The holidays are a joyful time for many, but between all of the gift buying, gift wrapping, tree decorating, and holiday parties, it can become a stressful time of year. This year, let go of one more worry and sit back, relax and let San Diego’s best chefs create your holiday cheer. Many of the hottest restaurants in town are open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and we’ve shared a few below.
Bleu Bohème will celebrate Christmas Eve by offering a decadent three-course prix fixe holiday dinner and specialty cocktail, available from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 24. Created by owner and executive chef, Ken Irvine, Bleu Bohème’s specialty menu will be priced at $68 per person. A limited-edition cocktail will also be available for the celebration, priced at $12. Seating for the dinner is limited and reservations are encouraged by calling 619.255.4167. Additional tax and gratuity may apply.
For an upscale Christmas Eve dinner, slide into a booth at University Heights’ newest neighborhood hotspot, Rare Society. From the team who brought you TRUST and Fort Oak, comes a sleek, modern steak house whose concept pays tribute to old Las Vegas in a cozy atmosphere with hints of mid-century glamour. They’ve rolled out a new cocktail menu for the holiday season featuring a selection of festive takes on classic drinks including a boozy eggnog, holiday old fashioned and Too Many Zooz(bison grass vodka, herbal liquor, sparkling wine, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, bitters). If you’re celebrating with your big family, there’s plenty to go around with the Holiday Punch Bowl, meant for parties of 3 or more. Cozy up on the outside patio, or pick a warm seat inside to enjoy the shared plates menu featuring Santa Maria style wood-fired steaks, chops, and seafood with mouthwatering steakhouse sides to accompany. For Christmas Eve reservations, please call (619) 501-6404 or visit https://raresocietysd.com/.
The Westgate Hotel
The Westgate Christmas Eve & Christmas Day Dining
Whether you’re a visitor looking for a holiday meal while on vacation or a local who dreads dirty dishes, there’s something for everyone (including those on the naughty list) at the iconic Westgate Hotel this holiday season. Executive Chef Fabrice Hardel will prepare a four-course prix fixe menu available in the elegant Westgate Room. Dinner will be served from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on December 24 and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Christmas Day. The price is $79 per person plus tax and gratuity.
The Westgate Christmas Day Holiday Buffet
Indulge in the Westgate’s award-winning buffet in the beautiful Le Fontainebleau Room from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The price is $99 for adults, $40 for children ages 4-12, and complimentary for children 3 and under, tax and gratuity not included. Guests may purchase bottomless house wine and champagne for an additional $20. Guests may reserve their holiday dining experience by calling (619) 238-1818 or visiting here.
Christmas Eve Dinner
Santa’s elves are whipping up something special at the Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa this holiday season. Experience an exquisite three-course Christmas Eve dinner prepared by Executive Chef Julian Quiñones. The prix-fixe menu will include aCompressed Pear Salad, American Wagyu Eye of Ribeye Oscar served with king crab, chive hollandaise, truffle potato gratin, confit pearl onion, and wild mushroom, along with a Warm Almond Brown Butter Cake. Holiday-inspired cocktails by Beverage Director Stephen George, Cranberry Sauce’d pictured above, add to the merriment.
Reservations for 20|Twenty’s Christmas Eve dinner are available from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, December 24, 2019. Pricing is $75 per person, not including tax and gratuity.
On December 25, gather ‘round for a festive Christmas dinner featuring holiday favorites with a Southern California twist. Choices include Lobster Bisque or Persimmon Arugula Salad, followed by Pan Roasted Duck Breast and Duck Leg Confit, Cape Grim Beef Tenderloin, or Whole Roasted Branzino and will finish with a traditional Yule Log to get you in the holiday spirit. The spectacular views of the Carlsbad coastline will be a happy reminder that you’re celebrating the season in beautiful Southern California.
Reservations for 20|Twenty’s Christmas dinner are available from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 25, 2019. Pricing is $80 per person, not including tax and gratuity.
To make reservations for 20|Twenty’s Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinners, please call (760) 827-2500 or visit here.
A beachside hotspot, JRDN, located in Pacific Beach’s Tower23, is merry all year long. On Wednesday, December 25, Executive Chef David Warner and the JRDN team invite you to delight in a three-course, locally sourced dinner featuring all of the season’s favorites. Request outdoor seating for a view of the Pacific Beach pier’s beautifully-lit Christmas tree and salty ocean breezes. JRDN serves Christmas dinner from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. To reserve a table, please visit www.t23hotel.com/dine/ or call (858) 270-2323.
For a cozy, chic spot to dine out on Christmas or Christmas Eve, Zinqué, the newly-opened French bistro in the heart of Little Italy, offers the best in French cuisine. Open for their normal hours from 7 a.m. – 12 a.m. both nights, this is the perfect spot to forget about all that extra kitchen work and really enjoy the holiday. For this special occasion, treat yourself to something nice like the Steak Frites with chimichurri or peppercorn sauce ($29) or keep with the French theme and go for the Quiche Lorraine, made with pancetta and aged gruyere ($16). And if you find some time in between all of the holiday shopping, stop in for Happy Hour from 4 p.m. – 6: 30 p.m. for an assortment of deals – all for under $10. https://lezinque.com/
Are you searching for the perfect holiday gift for that person in your life with a sweet tooth? Patisserie Melanie has curated a holiday gift set that will surely be a hit with the special someone in your life who can’t get enough cookies and Parisian treats! Even though they will be closed on Christmas, pre-order your set today and stop by, Wednesday through Saturday, for pick up until December 21. Gift boxes include 2 packages of sablés and 1 package of caramels for $30. Additional specialties are available to preorder like their Bois-Mois Macarons, Pear Tarte Bourdaloue, or the Chaussons aux Pommes (Apple Turnovers). To reserve your holiday gift set or special order, please e-mail email@example.com or call 619-677-2132.
‘Tis the Season at La Valencia
The iconic Pink Lady may be the place to gather this holiday season, with multiple reasons to eat, drink and be merr
Annual La Valencia Tree Lighting
Celebrate La Valencia’s annual holiday tree lighting with warm holiday beverages, homemade cookies, live music and children’s crafts counting down to the lighting in La Sala at 6:30pm.
Holiday Tea at THE MED
Dec. 14 and 21 | 2-4pm
THE MED’s award-winning afternoon tea returns for the holidays on Dec. 7, 14 and 21 from 2-4pm. Enjoy a variety of teas, delectable sandwiches and homemade sweets set to ocean views and elevate your experience with champagne selections. Holiday Tea starts at $46 with a variety of experiences, including their Signature Tea, Veuve Clicquot for Two and more. www.LaValencia.com
Storytime Brunch with Santa’s Elf
December 8 | Reading at 1pm
Enjoy a decadent brunch at THE MED followed by story time with Santa’s lead elf. Children will listen to a reading of a Christmas classic and write their wish-list for Santa as the holiday countdown continues. Brunch reservations can be made through OpenTable.
Storytime Brunch with Santa
December 22 | Reading at 1pm
Santa’s coming to La Valencia Hotel! Enjoy a decadent brunch at THE MED followed by a Christmas story read by Santa himself followed by kids holiday activities. Now accepting brunch reservations through OpenTable.
Christmas Movie – Polar Express
December 23 | 6:30pm
Bring the family and cozy up to La Valencia for a special holiday movie, Polar Express. Guests and locals alike are invited to enjoy hot chocolate and a movie at The Pink Lady. Space will be limited.
Christmas Eve Dinner
December 24 | Restaurant opens at 5:30pm
$88 per adult | $105 per person with wine pairing
Gather with family and friends in THE MED for a festive prix fixe menu including Butternut Gnocchi, Campbell River Salmon, Apple Pie and more prepared by Executive Chef Timothy Ralphs. Now accepting reservations through OpenTable.
Christmas Day Buffet
December 25 | 1-7pm
$94 per adult | $45 per child (age 6-12) | Free for children 5 & under
Gather at THE MED and indulge in a Christmas buffet featuring a carving station with free range turkey, winter risotto, roasted butternut squash soup, delectable desserts and more prepared by Executive Chef Timothy Ralphs. Reserve your table today through OpenTable.
Pacific Highlands Ranch!
Free Events to Ring in the Holidays
Start the season off bright at The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch! First off is their Annual Tree Lighting ceremony on Saturday, November 30th, from 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., complete with live music, sweet treats in the Village Square AND… photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus!
Holiday Train Rides are in full gear at The Village on Saturday, November 30thand Sunday, December 1st
Plus, an added weekend – Saturday December 7th & Sunday December 8thfrom 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Here’s a clever way to skip the overly crowded malls and let the kids go to town! Document your priceless holiday memories with photos of the little ones amid holiday settings we’ve prepared to be shared by all! Stoke your holiday spirit with local live music, while the kids delight in an enchanting train ride through the center.
Santa is headed to The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch once again to make sure he meets everyone on his list! Bring the kiddies and let them pose for Pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus on Sunday, December 8th, from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. as they make one last stop before heading back to the North Pole. Enjoy live music and celebrate the season!
Come one, come all, and ring in the season with Caroling & Music at The Village performed by talented members of Saddleback Church on Saturday, December 14th & Saturday, December 21st, from 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p m. While you’re visiting, we will take the load off with FREE gift wrapping of any purchase made at the Village as our way of wishing you the happiest of holidays.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year at Breakfast Republic! December’s savory special is Biscuits ‘n’ Gravy,a wholesome combination of buttermilk biscuits smothered in sausage gravy, topped with two eggs any style and served with house potatoes. Make your morning sweeter with Peppermint Mocha Pancakes, featuringchocolate and coffee pancakes, peppermint buttercream, homemade fudge sauce and peppermint chunks.
Nothing beats a warm cup of Nutella Me Ain’t So from Fig Tree Cafe on a cold winter day. Fusing chocolate hazelnut with a double shot of espresso, Nutella and milk topped with mocha dust and a rolled wafer cookie, you’ll never go back to traditional hot chocolate. Their limited-time Cranberry Mimosa Flight features cranberry pomegranate, orange cranberry, classic cranberry and white cranberry flavors for a deliciously authentic taste of the season. Get your knife and fork ready for a fresh plate of Steak and Eggs, showcasing marinated steak with roasted bell pepper chimichurri, bacon-garlic-parmesan potatoes and three eggs any style with your choice of toast.
Farmer’s Table locations will be celebrating the holiday with a prix-fixe, four-course menu offered at all locations in San Diego. For only $49, guests choose from appetizers such as Spicy Tuna Tartare or Grilled Artichokes, followed by a soup or salad course. For entrées, guests can choose from five options ranging from Pork Loin to an 8oz Bison Filet to the Catch of the Day. Finish your Christmas feast with one of Farmer’s Table signature desserts and be on your merry way!
Celebrate Southern California style – Christmas with an ocean view! Waterbar has a variety of Christmas Day specials, including a Loaded Baked Potato chock full of traditional trimming; a Christmas Roast plate, a Very Veggie Christmas bowl, and even a special Yule Log dessert to end the meal with something sweet and seasonal! Specials range from $10 – $32.95, and reservations recommended to snag your window side table.
Looking for that traditional Christmas Prime Rib? Look no further than Backyard Kitchen & Tap, open on Christmas Day from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Prime Rib plate comes with red bliss garlic mashed potato, caramelized Cipollini onions, asparagus and horseradish crema. Prime rib options include a 7oz cut for $23.95 or 14oz cut for $29.95.
Union Kitchen & Tap Gaslamp feels that the fondest memories are made gathered around the table, and invite San Diego to gather round their tables on Christmas Day. Bartenders will be whipping up special ‘Cindy Lou Sours’, made with vanilla bourbon, organic cranberry juice, lemon, and a fall spice syrup. For food specials, guests can choose one or all from Mushroom Bisque appetizer, 10oz Herb Crusted Prime Rib plate, or a slice of Apple Cider Pie.
Pacifica Del Mar’s annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Party
Dec. 12 | 7pm
Pacifica Del Mar’s annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Party is happening Thursday, December 12, and you’re invited! Wear your ugliest sweater for a chance at winning prizes for best sweater and best couples outfit! Enjoy live holiday music and festive drink specials all night. www.PacificaDelMar.com
123 Organic Tequila Dinner at Curadero
Dec. 18 | 7pm
123 Organic Tequila and Curadero have teamed up to present a very special night of Tequila. Savor 4 courses paired with an expression of tequila, as well as a cocktail from Bar Manager Alex Gregg. Tequila maker David Ravindi will be hosting and walking the guests through what makes 123 Organic such a unique, artisanal tequila. Tickets: $95 here.
Valentina, an eclectic neighborhood bistro found along Highway 101, is celebrating Christmas Eve with a pre-fix, three-course dinner for $49, and the option to add wine pairing for an additional $25. Dinner service begins at 4:00 p.m. and guests can choose between starters such as Winter Squash Soup, with pomegranate and sage crème or Fennel and Frisee Salad, with citrus vinaigrette. Main courses include Pan Seared Scallops, Braised Short Rib, Crispy Duck Leg and a Vegan Fettucine. Finish the meal with your choice of Goats Milk Cheesecake, with blood orange glaze, or Vegan Coffee Panna Cotta. Reservations highly recommended and can be made online at restaurantvalentina.com or by calling at (760) 943-6686.
Switch up the traditional holiday spread with a full lobster dinner at Beerfish in North Park, open on Christmas Eve. This seafood destination will be serving decadent lobster options including Lobster Tacos, the classic Lobster Roll and a decadent Loaded Lobster Truffle Mac ’n Cheese. Enjoy your meal with beer or wine selections from their featured taps and relax under the Christmas lights on the covered, heated patio.
The Smoking Gun
While the holiday season may be in full swing, cuffing season is also here! If you’re looking for someone to spend the holidays with, get ready to jingle and mingle at The Smoking Gun’s first hosted Single’s Night on Wednesday, December 18th from 9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. With games, activities and Uncle Ed’s Damn Good Vodka drink specials, it will be an affair to remember. Keep the party going all week long and enjoy drinks with your new plus one on Christmas Eve, open from 4:00 p.m. until midnight.
Mavericks Beach Club
Enjoy craft cocktails, savory food and Christmas decorations galore atMavericks in Pacific Beach, open on Christmas Eve from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m. And if you’re participating in the Pacific Beach Santa Run on December 14th, make sure to head to Mavericks for the Official After Party! From 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., the parking lot will be packed with real snow, drinks specials and more – you won’t want to miss out!
Basque in that post gift opening glow and venture out to Sandbar in Mission Beach, open on Christmas Day. Take a break from the ham and turkey and order the award-winning TKO Tacos featuring a cotija-crusted flour tortilla, chipotle aioli, beer-brined escabeche slaw, lime crema, spicy guacamole, crispy onion strings and fried cilantro! Sandbar also has a stellar cocktail lineup, including the Sandbargarita, with El Jimador Reposado Tequila, fresh lime juice and agave nectar.
PB Shore Club
Get cozy and stay festive at Pacific Beach Shore Club’s 6thAnnual Onesie Party, taking place on Christmas Day. Open at 5:00 p.m., Shore Club is encouraging you to sport your favorite pajama ensemble or over-the-top onesie, to enjoy ½ priced drinks. Sip and be merry as you watch the Christmas sunset from the rooftop deck!
Just in time for the holidays, local business leader Diane Powers’ award-winning restaurants – Casa Guadalajara, Casa de Pico, Casa de Bandini and Casa Sol y Mar – are offering delicious holiday dishes with Mexican flair.
In keeping with the restaurants’ annual tradition, each is serving the ever-popular Turkey Mole Tamales (available for take-out too), filled with tender turkey, raisins, chopped pecans and apples, all topped with a rich mole sauce and sesame seeds.
The holiday menus are available until the new year and vary by restaurant; with dishes including:
Casa Guadalajara, Old Town: Birria de Res, beef cooked in three different chiles and spices served with frijoles de la olla and corn tortillas and Green Chiles and Cheese Tamales, tamales filled with Monterey Jack cheese, green California and jalapeño chiles and topped with more cheese and served with arroz poblano and black beans. 4105 Taylor St., San Diego, CA 92110; 619-295-5111; casaguadalajara.com
Casa de Pico, La Mesa: Buñuelos, crispy flour tortillas sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon, vanilla ice cream and topped with whipped cream; Deep Fried Pumpkin Ice Cream, served with caramel and chocolate sauce, sprinkled cinnamon and whipped cream and Mexican Hot Chocolate topped with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon. 5550 Grossmont Center Dr., La Mesa, CA 91942; 619-463-3267; casadepico.com
Casa de Bandini, Carlsbad: Chipotle Cranberry Chicken, grilled chicken breast with chipotle-cranberry sauce, fresh mango salsa and salsa verde, served with arroz verde, frijoles de la olla and drizzled with crema Mexicana and Enchiladas Navidañes, two corn tortillas filled with sautéed carnitas, onions, cilantro and topped with a rich cranberry-chipotle mole sauce, crema Mexicana and served with Mexican rice and frijoles de la olla. 1901 Calle Barcelona, Carlsbad, CA 92009; 760-634-3443; casadebandini.com
Casa Sol y Mar, Del Mar: Turkey Enchiladas Poblanos, two enchiladas filled with seasoned tender turkey, sautéed vegetables, topped with roasted tomatillo, poblanco sauce and Mexican crema, served with arroz poblano and black beans; and Roasted Poblano Corn Chowder, a rich, creamy home-style blend of roasted corn, potatoes, onions, bacon and mild poblano chiles. 12865 El Camino Real, San Diego, CA 92130; 858-792-4100; casasolymar.com
In addition to these seasonal items, the Bazaar del Mundo Restaurants present a beautiful environment for holiday parties, and are all splendidly decorated for the season. Catering is also available.
Primavera Ristorante will make spirits bright on Christmas Eve with a ‘festivo’ three-course Italian feast available exclusively for the holiday. The menu includes a variety of specialty dishes, including Maine lobster and Dungeness crab bisque served with brioche croutons and crème fraiche; basso mare bianco, pan-seared white sea bass with littleneck clams in a light tomato-fennel broth, served with a risotto croquette; and more. A specialty cocktail, Chocolate Peppermint Stick, will also be available for the celebration.
Have a holly jolly Christmas Eve at BANKERS HILL BAR + Restaurant with a featured dish: Cabernet-braised short ribs served with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables. Don’t forget to top off your meal with the Up To Snow Good cocktail, a combination of Malahat Spiced rum, apple brandy, Amaro Montenegro, allspice dram, black walnut bitters, egg white and house-made apple cider reduction, garnished with grated nutmeg and fresh cranberries.
Put a little Cuban flare into Christmas Eve this year at Havana 1920, located in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. Celebrate with dishes including as pinchos del mar, seafood skewers served with white rice and avocado salad; or lechon asado, Cuban-style roasted pork; and the intimate restaurant’s specialty cocktail, The Little Rummer Boy, made with Havana Club Añejo rum, caramelized plantain purée, fresh lime juice, fresh-pressed sugarcane and R&D Aromatic #7 bitters
Enjoy sweet and savory treats on Christmas Eve at Sugar Factory American Brasserie at Theatre Box. In addition to its complete menu of over-the-top offerings and desserts, Sugar Factory will offer a holiday entrée: a 12 oz. grilled pork chop with broccolini and chipotle sweet potato mash with bacon and apple gastrique, priced at $29.99
On Christmas Day, El Chingon will host its signature Forty-Tuesdays party from 5 p.m. to close. The offerings of taco flights, tequila flights and specials on VIP bottle service will certainly have partygoers believing in the magic of Christmas.
Jingle all the way to Prohibition, the Gaslamp Quarter’s underground speakeasy, on Christmas Day for a post-feast celebration from 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. with family and friends.
Mezé Greek Fusion will open its doors at 3 p.m. on Christmas Day to get the festivities started. Guests may enjoy Mezé’s featured holiday cocktail, Cup of Cheer, made with vodka, lemon juice, pumpkin cordial, R&D house bitters and pumpkin spice, to pair with their Greek-inspired Christmas meal.
El Chingon will wish everyone a ‘Feliz Navidad’ with its signature UNDRGRND party, featuring hip-hop classics playing all night from 5 p.m. to close. Guests may also celebrate with El Chingon’s holiday cocktail, Resting Grinch Face, a combination of pumpkin cordial, horchata and tequila.