Where to Celebrate Christmas in Washington, D.C.
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Christmastime in Washington, D.C. is lovely and lively with wreath-trimmed streetlights, swanky cocktail parties at embassies, and the sparkling national Christmas tree shining like a welcoming beacon.
Views of The White House, Capitol, and monuments are spectacular dressed up in their holiday ribbons and finery, the lights on the bridges that span the Potomac cast millions of sparkling reflections on the river’s surface, and holiday concerts at The Kennedy Center are the soundtrack to the season’s festivities. It’s hard not get in the spirit, especially when it seems everyone has food, fun, parties, and nostalgia on their minds.
If you want to indulge in all of the feasting, and also wish to avoid the hassle of grocery shopping, cooking, and hosting, why not consider enjoying your big meal in the comfort of someone else’s dining room? We have put together a roundup of dinners and brunches in the District we think will put the ho-ho-ho in your holiday celebrations. Just remember, make your reservations early, because most restaurants’ guest lists fill up quickly.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, prices do not include beverages, tax, or gratuity. Please verify the menu and pricing when making your reservation.
Roof Terrace Restaurant
On December 13, 14, 20, and 21, Santa will be taking a short break from toy-making to brunch with his elves and some lucky boys and girls at Roof Terrace Restaurant. Santa and his guests will dine on made-to-order omelettes, fresh oysters, homemade scones, and baked goods, tender prime rib, and other gourmet specialties. Seating times: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; prix fixe price: $45 per adult, $20 per child ages 4-11. Reservations required.
Chef Robert Wiedmaier's French haute cuisine restaurant, Marcel's, will be serving exquisite dishes from its regular tasting menu for Christmas Eve. Stellar selections from this menu include bay scallop gateau with Pipe Dream chevre, potato, octopus, and chorizo sofrito, as well as boudin blanc served with celery root purée, chanterelle mushrooms, foie gras poultry jus, and summer truffle. Seating times: 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. Reservations required.
When you dine at Plume, it really is the most wonderful time of the year. This Christmas Eve, Plume will be serving a multi-course dinner menu featuring lovely dishes such as New England sole filet with baby brown shrimp, leek fondue, and sweet purple potato; roasted goose breast with chestnut purée, caramelized granny smith apple, sweet and sour cabbage, and a goose reduction, along with raspberry chocolate sablé dessert with milk chocolate tonka bean cremeux and blood orange emulsion. Seating times: 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; prix fixe price: $110 per adult, $45 per child for 12 and under. Reservations recommended.
In addition to the regular a la carte menu, executive chef of Ulah Bistro, Mehdi Lahlou, is offering a hearty, three-course prix fixe feast featuring standouts like burrata salad with cranberry vinaigrette, warm pear, frisée, and roasted hazelnuts; prime rib au jus with potatoes au gratin, Brussels sprouts, and horseradish demi-glace, and lobster pot pie with Spanish chorizo and garbanzo beans. For a sweet finish, guests can choose either a strawberry tart with aged balsamic reduction and mascarpone, or apple tart with cinnamon gelato and salted caramel. Seating times: 4:00 p.m. to 12 midnight; prix fixe price: $40 per person, which includes a complimentary glass of Champagne to toast the holiday season. Reservations recommended.
Those looking for a non-traditional meal are encouraged to head to Chevy Chase and sample the fantastic sushi prepared by Piter Tjan and Handry Tjan, a brother/executive chef team that will knock your socks off with the variety of traditional and new wave dishes they offer at Sushiko. Guests can sample seared lobster and scallops with sautéed spinach, enoki, and creamy ponzu; smoked mussel miso soup with fried eggplant and enoki; Brussels sprouts with soy-caramel and ichimi togarashi, as well as other sushi and nigiri. Seating times: 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; prices range from $3 to $40 for sushi, $5 to $17 for sharing plates, and $18 to $27 for entrées. Reservations recommended.
Blue Duck Tavern
In the Park Hyatt Hotel, Blue Duck Tavern will offer an a la carte dinner prepared by executive chef Ryan LaRoche and chef de cuisine Brad Deboy. Their menu includes a variety of specials sourced from local farms, and pastry chef Naomi Gallego will tempt tots and adults alike with her delicious holiday desserts. Seating times: 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Reservations recommended.
Located in the dining hub of 14th Street, Lupo Verde’s chef de cuisine, Domenico Apollaro, is offering a traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes featuring seafood and pasta dishes such as fresh swordfish crudo with radicchio, blueberry, burrata, and fennel oil; breaded cod with rapini, sweet pepper, and white wine, and squid ink ravioli with fresh prawns, chickpea purée, and black olives. For dessert, guests will enjoy cuore di panettone with warm cream, chocolate, and torrone irpino. Seating times: 5 to 11 p.m.; prix fixe price: $85 per person. Reservations recommended.
Bibiana will also offer guests a traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes including grilled eel with onion compote and red wine vinaigrette; fried shrimp with calamari, smelts, oysters, cauliflower, and lemon, and black spaghetti with Catalina Island sea urchin with “aglio, olio, e peperoncino.” Dessert will be Amalfi Coast sponge cake filled with lemon cream, and a limited a la carte menu will also be available. Seating times: 5 to 9:30 p.m.; prix fixe price: $65 per person. Reservations recommended.
The Willard Room
For a truly historic setting, The Willard Room is perfect for your Christmas Day brunch. They will be offering a full breakfast and dinner buffet that includes a seafood bar, omelettes made to order, desserts and baked goods, and much more. Four seating times: 11:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.; prix fixe price: $99 per adult, $35 for children ages five through 12, and children under 4 years old dine free. Reservations recommended.
Celebrate Christmas Day with one of the original farm-to-table pioneers: Founding Farmers. They will be serving their regular brunch and dinner menu so you can order some of the D.C. crowd’s favorites like Uncle Buck’s beignets with choice of raspberry, chocolate, or caramel sauce; slow-braised beef short ribs, or lobster mac-n-cheese. Seating times: 11:45 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Reservations highly recommended, but they will take walk-ins.
Want to dine in, but avoid the messy prep and cleanup? Consider take away instead. Read our Take-Out Christmas Dinners story.
Summer Whitford is the D.C. City Guide Editor for The Daily Meal and the DC Wine Examiner. You can follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva.