Some folks plan for Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner in Orlando by writing out lists of ingredients, making sure you got back all the Tupperware from Thanksgiving, filling the fridge and cooking for days. Others make a phone call.
For those others, here’s some options for Christmas (and Christmas eve) dinner in Orlando and beyond, for dining out or for carrying out. If they take reservations, you best get moving.
Hotels & Resorts for Christmas Dinner in Orlando
Inside the Celeste Hotel near the University of Central Florida, Aurora is open until 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve with the usual menu. Christmas Day, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Aurora is hosting a buffet that promises 40 cheeses, breakfast station, risotto station, and carving stations for turkey, prime rib, ham and whole salmon. The chef also promises 36 feet of desserts. That’s $85 for adults with unlimited mimosas and $25 for children 4-12 with their own buffet.
Many of the restaurants at Grande Lakes’ two hotels, The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott, are open both Christmas Eve and Day. Citron will have a prime rib feast on Christmas Eve 5:30 – 9 p.m. and on Christmas Day, a buffet from 2 – 8 p.m. Buffet highlights include turkey, beef tenderloin and ham carving stations as well as a seafood tower, Lake Meadow duck with squash puree, house-made ricotta cavatelli, seared scallops, Cape Canaveral shrimp bisque and more. Adults are $85 which includes house wine and sparkling wine. Children 6 – 12 are $45 with a kid buffet including chicken fingers, pasta marinara, cheese quesadillas, tater tots and broccoli.
Primo is open 5 – 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve and 6 – 10 p.m. on Christmas Day with the regular à la carte menu plus some holiday specials. Some of those extras include $27 crab cakes with mango emulsion, $22 longneck clam crudo, $36 linguine with spicy blue crab sauce, king crab claw and uni.
The Michelin Guide one-starred Knife and Spoon will be open Christmas Day, 5:30 – 10 p.m., with added Christmas Day menu items such as white truffle risotto, Brussels sprouts with bacon vinaigrette, and tamarind short rib.
Highball & Harvest has a southern-style buffet on Christmas Day from noon – 7:30 p.m. that’s $150 for adults and $55 for children 12 and under. Planned menu items include carved turkey and barbeque/curry-rubbed prime rib, house-smoked ham, brisket chilaquiles, seafood and sushi station, Wagyu beef cheek bulgogi, as well as salads, sides, and charcuterie.
Recognized by Michelin Guide, BACÁN is inside Lake Nona Wave Hotel. The Latin-inspired menu will be available regular hours on both Christmas Eve (5 – 10 p.m.) and Christmas Day (6 – 10 p.m.).
Sear + Sea Woodfire Grill, the Michelin Guide-recognized steak and seafood restaurant, has a $135 three-course prix fixe menu (with a glass of champagne), 5 – 10 p.m., on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Other menu items will be available à la carte as well as an optional $39 wine pairing. Children 4 – 12 are $45.
UnReserved Food Bazaar, the casual marketplace-style eatery, is holding its last Santa Breakfast of the year on Christmas Eve, 7 – 11 a.m. It’s a full breakfast buffet plus cookie decorating and photo time with Santa and Mrs. Claus. That’s $42 for adults and $29 for children 4-12. Then on Christmas Day, UnReserved will a lunch/dinner buffet from 12:30 – 8:30 p.m. The holiday feast includes turkey and prime meat carving, raw bar, pastries and live music. The buffet is $135 per person and $55 for children 4 – 12.
The Wilson, inside the Melia Orlando Hotel Celebration, is doing a $60 three course prix fixe Christmas Day dinner from 4 to 9 p.m. Choices include lobster bisque or baked brie for appetizer, pork chop, branzino or squash ravioli for the entrée, and berry tart or wine-poached pear for dessert. The $14 kids’ menu includes a choice of cheeseburger, chicken fingers or mac and cheese. Dessert is ice cream with choice of toppings.
Tropicale, the casual restaurant inside the resort on World Center Dr. is hosting a Christmas Day brunch buffet, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. The menu includes carving station with turkey and the traditional sides, leg of lamb, whole red snapper and prime rib with Yorkshire pudding. There’s also chilled seafood, sushi, soups and salads, and a mezzah spread with hummus, baba ghanouj, stuffed grape leaves and more. Desserts include sticky toffee pudding, eggnog panna cotta, and pecan praline panettone bread pudding. Adults are $75 before tax and children 4 – 10 are $25.
The Venetian Chop House, Carib Royale’s recently remodeled fine-dining restaurant, is featuring a Christmas Day prix fixe menu with the option of wine pairings. The five-course meal includes amuse-bouche, soup, salad, entrée (prime rib or Cornish game hen) with vegetable sides, and white chocolate peppermint Napoleon. Adults are $120 ($160 with four wines) before tax and children 4 – 10 are $60.
Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek’s seafood restaurant is adding an $80 turf special to all that surf for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner only. That’s an 18-ounce, bone-in ribeye steak with Remy peppercorn glaze, truffle potato mousse, charred rapini and pickled mustard seeds.
The casual restaurant inside the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando SeaWorld will serve a family buffet on Christmas Day, 1 – 8 p.m. The menu includes prime rib, turkey breast, honey ham, cinnamon-crusted pork loin, seafood station, and soups and salads. For dessert, they’ve got cobbler, apple pie and Christmas cookies. Adults are $45 and children 6-12 are $15. There’s free parking if you reserve through Open Table.
Todd English’s bluezoo will be open 5 – 10 p.m. on Christmas Day and 4 – 10 p.m. on Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, the night’s feature is a pistachio-crusted turbot fillet with hay-smoked tomato couscous. On Christmas Day, it’s halibut with citrus caper beurre blanc.
Il Mulino is open 5 – 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve and 4 – 10 p.m. on Christmas Day. The Saturday feature is halibut with tomato fondue, clams, mussels and cannellini beans. Sunday, it’s braised short rib with tomato basil sauce and béchamel.
Shula’s Steak House is open 5 – 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve and 4 – 10 p.m. on Christmas Day. The Christmas Eve feature is a swordfish “ribeye” in champagne béarnaise. Christmas Day, it’s a one-pound veal chop with an Oscar-style crust.
Amare is open 5 – 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve and 4 – 10 p.m. on Christmas Day. Menu specials both nights are a potato ricotta dumpling appetizer with escargot and mint pesto as well as a pan-seared black grouper with rutabaga puree and roasted fennel.
Garden Grove has a Christmas Day brunch from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. That’s both breakfast and carving stations with smoked pork loin and herbed salmon. We’re curious about chestnut soup with bacon and chives. The children’s menu includes chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and Mickey waffles. The buffet is $44.99 for adults and $22.99 for children.
Inside the B Resort and Spa on Hotel Plaza Blvd near Disney Springs, American Kitchen is open Christmas Day, 5 – 10 p.m., for a $39 prix fixe meal before tax and tip. Your choice of smoked turkey breast or peppercorn-crusted beef rib loin comes with salad, vegetables, dressing, and pecan pie tart or caramel gelato. The children’s version is $16.
Inside the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort, Four Flamingos was recommended by the 2022 Michelin Guide and will be open 5 – 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve and 4 – 9 p.m. on Christmas Day. Chef Richard Blaise and crew are adding some extra menu items for December 25. Moving the Italian American Feast of the Seven Fishes ahead one day, a special smorgasbord appetizer will feature snapper ceviche, caviar, oysters and pearls, stone crab, salmon gravlax, poached Canaveral shrimp, and smoked octopus at market price. Christmas Day will also feature $24 char-grilled oysters, $48 linguini with Venus clams and white truffle, and king crab legs with orange drawn butter, duchess potato and asparagus at market price.
Near SeaWorld, Rosen Shingle Creek is holding its Christmas Day buffet, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., in Café Osceola. The menu includes breakfast station and pastries, carved smoked turkey and smoked prime rib, mahi mahi, seafood station, pasta station, dim sum, sushi, paella, shrimp and grits, sides, salads, and desserts including a chocolate fountain. Adults are $89.95 with unlimited Champagne and mimosas. Children 4 – 11 are $37.95. That’s before tax and tip, but Florida residents get a 25-percent discount.
On International Drive, the Rosen Plaza Hotel will do its Christmas Day buffet, 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. That’ll include a carving station with prime rib and porchetta ad well as chicken, branzino, and short rib entrees. You’ll also have salads and antipasto, seafood station, pasta station, desserts and an ice cream station. The buffet is $55.95 for adults and $23.95 for children 4 – 11. That’s before tax and service charge.
Also on International Drive, Rosen Centre is doing its Christmas day buffet, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Options include breakfast station, pasta station, seafood station, salad bar, sushi, cheeses, antipasto, and hot buffet with ham, beef sirloin, chicken breasts and more. The kids buffet includes chicken tenders, mac and cheese, buttered corn, and mini meatball mozzarella in tomato sauce. For desserts, one of many options is a made-to-order eggnog crème brulée. That’s $58.95 for adults in advance or $65.95 at the door, including unlimited champagne and mimosas. Children 4 – 12 are $24.95.
Complimentary champagne and mimosas kick off the Christmas Day buffet at Daytona’s rock and roll resort from 11 a.m. until the last seating at 3 p.m. The all-inclusive buffet includes a prime rib carving station along with seared snapper in mango and sweet pepper, stuffed pork loin, and roasted chicken with goat cheese, tomato and spinach. You’ve also got salads, chilled shrimp, sides and desserts. That’s $75 for adults (including tax and tip), $70 for seniors, and $35 for children ages 5-12.
The seafood spot at Pointe Orlando is open both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but what really caught our eye is a $149 holiday dinner for two that’s only available Dec. 26 – 30. You both get a first course of grilled oysters, lobster bisque, or Caesar salad. Your entrée is a six-ounce filet mignon with whipped potatoes and asparagus with choice of lobster tail, three jumbo shrimp, or crab cake. Dessert is sticky toffee pudding with ice cream, pumpkin swirl cheesecake, or dark chocolate flourless torte. Tax and tip are extra.
The Brazilian steakhouse at Pointe Orlando is closed on Christmas Day but opens at noon on Christmas Eve. At $56.99 per person, a few chef specials expand the usual salad bar and grilled meats sliced and served tableside.
Café Tu Tu Tango is doing a special all-you-want brunch buffet on Christmas Day, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., for $29.22 with mojo turkey and pork shoulder carving stations and sides of sweet potato and plantain casserole, mushroom stuffing, mashed potatoes, and jalapeño mac and cheese. The regular dinner menu will be available 4 – 10 p.m. Café Tu Tu Tango will also be open with the regular menu on Christmas Eve.
On I-Drive, the Italian eatery is open both Christmas Eve and Day with a $49 three-course prix fixe meal added to the usual menu. Options include garlic jump shrimp or roasted vegetable ravioli, swordfish al forno or beef tenderloin, and orange cake with hazelnut chocolate sauce or white chocolate berry tart.
The Disney Springs restaurant with namesake master sommelier George Miliotes will be open noon to 10 p.m. on Christmas Day. The all-day menu is a mix of holiday features (grilled Delmonico steak with marble potatoes, sticky toffee pudding) and small plates (house-made meatballs, warm spiced olives). Christmas Day will skip the usual Sunday Wine Country Brunch, but on Christmas Eve, Wine Bar George will be open 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. and brunch is on until 2 p.m.
The Disney Springs spot for steaks is adding a $79 Christmas feature to the menu with prime rib, confit fingerling potatoes, green beans, port wine shallots and black truffle madeira sauce.
The riverboat-styled Disney Springs restaurant is open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with a special $49 Christmas seafood bounty on the 25th that includes Key West pink shrimp, Cedar Key little neck clams, Prince Edward Island mussels, sweet corn, red potatoes, and cornbread.
At Disney Springs, Terralina is open both days but skipping the usual Sunday brunch for the regular menu with a few Christmas Day extras like a $42 braised beef short rib over roasted squash with sun-dried cranberries and spinach with fennel slaw. The new $14 “poinsettia” drink special doesn’t have any actual flowers, but prosecco and sugar-dusted cranberries.
The Irish pub and restaurant at Disney Springs is open regular hours on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day, adding a turkey feast plate to the menu, 11a.m. – 10:30 p.m. The live Irish music and dance will add a Christmas twist on the 25th from 5 p.m. to close.
Serving both Spanish tapas and full meals at Disney Springs, Jaleo is open on Christmas Eve but also adding a couple Christmas “indulgences” on Dec. 25. That’s canelones (similar to Italian cannelloni) stuffed with foie gras, pork and chicken in bechamel sauce. You can also check out txuletón, a large Spanish ribeye with confit piquillo peppers.
Christmas Dinner in Orlando: Neighborhood Faves
This French and German restaurant in South Orlando has been around since before Walt Disney World and on Christmas Eve, they’re doing a special $120 prix fixe menu with carolers as live entertainment. Appetizer choices include lobster bisque en croute, French onion and tomato tarte, or scallops and shrimp in cream sauce. Everyone gets a Waldorf wedge salad and an entrée choice of filet and seafood thermidor, lamb shank, pork forester tenderloin or stuffed salmon. Dessert is a souffle, crème brulee, or chocolate temptation cake.
SoDo’s veggie-curious spot is closed on Christmas but selling a plant-based fixin’s package for pick-up on Christmas Eve. For $104, you get saucy Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, HP sourdough stuffing, green beans and mushrooms, fried onions, white gravy and citrus cranberry sauce. That should feed 6 – 8. You can also order a house-made, plant-based chocolate silk, sour orange, or pumpkin pie.
The southern and soul food kitchen in Parramore will be open 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve. For Christmas Day, they’ll be open for breakfast and probably lunch and maybe a little later depending on how many people come in. Roasted turkey wings with dressing is usually a Sunday-only special, but Nikki’s will have them both Eve and Day.
The popular food truck now expects to debut its Milk District brick and mortar location in January, so it’s not exactly closed on Christmas, just “not open yet.” You can however order off a special menu by Dec. 21 to carry-out on Christmas Eve. Options include smoked short ribs, stuffing made with lemon donuts, brisket tallow and wine gravy, and donut bread pudding with pumpkin and maple syrup.
A lot of restaurants are doing prime rib dinners, but College Park’s Honolulu Harry’s is doing a Christmas Eve prime rib lunch, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. That’s $30 per person with one side dish and $5 glasses of wine.
The College Park favorite is closed Christmas Day, but is cooking up a Christmas Eve buffet with seatings from 2 – 8 p.m. You’ll have tended stations with turkey, prime rib, leg of lamb, salmon, and pasta. That’s on top of sides, salads and dessert bar. Kids get their own buffet with chicken fingers, pigs in a blanket and mac and cheese. The buffet is $54.95 adults and $17.95 for children under 10. That’s before tax and tip.
In downtown Orlando, Maxine’s was recognized in the 2022 Michelin guide. They’ll be doing the usual Saturday Rejuvenation Brunch on Christmas Eve, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., and then locking the doors and taking off until Friday brunch on Dec. 30.
The Mills 50 cocktail bar with Japanese pub food is open “holiday hours” on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Just like the rest of the year, Tori Tori doesn’t take reservations.
4 Rivers locations are closed on Christmas Day but are open until 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve if you want to pop in for lunch.
The locally owned deli and bakery chain will have all locations open 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Christmas Day. Ham or turkey packages with sides and dessert for pickup are available through Christmas Eve.
The Celebration location of “Florida’s Oldest Restaurant” will be open regular hours on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, adding a few Dec. 25 specials to the usual Spanish/Cuban menu.
We know lots of folks who “do Italian” for their big Christmas meal, so it’s only appropriate that the locally owned family-style chain will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to meet those needs for lasagna, chicken limone and tiramisu.
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