5 Extravagant Holiday Meals Out on the Town

By: Emilie Sennebogen

Imagine a holiday where you don't have to cook or clean! See more holiday table settings pictures.

So, you spent all day slaving over a hot stove cooking the turkey for a Christmas afternoon meal, only to find that your neighbor's hound dogs snuck in the back door and devoured it. What's a turkey lover to do? If you're the family patriarch in the beloved holiday movie "A Christmas Story," you pack your kids in the car and make haste to the nearest mom and pop Chinese joint. But if you're aspiring to something a little nicer than the Happy Family special, you'll be glad to know that there are some fancier destinations for a great holiday feast. Here are five to get you started in your quest for a delicious holiday meal that you don't have to cook.


5: Lockwood Restaurant at the Palmer House Hilton

If you're having a Chicago Christmas and want to treat yourself to a top-notch night of food and drink, you should head over to the Lockwood Restaurant and Lobby Bar, located in the Palmer House Hilton. In 2008, it was named one of the 10 best new eateries in Chicago, a city already known for its great restaurants. The Lockwood Christmas Buffet & Dinner will cost you $65, but that includes beverages. Between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Christmas day, you can indulge in their high-end buffet that includes caviar, imported cheeses and a carving station. Executive Chef Phillip Foss also offers upscale buffet items like Chilean Sea Bass and coq au vin. You won't find any canned cranberry sauce at this Christmas dinner.


4: Hotel Del Coronado

This hotel has been putting on the holiday ritz for years.
This hotel has been putting on the holiday ritz for years.
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

While the scene may not look like your standard colonial Thanksgiving, the dinner at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, Calif., is a popular destination for discerning diners. Built in 1888, this allegedly haunted beachfront hotel is a gorgeous option for a classic Thanksgiving buffet. You can choose either the seaside ballroom or the Crown Room for your dining experience; both feature live music. In addition to the traditional turkey and stuffing and all the trimmings, you'll have a nice selection of chilled seafood and salads. If you'd rather skip the turkey, you can also choose your entree from a variety of seafood, pastas, prime rib and a wide selection of desserts. Make your reservations early and bring your pocketbook -- the price tag is $85 per adult, and includes non-alcoholic beverages.


3: The Meritage

Wine lovers will want to take a trip to The Meritage, which shares its name with a favorite wine variety and is located within the five-star Boston Harbor Hotel. Chef Daniel Bruce served as the chef for the Boston Wine Festival for 19 years before bringing his unmatched knack for pairing food and wine to The Meritage. The Thanksgiving dinner features upscale deconstructions of classic Thanksgiving dishes. His spin on the main course is a kale and caramelized onion stuffed organic turkey breast with pecan raisin dressing. There's also a seared scallop dish if you want to forgo the bird. Some imported cheeses and a chocolate tasting finish off this high-end dining experience. There are five seatings beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, at a price of $85 per adult.


2: Sun Dial Restaurant, Bar & View

For breathtaking 360-degree views of downtown Atlanta on Thanksgiving day, there's only one choice -- the Sun Dial Restaurant, Bar & View. After an 85-second ride up 73 floors in one of the signature exterior glass elevators, you'll dine in a rotating restaurant that offers a sweeping view of the entire city, with a full rotation completed every 30 minutes. It's also the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere at 723 feet (220 meters) [source: Sun Dial]. The Thanksgiving prix fixe menu is a bargain at $59, or $85 if you want to partake in the wine pairings. After a soup starter, look forward to caviar and a duck confit appetizer next. For your entrée, you can choose between prime rib with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts, or the more traditional roasted herb turkey with Southern cornbread stuffing. A selection of pumpkin-based desserts completes your dining experience.


1: The Loeb Boathouse

Enjoy your Thanksgiving surrounded by the bright lights of the big city at the Loeb Boathouse (shown in rear).
Photo courtesy of Jim Henderson

Sitting on the edge of the lake in Central Park, the Loeb Boathouse was built in 1950 to replace the Victorian boathouse from 1858 that burned down. This prix fixe, three-course dinner is only $65 on Thanksgiving, which is a substantial deal for New York City. If you want to get started early, you can hit the Macy's Day parade, then head across the street to the Boathouse. You'll start your meal with your choice of a nice selection of appetizers, including lump crab cakes, Atlantic salmon and oyster tartar, and the Boathouse salad. Your main course brings the choice of the traditional turkey and trimmings or some other options like prime rib of beef, Moroccan spiced cod, yellow fin tuna, pork loin or striped bass. Six different fall desserts will round out your holiday meal in one of New York's most scenic settings.


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