While we hope indoor dining might return to at least 25 percent capacity before the end of the year, it is probably a good time to invest in space heater stock and dust off your winter coats for al fresco meals. Either way, here are the best places to safely celebrate the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.
NEW ON THE SCENE
When you need a break but can’t leave town, these debut dining ventures all evoke a strong sense of place and a much-needed dose of escapism.
Damian, Arts District DTLA
Mexico City Michelin-starred Chef Enrique Olvera has opened his long-awaited restaurant across the street from Bestia in the Arts District. The industrial chic patio with abundant foliage is perfect for social distancing and any intimate gathering. Order the grilled lobster, uni tostada and tamal de elote with a range of over 40 agave spirits. They are closed on major holidays and booking is about one month out, but opt for a waitlist if you can be flexible on the date.
Cara, Los Feliz
Dean McKillen of Ysabel and Laurel Hardware restaurant fame has gone into the boutique hotel business. High-end hospitality is in his blood. His family owns and operates the U.K.-based Maybourne Hotel Group, which recently opened its first U.S. property in Beverly Hills. For Cara, McKillen has chosen Los Feliz and a Mediterranean vibe, with three different dining patios. The menu by Chef Michael Patria includes a whole roasted branzino and lemon fettucine. Book one of the 60 chic white guestrooms if you drink too much from the stellar wine or cocktails list. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Barish and Spare Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
Mozza-plex queen, Nancy Silverton, has opened a romantic Italian steakhouse at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The palm tree-lined patio serves lamb chops, Creekstone Farms New York Strip, grilled abalone mushrooms with porcini butter, pizzetta and even a rolled “lasagna” all cooked over an open flame. Make a night of it and enjoy a fruity poolside cocktail while playing a game of Mad Libs, before or after dinner at the newly reconfigured The Spare Room and you will feel like you’re on vacation.
Fellow and The Galerie, Westwood
The brick walls of this Westside spot located in a historic 1935 building are lined with an exhibition of rock-n-roll greats in collaboration with Mr. Musichead Gallery. Now serving on a new sidewalk patio, the tasting menu by Executive Chef Mazen Mustafa (who worked with three-Michelin-star Chef Michel Troisgros, Daniel Boulud and David Chang) includes salmon with sorrel and cream sauce, smoked oat milk panna cotta with eggplant and grilled avocado with pistachio and coconut. The wine list is from Sommelier Scott Lester from Eleven Madison Park and The French Laundry. A special New Year’s Eve menu is planned.
Lucky Steakhouse, Malibu
This famed Montecito classic steak spot has come to the Malibu Country Mart (opening Dec. 1) just in time to celebrate Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in style. Best known for USDA prime steaks, don’t overlook the shrimp cocktail or other fresh seafood dishes helmed by Executive Chef Michael Rosen, and the extensive wine list by Larry Nobles is strong on Bordeaux going back to 1929.
Celebrated Chef Jackson Kalb has taken over the old Canal Club space near the Venice Boardwalk. With a pedigree from Melisse and Joel Robuchon, you will want to order every pasta on the menu. For the first time, Kalb is also making fully fermented breads for sandwiches and wafer-thin pizzas to-go, or to dine on the temporary sidewalk space, and you can stroll along Venice beach after your meal. A special holiday menu will be available with Mary’s Turkey (to-go only).
NUEVA, Venice/Marina del Rey Border
Take a trip to Baja on two expansive patios with food by famed Chefs Vartan Abgaryan and Mesraim Llanez. Try the chicken tinga burrito, shakshuka ranchos or the smokey Caesar at brunch and the unique range of tacos from falafel to Mediterranean octopus, tempura sea bass or pork belly chicharron at dinner.
BACK ON THE SCENE IN BEVERLY HILLS
Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura
This intimate second story patio above the Rodeo Drive store will be serving on Christmas Eve only for the holiday season, but the original menu with the famed tortellini with Parmigiano Reggiano cream executed by Chef Mattia Agazzi is still available any other day or night.
One of the most buzzworthy corners in town will only be open for the holiday of Christmas Eve day, so book your patio or parklet spot soon if you’re craving the pasta dishes.
Thankfully, Mastros is always open for every holiday and that has not changed this year. So, decide how you want your steak cooked on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas or New Year’s Eve and save room for the seasonal butter cake.
For Christmas Eve, Mr. Chow is serving its regular Chinese menu, so you can indulge in the chicken satay, Beijing duck and noodles. New Year’s Eve will bring a set menu and late seating with a band or a DJ.
Expect a traditional turkey dinner for Thanksgiving and prime rib for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with white tablecloth sidewalk seating.
Open outdoors for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Canon Drive apart from Thanksgiving and Christmas. Seasonal items to get you in the mood include pumpkin cauliflower lasagna.
This longstanding surf and turf hang-out will be celebrating the end of 2020 on their enclosed patio for New Year’s Eve this year so check back for more details on seating times.
Sip mezcal on the patio or parklet while owner-chef Josh Gil prepares a pre-Hispanic feast for Thanksgiving that includes kamote sweet-potato and cocoa corn flan. While you’re there, grab some holiday gifts including rare coffee and artisan pottery from Oaxaca.
The wines are exceptional and perfect for any holiday gifting and the patio on Canon Drive is one of the hottest tables in town. Wally’s is also offering special menu items for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve for dine in, to-go, or delivery.
Lawry’s The Prime Rib
Leave the cooking and silver carving cart service, to this La Cienega family-style favorite this year on Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve in their new outdoor patio space.
TRIED AND TRUE HOTEL SCENE
Beverly Hills Hotel
The beloved pink-hued patio of the Polo Lounge with be open for a three-course Thanksgiving brunch this year. Christmas Eve brings a four-course dinner followed by a Christmas Day brunch. You can ring in the New Year as well during a three-course New Year’s Eve menu, and it’s never too early to order an eggnog souffle.
There are plenty of celebratory options this year on the cozy patio of Wolfgang Puck’s signature restaurant including a three-course Thanksgiving dinner. Christmas Eve features a four-course menu with a beignet holiday confection tree and a three-course family-style Christmas day meal. New Year’s Eve features an a la carte menu for the first seating and a five-course menu with champagne and party favors.
Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
Jean-Georges Beverly Hills terrace is back offering one of the most elegant eight-course tasting menus including caviar, King crab risotto and a ribeye cap with wine pairings. A traditional family-style turkey dinner awaits on Thanksgiving, and curbside pickup is available on Nov. 26. Look for a new Latin-fusion themed brunch menu on Sundays and a Waldorf Cafe by La Colombe pop-up.
The Beverly Hilton Hotel
This year, the iconic hotel is offering Thanksgiving dinners to-go that feature roasted whole turkey breast with citrus brine and herb butter, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, butternut squash and brussels sprout hash, kale Caesar salad, and petite pumpkin pie or pecan pie. You can dine poolside year-round at their new casual café MERCATO.
Le Petit Belvedere and Chef David Codney are whipping up a special Thanksgiving menu with a French flare, including veal cheek bourguignon, that will also be available to-go (orders must be placed by Nov. 22). With any luck, guests will also be able to enjoy the Christmas and New Year’s Eve menu partially indoors this year.
The Terrace restaurant at the City’s newest hotel offers a special three-course European meets California coastal menu with hors d’oeuvres by longtime Beverly Hills Executive Chef Kaleo Adams. Available for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
West Hollywood and Westside Scene
Sunset Tower will be open on Thanksgiving Day for lunch and dinner with a special turkey dinner menu that starts with roasted butternut squash soup and ends with pumpkin pie a la mode. And, you can enjoy jazz on the terrace any Tuesday through Saturday night.
The London’s signature restaurant Boxwood will be serving Thanksgiving dinner on their beautiful outdoor marble terrace, but with a twist. Yes, you can order a free-range turkey dinner with sage stuffing, but also butter-poached Maine lobster rolls, New England crab bisque, and in keeping with their British roots, beef Wellington and sticky toffee pudding.
The Edition West Hollywood hotel by Ian Schrager has reopened just in time for the holidays with a revamped rooftop and spectacular West Hollywood city views. Here you can dine on a Peruvian inspired menu featuring sweet potato taquitos with red mole or lomo saltado with beef tenderloin. Open at 5 p.m. every day until the end of the year.
Olivetta at Kimpton La Peer holds the best hotel residency to ever hit town with Italian specialties by Chef Michael Fiorelli that can be enjoyed poolside or on the rooftop overlooking the hills. So far, they are planning a big bash for New Year’s Eve.
A.O.C. Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne’s Mediterranean eatery is still going strong on the original patio, with more outdoor space added by the front entrance for sipping wine, eating charcuterie and Spanish fried chicken. Holiday booking options include Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Melisse x Citrin Michelin-starred Chef Josiah Citrin has morphed his landmark Santa Monica restaurant into an outdoor dining experience and they will be serving a full Thanksgiving dinner this year with to-go options as well for other holidays.
Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel
While the hotel dining venues are currently closed to the public, they are doing a traditional Thanksgiving-to-Go this year. To place your order, call 310.275.5200.
Nate n Al’s
This historic deli is still standing on Beverly Drive after a roller-coaster year. A new outdoor patio with acrylic dividers will hold up to 60 people just in time for holiday shopping and lunching in the area. Christmas and New Year’s Day brunch specials are being finalized, but they will also be open every day for take-out, including holidays.
Michelin-star Chef Ludo Lefebvre has recently flipped his fine-dining location in Hollywood into a delicious wood-grilled kebab take-out format perfect for a home feast just before or after the holidays.
While you can’t have a martini at the bar, you can sit in the newly constructed back patio on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve this year, or better yet, order the popular honey truffle fried chicken to-go.
The weekly Monday night suppers to-go by owner-chef Walter Manzke have a cult following and you can also sit on the newly reconfigured patio for a cappuccino from morning to night while you wait.
Located on La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills, this is probably the best dim sum on this side of the San Gabriel Valley. They will be open every single day for the rest of 2020.
Xi’an Beverly Hills
This Canon Drive staple for Chinese food for the past several decades will be open for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner, plus New Year’s Eve.
If you want the same quality of pastrami from legendary Langer’s, this is your Westside spot (and, yes, this is the owner’s daughter). Cater any holiday gathering with three to four days’ notice since they will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
For something a little different this Thanksgiving or Christmas, preorder platters of salumi, cheese, pasta and Italian wine. You can also buy a precooked apple cider-braised heirloom organic turkey with focaccia stuffing. Must order by Nov. 20 for pick up on Nov. 23-25.
Thanksgiving dinner packages to-go by Chef Travis Strickland include a 10-pound Mary’s free-range turkey along with other special orders such as black truffle mac-and-cheese, caviar supplement and Bourbon croissant pudding. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for pick up on Nov. 25.