Are you wondering where to have your Christmas dinner this year? Maybe you’d rather skip cooking and doing dishes and enjoy a meal at your favorite restaurant. This post will detail all the great spots you can dine at for your Christmas celebration in San Diego.

Note: This list is a work in progress, so if I’m missing San Diego restaurants with Christmas or New Year’s offerings, please leave a comment or email me. We’ve also left some placeholders for restaurants that offered popular Christmas dinners last year. The prices below do not include tax, service fees, or gratuities.

Herb & Wood

A flat lay of plated holiday entrees and sides on a table.
Delicious meals and sides (photo courtesy of Herb and Wood)

This popular Little Italy restaurant will serve up a quintessential Christmas Eve experience this year. Executive Chef Carlos Anthony’s four-course meal starts with a choice of a refreshing Scallop Crudo, a nutty Arugula Salad, or Venison Tartare.

The unique entrees option include Prime Filet with pink peppercorn cognac demi, roasted, mushroom and whipped potatoes, Halibut with carrot tahini, shaved carrot, pomegranate, and toasted pita, Stuffed Pasilla Pepper with saffron rice, walnut “cream”, dried fruit, pomegranate molasses or Roasted Cornish Hen with sourdough herbed stuffed, and California gravy.

A decadent Date Cake with toffee sauce, black walnut ice cream, and candied walnuts or a fruity Winter Citrus Tart will complete the feast. You can book your Christmas Eve dinner reservation from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. via OpenTable.

Herb & Sea

The sister restaurant to Herb & Wood in north county San Diego, Herb & Sea is one of Encinita’s best eateries. They’re serving a Christmas Eve dinner with a ‘Key West Christmas’ theme this year to tie in with the city’s coastal beach vibe.

Australian executive chef Aidan Owens has curated a four-course menu blending island-inspired cuisine with festive holiday favorites for the feast. First up, guests can enjoy Jonah Crab Claws, Poke, and Tropical Fruit Salad, followed by second courses like Coconut Shrimp, Firecracker Spareribs, and Masubi.

Entrees include Pineapple Glazed Ham with achiote, clove and Antigua black pineapple, Jidori Chicken, Kalbi Skirt Steak, or Jerk Grilled Cauliflower, with sides of Mac Salad White Rice, Mushroom Skewers, and Hawaiian Rolls. The meal ends on a zesty note with Pineapple Upside Down Cake and Key Lime Pie.

You’ll probably want to leave your holiday sweaters at home for this one, with a Hawaiian shirt being more the vibe.

The meal costs $89 per adult and $38 per child, and you can book Herb & Sea’s Christmas Eve dinner via OpenTable.

Animae

This world-class steak house and brainchild of celebrity chef Brian Malarkey is serving up a Christmas Eve feast this year. Each meal’s four courses are inspired by Chef Tara Monsod’s Filipino-American heritage and are fused with Animae’s most beloved dishes.

Guests can look forward to starting with light dishes, including Shrimp Cocktail and Beet Salad, followed by comforting favorites like Chicken Congee and Beef Cheek Dinaguan. 

Entree options follow and include Filet with celery root puree, ginger demi, and roasted carrots, Ginger Barramundi with black soy vinaigrette, scallion oil, and daikon, and Mushroom Ragu with Korean rice cakes, mozzarella, and kale. 

The sumptuous meal will be concluded with Calamansi Mousse with coconut cake and Calamansi and prosecco gelee or Chocolate Cremeux with miso sesame foam, chocolate crumble, and chili cashews.

The Christmas Eve meal will be served from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is priced at $110 per adult and $42 per child. You can book online with OpenTable. 

Fogo de Chao

If you’ve never experienced the culinary wonder that is Fogo de Chao, then Christmas dinner is the time to do it! Inspired by the tastes of southern Brazil, diners this Christmas can feast on steak, chicken, lamb, pork, seafood, and more.

For a holiday celebration at home, Fogo de Chao is also offering their filet mignon and roasted turkey along with sides to go. The restaurant will serve its Christmas menu on Christmas Day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The menu is to come.

Osteria Panevino

The oldest restaurant in the San Diego Gaslamp Quarter is also one of the best Italian restaurants in San Diego, and the Tuscan-themed restaurant is offering a 3-course Christmas dinner (menu to come!) that will make any Italian Nonna (grandmother) proud.

Hotel del Coronado Southpointe Ballroom

You can dine in the The Del’s stunning new Southpointe Ballroom on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day this year.

On Christmas Eve, you can indulge in their lavish holiday buffet. The sumptuous menu includes a chilled seafood display, a poke station, a vegan curry station, a carving station, a huge array of desserts, and much more.

  • December 24
  • $195 per person, $100 per child ages 4-10, young children 3 and under are free with a paid adult
  • A glass of champagne is included for all guests 21 and over
  • Reservations are recommended and the buffet begins at 2pm.

On Christmas Day, a special holiday brunch buffet will be served from at 10 a.m. The menu is similar to the Christmas Eve buffet but also includes a omelet station and traditional breakfast items.

  • December 25
  • $185 per person, $100 per child ages 4-10, young children 3 and under are free with a paid adult
  • A glass of champagne is included for all guests 21 and over
  • Reservations are recommended

While at The Del, you will be surrounded by thousands of sparkling lights on the property, as well as Christmas trees, garlands, and holiday decor that will surely delight guests of all ages. Make reservations ASAP.

Enjoy your San Diego Christmas Day dinner or brunch and spend the night! At the time of this writing, there are still rooms available. Read my full Hotel del Coronado review. Through me, you have access to the following:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily breakfast credit of $45 per person, for up to two guests per bedroom, served in Serẽa restaurant (credit is non-cumulative, restrictions if applicable)
  • $100 USD Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Sign in or create a free Virtuoso account to see the discounted rate! When booking on Virtuoso.com use the number of adults traveling to get the correct rates. Kids may otherwise be priced as adults. We will add them after we follow up to collect your arrival details. If you see multiple rates for the same room type, choose the lowest rate. Check the status of ocean swimming in front of Coronado Lifeguard Tower as it changes. This is the testing station in front of Hotel del Coronado.

Arlo Restaurant

Arlo restaurant patio seating.

San Diego’s destination eatery inside Town & Country Resort, Arlo, will offer a special Christmas menu for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Look on their website for the menu; I’ll update it here as soon as I have it!

Sally’s at Manchester Grand Hyatt

Sally's restaurant at Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

Holiday travelers staying at Manchester Grand Hyatt and locals alike are invited to Sally’s Fish House & Bar for a plated Christmas Day dinner.

Seasonal craft cocktails, such as the Winter Rose with Makers Mark and Rudolph with You & Yours Gin, will also be available.

  • Menu and price to come 

Harrah’s Resort Southern California

Christmas tree in Harrah's lobby
Photo courtesy of Harrah’s

If you’re looking for a holiday escape, or to just enjoy top-tier dining, look no further than Funner, California. Harrah’s Resort So Cal’s lobby will welcome and quickly transport you to a Christmas winter wonderland.

With dining options at Hell’s Kitchen, the Cafe, and KJ Chinese restaurant, you will surely be covered for Christmas dinner. 


Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa, Rancho Santa Fe, CA

Chef Joshua at sorts vegetables in the garden at Rancho Valencia.

Rancho Valencia will welcome guests with the ultimate Christmas Feast on Christmas Day.

Live music, seasonal sweets, cookie decorating, arts and crafts, caroling, and horse-drawn carriage rides will accompany your magical Christmas celebration. Menu and prices to come.

Ranch 45 a la Carte Holiday Pick-Up Menu

How good does this pie look? (Photo Credit: Maraelia Romaine)

Don’t need a full meal? No problem. Turn to Ranch 45’s completely a la carte holiday pick-up menu so you can customize your Christmas Day or Christmas Eve feast.

Choices at this Solana Beach butcher shop and eatery for Christmas 2023 include:

  • Herb Crusted Prime Rib
  • Braised Short Rib
  • Smoke Turkey Legs
  • 45-Day Aged Ribeye
  • Smoked Cornish Game Hen
  • Pecan Pie
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake
  • Apple Crisp

Pre-orders must be placed before Sunday, December 17 at 4pm for pick-up on Sunday, December 24.

Avant at Rancho Bernardo Inn

For an elegant Christmas Day dinner (which, for some, is the only way to do it), Avant will knock your socks off with its four-course tasting menu or a la carte entrees. Plan to be impressed by the beautiful presentation and plating of your dinner, an art form Chef Jimenez is known for. Try out one of their 12 Days of Christmas cocktails that will surely bring on the holiday cheer. 

Veranda Fireside Lounge and Restaurant  at Rancho Bernardo Inn

The casual, Mediterranean-inspired with a Southern Californian twist Veranda Fireside Lounge will also be serving dinner on Christmas Day. Gather around the fire, take in the gorgeous views of the golf course, and enjoy live music this Christmas at the Veranda Fireside Lounge.

Roy’s Waterfront Dining

If you can’t be in Hawaii for Christmas, you can dine like you are! Roy’s is a Hawaiian fusion restaurant offering Christmas dinner. Choose from their signature dishes or holiday specials. A children’s menu is also available.

Pacifica Del Mar

Combine an award-winning menu with unparalleled ocean views, and you have a winning formula in Pacifica Del Mar. While they don’t have a specific Christmas menu, you simply can’t go wrong with the New England clam chowder, blackened fish tacos, or crab cakes.

Sunset at this restaurant is a super popular time for dining among locals and tourists alike, so consider yourself lucky if you can snag a table during that time.   

Vintana Wine + Dine

Perched on the top level of the Centre at Lexus Escondido, Vintana Wine + Dine brings delicious California cuisine to Escondido in a posh and hip setting. Christmas menu to come.

Adelaide at L’Auberge Del Mar

Gorgeous ocean views, impeccable service, and the freshest, ocean forward entrees welcome you at Adelaide. Seafood, charcuterie, and a carving station are all on the menu this Christmas Day.  

  • December 25
  • $170 per adult and $40 per child for Christmas dinner

Stay overnight at L’Auberge Del Mar with extra benefits.

  • A $30 daily breakfast credit per person (up to 2 people)
  • A $100 one-time resort credit
  • Upgrade at check-in, subject to availability.

Covewood at San Diego Mission Bay Resort

Who says Christmas has to be stuffy and formal? Not Covewood! Barefoot chic is the vibe here, so feel free to walk in straight from playing on the bay for a casual but delectable dinner.

Their special Christmas menu is still to be announced but after dinner, you can be sure to take an idyllic walk along the bay…still barefoot, of course. 

Spending the night at San Diego Mission Bay Resort is also fun.


Mediterranean Room at La Valencia Hotel

“San Diego’s Hottest New Restaurants”, “11 Great Patios with a View”, and “Reader’s Best Choice Restaurants” are all titles that Mediterranean Room holds, so why not have Christmas dinner here?

You can also spend the night at La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla

The Marine Room Restaurant

Christmas Day on the Surf is made possible at the Marine Room. The menu is still to come but you can be sure it will be as spectacular as the crashing waves outside that delight customers during high tide.

The only thing that matches the food here is the ocean views, so make sure to soak in both this Christmas. The Marine Room is adjacent to La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.

The Shores Restaurant

The casual counterpart to The Marine Room, The Shores Restaurant inside of the La Jolla Shores Hotel hosts a Christmas buffet every year. More details to come as we get them.

Vistal Bar + Restaurant at the Intercontinental

This bayfront restaurant at InterContinental San Diego will not disappoint you this Christmas with its menu. Details are still to come but you can be assured of gorgeous views, and more than likely a beautiful sunset, as you dine at Vistal.

Opt for a wine pairing and sip it slowly while enjoying the harbor views.

Saltwater

Legend has it that San Diego’s best seafood is in the Gaslamp District, and Saltwater is out to claim that it IS the best.

They certainly have some of the freshest catches in the city, with much of their seafood on ice displays for patrons to choose from.

Simply pick out your fish, weigh it, and let their chefs work their magic. An exclusive three-course Christmas Day dinner (menu not set yet) is also available.

Huntress

Dining room inside Huntress in downtown San Diego.

If a swanky steak dinner is on your Christmas wish list, Huntress is where you want to be. Not only will Christmas dinner feature their usual dinner menu but also Chef’s holiday favorites like Beef Wellington, Short Ribs, and Bone Marrow Agnolotti.

Top it off with sticky toffee pudding and check out their Japanese whisky collection— they have one of the largest in the state! 

Fort Oak

This Mission Hills eatery will be serving special Tipsy and Toasty holiday lunches from December 14–23. Expect cozy hearth grilled dishes alongside festive cocktails and bubbles. You reserve your spot on their website.

JRDN

The popular beachfront restaurant will serve a three-course menu prepared by its new Executive Chef, Jerry Ranson. This three-course menu will be served from 2-7 pm on Monday, December 25. Reserve your spot by calling 858-270-2323.

George’s at The Cove

One of my favorite La Jolla restaurants is serving a four course prix fixe menu in their indoor Ocean View Room for Christmas Dinner on Monday, December 25th from 4-9 p.m. The regular menu will be served at Level2 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Book online.

Lionfish

Lionfish Restaurant at Pendry San Diego hotel

Everyone’s favorite restaurant at Pendry San Diego is offering succulent dinner menu offered on Christmas night. The modern culinary destination will prepare a cast iron special of duck a l’orange, duck fried rice, moo shu wraps and pickled vegetables, priced at $40. Lionfish will also offer its full menu of sustainable seafood and prime meats prepared with innovative twists by renowned San Diego Chef JoJo Ruiz. Reserve online.


 

Where will you pick up Christmas dinner in San Diego? See also: Ultimate Guide to Christmas in San Diego.

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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