The best restaurants in London open on Christmas Day
From classic Turkey-packed feasts to the city's most famous lamb chops, outsource your cooking this festive season with one of these London restaurants open on Christmas Day
Turkey in the oven, vegetables prepped and ready, pudding on the stove and, wait, what’s that smell? Is that smoke? Oh shit – the bird is burnt. The pudding is split. The vegetables are mush! Does cooking for your loved ones, facing the music of the washing up and spending your day tidying rather than boozing sound like your idea of hell? Then listen up.
While Christmas Day is undeniably linked with rest, and many hospitality venues and businesses opt to close and give their staff the day off, there are a few spots around the city that choose to remain open and feed the hungry diners of London who simply cannot face the prospect of turning on a hob on the day of St Nick.
It might seem incongruous with the cosy, homely Christmas scenes we’re so often fed, but there is something to be said for dressing up, leaving the house, and ignoring all the stress that comes with attempting to put on a feast for many. And that's for those who are celebrating – with a population counting a huge number of cultural backgrounds and religions, to some the 25th of December is a day not unlike any other, only without the crowds in the centre of Town.
So from classic turkey-filled feasts to towering plates of lamb chops from one of London’s best Punjabi restaurants – and whether you're save yourself a few hours' sleep and a whole lotta stress by outsourcing your Christmas lunch or simply not celebrating Christmas at all – try these on for size and thank us later.
Galvin Bar & Grill
1-8 Russell Square, WC1B 5BE
View on Instagram
If there’s anything that shouts Christmas overindulgence, it’s classic French cuisine, which is exactly what the Galvin brothers are dishing out at their eponymous Galvin Bar & Grill on Russell Square in Bloomsbury. Melt like a sticky toffee pudding into one of its generous, comfy banquette booths and gird your loins for a three-course meal for the books. Kick things off with an eye-opening flute of Hattingley Valley sparkling before tucking into a sumptuous menu that includes dishes such as lasagne of Dorset crab with a champagne velouté; grilled fillet of Scottish beef with oxtail crust, bone marrow, truffle potato gratin, creamed spinach and hermitage jus; and nougat glace with raspberry coulis.
£125 per person including coffee and mince pies; galvinrestaurants.com
The Guinea Grill
30 Bruton Place, W1J 6NL
View on Instagram
For those aiming to stretch their waistlines to Father Christmas dimensions, there’s a certain restaurant in Mayfair with a storied reputation for its buckle-busting portions and well-provenanced meat. Since its founding in 1952, it’s been one of the capital’s top spots for Young’s ales and grass-fed, dry-aged beef, and it’ll be running a five-course, roast-centric menu on Christmas Day for those who can’t be fussed to do it at home. Choose from starters like prawn cocktail or Guinea fowl and black truffle ballotine with green apple salad and buttermilk, before tucking into turkey ballotine or carved dry-aged rump beef and a lamb cutlet with all of the fixings. Cardiologist not included.
12a Berkeley Square, W1J 6BS
Whereas our neighbours stateside have the tradition of hitting up Chinese restaurants on the big day, Britain has always been staunchly in the Indian camp on Christmas. For those that want to elevate the experience to the next level, point it towards Berkeley Square and its fabulous restaurant Benares, which has won the hearts and palates of Michelin inspectors for years and years. Chef Sameera Tameja has put together a super special meal for the occasion, complemented with perfectly-paired wines. The tasting menu will be for the entire table, and will include flavoursome, elegant selections such as tawa masala wild halibut with Portsmouth clam moilee; tandoori muntjac with garlic yoghurt and chilli chutney; and traditional rasmalai.
£132 per person; benaresrestaurant.com
Colony Grill Room
8 Balderton St, Brown Hart Gardens, W1K 6TF
View on Instagram
Home Alone may well be McCaulay Culkin’s magnum opus and a cult Christmas film, but if you want to go all in on the Richie Rich vibes (or indeed its underappreciated sequel Richie Rich: A Christmas Wish ) the Colony Grill Room at The Beaumont hotel is where it’s at. Situated smack-bang in the middle of Mayfair in Brown Hart Gardens, the Colony Grill Room channels post-war, mid-century Manhattan elegance better than anyone else, and is running a very special Christmas Day menu spanning seven sensational courses. Treat yourself to the likes of a ballotine of cured foie with pain d’epice, pickled pear and Banyuls; lobster and tarragon dumpling with shellfish bisque; and the The Beaumont Christmas pudding in a rich-as-Croesus brandy sauce.
4 Knightsbridge Green, SW1X 7QA
View on Instagram
Sette means seven in Italian, and you’ll get seven courses at the Bulgari hotel’s flagship restaurant, which is – hint hint – also named Sette, if you drop in on Christmas day to sample its special menu. Pop by to be lavished with a trio of canapés; an antipasti course of either smoked salmon or beef carpaccio; a pasta course of lobster cavatelli with lobster guazzetto, tomatoes, spicy breadcrumbs; a secondi course of either seabass or roast turkey; and a dolci course followed by biscotti and petits four (which, if you count them separately, makes sette courses).
Booking Office 1869
St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Rd, NW1 2AR
View on Instagram
As far as Christmas Day venues go, it’s tough to beat the timeless grandeur of Booking Office 1869. After an extensive refurb, the restaurant and bar reopened this year with a space that takes full advantage of its historical locale and proximity to one of the country’s most iconic train stations. The art deco-style decor mingles with magical realism to create a space that seems plucked from a Poirot film: sexy, international and luxurious in a warm and accessible way. Christmas Day will see them serving a five-course menu with a glass of Veuve Cliquot. Diners can opt for an optional wine pairing – but be sure to give the cocktail list a whirl. Bar manager Jack Porter has curated a concise selection of drinks that feel inventive yet classic.
£150 per person; booking-office.co.uk
Duck & Waffle
110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
Fancy taking your Christmas Day with a view of the entirety of London below? There’s only one thing for it: Duck & Waffle. Famous for its sweeping vistas, late hours and eponymous dish, this is a restaurant that has come to define the vertigo-inducing scene of sky-high dining in London, and for good reason. It’ll make a suitably festive spot for Christmas, too, as it’s being transformed into something of a winter wonderland, with snow-covered trees and fairy lights in abundance. The exclusive Christmas Day menu will see a menu of reinvented classics, with dishes like Smoked Chicken & Chestnut Hash with duck egg, Porcini Mushroom Ravioli with shaved winter truffle or decadent Christmas pudding waffle with brandy butter, rum ice cream and redcurrants.
83-89 Fieldgate St, E1 1JU
A meal at Tayyabs makes any day feel like a celebration, which makes it the perfect destination for Christmas. It’s BYO, so round up your best bottles and come to feast on the same menu it serves year-round – the city’s best lamb chops, the illegally good dry meat curry and soothing bowls of tharka dhal. For an alternative to the classic Christmas feast, you can’t get better than this.