‘Tis the season to let other people do the cooking. Spend more time on gift giving and holiday celebrations by letting a professional chef work his magic in some of the North Bay’s best kitchens.
Here are our picks on where to dine for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Ame at St. Regis (San Francisco)
Ame offers a special Christmas Eve and Christmas Day five-course feast in addition to the restaurant’s regular menu. Led by executive chef Orlando Pagans, the seasonal New American cuisine includes holiday highlights like Dungeness crab salad, seared Maine diver scallop; and roasted Atkins Ranch lamb chops. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. on December 24, and 4 to 8 p.m. on the December 25. Reservations: 415-284-4040, amerestaurant.com.
Americano at Hotel Vitale (San Francisco)
As with everything he offers at the award-winning Americano, chef Kory Stewart procures only seasonal, sustainable ingredients for his holiday dishes. Tuck into a three-course dinner including lardo-wrapped Hawaiian blue prawns, house crafted cotechino with Umbrian lentils and grilled red onion, Piedmontese style rib eye with horseradish creamed Brussels sprouts and grilled king trumpet mushrooms, and rice pudding gelato with quince, sour cherries and cinnamon fritter for dessert. Cost is $75/person. Christmas Eve, open regular hours; Christmas Day, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Reservations: 415-278-3777, americanorestaurant.com.
Dry Creek Kitchen at Hotel Healdsburg (Healdsburg)
Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen will be open for lunch and dinner on Christmas Eve. Dinner includes a three-course Christmas Eve menu served from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. featuring classic roasted chestnut soup with brown butter confit diver scallops and maple syrup gastrique, pan roasted American Kobe ‘au poivre’ with wild porcini mushrooms and black truffle béarnaise, and apple-pear strudel with rum raisin ice cream and spiced caramel sauce for dessert. The cost is $57 per guest. Chef Dusin Valette’s Tasting Menu and a la carte selections will also be available. Reservations: 707-431-0330, charliepalmer.com.
Madera at Rosewood Sand Hill (Menlo Park)
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, executive chef Peter Rudolph offers Madera guests a holiday-themed, four-course prix fixe menu with many unique and traditional selections, as well as an a la carte menu. Dishes feature chicken galantine, dried plum and burgundy truffle over chicory in pistachio vinaigrette; chestnut soup and parsnip chips; seared scallops atop watercress puree, roasted celery root and butternut squash in brown butter apple vinaigrette; and a sweet finish of cranberry brown butter galette with crème fraiche ice cream. The menu is available from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and from noon to 9 p.m. on Christmas Day. Cost is $90 per guest and children age 12 and under are half price. A full children’s menu is also available. Reservations: 650-561-1540, maderasandhill.com.
<strongSpoonbar at h2hotel (Healdsburg)
On Christmas Day, chef Rudy Mihal of the modern Mediterranean restaurant in Healdsburg’s new eco-chic h2hotel, will offer a three-course “craft your own” menu from 2 to 7 p.m. Starter options include Dungeness crab salad with grapefruit and Spanish radishes, or assorted local oysters on the half shell. Main plate choices include roasted duck breast with porcini risotto and saba, or seared sea bass with sunchoke puree and Castelvetran olives. Dessert temptations include chocolate chestnut cake with chestnut mousse and meringue mushrooms, or Meyer lemon sabayon tart with pinenut masa shortbread crust and raspberry pate au fruits. Cost is $55 per person; $25 for children ages 7 to 12; children 6 and under enjoy the kids menu for free. View the complete Christmas menu at h2hotel.com. Reservations at 707-433-7222 or OpenTable.com.
Twenty Five Lusk (San Francisco)
The newly opened Twenty Five Lusk, featuring sophisticated yet approachable fine dining under the direction of executive chef Matthew Dolan, will serve its regular dinner menu of contemporary American cuisine on Christmas Eve. Reservations: 415-495-5875, twentyfivelusk.com.
cityhouse at Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel (San Francisco)
Executive chef Brian Healy offers a three-course dinner on Christmas Day featuring classic dishes such as maple glazed stuffed squab and salt crusted prime rib. Christmas dinner will be available from 5 to 10 p.m. Overlooking bustling Market Street, cityhouse presents a modern take on American classics, specializing in steaks, chops and seafood flame-seared on the restaurant’s signature wood-fired grill. Reservations: 800-595-0507, parc55hotel.com.
Sea Ranch Lodge (Sea Ranch)
Take family and friends on a trip up the coast for Christmas Eve (dinner served 5:30 to 8 p.m.) or Christmas Day (dinner served 4 to 8 p.m.). Chef Phillip Kaufman’s internationally inspired California cuisine emphasis the freshest local ingredients. $75 per person. Reservations: 800-732-7262, searanchlodge.com.
Tip: Why drive for your holiday dinner? Pure Luxury Transportation can deliver you, your friends and family in comfort. Avoid the holiday crush, and reserve your limo or Town Car today.