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Nov 13, 2009 01:53 PM

Dinner in SF on Christmas Day

I will be in SF over Christmas and was wondering where to eat on Christmas day. We are staying at the Hyatt Regency at Embarcadero Plaza. I checked Open table for resaturants that will be open and here is what I came up with:

- Biscuits & Blues
- Daily Grill
- Cote Sud (prix fixe)
- Chapeau (prix fixe)
- Zingari Ristorante
Also available are the hotel restaurants:
- Westin St Francis (the Oak Room)
- Warwick Hotel (La Scene Cafe - prix fixe)
- Hyatt Regency (Eclipse)

Any opinions or other suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. Check if The DInning Room at the Ritz Carlton will be serving Christmas dinner (I'm betting yes). We went last year and it was pretty good.

    The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton
    The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94108

    2 Replies
    1. re: skwid

      Do they do a special menu for Xmas? If so, how much was it?

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        They do a special menu for Christmas and I can't remember how much it was.

    2. Of that short list, Chapeau is a winner. I would bet that most of the restaurants associated with major hotels will be serving.

      12 Replies
      1. re: Joan Kureczka

        I would also go to Chapeau. And yes, most of Chinatown is open. Roast crab at R&J is a fine way to celebrate.

        The hotel restaurants are mostly hotel restaurants: expensive and fairly ordinary food. The Ritz is extreme high end; you'll be paying $200 a head and getting the backup staff who couldn't get vacations.

        Christmas Eve can be much harder btw if you want to make plans. Lots of restaurants close early. Italian restaurants are almost never open. (The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir does play an annual concert at Slim's for a modest door fee.)

        Outside of San Francisco city limits, it's much harder to find anything open. Wineries will be closed. At least in the city, there are a few concessions: the Contemporary Jewish Museum is usually open, plus there are lots of movies and a few things like the ice rink catering to tourists. Take a ferry ride or a walk at Crissy Field or in Golden Gate Park, but don't plan on many attractions.

        1. re: Windy

          I do have to say that, while it is udoubtably true that most Italian restaurants are closed Christmas eve, I had a very lovely Christmas eve dinner at Bacco a few years back. They had a truffle risotto on the menu....

          1. re: Windy

            Bacco, Farina, Palio d'Asti, Perbacco, Oliveto, and Rose Pistola are all open on Xmas eve per opentable. Incanto (not on opentable) usually does an all-fish dinner on Xmas eve.

            230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

            Rose Pistola
            532 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133-2802

            Oliveto Cafe
            5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              and of those, Perbacco is walking distance from your hotel. Although I share some of Susan's affection for Bacco.

              I've always been curious about the dinner of the fishes at Incanto. Anyone been?

              230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

              1. re: Windy

                No,but I've been to the tuna dinner a couple of times and eaten a lot of fish there. If Cosentino wasn't Mr. Offal I think he'd have more of a reputation for fish.

              2. re: Robert Lauriston

                Here's the posting for this year's Incanto dinner.

              3. re: Windy

                I'm going to have to disagree with you Windy on the "hotel restaurants are mostly hotel restaurants: expensive and fairly ordinary food". Many of the best restaurants in the city are in Hotels these days. There are obviously ordinary restaurants in hotels but just because a restaurant is in a hotel does not mean it is crap (otherwise Michael Mina, Masa, Ame, ... would be considered crap restaurants).

                Masa's Restaurant
                648 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

                1. re: skwid

                  Those restaurants are exceptions to the rule, but in recent years a high percentage of new high-end name-chef expense-account restaurants in SF have opened in hotels. Though you're probably not going to get the "A" team on Christmas.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Well in general you are correct Robert (given how many hotels there are in SF). However it is no longer impossible to find realy good fine dinning in a hotel. I think the reason chefs are starting to open restaurants in hotels is that the hotel pays for alot of the infrastructure of the restaurant (I know this is why Michael Mina has always opened restaurants in hotels, only exception is his restaurant in LA where he got an unbelieveable deal). Thus the investment becomes far less for the chef and/or his investors. Will be interesting to see if this continues to be the case (I think this is the reason so many chefs have opened places in Las Vegas, there is no, or almost no, monetary investment on their side). Btw, you could add Cyrus, and Meadowood to the list along with the aforementioned The Dinning Room.

                  2. re: skwid

                    I would not recommend any of the hotel restaurants the OP asks about at the top of this page. Would you?

                    I didn't say Michael Mina was crap, but it is priced for an expense account audience, as is Ame. Neither would be my choice for Christmas dinner, even if someone else were paying.

                    Cyrus is *not* a hotel restaurant, nor is Masa's. They are restaurants that happen to be located in or adjacent to small hotels. That distinction is significant.

                    "Many of the best restaurants in the city are in hotels these days" is a bit of a stretch.

                    Masa's Restaurant
                    648 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

                    1. re: Windy

                      Cyrus is part of the Hotel Les Mars. Masa's is definitely part of the Hotel Vintage court.

                      There is quite a difference from 20 years ago where the rule of thumb was to avoid high end restaurants in hotels at all costs because they typically were not very good. In several instances that is no longer the case.

                      Of the three hotel restaurants the OP listed I would not recommend any of them (is Michael Mina not open Christmas day, I've not heard of the "oak room").

                      Masa's Restaurant
                      648 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

                      1. re: Windy

                        Masa's is owned by the hotel. One of Michael Bauer's few complaints about it during the Ron Siegel era was that to get to the bathroom you had to go through the hotel lobby.

                        Masa's and Campton Place were the first San Francisco name-chef destination restaurants of the modern era to open in hotels. Both opened in 1983.

                        Masa's Restaurant
                        648 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

                        Campton Place
                        340 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

                2. I'll just point out the obvious: almost everything in Chinatown should be open. Chinatown is walking distance from the Embarcadero Hyatt Regency.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    There's always Kung Pao Kosher Comedy at New Asia Restaurant ... Jewish comedy on Xmas in a Chinese Restaurant

                    Anyone ever been to this?

                  2. My family and I will be in that area for Christmas too. We were thinking about the Waterfront. We ate Thanksgiving dinner there a few years ago and liked it. I need to check to see if it's open on Christmas.
                    Along those lines, what about going up to wine country? We're assuming all the wineries are closed. Does anyone know if there are any open on Christmas? If not, would you also assume they will be closed Christmas Eve?
                    Also, are there any other suggestions about fun things to do, or places to go, on Christmas or Christmas Eve? Having a great "Italian Christmas Eve" dinner, with all the great fish dishes, would be great. Any idea which restaurant might do that?

                    1. God no to the Oak Room. It is the worst kind of hotel buffet ... in a meeting type of room with the type of spread one would get at business meetings where no one cares about the food.

                      I'm not that impressed with the Ritz buffets. The service is swell, but ... eh. They seemd to have closed the Terrace Room so this year it will be in the ballroom.

                      Chapeau is kind of out of the way of Union Square. While I love their dinners has anyone had Thanksgiving there before?

                      I'll post back later but as I was putting together my lists for Thanksgiving dining

                      Everything Thanksgiving 2009

                      if I saw a restaurant website with Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, and New Year's day menu, I noted them in some Word documents. I'm waiting until Thanksgiving weekend to post those since most places wont have the Christmas menus on their websites until after then. The closer to the holiday the more info.

                      Anyway, the buffet at the Top of the Mark impressed me. They have one both for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day ... the latter being more expansive food-wise and during the day you have that swell view. However, on Christmas Eve it is a nice place to go if you are planning to go to midnight mass at Grace Cathedral. Here's the info with menu links

                      Top of the Mark

                      $$$$ - Christmas Eve buffet with live music. Ricardo Scales on jazz piano 4 p.m. - 9 p.m.

                      PRICE: $95 per person $55 per child age 4-12
                      HOURS: 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
                      HOLIDAY MENU: http://www.intercontinentalmarkhopkin...

                      $$$$ - Christmas buffet with live music

                      PRICE: $95 per person $55 per child age 4-12
                      HOURS: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
                      HOLIDAY MENU http://www.intercontinentalmarkhopkin...

                      At one time ... and this was at least 10 years ago, the Hyatt Embarcadero had my favorite holiday buffets in the city. Then they discontinued them. Don't know the status these days.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: rworange

                        Yes, Chapeau would require a taxi 4 or 5 miles. It would likely cost half what dinner downtown would cost though, so that seems like a reasonable expense for better food in a gorgeous setting.

                        1. re: Windy


                          Haven't been to the new location. Did they redo Clementine that much? I'm not trying to discourage dinner at Chapeau, but just wanted to note it wasn't nearby. Then again dinner at Chapeau woult open up exploring the Chinese businesses on Clement.

                          1. re: Windy

                            You could also take a bus for $8 round trip.

                          2. re: rworange

                            I would like to take my dad and husband to a nice Christmas Day buffet. I'm looking at the Fairmont, Mark Hopkins and Anzu. Does anyone have any info as to their quality of food? Price isn't an issue, but at $65 vs. $96+, I'd go to Fairmont/Mark Hopkins if Anzu isn't worth it....or, any other places I missed? Thanks in advance!

                            1. re: DianeL

                              The menus for the places you listed are in the list I provided above ... or you can go to their website and try to find the menus. ... It isn't always intuitive.

                              Some of my info is ancient. However, looking at those menus it doesn't seem like much has changed.

                              I despise Anzu. The year I went, it was in a ballroom and had a stark feel to it. Then to make it worse, my mother, in a wheelchair, got ill (nothing to do with dinner). I was a little crazy with concern and and as I loaded her in the car, the doorman made a snarky remark about not getting a tip. Honestly, what I was thinking was whether we needed to go to the emergency room.

                              The Fairmont was too fussy for my tastes. At the time, I remember lots of stuff in aspic. Times have changed, but looking at that menu it still looks overly fussy.

                              The Mark Hopkins has the most appealing buffet to me. There have been some favorrible reports about their food. If it were me, I'd go to the Mark.

                              1. re: rworange

                                Right, RW, I know you commented on the Fairmont's fussy menu, I just wasn't sure if you'd actually eaten there as well as the Mark. I agree with you on Anzu - I was there for an Easter Buffet about 5 years ago and wasn't impressed then. I guess I'd hoped it had improved....

                                1. re: DianeL

                                  Hopefully someone will have a more recent experience than either of ours at Anzu.

                                  The poster who recommeded the Top of the Mark is super reliable. I'd trust her opinon even more than my own and have the MH high on my to-retryry list. Tho I have been there it reallly exceeds the decade mark since my last meal.

                                  1. re: rworange

                                    I did manage to get the menu doc from the Fairmont for Christmas Day, if you'd like to add it to your Christmas list posting. I don't know how to post it myself.