Outside of Chinatown, Christmas is usually a pretty quiet day in the restaurant world. But a handful of Philadelphia restaurants and bars, especially venues in hotels, are serving Christmas brunch and dinner this year. Whether you ‘re planning to take the family out to eat after opening presents or you don’t celebrate the holiday and just want a meal out, here’s where to go on December 25.
For the first time, Aimee Olexy and Stephen Starr’s The Love, located off Rittenhouse Square at 130 S. 18th Street, will be open on Christmas with a few specials in addition to the regular menu. Head here from 3 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. to try a crab cake with pink grapefruit aioli, filet mignon with caviar and celeriac gratin, eggnog tartufo for dessert, and hot buttered rum from the bar.
Also in the Starr group, Parc on Rittenhouse Square (227 S. 18th Street) and Buddakan in Old City (325 Chestnut Street) will be open with their regular menus — that’s French for Parc and Asian fusion for Buddakan. For the holiday, Parc also has a Bûche de Noël cake and colorful macarons available for dessert and a charming gingerbread house on display.
Inside the Loews Hotel, Bank & Bourbon (1200 Market Street) will serve a prix fixe menu that includes several options within each of the three courses, like whipped ricotta with Metropolitan Bakery sourdough, salmon, and a roast Lancaster chicken. It’s available 5 to 10 p.m. for $65 per person, with a $35 optional wine pairing. The kids menu is $22.
The famed brunch buffet will be set up all day on Christmas at Lacroix at the elegant Rittenhouse hotel (210 W. Rittenhouse Square). The $105 price tag feels justified when the menu includes unlimited oysters, caviar, canapés, roast leg of lamb, suckling pig with truffles, a chocolate fountain, and dozens of other decadent offerings. Book a reservation between 11 a.m. and 6:45 p.m.
Square 1682 at the Hotel Palomar (121 S. 17th Street) is serving dinner 4 to 9 p.m. with a five-course prix fixe menu that includes cauliflower curry, Chilean sea bass, candied beet salad, and Christmas cookies, for $65. Brunch will be available earlier in the day.
In University City, CO-OP Restaurant and Lounge (20 S. 33rd Street) will serve its regular dinner menu from noon until 8 p.m.
Dinner at Red Owl Tavern (433 Chestnut Street) in the Hotel Monaco is inspired by the classic movie A Christmas Story when Ralphie’s family spends Christmas at a Chinese restaurant. The menu is a la carte, served 5 to 8 p.m., and includes duck confit buns, General Tso’s chicken, and a whole Peking duck. The restaurant has a full size “leg lamp” (a prop made famous by the movie) that’s available for photo ops.
Pasta is a good idea on any holiday. Italian BYOB La Fontana Della Citta (1701 Spruce Street) will serve its regular menu as well as specials. It’s open on Christmas from noon to 11 p.m.
Avoid the Chinatown crowds by crossing the Schuylkill for flaming cocktails, noodle bowls, and spring rolls at Vietnam Café (816 S. 47th Street). Sister spot Vietnam Restaurant (221 N. 11th Street) in Chinatown is also open all day.
Craving spicy Sichuan dishes? All Han Dynasty locations, including Old City and University City, will be open on Christmas — according to owner Han Chiang, it’s their busiest day of the year. DanDan (in Rittenhouse and Wayne) is also open all day to satisfy noodle cravings.
Legend has it The Plough & the Stars (123 Chestnut Street) started staying open on Christmas for Irish ex-pats who didn’t have anywhere to go and it turned into a tradition, with a 25-foot Christmas tree and roaring fireplace to set the festive scene. Dinner goes from noon to 8 p.m. The bar will stay open until 2 a.m.
Urban Farmer (1850 Ben Franklin Parkway) will cook up an a la carte dinner menu from 4 to 9 p.m. The steak specialist at the Logan hotel is serving dishes like a cowboy rib eye, langoustine thermidor, and pepper-crusted venison loin. The restaurant will also open early for Christmas brunch.