The Christmas season brings a variety of festive events, holiday concerts, and tree lighting ceremonies to the Phoenix 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. 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.
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 planning your trip. In 2020, many restaurants are also offering meals that you can pre-order and pick up, for those who are celebrating at home but prefer to leave the cooking to the professionals.
LON's at the Hermosa
LON's at the Hermosa serves up special holiday meals perfect for the whole family on Christmas Day. Celebrate the holiday 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 for Christmas Day in 2020 features Arizona-inspired cuisine like kobocha squash soup, roasted smoked prime rib, and roasted sea bass with artichokes, plus a dessert to finish off the meal with something sweet.
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 at elements restaurant inside the resort. Reservations are required, and there is a per-person no-show fee for cancellations. This four-course meal is an elegant way to spend your Christmas holiday, and the 2020 menu includes high-brow options like black truffle bisque, baked oysters, steak tartare, smoked duck, and a rack of lamb.
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 a Fullhouse Cafe. All of them offer special and affordable holiday meals on Christmas Day, which is a perfect way to add some festive cheer to your holiday at the casino. You'll find Fullhouse Cafes in the Lone Butte and Wild Horse Pass casinos 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.
The special holiday menu starts with your choice of chicken and wild rice soup or house salad and continues with a delicious honey-glazed Christmas ham, finishing off with a spiced cake for dessert.
Shula’s Steak House at Wild Horse Pass Casino
Also located at the Wild Horse Pass Casino, Shula's Steak House offers a special feast on Christmas Day as an elevated alternative to the Fullhouse Cafe. The price is more expensive than the cafe, but the three-course dinner is a step up, with prime rib au jus as the main entree, in addition to a steak salad starter, potato puree, and a strawberry creme brulee to end. Shula's is only open for dinner, so be sure to make a reservation early if you plan to eat here.
Tomaso’s Italian Restaurant
On Christmas Day, stop by Tomaso's on Camelback Road in Phoenix to enjoy service of their regular menu, which is constantly changing based on what's in season and freshly available. Spend Christmas at one of Phoenix's highest-rated Italian restaurants for a change in the typical holiday menu, enjoying items like handmade pasta with clams, a seafood medley cioppino to share, pan-seared salmon, or veal osso buco for an indulgent dinner.
The dress code at Tomaso's is "upscale casual," and reservations are recommended for Christmas Day to guarantee a table.
Sands and ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho
At Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, the restaurant Zuzu is serving Christmas lunch and dinner all day long. Start your meal at the chef-attended appetizer buffet with premium items like king crab legs, cured meats and cheeses, and signature salads. Then, choose your entree of choice from decadent options like prime rib, truffle-stuffed chicken, or king trumpet mushrooms.
For Christmas 2020, there's a separate menu that's also available to pre-order and pick up for dining at home. Choose between a prime rib meal or bone-in ham, both of which are accompanied by a list of sides like cauliflower au gratin, whipped potatoes, and truffle mac n' cheese.
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 lunchtime brunch at the Wigwam Ballroom, or opt for a special holiday dinner at Litchfield's. Brunch is a served buffet, so you can enjoy as much as you want of holiday favorites prepared at the moment. Meanwhile, the dinner menu is a three-course prix-fixe meal that's filled with holiday classics designed personally by the executive chef.
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 lunch. Reservations are recommended, where you can choose from the full regular menu or go for a special Christmas Day five-course menu that includes options like a charcuterie board, parsnip bisque, a colorful holiday salad, turkey breast roulade, and prime rib. Afterward, end the afternoon with eggnog crème, apple gingerbread cake, or chocolate cheesecake.
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 that uses Mediterranean influences, with flavors that evoke an evening of dining on the Spanish coast, in the wine region of Tuscany, or Greece. The outdoor patios are heated with fireplaces, for a cozy feel with a scenic view.
The Christmas Day menu is a three-course meal that starts with an appetizer of your choice and continues with entree options like honey-glazed ham, grilled chicken, or tofu paella. Dessert at the end is the perfect way to end your holiday.
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse
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. On Christmas Day, dinnertime prices apply all day long, regardless of what time you visit.
Rustler's Rooste, located on the southern outskirts of Phoenix atop South Mountain, is a cowboy steakhouse that serves a traditional country holiday dinner on Christmas Day. For the dine-in Christmas menu, choose your entree—prime rib, holiday turkey, vegetarian burger—which comes with all of the fixings like candied yams and corn on the cob. If you want to enjoy your meal at home, you can also pre-order your meal to pick up.