The Christmas season brings a variety of festive events, holiday concerts, and tree lighting ceremonies to the Phoenix and Scottsdale area of Arizona each year, and if you're traveling or would rather not spend time cooking a big holiday meal, several restaurants will be open on Christmas Day this year. From multi-course dinners to holiday buffets, sit-down dining to ordering your meal to-go, there are plenty of options to choose from in the Valley of the Sun. However, with the popularity of eating out on the holidays, tables often book up quickly. Make reservations early to ensure availability, and call ahead to check serving times, costs, and availability before you planning your trip.
LON's at the Hermosa
On Christmas Eve from 4 to 8 p.m. and on Christmas Day from noon to 7 p.m., LON's at the Hermosa serves up special holiday meals perfect for the whole family. Celebrate Christmas either day with a prix-fixe, three-course menu prepared by the culinary team at this local hotspot. Reservations are required in advance for dinner service.
The holiday menu this year features Arizona-style cuisine like porcini mushroom soup, Hermosa salad, roasted vegetable salad, lobster ravioli, and chorizo-stuffed quail starters alongside entrees like roasted smoked prime rib, duroc pork duo, roasted sea bass with Florida shrimp, and smoked house bacon with Dungeness crab risotto. For dessert, enjoy your choice of either black forest chocolate macarons, gingerbread panna cotta, or upside down apple-rum cake.
The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch
Head over to the Vista Verde Restaurant in the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch for a brunch-style buffet on Christmas Day served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Perfect for the whole family, this fixed-price meal is also free for children under 5 years old, and reservations are highly recommended.
The buffet menu offers a variety of mixed greens or lentil salads, pickled deviled eggs, smoked meats, pastries, assorted bread, a full seafood bar, a carving station with turkey, prime rib, and smoked ham, and a hot food bar with roasted root vegetables, grilled chicken, and coconut lobster or shrimp. For those who wish to enjoy a taste of breakfast, you can indulge in eggs benedict, omelets made to order, and Belgian waffles with strawberry and whipped cream. For dessert, devour apple pie, cheesecake, tortes, yule logs, petit fours, and more to your heart's content.
Elements at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain
Known for its scenic views and relaxing atmosphere, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain offers a wide variety of opportunities to escape from the hustle and bustle of Christmas Day, including a special holiday meal served from noon to 8 p.m. at Elements Restaurant inside the resort. Reservations are required, and there is a per-person no-show fee for cancellations.
Begin your meal with traditional lobster bisque, foie gras terrine, escargot pot pie, carmelized leek and fennel tarts, charred octopus, or Hawaiian opah carpaccio. Then, choose from a full menu of delicious entrees including roasted free-range guinea hen, Atlantic swordfish "Au Poivre," Moroccan-spiced lamb rack, bacon-wrapped filet of beef, pan-roasted arctic char, and sesame-crusted tofu. Complete this memorable dinner with vanilla bean crème brûlée tart, cheesecake, or gingerbread Linzer torte—all designed by Chef Ana Garza.
Gila River Hotels and Casinos
The Gila River Hotels and Casinos are a collection of three casinos in the Greater Phoenix area, each of which is home to Fullhouse Cafes; all offer special low-priced holiday meals on Christmas Day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The special holiday menu starts with your choice of chicken and wild rice soup or house salad and continues with a choice of delicious entrees including herb-roasted half chicken or bourbon brown sugar ham steak—both of which are served with roasted fingerling potatoes glazed baby carrots, and rolls with butter. For dessert, enjoy your choice of caramel apple cheesecake or a traditional slice of pecan pie.
You'll find Fullhouse Cafes in the Lone Butte Casino and the Wild Horse Pass Casino in Chandler and at the Vee Quiva Hotel and Casino in Laveen—an urban village located about eight miles southwest of Downtown Phoenix. While reservations are not required to attend, they are highly recommended—especially if you plan to dine from noon to 2 p.m. or 6 to 8 p.m. when the restaurants are busiest.
Shula’s Steak House at Wild Horse Pass Casino
From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Christmas Day, stop by Shula's Steak House for a special holiday feast. This luxury limited-chain restaurant is also located inside the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler, so if you can't get a reservation at the Fullhouse Cafe there, this is a great alternative.
For Shula's Christmas Eve dinner, start with either a burrata salad or a lobster bisque and a shrimp cocktail, and continue with delicate entree options of pan-seared Chilean sea bass or prime rib, both served with family-style sides of mashed potatoes, asparagus, and sauteed mushrooms. To finish the meal, enjoy a special holiday crème brūlèe for dessert.
Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort
The Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix offers two different options for Christmas Day dining: Hole-in-the-Wall, which offers a breakfast buffet from 7 to 11 a.m. and an all-day menu from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Rico's American Grill, which offers a holiday buffet from noon to 7 p.m.
The Hole-In-The-Wall menu features a down-home Christmas feast served family-style with bottomless salad and cornbread; an entrée platter featuring Arizona honey-baked ham and smoked brisket; and endless sides of Gruyere and thyme Dauphinoise potatoes, roasted root vegetables, and smoked cheddar baked mac n' cheese; plus pumpkin cheesecake to end the meal.
Rico's American Grill, on the other hand, features a festive holiday dinner including Kahlua-glazed ham, braised short ribs, or steelhead trout with a chocolate-peppermint stack for dessert.
Tomaso’s Italian Restaurant
From noon to 9:30 p.m. on Christmas Day, stop by Tomaso's on Camelback Road in Phoenix to enjoy an à la carte service of their regular menu. Favorites from this holiday feast include seasonal Italian dishes such as eggplant torte and beggar's purse pasta, or you can also enjoy royal crustacean cioppino with sea bass, veal scaloppine a la Francese, and a prosciutto, fontina, and mascarpone-stuffed veal chop.
Sands and ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho
At Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, enjoy a buffet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m in the Sands Dining Room or head to the hotel's signature restaurant ZuZu any time between 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. to enjoy the full menu, including a special four-course holiday dinner that will only be served in the evening. Advance reservations are required for either the Sands dining room meals or those served at the ZuZu restaurant.
The Valley Ho Christmas buffet in the hotel’s Sands Dining Room includes fresh seasonal salads, chilled seafood, classic beef wellington, oven-roasted duck breast, and Christmas ham with vanilla bourbon maple syrup as well as creative seasonal vegetable dishes, festive sweets, and more. Meanwhile, ZuZu also features a four-course, fixed-price menu for Christmas dinner that includes 20-ounce bone-in prime ribeye, slow-braised pork Osso Bucco, Maple Leaf Farm duck breast, and herb-crusted Faroe Island salmon.
J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician
Stop by the J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician Hotel in Scottsdale on Christmas Day for a three-course dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Featuring one of the best views around of the Valley of the Sun, this fixed-price meal service does require advanced reservations, which often book up by the first day of December.
The holiday prix fixe dinner offers guests high-end options like mixed frisée lettuce salad with duck prosciutto and confit, homemade fresh fettuccini with creamy morels, seared Maine diver scallops with Dungeness crab and tomato risotto, and grilled prime sirloin cap steak with buttery crushed potatoes, roasted hen of the wood, and red miso wine jus in addition to the regular à la carte menu.
Pointe in Tyme at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs
The Different Pointe of View Restaurant, located inside the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix, serves a comfortable and cozy holiday buffet dinner from noon to 6 p.m. on Christmas Day. Reservations are strongly suggested as the restaurant is often booked full on holidays.
During the Different Pointe of View holiday feast, you'll find carving station favorites including slow-roasted prime rib, roasted breast of Young Tom turkey, and achiote-grilled pork loin paired with oven-baked sides like Brussels sprouts, roasted yams, pancetta and shallots, garlic-whipped cream cheese potatoes, chef's ale-scented turkey gravy, and sausage and sage brioche stuffing as well as a variety of savory soups and seasonal salads. For dessert, an assortment of cakes, pies, mousses, and more are available.
The Wigwam Arizona Resort
If you're feeling up for an adventure and a chance to get out of the city, you can drive 20 miles northwest of Phoenix to the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park for a special holiday dinner at Litchfield's from 3 to 7 p.m. or a lunchtime brunch at the Wigwam Ballroom from noon to 4 p.m.
The three-course prix fixe menu at Litchfield's features local meats, seafood, and fresh vegetables alongside southwestern salads and an array of desserts accompanied by live piano music. Starters include your choice of arugula or romaine salads or squash soup. Meanwhile, you can choose from various entree options like smoked ham with Brussels sprouts, turkey breast with sausage stuffing, green beans, and mashed potatoes, Scottish salmon with butternut squash and celery root, and Cedar River prime rib with mashed potatoes, baby carrots, horseradish cream, and red wine jus.
The Christmas Buffet, which is served in the Wigwam Ballroom, features a selection of farmer's market starters like Christmas salad, roasted cauliflower chowder, and an artisan cheese display as well as a carving station with herb-roasted prime rib, wood-fired leg of lamb, and roasted organic turkey with garden sage gravy. Holiday favorites at the buffet include honey pecan-crusted ham, oven-roasted Mexican sea bass, and a gnocchi station with Italian sausage, wild mushrooms, baby spinach, crispy bacon, and sundried tomatoes. Side dishes of scalloped potatoes, Brussels sprouts and pancetta, honey-glazed carrots, apple pecan stuffing, and housemade rosemary biscuits are also available.
Blue Hound Kitchen at Kimpton Hotel Palomar
Head to the Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails restaurant inside the Kimpton Hotel Palomar at CityScape in Phoenix on Christmas Day for a holiday breakfast and lunch served a la carte from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or a special dinner served from 5 to 10 p.m.
Reservations are recommended but not required for both, where you can choose from the full regular menu as well as a special Christmas menu prepared by Executive Chef Dushyant Singh featuring porter braised short-ribs, Anson Mills white corn grits, confit Thumbelina carrots, Worcestershire gastrique, and citrus gremolata.
T. Cook's at Royal Palms Resort & Spa
T. Cook's inside the Royal Palms Resort & Spa in Phoenix offers a holiday prix-fixe menu from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and a Christmas buffet from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Christmas Day, both of which require reservations to attend.
The prix-fixe holiday menu includes choices such as crab cake, baby greens with artichokes, pear and mixed green salad, lobster bisque, organic chicken breast, pan-roasted branzino, grilled beef tenderloin, and filet of butternut squash. The holiday buffet includes breakfast items like omelets and eggs made to order, huevos rancheros, bagels with lox, and yogurt with fresh fruit as well as greens and soups like shaved root vegetable salad, a charcuterie and cheese display, and white corn with truffle soup. You'll also find carving and chef stations with cornbread stuffing, chilled poached shrimp, oysters and crab claws, slow-roasted Heritage turkey, chocolate hazelnut torte, and more.
The Arizona Biltmore
The Arizona Biltmore hotel in Phoenix has two options for Christmas Day dining: Wright's at the Biltmore serves a four-course dinner from 3 to 9 p.m. and Frank & Albert's restaurant serves a Christmas lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
At Frank & Albert's, choose from a pre-fixed menu with options like Christmas or roasted chestnut mushroom soups; roasted apple, Brussel sprout, or spiced duck salads; and braised short rib, porchetta, braised lamb, seabass, or butternut squash ravioli mains. Meanwhile, Wright's holiday menu features favorites such as lobster soup, local beet and apple salad, roasted sea bass with black truffles, slow-roasted prime rib of beef, and cauliflower steak with stewed leeks and crispy shallots.
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse
From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Christmas Day, head to Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse in Scottsdale for a special holiday feast and full churrasco experience. No matter when you visit during Christmas Day, enjoy a variety of fire-roasted meats including filet mignon, Brazilian picanha, and lamb chops alongside holiday entree and side dish specials.
Rustler's Rooste in Phoenix is a cowboy steakhouse that serves a traditional country holiday dinner from noon to 8 p.m. on Christmas Day, and if you dine at the Rooste from 4 to 8, you'll also be treated to live musical performances from local country and western bands and singers.
The à la carte Christmas menu features a selection of pit-fired meats including turkey, baked ham, New York steak, prime rib, salmon, and shrimp as well as traditional holiday sides like mashed potatoes and candied carrots. Kids can also order chicken fingers, hamburgers, or grilled cheese sandwiches, and everyone can enjoy a slice of apple or pumpkin pie with ice cream for dessert.