For those of you who prefer your Santa Claus resembles a chef, we’ve got the best places for Christmas Day dining in San Francisco. You’ll want to make your reservations now because restaurants fill up quickly.
The Cavalier celebrates Christmas this year with a three-course menu of English-inspired seasonal favorites, available from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Once again, Chef Jennifer Puccio demonstrates her knack for elevating traditional British staples with her modern and innovative interpretations.
The first course includes options like kabocha squash soup with green apple and spiced walnuts, Dungeness crab soldiers finished with a winter citrus hollandaise, The Cavalier salad and lamb scrumpets with pickled mint and chili.
For a main entree, Chef Puccio offers a choice of grilled wild sturgeon with smoked bacon lardons, truffled breast of chicken with watercress and mustard jus or roasted ribeye of beef with choron sauce with shareable sides, such as buttered English peas and roasted broccoli romanesco and lobster mushroom confit.
Rounding out the meal are desserts from acclaimed pastry chef Emily Luchetti. Guests will delight in indulging in holiday desserts like black treacle gingerbread with apples and clotted cream, Lord Wedgwood’s Christmas cake with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, gluten free passion fruit eton mess and chocolate espresso trifle. Life wouldn’t be complete without a cheese selection.
At Luce, inside the InterContinental San Francisco, you’ll enjoy a globally inspired, four-course meal prepared by Michelin-star Chef Daniel Corey with seasonal, local ingredients. Menu highlights include local mushroom potage with crispy chicken skin and herb pistou; marinated baby beets, pickled apple, turnip and burrata; sweetbread ravioli with crispy sweetbreads and truffle; black bass, Dungeness crab jus and cauliflower; and a poached and roasted duck breast with onions and quince. Desserts will include pear cake with roasted white chocolate mousse and crème fraîche ice cream and chocolate pound cake with ginger infused custard, orange marmalade and a cranberry reduction. The special menu, served exclusively on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, will be $90 per person or $130 with wine pairing. Children ages 12 and younger are $45. Reservations are required.
Spend Christmas at The St. Regis San Francisco, where its relaxed yet elegant restaurant Ame invites guests and locals alike to celebrate with a festive five-course pre-fixe menu. (The menu is also available on Christmas Eve.) Guests are welcomed to the intimate, L-shaped dining room by rich mesquite wood floors and striking surroundings. The interior of the restaurant includes a custom-designed raw bar ideal for enjoying a bite while watching the chefs at work, a stunning red wall, and the restaurant’s signature “red table,” a five-foot square table that seats eight. The menu includes blue fin tuna three ways, duck consommé, duck dumplings, pan seared Tai snapper, grilled lamb chop and dessert.
Chef Josua Perez has re-invigorated the menu at Americano Restaurant & Bar at Hotel Vitale, where the setting is ideal with striking views of the iconic Ferry Building, the twinkling lights of the Bay Bridge and a luxuriously exciting atmosphere. On Christmas there’s a special prix menu inspired by the plentiful fresh ingredients only the Bay Area has to offer with comforting favorites such as Parisian herbed gnocchi, duck breast with roasted apples and indulgent chocolate layer cake. Additionally, the vibrant bar will offer special weekly elevated Happy Hour menu featuring handcrafted cocktails and small-plate pairings representative of the season. Christmas dinner is available from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
A legendary favorite of San Franciscans, Balboa Cafe, in the Marina/Cow Hollow, is open 365 days a year—and that includes Christmas Day when you’ll find a special a la carte menu highlighted with wild mushroom bisque, local Dungeness crab cakes, porcini ravioli, pan seared Scottish salmon and filet mignon.