Today I’m going to be looking at Christmas eating out ideas. I’m not talking about eating out on the actual day here. But the smorgasbord of seasonal treats you can have in the run up to Christmas to get you in the seasonal spirit.
My favourite thing about the Christmas season is the food . . . and the lights . . . and the decorations . . . and the music . . .
OK, one of my favourite things about the Christmas season is the food!
Just seeing the words Christmas menu gives me a happy glow. So here is my run down of my favourite Christmas eating out ideas. Get out that diary and start planning in some serious seasonal scoffing.
Christmas Afternoon Tea
This is my top pick of Christmas eating out ideas and I really recommend it if you have never had one. I really enjoy an afternoon tea; it is one of my favourite things to do in the run up to Christmas. When somewhere goes all out and puts on a special Christmas afternoon tea menu then I’m there in a flash.
I’m talking turkey sandwiches, cinnamon scones, with yule log, cake and stollen to follow. What could be more perfect?
The best place to find your Christmas afternoon tea is at a hotel. You will know the nicest hotels in your area and I would suggest having a thorough search of their website to see if you can track down their Christmas afternoon tea. Most places seem to think it is necessary to hide this information somewhere in a dark corner of their website, so you may need to hunt about to locate the information.
Another good idea is to go to TripAdvisor and search for the best hotels in your area. I did this today and it brought up all my usual haunts for a Christmas afternoon tea. It also suggested a few new ones that I didn’t know about which I will be checking out.
I have been to probably more than my fair share of Christmas afternoon teas and ones at hotels are always special. They usually have huge Christmas trees, wonderful decorations and the teas are served in beautiful surroundings. If you are extra lucky with live music and an open fire to set everything off to perfection.
You can usually expect to pay between £15 – £25 per person for really top class Christmas afternoon tea. (Note: I just looked up Christmas Afternoon tea at The Ritz, £80 per person – GULP – that is a bit steep for my wallet)! There is usually an additional option to add Champagne if you are that way inclined, but I always just stick to the tea, usually you get a choice of many infusions.
Gift Idea: Whilst you are having your Christmas afternoon tea, see if the venue does afternoon tea gift vouchers, these make excellent presents. I bought an afternoon tea voucher for someone last year; put it in a Christmas gift envelope alongside a copy of the menu and it was really well received.
The Festive Menu
It is now really popular for restaurants to have a special festive menu in the run up to Christmas. These are usually set menus for either 2 or 3 courses and feature some special Christmas menu items. They are usually available from the middle of November until the end of December.
Below I have set out a few of my favourite places to go in the Christmas run up.
This is the most traditional menu of my three choices with turkey and Christmas pudding available along with lots of other treats. There are also vegetarian and vegan choices. The Vintage Inns festive menu runs from 25th November – 30th December.
Vintage Inns are a chain of 184 pubs across the UK so hopefully there is one close to you. I have been to three different ones and they have all been really lovely rustic country pubs.
Each restaurant in the chain has its own version of the festive season menu which you can view on the website here (make sure to select the restaurant closest to you). The price varies slightly too, but all the ones I looked at were around £20 for 2 courses and £24 for 3 courses.
My Menu Choices:
Starter: Oven-baked button and Portobello mushrooms
Main: Hand-carved turkey breast with all the trimmings
Pudding: Christmas pudding (special mention to the Creme Brulee thou – yum!)
What can I say, I’m a traditional girl.
I love Italian food so my next Christmas eating out idea is Prezzo. Again there are 180 restaurants in the chain, so hopefully you have one close.
This is not your traditional turkey but Italian dishes with a festive twist. You can see the Christmas set menu here. It is available from 19th November and is £16.50 for 2 courses and £19.50 for 3 courses. Again, there are veggie and vegan options.
There are lots of lovely choices on this menu, I think it is the best one they have done. I might need to go more than once!
My Menu Choices:
Starter: Mozzarella in Breadcrumbs with Cranberry Sauce
Main: Christmas Carbonara Al Forno
Dessert: Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart
I definitely have my eye on a few other things on the menu too.
Frankie & Benny’s
I have a real soft spot for Frankie & Benny’s. I love pretty much everything on the menu, but always go back again and again to their amazing meatballs or the chicken parmigiana which are my absolute favourites.
I’m also a complete sucker for anywhere that you can sit in a booth to eat and order American drinks like milkshakes, soda floats and iced tea. I love the music they play too, if I don’t hear “Take good care of my baby” by Bobby Vee during dinner there I’m really quite disappointed.
You can download the Christmas menu here. It is £14.99 for 2 courses and £17.99 for 3 courses and is available from the 12th November.
My Menu Choices:
Starter: Quatro Formaggi Ravioli
Main: Brie and Cranberry Burger
Sweet: Trifle Sundae or Chocolate Profiterole Cake (my husband will definitely order this so I can try his)!
As a bonus Frankie & Benny’s are offering some specialty Christmas drinks too including Merry Spritzmas and a Cookies & Cream Martini.
That is it for today. I hope it has given you a few Christmas eating out ideas. I’m off to plan out my schedule for when I can try some of these.
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For lots more Christmas ideas, check out this post with 50 Christmas Activities for your Christmas Bucket List.