Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Nov 28, 2009 04:43 PM

Christmas in San Francisco

This is my first time sending a message on Chowhound, so please bear with me. My wife and I will be in SF for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day until we head for the airport around 6:00 PM. We will be at the JW Marriott and in need of advice for dinner on Christmas Eve and earlier dining on Christmas Day in that general vicinity. Love Italian, American, Seafood, French, pretty much anything.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: wolfe

      Thanks, it seems I need to go on Opentable for starters and work my way thru the list. Should be fun.

    2. Check Opentable.

      As far as Chirstmas, Opentable is not as good as they are for New Year's and Thanksgiving.

      I'm putting together a list of Christmas and Christmas Eve restaurants, but I wont post it untill next week when restaurants replace their Thanksgiving links with Christmas links.

      Chowhoudn always gets Jul;y -August inquiries about where to eat on Thanksgiving,, Christmas and New Years I figure if I document that this year, it willl be usefull in the future.

      I have about a dozen places so far. What is your budget?

      1 Reply
      1. re: rworange

        This sounds great. I hate to say it, but the amount is not part of the equation. We love great food and great service and realize you get what you pay for. Looking forward to your suggestions.

      2. If you want a very nice dinner I'd suggest The Dinning Room at the Ritz Carlton hotel. It will be pricey but very nice. We went last year and it was pretty good. For Christmas night they serve a special menu.

        Btw, which Marriott are you staying at as there are a couple in San Francisco.

        6 Replies
        1. re: skwid

          "JW Marriott"
          500 Post St, San Francisco

          1. re: skwid

            My wife says it's the JW Marriott. If there are more than one of those, please tell me.
            Thanks for the info on the Ritz. We have one here in VA and they are usually very good.

            1. re: budman61

              The Dining Room at the Ritz has earned Michelan stars under Chef Ron Siegel. It is a bit different than the usual Ritz experience. Here's the Ritz Holiday schedule.

              The dinners at The Dining Room are a whole different thing from the kitchen that takes care of the Lobby Lounge or the buffet ... the latter I wouldn't recommend as other big hotels do the food better.

              Unfortunately The Dining Room doesn't have the holiday menu online. Here's the restaurant's regular link

              I'm sure Christmas Eve dinner will be fabulous though ... expensive but fabulous. It is on California and there are midnight services at Grace Cathedral on top of the hill. St Mary's down the hill has midnight mass. It is a festive area at Christmas with buffets also at the Mark Hopkins and Fairmont.

              Siegel got his start at Masa's which is also having a Christmas Eve dinner

              I'm a day or two away from putting the rest of the lsit I have out.

              1. re: rworange

                If the Christmas Eve is close to the regular menu on the site, it looks too good to turn down. Can't wait for the list. I hope it also includes Christmas Day.

                1. re: budman61

                  If the Ritz is something that interests your, you might call them and see if they can give you an idea of the menu. They might have a preliminary menu they could send you though since the kitchen relies on seasonality it wouldn't be set in stone.

                  Given that is an active area on Christmas Eve, I'd suggest booking a reservation now. You can always cancel it if you find something better.

                  Restaurants have been really dragging their heels on putting up Christmas links. A good many still haven't taken the Thanksgiving links down.

          2. Had Christmas dinner last year at the Americano in the Hotel Vitale, 8 Mission Street. It was a very satisfying meal. Will be back there this year.

            2 Replies
            1. re: toitoi

              Was that Christmas Day or Eve? We are looking for both.

              1. re: budman61

                We ate at the Americano for Christmas Day dinner - in the early evening. Christmas Eve we had dinner at 1550 Hyde, which rworange had recommended. Scroll down here to read my report. I live in LA, so I've not been back, but I don't think I will anytime soon.

                This Christmas Eve, we're going to Fior d'Italia We've eaten there twice at Christmas time, and I've enjoyed their osso buco with polenta. The restaurant has a homey atmosphere, just what a Christmas meal needs.

                Website for Fior d'Italia

            2. Okie Dokie, here's the lists finally

              Christmas Eve 2009 – San Francisco

              Christmas Day 2009 – San Francisco

              There will be more additions over the next few weeks. Restaurants have just been dragging their feet about putting up the holiday links and it was only this past weekend that I got this much info.

              Though I'll add info as I get it, it seems the pattern has been for restaurants to update websites at the week end

              There are links to online menus if any. You will have to cut and paste those in your browser if interested.

              The list map can give you a feel for how close to your hotel they are.

              Here's the pricing I used
              $ Under 30
              $$ 30 – 49
              $$$ 50 – 69
              $$$$ 70 and over

              I didn't add restaurants that are not advertising special menus or are just serving their recular menu.

              Americano is mentioned in this thread, but they haven't put up their info on the website yet so until they do I'm not listing them. I know there are a lot more places that have Christmas meals like Americano, but until it is on the website it won't go in the list.

              Finally, there's another 'charming' software bug. You may have to refresh the list a few . times to see all entries ... or maybe not

              As of this post there are 16 Christmas Eve menus. Pay attention to the numbers. They should be sequenced from 1 - 16 not 12,7,8,9, 11, 12, 16 ... or something like that. Christmas Day has 21 entries as of this post.

              If a restaurant menu interests you, ask about it. Some look good on papaer. As an example, The Hornblower cruises are a pleasant boat ride on the bay but the food is average buffet stuff.

              6 Replies
              1. re: rworange

                rworange.... thank you for your extraordinary informative work.


                1. re: toitoi

                  You are welcome, but this was partly for me too. I usually eat out on holidays and just get annoyed having to wait close to the date before seeing who is offering special menus.

                  Of course, next year there will be new places. Some places that serve this year, won't next ... and visa versa. Still about 80 percent of those places next year will be serving holiday meals.

                  As a bonus I discovered events I didn't know about before.

                2. re: rworange

                  Thanks for putting these informative lists together. I was looking at the Christmas Eve buffet at Top of the Mark and was wondering if anyone had any experience with an event like this there. The menu looks great, I'm just hoping for some reassurance that it would actually be great (or at least very good).

                  1. re: TJKirby

                    There was a postivie Chowhound report about the Sunday brunch by a reliable Chowhound. Out of all the buffet menus I've looked at , this seemed the best. If you go, hope you report back.

                    That area is so festive on Christmas with all the grand hotels having special holiday meals with midnight mass later at Grace Cathedral.

                    1. re: rworange

                      Last Christmas Eve was a rainy and windy night. Taxis were difficult to find, so we waited for the cable car to take us to California St, then walked up the hill from Powell, hiding behind our golf umbrellas, which wanted to turn inside out. We pushed against the wind.

                      When we entered - at a time I thought early, 10:30, the cathedral was chock-a-block with worshipers and seats were at a premium. After finally finding two seats - whew !!, we sat and sat until the service began at midnight. It was a long wait, and although impressive, not something I'd want to endure again.

                      Plentiful taxis were outside after the service, but you had to hustle down the steps to make certain you got to their door first. Would more cabs be coming, only The Lord can answer that question.

                  2. re: rworange

                    Wow, these lists blow me away. Thanks so much. This is my first time on a board and it has been a great experience. Merry Christmas to everyone and thanks again.