Rob’s Christmas Day Dining Recommendations

Posted by on Dec 12, 2016 in News

Christmas Dining Day 2016

You’d better not pout, you’d better not cry, and you’d better serve free range turkeys this Christmas.
That’s right. It’s time to ponder whether you want to spend half the evening and most of the morning slaving over the ultimate Christmas feast or whether you just want to relax and let some of Austin’s most hospitable restaurants do all the cooking for you.
We are going out! Surprised? So let me share with you the places we pondered over before making a decision. And which ever way you go, please, have a wonderful


This restaurant is helmed by a man who may have acquired his culinary skills from Kris Kringle himself.
Elmar Prambs is from Munich and he opened what used to be the Cafe at the Four Seasons when the hotel opened in 1986.
He oversaw the rebranding to Trio some years ago and he remains a force behind one of Austin’s finest restaurants.
Brunch at Trio? Simply the best! 11-7

Estancia Churrascaria

You want to get some Christmas cheer from a gaucho serving ridiculously tender Picanha (top round) from a skewer or savory lamb and sausage. Or a gigantic and fresh salad bar. Then Estancia at the Arboretum is for you. All day from 11-9!

Hao Q

Many Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants are open Christmas Day. Hao Q on Far West combines both cuisines and there will be a lot of hustling and bustling there all day. Noon to 4 for takeout only! 4-9 for dine in only. Please save me a Vietnamese Egg Roll:)


Well you can get your dim sum and more at Chinatown Mopac and Westlake on Christmas. Dim sum will run from 11:30 to 2:30 and then the regular menu will be offered until 9:30. The 5th St restaurant will not serve dim sum but will be open all day!
Now that’s a good idea!!!

The Driskill Hotel

Always a great recommendation for Christmas dinner, the Driskill will hold forth from 11-7 with a sumptuous buffet that was begun by David Bull 15 years ago. Always a slam dunk! One of the best dessert bars on any buffet in town.

The Russian House

Come join Vladamir and Varda for a monster Christmas Day celebration at the Russian House on E 5th.
Dining will be off the menu from 11am to 11pm and their house blended vodkas will be freely flowing. Quick note: this is genuine Russian cuisine. If you order Beef Stroganoff for example, don’t expect it with egg noodles et al. It’ll be Russian style with mashed potatoes. So keep an open mind and enjoy.

The 24 Diner

This place is a 365-day a year Godsend for those who love to get out of the house and enjoy an eclectic selection of some great dishes. They are open from the crack of dawn on Christmas Day (you might even see Santa if you get there early enough) and the food promises to be kick ass as always.

Wu Chow

CK Chin and Stuart Tomajan have a fine gourmet restaurant in the heart of downtown Austin and there will be a dim sum feast on Christmas Day. Love their onion pancakes! This is a very classy restaurant yet it is approachable. The food is excellent.

Hill Country Dining Room at Barton Creek Resort.

Contrary to what many people think, this restaurant at Barton Creek Resort in Westlake is open to the general public. Dinner is served from 6-9 pm on Christmas Day and is guided by chef Andre Natera. He is very talented and offers up an eclectic Christmas menu. I have recently had a tasting dinner he prepared and it was a delight.

Asia Cafe

At 183 and Spicewood this is one of the most authentic Chinese restaurants in the city. Those in the know adore this place and for good reason. Lots of mainland Chinese dishes that are not usually served at American-style Chinese restaurants. Hours are 11-9 on Christmas Day.

McCormick and Schmick’s

This popular spot at The Domain will be open from 11am to 10pm Christmas Day. We had lobsters last time we tried Christmas dinner there a few years ago and they were terrific. Very comfortable restaurant as well.


The International House of Pancakes and its locations across the city are open 24-7 for Christmas Day. Ambiance isn’t much but the food is generally solid. And they can accommodate a large group. Might be fun to try Christmas breakfast there, given that the Kerbey Lane stores will be closed for Christmas.


The W is a classy hotel and understandably, Trace, the main restaurant is on the high-end side as well. They’ll be open throughout Christmas and make sure to book early.

Dine at the Radisson

David Garrido’s stellar Christmas Day dinner figures to be a great one. He brings his artistry to work at this lovely restaurant overlooking Lady Bird Lake.

Note on El Arroyo:

While they were open last Christmas, the management decided that they did not want to deprive their staff of time with their families on Christmas. So “the ditch” will be closed this year!