Without fail, every year the holidays seem to creep up on us. Palm-tree-lined streets and pleasant temperatures make friends and families descend upon South Florida to escape the cold and enjoy a warm holiday retreat. Now, what to do with all of your holiday guests?
Many restaurants are typically closed on Christmas, but a good number are open and ready to entertain you and your family so you don't have to cook for a small army. So put on your best holiday attire and enjoy a special meal knowing your kitchen will remain clean.
As always, reservations are strongly suggested, and prices don't reflect taxes and gratuity unless specified.
The ocean-to-table restaurant Downtown Miami views is offering a prix-fixe brunch from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Christmas day. Enjoy the restaurant’s buffet-style menu priced at $75 per person ($35 for kids) featuring a variety of food stations. Expect a holiday menu including a DIY salad station featuring an array, an assorted cheese and charcuterie station, seafood station featuring shrimp cocktail, crab legs, tuna poke and mahi ceviche, carving stations showcasing prime rib, whole roast pork, and local organic roasted chicken and hot stations displaying fish dishes and exquisite sides. Visit www.area31restaurant.com for more information.
Come to Bagatelle Miami Beach for a festive Christmas Eve from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. The dinner special includes noisette de chevreuil, juniper seared venaison loin, caramelized sweet potato, black trumpet mushrooms, turnips, and brussel sprouts with a red currant venaison jus. Guests will be treated to holiday tunes by Vincent Daubas. For reservations contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-704-3900.
The Doral steakhouse offers a three-course Christmas blackboard menu ($65). Choose from an appetizer, entrée, sides, and dessert, or if you are not feeling the prix fixe, à la carte options are also available. For reservations, call 305-591-6066 or email email@example.com.
Bird & Bone
Enjoy a family-style, Southern-inspired meal this Christmas. Menu highlights include 3 jars: avocado, egg salad and whipped ricotta, served with heirloom corn chips, dry aged roast duck with pepper watermelon jam, sweet potato mash with maple bourbon butter, and fried apple hand pies ($65 per person)
15th & Vine at W Miami
Enjoy Christmas Eve dinner with views of downtown Miami. For $85 per person, enjoy a four-course selection dinner. Menu items include an amouse bousse of a kumomoto oyster with Osetra caviar, confit duck terrine, New York strip, pumpkin risotto and a South Florida favorite, key lime pie.
Beaker & Gray
Switch it up this holiday season with a Jewish-and-Chinese-inspired menu from executive chef Brian Nasajon. Guests will be treated to alternative holiday à la carte offerings such as General Tso’s chicken with pineapple and sweet 'n' sour sauce, potato latkes with charred scallion and horseradish cream, lo mein with juicy pork rib and stir-fry, and shakshuka with feta cheese and sourdough bread. Visit beakerandgray.com.
Bourbon Steak by Michael Mina
Located at Turnberry Isle, guests will enjoy a 3-course holiday menu on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day from 6 to 11pm for $95 per person. Choose from one appetizer, a wood-grilled prime cut or seafood entree accompanied by a trio of farm fresh side dishes and dessert. Members receive a 25% discount. For reservations, call (786) 279-6600.
Coquito A Christmas-inspired market menu is available for dinner on Christmas Eve at the Bulla locations in Coral Gables and Doral. The menu includes classic Latin dishes such as ensalada de pollo y gabon, croquetas, sopa de mariscos navideños, and a festive coquito cocktail. Dishes are à la carte and range from $10 to $34.
Hit Miami Beach for a meal playing off the Japanese tradition of fried chicken, champagne, and chocolate cake for Christmas. The Continental is serving a Korean fried chicken special with a green salad and a slice of millionaire's chocolate cake ($55). For reservations, call 305-604-2000.
DB Bistro Moderne
Celebrate Christmas Eve with executive chef Clark Bowen's four-course prix fixe ($80), featuring seasonal inspirations of lobster soup, diver sea scallops, duck breast, pork loin, and pompano. Pastry chef Saeko Nemoto will prepare variations of the classic bûche de noël and other holiday treats. Shareable options such as charcuterie, cheese, and a raw bar are available as add-ons to the prix fixe. Dinner service begins at 6 p.m., and the last seating is at 10. Visit dbbistro.com/miami.
Driftwood Room at Nautilus
Head to Driftwood Room for a Christmas-inspired brunch featuring traditional Sunday brunch items and special holiday additions ($49 per person). For reservations, call 305-503-5700 or book through OpenTable.
Enjoy a Latin-inspired Christmas Eve dinner ($50 per person) featuring a traditional caja china pig roast, along with other savory Latin dishes prepared by executive chef Adonay Tafur. Guests can spend the evening chilling in the grove — the Dutch’s outdoor area — enjoying board games, sipping coquito ($8), and enjoying live music by DJ Bre. Call 305-938-3111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hit up the Coral Gables eatery on Christmas Eve for Mañana Buena, a brunch highlighting typical Noche Buena flavors. Noche Buena is the traditional Spanish/Latin American Christmas Eve celebration in which family and friends gather to feast on roasted pig (lechon) and various sides. From 11 am to 3 pm Eating House will offer their usual brunch dishes as well as Mañana Buena brunch specials including, Porchetta Pan con Lechon, Vaca Frita Buns, Coquito Pancakes and $5.00 guava mimosas.
On Christmas Day, switch it up for an Italian Christmas, with an indulgent line-up of delicious homemade pastas for dinner. From 6 pm to 10 pm, enjoy $16 plates of some of the chef’s homemade Italian pastas and sauces including Pasta Carbonara, Pasta Pomodoro, Rigatoni Amatricana and Gnocchi a la Gorgonzola. The restaurant’s regular al la carte menu will be also be on offer. Call (305) 448-6524 or visit www.eatinghousemiami.com for more information.
Epicure Gourmet Market & Café
If you do have to cook and entertain, don't mess the kitchen too much. Stop by Epicure Gourmet Market & Café for holiday shopping made easy. The market offers premium caviar and champagne, a cheese department, sommelier-curated wine cellar, and an array of other items. Whole roasted turkeys ($199), spiral slices hams ($189) serving 10 are available with side dishes. Upgrade the dinner table with a prime filet mignon or prime rib roast dinners serving 8 ($359 each). Meals are available through January 3. Orders must be placed 2 days in advance. Miami Beach (305) 672-1861, Sunny Isles (305) 947-4581.
Il Mulino Sunny Isles
In the mood for brunch? Il Mulino at Acqualina Resort & Spa will host Sunday brunch Christmas Day from noon to 4 p.m. For $65 per person, enjoy traditional pasta, seafood, and omelet stations; a special honey-baked ham station; holiday-themed desserts; live Christmas music; and a visit from Santa for the kids and kids at heart. Bonus: The price includes brunch cocktails.
Izzy's Fish & Oyster
Izzy's Fish & Oyster will offer the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a long-standing Christmas Eve tradition for many Italians. Think items such as mussels, linguine with clams, New England oysters, and crab-stuffed lobster. The feast costs $65 per person or $100 per couple. Add wine pairings for an additional $25 each. For reservations, call 305-397-8843.
Jaya at the Setai
Jaya will serve its signature Christmas-themed buffet brunch with two seatings, at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. ($125 for adults and $63 for children). Get in the holiday spirit with live jazz featuring Christmas carols and an appearance from Santa Claus. The buffet offers traditional holiday fare as well as an extensive seafood display. Top favorites include truffle-roasted Murray's chicken, barbecued kurobuta Berkshire pork ribs, and Chinese dim sum. A variety of Asian-fusion dishes will also be featured, such as Indonesian beef rendang and traditional pad thai.
Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann
Savor the taste of South American flavors at the Christmas Day Asado from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.. The menu ($175 per person) will offer dishes such as lamb a la cruz using a traditional Argentinean preparation in which the meat is slowly braised over wood and served with a pomegranate gremolata sauce and salt-crusted Salmon with basil and caper aioli. For further information, contact reservations at 786-655-5600 or visit www.opentable.com.
For Christmas Eve, the Miami Beach eatery is offering diners a four-course chef's tasting menu in addition to its à la carte rustic Italian favorites. The feast will feature a variety of dishes in each course – served family style – for $55 per person, with an additional wine pairing for $28 per person. Specials, such as osso buco and whole roasted fish with white wine and cherry tomatoes, will also be available. For reservations, call 305-534-2124.
Pao by Paul Qui
Enjoy a culinary experience with ocean views at Pao by Paul Qui on Christmas Eve from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. and kick-off the holiday with a Filipino-inspired Noche Buena. The 4-course, family-style menu ($195 per person) evokes Chef Qui’s family recipes, with plates such as potato gnocchi with blood sausage and crispy pig ears, or wild mushroom rice served with a choice of duck breast, short rib asado or the daily catch. E-mail email@example.com for more information and reservations.
Pisco y Nazca
Christmas in Miami The Peruvian-style ceviche gastrobar is offering a special market menu for Christmas Eve, available for dinner at both locations. Dishes include ceviche tropical and arroz con pollo, and Christmas in Miami cocktail. Visit piscoynazca.com for more information.
For a less traditional Christmas brunch or dinner, head to Phuc Yea, the latest hot spot to hit MiMo. The Viet-Cajun restaurant will be open for both brunch and dinner. Try the Viet-Style dim sum brunch (with a rotation of about 2 dozen dishes sending them out of the kitchen fresh and piping hot. Since it is dim sum, plates are meant to be shared with friends and loved ones - perfect for the holiday. And, don't forget the bottomless boozy options, The regular a la carte menu will be available for dinner in the evening.
Quattro Gastronomia Italiana
This Northern Italian restaurant will serve its à la carte menu, with additional seasonal alba white truffle specials. Specials include fontina cheese fondue with a poached egg yolk and toasted biova croutons ($40), tartare of filet mignon, artichoke salad, and crispy Parmigiano-Reggiano ($45), tagliolini in Italian butter sauce ($85), risotto with Piemontese toma cheese ($85), thinly sliced beef tenderloin with sautéed porcini mushrooms ($95), and veal scaloppine with truffle butter sauce and truffle fries ($95). The restaurant will be open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and reservations will be taken from noon to 11:45 p.m. Call 305-531-4833 or visit quattromiami.com.
Scarpetta is offering a rustic yet elegant holiday meal with an ode to the Feast of the Seven Fishes from 6 to 11 p.m. Available Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the four-course prix fixe ($75 per person) features cioppino with mussels, clams, prawns, and shellfish brodo, followed by tagliatelle with lobster, crab, concentrated tomato, and pickled ramps; seared snapper with spiced fennel purée, fregola nero, and salsa verde; and, for dessert, salted caramel budino with rum chantilly and gingerbread. For reservations, call 877-326-7412.
StripSteak by Michael Mina
Feeling a steak for the holiday? The modern American steakhouse at the Fontainebleau is grilling up a three-course, holiday-inspired prix fixe ($75 per person) from 6 to 11 p.m. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Enjoy a first course of roasted baby beets with acacia honey vinaigrette, candied hazelnuts, blue cheese, balsamic, and watercress, followed by the main course of wood-grilled filet mignon with Malabar peppercorn, fingerling potato confit, and parsley mustard purée. Indulge your sweet tooth with a warm apple crumble with eggnog ice cream for a festive dessert. For reservations, call 877-326-7412.
Talde at The Confidante Miami Beach
This Christmas, celebrate with fresh Asian cuisine at Talde. Featuring select menu items including hot & sour soup, eggrolls, fried rice, kung pao beef, peking duck, and more. The Christmas meal does require a 2-person minimum at $49 per person.
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Vagabond Kitchen & Bar
Vagabond will be open for Christmas Eve, when chef Roberto Dubois will cook a four-course dinner for $69 per adult and $35 per child under 12. Expect foie gras, diver scallop gratin, sea bass, duck breast, and many other items. Vagabond's Christmas Day brunch will follow for $45 per adult and $35 per child; add bottomless mimosas and bellinis for $18 (two hours) or by the glass ($9). Start with oysters, then head to the omelet station, and finally taste a selection of ceviches. For reservations, call 786-409-5635 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Via Emilia 9
Keep it traditional with an Italian Christmas feast at Via Emilia 9 in South Beach. The charming eatery will turn out a five-course meal for $65. Chef Wendy Cacciator ialso offers catering. For more information about catering or private chef services, visit viaemilia9.com or call 786-216-7150.