Loosen your belts, it’s that time of year again. If you don’t feel uncomfortably full at least once a day in December you’re doing something wrong. Sure, Christmas is a time for giving, but it's also a time for feasting. It’s about warming comfort food that makes you feel fuzzy inside, decadent desserts you would ordinarily decline and sparkly cocktails with the richest liquors the barmen can lay his hands on.
Whether it’s for a festive feast with friends, an annual ritual with flatmates, seasonal celebration with colleagues or even a wintery date with a loved one – December is the month we’ll find any excuse to go for an indulgent dinner or leisurely lunch. It’s also a time for family – catching up with long-lost relatives, treating the kids, or getting better acquainted with the in-laws – a good meal out can really tick all the boxes. Cut out the stress of catering for the thousands – nobody needs that at this time of year and we reckon we know a professional chef or two that can do a better job anyway.
Here are some of the best options to get you in the festive spirit, whether your wallet's feeling the squeeze from all that Christmas shopping or you’re looking to splash out on an all-singing, all-dancing luxe experience. We have also included a few venues that are great for hosting larger family gatherings, particularly with kids in tow. If you’re on the hunt for somewhere special to spend Christmas day itself we’ve also got you covered with options ranging from an Asian-inspired ten course menu at Gordon Ramsay’s Lucky Cat, an Indian banquet from The Cinnamon Club or a classic British affair at Jason Atherton’s Berners Tavern. We know you’re spoilt for choice but be sure to book soon to avoid disappointment. Click on the links below to be taken straight to the section you're most interested in.
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Cheap Christmas dinners in London
There’s no denying that it’s an expensive time of year – what with all the Christmas drinks and presents you’ve still got to buy. If you don’t want to break the bank but still want to feel like you’re treating yourself then here are some great value choices.
Dishoom, various locations
What: If you’re sick of prawn cocktail and couldn’t stomach another sprout if you tried, then why not throw the rule book out the window this year and plump for something a little bit different? As usual, Dishoom will be serving up its modern take on classic Indian dishes, all with a festive twist. The centrepiece to the feast is a turkey raan – a whole leg cooked low and slow for hours until tender and then served with cranberry chutney. Veggies are also catered for with a dedicated menu, and there are even special festive drinks to enjoy should you wish to mark the occasion with a tipple or two.
Where: Dishoom has locations across London, but the original Covent Garden site has just been refurbished if you fancy soaking up some serious interior goals.
How much: £39 per person
What: This old-school institution is a home-from-home for many, so what better place to go for a seasonal celebration. While they're yet to release details of their 2021 menu, we assume it will be in line with their offerings from previous years. If so, set off the meal in style with half a dozen oysters then lookout for Wilton's carving trolley of the day for the Christmas special served à table by the chef trancheur. Finally for dessert, the orange panna cotta with spiced cranberries is surely a no-brainer.
Where: 55 Jermyn Street, SW1Y 6LX
How much: 2 courses £35.00/ 3 courses £43.00
What: Since opening its doors in 2019, this fashionable Italian has proved a popular hit with diners and critics alike. Inspired by the cuisine of Sicily, this year's Christmas Party menu at Norma will include three courses from £55 per person (with more luxurious options on offer too, if preferred). There's focaccia, olives, salami and caper berries to start, while a main of slow cooked free-range chicken with Sicilian lemon, sage and cinnamon takes centre stage. Winter greens and olive oil fried potatoes accompany the roast, while desserts like the festive tiramisu make sweets something special too.
Where: 8 Charlotte Street, W1T 2LS
How much: Three Course from £55.00
Wright Brothers, various locations
What: Wright Brothers are known for their seafood but their range of festive menus extends beyond their usual fare. In past years, for just £45pp guests have been able to choose to go traditional with a Norfolk bronze turkey for their main course or for a fishy alternative there's been a choice of Roast fillet of Peterhead cod with spiced carrot mash, buttered sprout tops and sauce Jacqueline or a Mojo verde roasted gilt-head bream served with steamed broccoli, bagna cauda, and crispy shallots. While they're yet to confirm their 2021 offering, we're expecting it to be somewhat similar.
Where: Various locations
How much: Three course set menu at £45pp
What: Cantonese food might not be the first thing that springs to mind for a festive feast but the set menus at Hakkasan offer great crowd-pleasing options for office parties, family get-togethers or a spoiling dinner out with friends. From the more affordable end, mains include the likes of tofu with aubergines and mushrooms made in a traditional claypot with chilli and blackbean sauce. Puds for this one includes the house Signature Dessert, a really indulgent chocolate-based dessert presented theatrically.
Where: 8 Hanway Place, W1T 1HD
How much: 3 course set menus start at £68pp
The Lighterman, Kings Cross
What: With a wraparound terrace offering views over Granary Square and Regent’s Canal The Lighterman is certainly a scenic spot for a festive feast. Alongside more traditional Christmas options we loved the sound of the Scottish Fallow venison loin with baked celeriac, butternut squash & truffle and the caramelised pear crumble with house-made spiced almond custard for pudding - both dishes on last year's menu. Once they've launched their 2021 menu we'll update you here.
Where: 3 Granary Square, N1C 4BH
How much: Three course set menu £50pp
Spring, Covent Garden
What: From the day it arrived Spring has been at the forefront of sustainable dining and the Scratch menu devised by Chef Skye Gyngell to showcase so-called ‘waste’ ingredients has been a longstanding hit with pre-theatre diners. Last year saw the restaurant serve an exlusive Festive Scratch menu all day long on Christmas Eve to make use of any remaining produce in the kitchen before the Christmas break. This is festive dining with a conscience and we can’t wait to see what sumptuous seasonal dishes the team come up with in 2021.
Where: Somerset House, Lancaster Place, WC2R 1LA
How much: 3 courses £25
What: As with everything at this Mayfair institution, the festive menu celebrates the seasonal produce available at this time of year served in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Corrigan's is all about heart-warming food served with a smile; if last year is anything to go by you'll be able to pick from dishes like roast Yorkshire partridge with red cabbage and parsnip, braised beef cheeks with pumpkin purée and cavolo nero, and warm winter apple crumble with cinnamon custard.
Where: 28 Upper Grosvenor Street, W1K 7EH
How much: 2 courses £39/ 3 courses £45
Wild Honey St James, Mayfair
What: With its sophisticated, modern interiors Wild Honey St James is a smart venue for any festive occasion and the Christmas menus are available for various budgets. On the cheaper end of the spectrum you can expect dishes such as grilled Cornish mackerel with à la Greque vegetables and slow cooked Scottish ox cheek with roast winter vegetables, red wine and parsley sauce. Seasonality is central to Anthony Demetre’s culinary ethos and his festive menus are no exception.
Where: 8 Pall Mall, SW1Y 5NG
How Much: 3 courses from £45
Luxury Christmas dinner in London
If you’ve been virtuous all year and have confidence in that Christmas bonus then why not indulge in a luxury feast that will make a mark on your memory as much as it does on your tastebuds.
Holborn Dining Room
What: Relax in the wonderfully cosy calm setting of the Holborn Dining Room and let the expert team take care of your Christmas culinary experience. Here you’ll be treated to a full menu, where you can pick between starters like baked lobster thermidor tart or wild smoked salmon with Devon crab and avocado; plus, mains such as classic turkey with cranberry or a fillet of wild seabass with shellfish sauce and saffron potatoes. Puds are also given plenty of air time with a Pump Street chocolate brulee with shortbread being top of our wish list. A glass of fizz plus tea, coffee, and mince pies are all included too.
Where: 252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN
How much: £175 per person
What: Designed for wooing clients and colleagues, the extravagant thirteen course festive menu from the Kobe beef specialists at Engawa was available for a mere £235 in 2019. Cost aside, the unique gastronomic experience promises breath taking culinary prowess showcasing one of Japan’s most expensive and sought-after ingredients. Highlights might include a Kobe sirloin steak with sea urchin, cheese and truffle cream sauce.
Where: 2 Ham Yard, W1D 7DT
How much: 13 course tasting menu £235
Bokan, Canary Wharf
What: With its stunning panoramic views over the city skyline the setting at Bokan alone will make it a meal to remember. Amongst the dishes on offer on Christmas Day last year were pâté en croûte, with wild boar & foie gras, and quince marmalade; steamed halibut, with burnt orange purée, home-made garganelli pasta and roasted cauliflower; and a rather ambiguous Christmas tree dessert served with a choco-clementine mousse and Grand Marnier sorbet.
Where: Floor 37-39, 40 Marsh Wall, E14 9TP
How much: Four-course set menu £79pp
What: If you’re looking for a Michelin starred Christmas this year then the festive menu at Gordon Ramsay's Petrus is definitely worth a perusal. In the past the set menu has included confit duck and smoked chestnuts ravioli served with Jerusalem artichokes, wild mushrooms and Perigord truffle, followed by Dover sole or venison “Rossini”, all topped off with a Christmas pudding soufflé and brandy ice cream. It is certainly a luxurious and pricey option but it will undoubtedly make this Christmas a memorable one.
Where: 1 Kinnerton Street, SW1X 8EA
How much: £325pp
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Mayfair
What: Fans of Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester know that they’re always in for a showcase of culinary expertise, seasonal flavours, and faultless presentation when dining at this restaurant. The Christmas Lunch menu is looking to be no exception. Highlights last year included confit duck foie gras with artichoke and sunflower seeds and fillet of sea bass with gratinated cauliflower and white truffle. We're expecting similar again for 2021 - although the full menu is yet to be released. What we do know though is that to eat here on Christmas Day will set you back £360 per person. The cost includes a six-course menu, wine pairings, water and tea and coffee.
Where: 53 Park Lane, W1K 1QA
How much: £380pp
Ginza Onodera, St James’s
What: Christmas in Japan is known as a time to spread happiness and the four-course festive menu at this fine-dining Japanese restaurant aims to do just that. Presented with an acute attention to detail, dishes at Ginza Onodera showcase top-quality luxury ingredients treated respectfully with a delicate hand. Main courses on the 2021 menu include wagyu sukiyaki, black cod with saikyo yaki, lobster and prawn tempura and a sashimi platter.
Where: 15 Bury Street, SW1Y 6AL
How much: £150 per person
Christmas dinner in London with kids
Worried about lack of space or child-friendly menus? Eating out with the kids can sometimes seem like more hassle than it’s worth but we’re confident that these spots will set you up for a stress-free festive meal that will have you wishing you ate out with the family more often.
The Foyer & Reading Room at Claridge’s, Mayfair
What: It goes without saying that the people at Claridge’s know a thing or two about Christmas. A festive celebration at this five-star location is certain to be an unforgettable one. The hotel really comes into its own at this time of year and The Foyer & Reading Room is no exception. It’s a masterpiece of festive elegance with a menu to match.
Where: Brook Street, W1K 4HR
How much: 3 courses £95 (children £48)
What: Celebrate Christmas day Italian style at this relaxed riverside restaurant in Battersea Power Station. The set four-course menu at Fiume is typically full of warming winter dishes from Chef Patron Francesco Mazzei’s homeland including a wild mushroom tortelli with a sage and pumpkin sauce and pot roasted monkfish with Romano peppers and marjoram. No Calabrian Christmas would be complete without a generous helping of Struffoli – deep fried balls of honey sweetened dough - need we say more?
Where: Circus West, Battersea Power Station, SW8 5BN
How much: £65pp
St John, Farringdon
What: For a family feast like no other St John usually offers up a choice of menu options that are sure to keep every friend and relative happy. Guests must simply choose between game, beef, fish, goose or vegetarian for a special three course spread in celebration of that ingredient. For something extra special order a suckling pig for 14, 18 or 22 people with middle white tongues to start and apple and calvados trifle to finish.
Where: 26 St. John Street, EC1M 4AY
How much: Suckling Pig for 14 people £410
Glass Room, Victoria
What: Enjoy a totally different Christmas fine-dining experience gliding along the Thames and taking in the twinkling lights of London’s most iconic landmarks whilst tucking into a five-course menu. Glass Room's festive menu might include dishes such as maple roast parsnip velouté with blue cheese and candied walnuts; game terrine with pickled pear chutney; and roast turkey ballotine wrapped in bacon, and accompanied by duck fat potatoes, heritage carrots, braised red cabbage, apricot stuffing and redcurrant gravy. We guarantee this is something that will be enjoyed by kids and grandparents in equal measure.
Where: Victoria Embankment, WC2N 6NU
How much: 5 courses, half a bottle of wine and live entertainment £169pp
Roast, Borough Market
What: As you would expect from this Borough Market institution, the festive a la carte menu at Roast comprises many a British Christmas classic. Seasonal additions to the starters usually include honey roast Dingley Dell ham and Forman’s London cure smoked salmon. Roast bronze Norfolk turkey is a festive special from the main courses and comes served with all the trimmings and the option to add Périgord truffles for some added decadence. If you’re not a Christmas pudding fan, look out for the panatone parfait or white chocolate & chestnut log for an equally indulgent dessert.
Where: The Floral Hall, Stoney Street, SE1 1TL
How much: Roast bronze Norfolk turkey and all the trimmings, £30
Restaurants open on Christmas Day in London
Hang up your oven gloves and forget all that endless washing up. Stats show that an increasing number of Londoners now choose to eat out on Christmas Day and when the options are this tempting we can understand why. Here are some of our favourite restaurants open on Christmas day.
Cinnamon Kitchen, Battersea
What: For a warming festive feast like no other the Cinnamon Kitchen Battersea's Christmas Day menu is full of contemporary Indian dishes that are sure to get the tastebuds tingling. Appetisers for sharing with the table include Indo-Chinese chilli paneer and a refreshing watermelon chaat, followed by a choice of starters and mains including chargrilled partridge breast with pickling spices and beetroot raita (starter); pan seared cod with a Kerala curry sauce and rice; and a tandoori spiced venison dish served with fenugreek yogurt sauce and pickled vegetables. Side dishes, also designed to share, comprise of 24-hour black simmered lentils, stir fried seasonal greens and a selection of breads. Puddings aren't neglected either: think a warm chocolate mousse with popcorn ice cream.
Where: 4 Arches Lane, SW11 8AB
How much: 5 course set menu £75pp
Decimo at The Standard
What: Decimo is headed up by Michelin-starred chef Peter Sanchez Iglesias, so you can expect a pretty special festive feast with this Christmas menu. Highlights might include Spanish pigs in blankets, a main of expertly cooked duck, and chocolate mousse with bread and olive oil to finish. Additionally, there’s typically an entire vegan menu available which features like cauliflower tacos and artichoke with pardina lentils.
Where: 10th Floor, 10 Argyle Street, WC1H 8EG
How much: £68 per person, including a welcome cocktail
Lucky Cat, Mayfair
What: Tired of turkey? Bored of brandy butter? Gordon Ramsay’s pan-Asian outpost has a Christmas Day menu that will inject some novelty into your festive celebrations. The Asian-inspired menu at Lucky Cat does have a few nods to the standard British offerings – hello Brussel sprout tempura, smoked pigs in blankets and Christmas pudding lucky lollies – but other than that it’s a ten course culinary adventure.
Where: 10 Grosvenor Square, W1K 6JP
How much: 10 course tasting menu, £145
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Knightsbridge
What: It comes as no surprise that Heston tends to go big with his unique Christmas Day offering at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. As with all the menus at this world-renowned restaurant, Heston’s fascination with historical gastronomy shines through and each dish is dated to signify the era in which it was inspired. This year's menu includes five intriguing dishes such as plum meat fruit, a savoury frumenty porridge and sambocade (a medieval cheesecake recipe).
Where: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA
How much: £295 per person, or £145 for children under the age of 13
Berners Tavern, Fitzrovia
What: Under the direction of celebrated chef Jason Atherton, Christmas Day diners at this Fitzrovia favourite can rest assured that they’re in for a treat. Guests at Berners Tavern are spoilt for choice with a luxurious menu which last year featured the likes of native lobster soup with braised fennel, poached lobster mousse and caviar to start and Highland venison Wellington or Buccleuch Estate beef fillet to follow. It’s rich, it’s decadent and it’s everything Christmas dinner ought to be.
Where: The London Edition, 10 Berners Street, W1T 3NP
How much: 4 courses £150pp including a glass of Champagne
Hans’ Bar & Grill at 11 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea
What: In true Relais & Chateux style, diners can relax safe in the knowledge that not a detail will go unmissed from their Christmas Day experience at Hans’ Bar & Grill. Tables will be laid to perfection to create an idyllic homely experience without any of the stresses of hosting. The menu offers all the traditional options with the addition of some other wintery classics. Think a spiced lobster bisque for starters and turkey with all the trimmings for mains. Alternatives include a roasted mushroom and beetroot Wellington or a piece of roasted halibut with a herb crust.
Where: 11 Cadogan Gardens, SW3 2RJ
How much: 4 courses, £90
The Cinnamon Club, Westminster
What: In a location that oozes glamour and sophistication The Cinnamon Club is a wonderful venue for a bountiful banquet to celebrate the big day of festivities. The innovative menu sees familiar Christmas suspects given an exotic Indian twist – a clove flavoured goose breast comes with a Chettinad kuruma sauce and Brussel sprout poriyal whilst their Christmas pudding is spiced with Garam masala and served with warming cinnamon custard. For those looking for something a bit different this Christmas but without straying too far from the classics this is the perfect compromise.
Where: The Old Westminster Library, Great Smith Street, SW1P 3BU
How much: £125pp including a seasonal aperitif
The Dining Room at The Goring, Belgravia
What: Executive Chef Richard Galli will be showing off his culinary prowess at The Goring Dining Room again this year. The Michelin-star Christmas Day menu features some festive specials like roast turkey with all the trimmings (carved tableside from a silver trolley) and Christmas pudding with confit orange and brandy cream. Regulars to the Belgravia institution will also be delighted to find some much-loved Goring classics; native lobster omelette and venison wellington with salsify, black cabbage and mushroom ketchup are also available from the set menu.
Where: The Goring, 15 Beeston Place, SW1W 0JW
How much: Three course set menu, £295 per person
Looking for a place to ring in 2021 at? Our guide to the best restaurants for New Year might help.