‘Tis the season to be jolly. In our book, that means sparing ourselves the dishes and dining out. A lot. Since we love reveling in the Christmas spirit, we point our proverbial sleighs toward eateries that are equally excited (and wear that excitement if not on their sleeves than everywhere else!). From festive decorations and visits from Santa himself to special menus and live caroling, here are seven top holiday restaurants that truly deck the halls.
1789, Washington, D.C.
The staff doesn’t hold back when decorating this Federal-era home turned restaurant in historic Georgetown. Every room is festooned with lights, wreaths, garlands, and festive glass balls. Dinner comes with a side of caroling. The Washington Men’s Camerata visits the restaurant December 13th through 24th from 7-9 PM to sing a variety of holiday choral classics. Pro tip: Even if you were the star of your college a cappella group, you should keep quiet and let them perform. On Christmas Eve, guests will enjoy a beyond decadent a la carte dinner with foie gras torchon perked up with orange marmalade and pickled celery, coddled egg and lobster, and bucatini topped with Nantucket bay scallops (white truffles optional, but highly recommended).
Colicchio & Sons, New York, New York
Tom Colicchio and his team celebrate the season in a big way. Previously, they’ve decked out a tree in record decorations, blue lights, and miniature jukeboxes to pay homage to Elvis’ Christmas Album, which Colicchio’s father spun during the holiday season. The pastry team always outdoes themselves with extra delicious decorations. Last year, they created a gingerbread skyline of New York City topped off with Lady Liberty.
Arnaud’s, New Orleans, Louisiana
This Big Easy institution adorns its exterior with garlands and wreaths all twinkling with little white lights. From December 1st through 23rd, guests can choose the celebratory five-course Réveillon dinner ($49, not including tax and tip). Dishes include duck rillettes enlivened with caramelized onions, radishes, and cherry confit, Creole onion soup en croute, roasted Cornish game hen with mayhaw demi-glace, and a classic tarte tatin. Good times guaranteed.
Lafayette, Washington, D.C.
Perched on Lafayette Square across from the White House, this D.C. dining powerhouse offers a very merry buffet ($110 per adult, $52 for children 12 and under, not including tax and tip). Highlights include duck magret with a mélange of mushrooms, braised beef ravioli, and a raw bar boasting baby lobster, shrimp, and snow crab claws. Save room for an epic dessert selection from talented pastry chef Josh Short, such as peppermint white chocolate cheesecake, toasted walnut snowballs, bûche de Noël, smoked pecan brittle, cranberry panna cotta, and a heavenly host of holiday cookies.