There may be no place like home for the holidays, but the big meal takes hours of cleaning, grocery shopping, prepping, and cooking on a day that should be more about cheer than chores. This year, take it easy on yourself at these six great San Antonio restaurants. We promise the kids won’t miss Aunt Edna’s fruitcake.
Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
We can think of no better yuletide treat than having skewer after skewer of delicious grilled steak, pork, chicken, and lamb delivered to our table while sipping a glass of red wine. Sure, there’s a selection of seasonal salads, soups, and fresh vegetables, too, but Fogo really gets to the meat of what we love about the holidays. $52.95 for adults, half-price for children 7 to 12, and complimentary for children 6 and under. 11 am-9 pm.
Oro at the Emily Morgan
One of San Antonio’s most beautiful hotels also has a stunning signature restaurant. The golden eatery is giving its holiday brunch a Texas twist with a lavish buffet that includes dishes like Gulf oysters with a chipotle remoulade, herb-roasted prime rib, guajillo-maple glazed salmon, and pecan-crusted chicken breast in a mushroom Marsala sauce. Be sure to save some room for desserts like adorable decorated petits fours. $64.95 for adults, $24.95 for kids 12 and under, and free for children under 5. 11 am-4 pm.
The Palm Restaurant
This classic downtown steakhouse will be open regular hours for Christmas Day with its regular a la carte menu — and a special treat. The chefs will be roasting a traditional prime rib served with au jus and horseradish cream for $59. Pair it with delicious sides like Brussels sprouts with shallots and lemon zest or a rich three-cheese potatoes au gratin for an extra $9.50 each. It’s a bit of indulgence, sure, but ’tis the season. 11:30 am-10 pm.
Let celebrity chef Jason Dady take care of the big day with his array of addictive dishes showcasing Texas ingredients. Start with a wild mushroom bisque or a freshly made Caesar salad before diving into duck confit with house orecchiette, a juicy 18-ounce ribeye, or a very fancy Lobster Thermidor. And be sure to toast the evening with a martini, prepared tableside with a choice of gin or vodka and all the classic accoutrements. 11 am-11 pm.
Quesadillas, burgers, fried chicken, and Southern-style bar snacks may not seem festive enough for the big day, but after nibbling on a dry turkey and multiple marshmallow salads, this homestyle grub may be just what you need. Besides, the place has an awesome selection of South Texas beer and cocktails that pack a punch. Excuse yourself from the family dinner table and really get into the holiday spirit. 5-10 pm.
The Pearl’s Hotel Emma is a can’t-miss stop for anyone looking to get in the Christmas spirit — especially since chef John Brand’s on-site restaurant makes the day extra merry and bright. Feast on hearty shareable starters like a lamb Bolognese with egg gnudi and ricotta salata or wintry dishes like pumpkin and apple soup with sunchoke chips and sage. And indulge in a margarita; this is San Antonio after all. Lunch: 11 am-3 pm; dinner: 5-8 pm.