Image courtesy Rosen Hotels
We all need a break, and if you're the one always stuck cooking Christmas dinner every year, channel A Christmas Story
and just announce:
Most of these spots are in Touristan, but that makes sense, since access to a kitchen isn't something you normally have on vacation. But there are a few spots available in the city proper, too.
Our recommendation is to get on the phone ASAP to make a reservation, since Christmas weekend is only seven days away.
Antonio’s La Fiamma
The “restaurant upstairs” will be open on Christmas Eve for all your holiday carousing. There will be wine, and plenty of it. To celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes, we suggest the mussels au gratin, which combines the tender mollusks with sausage, garlic, wine, basil and Parmesan bread crumbs.
611 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407-645-1039, antoniosonline.com
1921 by Norman Van Aken
If you’ve been waiting for an excuse to head up to Mount Dora to visit the restaurant everyone is talking about, Christmas Eve sounds like enough of a special occasion to us. The country culinary charmer will serve à la carte offerings from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. and then open for dinner from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m.
142 E. Fourth Ave., Mount Dora, 352-385-1921, 1921nva.com
Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster
Make it super special and call right this sec to reserve a private dining room (there are 13 of them, varying in size). Best calamari in town. On Christmas Eve, Christner’s will be open from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m.
729 Lee Road, 407-645-4443, christnersprimesteakandlobster.com
Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen
Lake Nona’s chic new kid on the block will be preparing some special somethings for Christmas Eve, and they’ll be open from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m. Expect pomegranate-braised lamb shank and a surf-and-turf comprised of prime filet and Maine lobster tail.
6967 Lake Nona Road, 407-955-4340, chromalakenona.com
Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi
If turkey and fixings don’t appeal, put a spin on tradition and get you some sushi. This upscale Dr. Phillips Japanese spot will be open on Christmas Eve from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m.
7972 Via Dellagio Way, 407-370-3359, dragonflyrestaurants.com
The Coop, a Southern Affair
A pair of the Coop’s homemade cinnamon rolls, “ooey-gooey” of course, sounds like the perfect way to start off the Christmas weekend. Other homey comfort foods include chicken & dumplings and meatloaf. They’ll be open from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.
610 W. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, 407-843-2667, asouthernaffair.com
The Osprey Tavern
You’re going to want to save room for dessert if this is your hotspot on Christmas Eve – they’ll be open for lunch, then closed from 2:30 p.m. until 5 p.m., and then reopened for dinner until 11 p.m. Seasonal sweets include the traditional Yule Log (bûche de noël, en Français), a chocolate-peppermint roulade filled with candy-cane ice cream and topped with dark chocolate ganache and peppermint bark.
4899 New Broad St., 407-960-7700, ospreytavern.com
Canvas Lake Nona
Tavistock Restaurant Group’s flagship spot helmed by chef Bryan Thoman will be open on Christmas Day, presenting their signature Sunday brunch. Don’t miss the biscuits, made with ultra-tender heritage wheat. Dinner service is certain to include some seasonal surprises.
13615 Sachs Ave., 407-313-7800, canvaslakenona.com
Rosen Shingle Creek
Ask almost anyone who has the best holiday buffet in town and they’ll likely say the Rosen. The traditional feast, served from 11:30 a.m. until 8 p.m., includes unlimited champagne and mimosas plus prime rib, pecan-dill salmon, a Lowcountry boil, Pekin pork crepes and a ton of desserts. It’s just under $70 for adults, which we’re pretty sure you’ll be able to make worth your dollars.
9939 Universal Blvd., 407-996-FOOD, rosenshinglecreek.com
Rosen Centre Hotel
For $44, you can take part in a killer Christmas Day buffet, including a huge seafood section, traditional fixings like pineapple-glazed ham, and global sweets like bûche de noël, stollen from Germany and all-American pumpkin pie. The price also includes unlimited champagne, mimosas and valet parking.
9840 International Drive, 407-996-8551, rosencentre.com
Rosen Plaza Hotel
Another amazing spread with a discount for prepaid reservations ($38 versus $42), offering ultra-traditional favorites like glazed ham, roast turkey and Dijon-crusted pork loin. Wine and valet parking is included in the price, and the lobby chairs are a plush spot for a post-brunch nap.
9700 International Dr., 407-996-0256, rosenplaza.com
There will be two seatings (at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.) for the Grande Holiday Feast, complete with carving stations, at this sprawling south Orlando mega-resort. Christmas dinner will be complemented by live entertainment and a kids’ activity area. Reservations are required.
7593 Gathering Drive, Kissimmee, 407-396-5259, reunionresort.com
Fogo de Chao
The I-Drive churrascuria is slicing up a special holiday menu for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, including a seasonal beef roast, sweet potato casserole and traditional Brazilian Christmas side dishes.
8282 International Drive, 407-370-0711, fogodechao.com
Todd English’s Bluezoo
Open Christmas Eve from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m., Bluezoo at the Swan & Dolphin Resort will serve their regular menu, plus a $45 Christmas special, which includes herb-crusted rack of lamb. Running the same schedule on Christmas Day, the special will set you back $50 and include wild-caught turbot with lobster agnolotti.
1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd., 407-934-1111, swandolphinrestaurants.com/bluezoo
Garden Grove Cafe
If you have Disney lovers in the house, you’ll want to hit up Garden Grove’s Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Buffets, which will feature special characters available for autographs. You’ll find roasted mushroom soup, prime rib, butternut squash ravioli and more.
1200 Epcot Resorts Blvd., 407-934-1609, swandolphinrestaurants.com/gardengrove
In addition to the regular menus on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the specials (each running about $40), include Chianti-braised short ribs on Christmas Eve and veal shank ravioli with bone-marrow browned butter on Christmas Day.
1200 Epcot Resorts Blvd., 407-934-1199, swandolphinrestaurants.com/ilmulino
Cocoa Beach Pier
If there’s anything more awesome about Christmas in Florida than going to the beach and making all your friends up north super-jelly, we don’t know about it. The Cocoa Beach Pier will be serving a traditional Christmas dinner for $22, including turkey or ham with accoutrements and dessert like white-chocolate bread pudding.
401 Meade Ave., Cocoa Beach, 321-783-7549, cocoabeachpier.com
Take part in a three-course prix fixe menu for $28 per person. Choose from several options for each course, including the Greek meatballs called “keftedes” and oak-grilled pork loin. This menu will be served from noon until 11 p.m.
9010 International Drive, 407-351-8660, tavernaopa.com
All-you-can-eat seafood paella, salad and dessert for $30 is a deal that really can't be beat much of anywhere. Order a couple of shots of sherry to drizzle over your rice and fish. Plus, there will be plenty of flamenco for when you're ready to just sit back and digest.
8441 International Drive, 407-226-2929, tapatoro.restaurant