Houston Restaurants Open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2023
Since Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year, many restaurants are taking the opportunity to serve holiday brunches with festive dishes and drinks. On Christmas Day, some restaurants are opening by lunchtime while others are opening later in the day, either offering dinner or opportunities to unwind over drinks and ball games.
Don’t forget that restaurant staff might be forgoing a holiday with their friends and family for some much-needed cash. Consider adding a little extra gratuity for their service.
Restaurant owners who would like to propose adding their business to this list may email us through December 20. Our dining lists are an unpaid service to the community and only a limited number of restaurants can be included.
Houston Restaurants Serving on Christmas Eve
Downtown / Midtown
Brennan’s of Houston, 3300 Smith: This beloved restaurant specializing in Creole classics with a touch of Texas influence is hosting brunch on Christmas Eve from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 8:30 p.m. The latter will feature a special à la carte menu with a number of selections. Some of the intriguing selections include Chili-Fried Gulf Oysters with chili corn sauce and julienned sweet potatoes; Roasted Bandera Quail stuffed with cornbread dressing and bacon-braised collard greens alongside and for dessert — well, frankly, there’s no way we wouldn’t get the dramatic Bananas Foster flambéed tableside. Go online to view the full Christmas Eve menu. Note that reservations must be made by phone, and Brennan’s of Houston does tend to get completely booked for holidays. Call (713) 522-9711 to secure your table.
Taste Kitchen + Bar, 420 Main Street: All day on Christmas Eve, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., this restaurant is celebrating with an Ugly Sweater Brunch. Don your best worst attire, and enjoy holiday music, Christmas cocktails and mimosas. Expect unique pancakes and waffles such as Pecan Praline, Peach Cobbler and Fruity Pebbles, and selections for bigger appetites like steak and eggs, seafood and grits and Jerk Rack of Lamb. Visit the website to make a reservation.
Phat Eatery, 23119 Colonial Parkway: This popular Malaysian restaurant from chef-owner Alex Au-Yeung is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Christmas Day. (The last seating is at 8 p.m.) The highlight of the entrée selections is the Wagyu Beef Rendang Wellington featuring Wagyu banana shank sourced from Rosewood Ranches in Texas. The meat is braised in rendang curry sauce, and enrobed in duxelles, prosciutto, roti and puff pastry before baking. The special dish is only available through December 31. Reservations are recommended and can be made on Resy.
Pastore, 1180 Dunlavy: This elegant Italian restaurant from Underbelly Hospitality was just named to our list of the Best New Houston Restaurants of 2023, and it is hosting a Feast of the Seven Fishes nightly from December 18 through 24. The cost is $75 per person (all guests at the table must participate) and online reservations are encouraged. The special menu offers five courses: Little Gems Salad, cioppino, ‘Nduja Caramelle with scallops and housemade ‘nduja, Hearth-Roasted Branzino Puttanesca and Sweet Apple Torte. The regular menu will still be offered through Christmas Eve, including Sunday brunch (which we recently visited for, and it was marvelous).
Traveler’s Table, 520 Westheimer: On Christmas Eve, this restaurant specializing in interpretations of dishes around the world is serving special holiday dishes for both brunch and dinner in addition to the regular menus. For brunch, the special holiday dishes are Ukrainian cherry dumplings with syrniki cheesecake mousse, Grand Marnier-cherry compote and puffed amaranth crumble Lobster Eggs Benedict with butter-poached lobster, buttermilk biscuit, fried green tomato, poached egg and lobster bisque.
The special main courses for dinner are Louisiana BBQ shrimp with brown butter-sweet potato grits, Abita Amber reduction, piccalilli relish and pistachio-crusted lamb chops with blackberry demi-glace, citrus cured asparagus, butternut purée and buttermilk blue cheese crumble. Available for both mealtimes are Eggnog Flan with poached pears, cardamom whip cream and Biscoff crumble and spiked eggnog on hand by the shot or cocktail glass. For drinks, dinnertime will also offer a Fig & Walnut Old Fashioned and mulled wine. Make reservations online.
River Oaks/Upper Kirby
ARMANDOS, 2630 Westheimer: This 45-year-old Tex-Mex restaurant recently got some media attention for its wild Thursday nights, but for Christmas Eve, it’s making magic for the little ones. Bring the kids and your phone camera for brunch with Santa from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ARMANDOS will be serving the regular brunch menu with items such as the Sangria Swirl Margarita or the always popular Churro Waffles. Reservations are encouraged and can be made online.
Arnaldo Richards’ Picos, 3601 Kirby: This long-running authentic Mexican restaurant is offering a brunch buffet on Christmas Eve from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Expect holiday moles, stations for carved-to-order smoked turkey, waffles and omelets, paella grande and more. You can also order tamales onsite to have on hand at home on Christmas Day. The buffet costs $54 for adults, $42 for seniors, $30 for children over age eight and is free for kids under eight.
Bari Ristorante, 4444 Westheimer: This Italian restaurant opened earlier this year in the River Oaks District, and its hours on Christmas Eve are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. It’s serving a special Christmas Eve menu, and its regular menu is also available. The special Christmas dishes are cioppino with lobster tail, Carabinero prawn, Chilean sea bass, scallop and clams; lobster ravioli with spinach and heirloom carrots flan, frisée, fresh jumbo lump crab and caviar beurre blanc; Chilean sea bass; Pecorino-Crusted Lamb Chops served tableside with vegetable caponata and truffled potato flan; 20-ounce chateaubriand (center cut filet of beef) with green peppercorn sauce also served tableside with potato soufflé and creamed spinach; and veal ossobuco atop porcini mushrooms and black risotto. For dessert, there’s pecan pie à la mode. Reservations are recommended and can be made online. (It’s also open on Christmas Day; see below for details.)
Verandah Progressive Indian Restaurant, 3300 Kirby: For Christmas eve, chef Sunil Srivastava has created a menu that reflects what a meal in Bethlehem might actually have been like. (Hint: it likely would not have featured a roasted goose.) Verandah’s three-course menu is $150 per couple plus tax and gratuity, and includes a glass of wine. There are appetizer choices such as Roast Pumpkin Salad with sweet potato, spinach, pomegranate and goat cheese or honey and Mustard-Glazed Fish with Capers. The main course selections include Pan-Seared Duck with Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce, Tandoori Quails with Mango Chutney and Rollatini Of Paneer with Smoked Tomato Coulis. The desserts include Sweet Rice with Nuts and Raisins.
To-go orders of the Christmas eve meal are available sans wine for $125 for two plus tax. Reservations are required for dine-in and can be made online. Take-home orders must be reserved by end-of-day on Thursday, December 21; call (281) 501-0258 to make arrangements.
Amrina, 3 Waterway Square: Chef Jassi Bindra’s classy hotspot is open from noon to 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve and serving four special dishes. These are Spiced Butter Roasted Prime Rib with burani mashed potatoes, roasted cauliflower and Madras curry; grilled pork chops with tandoori pineapple, chunda (mango pickles) and barbecue sauce; and Roasted Green Circle Turkey Breast with Old Monk rum glaze, kadai vegetables (cooked in cream and spices) and makhani (butter chicken) sauce. For dessert is the fanciful Winter Wonderland made of chocolate cherry mousse cake, red velvet cream cheese mousse and Chambord. Reservations are available on OpenTable.
Houston Restaurants Serving on Christmas Day
Galleria / Mid-West
Rockhouse Southern Kitchen, 6025 Richmond: If you’re looking for a place to unwind after the daytime celebration, this restaurant is showing Christmas Day sports games and is open from 4 p.m. to midnight. Enjoy cocktails along with bar bites such as Soul Rolls — housemade egg rolls with creamy collard greens and smoked oxtails — and Bayou City Flatbread with jambalaya pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, cheddar, shrimp, crawfish and andouille.
The Warwick, 5888 Westheimer: If you’re interested in having Christmas dinner out, this restaurant is open from 4 to 10 p.m. Selections for the night include gumbo, oysters and ribeye, and there will also be festive cocktails such as Mistletoe Martini.
Badolina Bakery, 5555 Morningside: Whether you need a loaf of freshly baked bread to round out your Christmas feast or just a coffee-and-pastry respite, this bakery and pastry shop will be open on Christmas Day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hamsa, 5555 Morningside: This Israeli restaurant is open on Christmas Day from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. While it’s mostly serving the regular menu, there are a few festive cocktails such as Christmas at the House of Ritten with Rittenhouse Rye, Neipoort Tawny Port, lemon and nutmeg and Chai Hot Buttered Rum.
River Oaks / Upper Kirby
Bari Ristorante, 4444 Westheimer: This relatively new-to-the-scene Italian restaurant is open on Christmas Day from noon to 10 p.m. It’s serving a special Christmas Day menu, and its regular menu is also available. The special Christmas dishes are cioppino with lobster tail, Carabinero prawn, Chilean sea bass, scallop and clams; lobster ravioli with spinach and heirloom carrots flan, frisée, fresh jumbo lump crab and caviar beurre blanc; Chilean sea bass; Pecorino-Crusted Lamb Chops served tableside with vegetable caponata and truffled potato flan; 20-ounce chateaubriand (center cut filet of beef) with green peppercorn sauce also served tableside with potato soufflé and creamed spinach; and veal ossobuco atop porcini mushrooms and black risotto. For dessert, there’s pecan pie à la mode. Reservations are recommended and can be made on OpenTable. (As noted above, it’s also open on Christmas Eve.)
Kiran’s, 2925 Richmond: Chef Kiran Verma is hosting her annual Christmas Day buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., complete with elegant live harp music. (The harpist is playing on Christmas Eve, too.) Breakfast-style selections include egg dishes and waffles with fresh berries, cream and vindaloo maple syrup, while more lunch-y options include Quinoa, Millet & Cranberry Salad, carved leg of lamb, chicken tikka masala, paneer lababdar (Indian cottage cheese in a tomato and onion sauce) and shrimp biryani. There’s a wealth of desserts, too, including Black Forest Yule Log, Rum Fruit Cake and Gulab Jamun Cheesecake. The cost is $95 for adults/kids 10 and over and $35 for kids under 10. Send an email or call for reservations.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.