Austin restaurants: Where to eat on Christmas Eve and Christmas

Apis Restaurant and Apiary in Spicewood is one of the best bets for dining on Christmas Eve. (Credit: Ralph Barrera AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Apis Restaurant and Apiary in Spicewood is one of the best bets for dining on Christmas Eve. (Credit: Ralph Barrera AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Let someone else do the heavy lifting around the Christmas holiday. These restaurants are serving special meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Make sure to read carefully to distinguish between the two. Many other restaurants will also be open on those two days and serving their standard menus, so make sure to check on their individual websites.

Apis. 23526 Hwy. 71. 512-436-8918, apisrestaurant. The wonderful restaurant on the edge of the Texas Hill Country in Spicewood will serve dinner on Christmas Eve from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The meal costs $70 and includes an array of choices, such as scallop crudo, venison tartare and honey-glazed 21-day-aged duck.

Bonneville. 202 W. Cesar Chavez St. 512-428-4643, thebonnevilleaustin.com. The husband-and-wife-owned restaurant downtown will celebrate Christmas Eve with a French-Canadian that pays tribute to co-owner Jennifer Costello’s heritage. Dishes include cretons, tourtiere, poutine, salmon rillettes and more.

Dine. 111 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-478-2991, dineradissonaustin.com. Chef David Garrido’s recently revamped restaurant at the Radisson will serve Christmas Day brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner until 8:30 p.m. The brunch buffet ($49 and $12.95 for kids under 11) includes a made-to-order omelet station, salad bar, carving station, sweets and more.

Estancia Churrascaria. 10000 Research Blvd. 512-345-5600, estanciachurrascaria.com. The Brazilian steakhouse will serve its array of meats (and salad) at lunch ($39.95) and dinner ($49.95) on Christmas Eve and all day on Christmas day ($49.95), starting at 11 a.m.

Goodall’s Kitchen. 1900 Rio Grande St. 512-495-1800, goodallskitchen.com. The restaurant at the Hotel Ella will serve a Christmas brunch from noon to 4 p.m. The three-course meal costs $44 and includes warm sugar donuts, spiced pumpkin hotcakes, sweet potato biscuits and more. A la carte pricing is available for children. The hotel offers complimentary valet parking.

Green Pastures. 811 W Live Oak St. 512-444-1888, greenpasturesrestaurant.com. The historic restaurant, now under the purview of chef David Bull and co., will serve brunch on Christmas Eve ($52) and Christmas Day ($82) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Prelog’s. 360 Nueces St. 512-350-2895, prelogs.com. Austrian chef Florian Prelog will serve a five-course prix fixe menu that pays homage to European Christmas traditions. The special meal costs $49 and will be served on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Shawn Cirkiel’s stable of restaurants (Parkside, The Backspace, Olive & June, and Bullfight) will all be open on Christmas Eve, with the final seating at 8 p.m.

Trace. 200 Lavaca St. 512-542-3660, traceaustin.com. The restaurant at the W Hotel will serve a four-course prix fixe dinner for $75. Dishes include sunchoke and truffle soup, duck cassoulet and mulling spice-brined pork loin.

Visconti Ristorante. 320 S. Loop 360. 512-306-6400, granducaaustin.com. The Italian restaurant at the Hotel Granduca in West Lake will serve a “feast of seven fishes” on Christmas Eve from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with a menu that includes sea bass, lobster and monkfish. A fixed-menu dinner including agnolotti with beef shank ragu and roasted guinea hen will be served on Christmas Day from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Both meals cost $85.

Vox Table. 1100 S. Lamar Blvd #2140. 512-375-4869, voxtableaustin.com. The restaurant across from the Alamo Drafthouse will serve a truffle-themed Christmas Eve dinner. The $89 prix fixe meal includes roasted chestnut with truffle panna cotta, seared scallops with white truffle gremolata and crispy duck breast with truffled root vegetable cassoulet.

The following Chinese restaurants will be open on Christmas:

A+A Sichuan. 13376 Research Blvd. 512-258-5445, aasichuanchina.com.

Chinatown West. 2712 Bee Caves Rd. 512-328-6588, austinchinatown.com.

Chinatown Mopac (11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.). 3407 Greystone Dr. 512-343-9307, chinatown-mopac.com.

Din Ho Chinese BBQ. 8557 Research Blvd. 512-832-8788, dinhochinesebbq.com.

First Chinese Barbecue. 10901 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-835-8889, firstchinesebbq.com.

Ho Ho Chinese BBQ. 13000 N. I-35. 512-339-9088, hohochinesebbq.com.

Szechuan House. 11005 Burnet Rd. 512-832-8989, austinszechuanhouse.com.

Sichuan River. 4534 W. Gate Blvd. 512-892-6699

Wu Chow. 500 W. Fifth St. 512-476-2469, wuchowaustin.com

Leaf opening January 4

Leaf owner Jordan Feiner at his original location in 2010. (James Brosher AMERICAN-STATESMAN –)
Leaf owner Jordan Feiner at his original location in 2010. (James Brosher AMERICAN-STATESMAN –)

Leaf is putting the finishing touches on its new, expanded space at 115 W. Sixth St. and will open January 4, according to owner Jordan Feiner.

The wildly popular salad-based restaurant will offer its original Big 12 salads and create-your-own salds, which Feiner calls Leaf’s core and passion, but, with a full kitchen, it will also expand to offer grab-and-go salads, smaller side salads (think quinoa and other non-lettuce-based salads), sandwiches and eventually some new entrees that will include a rotating daily blue plate special.

Leaf will also add dinner service. Feiner says they will open at 11 a.m. and test the night hours, staying open until maybe 9 p.m. to start and then scaling back as crowds dictate. The restaurant will still offer delivery and take call-in orders, which will allow for bypassing the line.

Leaf previously operated in the 2nd Street District for years.

 

 

No confirmed Texas cases of E. coli or norovirus connected to Chipotle

A pedestrian walks past a closed Chipotle restaurant Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, in Seattle. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of foodborne illness at the popular chain this year. Cases of the bacterial illness were traced to six of the fast-casual Mexican food restaurants, but the company voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in the two states as a precaution. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A pedestrian walks past a closed Chipotle restaurant Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, in Seattle. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of foodborne illness at the popular chain this year. Cases of the bacterial illness were traced to six of the fast-casual Mexican food restaurants, but the company voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in the two states as a precaution. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Chipotle has been under increased scrutiny over the past several days. After closing a few dozen locations across the country due to an E.coli outbreak this fall, the restaurant chain closed a Boston location Monday after more than 120 Boston College students got sick from norovirus over the weekend.

The health concerns led to the company’s CEO, Steve Ells, to address the issues this morning on the “Today Show.” Ells promised that the company is “doing a lot to rectify” this situation, including completely sanitizing the restaurant and testing employees for illness. He also says that Chipotle, which is thoroughly investigating its food safety and has been unable to trace the cause of the E. coli, will be “the safest place to eat at.”

No Chipotle locations in Texas have reported any confirmed cases of E.coli or norovirus.

“There is no reason for people in Austin to be concerned about noro,” Chipotle communications director Chris Arnold said. “The noro incident is isolated to one restaurant in Boston. I¹d note that CDC reports that there are approximately 20 million cases of norovirus annually, making it the leading cause of gastroenteritis in the
country. The large number of cases of this illness is due partly because it can spread very easily through person-to-person contact, surfaces, or through food or drink. It¹s a very common illness, and one that is passed
very easily.”

 

Closed: Boise Fry Company on Burnet Road

Photo via Facebook.com/bfcatx
Photo via Facebook.com/bfcatx

The Idaho-based Boise Fry Company, home to an assortment of French fry stylings and myriad sauces, closed. The restaurant in the North Burnet Road strip home to Szechuan House was open for less than a year. The company’s website no longer lists the Austin location and the phone number has been disconnected.

 

 

Group behind Sway, La Condesa to open French brasserie, bakery downtown

chez

With all of the Italian restaurants opening in Austin, you’d think the cuisine had a stranglehold on the town’s dining scene. So it’s refreshing to hear that a French brasserie and bakery will be joining the fray. New Waterloo, the team behind Sway, La Condessa and the South Congress Hotel, will open Chez Nada late next year on the ground level of the Northshore high-rise building at 110 San Antonio St. on the edge of the 2nd Street District.

The 7,000 square-foot Chez Nada will feature a French brasserie, raw bar, bakery, full bar, lounge and outdoor patio. The restaurant will serve regional French classics and Franco-American favorites, according to a release.

“Chez Nada is a restaurant that we’ve been looking forward to opening for a very long time,” says New Waterloo partner Jesse Herman. “We always thought that a big, bustling French brasserie would be something really exciting for downtown Austin.”

You can follow Chez Nada’s progress on its social media channels: Facebook (Chez Nada) | Instagram (@cheznadaaustin) |Twitter (@cheznadaaustin).

 

Alamo Drafthouse rolls out ‘Star Wars’-themed menu for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

You know the movie-obsessives at the Alamo Drafthouse are gearing up for the December 17 premiere of “Star Wars: The Forces Awakens.” They’ve already rolled out the details on their crazy marathon contest that includes some massive grand prizes, and today they unleashed their new “Star War”-themed menu for the momentous occasion. The dishes, which all reference the film in one way or another are listed below. (All images courtesy of Annie Ray Photography.)

Nerf strips. Named after the animals in "Star Wars." Leia famously called Han Solo a "stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder." The beef skewers are marinated in an orange-garlic sauce. At the front is the Yoda Soba Noodle Salad with shaved Brussels sprouts and a soy-ginger dressing.
Nerf strips (back left, $11). Named after the animals in “Star Wars.” Leia famously called Han Solo a “stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder.” The beef skewers are marinated in an orange-garlic sauce. At the front is the Yoda Soba Noodle Salad with shaved Brussels sprouts and a soy-ginger dressing ($10). The Tatooine Sunset cocktail ($9) with Cana Brava rum, anejo rum, orange, lime, almond and bitters was created by Alamo Village bartender Christian Gutierrez. The Drafthouse made the cocktail creations and competition, with two bartenders from across the country getting their creations placed on the menu.

 

The Trash Compactor Pizza gets its funky smell from blue cheese.
The Trash Compactor Pizza ($13) doesn’t have trash on it, but the pizza that includes pecans, pears and mozarella gets its funky smell from blue cheese.

 

The Gold Membrosia cocktail.
The Gold Membrosia cocktail ($10), created bartender Matt Tanskley of the Kalamzaoo Drafthouse, is made with Tequila Cabeza, elderflower, ginger, roadian spice liquor, orange bitters and lemon oil.

 

Did you know Wookies were vegetarians? Well, apparently they are. And they love a fictional berry called the wasaka berry, which resembles a raspberry. The Wookie Wasaka Berry Crêpes ($8) are made with chocolate ricotta filling, white chocolate, and raspberries. ---The Wookies are vegetarians and one of their delicacies is the Wasaka berry, a fruit that looks very much like a raspberry.
Did you know Wookies were vegetarians? Well, apparently they are. And they love a fictional berry called the wasaka berry, which resembles a raspberry. The Wookie Wasaka Berry Crêpes ($8) are made with chocolate ricotta filling, white chocolate, and raspberries.
—The Wookies are vegetarians and one of their delicacies is the Wasaka berry, a fruit that looks very much like a raspberry.

 

Because you know Jabba the Hutt ain't eating salad, the Drafthouse rolled out Jabba's Critter Fritters ($8), which are fried balls of corn, shrimp, and red pepper.
Because you know Jabba the Hutt ain’t eating salad, the Drafthouse rolled out Jabba’s Critter Fritters ($8), which are fried balls of corn, shrimp, and red pepper.

 

And, of course, the food is all listed on a menu that looks like the Millennium Falcon.
And, of course, the food is all listed on a menu that looks like the Millennium Falcon.

Related:

 

Event: Apis and Gardner team up for ‘wild’ dinner

Apis executive chef-owner Taylor Hall (left) and chef de cuisine Adam Brick (right) will visit Gardner for a collaborative dinner.  RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Apis executive chef-owner Taylor Hall (left) and chef de cuisine Adam Brick (right) will visit Gardner for a collaborative dinner.
RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Apis is coming to town. One of my Top 10 restaurants of 2015, the Spicewood Springs restaurant will collaborate with East Austin’s Gardner (a Top 25 honoree) for a “wild” dinner, with a menu composed of regionally trapped, caught, shot or foraged ingredients.

The dishes from Apis chefs Taylor Hall and Adam Brick of Apis and Andrew Wiseheart of host Gardner (1914 E. Sixth St.) will alternate between restaurants, with each restaurant alternately preparing the six courses. The menu will include capacolla, venison tartare, king oyster mushrooms and swordfish.

The December 8 dinner and a preceding reception costs $75 (with wine pairings for $35), and reservations can be made on Gardner’s website.
Related

Read my 2015 review of Apis here.

Read my 2015 review of Gardner here.