Last-Minute Guide to Christmas Dishes & Drinks to go in Houston for 2021 — Updated
We’ll continue updating this list until noon on Thursday, December 23. If you’d like us to include your restaurant’s last-minute Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to-go offerings, please email us.
Unfortunately, the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19 has altered a lot of people’s plans to gather and celebrate with others during the holidays. That’s left many scrambling for new options. Some have decided to celebrate at home with only immediate family or a group of close vaccinated-and-boosted friends. Those who tested positive for COVID this past week might be quarantining and facing a solitary holiday. Good food delivered or picked up can help many who had to make last-minute holiday changes at the end of yet another difficult year.
Most restaurants required takeout pre-orders days in advance for Christmas Eve, so those are no longer options. However, there’s some good news. There are a handful that still have to-go orders available. Also, Houstonians have the blessing of living in a vibrant, multicultural city, and some of the best feasts include dishes that reflect that. Tamales often are a revered part of the holiday table, and the fact that many Asian restaurants stay open on Christmas makes it convenient to showcase platters of awesome finger foods such as chả giò (fried Vietnamese imperial rolls) and sushi. Adopting the Italian tradition of light fish dishes for Christmas Eve and heavier, meaty ones for Christmas Day is a fine option, too.
Whether you changed plans, were too busy to strategize or simply procrastinated, below are some last-minute takeout options to consider for your holiday feast.
Dario’s Steakhouse & Seafood, 14315 Cypress Rosehill: This long-running, fine-dining restaurant in Cypress is offering a special menu for Christmas Eve that’s available for both dine in and to go. (Must pick up; delivery is not available.) Just one example of the possibilities of the three-course menu include Texas Stuffed Quail, Colorado Rack of Lamb and Ginger Crème Brûlée. The menu starts being served at 3 p.m. Call (281) 304-1825 to place a take-out order or check for available reservations.
Marvino’s Italian Steakhouse, 24002 Northwest Freeway: This upscale favorite is making its special Christmas Eve meal available for both dine in and to go, and it’s available starting at 3 p.m. Call (832) 220-7200 to place an order.
Galiana’s Tex Mex & Agave Bar, 24110 Northwest Freeway: This Cypress restaurant that also specializes in tequila and mezcal is open during regular hours with their regular menu available for online ordering for pick-up or delivery.
Phat Eatery, 23119 Colonial Parkway: Enjoying Chinese food on Christmas Day is a long-held Jewish tradition that also displays a touching synchronicity between cultures. Even if you’re not Jewish, you should grant yourself this indulgence anyway. Just for this purpose, Phat Eatery at Katy Asian Town has brought back its annual Chinese-American menu, and it includes Beef & Broccoli, Kung Pao Chicken, General Tso’s Chicken and Malay Sweet + Sour Chicken. In addition to meals, you can also order party trays online that feature beef rendang, chicken curry, roti, satay skewers, sizzling tofu, stir-fried noodles and more. Phat Eatery is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Yelo, 23119 Colonial Parkway: Phat Eatery’s more casual sibling located next door is open limited hours: from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Chili Crab Rangoon and Vietnamese vegetable or pork egg rolls make for outstanding appetizer platters, and the colorful banh mi can be sliced into tea-party sized sandwiches at home. Also, no one is going to tell on you if you grab an extra Grilled Lemongrass Chicken to snack on after you pick up your food. Online ordering is available.
Montrose Cheese and Wine, 1618 Westheimer: The shop is conveniently open on Christmas Eve from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to fulfill all your wine, cheese and snack needs. It will then close for a holiday break until December 28. A few ideas to consider are June’s Rosé, Master Sommelier and co-owner June Rodil’s own blend of Pinot Noir and Zweigelt, and the Graze for the Holidaze pack laden with all manner of good things, including half-pounds of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar and Colston Bassett Stilton, a pack of sliced Spanish salchichon, a jar of marinated olives and much more. Online ordering and curbside pickup is available.
Rosie Cannonball, 1620 Westheimer: Hurry, and you might be able to score a bottle of boozy eggnog created by bar managers Alex Negranza and Christian Tellez. The dairy-based concoction includes cognac, rums (yes, plural) and sherries (yes, also plural). It’s $45 and can be ordered online with curbside pickup. Other pre-made cocktails and plenty of holiday-worthy dishes can also be ordered, including tortellini en brodo, charred carrots and cauliflower and Steak Fiorentina, a wood-grilled, bone-in steak with roasted sweet peppers alongside. As of press time, only the 16- and 18-ounce steaks were available. If you’re buying for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, you’ll need to order and pick up no later than Friday, December 23, as Rosie Cannonball is closed over the holiday weekend. (You can also stroll next door to Montrose Cheese & Wine for other provisions. See above.) It reopens for dinner at 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, December 28.
Ouisie’s Table, 3939 San Felipe: This well-respected, contemporary Southern restaurant just expanded its take-home options for the holidays. Now, you can order any of the in-house options to-go. In addition, the restaurant is offering a bottle of prosecco for only $1 for every order of $100 or more! Go online to view the menus and place an order. Ouisie’s Table is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve and is closed on Christmas Day, so plan accordingly.
Feges BBQ, 8217 Long Point: The official “Christmas To Go” order window is already closed, but the barbecue restaurant is open for regular hours on Christmas Eve from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. That means you can still order online for pickup from the regular menu. Listen, no one is going to complain if brisket shows up as the main meat on your holiday table — except vegetarians and vegans, perhaps. For them, get some of chef Erin Smith’s outstanding sides and they can make a colorful plate filled with Autumn Salad, Sweet Potato Mash and roasted Brussels sprouts. Feges BBQ is closed on Christmas Day.
Himalaya, 6652 Southwest Freeway: This restaurant epitomizes the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Kaiser Lashkari’s cuisine has drawn in food royalty such as the late Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern. Himalaya offers not only an extensive menu of Pakistani and Indian fare to go, but also party trays. The lamb seekh and gola kabobs are great handheld fare for those who want to stand around and socialize at holiday gatherings.
Kata Robata, 3600 Kirby: Quality sushi is among the finest of finger foods, and chef Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi’s restaurant has an offering that also makes it a fun, at-home activity. Order the Handroll Kit online along with vegetables and toppings, and create up to 10 different kinds of sushi rolls. The base kit comes with tuna, salmon, hamachi, toro and shrimp and costs $55. If you’re just into eating, not rolling, consider the 10-piece sushi platter or premium sashimi for four. Kata Robata is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so orders must be received and picked up no later than Thursday, December 23.
Alicia’s Mexican Grille: All five locations are open during regular hours on Christmas Eve, and the regular menu is available for pick-up or delivery. Order online or call your closest location.
Molina’s Cantina: All three locations — Westheimer, Bellaire and Fulshear — are open on Christmas Eve. Dine-in is available, with a last seating at 8 p.m., but Molina’s also takes to-go orders online. The Bulk Foods section of the menu is particularly handy for filling your holiday menu with tamales, queso, enchiladas and other Tex-Mex favorites. Special for the holidays is the Fajita Holiday Fiesta, which also comes with enchiladas, Jose’s Dip, taquitos and all the fixings. Make it extra-merry for the adults and add margaritas by the gallon. Click to view the to-go menu.
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.