains a standard-bearer of Hong Kong-style cooking, from Peking duck to lacquered roast pi. Don’t miss shrimp-and-pork wontons with vinegar and chili sauce, beautifully stir-fried greens, and steaming noodle soups. In addition to takeout, look for delivery via GrubHub and dine-in.

Panda Gourmet Cheap Eats 2016
A takeout spread from Panda Gourmet. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Panda Gourmet and Xi’an Gourmet
2700 New York Ave., NE; 202-534-1620; 316 N Washington St., Rockville; 240-660-2985
Szechuan heat-seekers have flocked to the DC flagship as well as newer sister restaurant Xi’an Gourmet in Rockville. Start a meal with noodles—we love the dan dan and chilled spicy noodles—before moving on to huge portions of fish filet with silky tofu and chilies, ma po tofu, and kung pao chicken. Order from Panda Gourmet here, and Xi’an Gourmet here (both are also open for indoor dining).

Peking Gourmet Inn
6029 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church; 703-671-8088
We love feasting on duck at this 42 year-old institution from restaurateur Eddie Tsui, which has lured a spectrum of celebrity guests from the Bushes to Ovechkin. The details make this bird stand out: house-made hoisin and fresh pancakes, local scallions, and servers who expertly hew the moist meat and crackling skin. Round out a festive meal with stellar plates like shrimp with garlic shoots.

Peter ChangMama Chang, Q by Peter Chang
Locations in Arlington, Rockville, Fredericksburg, Fairfax, and Bethesda
At his eponymous chain of Szechuan restaurants, chef Peter Chang specializes in airy scallion bubble pancakes, numbing stone-pot dishes, and dry-fried eggplant showered in chilies. Mama Chang, a family-run affair, pays tribute to the female chefs in his family with homestyle dishes and wonderful seasonal specials. Q by Peter Chang, his finer-dining Bethesda restaurant, is a must for Peking duck and dim sum. All are open for dine-in and to-go on Christmas Eve and Day. 

Mama Chang. Photo by Rey Lopez.

Queen’s English
3410 11th St., NW
Husband-and-wife owners chef Henji Cheung and Sarah Thompson are behind this stylish Columbia Heights spot, which now offers three styles of seating: dining room, chef’s counter, and heated/covered patio that’s also dog-friendly. Reservations for Christmas Eve and Day are available for all on Resy. An a la carte menu boasts plenty of splurges—dry-aged steak tartare, caviar service with scallion pancakes,  foie gras-chicken dumplings, and plenty of delicious natural wines and cocktails.

Shanghai Taste
1121 Nelson St., Rockville; 301-279-0806
Ultra-light soup dumplings are the draw at this bustling cafe. On weekends, the place serves up a delicious pan-fried version. Round out the meal with a salad of mustard greens and edamame, plus salt-baked ribs with noodle soup. Dine-in or call for takeout.

Tiger Fork
922 Blagden Alley, NW; 202-733-1152
The Shaw  hotspot is offering a takeout set menu for two (or more) on Christmas Day featuring standouts from chef Jong Son like smashed cucumber salad, seafood-fried rice, pan-fried noodles, a Hong Kong-style barbecue plate, and more ($75 per package, order via Tock). On Christmas Eve, the same menu is available for dine-in only (reservations via Resy).

Henan-style hand pulled noodles with lamb at Uncle Liu’s. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Uncle Liu’s
2972 Gallows Rd., Falls Church; 703-560-6868
Hot pot might be in this restaurant’s name, but it’s no longer the main attraction since the former owners of Tempt Asian in Alexandria took over. The best finds are concentrated under the “chef specialties” section of the menu—in particular, the handmade noodles, whether cumin-scented strands stir-fried with lamb and peppers or the wide, chili-oil-soaked ribbons in the “city large plate chicken.” They’re open for takeout and dine-in on Christmas.

Yunnan by the Potomac
814 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria
The cozy southwestern Chinese restaurant underwent a revamp during the pandemic, and now offers indoor and patio garden seating plus takeout and delivery. Yunnan native and co-owner Zongmin Li specializes in mixian (soft rice noodles) as well as creative dumplings (try the garlic-butter crab) and bao buns stuffed with crispy pork belly or fried chicken. Dishes are available for takeout and delivery (see here) and reservations for indoor and outdoor dining are available on Open Table.

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.