15 places to eat on Christmas
Whether you are full to the brim with syrupy-sweet Christmas cheer or prefer to spend the 25th of December bitterly downing brews with your non-observing brethren, there is a place for you here. Most of Boston shuts down as many the newfound urbanites schlep it back to the suburban kitchens they came from, but there are a few brave and sympathetic establishments that leave their doors open, grills fired up and taps flowing for both the pious and the just plain hungry holiday stragglers.
Chef Mark Sapienza will treat you right on this merry day by whipping up a prix fixe multi-course meal to please every palate (we all know spice crusted duck breast was on your Christmas list). The space is cavernous yet cozy, with just enough swank to warrant the wearing of your holiday heels and fancy pants. 6pm–8pm; $65 for adults, $30 for children (free under 4). 250 Franklin St, Financial District, Boston (617-956-8765, bondboston.com)
Of course Bukowski (the Cambridge locale only) is open on Christmas. The Bard of Booze wouldn’t have it any other way. Is there a better place to curse festive cheer and drown your suppressed sorrows than in the namesake bar of our favorite misanthropic literary drunkard? We think not.
1281 Cambridge St, Inman Square, Cambridge (617-497-7077)
For an extensive and absurdly New England Christmas brunch, do yourself a favor and pay your respects to Café Fleuri. The impressive spread will feature every appropriately decadent food imaginable—pies, wintry root vegetables, made-to-order omelettes and waffles, a carving station and a seafood stop. Basically, ask Santa for a bigger belt. 6pm–8pm; $70 for adults, $35 for children (free under 4). 250 Franklin St, Financial District, Boston (617-956-8751, boston.langhamhotels.com)
This luxurious restaurant in the Liberty Hotel will offer an a la carte Christmas dinner with some fittingly festive—and very old-school hunter—options. Vermont pheasant with chestnuts? Elk chop with butternut squash spaetzle? Why not? For extra holiday cheer, grab a cocktail out on the cushy furniture in the hotel lobby and admire the inverted Christmas trees suspended from the ceiling. 3pm–9pm. 215 Charles St, Beacon Hill, Boston (617-224-4004, clinkrestaurant.com)
If you’re going to be drinking in a bar on Christmas, do it in style. Deep Ellum pulls through when it counts by opening their doors for the Lonely Hearts Club on Christmas night. The dark brick-and-wood space and some seriously well-crafted cocktails can undo a lot of mental damage accrued from a day spent with family. Open at 5pm. 477 Cambridge St, Allston (617-787-2337, deepellum-boston.com)
ES never fails to impress, and Christmas is just another excuse to take dinner to a new level. A customizable menu will feature seasonal choices like smoked venison sausage and grilled Christmas goose. Someone alert Tiny Tim. 1pm–8pm; $55 per person. 528 Commonwealth Ave, Kenmore Square, Boston (617-532-9100, easternstandardboston.com)
The Fireplace Restaurant
If the cozy décor and holiday menu of the Fireplace doesn’t warm your spirits, their namesake centerpiece will at least warm your frostbitten extremities. Menu options include lobster mac and cheese, a so-called "Treat Yourself Tower” made from tiers of fresh local shellfish, and filet mignon steak bites are among the many tasty options. noon–9pm. 1634 Beacon St, Brookline (617-975-1900, fireplacerest.com)
Because hip hobos love tasty craft beers almost as much as they hate Christmas cheer. The Hobo does rock the festive red walls, though. 10am–2am. 92 Hampshire St, Inman Square, Cambridge (617-250-8454, lordhobo.com)
If too many options overwhelm you, sit down at the W Hotel’s Market for a down-to-business three-course holiday meal. Start with pear, frisée and apple salad with goat cheese and walnut vinaigrette. Follow with tenderloin of beef and roasted Brussels sprouts and finish strong with warm chocolate cake and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 5pm–9pm; $42 per person. 120 Water St, Theater District, Boston (617-367-0658, mktboston.com)
Spend your Christmas Eve in this cozy neighborhood spot, named for the hangout pub of choice on Three’s Company. You can grab food both homey (roasted half chicken) or pubby (fish and chip sliders), depending on your mood. Maybe Larry’ll burst in and keep you company with dirty jokes.
11am–1am; dinner 5pm–11pm. 308 Harvard St, Coolidge Corner, Brookline (617-739-5151, thebeaglebrookline.com)
The Savant Project
Although the proprietors aren’t 100% sure, the Savant Project is fairly confident the restaurant will be opening it’s doors to all the “Lost Children and Jews” on this Christmas Day. They’ll even bolster the spirits of sundry refugees with their homey Christmas tradition of screening movies at the bar all day long. 1625 Tremont St, Mission Hill, Boston (617-566-5958, thesavantproject.com)
Non-Christmasy Christmas is not complete without paying a visit to a restaurant with some Asian flare. Samurai has all of the tradition without the takeout-box depression that comes with it. Get yourself some sushi and a fancy Martini. You deserve it; it’s Christmas. Open until midnight. 827 Boylston St, Back Bay, Boston (617-236-7672, samurai-boston.com)
Sensing will work a Christmas miracle and offer both brunch and a four-course dinner, depending on your dining style and sleeping patterns. The four-course tasting menu includes grilled lobster, beef Parmentier and duck à l’orange. Fans of A Christmas Story might request tableside duck head removal, but we can’t guarantee that the staff will oblige. Brunch 10:30am–2:30pm; dinner 5pm–9pm; brunch a la carte; dinner $65 per person (add $30 for wine). 3 Battery Wharf, Waterfront, Boston (617-994-9001, sensingrestaurant.com)
Nothing says “Merry F-ing Christmas” like Allston. And nothing says Allston like the Sil. Many a Yuletide cheers to cheap-ass beers and Big Buck Hunter. Enough said. 11am–1am. 200 Brighton Ave, Allston (617-206-4565)
UpStairs on the Square
On Christmas Eve, UpStairs on the Square will set fire to its four hearths and go to great culinary lengths to serve an insatiable four-course prix fixe seasonal feast so full of holiday cheer you’ll wonder how they also fit in all of the delicious. Whatever you’re craving—whether it be pear, Brie and apple soup, stuffed pork chops or fluffy potato gnocchi—you’re sure to find it on this mouthwatering holiday menu. From 5pm; $85.00 for adults, $42 for a 2-course children’s meal. 91 Winthrop St, Harvard Square, Cambridge (617-864-1933, upstairsonthesquare.com)